A week ago today, I wrote about what I thought were the Seahawks’ five biggest questions involving the roster.
With one more game in the books, and that much closer to the deadline to set the final roster, I thought I’d quickly revisit those five questions:
1, Does Terrelle Pryor make it? As I wrote a week ago, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Tarvaris Jackson is the backup. The question is if Pryor also makes it. I’m not sure we are any closer to an answer after Friday’s game, when Pryor went 0-2 with an interception. For all that he’s done in the preseason, the stats indicate he remains a work in progress as a passer. Pryor’s passer rating is 29.9, 110th out of the 114 QBs in the NFL who had seen action prior to Sunday. I would expect him to play a lot Thursday at Oakland — a venue at which he is well familiar — with one last chance to make it a really hard decision.
2, Benson Mayowa? O’Brien Schofield? Or both? Okay, so definitely Schofield, who had another really good game against the Chargers with a sack and three quarterback hurries. He’s on the roster. Watching the replay, I also thought Mayowa had some really good moments. There was a play in the third quarter where Mayowa properly read a short pass to Ka’Deem Carey and made the tackle for a one-yard gain, the kind of subtle play that has to be made, even if it doesn’t get the attention of a sack. Right now, I lean toward both making it.
3, Does Heath Farwell lose his spot to Brock Coyle? Farwell, the special teams captain the last two years, played a lot against the Bears and played well, with four tackles and a sack in 26 snaps. But then he hurt his groin, an injury about which we have not gotten any additional information on since then. If he’s out for any sustained period then that changes things. Coyle had another solid game with four tackles and looks at this point like he’s still a keeper, though the linebacker spot is only getting more competitive. Interestingly, K.J. Wright played some middle linebacker Friday night, as well. He’s done that before, and maybe it was just to get him some snaps there in case he has to do it again. For now, Farwell’s injury means we need a little more information to really assess where the backup MLB spot goes from here.
4, Which receivers of Bryan Walters, Ricardo Lockette and Phil Bates make it? As I wrote last week, Seattle has a real log jam at receiver. Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Paul Richardson are locks, and the only question with Kevin Norwood is his health and what the team does with him as a result. He may return this week. If Norwood is not on the initial 53-man, that could leave room for two of Walters, Lockette and Bates, who from this vantage point seem like the next in line. But which two? Walters’ ability to return both kickoffs and punts could get him on the roster. However, last week turned out to be something of a mixed bag for everyone on this list. Walters missed the Chargers game with a rib injury. Lockette got just two snaps at receiver, though he made an 18-yard reception on one of them (and a couple big special teams plays, which could give him an edge). Maybe the team just wanted to see what Arceto Clark, who got 15 snaps, could do. Bates, meanwhile, dropped a catchable ball on a third-and-eight that forced Seattle to settle for a field goal on what was his only target of the game. This is another one that seems pretty undecided.
5, Do they keep five running backs? As I wrote last week, if they keep six WRs, then something will have to give somewhere else on the roster, and it could be at running back where they might decide they don’t really need a backup fullback. Since then, we saw Seattle use a fullback on just 16 of 65 offensive snaps against the Chargers. That does not include the 12 snaps of Spencer Ware, who is mostly playing as a tailback these days. As I wrote last week, he could be the odd man out if the Seahawks go with just four running backs, assuming Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael and Derrick Coleman are givens. One thing that has changed in this equation since last week are the alterations to the practice squad rules and adding two spots to give 10 overall. They could decide to keep both Ware and Kiero Small on the practice squad (this also holds true at the WR spot, where Bates also has practice squad eligibility).