When the Seahawks kick off against the Dallas Cowboys at 7 p.m. PT on Thursday night at Seattle's CenturyLink Field, they could have a chance at seeing players like running back C.J. Prosise, offensive lineman J'Marcus Webb, and strong safety Kam Chancellor for the first time this preseason. That was the word from offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Kris Richard following Tuesday's practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, when Prosise (hamstring), Webb (knee), and Chancellor (groin) - three players who have been battling injuries throughout training camp - all saw action on the practice field.
But perhaps more importantly, the Seahawks' third preseason game should represent just about the closest thing to a regular season contest. Traditionally, starters from both teams on both sides of the football have worked into the third quarter.
"This is an important part of the evaluation coming up here, third preseason game," said Bevell. "We'll probably play our starters, for sure they'll come out at half, they'll work into the third quarter, we'll see how far that goes."
Offensively, the Seahawks' first unit has had success running the football this preseason behind an "offensive line that looks good" coupled with consistent efforts from veteran Christine Michael, who has racked up 99 yards on 17 carries (5.8-yard average) as Thomas Rawls continues to work back to full health.
"It's been the nice part of what we've done on offense," Bevell said. "To be able to see us run the ball the way that we want to, and the offensive line looks good, the running backs look good. We're handling all the situations very well and putting up some yardage. That's where we are, that's who we are, that's where we want to start and I like where we are with that."
Despite moving the football well on the ground, the Seahawks' first-team offense has yet to put any points on the board. Quarterback Russell Wilson's one series against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first preseason game was cut short by an end-zone interception from cornerback Marcus Peters. Then, last week against the Minnesota Vikings, Wilson and the first-string offense were held scoreless through one half of play, when Wilson was sacked four times. Since then, Bevell said the offense has been "able to make the corrections" and "move ahead," with hopes that his offense's production will result in points on Thursday night.
"Offensively, we need to make sure that we're putting points on the board," Bevell said. "We've had some very nice drives and moved the ball, but we're not scoring points, so we have to do a better job of handling that, making sure we finish some of those drives."
On the defensive side of the football, Richard said containing explosive plays is an area the Seahawks will look to clean up before their Week 1 matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
"We've been progressing," Richard said of Seattle's first-string defense. "The explosive plays that are uncharacteristic, it's good that they're happening now so we can go ahead and continue to sharpen up on the things that we know we can do really well, and obviously fix the things that we know we need to improve on. But it's good to try to put our guys in every situation possible in order for us to be able to fix our issues."
Regardless of how many snaps Seahawks starters get, Thursday's game serves as a good litmus test for the 2016 opener, as the level of intensity on the field against the Cowboys is sure to have "more of a feel of a regular season type game," Bevell said.
"Yeah, because the starters are out there longer, so your first team on both sides of the ball, and usually your opponent are going that far into the game," he said. "So it's got more of a feel of a regular season type game, which will be a good measuring stick for us."
Photos from Tuesday's practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center before the Seahawks play the Dallas Cowboys in the third preseason game of 2016.