Seahawks set for second preseason game against Cowboys

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - AUGUST 10: Kenneth Walker III #9 of the Seattle Seahawks before the preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lumen Field on August 10, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll was happy with his team's performance in the preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings last week. Now with the Dallas Cowboys ahead for preseason contest number two, Carroll is looking for much of the same from his team.

"I would like to see us play really hard again," Carroll said on Thursday. "I was fired up about the efforts, and the lack of loafs that we look forward to count and add up. The effort from the first guys that played to the last guys that played was really consistent. We tackled a lot better as the game went on. I hope that we can start tackling well."

Carroll said that it took a bit of time in last week's game for the team to settle in to playing live football once again. Once they got through the opening rustiness, Carroll was happy with the showing.

"I don’t know if it was obvious to everybody watching but, we were sloppy early, and we got better as we got used to the tempo," Carroll said of the game last Saturday. We missed seven tackles in the first quarter and two the rest of the night. We needed the game."

This is the third year in which teams are playing 17 regular season games with a reduced three-game preseason. Teams have had to adapt their preseason schedules to account for one fewer exhibition contest to get their teams ready for games that count. However, Carroll said that they haven't altered too much with the way they've structured their handling of the preseason.

"Not much," he said. "We’ve adapted a little bit to the three-game rhythm, but to have the extra week at the end is great."

Carroll was vehemently against a previous roster cut that trimmed the number of players from 90 to 75 after the second game of the preseason. That cut currently was eliminated with just one set of cuts from 90 to 53 players set to take place by 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, August 29. It also gives the team a two-week break between the final preseason game in Green Bay on Saturday, August 26 and the regular season opener against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, September 10.

"To have the roster all in order, all the way through the game, is a great change. I hope they never find a way to go back. It’s so much better for the players and the numbers that you have available to play in the game. The whole thing is better than it wa," Carroll said.

Carroll continues to be coy on who will play in the preseason games. However, it would be safe to assume far more of the regular starting lineup will have a chance to play on Saturday night against Dallas than did against the Vikings. Only six players that could be considered starters (center Evan Brown, guard Phil Haynes, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, outside linebacker Boye Mafe, inside linebacker Devin Bush, and cornerback Mike Jackson) saw action against Minnesota.

A number of injuries will continue to factor into those decisions as well, though there was some positive news this week on that front.

Running back Ken Walker III was back involved in team drills for the first time since the opening day of training camp. He's been sidelined since with a minor groin strain.

"Kenny got into practice today and was going, which was great," Carroll said.

Carroll has been adamant that Walker was doing well and was going to be fully ready in the near future.

Linebacker Jordyn Brooks also got a full week of work in walkthroughs after being activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list earlier this week.

"It’s worked out really well. It’s so good to see him out there getting in the huddle and making the calls, as opposed to standing on the sideline," Carroll said.

Carroll wasn't sure if Brooks would be able to get to work in practices next week yet or not, but it's clear he's making progress with a hope of being ready for the season opener.

Safety Joey Blount is able to do some running now after injuring his back in practice just over a week ago. Carroll believes Blount will have a chance to return by the end of next week.

"I’m not really the doctor or calling the shots, but that’s what I think," he said.

Cornerback Devon Witherspoon remains sidelined due to a hamstring strain. It's an issue that has been a problem both in offseason workouts and training camp, though it's been two separate parts of the hamstring that has been a concern for Witherspoon.

"I know he’s running some," Carroll said. "And it would look like the middle of next week or something like that would be a time where he might be able to do a lot more. If he gets through the weekend and comes back out of it and can get back to work probably Wednesday or Thursday or something like that. He might do a lot more."

Center Olu Oluwatimi has been held out of team drills throughout the week due to an ongoing elbow issue. His availability for Saturday's game is still to be determined.

"I don’t know about that yet, let's wait and see," Carroll said. "We’re going to take every day to make sure he’s okay. We held him out of action today, we’ve got to get him back going again so, I'm not sure about that yet. If he’s capable he’s going to play, we need him out there."

Nose tackle Bryan Mone remains on the PUP list after tearing the ACL in his knee last season. It appears as though he will remain on PUP for the start of the year as Carroll indicated he's still not yet close to being able to return to work.

"He’s still making progress," Carroll said. "He hasn’t made a jump yet that we’d go ‘He’s looking like he is on his way back right now, hasn't made that jump yet. He’s worked hard at it, it's not out of the realm of possibility in the next month or so he may come back out. We’re hoping. It could really be in the next three weeks, two weeks maybe he can make the jump. He’s not ready yet, he’s doing stuff. He’s moving around, he’s pushing sleds, he's doing a lot of stuff, but isn’t quite over the hump yet."

Linebacker Nick Bellore has missed the last two days of practice due to an undisclosed issue. Carroll was only able to say he'd be out a few days. Wide receiver Matt Landers also injured his quadriceps in practice on Wednesday and they were awaiting the results of an MRI.

"They didn’t let him go today, so we’ll see. He had a terrific day yesterday, unfortunately, he didn’t finish it," Carroll said.

Wide receiver Easop Winston Jr. was also held out of practice on Thursday with a minor groin injury.