The Seattle Seahawks are finally all set for regular season action after enduring roster cuts over the Labor Day weekend. With all the nasty business of cutting jobs in the books, the team finally has their 53-man roster and while most starting positions are also settled; a select few remain up for grabs. But now at least we know who are leading those spots. The Seahawks released their official depth chart for week two.
The team keep road surfing through their 2018 regular season versus the Chicago Bears who've done a bit of rebuilding of their own much like the Seahawks. The difference for Seattle being, they're rebuilding around quarterback Russell Wilson, which means you're never really in a full rebuild. The Seahawks have made an effort to shed salary on defense by trimming Richard Sherman, Sheldon Richardson, Jeremy Lane, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril's salaries and replacing them with youngster's like Shaquill Griffin, Nazair Jones, Justin Coleman, Rasheem Green and Frank Clark. They also added a veteran or two into the mix with Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen.
They've actually added salary on offense by extending left tackle Duane Brown and wide receiver Tyler Lockett and reconfigured their tight end position. Instead of the pass-catching weapon of Jimmy Graham, he's been replaced by four sturdy blocking tight ends with just reliable hands. The tight ends is back to being an extension of the run game and not the passing effort. With all those changes in mind, let's dive into who's where, what and when.
Here's a look at the Seahawks depth chart for week two and beyond.
SLIDE 1 of 23
Analysis: The Seahawks don't have much mystery at this position. With no real challenger to the thrown for Wilson, he leads the depth chart as he has for every year at this time including his rookie season. Interestingly enough, instead of 2017 backup Austin Davis or rookie Alex McGough here, the Seahawks traded a 2019 sixth-round pick to the Green Bay Packers for Hundley to be the backup as he enters the final year of his deal. Hundley's already diving into the playbook and thanks to some similarities in verbiage with his former teams, he's expected to catch on fast. The Seahawks hope all his learning never has to come into play. And since Wilson's never missed a game, their hopes should get answered.
SLIDE 2 of 23
Men's Espresso Men's Bostonian Bostonian Navy Mike Davis
Analysis: Chris Carson shakes out as the starter here and he's likely to remain in that position with first-round pick Rashaad Penny being a 1B type of starter who can provide a bit more speed to Carson's punch. Davis continues to keep ahead ofnProsise who boast a big-play electrifying skill set like Penny. Think of Davis as a spiritual backup to Carson because of their similar styles of play as smashing yet elusive backs. In that same spirit, think of Prosise as a spiritual backup to Penny because of their ability to take it to the house on any play when their number is called. J.D. McKissic will ultimately be Prosise insurance as usual but right now, he's on Injured Reserve and won't be on the active roster until at least eight weeks from now.
SLIDE 3 of 23
Analysis: It's got rather lopsided here in a hurry. The Seahawks were high on Khalid Hill but he's now gone due to an injured shoulder. Fowler had also missed significant time this training camp and was released. He since found work elsewhere. It felt like Tre Madden's spot to lose and it was despite some injury setbacks during the preseason. Madden is a back to lead the way as a traditional fullback but also has some receiving and running abilities for a little bit of trickeration. He can do everything the Seahawks need and entering his second year as the starter, he's as familiar with the playbook as it gets.
SLIDE 4 of 23
Wide receiver (1)
Analysis: After missing the entire preseason, Baldwin returns to his post as the number one starter who does his magic from the slot for the most part. The interesting part is that normally the number three starter is listed behind Baldwin; so if that's the case here, the Seahawks would be giving Marshall the spot despite Jaron Brown being the better of the two all preseason long, especially in terms of the big play. Marshall's reputation precedes him; so Brown can probably understand Marshall getting the first crack at starting if he's now fully healthy. But it had looked like he'd be in more of a utility role with maybe a specialty package in the red zone. Instead, he may be starting week one. Brown will still get his opps. But Marshall eats first. Behind Marshall, Moore is up and coming. He's not your average fifth wideout. He got the big play ability in his pocket and can make defenders look foolish after the catch. Except him to show up during the season in a big way.
SLIDE 5 of 23
Wide receiver (2)
Analysis: No surprises with Tyler Lockett's starting spot. The Seahawks only have five wideouts total; so they look a little thin but Brown's explosiveness behind Lockett will be a welcomed relief for a fourth wide receiver. The Seahawks didn't get much from their fourth or fifth options in 2017; so having an up-and-comer versatile receiver like Brown is quite important. Lockett filling into the number two receiver role left behind by Paul Richardson will be the most action he's seen since his rookie campaign. Can he have a better campaign than he's had the last two seasons now that he's fully healthy?
SLIDE 6 of 23
Analysis: Offseason pickup Ed Dickson would likely be the starter here if not for a quad injury relegating him to the NFI list. That injury put him on NFI to start the season and he's down for eight weeks. Vannett edged out Dissly to start but Dissly overtook him to start week two following a performance of 105 yards and a touchdown on three receptions. Vannett has shown a little bit more versatility as a pass catcher and run blocker while Dissly has been a pure extension of the run game and doing that to its fullest capabilities. Healing up fully has helped Vannett look much better this preseason. The Seahawks also added another run blocking tight end by trading for Darrell Daniels from the Colts. It's all run blocking all the time at tight end now. Vannett provides a rare reprieve from that mantra occasionally but not often. The Jimmy Graham days are over.
SLIDE 7 of 23
Analysis: Duane Brown following his offseason extension is the unquestioned starter and leader of the offensive line at least for the next two seasons if not longer. The former All-Pro wasn't able to put his mark on the team last season because he was playing catch up but they love what he brought to the team's offseason program, training camp and preseason work. With only one backup offensive tackle, Fant is required to backup here and right tackle and he's has the experience to do so. He was the team's starting left tackle in 2016 and would have been in 2017 if not for a preseason ACL tear. Fant's a solid backup option should any bad news arise.
SLIDE 8 of 23
Analysis: Because of the continuity of the offensive line and his improvement throughout the preseason, Pocic maintained his starting job. Sweezy as the only veteran experience at guard may be backing up both Pocic and D.J. Fluker at right guard but Simmons, who the Seahawks acquired from the Oakland Raiders has to sit somewhere. He doesn't feel ready to start if either Pocic or Fluker went down -- that's what Sweezy's presence on the roster handles. But, he has to be somewhere on the depth chart; so think of him as the backup to Pocic if Sweezy didn't exist. But really Sweezy is the Pocic backup.
SLIDE 9 of 23
Analysis: Britt maintains his grip on the starting center position with no real challengers. Hunt maintains his cost-effective status as the backup center to Britt. Hunt enters his third year as the backup to Britt. He knows the system through and through and even has one more year of cost controlled backup duties available next year before the Seahawks may have to consider moving on. But, Hunt was ready-made out of college and he remains ready-made at center. Britt now in three year from making the move from guard to center should be at the peak of his powers.
SLIDE 10 of 23
Bostonian Navy Men's Espresso Bostonian Men's Analysis: D.J. Fluker is like a rock on the offensive line and he's added some nasty to their run blocking effort. You could really tell the difference when he wasn't in the game versus the Los Angeles Chargers in week two and when he was versus the Minnesota Vikings in week three. Again, Sweezy sits behind Fluker should any injury arise. Sweezy has to backup two spots because of his veteran presence on the team. He started 46 of 48 games for the Seahawks over a three-year span including two Super Bowl title runs. Sweezy has the goods if needed.
SLIDE 11 of 23
Analysis: The competition is still on at right tackle but Ifedi has solid control of remaining the starting right tackle for the entire 2018 season, provided he continues to play penalty-free football, as he did the entire preseason. Ifedi led the league in penalties in 2017 and the Seahawks won't stand for such mistakes as he enters his third season in the NFL. To Ifedi's credit, he's cleaned up his act significantly. It even cost him a bit versus the Chargers but he bounced back versus the Vikings the next week. If he can play football like he did in week three of the preseason for the entire season, the Seahawks have something cooking in terms of their offensive line finally being good again. If he can't, he'll be the one backing up two positions and Fant will become the starting right tackle. For the record, even if Fant became the starting right tackle and Brown went down with an injury, Fant would move to left tackle and Ifedi would pop back up to right tackle after being benched. Glad we cleared that up.
SLIDE 12 of 23
Defensive end (left)
Analysis: The Seahawks leave Frank Clark to rush from the side he's comfortable -- the right -- and fill Michael Bennett's shoes more directly on the left. Obviously, Clark will remain the team's best pass rusher but the team does have a capable former first-round pick to compete for the other starting position in Dion Jordan. Unfortunately, Jordan isn't healthy at the moment; so it doesn't look like he'll be the opening week starter even if he does see some snaps against the Broncos. It's surprising that for now Jefferson would be getting the start over Rasheem Green. Even with Jordan not being healthy, it felt like Green had done enough in the preseason to warrant getting the nod but instead, he'll fit into the old Frank Clark role as the third defensive end in the rotation. At least he'll do that for now.
SLIDE 13 of 23
Defensive tackle (left)
Analysis: Reed is a solid starter here and it feels like Stephen is definitely his backup but Ford has provided a mix of run stopping and pressure on the quarterback that will make him rise up the depth chart sooner than later, even if it's when Stephen's contract runs out at the end of the season. All three are more run-stopping defensive linemen who have a little underrated pass rushing aspect to their game. Perhaps, Ford has a little bit more rush in him than the other two. But, they're solid at defensive tackle in terms of fitting run gaps.
Analysis: Johnson was a lock to make the roster and should be able to keep his expected starting position due to his ability to rush and stuff the run. Jones could have been hot on his heels but he hasn't been able to stay healthy. Both these players provide a little bit more pass rush to the defensive tackle position but are a bit underrated at stopping the run. The opposite of their defensive tackle counterparts mentioned previously. Except the real true quarterback pressure to come from either of these two. But, they'll fit their run gaps too.
SLIDE 15 of 23
Defensive end (right)
Analysis: This side of the line is all set with Frank Clark becoming the team's best defensive end with Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril's departure. With Branden Jackson's departure, they've become a little thin on the defensive line since Martin backs up at SAM linebacker The rub on that would be that Martin is still more of a pass rusher than run stopper; so even if he's the backup SAM linebacker, he's mostly coming into the game to rush from the edge. Jordan can provide some valuable snaps behind Clark if need be. But, Clark's an every down guy now. Unless, he's hurt; he's playing football these days with Bennett and Avril now gone. Maybe Jordan takes over on the left eventually but for now, he sits behind Clark and there aren't a lot of reps to be had there.
SLIDE 16 of 23
Analysis: The Seahawks are high on Barkevious Mingo filling the Bruce Irvin role from years past at SAM linebacker. They want him to rush the passer more than he has in previous years and he has the motor and skill set to be a sure tackler when he does play pure linebacker to set the edge on run defense. Martin backs up behind him but is more of a backup in case of injury emergency. The SAM linebacker doesn't play enough snaps to need a true backup. Mingo's role is already limited enough; don't expect to see Martin except on special teams, if an injury occurs and/or limited edge rushing sets. The Seahawks still list Martin as a defensive end on the roster but on the depth chart, he's a linebacker.
SLIDE 17 of 23
Analysis: Again the starting linebacker unit appears to be set in stone already. No one's unseating All-Pro Bobby Wagner. But Austin Calitro was a revelation throughout the preseason with his speed and instincts. He and Shaquem Griffin were all over the place at times in tandem together. If Wagner gets hurt like in 2017, obviously the drop off would be quite real but perhaps the Seahawks could entice him to heal up a game now and let Calitro handle a single night. It could have done wonders for Wagner's health last season. Calitro's no All-Pro duh but he looks like the first real solid young backup Wagner's had in a while.
SLIDE 18 of 23
K.J. Wright (injured)
Navy Men's Bostonian Espresso Men's Bostonian Austin Caltiro
Analysis: Not a lot of surprise here as the 2018 season is concerned. In time, Shaquem Griffin may take over as the starter with K.J. Wright entering the last year of his deal but in 2018, expect Griffin to be a super special teamer and a quality depth option should Wright get hurt. And that problem already has arisen. Wright needed a knee scope and thus Griffin started in week one. The Seahawks added Austin Calitro behind him to start week two, which may indicate Calitro and Griffin are going to battle for the starting job in week two if Wright doesn't make it back. Of course, Wright's still the starter when healthy and thus he's number one on the depth chart. Grace was claimed off waivers on Monday to take McKissic's roster spot. He may be looking at being left inactive in week two with Griffin and Calitro rendering him unnecessary on the game day roster.
SLIDE 19 of 23
Analysis: The big development here is Shaquill Griffin moving to the left side to replace Richard Sherman. Justin Coleman will also be a defacto starter as the nickel cornerback. The Seahawks most run defense is the nickel. King sits behind both after a shake up on the roster over the weekend. Simeon Thomas was released to activate Earl Thomas and King was called up from the practice squad when it was learned the Seahawks would have to put Dontae Johnson on Injured Reserve.
SLIDE 20 of 23
Analysis: With Byron Maxwell departed on Injured Reserve and now released, Dontae Johnson was supposed to step into the fold as the right cornerback starter with his 16 games of NFL starting experience as a 49er in 2017. He and Richard Sherman just kind of switched places it seems. Instead rookie Tre Flowers will step into the mix, he was the starter prior to Johnson's return from PUP during the preseason. He was a college safety at Oklahoma State but has made a quick transition to cornerback. Thorpe sits behind him as a specials teams animal who improved his cover skills in 2018. He was contending for the starting job here until an injury put him down for multiple weeks during the preseason. King sits behind both after a shake up on the roster over the weekend. Simeon Thomas was released to activate Earl Thomas and King was called up from the practice squad when it was learned the Seahawks would have to put Dontae Johnson on Injured Reserve.
SLIDE 21 of 23
Analysis: With Earl Thomas back from his holdout, it's no secret who ultimately rules the free safety position now. Thompson was first up to try to show the All-Pro is no longer needed but now will have to wait for his time to shine? Delano Hill interestingly enough moves over to free safety behind Thompson. He had been listed as a strong safety last season. Simeon. Obviously of the former 2017 draft picks, Thompson is the better backup to play should Thomas need rest or get injured. He excelled during the preseason while Hill barely made the roster.
SLIDE 22 of 23
Espresso Bostonian Men's Men's Bostonian Navy Strong safety
Analysis: With Kam Chancellor on the shelf for the season if he doesn't officially decide to retire altogether, Bradley McDougald will remain at strong safety barring any last-minute Earl Thomas shenanigans. McDougald is actually listed as a free safety on the roster but he's the starter at strong safety for now. The Seahawks acquired Shalom Luani via trade likely for his special teams prowess but he also slots into the fold behind McDougald over Maurice Alexander who the team had picked up during the offseason. It was a last minute surprise no one saw coming. Alexander out. Luani in. But their functions will be the same. One wonders if Luani can backup at weakside linebacker like Alexander did? The Seahawks need a backup for Quem Griffin with Wright ailing.
Kick Return: Tyler Lockett, Rashaad Penny, Chris Carson
Long Snapper: Tyler Ott
Men's Men's Bostonian Espresso Bostonian Navy Analysis: This section of the depth chart was essentially closed down now weeks ago. With the release of long-time punter Jon Ryan and not-long-time kicker Jason Myers during the preseason, the jobs officially go to Dickson and Janikowski as was expected all along. Ott has been without a challenger for multiple weeks and there's no reason to think that Lockett will be knocked off his perch anytime soon as the return man.
However, in the return game, it's interesting to see Carson now getting return duties likely due to the new return rules. You need a return man who can block and run. Carson make sense because of his mix of speed, power and blocking prowess.
The Seattle Seahawks 2018 season has officially started. Despite the season allegedly kicking off at Broncos Stadium at Mile High to the tune of a 27-24 Denver Broncos win on Sunday, the Seahawks season has not begun yet until now. It simply wouldn't be a NFL season without a cryptic post of unknown clarity (that's redundant) from a member of the Legion of Boom. Just over the last year, we've had former cornerback Jeremy Lane stew over playing time and accidentally reveal former cornerback Richard Sherman's release via social media. We've had strong safety Kam Chancellor actually do the same thing on Sherman via social media. We've had multiple instances of free safety Earl Thomas' cryptic behavior prior and during his holdout, via social media.
And now Chancellor's getting back into the mix while he sits in defacto retirement. But for how long?
The veteran safety appeared to signal in early July that he would not be able to continue his NFL career due to his 2017 season-ending neck injury that was not healing, according to his July checkup. Chancellor has been seen around the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on two occasions since then. During training camp, he signed autographs for the fans, after he watched practice and he returned last week for the team's first practice.
Both times he declined to speak to the media but stated he'd be around the team and would address the media at a later date. Perhaps, he'll be a addressing a potential comeback. His Instagram certainly seems to hint at that potential.
Using a set of highlights of him lighting into offensive players, he captioned the posts with "Fight until you can't fight anymore!!! #StayTuned" along with three praying hands emoji.
That message certainly sounds like a man planning to announce big news.
The Seahawks prepared for life without Chancellor this offseason by re-signing versatile safety Bradley McDougald to a three-year extension. McDougald filled in the final seven games of the season when Chancellor's season ended on Thursday Night Football versus the Arizona Cardinals. McDougald continued his role as the starting strong safety in week one versus the Denver Broncos and excelled.
He posted two interceptions and was the fourth-highest rated safety in week one, according to Pro Football Focus. One of the three players higher than him was his own teammate -- Earl Thomas. The Seahawks also drafted backup strong safety Professional Clog Closed Back Aubrey Women's Black Sanita SxnfXO5q with a third-round pick in 2017; so the Seahawks are well prepared for life without Chancellor. But they are still paying him to essentially miss the entire 2018 season.
Navy Espresso Bostonian Bostonian Men's Men's Due to the injury guarantees in his three-year extension signed during the 2017 preseason, Chancellor's entire base salary for 2018 was fully guaranteed, meaning the Seahawks had no recourse to wipe that money from their books and Chancellor had no reason to retire and open the door to giving that money back. Instead, the team placed him on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, which ended his 2018 season on the first day of training camp. He's still getting his $10 million plus contract in 2018 and quite frankly, he earned that money; so good for him.
But, could Chancellor actually be eyeing a return in 2019 if his injured neck heal enough to let him play?
Only the man himself has that answer but it would create an interesting dilemma in the front office. The team doesn't want to give Earl Thomas an extension to keep him around past 2018. Would they want Chancellor around in 2019 or have they moved past that point with McDougald's extension and investments in younger players? Could Chancellor's return create a domino effect that ends in his release or trade? He avoided the calamity of the offseason retooling because his contract couldn't be moved. What happens if he returns?
First things first, Chancellor's has to state he's not retiring and instead will continue his career after 2018. For now, all we have is the usual cryptic Legion of Boom post but those kind of posts have broken some interesting news over the last year.