We’ve (finally) reached the end of the preseason as the Seattle Seahawks host the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night for their annual exhibition matchup. All starters on both sides will sit this one out, which leaves all of the playing time for the bubble players fighting for roster spots.
I’d bet the coaching staff is pretty set on most of the roster at this point. But for conversation sake, let’s assume the following players are still in need of a big performance Thursday night.
*Projected to be on the roster (on the bubble)*
Geno Smith (Paxton Lynch)
I think Smith would really have to stumble in order to lose the job. Both players will get to play a half. Given that Lynch missed last week’s game with a concussion, Pete Carroll may end up giving him the start.
“They’ve both had their moments, certainly,” Carroll said of the competition to be Russell Wilson’s backup. “They’ve both taken care of the ball really well, which is an important factor, and they can both run the offense. I’m really anxious to get another assessment here, particularly on Paxton.”
John Ursua and Gary Jennings (Malik Turner and Jazz Ferguson)
Ursua should be a lock at this point. He’s passed the eye test and has been the Seahawks most consistent receiver during the preseason with four receptions for 100 yards. Jennings gets the tiebreaker over Turner and Ferguson strictly because he’s a fourth-round pick.
Ferguson has gone quiet since his standout preseason debut against the Broncos where he posted four catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. Turner is still looking for his first catch this preseason. A big game from either might be enough to unseat Jennings. There’s only one spot available between the three of them since David Moore (shoulder) is no longer a short-term IR candidate.
Shaquem Griffin (Ben Burr-Kirven)
Griffin’s knee is back to full strength, and he’s likely to play most of the game against the Raiders. Burr-Kirven simply hasn’t shown enough in order to take Griffin’s spot on the roster. He’s a practice squad candidate if the fifth-round pick doesn’t get claimed elsewhere.
C.J. Prosise and J.D. McKissic (Bo Scarbrough and Travis Homer)
The only thing that can keep Prosise off the roster at this point is another injury. Carroll has stuck with the embattled running back despite his inability to stay healthy. That’s a pretty clear indicator that the Seahawks believe Prosise’s ceiling is worth the injury risk. He was Seattle’s MVP against the Los Angeles Chargers last week with five carries for 32 yards and a touchdown as well as one reception for 15 yards.
I’m still projecting McKissic to be on the roster because he offers a completely unique skill set to the running back room. The final question is whether or not Seattle is able to keep Homer as well. That would most likely mean that the Seahawks would have to cut Nick Bellore and go into the season without a fullback.
Other notable players on the bubble: Nick Bellore, Jamar Taylor, DeShawn Shead, Earl Mitchell, Brian Mone, Shalom Luani and Barkevious Mingo.