“I think we did great,’’ Wilson said, when asked if he thought the team had passed what coach Pete Carroll called a “final exam’’ before beginning training camp in July. “I think we got an A. And we’ve got a little bit more work to do to get an A-plus. But we are right around there, and I think we will have a great football team this year.’’
How great won’t be known until games start for real in September, a season for which the Seahawks will begin training in late July, taking the next five weeks or so off for summer vacation.
Here’s an overview, then, of each position group as the Seahawks take a little break, with our own rating of how comfortable fans should feel about that spot based on a scale of one (seat filled with nails) to 10 (plush recliner):
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Wilson appears an emerging superstar and the Seahawks took a big step toward easing concerns over his backup with this week’s signing of 2011 starter Tarvaris Jackson, who will be considered the favorite to beat out Brady Quinn for the No. 2 spot.
Marshawn Lynch is coming off his best year and the Seahawks have loaded up on promising young backups such as second-year pro Robert Turbin and rookie Christine Michael. One of the more intriguing training-camp battles will be at fullback, where veteran Michael Robinson will compete with rookie Spencer Ware. The Seahawks might throw more this year, but still figure to lead with the run, so developing depth is critical.
This might be the most improved position on the team with the addition of Percy Harvin, Golden Tate coming off a breakthrough season and Doug Baldwin appearing healthy again, not to mention veteran Sidney Rice. Jermaine Kearse and rookie Chris Harper are the favorites for the last roster spots, but the Seahawks also have a few intriguing younger players who could make camp interesting.
This spot took an unexpected hit when trusted backup Anthony McCoy was lost for the year with an Achilles tendon injury during the first week of organized training activities in May. Starter Zach Miller sat out last week’s minicamp with a foot injury, though it didn’t seem to be serious. He should be ready for camp. Carroll, though, said his concerns about depth at the spot were soothed by the play of second-year veteran Sean McGrath during the OTAs and minicamp, as he proved to be a better receiver than advertised, and fifth-round draftee Luke Willson. Keeping Miller healthy, however, will be critical.
With center Max Unger and left tackle Russell Okung, each Pro Bowl picks last year, the Seahawks have the foundation for their best offensive line since the 2005 Super Bowl team. Carroll is optimistic it could be improved that much more if 2011 first-round pick James Carpenter can recover from recent knee surgery and come back healthy for the start of training camp to compete for a starting spot at guard. If there’s a concern, it’s that the depth at a few spots (such as left tackle) is young and unproven.
Here’s the other position that was hurt during the offseason. Bruce Irvin was hit with a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use, and end Greg Scruggs went down with a knee injury. Free agent DE Cliff Avril missed OTAs and most of minicamp with a plantar fascia injury, but returned for the final practice. Carroll said he should be ready for camp. It also remains unclear exactly when end Chris Clemons will return from the knee injury suffered in the playoff win over Washington, though Carroll said there’s a chance he will be ready for the first game.
Until proven otherwise, finding a better pass rush remains one of Seattle’s biggest question marks, something that won’t be helped by the early absence of Irvin.
The team seems happy so far with switching K.J. Wright to weakside linebacker and Malcolm Smith to the strong side, flanking returning Bobby Wagner in the middle. There will be competition at the backup spots.
The players competing for those spots seem talented but are unproven. One of the more intriguing aspects of OTAs/minicamps was the use of Irvin at linebacker, an experiment the team seemed to like.
This is where the rich got richer. Seattle already returned what many are calling the best secondary in the NFL, one that appeared to get better during the OTAs/minicamps with the return from injury of cornerback Walter Thurmond, whose battle with free agent Antoine Winfield for the nickel back spot looms as another interesting story line of camp.
With the return of both kickers, snapper and holder, the main question here is if the Seahawks can replace the productivity of return specialist Leon Washington.
Tate is the favorite for the punt duties, Harvin for kickoffs.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @bcondotta.