The Seattle Seahawks capped off the preseason with a home game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday, Aug. 28. The team kept the big names on the sidelines during the battle, but the offense provided excitement during the 27-0 win. D’Wayne Eskridge, in particular, showcased multiple ways that offensive coordinator Shane Waldron will use him during his rookie season.
The Seahawks gave Eskridge his first touch with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter. However, he did not simply run a route and catch a pass. Instead, he ran from the left side of the line and took the handoff from quarterback Geno Smith. Eskridge gained nine yards on the play and set the offense up with a very manageable second down.
“He looks like the guy that we hoped that we’d get when we picked him,” head coach Pete Carroll said after the now-healthy receiver made his official debut. Eskridge also met with the media and confirmed that he will likely run several fly sweeps during the season considering that they are his “specialty.”
Eskridge only had limited opportunities during the blowout victory, but he certainly made an impact. Along with his nine-yard gain on the fly sweep, he also caught the lone pass thrown in his direction for 19 yards.
Waldron Used Similar Plays During His Rams Tenure
The nine-yard fly sweep was relatively new for the Seahawks offense, but the defense previously tried to limit these plays during NFC West battles. Back when Waldron was a member of the Rams staff, he and head coach Sean McVay used the end around and fly sweeps to showcase the speed of the wide receivers.
There were several examples of the play during Waldron’s tenure with the team, the majority of which featured Robert Woods. The veteran receiver regularly took pitches from quarterback Jared Goff after faked handoffs to running back Todd Gurley. The Rams also confused the defenses by sending Cooper Kupp in motion.
The first play featuring Eskridge did not feature complicated motions by the other receivers on the field. It was more of a straightforward play that showcased the rookie’s speed. Though the offense could implement these elements during the regular season. After all, Waldron has been hesitant to fully show his scheme during the preseason.
Another Member of the Offense Impressed
While the majority of starters did not play against the Chargers, one running back fighting for snaps made the most of his opportunities. Alex Collins, now in his third tenure with Seattle, made a case for why he should be a key contributor moving forward.
The former fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft had numerous opportunities to make his case against the Chargers. He logged 10 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. He added seven receptions for 52 yards. However, the box score does not tell the full story.
Every time that Collins touched the ball, he showed elusiveness and speed. Chargers defenders tried to make tackles in the open field but could only grasp at air after Collins juked. More importantly, the veteran avoided committing penalties and making mistakes.
“He’s got the great feet that he has,” Carroll told reporters, per the “Tacoma News Tribune.” “We all know whatever the dance thing is that he does. He’s got unbelievable moves. But his feet are remarkable. You see, too, that he’s an experienced player. He knows, when he gets in those situations, he finds a way to navigate to the positive. And he’s been doing it his whole life.”
Collins did not guarantee that he will take over the backup job from former first-round pick Rashaad Penny. Though he certainly created discussions among the coaching staff as they prepare to whittle the roster down to 53 players.