The Seahawks continued a short week of preparation ahead of Thursday night's preseason game against the Bears, making Tuesday's practice a "Turnover Thursday." Fittingly, one of the highlights of the day was an interception by Tariq Woolen in which the rookie corner covered a lot of ground to snag a pass over the middle of the field. That and more observations from the Seahawks' penultimate practice ahead of their game against the Bears:
1. Drew Lock worked with the ones, and Geno Smith shined with the twos.
Geno Smith has gotten the majority of the work with the No. 1 offense so far in camp and in the preseason opener, but on Tuesday it was Lock running the starting offense. The plan, Pete Carroll said, was for Lock to start Thursday's game against the Bears, but unfortunately Lock tested positive for COVID-19 and will have to miss the game.
Smith, meanwhile, didn't let a change slow him down, and in fact had one of his better practices, a performance that included arguably the best throw of camp so far. When the team went into red-zone drills, Smith threw three touchdown passes in quick order, then later he capped his day by making a spectacular thrown on the run, rolling right before firing deep down the sideline to hit Penny Hart in stride for a long touchdown.
2. Tariq Woolen bounced back with a great practice.
Saturday's preseason opener saw the Seahawks start a pair of rookies at cornerback, and while Tariq Woolen and Coby Bryant did plenty of things well in that game, their night started off with a couple of tough moments. First, Woolen found himself out of place in the red zone, leading to a wide-open touchdown for the Steelers, then later in the first quarter, fellow rookie George Pickens caught a long touchdown on Bryant, who to be fair was in good position before Pickens created a little separation with a late and subtle push off.
Those two moments by no means will define a pair of cornerbacks who have been great in training camp, and that was readily evident on Tuesday, particularly in the play of Woolen, who provided two of the day's defensive highlights, breaking up a pass to DK Metcalf in the end zone, and later making a great play over the middle for an interception.
"He came out of nowhere," Carroll said. "I really can't wait to see that (on film). He's the backside corner that made the play on the frontside curl on that play. He knocked a ball down last week on a corner route for another receiver, the one on the sidelines he made (that was) similar. I've not seen a corner make that play before. That's back-to-back plays in back-to-back weeks. Pretty special."
3. New WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside brings unique attributes.
Given that it was his first day with a new team, receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who was acquired in a trade Monday, didn't get a ton of work in Tuesday's practice. But it only takes a glimpse of the 6-foot-2, 237-pound receiver to know why the Seahawks were intrigued by the former second-round pick.
"This is a guy we really liked coming out (in the draft)" Carroll said. "He's an aggressive catcher, contested catch guy was really what we liked about him. He's so strong and physical and all that. He made a lot of big plays, was a real go-to guy in the program at Stanford. And he's unique. He's a big strong kid. He was 225 (pounds) coming out, he's like 230 right now. He was playing some tight end even for them, which we like all of that just that diversity. I'm always looking for unique guys, and this guy brings something possibly unique… Knowing who he is, he's got terrific hands, he's got a great catching range and he's a physical kid."
4. Welcome back, Rashaad Penny.
Rashaad Penny missed last Thursday's practice with a minor groin injury and was held out of the preseason opener—it's not clear that he would have played in that game even if 100 percent healthy—but Seattle's top running back returned to action Tuesday and showed that he's is just fine, exploding for a long run on one of his first touches of practice.
5. Injury updates.
In addition to Penny returning, the Seahawks also saw several other players back in action after missing time last week, including linebacker Jordyn Brooks, cornerback Sidney Jones IV and receiver Freddie Swain.
Among those not practicing Thursday after playing Saturday were rookie running back Kenneth Walker III and tackle Jake Curhan, while receivers Dee Eskridge and Marquise Goodwin also remained out.
Carroll said Curhan was sidelined by back spasms, while Walker has "a little hernia thing that he's working on, and we've got to get through that. It's something we can attend to and all that, we've just got to make sure that he's OK by the opener. That's what we're shooting for."
A return for the opener is also the goal for Goodwin, who injured his hamstring last week.
"He's doing well, feeling good about it," Carroll said. "We're looking for the opener to see if we can get him ready for then."
Carroll said Eskridge won't play in Thursday's game, but said the second-year receiver is "really close. He's doing more every day. He really was out there in practice some today. He took some walkthrough reps. He had an MRI that really supported that he's almost back. I need to see him run full speed and the trainers not worry about it. He's not quite there yet."
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seattle Seahawks' Preseason Week 1 32-25 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 13, 2022 at Acrisure Stadium. Eye On The Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.