5 things to watch for in the Seahawks’ preseason opener in Pittsburgh

3. The rookie tackle and competition at the right tackle.

The Seahawks selected two tackles in the first three rounds of the 2022 draft, picking Charles Cross in the first round and Abraham Lucas in the third. The game will be an important early test for both, although the stakes will be a little different for each player. Cross has been the No. 1 left tackle throughout camp and seems anything but a lock to fill that position at the start of the season. Lucas, meanwhile, is in open competition for the starting position on the right side of the line, battling Jake Curhan, who started five games there as a rookie, and Stone Forsythe, a sixth-round pick in 2020.

“They’re going to play this game a lot and get a lot of airtime, and they really fought,” Carroll said of Cross and Lucas. “I don’t know how they’re going to take the game, otherwise I predict they’ll do very well because of what they’ve done. We threw everything we could at them to try and speed up the process. . . Speed ​​rushers, big rushers, a combination of things. All kinds of things and they’re making good progress, but it’s a big step for them.”

4. The beginnings of Kenneth Walker III.

In keeping with the theme of rookies making their preseason debut, another player who should have a chance to shine on Saturday is running back Kenneth Walker III, a second-round pick from Michigan State. Walker has looked explosive throughout camp, and just as important to his chances of getting playing time as a rookie, he’s also showing he can handle the pass-blocking element of this position. With Rashaad Penny struggling with a minor groin injury, Walker could very well start on Saturday night and will have plenty of opportunities to show what he can do.

“I’m surprised it’s so comprehensive,” Carroll said. “Runner, he’s blocking – his pass guard stuff, he just moved on. I mean, he wasn’t very good in college as a pass guard, and we don’t We didn’t know. But Chad (Morton) did a great job with him and Amanda (Ruller), they worked really hard with him, so it’s important. But I think for this kid, everything is important. He wants to be great, and he won’t leave anything to chance. So, I’m really excited to see how he’s doing. He’s going to have a good playing time in this game and make him comfortable with the speed of the game and all that. I expect him to do well.

5. The new-look defense.

Saturday’s game will be the first for the Seahawks under new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt, along with assistant head defense coach Sean Desai and defensive passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Karl Scott. Under Hurtt, the Seahawks are moving to a 3-4 base defense (three linemen, four linebackers), and as Carroll and Hurtt said, they plan to have varied coverage in the back of the defense.

Now, it’s worth remembering that teams tend to play rather vanilla during pre-season, and this is especially true for a team that makes significant changes on either side of the ball, in order to maintain the element of surprise. urge. But even with that caveat in mind, it will be a chance to at least get a feel for how the defense looks with outside linebackers like Uchenna Nwosu, Darrell Taylor and Boye Mafe rushing from the edge.

“To start with, I want the communication to be clear, so that what we’ve done on the pitch goes into the game,” Carroll said of the team’s new defensive front. “Are we making the transition? That’s what we’re really looking for. It’s calls, adjustments, alerts and all that kind of stuff. I’d like to see if we’ve progressed well and if we can take it to the game . That’s what we’ll assess in that regard.”

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