By 750 The Game Staff
The Seahawks host the Cowboys Saturday night in week two of the preseason, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times joined the Bald Faced Truth to give an update on the team.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the team’s second first-round pick in this past NFL Draft (No. 20 overall), has impressed early, and Condotta sees him making an immediate impact.
“He’s been really good,” Condotta told guest-host Judah Newby on 750 The Game. “He finally dropped a pass this week, and that was the first time we’ve seen that happen. He looks really smooth and mature and confident out there. He’s the perfect slot receiver for them right now. He’ll probably line up out there eighty percent of the time, allowing DK and Tyler to be on the outside and sort of have a real steady three-receiver rotation.”
Condotta noted how long it has been since Seattle had a true threat as a third pass catcher.
“As you know, following this team closely, they’ve been trying for quite a while to find a third receiver and have a set three-man rotation. Last year it was Marquise Goodwin, they dropped in Dee Eskridge to try to do that, and that hasn’t worked out. There’s been all kinds of guys they’ve thrown into that, for really about a decade, they haven’t had anybody consistently there.”
An impact player the caliber of Smith-Njigba could do wonders to loosen coverage on Seattle’s longtime top two receiving targets — DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
“The last few years if you want to try to double Tyler, then we’ll throw to DK all the time, and vice-versa,” said Condotta. “Everybody always asked why does Tyler catch 200 yards one game and 35 the next, and a lot of times it’s because a team tries to take one guy out and leave the other guy in man coverage, and you throw to the other guy in man coverage. But if you have three guys that way, that makes it that much harder. So that’s what they’re trying to create.”
The Ohio State product is +1400 to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, according to DraftKings. He has the lowest odds of any rookie receiver, with Minnesota’s Jordan Addison right behind him at +1700.
“He’s a rookie, so there might be some of those inevitable growing pains, everyone sort of has those a little bit as they work their way into the NFL,” said Condotta. “But I think everybody will be a little bit surprised if he’s not a significant contributor to this team this year.”
As for whether or not fans can expect to see some other projected starters play on Saturday night, Condotta said we’ll have to wait and see.
“We don’t know any of that specifically,” Condotta said. “Pete — somewhat oddly to me — has been incredibly close to the vest on that. Andy Reid just flat blurts out how long the starters are going to play, and obviously if there’s competitive disadvantage there, it hasn’t hurt the Kansas City Chiefs the last few years to reveal that information. But Pete just doesn’t do that. So there’s sort of some guesswork.
“If they were to play some, this would be the game they would,” Condotta said. “They spent this week treating it like a normal game week, to go through that routine of understanding how a normal game week works. They did the whole thing, preparing against the scout team, throwing up some Cowboys plays and preparing against the scout team. How much of that was getting the starters to play this week and how much was simply going through the process and teaching the young guys, this is how we do things.
Condotta said staying healthy and fresh is more of a priority at this point in the preseason, though fans can’t wait to see that three-headed receiving monster take the field together in game action.
“Last year, game two is when they did play the starters a little bit. It was the one game DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett played, they only played one series but they did play. And a few other guys did play a little more in that game. But body preservation is really the main thing they’re concerned with right now.”
The Seahawks open the regular season on Sept. 10th hosting their division rival Los Angeles Rams.
Listen to the full interview with Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times below.
John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.