Here's what we learned during day four of the Seahawks' training camp.
Here is our daily look at what we learned from Seahawks practice with observations from beat writers Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta.
First, three from Jenks:
1, QB Trevone Boykin has struggled.
This is a big year for Boykin as he heads into his second season. The Seahawks kept him as Russell Wilson’s backup as a rookie because they loved his athletic ability and potential — his room to grow.
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But now the Seahawks need to see that growth, and on Thursday, coach Pete Carroll gave a subtly telling answer when asked about Boykin through four days of training camp: Has Boykin made the progress the Seahawks wanted him to make?
“I can’t tell yet,” Carroll said. “I can’t tell. Too early. We’re just getting started. I don’t know yet.”
Carroll is right; it is too early. But Carroll is often quick to praise players even when it is early; on Thursday, for example, he praised rookie running back Chris Carson. Boykin hasn’t been very impressive through four days, but neither has the Seahawks’ other backup quarterback, Austin Davis. On Thursday, Boykin took a sack when the defense jumped offside, and Carroll quickly came over to talk to Boykin about that mistake.
It will be interesting to see if Boykin hits his stride as camp progresses or if the Seahawks bring another veteran backup into the mix.
2, Michael Bennett thinks Cassius Marsh is headed for a breakout year.
Bennett was asked a general question about the defensive line, and instead he talked about Marsh, unprompted. Bennett has worked with Marsh for years, including this offseason, and as Marsh heads into his fourth season with the Seahawks, Bennett said he thinks he’s headed for a breakout similar to Frank Clark last season.
“I think Cassius is going to be a guy who is going to very exciting,” Bennett said.
The Seahawks are already pretty depth at edge rusher between Bennett, Cliff Avril and Clark. Marsh had a career-high three sacks last season, and if he can take another step forward this year, the Seahawks could be loaded up front even if rookie Malik McDowell misses time.
3, Cyril Grayson Jr. made an awesome catch.
Grayson, the track-star-turned-wide-receiver, is one of those great stories: He hasn’t played football in years and is, obviously, ridiculously fast.
On Thursday, Grayson hauled in a tough leaping catch along the sideline and managed to both hang on to the ball and keep his feet in for one of the plays of the day. Grayson is incredibly fast on the football field, but he is also incredibly raw.
It’s safe to say he’s a long shot to make the roster at receiver, particularly given the depth of that spot. More likely is that he’s a practice squad player. Even Carroll admitted Grayson as a long ways to go in his development.
“There’s a lot of things he does very naturally,” Carroll said. “He’s got a lot to learn. But he doesn’t have to learn have to run fast. He runs real well and is seemingly making the adjustment so it’s fun to see. He’s a long ways away. Long ways away.”
And from Condotta:
1, Ethan Pocic may be ready for a prime time role if needed.
The big story of the day was the punch from Frank Clark that leveled Germain Ifedi and caused him to miss the last third or so of practice to have a face injury attended to.
With Ifedi out, second-round pick Ethan Pocic took over working with the starting offense at right tackle — and also then stayed in to work with the second and third units, as well, getting about as much work as might have been humanely responsible to ask for given the heat.
Carroll said Pocic held up well.
“Ethan is a very good learner,’’ Carroll said. “He has a really level head, he is a very good communicator… He is off to a great start. It’s not too big for him. He played hundreds and hundreds of snaps in college (at LSU) against great competition and has always been able to be consistent. Nothing but good signs. Really good signs.”
It’s unclear if Ifedi will be out long, if at all. But any absence could make the right tackle battle that much more competitive. At the least, Pocic’s apparent emergence will give the Seahawks that many more options as they continue to reconstruct their offensive line following last year’s debacle.
Until Ifedi was hurt the number one line, left to right, was: George Fant, Luke Joeckel, Justin Britt, Oday Aboushi and Ifedi. The No. 2 line was typically, left to right: Robert Myers, Jordan Roos, Joey Hunt, Mark Glowinski and Pocic.
2, The kicking battery appears to be solidified.
The Seahawks waived long snapper Nolan Frese on Wednesday leaving Tyler Ott as the only snapper on the roster, a move made in part to create a spot on the 90-man roster for Malik McDowell.
But if you thought that meant the Seahawks might go look for another snapper, Carroll basically quashed that notion after Thursday’s practice explaining that the move was done in part so that Ott and new kicker Blair Walsh could get even more work together — a statement that also makes clear that for now, the Seahawks consider their kicking battery as set.
Walsh was only 4-6 on kicks in team sessions today, hitting from 33, 33, 38 and 33 and missing from 43 and 33, leaving him 16-20 on the camp.
Afterward, Carroll said Walsh is “off to a good start. You notice that we made a little move here with the snapper to make sure that he gets all the time with Tyler. He’s (Walsh) a great worker, really a good athlete, has a real quickness about him, good work habits. He’s tough on himself. We think we’ve got a really good one. Kicks the hell out of the ball on kickoffs, too. Kicks the ball a mile. All looks good.”
3, Chris Carson just keeps showing up.
I was going to note that rookie free agent tight end Tyrone Swoopes made another nice play, scoring a touchdown during team drills on a fade route in the front corner of the end zone, catching an 18-yard pass from Austin Davis in front of Pierre Desir. It’s a play that deserves mention. But Swoops seems a longshot to make the team with the Seahawks appearing set at tight end with Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson and Nick Vannett (who also had a nice grab today).
So instead, I’ll mention again how rookie running back Chris Carson, a seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma State, just keeps impressing.
Tuesday he ended practice with a flourish with a handful of nice runs including a touchdown on the final play that compelled Doug Baldwin and Russell Wilson to run down the field and offer congratulations.
Thursday, he had some nice runs throughout including about a 30-yarder that set up a touchdown pass from Boykin to Steve Donatell that ended practice.
The caveat is that the team is not tackling to the ground and defenders are urged to avoid doing anything at anyone’s legs.
But the runs have shown a good upper body physicalness as well as the vision to get through the creases that are there.
Tuesday, Carroll downplayed Carson’s day.
But he didn’t do that Thursday, instead agreeing that he appears to be positioning himself for a legitimate run at a roster spot.
“He’s looked pretty good,” Carroll said. “. … Really excited about this guy, really got high hopes for him. We’ll see how he does. We might have a really competitive guy at that spot.”