On Saturday, August 18th, the Seattle Seahawks will travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers in their second preseason game of the 2018 season. Seattle lost their opener 19-17 to the Indianapolis Colts while Los Angeles is coming off a 24-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The starters on both sides are expected to see more snaps than last week, with Phillip Rivers set to make his 2018 debut at quarterback for the Chargers.
Here are five Seahawk storylines to keep an eye on in the matchup:
- The running back battle:
The intrigue over who will be the Seahawks’ starting running back has been significantly tempered by the recent injury to rookie Rashaad Penny. Undergoing finger surgery on his left hand, Rashaad is expected to miss the rest of the preseason. With Chris Carson now having a clear path to the lead spot, the focus will turn to the backups. Mike Davis earned a 69.5 overall grade from PFF last week against the Colts, highest of the group. He has a three-down skill-set and projects to be the top backup until Penny returns. Expect Carson to play a series or two with Davis finishing out the first half.
The player most fans will be keeping an eye out for will be C.J. Prosise. The ultra-talented but ultra-fragile back has struggled with a myriad of injuries over his career and 2018 has been no exception. Prosise missed the Colts game with a hip-flexor issue but is expected to play against L.A. He must have a good showing as his spot on the roster can be considered tenuous at best. J.D. McKissic should also be in the mix for a larger workload against the Chargers and will need to make some plays in the passing game if he wants to earn a larger role.
2. The offensive line:
The starting unit held up very well against the Colts, but the Chargers will offer a much stiffer test for Seattle’s line. Though defensive end Joey Bosa is expected to sit out, the Chargers still have plenty of punch up front. With Melvin Ingram (10.5 sacks last year), Corey Liuget (22.5 career sacks) and run-stuffer Brandon Mebane, the Chargers will offer Seattle a significant challenge at the point of attack. Pro Football Focus ranks the Chargers as the third-best pass-rushing defense in the league entering this season. A strong performance by the ‘Hawks o-line will go a long way in building confidence and momentum for the regular season.
3. The Seahawks pass rush:
The Seattle defense sacked Indy quarterbacks three times last week but questions still remain. Can they generate a consistent pass-rush? PFF has Los Angeles’ o-line ranked 23rd in the league. If the Seahawks starters can’t get pressure against this group, it could spell trouble for the season ahead. Rookie Rasheem Green had an impressive debut last week with 1.5 sacks and is expected to start at one end spot. We should get a look at newly signed edge-rusher Erik Walden, who had 11 sacks for the Tennessee Titans in 2016. Following the release of DE Marcus Smith, there will be plenty of snaps to go around for the likes of Jacob Martin, Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson. Frank Clark is expected to play. Look for Barkevious Mingo and Shaquem Griffin to be used as blitzers.
4. The battle for the third wide receiver spot:
The third wide receiver spot on the Seahawks’ depth chart is still wide open. Brandon Marshall opened last week’s game with the starters but failed to record a catch. Jaron Brown finished with one reception for nine yards. Tyler Locket is expected to miss the game against L.A., as will Amara Darboh. Brown and Marshall will get plenty of opportunities to impress. By all accounts, Marshall had a very good week of practice, so look for him to show off his rapport with Russell Wilson and make some plays, especially in the redzone. David Moore was impressive against Indy before leaving with a head injury. He is a dark-horse candidate for the job.
5. The punters:
Surprised that we’re talking about the punters? Us too, but this competition is for real, and fun to watch. Rookie Michael Dickson was outstanding against the Colts, averaging 50 yards on three punts, with a long of 61. His knuckleball style kicks give returners fits. Incumbent John Ryan was no slouch himself, averaging 46 yards on his three punts. Dickson, because of his draft status, is expected to win the job, though it’s no guarantee. This is one of the most competitive battles on the roster.