JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton’s Observations: Are Seahawks position battles clear after win in LA?

Aug 26, 2019, 11:38 AM
Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny...
Rashaad Penny scored against the Chargers but the Seahawks still have questions at RB. (AP)
(AP)

The Seahawks looked strong in their 23-15 win over the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday night.

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Russell Wilson continued his great play as he moved the offense up and down the field. Things look solid on defense, particularly with linebackers Mychal Kendricks, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright being on the field together for the first time this year.

Of course, you can’t go overboard with the evaluations. The Seahawks’ first teams were going against mostly Chargers backups. What was important for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, though, was that the team continued to cut down on the number of penalties and didn’t make turnovers.

Let’s look at what Saturday’s game could mean for Seattle’s roster decisions that have to done by Aug. 31 at 1 p.m.

• Geno Smith appeared to lock up the backup quarterback job. Paxton Lynch missed the game because of a concussion but will get one more chance Thursday against the Oakland Raiders if he’s cleared to play. Smith was 11 for 18 passing for 117 yards along with having six runs for 24 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t make a turnover. He looked good moving the offense.

• C.J. Prosise looked great at running back and still has a chance to make the team. That’s a surprise being he’s missed 32 of 48 regular season games since he was drafted in 2016 because of 13 injuries during his career. Prosise gained 32 yards on five carries and had a touchdown, plus one catch for 15 yards.

Prosise’s performance could convince another team in need of a running back to offer a seventh-round pick for him. The Houston Texans lost Pro Bowl halfback Lamar Miller to a torn ACL over the weekend, and though the Texans traded for Duke Johnson and he’s going to end up the starter, they still need another back.

Travis Homer averaged only 3 yards a carry on nine attempts, but it’s a start for the rookie sixth-round pick. The debate for the Seahawks is whether to keep three or four halfbacks. Clearly, it would be dangerous to keep only three backs if Prosise makes the team because he can’t be guaranteed to be healthy and you wouldn’t have another option if an injury happens to Chris Carson or Rashaad Penny.

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• Jamar Taylor has done enough good things to win the slot cornerback job, but I’m still not sold he’s going to make the team. Ugo Amadi continues to excel making plays and led the team with five tackles Saturday.

I think it comes down to Taylor or DeShawn Shead making the team. Shead has looked great since signing with the team after Cliff Avril’s surprise retirement party. He can play slot or safety and is also good on special teams.

• Though he isn’t a lock to make the team, I think rookie John Ursua is going to make it. The wide receiver out of Hawaii is a younger, faster version of Doug Baldwin. The seventh-round choice was so popular in the draft that seven or eight teams offered him undrafted contracts in the early part of the round before Seattle swooped in to take him.

I see no way Ursua will make it through waivers and get to the practice squad. Ursua had catches of 28 and 24 yards on Saturday, and he’s proving to be so quick getting off the line of scrimmage.

David Moore is going to miss some games because of a shoulder injury, and I can’t see the Seahawks cutting fourth-round selection Gary Jennings. If that’s the case and Ursua makes it, three of the top five receivers – Moore excluded – would be rookies.

• Jacob Martin looks the most improved among the pass-rushers. Ziggy Ansaw is ready to practice this week and should be ready for the opener. Still, the Seahawks will still be checking out trade opportunities to improve their pass-rush.

What’s interesting is that in Week 1 the Seahawks are facing the Cincinnati Bengals, who are expected to be in three-receiver sets more than 95 percent of the time. The Bengals’ offensive line is a mess, so the Seahawks need a strong pass-rush.

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Clayton’s Observations: Are Seahawks position battles clear after win in LA?