RENTON, Wash. - The Seahawks' ended practice today with wide receiver Brandon Marshall hauling in a long touchdown pass from Russell Wilson that led to celebration resembling those that follow game-winning plays.
The reason could be that a healthy Marshall, coming off of a severe ankle injury last season, working with with No. 1 receiver Doug Baldwin - out with a knee injury but, according to coach Pete Carroll, will play in the opener - and the speedy Tyler Lockett would give the Seahawks a formidable trio of receivers.
But don't stop there. Emerging as threats that could take the entire group to another level are Jaron Brown and David Moore. Each has delivered plays this preseason that make them appear to be more than mere depth on the roster, but potential play-makers, albeit in supporting roles.
During Saturday's 24-14 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers, Brown caught a 29-yard pass on a play-action play to start the game. On Seattle's second drive, Wilson went deep down the right sideline to Brown for a 45-yard gain. Moore had the most spectacular play of the game, snagging a 42-yard reception over two defenders and on the next play again coming down with a pass in tight coverage and dragging his defender another nine yards for a gain of 19 to the Chargers' one-yard line.
Brown is no stranger to making plays in the NFL. He spent five the past seasons in Arizona and produced 1,177 yards and nine touchdowns. He had career-highs last season in receptions (31), yards (477) and touchdowns (four). At 6-foot-3, he gives Seattle some additional size in the red zone to go along with Marshall.
Moore, on the other hand, is new to this whole play-making business. A seventh-round pick last season, Moore appeared in one game and didn't catch a pass. That figures to change this season even if he is the team's No. 5 receiver.
Seattle wants to be aggressive in the passing game and attack downfield. Moore, still working on becoming polished at this level, is already fast enough and plays bigger than his 6-foot frame suggests, as evidenced by his two big plays on Saturday.
"I tried giving him a chance to make a play and sure enough he did," Wilson said of Moore's long reception against the Chargers. "When you have guys who can make great plays like that, it just fires me up big time. I came back to him in the next play and he made another great play. That is what we look forward to when guys can make great plays and they keep showing up.”
Moore's play has impressed Carroll.
"He’s expressing really good all-around feel and skill," Carroll said. "He’s got strength, he’s got power, his timing is really good, (and) he’s got really strong hands. He’s stronger than most receivers and he plays like that. We haven’t had a chance to see him run with the football but we know that’s a strength of his. He looks to be a guy that you really want to involve and he’s a playmaker. He’s exhibited that with the only chances that he’s had.”
Brown said he is trying to learn every receiver position in order to increase his chances of playing more often. The fact that Seattle opened the game with a play for him is a sign that the team believes in his abilities.
"I always want to expand my role," Brown said. "It's always good to get in there and make plays and have the coach have faith in you. Hopefully I get some more opportunities."
Moore has had to make a greater adjustment coming from Division II East Central (Oklahoma). He said that last year he simply tried to keep his head above water while learning to adjust to the NFL and the Seahawks playbook. Now, he finds himself on multiple special teams units and in the mix at wide receiver.
"Since I've been here they've preached that the person that's going to make this team is going to have to do something on special teams," Brown said. "I take pride in it. I like it."
Add making plays as a receiver in a game and Moore appears to be a lock to make the 53-man roster. However, there are 14 receivers on the roster. Competition is stiff.
"We have a great nucleus," Brown said. "A great mix of veterans and young guys."
Right now, a new veteran and a second-year young guy appear to be the front-runners to bolster this group from the back end.