The Seahawks get a second consecutive day off from practicing today. They will be back on the field at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Monday. There are three days of workouts in Renton this week before the team flies to Oakland for the fourth and final exhibition game.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Russell Wilson doesn’t play a down on Thursday, so that coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell can split the entire game between Tarvaris Jackson and Terrelle Pryor. The Raiders came will a final determinant on who should be the primary backup quarterback, and on whether Seattle will keep three QBs on the 53-man regular-season roster. The final cut day is Saturday.
The NFL’s intermediate deadline to trim the current, 90-man preseason roster to 75 is 1 p.m. this Tuesday.
It used to be these two cut-down days were weeks apart. In one way it is good for the players’ union that the cut days are closer together like this — more fringe players having jobs and receiving preseason living allowances for longer before getting cut. Yet it’s also bad for players, especially any veteran ones who get cut on Tuesday, because now they have just four days to find new jobs and impress a new team before the regular-season rosters are due to be set. No more cutting a veteran on the earlier deadline day for the courtesy of allowing him to find a job elsewhere, which is how coaches and general managers used to spin their releasing of vets in the middle of Augusts past.
–In today’s News Tribune Pete Carroll playfully suggests one “big” issue with the Seahawks’ starters converting 12 of 13 first downs while outscoring Chicago and San Diego 55-0 in the first halves of the last two exhibitions: His punter is lonely. The crux of my story is that while, yes, this is only the preseason, Wilson and his teammates on offense are marveling over how many so many more weapons than it did last season.
Really, the main difference from 2013 to now is the rebuilt rocket named Percy Harvin. He alone is changing the way the Seahawks are calling plays, and the way teams defend fellow wide receivers Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, even Seattle’s running backs. If he can stay as healthy as he looks and feels now, Harvin will be Seahawks game-changer in more ways than first meets the eye this season, and a migraine each week for opposing defensive coordinators.
–Columnist Dave Boling writes in today’s TNT that after a decade of Super Bowl champions failing to even come close to repeating, “what if, for once, things go right for the defending champ? It has to at some point, right?”
–National folks still seem reluctant to believe Carroll is really, actually, no-fooling-around, is-he-nuts going to put All-Pro safety Earl Thomas back as his primary punt returner this season.
Either Thomas will be that guy on Sept. 4 against Green Bay, or Carroll is putting on one heck of an extended, summer trial/ruse.
Thomas said after he brought back a Bears punt 59 yards on Friday night that it felt like he was back in high school in Orange, Texas, again, running around playing every snap and never coming out of the game.
“I just want to help impact the game,” he also said.
Neither he nor Carroll wanted to talk about the Bears’ rookie punter tackling Thomas at the Chicago 16. But chances are more than decent that some of Thomas’ more vocal teammates — I think you can predict a few — had a thing or three to say about it inside the team film room this weekend.
–In more NFC West injury news: The St. Louis Rams are waiting for an MRI exam to determine if quarterback Sam Bradford’s reconstructed left knee is damaged again, but initial reports it is not. Bradford left last night’s exhibition against Cleveland after getting bumped awkwardly by Browns defensive end Armonty Bryant after he threw a pass. Rams coach Jeff Fisher thinks Bradford may have merely hyperextended the knee.
A week ago Arizona lost defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, the anchor to its defense, for the season to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. The Cardinals’ defense is now searching for answers.
As these injuries show, the preseason doesn’t matter — until it does.