Week number three of the preseason is upon us, which means that your Minnesota Vikings are about to run through their “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. Typically, this is a tough week for the longshot players to make much noise, as the starters usually play quite a bit more. Camp battles are over, and the teams are now preparing for the real thing. The “ones” and “twos” are getting the lions share of reps, and some of the early camp hopefuls are beginning to fade away. But, as we saw this week with the George Iloka signing, that doesn’t mean teams are completely set with the players they’ve had all along.
With that, let’s take a look at this week’s opponent, the Pete Carroll-led Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks have yet to win a preseason game, dropping their matchups against the Indianapolis Colts and the
San Diego Los Angeles Chargers. Seattle is coming off a relatively disappointing 9-7 season, which saw them finish second in the NFC West.
The Seahawks on Defense
For years, the Seahawks have been known for playing exceptional all-around defense. But times they are changing in Jet City. The vaunted “Legion of Boom” defense is a shell of its former self. Cornerback Richard Sherman blew out his Achilles tendon and was released in the offseason, Kam Chancellor suffered a career-ending neck injury, Earl Thomas is holding out for a new contract, and Brandon Browner - fresh off his team’s loss in something called the “American Flag Football League” - was arrested on charges including kidnapping, burglary, and false imprisonment. In their place, the Seahawks have turned to Shaquill Griffin, Brad McDougald, Tedric Thompson, and Byron Maxwell. Legion of Whom? I have a hard time believing any of them will ever find themselves in this situation:
Former Vikings turned Seahawks Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen have been solid so far for the ‘Hawks. Both are listed as second unit players, but both have made ‘Big Impressions’
Meanwhile, former Vikings-pariah-turned-Seahawks-pariah Blair Walsh is no longer kicking in Seattle. Long time Oakland Raider Sebastian Janikowski has won the job. But it was the punting competition that garnered the most headlines this week, as incumbent Jon Ryan was let go in favor of Michael Dickson, whom the team drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 draft.
Yes, the Seahawks drafted a stinkin’ punter!
Ryan - one of the most beloved players on the Seahawks - announced his release in his own special way via Twitter:
Jay Berry’s is now filling growlers...wait wtf I got released? pic.twitter.com/3L3kgrRUB9— Jon Ryan (@JonRyan9) August 20, 2018
In truth, he asked for and was granted his release, knowing that Dickson was going to get the punting job. Ryan leaves Seattle after ten seasons. He is one of only three Saskatchewan natives ever to play in the NFL, and the only one who has a Super Bowl ring. Packer fans will remember Jon Ryan for a couple of reasons. While punting for Green Bay in a game against the Vikings in 2007, he became the first Packers punter to rush for a first down in nearly 27 years. His highlight reel went south shortly after. Against the Bears that same season, Ryan had two punts blocked, one returned for a touchdown, punted the ball nine yards on another, and bobbled the snap on a fourth, which resulted in a turnover on downs.
But those same fans will remember John Ryan most for one particular play.
No wonder the fans in Seattle loved him so much. I’m even starting to like him.
As far as Michael Dickson is concerned, here is what we know:
Seattle drafted the Sydney, Australia native out of the University of Texas after he won the Ray Guy Award as the nations top punter.
And he’s good!
And that’s about all I felt like researching regarding the punting situation in Seattle.
The Seahawks on Offense
Seattle’s offense is all about Russell Wilson, and rightfully so. Wilson has been asked to do more this season with much less. Tight End Jimmy Graham has moved on to Green Bay, replaced by 2016 third-rounder Nick Vannett. Jaron Brown takes over for Paul Richardson at Wide Receiver, and Doug Baldwin has missed time this preseason with a knee injury, though head coach Pete Carroll expects him to be ready for the opener.
The challenge for Seattle will be keeping Russell Wilson healthy. The ‘Hawks line was a disaster in 2017, and the team has taken steps to correct the problem. They traded for Pro-Bowl left tackle Duane Brown, and brought in D.J. Fluker to solidify the guard position. However, tackle Germain Ifedi - drafted in the first round in 2016 - and his play on the right side has been the bane of Seahawks fans.
4-man rush and Ifedi can't handle one assignment. pic.twitter.com/VrVM8kDo4e— C.J. Tumbarello (@TumbarelloHB) August 19, 2018
Clearly, Wilson’s athleticism is the only thing keeping him alive from right-side pressure.
In fact, Seahawks fans on Twitter have taken nasty to a level that’s eerily reminiscent of former Vikings turnstile Matt Kalil’s mentions.
In the backfield, the Seahawks have been stuck in a game of musical chairs ever since the heydays of Marshawn Lynch came to an end. The team has turned to Chris Carson, who beat out veterans Thomas Rawls and Eddy Lacy last season for the starting job before a broken ankle ended his season after just three starts. Not knowing how his injury would heal, Seattle drafted Rashaad Penny in the first round of the 2018 draft. Carson may simply be getting starters reps by default, as Penny is returning from surgery to repair a broken finger, C.J. Prosise is returning from a hip-flexor injury, and J.D. McKissic is out with a broken bone in his foot.
Useless stuff about the Seahawks that you might not know.
Pete Carrol and General Manager John Schneider (no relation) have been together in Seattle since January 2010. Schneider is widely credited as one of the architects of the Seahawks teams that went to two Super Bowls in the last decade, winning one.
But the magic that Schneider once held apparently doesn’t quite work in the first round. As mentioned above, the team drafted Rashaad Penny in the first round. His injury has already cost him valuable time.
In 2017, the team traded back with the Atlanta Falcons, who selected Takkarist McKinnley (6.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles). They then traded back again, this time with the San Francisco 49’ers, who selected Reuben Foster (59 tackles). Again, they traded back, and the Jaguars used the pick to select Cam Robinson. Two players were netted in those trades: Malik McDowell, whose career was ended after a freak ATV accident, and Mike Tyson (no relation), who is currently sitting third on the depth chart at Free Safety.
In 2015, the team used their first round pick to trade for Jimmy Graham, who is no longer with the team. The trade also netted the team a fourth rounder, which they used to select Tyler Lockett.
In 2014, the Minnesota Vikings traded with Seattle to jump back in to the first round in order to grab Teddy Bridgewater. They continued to swap picks, and ended up with Paul Richardson, who is now in Washington, Kevin Norwood, Garrett Scott, and Kiero Small, all of whom are currently free agents.
In 2013, the team sent their pick to - you guessed it - the Minnesota Vikings, who selected some guy named Xavier Rhodes. They received Percy Harvin in return, and... well...
In 2012, they traded back with Philadelphia, who took Fletcher Cox. Seattle used the pick they received on Bruce Irvin, who is now in Oakland.
In 2011, they selected offensive lineman James Carpenter, who is now with the New York Jets.
In 2010, they selected Russel Okung, who made the Pro-Bowl last year with the
San Diego Los Angeles Chargers.
So, to recap, over the last nine drafts, the players selected with first round picks or picks received in trade who are still on the team are:
Rashaad Penny, Mike Tyson, Germain Ifedi, and Tyler Lockett. There’s a slight chance that only Penny and Lockett will be with the team on opening weekend.
And the players who were selected with picks the team traded away are:
Tak McKinley, Reuben Foster, Cam Robinson, Xavier Rhodes, Teddy Bridgewater, Fletcher Cox.
Ridiculous Quote of the Week
This week, the nominees were so strong that I couldn’t pick just one, so I give you two.
Ok, I understand, it’s the preseason, and every fan base is a little geeked up. But... dominance?
And finally, one from the ol’ gum chewer himself, Pete Carroll. This one really hasn’t aged well. At all.
Anyone as excited as me about @macklemore's new album?? Extraordinary work!— Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) March 1, 2016