The Seattle Seahawks have two days of training camp in the books and that gives us plenty more opportunities to discuss the state of certain players than we had over the previous six months. Players are playing. Well, some are. More importantly, some aren’t. Here’s a quick recap of some of the biggest revelations or happenings on Thursday and Friday.
Tight End Flood
Expected starting tight end Ed Dickson, who signed a three-year deal in free agency, is on the non-football injury list after tweaking his groin in a workout outside of camp. We don’t know when Dickson is expected back. In response to this, the Seahawks added Ja’Ronn Hamm, Kyle Carter, and Kayaune Ross to the roster this week.
Hopefully Nick Vannett, Will Dissly, and Tyrone Swoopes take advantage of any additional opportunities.
He is there. Without Dickson, Dissly has been working as the backup to Nick Vannett. When they put pads on and do more physical stuff is when you may hear more about Dissly. https://t.co/fLSflMKtpY— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) July 28, 2018
No Obvious Leader at Safety
There won’t be any worthwhile reports on Earl Thomas that aren’t “He’s back” or “He’s gone.” Everything else you read, hear, or see is virtually useless info. (Feel free to use this against me later when I write about a Thomas rumor.) In the meantime, what’s not useless, is who seems to be leading the way to take his place. At this time, we don’t really know.
Bradley McDougald will be a starting safety in Seattle this season barring injury. Tedric Thompson took first team reps at free safety on Thursday, then on Friday it was reported as either Delano Hill or Mo Alexander at strong safety. Alexander is limited at the moment, but Pete Carroll has hinted he’ll get a lot of opportunities once he’s 100 percent. One player getting all his reps at safety and not cornerback: Mike Tyson. The 2017 sixth round pick was converted to corner last season but Carroll only wants to see him at safety right now.
They may go the veteran route with McDougald and Alexander, but fans would probably like to see Thompson, Hill, or Tyson gain ground and eventually take over. The ultimate prize would be that this is all moot, ET returns, and Hill/Thompson get useful experience with the 1s.
Chris Carson May Be Undeniable
Carson was undeniable last year, beating out Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls as the starting running back despite being a seventh round rookie. The team added Rashaad Penny in the first round and not even he may be able to hold off Carson from getting those first game snaps once Week 1 in Denver rolls around.
Pete Carroll gushing about how special he thinks Chris Carson is as a do-it-all RB and flawless special-teams player. Yes, Carson sounds absolutely at the top of #Seahawks’ plans in 2018 pic.twitter.com/4pSgTVNjGc— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) July 27, 2018
There is some debate on Twitter about whether or not Carroll would ever start Carson over Penny and if that would mean they “wasted” their first round pick. Absolutely he would, it absolutely does not mean that it was a waste, and “starting running back” in the NFL is an ancient term at this point. Instead, more and more teams will have several running backs who serve different functions just like X, Y, and Z receivers do. They’ll essentially be different positions, like slot receiver and flanker.
Carson seems capable of being a three-down back because of his high marks in both carrying the ball and in pass blocking last year, but given the dangerous nature of the position and that he missed most of 2017, there’s no intention to run him out there 250 times. Penny seems exceptional at breaking tackles and probably warrants some first down snaps, but he hasn’t been as well regarded for pass blocking, so Carroll may be a little more selective in when he puts Penny on the field. He’s also likely the guy that they want to utilize for as long as possible over the life of his five-year rookie contract. It would not be wasteful to keep Penny to 100-150 touches if he is being productive with his touches, just as Carson is. It would be wasteful to give Penny 300 touches simply because he was a first round pick and without regard to the quality of his play and the play of Carson.
Meanwhile, C.J. Prosise has survived two days without an injury. J.D. McKissic shouldn’t be discounted. It’s too early to say much about the backs until pads are on and real game situations are happening, we just know that the undeniable star of the offseason in Seattle has been Carson. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Shaquill Griffin Escaping Shadow of Both Shaquem and Sherman
“Quill” sometimes gets lost in the excitement and hype around the presence of his brother Shaquem, not that he really cares. He also probably knows that it would be a lot for anyone to expect him to be as good of a number one corner as his former teammate, Richard Sherman. Griffin also wouldn’t be the type, unlike Sherman, to tell everyone that he is. That being said, it seems like Griffin has gotten good note after good note in camp and that he is very capable of becoming a number one cornerback. Let’s not forget that while 2017 had rookie corner stars like Marshon Lattimore and Tre’Davious White, Griffin was the 90th overall pick. That’s late for a guy who so instantly could be the Seahawks number one option against number ones.
Bit of a strange moment in Pete Carroll's press conference today. Asked about similarities between the new look secondary and the old group, Carroll makes an obvious comparison between Shaquill Griffin and Richard Sherman, while stumbling around using Sherman's name: pic.twitter.com/ynS1Yowc23— Alistair Corp (@alistaircorp) July 27, 2018
Shaquill Griffin had a nice pass breakup of a deep ball down the sideline from Russell Wilson to Amara Darboh during 11-on-11 today. By all indications, Griffin has made a seamless transition from right cornerback, where he started as a rookie last... https://t.co/fIU78JNxZ0— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) July 27, 2018
Defensive End Could Be An Issue
Dion Jordan landed on PUP and not because of offseason knee surgery. He’ll be out a little while, which is not good news for a number of reasons. First of all, because Jordan has a reputation for missing time due to injuries and this really had to be a year where he avoided all of that. Second of all, because pass rush is arguably Seattle’s biggest weakness. Not only is Jordan out, but Frank Clark is also missing time due to wrist surgery. That left Barkevious Mingo and Marcus Smith as the number one DEs and history says that those aren’t the two guys you want as your starting DEs.
Not that Mingo isn’t a good SAM linebacker or that Smith isn’t good depth on the line, but they shouldn’t be the literal first line of defense. There’s not much to say yet about Rasheem Green, in case you were wondering that too. Speaking of SAM linebacker, rookie sixth rounder Jacob Martin has gotten some good plays in there, including the first INT of training camp.
Marcus Johnson May Be Making Most of Offseason Opportunities
Right now in the receiver competition we’re hearing more about Johnson and David Moore than we are about Amara Darboh and Jaron Brown, while Brandon Marshall is still easing his way back in following his injury issues over the last year. It’s too soon for this to mean anything. Really. But it also doesn’t hurt Johnson’s case to get off to a good start, because now is the time to draw Carroll’s attention and get more opportunities.
If Week 1 Was Tomorrow And These 2 Days Were Heavily Weighted
QB - Russell Wilson
RB - Chris Carson
WR - Doug Baldwin
WR - Tyler Lockett
WR - Marcus Johnson
TE - Nick Vannett
OT - Duane Brown
OG - Ethan Pocic
C - Justin Britt
OG - D.J. Fluker
OT - Germain Ifedi
DE - Marcus Smith
DT - Jarran Reed
DT - Nazair Jones/Tom Johnson
DE/SAM - Barkevious Mingo
ILB - Bobby Wagner
OLB - K.J. Wright
CB - Shaquill Griffin
CB - Byron Maxwell
CB - Justin Coleman
FS - Bradley McDougald
SS - Mo Alexander
Ideally, nobody comes at me about the choices above, especially at safety where there are no knowns except that McDougald will be somewhere. It’s not even a prediction on my part, it’s just a choice and a rather arbitrary one based on comments.