SALT LAKE CITY — Marquise Blair made a lasting impression during his first NFL game action.
The former Utah safety, now a rookie with the Seattle Seahawks, had six tackles — including three solo stops and a special teams tackle — in the Seahawks' 22-14 win over the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night during the first full night of NFL preseason play.
The second-round draft pick was one of a handful of local rookies who had a good night overall in their first NFL game action.
His six tackles tied for the Seahawks team lead and he added a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry while playing 36 defensive snaps — the most among Seattle defensive backs — and 10 on special teams.
Former Utah teammate and Brighton High Cody Barton added five tackles for Seattle, including a pair of solo stops.
Blair made a late impression in the game when he delivered a physical hit that drew a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. On a second-and-10 play, Broncos quarterback Drew Lock threw deep to wide receiver Nick Williams, and Blair delivered a hit that caused Williams's head to snap back and fall to the turf and as Blair led with his right shoulder.
“At Utah,” Blair told The Seattle Times, “I probably would have (led with his head), you know. But I’ve been working on it.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was impressed with what he saw from the rookie safety.
“He has a lot to catch up on. But, he showed you that he’s a hitter, he’s aggressive and tough. We can work with that now. It was exciting to see the plays he made,” Carroll told the Times.
3 more to watch
Matt Gay, Tampa Bay kicker: The former Utah and Orem High star will make his NFL preseason debut with the Buccaneers when they face Pittsburgh.
Gay is in a position battle with veteran Cairo Santos to become Tampa Bay’s kicker. Last week, he hit a 62-yard field goal during a scrimmage and also made eight straight — including other field goals from 50, 54 and 58 yards — after initially missing a 33-yarder, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Friday’s game will be his first NFL test in an actual game situation.
“It's all about games. It's not what you do in practice. It's about what you do in games. Heinz Field is going to be one heck of a place to test them," Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians told the Tampa Bay Times.
Taysom Hill, New Orleans quarterback: The former BYU signal caller is headed into his third NFL season after making strides as a jack of all trades with the Saints last year — he contributed from several positions on offense while becoming a special teams regular.
The preseason will give Hill extensive chances to play quarterback, with All-Pro starter Drew Brees and backup Teddy Bridgewater the only other quarterbacks on the team’s roster.
“There’s nothing that would keep him from being successful,” Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi told The Athletic of Hill. “He throws the ball well, and he’s smart and he can do all the drop-back stuff we need, but he’s also got that element as a running back that not a lot of other quarterbacks have. I’m excited about his potential and future as a quarterback, for sure.”
Darwin Thompson, Kansas City running back: The former Utah State running back is in his first pro season after the Chiefs drafted him in the sixth round in April's draft.Comment on this story
Thompson is listed fourth on the team's depth chart heading into Kansas City's first preseason game of the year, and with a trio of veterans in front of him in Damien Williams, Carlos Hyde and Darrel Williams, Thompson should see his share of preseason snaps beginning Saturday against Cincinnati.
"We push each other every day," Thompson told 610 Sports Radio of the Chiefs' running back competition. "Everyone brings something different from their game," while adding he's working hard at improving his pass blocking.
- Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh, 5:30 p.m. MT (NFL Network)
- Minnesota at New Orleans, 6 p.m.
- Cincinnati at Kansas City, 6 p.m.
- Los Angeles Rams at Oakland, 6 p.m.
- Dallas at San Francisco, 7 p.m.