RENTON The Seahawks were back on the practice field Sunday morning. By Tuesday at 1 p.m., they and every other NFL team have to be down from 90 to 75 players on their rosters.
I’m not able to describe any noticeable absences from the closed practice on Sunday (per team rules with the media), because coach Pete Carroll said “we’re not going to announce anything until Tuesday morning.”
All the coach would say is: “The process is beginning ... the process begins."
"The process is beginning. We’re not going to announce anything until Tuesday morning, but the process begins."
Some of those 15 cuts seem obvious.
Defensive tackle Sealver Siliga looks destined for the injured-reserve list if Seattle wants to keep the veteran it signed this offseason. If not, he could get waived injured. He’s been out for all but one day since training camp began July 30 with a calf injury.
Kasen Williams’ ongoing hamstring injury is putting the former Washington Husky’s chances of being on the 53-man regular-season roster in jeopardy. His hometown team signed him as an undrafted free agent in the spring of 2015. Williams started last season on the practice squad then got promoted to the active roster for the end of 2015. But right now he’s outside the set of likely six receivers Seattle will keep at wide receiver to begin the season.
“Yeah he just hasn’t gotten better yet,” Carroll said of Williams’ injury last week. “He hasn’t improved all the way."
Several undrafted rookies have impressed enough at times this month they appear likely to not only survive Tuesday’s initial cuts but have a shot at making the team.
Tanner McEvoy helped himself again Thursday in Seattle’s third preseason game. Lined up at tight end, he drifted wide open between Dallas’ zones to make a 43-yard catch after Russell Wilson rolled left on a bootleg in the third quarter and had more than 5 seconds to throw. Later in the quarter, the 6-foot-5½ McEvoy – listed as a wide receiver -- went from running an inside route outside to level Cowboys safety Kavon Frazier with a shoulder block to the chest after Seahawks teammate Brandon Williams made a catch.
Seattle’s resident thumper Kam Chancellor jumped off the sidelines and roared his approval at McEvoy for that hit.
But Carroll said after Thursday’s game McEvoy "tweaked" his groin. This late in the preseason, any injuries for players who have impressed sometimes lead to IR designations, so as to not risk another team claiming such players on league waivers with a waived-injured move.
"He’s doing a lot of good stuff. You saw him play tight end (Thursday)," Carroll said. "Remember, he played safety for us at one time. He’s shown that he’s very flexible. A very smart football player, things come to him very easily. That was a huge play he made. I think he might be the only guy who got nicked tonight. He might have tweaked his groin a little bit. It wasn’t the hamstring that he had a couple days ago, that would question whether he would play tonight. He got through that, but something else popped up."
Marcus Burley, who’s been a nickel back and cornerback in the last two Seahawks season, didn’t play Thursday. Carroll said he has a groin “pull,” which don’t heal overnight.
Troymaine Pope keeps impressing coaches with his decisive running late in preseason games. Pope, from Jacksonville State, had four carries for 14 yards Thursday. He had 86 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown last week against Minnesota, and ran in the winning two-point conversion on the final play of the preseason opener at Kansas City Aug. 13.
"He’s a fun kid to watch and an exciting player," Carroll said, adding he will "be patient" with seeing more from him.
That means expect Pope to survive the cuts to 75 on Tuesday – and a lot of Pope running the ball Thursday in the preseason finale at Oakland.
The final roster cuts down to 53 players for the start of the regular season are due by Saturday, Sept. 3.