6 takeaways from a shutout win vs. Chargers

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The Seattle Seahawks looked languid during their first two preseason games of the year, both embarrassing losses. They set an entirely different tone against the Los Angeles Chargers though, showing a lot more energy all around in what became a dominant 27-0 victory.

Here are a few takeaways from tonight’s game.

A new normal for the preseason

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Fans who were hoping to get a glimpse of Russell Wilson and the starting offense were left disappointed. For the third straight game, coach Pete Carroll sat his most-important players rather than risk injury. Here’s what the starting lineup looked like on offense: LT Jamarco Jones LG Damien Lewis C Kyle Fuller RG Phil Haynes RT Jake Curhan QB Geno Smith RB Rashaad Penny TE Will Dissly TE Gerald Everett WR Dee Eskridge WR Freddie Swain And here was Seattle’s first-team defense: CB Damarious Randall SS Marquise Blair FS Ugo Amadi CB Tre Flowers WLB Cody Barton MLB Nick Bellore SLB Darrell Taylor DE Rasheem Green DT Myles Adams DT Bryan Mone DE L.J. Collier 12s should get comfortable with this kind of look during the preseason. In his pregame radio show appearance, general manager John Schneider said the team is going through a revolution in regards to how they approach these games. He did leave the door open for joint practices next year, though.

Linebacker depth should be no concern

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With the starters resting, it gave Seattle’s coaches and front office another opportunity to evaluate the rest of their roster. One element that jumped out right away was their depth at linebacker. Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks will be the starting inside linebackers during the season. Tonight, it was Cody Barton and converted fullback Nick Bellore, who both thrived during their time on the field – combining for 11 tackles. Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson also flashed several times from the outside positions, totaling seven tackles and 2.5 sacks. As it turns out, there is some real quality depth here even without K.J. Wright.

Duane Brown‘s negotiating position gets stronger

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The Seahawks might have had more leverage over left tackle Duane Brown in his contract dispute if they’d taken an OT sooner in the draft. As is, the depth at this spot is concerning to say the least. In the first preseason game of the year sixth-rounder Stone Forsythe struggled, contributing to a concussion for backup QB Geno Smith on a missed assignment. Tonight it was Jamarco Jones’ turn to flop. Here’s a look at Jones implementing the classic do-nothing method of pass protection. https://twitter.com/johndavidfraley/status/1431805353709096967 Geno Smith continued to see a lot of pressure throughout the first half thanks to Jones’ issues. The Seahawks might prefer to address Brown’s contract next year, but his case to get a sweetener or some kind of bonus before the 2021 season starts got that much stronger tonight.

Dee Eskridge looks like a legit weapon

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Finally we got to see Seattle’s first draft pick in action. Wide receiver Dee Eskridge made his NFL debut tonight and did not disappoint. His first touch came on a jet sweep action, which resulted in a nine-yard gain. A few plays later he made a 19-yard catch. https://twitter.com/hawkschronicle/status/1431808896474050560 https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1431809583127744515 It’s admittedly a small sample size, but his speed and sticky hands are evident here. The WR3 job should be his to lose.

Alex Collins came to play

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Not every position is as solid, but Seattle definitely has plenty of depth at running back. The first two preseason games featured backup DeeJay Dallas as a surprise standout, both on offense and special teams. This week, it was Alex Collins who took the starring role, showing plenty of burst and a willingness to run through contact against LA’s defense. Collins finished the evening with a team-high 89 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Rashaad Penny also had a decent night, but it may be too late for him to salvage any significant role on this team.

Geno Smith’s backup job is safe

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After Alex McGough took himself out of the running by bombing against the Broncos and subsequently getting cut, it’s down to just Sean Mannion and Geno Smith in the backup quarerback competition. Based on what we saw against the Chargers, there’s no reason to believe Smith’s QB2 position is at risk. He still looks like Seattle’s second-best quarterback, showcasing plus mobility and enough pocket presence to get by. He went 11/15 for 90 yards and somehow avoided getting sacked. Mannion wasn’t bad by any means, but he had to show a lot more to win the job. Pencil in Smith as Wilson’s backup for another year. [vertical-gallery id=74005]

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