Two roster battles to watch on defense

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
5:50
PM ET
SEATTLE -- A couple of things to watch Friday night for the Seattle Seahawks in the preseason game against the San Diego Chargers involve players battling for backup spots at key positions.

The first is at defensive end between second-year player Benson Mayowa and veteran O'Brien Schofield.

"Yeah, he's in the middle of a big competition,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Mayowa. "He and O.B. are battling it out. You saw Benson went with the first group last week in nickel, so Schofield will get some turns at that [Friday night]. It's just a great competition, with special teams entering in also. So we'll see what happens.”

Another battle is the backup middle linebacker spot between rookie Brock Coyle and veteran Heath Farwell, who is special teams captain for the Seahawks.

Coyle, who was undrafted out of Montana, has been one of the biggest surprises in training camp.

"He's done a fantastic job,” Carroll said of Coyle, who will start Friday night while Bobby Wagner is out with a hamstring injury. "We're really fired up about what he's done for us, but we'd like to see him get better. As a matter of fact, I met with him, [on Wednesday] to talk specifically about those things.

"He's gone probably past what you'd think a Mike linebacker could do at this time because he's handled the huddle so well, with the adjustments and the calls and all that. Now he needs to settle in and play and do a good job in the passing game as well as in his tackling. But I'm really fired up for the kid. He's made a great statement and he's really determined.”

It seems unlikely the Seahawks could keep Coyle and Farwell, but Farwell is an outstanding special team contributor and one of the most respected and well-liked players on the team. Farwell is in his 10th season at age 32. Coyle is 23.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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