The Seahawks wrapped up preseason play with a 27-0 win over the Chargers that head coach Pete Carroll described as "just a nice, solid football game for us."
The Seahawks started the game with a defensive touchdown set up by a Cody Barton sack and finished by Marquise Blair, setting the tone for a shutout; they were by far the best they've been on offense in three preseason games, led by a strong outing from quarterback Geno Smith and running back Alex Collins; and punter Michael Dickson punctuated the win with one of the most ridiculous, physics-defying punts you'll ever see.
And considering it was a preseason game and that the Seahawks had two players, Ben Burr-Kirven and John Ursua, land on injured reserve with knee injuries after last week's game, the best news of the day might have been the fact that the team came out of the game healthy.
"We should be getting stronger," Carroll said. "We made it out without anybody getting banged up tonight, which is hugely important and I'm so grateful for that for everybody, so we'll move ahead here with a pretty full group coming back."
The Seahawks again rested many of their top players, meaning a lot of their best players on both sides of the ball didn't play at all this preseason, a departure from past preseasons. That decision isn't just about keeping top players out of harm's way, but also about giving players competing for jobs the best opportunity to show what they can do.
"That was the way we basically approached it for the whole preseason to make sure that we maximize the opportunity to see the other guys, and not just see them, but knowing that so many of these guys are going to be on our team, we wanted to take them as far as we could and get them as ready to back up and support the effort throughout," Carroll said.
As for players who were held out for health reasons, here are a few of the updates from Carroll:
- Cornerback Tre Brown has what Carroll called "a mild sprain" in his knee. "Nothing that warrants any work or any of that kind of stuff, just a mild sprain. He feels good already. We might have been able to play him if we had to, but we didn't. Right now, all of those decisions we would make to the conservative right now and not push any of those guys knowing we have two weeks to get ready. He'll be ready to go."
- Defensive Robert Nkemdiche recently returned to practice after missing time with a groin injury but sustained a new injury last week in practice: "He had a groin thing, then in pass rush two days ago, he tweaked something a little bit different," Carroll said. "It showed up on an MRI, it was slight, but what he felt was enough to keep him out of the game. Unfortunately he didn't a chance to play, we really didn't get to see much of him… Should be a week or so, it isn't a major injury at all, but what he felt showed up, so we just have to take care of him."
- Running back DeeJay Dallas was a standout in the first two preseason games, but was held out for a minor injury: "He had a little something that was just nagging him a little bit," Carroll said. "He was just dying to play tonight, I told him three different times, 'No, you don't get to play.' He was dying to get out there. But he's had a pretty good camp now. He made a very clear statement that he belongs."
- Center Ethan Pocic (hamstring) and tackle Cedric Obguehi (biceps) were both expected to compete for starting jobs heading into camp, but have not been able to do so while missing significant time with injuries. Both returned to practice last week but neither played Saturday as a precaution: "Both guys practiced this week, we just thought it would be better if we didn't expose them, so that now we have them to compete for the opener," Carroll said. "It's unfortunate for both those guys, because both those guys were in really markedly obvious head-to-head competitions and I really kind of had fun with giving those guys a chance to battle, and neither one of them had the chance to really make their statement on the field. They're different—Ethan's played a lot of football for us, and we know how he plays; Cedric didn't get as much of an opportunity, but still, I can't tell you what's going on with that right now, I don't have to. But I feel bad for those guys, because it was really going to be cool to watch it happen and watch it unfold. Kyle (Fuller) did a nice job, and (Brandon) Shell did a really good job, again, throughout all of the work that he's done. We're in good shape right now, depth-wise, with those guys still ready to battle. And I'm not saying that anything's over, we'll see what happens."
- Second-year tight end Colby Parkinson remains out with a foot injury, but Carroll isn't ruling out a return by the start of the regular season: "He's trying. He's making a bid for it. He's on-ground running this week for the first time. He's been on all the equipment, the AlterG (anti-gravity treadmill) and all that kind of stuff, making really good progress. He's been really hopeful about it. So we're going to keep our fingers crossed that he has a chance to get back and compete to be on the team."
Also among those not playing Saturday was safety Quandre Diggs, who sat out practice last week to, in Carroll's words, make a statement, similar to what Jamal Adams was doing prior to getting a contract extension and to was left tackle Duane Brown has done throughout camp.
Asked if he anticipates Diggs returning to practice this week, Carroll said, "We'll see. We'll talk about it. We've had great conversations, and it's important that we were able to really address where he is and where he's coming from, and I had a chance to hear him out and all that. I think the world of this guy. He's an amazing competitor, tough as hell, in every way, and really I can't imagine not playing with him."