SEATTLE, WA - Head coach Pete Carroll wanted his team to end the preseason on a "good note" and so they did on Saturday night, winning by a score of 27-0 over the Chargers. An ideal finish to an otherwise lackluster month of games for the Seahawks.
With the final whistle blown, position battles have officially concluded and roster spots have been vied for. Now it's up to the organization to review the night's events and begin to piece together their 53-man roster before 1:00 p.m. PDT on Tuesday.
Who impressed? Who left more to be desired? Let's get into it as the Seahawks turn their attention to the regular season.
RB Alex Collins
This was Collins' game. If there was any doubt about his place on the Seahawks' 53-man roster, he seemingly put that all to rest with his performance on Saturday night. He made several highlight-worthy plays, including an exciting 14-yard catch-and-run in which he ran from one sideline to the other to avoid a would-be minimal gain.
In all, he put up 37 yards on 10 carries with a goal-line touchdown and tacked on another 52 yards with a team-high seven receptions. Interestingly enough, he played all the way into the fourth quarter, which isn't necessarily indicative of a player who's locked up a roster spot. But it would be a shock if he doesn't survive final cuts after the way he played.
WR Dee Eskridge
After starting training camp on the physically unable to perform list with a big toe injury, Eskridge finally made his NFL debut against the Chargers and made an impact early. The second-round pick out of Western Michigan only played a handful of snaps but the two times he touched the ball were electric.
He kicked things off by picking up nine yards on a jet sweep, showing off his blazing speed to quickly get around the corner and turn upfield behind his outside blockers. Then, on the same drive, Eskridge reeled in a 19-yard pass from Geno Smith near the middle of the field. It was quite the impressive first showing for the rookie, offering plenty of excitement for what he'll be able to bring in conjunction with the All-Pro talents of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
LB/DE Darrell Taylor
Taylor has had a preseason full of ups and downs. He looked explosive as a pass rusher against the Raiders, but he failed to finish off his few pressures and struggled in the run game. He was a non-factor in every facet versus the Broncos, perhaps putting a potential starting job at strongside linebacker on the line heading into Saturday night's bout with the Chargers.
But Taylor put together his best performance of the month, recording 1.5 sacks, a pass deflection and four combined tackles. He had an impressive rush out of LEO alignment for his first (unofficial) sack of his professional career, then cleaned up another along with Kerry Hyder on an initial pressure by Rasheem Green. He also had a tipped pass on a key third down and looked good in open space as well. The 2020 second-round selection stole the show on defense.
WR Cade Johnson
Entering Saturday night's game, Johnson led the Seahawks in receptions with seven and looked to be right in the mix for a final spot in the team's receiving corps. But he didn't get his first action until the third quarter, catching both of his targets for 13 yards.
Being passed up for snaps early on by Penny Hart, Cody Thompson and Aaron Fuller, Johnson didn't have the best opportunity to make his case for a job. Nevertheless, he still had as many receptions as Thompson and Hart combined, and tied Fuller in grabs as well. That said, his lack of run in this one was peculiar, to say the least. One could wonder if that was by design and the Seahawks hope to sneak him onto their practice squad.
T Jamarco Jones
Missing Seattle's first two preseason games with back spasms, Jones finally made his 2021 debut on Saturday. It did not go all too well for the fourth-year man out of Ohio State. On their first offensive drive of the game, the Seahawks were forced off the field after Jones reacted late to a third-down snap and let his matchup blow right by him. Smith was able to avoid the pressure and kick out a short two-yard pass to tight end Gerald Everett, but the play was bound to fail due to Jones' lack of awareness.
With undrafted rookie Jake Curhan wrapping up a nice preseason, Jones could be on his way out of Seattle in the coming days. He did himself no favors in his attempt to hold off a younger player with more club control after going into the game with very little wiggle room to begin with. Curhan gives the Seahawks similar versatility as a tackle/guard combo and seemed to do enough to leapfrog Jones.
The entire left cornerback competiton
The preseason is done and there is still no clarity whatsoever as to who will start for Seattle at left cornerback. Free agent addition Ahkello Witherspoon played into the second half against the Chargers and, for the third week in a row, did not stand out. From Witherspoon to Damarious Randall and Gavin Heslop, no one did.
It'll be interesting to see how the Seahawks approach the position over the next week, if at all. Could general manager John Schneider go outside of the organization and make another noteworthy summertime trade? It feels like something must be done following the underwhelming showing from this position group.