The third game of preseason play is traditionally the week that sees each NFL team's No. 1 offense and defense on the field for an extended period of time. Starters typically play into the game's third quarter before giving way to backups fighting for roster spots, as teams will be forced to trim their current 90-man rosters to 75 players by next Tuesday, Sept. 1.
The Seahawks squared off against the Chicago Bears in the preseason's third week last year, taking a 34-6 win at Seattle's CenturyLink Field. Quarterback Russell Wilson commanded the first-team offense into the second half, playing out the club's first drive before backup Tarvaris Jackson took over. Even Marshawn Lynch, who hasn't seen a single snap through the team's first two exhibitions this year, had three carries for 16 yards against the Bears last August, a performance that included a 7-yard touchdown run in the game's first quarter.
Most of the Seahawks' starters played through the first half in last week's 14-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and they could see more action than that during this Saturday's game against the Chargers in San Diego. Does that thought change how Seattle will approach this weekend's matchup? Last year's leading receiver Doug Baldwin was asked that very question earlier this week.
"Not much different than the other preseason games," Baldwin admitted. "The focus is more so the mental aspect for myself and my fellow receivers. We have to prepare mentally. Regardless of how many reps we get, it doesn't matter. We have to prepare for this game like we've prepared the previous two preseason games and just be ready when the bell is called.
"For us in any game, we don't know how many targets we're going to get, we don't know how many catches we're going to have," Baldwin added. "We just have to stand the whole course of the game, so that's what we're focused on."
Saturday's game against the Chargers will be the first action of the season for a couple of Seattle's more prominent players. Veteran cornerback Will Blackmon, acquired in free agency this offseason, is expected to see the field after missing the first two preseason games with a groin injury. All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, who sat out the first two weeks of play with a sore hip, should be back, too.
"Somewhat anxious, but I treat practice like the game, so it's no different," Sherman said of his mentality toward this week's game against the Chargers. "Obviously, in preseason it's a glorified practice, so you're just practicing against another team, getting your footwork under you, getting your reads, getting the speed of the game back."
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Blackmon and Sherman could have played last week, but the team chose to err on the side of caution. With the pair expected to return, they'll be looking to lead a position group that was minus seven players at Kansas City.
"I'm excited to get back out there with my guys and just get our rhythm back," Sherman said.
"Turnover Thursday" was the motto for Wednesdays practice of preseason week 3 in preparation for the San Diego Chargers.