Earlier this year, Richard Sherman commented that the Seattle Seahawks were not as competitive as they were during their Super Bowl years. Surely one reason for that is that during 2010-2012, they were turning over the entire roster and during 2013-2017 they were mostly stocked with established veterans. You’d think then that as so many of those vets have left the team in the last year that the competition for starting jobs would be as heated as ever, but I’m hard-pressed to see which positions aren’t almost decided before training camp begins next Thursday.
On offense, the starting five offensive line looks as locked in as ever, with the Duane Brown, Ethan Pocic, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker, and Germain Ifedi expected to open the season protecting Russell Wilson and paving lanes (hopefully) for Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson. Maybe Ifedi loses his job to George Fant, perhaps Fluker gets more push from Rees Odhiambo or Jordan Roos than we’re talking about now, but I think that’s the starting five and likely Penny splits time with Carson at a position that doesn’t have as many “true starters” as it used to.
Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett will be starting receivers, Ed Dickson will be the first guy to line up at tight end, most likely.
There is a competition for who the third receiver will be and that comes down to Brandon Marshall, Jaron Brown, Amara Darboh, and David Moore probably, but that’s likely the most up-for-grabs (y’all, I can’t ignore the accidental pun there) starting job on offense. We’re pretty close to knowing who the other 10 or 11 guys to get first drive reps are already.
Defensively, there’s a bit more competition, but perhaps not that much overall.
The linebackers are Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, and Barkevious Mingo. The cornerbacks are Shaquill Griffin, Justin Coleman, and Byron Maxwell. The starting free safety is Bradley McDougald, while strong safety is an open competition — but only if Earl Thomas doesn’t come back. Assuming he does (and I would assume he does), then McDougald is almost certainly the starting strong safety, meaning that the entire starting secondary and linebacking crew is all but decided.
Up front, Jarran Reed and Frank Clark are locked in as starters, while there could be some competition around them; that being said, the defensive line has always been a heavy rotation of players, so “starting” isn’t as important as it is almost anywhere on the field. Nazair Jones and Tom Johnson seem the next two up at defensive tackle, while Dion Jordan looks to start opposite of Clark if he recovers from knee surgery in time to contribute. If not Jordan, there could be an interesting competition with Rasheem Green, Marcus Smith, and Quinton Jefferson as the next three up.
There’s also competition at kicker (Sebastian Janikowski, Jason Myers) and punter (Michael Dickson, Jon Ryan), but Janikowski and Dickson seem to have a significant leg up. (I swear, that was an accident.)
Overall, I’d say the number three receiver, number two defensive tackle, defensive end opposite of Clark, and strong safety (if Thomas misses games) is all we’re looking at, at least as far as “starters” go, and you could argue that none of them are really “starting” except for defensive end or safety, and if the expected guys are available, then it’s perhaps not a competition at all.
What’s the most interesting camp battle for starters?
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