Most, but not all, starting jobs have been decided following Friday’s win over Kansas City in the third preseason game. The team has three practices then Thursday’s exhibition finale at Oakland between before the real season begins.
Not quite ready yet.
That — and relief — were the dominant themes in the Seahawks’ locker room following their third preseason game, a 26-13 victory over Kansas City Friday night.
The third exhibition is usually the final dress rehearsal for the regular season for veteran starters. Most, particularly quarterback Russell Wilson, look ready for the real show
“It feels great to be out there healthy and moving around, making plays and just having a lot of fun playing football, like I always do,” Wilson said after again showing how well he plays when fully healthy.
The relief of Friday comes from Wilson showing he is far removed from his 2016 season in which he got two injuries in the first three games — a high-ankle sprain then a sprained knee ligament. He has completed 29 of 41 passes this preseason (71 percent) for 447 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions. That’s good for a passer rating of 130.8.
“Yeah, I mean it definitely was tough last year,” Wilson said. “But that was last year, you know. It is part of the journey…
“I am super excited to be obviously back out there and anytime I get to go in between the white lines it is a good day. I am just grateful and I thank God every day that I get to do that.”
The other reason for relief: Rees Odhiambo may have, for now, stabilized the offensive line. His steady performance in 2 1/2 quarters Friday against the starting defense on a team that went 12-4 and reached the AFC playoffs last season means he’s likely to be the left tackle on opening day with George Fant out for the year. That, in turn, allows Seattle to keep Luke Joeckel at left guard, as the coaches have wanted all along.
But not everything is in regular-season form entering three days of practice then the preseason finale Thursday at Oakland.
The starting defense does not look totally regular-season ready. It allowed a double-digit-play scoring drive to begin the game for the third straight week. The Chiefs ran for 26 yards on the game’s first four plays. And 31 of their 69 total net yards rushing came on that 14-play opening drive to a field goal against Seattle’s starters.
“I don’t think we’re where we need to be, to go where we want to go,” Pro Bowl defensive end Cliff Avril said. “There’s a lot of leaky things, but it’s all things that we can fix. We have the personnel and the right guy and the right mindset. It’s just little things like not allowing them to get two or three yards after that first contact.”
Tackling is the biggest fundamental coach Pete Carroll said the defense needs to clean up. But, again, the Seahawks don’t tackle in practices, don’t bring ball carriers to the ground at all. So it’s going to have to be a sharper mindset for the opener at Lambeau Field in two weeks, because the starting defense isn’t likely to make more than a cameo appearance Thursday at Oakland.