The Seattle Seahawks returned to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Sunday to open up 2017 training camp. Besides the usual excitement and practice reports that come with the early days of camp, one story line was hanging over the shores of Lake Washington; the status of second-round pick Malik McDowell.
Early whispers of an injury began shortly after it was reported McDowell wasn’t out on the field with his teammates. The whispers continued until the team released an official press release on the specifics of McDowell’s situation. Following a vehicular accident, McDowell reportedly suffered a concussion and facial injuries and it’s now unclear whether he’ll play this season.
The unfortunate, scary situation McDowell finds himself in was the biggest story, but there are plenty of other notes to come out of day one worth discussing.
- New signee Marcus Smith was initially listed as a defensive end when added to the roster on Saturday, but come Sunday he was also practicing with the linebackers and it appears as though he’ll be added to a crowded competition for the SAM linebacker spot.
- Smith will be competing with Terence Garvin - who took the first team reps today at SAM - Dewey McDonald, Michael Wilhoite, and Arthur Brown to takeover the starting job vacated by Mike Morgan.
- Of larger significance following the news of McDowell’s injury, second-year defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson took to the practice field on day one. Jefferson’s rookie season was cut short by a knee injury and it was unclear if he would be able to start training camp on the active roster. The play of Jefferson and Nazair Jones will be of even greater importance with the defensive line suddenly down its top draft pick.
- Although the offensive line was essentially mixing and matching groups on day one, it’s worth noting that rookie Ethan Pocic practiced nearly exclusively at right tackle. The former LSU center was expected to compete at both guard and tackle on the right side, but if day one is any indication, he’ll be competing against Germain Ifedi throughout August.
- While rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin works to get the kick-step technique down, the first-team reps at defensive back were interesting. Jeremy Lane started at right cornerback in Seattle’s base defense, before moving inside with Neiko Thorpe coming in to play opposite Richard Sherman in nickel packages. The outside cornerback spot opposite Sherman will be one of the more interesting - and tightly contested - competitions of the preseason with Thorpe, Griffin, Lane, Pierre Desir and DeAndre Elliott all vying for the starting position.
Pete Carroll Press Conference Notes
- It sounds as though it’ll be just DeShawn Shead, Tyler Lockett and rookie Justin Senior starting camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Carroll said Lockett would have “a short stay there,” while also mentioning a second minor surgery Shead had done on his knee. Carroll said he expects Shead to make “really good progress,” now that the second procedure is done and believes it will accelerate his recovery timeline.
- Carroll sounded cautiously optimistic about Eddie Lacy, stating he had made a really good first impression heading into his first camp with the team, doing everything they asked of him, but said they are going to take it day-by-day with him.
- When asked if any player ‘wowed’ him with their work over the offseason, Carroll glowed about George Fant saying:
"Nobody's done more than George Fant. George had just a fantastic spring and offseason. I think it was 319 he weighed in at, fantastically fit and strong. It's the first time he's ever had a football offseason weight program. So through the hard work he got bigger and stronger and added maybe 22, 23 pounds from where he was last year - all great weight, he's in great shape and we're really excited about that."
- On what the thinking behind signing Marcus Smith was, Carroll said “shoot he’s a good football player,” and that the team sees him as an outside ‘backer and nickel pass rusher. A really good athlete, who’s hungry to prove it.
- There was no practice today for running back CJ Prosise, who came into camp “in great shape and everything,” but came in today sick with the stomach flu and just couldn’t practice.
- Finally, asked about Friday’s D.J. Alexander-for-Kevin Pierre-Louis trade, Carroll called Alexander “a ridiculously good special teams player,” and said special teams coordinator Brian Schneider was really excited.
Russell Wilson Press Conference Notes
- Wilson seemingly deviated from his usual measured responses when asked about the rookie class during his press conference today, almost immediately brightening up and sounding extremely enthusiastic about the group as a whole. He mentioned the veterans set the tone for the rookies early and often.
He then singled wide receiver Amara Darboh out saying he made a few big plays today before claiming he thinks Darboh will be “really special.”
Obviously this is exciting to hear as chemistry between Wilson and Darboh will be huge if Darboh is to take over Jermaine Kearse’s roll, be it over the course of this season or next season.