Aaron Fentress

Oregon agrees to home-and-home matchups with Michigan State, Boise State

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Oregon agrees to home-and-home matchups with Michigan State, Boise State

Oregon has agreed to a home-and-home series with Michigan State renewing one of the better non-conference football series in Ducks history. 

Oregon will play at MSU on Sept. 8, 2029 and host the Spartans on Sept. 7, 2030. 

Oregon this summer also agreed to a home-and-home with Boise State. That series will run for three years with Oregon hosting the Broncos on Sept. 14, 2024, and Sept. 5, 2026. UO will play at Boise State on Sept 13, 2025.

Oregon recently faced MSU in 2014 and 2015. The Ducks, led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, defeated Michigan State 46-27 in 2014 to get a key victory on their way to the national title game. 

The following season, Oregon lost 31-28 at MSU.

Boise State is 3-0 against the Ducks including a 38-28 win in last year's Las Vegas Bowl. Boise State won the first meeting in 2008 by the score of 37-32 at Autzen Stadium. The following season, the Broncos won 19-8 in Boise. 

Here is a list of Oregon's upcoming non-conference opponents:

2019: vs. Auburn (Arlington, Texas), Nevada, Montana 
2020: North Dakota State, Ohio State, Hawaii 
2021: Fresno State, at Ohio State, Stony Brook
2022: Eastern Washington, BYU
2023: Portland State, at Texas Tech, Hawaii 
2024: Texas Tech, Boise State, at Hawaii 
2025: at Boise State 
2026: Boise State 
2027: at Baylor 
2028: Baylor
2029: at Michigan State
2030: Michigan State

Seahawks' twins, Shaquem and Shaquill Griffin shine together

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Seahawks' twins, Shaquem and Shaquill Griffin shine together

Seattle rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin, born without a left hand, admitted to being nervous when he entered the Seahawks' first preseason game Thursday night against Indianapolis at CenturyLink Field. 

That condition lasted up until the fifth-round pick out of Central Florida experienced contact. 

"I didn’t know how it was going to be so it was just me trying to get that first hit out of the way and once I got that first tackle, I was like, ‘you know what, I was supposed to be here and I kind of just let loose from there," Griffin told reporters Saturday following the team's first practice since the game.  

Griffin, a backup inside linebacker, ended the night with nine tackles, six solo and one for a loss. His performance became news because he played with his twin brother, cornerback Shaquill Griffin, and did so while playing with a disadvantage unique to the NFL. But not having a left hand didn't appear to be a factor for Shaquem against the Colts.

Shaquem's Griffin's speed and instincts made the game look easy for him. They were allowed to flourish, in part, he said because Seattle coach Pete Carroll told him to not worry about making mistakes. 

"He said he wanted to see guys run hard and hit, and that’s what I wanted to do so that’s what I did when it came down," he said.

Still, mistakes were made that Griffin wants to clean up.

“Just being able to have a better understanding of what’s going on before it happens," Griffin said. "I think I can do better when it comes to watching film and how I watch it. It’s definitely different now from college. I can be able to watch film all day and you’ll get so many different looks. If you watch film in a particular way now, you’ll be able to see certain keys that allow you to see the play before it happens."

Carroll said game video showed that once he settled in, the inside linebacker's play began to flourish. 

“It took him a little bit to get his feel, and he would tell you that too," Carroll said. "He struggled slow. He was really hyped up and kind of amped and wasn’t moving well. Then, he slowed things down, backed up a little bit in his alignments and just really started hitting the line of scrimmage. You see the speed that he has and his nature to be aggressive and run through to be an attacking player really showed up for his first time out. And, he’s got a million things to learn, so he’s just getting started. But, the fundamental part of it (where you) run and hit showed. It was exciting and I was really glad that he contributed on special teams in such a big way.”

Shaquill Griffin started at left cornerback so he didn't see much action. Still, the pair relished the opportunity to share an NFL field. 

"You feel that same energy, you feel comfortable and having him around and having guys that are willing to help me so much, it just makes me feel so much (more) comfortable when I’m out there," Shaquem said. 

Shaquill called it an experience of a lifetime. 

"We’re glad it happened," Shaquill told the media. "We’re glad the organization made it happen, and just to see him run around, I didn’t play as much that game. You get in, you get out, but to see him out there running around making plays and having fun doing it with his teammates, it was a great moment. I enjoyed it. I know he did too. It felt good.”

"You continue to work your technique and craft and as long as you play fast, you’re going to play good and that’s what he did," Shaquill said. "Everybody is going to make mistakes but as long as you’re playing fast and doing that, you’re going to be totally fine. He definitely played fast. He definitely did that.”

The twins live together along with their two dogs. Shaquem's dog, according to Shaquill, still needs to be potty-trained. 

"I just keep him in his room," Shaquill said. "I let him deal with all that stuff, because I actually have a dog also. We got a yorkie (Melo) and then we got a blue French bulldog (Tank). When them two run around, it’s crazy and they fight 24/7. His dog acts just like a little brother because my dog is older than his and he acts just like a little brother. I could see why they argue so much but so far, he’s not doing too bad but he needs to get him potty-trained quickly."

Pete Carroll found Seattle's first preseason game, "valuable."

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Pete Carroll found Seattle's first preseason game, "valuable."

Seattle coach Pete Carroll called the team's 19-17 loss to Indianapolis in the Seahawks' first preseason game of the season, "valuable," and generally appeared to be pleased with Thursday's outing while talking to reporters on Saturday following practice in Renton, Wash. 

Carroll spoke positively regarding the play of rookies, linebacker Shaquem Griffin, running back Rashaad Penny, tight end Will Dissly, defensive end Rasheem Green and cornerback Tre Flowers and praised the team's overall effort. 

But the most important positive element from Thursday night had to be the play of the starting offensive line. 

"The first group did a real nice job on offense," Carroll told reporters. "We got to see our guys come off of the ball a little bit and protect the quarterback."

Preseason game performances should never be overblown, but those should be sweet words for Seattle fans after how poorly the offensive line played last season. 

Thursday's starting group of left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Ethan Pocic, center Justin Britt, right guard D.J. Fluker and right tackle Germain Ifedi helped Seattle push its way 75 yards in 12 plays to start the game. The drive ended with a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Russell Wilson to Nick Vannett

The line allowed running back Chris Carson, seeing his first action since fracturing his leg last year against the Colts, to gain 26 yards on four carries.

“They felt strong," Carroll said of the line. "They gave Russ (Wilson) a lot of nice spacing. Pocket was very solid. He moved because he didn’t find the receivers where he needed to find them, open, so he moved to make them open and he did it. It just felt better."

The tight end position helped the offense line function well even without veteran and projected starter Ed Dickson, who remains on the active/non-football injury list and did not play. That meant more opportunities for Vannett and Dissly. Both, according to Carroll, played well. 

'Diss (Will Dissly) did a really nice job," Carroll said. "He did exactly what we hoped he would have looked like in his first time out. He’s going to get better and understand things more and be more aggressive. But, he already showed the big body, and he showed the ability to hold the line of scrimmage. Go to the big play pass that Russ hits to (Tyler) Lockett, he does a great job blocking the defensive end on the other side and just locks him out. That’s a real positive, that’s a real plus for us.”

Better offensive line play. A rookie tight end that looks like a keeper as a quality run blocker. Seattle couldn't have asked for much more in its first outing. 

Key players will play more in the second preseason game, Saturday at San Diego (7 p.m.). 

Denver RB Royce Freeman scores in NFL preseason debut

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Denver RB Royce Freeman scores in NFL preseason debut

Denver rookie running back Royce Freeman rushed for a 38 yards on four carries and scored on a 23-yard run in the second quarter of the Broncos' 42-28 loss Saturday night at home to Minnesota in the preseason opener for both teams. Freeman, listed second on the team's depth chart behind Devontae Booker, also caught one pass for no gain. Booker started the game but received just two carries for seven yards. 

Freeman, selected by Denver in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, received his first three carries out of a single-back set with quarterback Paxton Lynch under center. Freeman's touchdown run, however, came on a zone read play run out of the shotgun formation with four receivers, both familiar scheme elements to Freeman from his days at Oregon. 

Freeman received the handoff from Lynch's right after the quarterback read an outside linebacker keying on him. The quarterback then carried out his fake to further draw the defender allowing Freeman to zoom by him and to the second level of the defense. There he encountered a hard-charging safety that Freeman successfully juked to the right. From there, he was gone, racing down the right side with the help of downfield blocking from receivers. 

Freeman is believed to have a shot at earning the starting job. His performance Saturday was a good start in that direction. 

Seattle LB Shaquem Griffin's nine-tackle night almost cost him a ride home

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Seattle LB Shaquem Griffin's nine-tackle night almost cost him a ride home

SEATTLE - Seattle rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin patiently dressed in front of his locker at CenturyLink Field with his back to a growing contingent of media waiting to speak to the fifth-round pick who made national headlines last April after becoming the first one-handed player selected in the NFL Draft during the modern era.

Griffin appeared to be a bit shocked when he eventually turned around and saw the media waiting for his attention. He shouldn't have been. Griffin's inspiring, nine-tackle (six solo) performance during a 19-17 loss to Indianapolis in Seattle's preseason opener warranted context.

His twin brother and roommate, Seattle cornerback Shaquill Griffin, however, decided to have a little fun with the situation at his brother's expense. While Shaquem answered a question, Shaquill walked and said: "He's got about 15 seconds or he is going to Uber."


The quip drew laughs but didn't shorten the media session as a pleased Shaquem talked about his night. 

"It felt good to kind of get out there and get our feet wet, kind of get some hits in." Shaquem Griffin said. "I know the way the league works, you don't really get a chance to tackle too much (in practice). So to kind of get out there and get a few tackles in and kind of hit people as hard as you can, it kind of felt good."

The inside linebacker is known for his elite speed and having a nose for the football. Those skills were on fully display Thursday night. Griffin made a variety of tackles. He shot gaps, filled holes, ran down backs and receivers along the sideline or in space and closed in on pass catchers to halt the occurrence of any yards after the catch. Griffin put his instincts to work and demonstrated no issues with wrapping up NFL players despite having one hand. 

"I think he was running and hitting just like he's been looking in practice," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "Very encouraged. He's a wonderful kid. He's been really busting his tail to figure out how to play in our scheme and all that...he was very active, just like we were hoping."

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said he enjoyed watching the two brothers play together and their interactions with each other on the sideline. 

"The reality is that he has no hand and to think about that and how good of a football player he is, is really, really cool to see," Wilson said. "He's a testimony and it's a testament to hard work...And he's not just tackling people, he's making plays."

During Shaquem's interview, locker neighbor and veteran inside linebacker Bobby Wagner had a little fun with his protégé by tossing out comments while pretending to hide behind a reporter. 

When Shaquem was asked recount the play that play stood out most to him, Wagner answered as if he were the rookie out of Central Florida: "That one play when I ran through the gap and made the tackle."

Shaquem, unable to keep a straight face, laughed. "Yeah," he said. "That's the play."

The moment occurred in the third quarter when Griffin shot through a gap in the Colt's offensive line and tackled former Seattle running back Christine Michael for a loss of one. 

"When I ran through the gap and made a tackle for a loss I got excited abut that because I've been working on that for awhile now," Shaquem said with a big grin.  

Shaquem receives a lot of attention in part because of all that he has overcome. For him, however, the absence of his left hand and all that he has accomplished is not on his mind.

"I just play football," he said. "Me just being here is amazing and it's a blessing. I give all thanks to God. But I'm just here to play football."

Should he continue playing like he did Thursday night, his disadvantage could soon become a non-story. 

Chicago Bears RB Ryan Nall leads all rushers in preseason game

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Chicago Bears RB Ryan Nall leads all rushers in preseason game

Chicago Bears running back Ryan Nall, out of Oregon State, lead all rushers with 95 yards on nine carries Thursday night during a 30-27 preseason loss at Cincinnati

Nall's long run covered 69 yards in the third quarter. Nall, an undrafted rookie free agent, broke loose along the right sideline and appeared to be gone for a touchdown before he was run down from behind by a Bengals' defensive back and dragged down at the Cincinnati 13-yard line. 

Nall also caught one pass for nine yards. 

Chicago's top three running backs, Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen and Benny Cunningham, did not play. Nall has virtually no chance to crack the top three on Chicago's depth chart, but he could make the team's practice squad should he perform well on special teams. 

Nall carried the ball seven times for 13 yards during a loss to Baltimore last week. 

Seahawks see positive signs in 19-17 preseason loss to Colts

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Seahawks see positive signs in 19-17 preseason loss to Colts

SEATTLE - The new-look, reloading Seattle Seahawks took the field Thursday for the first time this preseason against Indianapolis and at the very least showed signs of being a solid team during a 19-17 defeat.

Then again, Seattle (9-7 last year) also showed signs of once again being mediocre. Welcome to preseason action.

Like with most NFL teams in their first preseason game, Seattle's starters saw little action at CenturyLink Field leaving a lot to the imagination. But the starters, including the offensive line, left a positive impression with what little action they saw.

Quarterback Russell Wilson led Seattle on a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive during the team's first possession. The drive included Wilson completing 4 of 5 passes for 43 yards and rushing for 14 yards. He ended the drive by doing what he does best, escaping pressure to find tight end Nick Vannett in the end zone for a five-yard touchdown to make the score 7-3.

The drive revealed several positive signs beyond the play of the well-established Wilson, who led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes last season. Seattle's offensive line played very well early. Not perfectly. But well, nonetheless. And, running back Chris Carson, who missed 12 games last season with a fractured leg, started and was able to get loose for 26 yards on four carries with a long of 14. Mike Davis, also injured last season, rushed for 25 yards on six carries.

Rookie running back Rashaad Penny, selected in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of San Diego State, carried the ball eight times for 16 yards. He looked fast on a six-yard run, but never really had very much room to run. He also made an error in pass protection, something he has been working on correcting all training camp.

All told, however, one had to be encouraged by the play of the offensive line, which delivered a miserable season in 2017. The starting five of left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Ethan Pocic, center Justin Britt, right guard D.J. Fluker and right tackle Germain Ifedi proved to be more than serviceable. 

"They did great," Carson said. "Without them the running backs wouldn't have gotten any yards, so they did great. All of the attention should go to them."

Fluker, brought in to bring some size and nastiness to the group, said Thursday was a positive start.

"We kind of made a statement," Fluker said. "But we're still growing right now."

Fluker went on to say that it's all about thriving in the moment, including converting a fourth down with one yard to go. 

"It's really just about having an attitude," Fluker said.

On defense, there were several nice moments, even though Colts' quarterback Andrew Luck returned to action for the first time since injuring his throwing shoulder in 2016. Luck looked strong, completing 6 of 9 passes for 64 yards. But he couldn't get the Colts into the end zone on two drives. 

Part of the problem was the play of cornerbacks, Shaquill Griffin and rookie Tre Flowers. Both defended passes on Luck to help Seattle's defense. Rookie defensive end Rasheem Green, taken in the third round out of USC, sacked Luck early in the game and finished with 1 1/2 sacks on the night. 

Then there was linebacker Shaquem Griffin, the celebrated rookie out of Central Florida who lost his left hand at birth. Seattle took the speedy linebacker in the fifth round and he started Thursday night, making four tackles in the blink of an eye and finished with nine total tackles as a backup, with one for loss.

"It felt good to go out there and get my feet wet," Griffin said. But he added that he missed some assignments and holds himself to a higher standard. 

That's all anyone did tonight. What transpired ultimately means little moving forward. But all in all, it was a positive start for Seattle.  

Notes: Wide receiver Jaron Brown, signed as a free agent from Arizona, started in place of the injured Doug Baldwin (knee) and alongside Tyler Lockett. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall, signed as a free agent from the New York Giants, played but did not have a reception...Safety Tedric Thompson started at safety alongside Bradley McDougald in place of holdout Earl Thomas.  

Marcus Mariota tosses TD pass in Titans' preseason opener

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Marcus Mariota tosses TD pass in Titans' preseason opener

Former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, who had a down statistical season last year, got off to a strong start in Tennessee's first preseason game Thursday night at Green Bay.

Mariota completed 2 of 3 passes for 41 yards and a four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darius Jennings and then promptly called it a night. Green Bay won, 31-17. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not play. 

The Titans' scoring drive covered 71 yards in nine plays. Mariota got sacked early in the drive before completing a 38-yard pass to wide receiver Nick Williams to the Green Bay 30. Two plays later, Mariota scrambled for seven yards to the Packers' 15.

Mariota threw a career low 13 touchdown passes last season with a career high 15 interceptions. 


Former Oregon RB Royce Freeman to make Denver debut Saturday

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Former Oregon RB Royce Freeman to make Denver debut Saturday

The NFL preseason schedule kicks into high gear tonight with 12 games. 

However, the biggest rookie to exit Oregon this year, Denver running back Royce Freeman, won't get his feet wet in NFL action until Saturday night when the Broncos host Minnesota at 6 p.m. live on NFL Network. 

Freeman, a third-round pick, is listed as the No. 2 running back on Denver's depth chart behind Devontae Booker, who has rushed for 911 yards in two NFL seasons. 

But all is not lost for Freeman in the competition for Denver's starting running back position. Former Denver running back, and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Terrell Davis appeared on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" show this week and said that he has heard nothing but good things about Freeman from inside training camp. 

“I’ve talked to people in Denver,” Davis said.  "And they’re just thrilled by what they see in camp and what they saw in minicamp from Royce Freeman. They think he’s going to be the starting running back.”

We shall see. The first audition goes down on Saturday. 

Here is a list of all the players with connections to the state of Oregon on NFL rosters (let us know if we've missed anyone). We will post updates on their performances over the weekend and throughout the season:




  • Sean Harlow, Oregon State, guard: The 2017 fourth-round pick enters his second season. Spent all of last season inactive. 
  • Andy Levitre, Oregon State, guard: Entering his 10th season. 
  • Rocky Ortiz, Oregon State, running back: Spent last season on Baltimore's practice squad. Signed with Atlanta on May 18. 


  • Randin Crecelius, Portland State, guard: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Patrick Onwuasor, Portland State, linebacker: Entering his third season. Appeared in 16 games last season and finished with 90 total tackles. 


  • Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, safety: Entering his sixth season. Intercepted five passes in 2017. 


  • Kenjon Barner, Oregon, running back:  Returns to Carolina, where he spent his rookie season, after winning Super Bowl with Philadelphia in his fifth season. 
  • Evan Bayless, Oregon, tight end: Spent last season with Baltimore where he appeared in one game. 
  • David Mayo, Texas State (Scappoose H.S.), linebacker: Entering his fourth season. Had 19 tackles last season. 


  • Hroniss Grasu, Oregon, center: Entering his fourth season. 
  • Kyle Long, Oregon, guard: Entering his sixth season. A three-time Pro Bowl player. 
  • Ryan Nall, Oregon State (Central Catholic H.S., Portland), running back: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. 


  • Jake Fisher, Oregon, offensive tackle: Entering his fourth season. Has started 11 career games. 


  • Terrance Mitchell, Oregon, defensive back: Intercepted four passes last season for Kansas City. 
  • Fred Lauina, Oregon State, offensive line: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in May. 


  • Tyree Robinson, Oregon, safety: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent. 


  • Royce Freeman, Oregon, running back: Denver selected Oregon's all-time leading rusher in the third round last spring. 
  • Kyle Peko, Oregon State, nose tackle: Entering second season. Appeared in six games last season. 


  • Jace Billingsley, Eastern Oregon, wide receiver: Appeared in two games last season. 
  • LeGarrette Blount, Oregon, running back: Rushed for 766 yards last season for the Super Bowl champion Eagles. 
  • Tyrell Crosby, Oregon, offensive tackle: Selected in the fifth round last spring. 
  • DeShawn Shead, Portland State, defensive back: Shead missed most of last season with Seattle with a knee injury suffered the year before. 




  • Treston Decoud, Oregon State, cornerback: Entering his second year. Appeared in 10 games last season. 
  • Brennan Scarlett, California and Stanford (Central Catholic H.S., Portland): Entering his third season. Appeared in 18 games over the past two seasons. 





  • Tim Cook, Oregon State, running back: The undrafted rookie free agent in 2017 is entering his second season. 
  • Manase Hungalu, Oregon State, linebacker: Undrafted rookie free agent. 


  • Steven Nelson, Oregon State, defensive back: Entering his fourth season. Nelson has appeared in 36 career games. 
  • Arrion Springs, Oregon, defensive back: Undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon, wide receiver: Entering his fifth season. Has 61 career receptions. 


  • Tyrell Williams, Western Oregon (Cascade H.S., Turner), wide receiver: Entering his fourth season. Has 1,877 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns for his career. 


  • Brandin Cooks, Oregon State, wide receiver: On his third team in five years. Has three seasons of 1,000 receiving yards or more for his career. 
  • Johnny Hekker, Oregon State, punter: The four-time Pro Bowler enters his seventh season. Averaged 47.9 yards per punt last season. 
  • Troy Hill, Oregon, defensive back: Entering his fourth season. Hill has appeared in 24 NFL games. 
  • Sean Mannion, Oregon State, quarterback: Entering his third season. 
  • Johnny Mundt, Oregon, tight end: Undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (Grant H.S.), defensive tackle: The five-time Pro Bowler joined the Rams over the offseason. 


  • Kiko Alonso, Oregon, linebacker: The sixth-year pro had 115 tackles last season. 



  • Josh Andrews, Oregon State, guard: Spent last season on the Eagles' practice squad. 
  • Mike Remmers, Oregon State, offensive tackle: Entering his sixth season in the NFL. 


  • Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech (West Salem H.S.), punter: Entering his sixth season, all with the Patriots. Has a career punting average of 45.3 yards. 
  • Patrick Chung, Oregon, safety: Entering his 10th season, eighth with the Patriots. 
  • Eddie Pleasant, Oregon, safety: Recently signed with New England. Spent six seasons with Houston. 



  • Josh Huff, Oregon, wide receiver: Entering his fourth season, first with the Saints. 
  • Henry Mondeaux, Oregon, defensive line: Undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Max Unger, Oregon, center: The two-time Pro Bowl player is entering his ninth season. 


  • Jonathan Stewart, Oregon, running back: Rushed for 7,318 yards in 10 seasons with Carolina. 
  • Aldrick Rosas, Southern Oregon, kicker: Made 18 of 25 field goal attempts last season. 



  • Obum Gwacham, Oregon State, linebacker:  Entering his fourth season. Has appeared in 14 NFL games. 



  • Cameron Hunt, Oregon, offensive line: Spent last season on the 49ers' practice squad. Signed with Oakland in May. 
  • Pharaoh Brown, Oregon, tight end: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent last year. Spent most of the season on the team's practice squad. 



  • Taylor Hart, Oregon, offensive tackle:  Entering his fifths season. Began his career as a defensive lineman. 
  • Haloti Ngata, Oregon, defensive tackle: The five-time Pro Bowler is entering his 13th season. 
  • Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State, guard: Entering his third season. Has appeared in 23 games. 
  • Joe Walker, Oregon, linebacker: Appeared in 12 games as a rookie last season. 
  • Marcus Wheaton, Oregon State, wide receiver: Entering his sixth season. Spent last year with the Bears. 


  • Kameron Canaday, Portland State, long snapper: Appeared in 16 games last season.  Entering his third year. 


  • Arik Armstead, Oregon, defensive end: Entering his fourth season. The former first-round pick appeared in just six games last year. 
  • Victor Bolden Jr., Oregon State, wide receiver:  Had 396 yards on kick off returns last season.
  • DeForest Buckner, Oregon, defensive end: Entering his second year after making 45 tackles last season. 


  • D.J. Alexander, Oregon State, linebacker: Entering his fourth season. Has 34 career tackles in 44 games. 
  • Tanner Carew, Oregon, long snapper: Released last week. 
  • Ed Dickson, Oregon, tight end: Entering his ninth season. Caught 30 passes for 437 yards last season. 
  • Dion Jordan, Oregon, defensive end: Entering his second season with Seattle. Had for sacks in five games last season. 


  • Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State, running back: Entering his eighth season. Rushed for 244 yards last season with the Buccaneers.  


  • Marcus Mariota, Oregon, quarterback: Entering his fourth season. Had a career low 13 touchdown passes last season. 



  • Alex Balducci, Oregon (Central Catholic H.S., Portland), offensive line: Originally with San Francisco as an undrafted rookie free agent. 
  • Byron Marshall, Oregon, running back: Entering third season, second with Washington.  


Seahawks will search for some answers in preseason opener vs. the Colts

Seahawks will search for some answers in preseason opener vs. the Colts

The Seattle Seahawks begin the preseason Thursday night at CenturyLink Field against the Indianapolis Colts giving coach Pete Carroll and his staff a first look at a lot of young players looking to hold down starting jobs or simply to make the team. 

Finally, it's time for the team to cut loose on the field. 

"We’ve been waiting and holding back," Pete Carroll told reporters following practice. "You hold back all offseason. It’s really not a football mentality in the offseason. You have to just hold off and hold back, and now they don’t have to hold back anymore so I’m looking to see if they can embrace the moment and jump on it and we can play our tail off and run up and down the field on those kickoffs and show what they got and have some fun playing the game.”

Here's a look at a few of the many position battles that will be on display Thursday night:

Offensive line: Nothing else will matter for the Seahawks this season unless the offensive line at least becomes solid.

That process in game conditions begins Thursday night. It would be nice for the team to see some signs that the running game can rebound from an abysmal 2017 season that saw quarterback Russell Wilson lead the team with 586 yards rushing. 

The only two linemen that have positions locked up are left tackle Duane Brown and center Justin Britt. Seattle must identify three other starters and a few capable backups that can help this unit get through the season. 

One newcomer that has certainly made an impression is right guard D.J. Fluker

"He’s really been kind of what we had hoped he would be," Carroll said of the team's free agent acquisition from the New York Giants. "He’s such a big man. He’s a giant of a guy. He’s 355 (pounds) or something and you can’t move him. He can hold the point on pass protection, which is really nice, and he’s been very aggressive coming off the ball."

Carroll went on to say that he's been pleased with the entire group of linemen. Now the team must see some production. 

Running back: Chris Carson will see his first action since fracturing his leg early last season. He's battling rookie Rashaad Penny, selected by Seattle in the first round of last spring's draft, for the starting job. Had Carson not gotten injured last season and had a strong year, the Seahawks might not have taken a back in the first round. Carson must show management that it might have made a mistake by selecting Penny.

As for Penny, he needs to show that he can adjust to the NFL game. If he does, Penny's combination of size and speed and make him tough for Carson to overcome.

Carroll said Carson has certainly done well working his way back this offseason.

"He was really the star of the offseason in that he was just so fit, so strong and so explosive from the moment we got back," Carroll said. "He’s over all of that. What’s important is that he just gets back out and playing ball again. It’s been a while but he looks great and I can’t imagine that he’s going to have any problem with it at all.”

For Penny to win the job, he must show that he can pass protect. 

"This is an area that he just needed to elevate and he totally embraced the challenge," Carroll said. "He has not missed a step on this. He’s plenty physical and gifted enough to take care of business. At 236 (pounds) or whatever he is, it’s a big man taking on whomever is coming so we’re not worried about him at all. He’s ready to go. But he’ll get better. No question.”

Expect both to get ample carries all preseason. 

Safety: With Pro Bowler Earl Thomas holding out, the starters on paper looked to be veterans Bradley McDougald and Maurice Alexander, who started games last year for the Los Angeles Rams. That was until Tedric Thompson showed the coaching staff that maybe he is the guy.  Thompson, selected by Seattle in the fourth round last year, will start Thursday alongside McDougald. 

“I want him to feel comfortable and supported," Carroll said of Thompson. "We believe that the guy is a really good player and we just want him to let it go and cut it loose, and not hold back (by) playing cautious or anything. I think he’s got a lot of plays in him, which he’s shown and he’s given us the confidence to support him in that manner. I don’t want him to be inhibited (and) try to work his way in or that kind of thing. Let’s go. I’ve got confidence that he’s going to do alright.”

Thompson said he is excited for the opportunity and that he and MDougald have established some good chemistry. 

 “B-Mac was somebody last year, like this year, like a lot of the vets that was kind of like bringing me along, showing me different ropes," Thompson told reporters. "I was at B-Mac’s house a couple of days ago. So, me and B-Mac, just like all the other DB’s, got a good relationship going.”

Cornerback: The loss of Richard Sherman has created a void at cornerback. Veteran Byron Maxwell isn't a lock to start while second-year man Shaquill Griffin looks like a certain starter. One man to watch is rookie Tre Flowers, a fifth-round pick last spring out of Oklahoma State where he played safety.

The 6-foot-3 Flowers is a big corner in the mold of Sherman. Asking Flowers to become the next Sherman might not be realistic, but that doesn't mean the team can't hope that the rookie develops into an impact player.

“Yeah, I’m excited," Carroll said of Flowers. "He’s going to get a chance to play a lot of ball. He just needs to be out there and play. He just needs to see what it’s like and see what it feels like and come back play after play and series after series. He’ll get a lot of work and I’m really excited for him. He’s done a fantastic job. He’s really bought in. He’s made the transition to go to corner. Now we need to see – he fights the guy and so we need to see how that plays into it when he deals with the challenges that come your way at corner. I’m real impressed with him so far.”