Notebook: Who to watch in Seahawks’ preseason finale, plus injury updates
The Seahawks’ final preseason game kicks off Thursday night, and while most starters will be sitting out there are a few players who will be counting on a big game to cement a role on Seattle’s 53-man roster. Here’s a quick rundown on who to watch, as well as the latest on injury updates and a potential trade for pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.
Ongoing position battles (and who to watch Thursday)
A handful of position battles remain open ahead of Saturday’s roster deadline. Chief among those are the bottom half of the depth chart at wide receiver and running back, as well as the starting nickel cornerback job.
Enter the preseason finale. At wide receiver, rookie DK Metcalf is a lock to make the roster (even though he’ll miss this week’s game), but Seattle’s remaining rookie receivers will be battling it out Thursday. That group includes fourth-round pick Gary Jennings and seventh-round pick John Ursua as well as undrafted rookie receivers Terry Wright and Jazz Ferguson. (Throw veterans Keenan Reynolds and Malik Turner in there as well, though their odds fare better). The 5-foot-9, 182-pound Ursua is currently leading the group with 4 catches for 100 yards.
“It would be really nice to see Gary and John, get a lot of play time, and Malik and those guys,” head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday. “Everybody’s got a shot to play in this game, everybody’s in the rotation so yeah it’s important for John (Ursua). I know enough about it right now, that it’s going to take those guys a while. They’re not fully up to speed, they both missed time, just John and Gary for instance. It’s a harder position than you think; there are so many intricacies to it… I think DK is different from the other guys we’ve brought in here, it just seems to come to him naturally. Other guys struggle with the detail a little bit more.”
Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny head up Seattle’s running back group, but a strong performance from third-year pro C.J. Prosise last week bettered his chances of holding onto a roster spot despite a lengthy injury history.
Meanwhile, Jamar Taylor and rookie Ugo Amadi will split reps at the nickel spot.
“It’s a competitive spot,” Carroll said. “Taylor has done a nice job, shows experience. He’s played a lot of football and awareness and all that. Ugo has been pretty special at times and he’s really shown a top end to his play. Both the guys are really quick and kind of the same stature and size and style of player. We’re looking for consistency and what we can count on as well as the productivity. Akeem King has been there too… Really, it’s not completed yet. It’s still going.”
OL depth still a concern
Starting guard Mike Iupati continues to be the Seahawks’ biggest injury concern up front, but he’s far from their only injury there. The most recent is a high-ankle sprain for backup center Joey Hunt. Carroll also said Wednesday that neither rookie guard Phil Haynes nor guard Jordan Simmons will be ready to play Seattle’s Week 1 opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“We really wish we could get a shot at him,” Carroll said of Haynes, who remains on the team’s preseason PUP list after undergoing sports hernia surgery. Carroll hinted Haynes could remain on the PUP list to start the season, which would keep him out for at least six weeks (as opposed to a preseason PUP list, from which a player can be activated at any time).
“There are some decisions to be made on that. He could be one of the PUP guys going into the season, he could be on the roster. We really need him right now. With Mike (Iupati) being out, we could’ve really used him, he could’ve had a great opportunity in this camp, Jordan Simmons could have too. It’s unfortunate those guys missed.”
What’s the latest with Clowney?
As a quick primer: The Texans have reportedly been seeking to deal pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, and according to Houston Chronicle reporter Aaron Wilson Seattle is one of Clowney’s preferred landing spots. Just one problem: The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta reports that Houston hasn’t granted Seattle permission to speak with Clowney. Further, the Texans are already willing to trade with the Miami Dolphins, but they can’t finalize a deal unless Clowney signs his franchise tag.
710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil explained the entire situation — including Seattle’s role in it — during Wednesday morning’s Brock and Salk show.
“Jadeveon Clowney wants to be a Seahawk,” O’Neil said. “How much do the Seahawks want him? That’s really the operative question. As it stands, it’s pretty clear the Houston Texans have a deal lined up with the Miami Dolphins. They would like to accept that trade. They would like for Jadeveon Clowney to be sufficiently enamored with the Miami Dolphins that he says, ‘OK, I’ll sign my franchise tender, I’ll show up and play for the Dolphins.’ The fact that it has not happened, the fact that he has not signed, should hold out some hope for everyone. He wants to come to Seattle or Philadelphia. Should the Seahawks up their offer to try to get the Texans to accept it?”
Complicating matters even more was a Wednesday report that Clowney is perfectly willing to hold out and miss time.
From @NFLTotalAccess: There’s no guarantee Jadeveon Clowney will be back with the #Texans or some other team by Week 1. He’s told several people he‘s not afraid to miss games as he sorts out his future and makes sure he holds the leverage in the meantime by not signing the tag. pic.twitter.com/nbAfOE4H44
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 28, 2019
The Seahawks Wednesday signed former Washington State defensive end Logan Tago and tackle Will Holden. Tago, who took part in Seattle’s rookie minicamp earlier this spring, was profiled here for a feature by 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jessamyn McIntyre.
The team waived defensive tackle Jay-Tee Tiuli.