OAKLAND — The NFL preseason is now complete, which means the real games are about to begin.
The Seattle Seahawks capped the 2017 preseason with a 17-13 victory on the road against the Oakland Raiders and finished with a 4-0 record in the four-game stretch for the first time since 2013, the season they were crowned Super Bowl champions.
Although it was the final game, a contest that featured a plethora of key Seahawks players resting and preparing for Week 1, the game itself was a good opportunity for young players looking to make a name for themselves. Despite describing Thursday night's game as a challenge, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll feels pretty good about where his team as a whole is headed into the regular season.
"I like where we are," Carroll said. "We've made a lot of progress, we're pretty strong going in (to the regular season), pretty healthy. We've been real clear about what we're trying to get done and guys have really responded in practices and all of the work that we've done. The guys have been right on it; we've had no backwards steps at all. I like our team, (they're) smart, they know what we're trying to get done. The leadership is very much in-tune with how this is supposed to go and they've been strong and they've been affecting the young guys."
Carroll said postgame that the team felt the guys who didn't play tonight had enough reps through the first three games. Those young guys such as rookies Amara Darboh and Cyril Grayson made their first receptions, second-year wideout Kenny Lawler recorded 49 yards and the go-ahead touchdown catch, and free agent signings like Marcus Smith and David Bass made big plays defensively, too.
"A bunch of guys had great opportunities to show where they fit and what they can do in the league," Carroll said. "And hopefully guys who can't make our team will have made a statement for themselves so that they will be able to hang on and play somewhere else if not here."
The Seahawks will conduct roster cutdowns this weekend and have until 1 p.m. Seattle time on Saturday to trim their roster to 53 players. They will also begin building their 10-man practice squad the following day. Carroll and general manager John Schneider have tough choices to make considering the depth the Seahawks displayed this preseason and where they feel their roster is at the moment.
"Each one of these guys, we have an enormous investment in them and they in us," Carroll said. "There's been connections made for the most part that are really serious and we care for these guys. It's a big deal for us and we're going to do it very carefully — it's an enormous deal for these young guys, too — we'll take care of as many as we can and hope the other guys get a chance to go other places and hook-up with somebody else."
The Seahawks, like every team, have questions to answer as they prepare for Green Bay — which offensive line group they'll go with, the strongside linebacker spot, etc. — but an encouraging performance this preseason gives them confidence as they continue to prepare for the future and get ready to make another Super Bowl run.
"There's a lot of real positive things and we're ready to take on the season," Carroll said. "We're ready. It happens to be an extraordinary opener going to Green Bay and all that, we'll see how that goes. We're ready for this."
Game action photos from the Seahawks' 17-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Week 4 of the 2017 preseason.