Three Seahawks preseason takeaways as NFL Week 1 draws near

Geno Smith wins the quarterback job, two rookie cornerbacks leave their mark and other observations as the Seahawks pre-season schedule comes to an end.

SEATTLES — Editor’s Note: This story is part of KING 5 Seahawks Season Preview Series.

The Seahawks ended their trio of preseason games Friday night in Dallas with a 28-27 loss to the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Although the Seahawks didn’t win a single one of their exhibition games in August, preseason successes or failures typically provide little indication of what a team will be capable of once the regular season begins.

For example, the Los Angeles Rams, who won the Super Bowl in February, also led 3-0 in the preseason before their title run. Their opponent in that Super Bowl, the Cincinnati Bengals, went just 1-2 in their exhibition board.

So what did we learn from the three preseason games in Seattle? Here are some takeaways as the Week 1 countdown begins and a matchup featuring former Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos on national TV.

Geno Smith wins QB job…for now

After starting training camp on the depth chart, Smith will actually be below center in Week 1 at Lumen Field. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll officially declared Smith a starter after Friday night’s game in Dallas.

“He’ll open the opener,” Carroll said after the game (h/t The Athletic). “He deserved it, he won the job.”

Smith finished the preseason with 256 passing yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions on 39 passes. Smith also added a rushing touchdown and finished with an impressive Pro Football Focus (PFF) overall score of 90.4.

Lock attempted the same number of passes as Smith, throwing three touchdown passes but also three interceptions, all of which came against the Cowboys in the preseason finale. Lock’s last preseason PFF score was just 70.5.

Lock missed the Seahawks’ second preseason game due to a positive COVID-19 test and played the majority of Friday night’s game, but ultimately didn’t do enough to outlast veteran Smith for the starting job. Carroll Long has put a lot of emphasis on not flipping the ball and Smith’s consistency made him the clear pick for preseason.

“It’s a huge statement to care about football,” said Carroll. “We’ve been one of the best teams in the NFL over the last few years by caring about and owning football. It’s really hard to get us away with fumbling and stuff like that; Our boys are fantastic at it. This goes hand in hand with the decision-making, the appreciation of this football. It’s so hard to win when you flip it. We have long lived with a great conscience. We continue.”

Carroll acknowledged that Lock just didn’t have time to win the job, and if Smith struggles out of goal or starts turning the ball around regularly, don’t be surprised if the team changes mid-season. Lock offers more potential to the position but also brings with it a lot more volatility than Smith.

Rookie cornerbacks offer promise

The Seahawks used two of their nine draft picks for cornerbacks earlier this year, snapping University of Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant in the fourth round and University of Texas-San Antonio defenseman Tariq Woolen in the fifth round.

Both saw a lot of playing time throughout the training camp and the three pre-season games and seemed to be showing potential.

Bryant has spent a lot of time at the nickel cornerback position, and that’s where he’ll likely have his biggest impact of his rookie season. Bryant finished his first NFL preseason with a 56.7 PFF score and a reporting just 51.1. Bryant’s run stopping ability was much better, earning a score of 75.5. NFL Network’s Jason McCourty also named Bryant as one of his 5″Rookie defenders making a splash in preseason“ List on Friday.

Woolen, whose height at 6-foot-4 and notable vertical leaps and speed have made him one of the most athletic players on the draft, has been praised by many who have watched training camp drills at Virginia Mason Athletic Center as well as the team’s three preseason games .

Former Seahawks KJ Wright believes Woolen should not only make the 53-man Week 1 roster, but believes the rookie is talented enough to start against the Broncos.

“I expect he starts Week 1 in the corner. He looks very, very good. So he’s been my favorite since Day 1,” Wright told Stacy Jo Rost and Michael Bumpus Thursday at Seattle Sports 710 AM.

Neither was perfect, but both should likely make an impact on the Seahawks’ defense early in the 2022 season.

The future looks bright for tackle spots

Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas have both made waves in their first NFL training camps, and both could become first-week starters for the Seahawks.

Cross comes as a foregone conclusion after being picked 9th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. He was the left starting player throughout training camp and the organization hopes he holds that position for many years to come. Cross’s PFF grade was 62.0 for the preseason, with a 72.2 pass blocking grade and a 66.7 run blocking grade. Cross had 5 penalties in pre-season which will need to be cleaned up if the offense hopes to keep the rides up effectively.

Locked On Seahawks host Corbin Smith logs 163 combined pass-blocking reps for Cross and Lucas, and they only allowed six QB pressures and no sacks between them.

Lucas fought his way into the conversation to start with the right tackle after being the draft pick in the third round. The Washington State product started the preseason finale in proper tackles, with Jake Curhan playing right guard, suggesting Lucas will likely be at this point once Week 1 rolls around.

Lucas had a 74.3 PFF score, a 73.8 pass block score, and a 70.4 run block score in the preseason.

Having a veteran quarterback will help when two rookies start at the tackle spots, but both Cross and Lucas could be the future of these critical offensive line positions if they continue their development. Three Seahawks preseason takeaways as NFL Week 1 draws near

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