Following a 20-7 preseason opening loss to the Raiders, the Seahawks executed their first round of roster cuts on Monday, reducing the roster from 90 to 85 players as they draw closer to the start of the regular season.
Shifting gears to preparation for their second exhibition contest against the Broncos on Saturday, which players are trending up in pursuit of a spot on the 53-man roster? And which players are heading in the wrong direction midway through camp?
Building off a strong start to training camp, Dallas jumped out as a rare bright spot during an otherwise anemic offensive performance for the Seahawks. Coming wide open against busted coverage, quarterback Alex McGough dumped it off to him in the flats without a defender anywhere near him. Tip-toeing down the sidelines, he broke a tackle and sprinted into the end zone for 43-yard touchdown. As a ball carrier, Dallas toted the rock five times for 24 yards, running decisively and finishing runs with authority. He hasn't locked up the third down running back gig quite yet, but he offers more punch running between the tackles than Travis Homer and has a more refined skill set as a receiver and pass protector than Alex Collins, so he should be viewed as the favorite moving forward.
Playing in his first NFL game, Fuller only saw 14 offensive snaps, but he earned the start with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett receiving the night off and picked up one of Seattle's two first downs in the first half with an excellent effort after the catch. Facing a 3rd and 6 situation on the opening possession, Geno Smith connected with the former Washington standout on a shallow crossing route with cornerback Damon Arnette draped all over him two yards short of the marker. Keeping his feet driving as the defender tried to bring him down, he slipped through the tackle and picked up 13 yards after contact to get the Seahawks close to midfield. Smith underthrew his other target to Fuller on the next play running down the numbers and he didn't make another catch, but he has been lighting it up on the practice field as of late and suddenly is in the mix for the final roster spot at receiver.
Despite being a four-year starter at California, Curhan went undrafted largely due to a heart issue revealed during the pre-draft process. But the Seahawks apparently didn't have any reservations about his health and with Duane Brown, Brandon Shell, Jamarco Jones, Tommy Champion, and Cedric Ogbuehi all being sidelined on Saturday, the 6-foot-6, 316-pound rookie received the start at right tackle in the preseason opener. Playing every offensive snap, including seeing some action at right guard in the fourth quarter, he didn't allow a single quarterback pressure. He wasn't as effective in the run blocking department, struggling to sustain blocks, particularly on zone concepts. Nonetheless, it was a strong debut and with all of the injury concerns Seattle currently has at tackle, if he's able to replicate his performance against Denver next week, he could play himself into the discussion for a spot on the 53-man roster.
On the hot seat given the depth Seattle has at defensive end, Green needed to turn in a signature performance and delivered. The former USC Trojan generated a pressure on the opening play of the game, forcing Nathan Peterman to step up in the pocket into Bryan Mone's arms for the sack. Later, he blew up a run play inside the 10-yard line early in the second quarter with instant penetration, driving a blocker into the backfield and allowing Ben Burr-Kirven to make a tackle for loss. Green turned up the heat all night, producing a sack, four pressures, and a pair of quarterback hits while rushing off the edge out of a three-point and two-point stance as well as reduced inside in 3-tech alignment. He also appeared to get a piece of a third down incompletion by Peterman late in the first half, nearly leading to an interception by Jordyn Brooks and forcing the Raiders to settle for a field goal.
The preseason opener wasn't a good one for Seattle's cornerback group as a whole, but if there was a bright spot at the position, Heslop enjoyed a steady, if unremarkable, outing in Vegas. Per Pro Football Focus, the second-year defender out of Stony Brook allowed four completions for 36 yards on six targets and an 81.9 passer rating. While Peterman found some success targeting him early, however, he made an outstanding pass breakup early in the third quarter manned up against Marcel Aitman, who ran a slant across the middle. Avoiding a penalty with sound technique, he extended his right arm in front of the receiver to knock the pass away. The 6-foot, 197-pound corner also shined against the run, shooting into the backfield to bring down B.J. Emmons for a loss in the second quarter and finishing with five tackles. With the rest of Seattle's corners struggling, Heslop earned another extensive look at minimum and should be in line for plenty of playing time against Denver.
Now in his third season with the organization, Ursua didn't play much in the first half of Saturday's game and only logged six offensive snaps and three special teams snaps. That's never a good sign for a player on the roster bubble, especially considering how well Fuller and undrafted rookie Cade Johnson have performed in camp. With his limited playing time, Ursua got dropped for a one-yard loss on a bubble screen, let a punt hit the ground and bounce several yards deeper into Seattle territory, and got decked on another punt return attempt that resulted in a kick catch interference penalty. It wasn't an ideal exhibition opener for a player who spent all of his second season on the practice squad.
Following the news of Colby Parkinson and Tyler Mabry suffering separate foot injuries last week, Wood-Anderson was gifted a golden ticket to push for a roster spot. Unfortunately, he turned in a poor performance in his first game action with the Seahawks, failing to capitalize on his opportunity. He dropped two passes on four targets, making one reception for zero yards. He also drew a false start penalty in the second half, putting an exclamation point on a rough outing. Given the lack of depth currently at tight end, he will have a chance to redeem himself against Denver, but it's possible he blew his best chance to sneak onto the roster.
With Ethan Pocic nursing a hamstring injury for most of training camp, Fuller has received the vast majority of first team reps at the pivot position and coach Pete Carroll has repeatedly indicated he's competing for a starting role. If that's the case, he didn't do much to help his cause trying to steal Pocic's job on Saturday night. Playing just 14 snaps, he surrendered a pair of pressures in pass protection and consistently got knocked backward by Raiders interior defenders. He only got to run block once and was pushed around in that instance too, leading to Alex Collins getting stuffed in the backfield for a loss.
After receiving tons of praise from Carroll and teammates throughout the week for his stellar performance in training camp, Flowers had a prime opportunity to close the gap on an injured D.J. Reed for the right cornerback gig. But consistency has never been a strong point for the fourth-year defender and he wasn't able to make a play in his 31 defensive snaps, allowing four receptions on four targets for 44 yards in coverage. On the game's opening drive, he found himself in perfect position in coverage against receiver Zay Jones along the sideline, only to fail to turn his head to find the football and allow a 28-yard completion. Those are the types of plays Flowers must be able to make to beat out Reed and re-gain a starting role and he didn't get the job done.