A week after the first preseason game, and the Seattle Seahawks have had a very (relatively) tame summer.
There was a spike of nervousness in early OTAs with how many Seahawks showed up with different types of injuries. Then, there was a splash of dread following the Jarran Reed suspension. Afterwards, sweat began to bead on the foreheads of those who doubted that Bobby Wagner would get a deal done. The battle with the Denver Broncos sent George Fant to the locker room early, and fans were surely holding their breath hoping no Jermaine Kearse leg or Theo Riddick shoulder was coming their way next.
But the dust has settled, and continues to settle, all summer. None of the above has proved to be a catastrophe for this year’s Hawks yet – the Reed suspension being the lone remaining question mark.
Since Bobby Wagner signed his new league-leading deal, the Seahawks haven’t really had anything of significance to focus on besides football. Starters look like they’re playing less preseason than usual under Pete Carroll, making a quiet preseason seem even more so.
Compared to many teams around the league – and even past Seahawk teams – the tameness of this offseason is a pretty good thing.
Consider the past few offseasons since Seattle’s Super Bowl victory:
2018 - Earl Thomas did not end his holdout until September 5th, missing the entirety of training camp and all four preseason games. Meanwhile, Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett featured heavily in that SI article about the doom of Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson’s affect on the Seahawks. It was such a distraction that Russ broke character and actually addressed it.
2017 - Tyler Lockett was recovering from a devastating leg injury, practicing for the first time on August 4th, with uncertainty regarding his ability to run in the upcoming season. Incidentally, that was the same day that Frank Clark punched Germain Ifedi in the face during practice. Meanwhile, Malik McDowell was doing…stuff.
2016 - Jimmy Graham was recovering from his brutal tendon injury, not able to take the field until August 10th. Meanwhile, Seattle was fined for the third time since 2012 for offseason practice rule violations, costing the team $400,000 and a future 5th round draft pick. Pete had to cough up $200k of his own money as well. Marshawn Lynch had also retired during a Super Bowl commercial and speculation hung around whether he was serious about it or not. Ricardo Lockette also retired in May, reminding everyone how dangerous football is.
2015 gave us the Kam Chancellor holdout, lasting into the season and putting a blemish on Kam’s significant reputation of a team-based leader. Wilson was engaged in his first contract negotiation through his exquisite baseball agent, which extended all the way to the self-imposed deadline (this is a thing with him I guess) of training camp day 1. Frank Clark was drafted that year amidst a small “due diligence” investigation regarding his character.
2014 - Marshawn Lynch held out of OTAs, announcing his decision through an ex-teammate on TV. Besides that, we mostly spent the summer not talking about the Super Bowl while the rest of the country did. Words like “hangover,” “run,” or “unfathomable embarrassment” became commonplace in Seattle.
It’s both a blessing and a relief that there’s so little drama at the VMAC right now, considering how easily the scales could have tipped towards chaos this year.
The unquestionably best players on either side of the ball, Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, entered this offseason without a contract extension. Bobby was not practicing and made it known he would continue to spectate.
A short time ago, Seattle placed four rookies on preseason Physically Unable to Play (PUP)list:
- Marquise Blair
- Ben Burr-Kirven
- DeMarcus Christmas
- Phil Haynes
- One regular/starting player was placed on the PUP in Lano Hill.
Furthermore, several significant expected contributors were coming off major injuries, surgeries, or inability to get on the field during OTAs. The biggest of these names were Ziggy Ansah, Chris Carson, and Will Dissly. Losing any of those for the minimum six weeks would have ranged from detrimental to devastating for this year’s Hawks, thin as they are in a few position groups (DE most notably).
Here’s a picture of Ezekiel Elliott learning life lessons from Le’Veon Bell:
Elliott Headed to Mexico During Training Camp Holdout: Report https://t.co/doBlp9SV4k— Newy Scruggs (@newyscruggs) July 29, 2019
Followed by Melvin Gordon of the LA Chargers learning from Ezekiel Elliott learning from Le’Veon Bell.
After speaking to a handful of sources, #Chargers’ stance is dug in with Melvin Gordon. Barring a change in his camp’s expectations, an extension isn’t coming soon. His threat to potentially hold out will be put to the test. The extension straddling the next CBA isn’t helping.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) July 22, 2019
And here’s Emmitt Smith emphatically telling people that he is the instructor of neither Elliot nor Gordon - at least I think that’s what he’s saying, it’s hard to tell what or why this is even happening.
But back into this year, the NY Giants have all the hurt receivers, despite what overreaction to one preseason game against a bad NY Jets defense says.
For more recent developments, we have the more talented QB version of CJ Prosise doing his best phantom injury thing: Andrew Luck apparently has a high ankle “thing.”
And then there’s Oakland Raiders’ favorite new acquisition Antonio Brown, come full circle from hot air balloon to frozen feet to head so big it won’t fit inside a current regulation-size helmet
Nothing is ever certain with Antonio Brown until he actually does it, but he’s expected to rejoin the #Raiders today after losing his helmet grievance, sources tell @RapSheet and me. How soon AB practices will depend on his feet.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 13, 2019
But despite what could have easily turned into another NFL headline or chippy Seattle summer, most of the Seahawks stories are trending positive.
Russell signed his league-defining deal early in spring. Bobby Wagner remained present and helpful throughout the entirety of his own negotiations on the way to his own league-defining deal.
Blair and BBK have both been activated off the PUP and seen the field already. And if week 1 is how hard Blair can hit on a still-recovering hamstring...wow. As of now, all of these projected starters are still on pace to start the season: Carson, Ansah, Dissly, and both 340 lb. guards.
The Jarran Reed thing hangs as the big outlier at this point. It will probably remain one of the biggest suspensions this season. It still feels tempered though because of how long ago the events happened and inability to determine the effect one defensive tackle not named Aaron Donald really has on a team’s success. I personally believe the theme this year is getting young players more involvement, and Poona Ford sitting out the first game completely shows the organization’s high level of trust in his play. Reed’s absence will undoubtedly lead to more development for Ford. Given how well the Seahawks finished to close out the 2018 season, the first six games of this coming year are by no means the final determiner of this team’s playoff potential. Unless of course, they get Reed back boasting a 1-5 record per the prediction of Field Gulls’ personal favorite Mike Clay.
Considering the reality show that goes on in various clubhouses every single year, here’s to the prospect that the rest of the offseason remains uneventful as we look forward to three minutes of Bobby and Russ and 57 minutes of rookies on August 18th.