RENTON — The Seahawks close the preseason Saturday with a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field at 10 a.m. PT.
And then the real work will begin for coach Pete Carroll, general manager John Schneider and the rest of the team’s personnel brain trust of paring the team’s current 90-man roster to 53 by Tuesday at 1 p.m.
Given that the Seahawks have four weeks of practice, a mock game and two other preseason contests under their belt, what happens in Green Bay figures to serve mostly as one last piece of film to help inform decisions and not necessarily be a deciding factor. But it all counts, even if the result of the game doesn’t.
Here are five things worth watching.
One last showcase for Drew Lock
If Geno Smith and some of the other core starters do play, it doesn’t figure to be for long — Carroll did not say this week but since Smith and others started last week, the team could go with mostly backups this week.
That would again leave a lot of time for Lock.
After Smith started and played two series against Dallas, Lock entered but also played just two series due to precautionary reasons after taking a low hit on his knee. Lock, though, practiced fully all week and is good to go.
The Seahawks had promised Lock that he would get to play substantially in the preseason this year after not playing a down in the regular season in 2022. Lock has played 10 full series in the preseason, leading Seattle to four touchdowns and one field goal, with four drives ending in a punt and another in an interception, having completed 73.3% of his passes with a 114.6 passer rating.
Not that the Seahawks didn’t show some confidence in Lock in re-signing him in March to a one-year deal worth up to $4 million, though with a $1.75 million base salary that is not guaranteed. But they’ve been glad to see Lock so far reaffirm that faith. Lock, likewise, has embraced being able to shake off the rust, which seemed evident in Lock playing much better in week two than week one. He’ll get one last chance to show the team — and maybe also anyone who might be interested in his services a year from now depending on how things unfold — what he can do.
“I can’t wait to see him play again this week and be out there and do it again,’’ Carroll said. “I know the first week he had a feeling about it and the second week had a different feeling about it. … he knows he’s going to get some playing time and we’ll be able to work his game. We would do everything that we can think of doing with him as we’re doing with Geno.”
The team’s increasingly unsettled receiver situation — with Jaxon Smith-Njigba out for what the team says is at least three-to-four weeks after having wrist surgery and Dareke Young and Cody Thompson also battling injuries — means at this point Bobo may be just about a lock to make the 53-man roster, if not ticketed for a substantial role to begin the season.
That might cause some to wonder if at this point, the team even needs to see much more of Bobo, an undrafted free agent from UCLA who has been maybe the biggest revelation of the preseason with five receptions for 98 yards and a TD in two games.
But the Seahawks will undoubtedly want to make sure he’s ready as possible for a potentially significant role in the receiving rotation out of the gate — and getting some experience on the road will be helpful for all of the young players as well. Bobo has also been returning punts in practice this week — something Smith-Njigba had been doing — and could get a look there Saturday.
Receivers Cade Johnson, Matt Landers and Easop Winston Jr., also figure to get substantial time as the Seahawks sort out the back end of the receiver rotation with the knowledge that a few of them may have to take on more significant roles to start the year than originally anticipated.
Battle for depth spots in the secondary
Also a big question is who gets the last few spots on the roster at safety and cornerback — and how many of each Seattle will keep. That Jamal Adams is ready to return to practice means one spot the team might have had ticketed for a younger player to start the season will now go to keep him on the 53-man roster — had Adams remained on the Physically Unable to Perform list he would not have had to count against the 53-man roster.
Joey Blount has returned to practice this week from a sore back and seems likely to get a safety spot, which could leave Seattle with a decision of whether to keep one or both of sixth-round pick Jerrick Reed II and undrafted rookie free agent Jonathan Sutherland. Sutherland, however, is dealing with a leg injury and may not play. Carroll said of Reed: “He’s going to get a lot of plays, so he’ll get a chance to do something. We’ll see how it goes.”
As for cornerback, the Seahawks may try to get a few more snaps out of Tre Brown and Michael Jackson, who are battling for the left cornerback spot — Brown worked mostly with the starters this week after a strong game against Dallas.
But also expect to see veteran Artie Burns — who has had a strong camp — get a lot of plays, as well. As a vested veteran, though, Burns wouldn’t have to go through waivers if cut and could just be re-signed as a free agent afterward.
Also figuring to get a lot of plays is Coby Bryant, who has started at safety the first two games but works a lot of nickel in practice with Devon Witherspoon still sidelined.
And the battle at inside linebacker
Another intriguing question is how many inside linebackers Seattle will keep.
There are three sure things in Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks and Devin Bush. And that it appears Brooks will be ready week one means the Seahawks might only need to keep one more, but likely no more than two. That could mean a decision between veterans Jon Rhattigan and Ben Burr-Kirven.
Carroll said Burr-Kirven, a former UW star who returned in July following almost two years recovering from a knee injury, “has done a nice job. He’s back.’’ Burr-Kirven is likewise a vested vet, who could be released and then brought back as a free agent.
Also potentially in the mix is rookie undrafted free agent Patrick O’Connell of Montana. He has 12 tackles in the preseason, second on the team behind the 14 of Rhattigan.
Can any other UDFA make a run at a roster spot?
Aside from Carson Stoll — the only snapper on the roster — Bobo appears the UDFA with the best shot at a roster spot. As noted, O’Connell has also opened some eyes and Sutherland had before being injured.
A few others who have impressed are linebacker Levi Bell — who also got a snap at fullback last week — defensive end Jacob Skyes and running back SaRodorick Thompson, who at the moment appears number four on the depth chart at that spot with Kenny McIntosh still out with a knee injury and the team cutting Bryant Koback this week. If nothing else, all appear to have earned spots on the practice squad, assuming they clear waivers.