Seahawks beat writers Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta share notes on the team's Thursday OTA, with a bit of mocking from Richard Sherman, the king of trash talk, thrown in for fun.
Here is a six-pack of observations on the Seahawks’ OTA Thursday from beat reporters Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta.
First, three from Jenks.
1, Justin Britt spent the day at center with the first-team* offensive line.
The asterisk is there because neither Garry Gilliam or J’Marcus Webb participated (Gilliam out after having surgery Wednesday to remove a cyst on his knee and Webb out with a calf injury), but even still, the Seahawks appear willing to give Britt a hard look at center.
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Britt’s career path so far has been well documented but is worth revisiting briefly: A second-round draft pick in 2014, Britt started his rookie season at right tackle. Last year, he switched positions and started at left guard. Coach Pete Carroll said after last season that he wasn’t sure where Britt fit in moving forward but that his versatility would help him. Now the Seahawks are experimenting with Britt at center, a very complex position that requires detailed communication with the quarterback and the other linemen. Carroll also said Britt has been playing tackle, too.
If nothing else, it gives the Seahawks flexibility and options as they try to settle on their starting five.
2, Rookie Alex Collins looks like a Seahawks’ running back.
I mean that literally: Physically, he looks like the type of running back the Seahawks have often desired under coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider (Think big, powerful runners like Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael). It’s impossible to know how Collins, the Seahawks’ fifth-round draft pick, will fit in or if he will fit in this early in the offseason. But physically he has the traits, which is a start. After one run, offensive line coach Tom Cable walked over to Collins, put his arm around him and talked to him for a few minutes — also a small reminder of how far he has to go in order to contribute.
3, How about something a little fun because it is May?
Richard Sherman, the Seahawks’ king of trash talk, took aim at second-year receiver Tyler Lockett. Lockett had just run a deep route into the end zone but couldn’t make the catch because the ball was overthrown. He took a while to get back down the field, at which point the next play was starting. As Lockett stood on the sideline, Sherman jogged over to him and mocked him for needing to sit a play out already. A few seconds later, a pass went off Doug Baldwin’s hands, sending Sherman racing onto the field to engage in a new discussion.
Why does this matter? It doesn’t, really, other than it was funny and signals football is back.
And three from Condotta:
1, Don’t sleep on Tharold Simon at cornerback.
With DeShawn Shead out with an undisclosed issue (basically, those of us in the media forgot to ask, but Shead was able enough to do some running up the berm on the side) Simon got a lot of work as a cornerback with the first-team defense. Specifically, when the Seahawks went to their nickel Thursday Simon lined up as the right outside corner with Richard Sherman on the left and Jeremy Lane at the nickel (those were also typically the three CBs and their alignment when the Seahawks went with a dime package that included safeties Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Brandon Browner). On one play, Simon picked off a Russell Wilson pass on a slant route to Jermaine Kearse.
The fourth-year cornerback has battled injuries throughout his Seattle career, playing in just one game last season due to a toe issue that required surgery. But coach Pete Carroll says he’s healthy now and at one stage in his post-OTA media session when asked about the secondary volunteered Simon’s name. “He’s doing great,’’ Carroll said. “He’s doing everything. He’s out there for all the snaps — he hasn’t missed anything yet. This is a really good look at him, this is the best we have seen him. He’s the most-experienced he’s been, seems to be the most settled. He understands what we are asking of him. He’s going to have a great, competitive opportunity because he’s put together a great off-season.’’
2, Kasen Williams had a nice day.
Receivers inevitably stand out in non-contact drills and that was the case Thursday with second-year former UW star Kasen Williams, whose handful of catches included one that has been something of his trademark — a leaping grab on a fade route down the sidelines, this one on a pass from Trevone Boykin. The battle for the last few receiving spots will be competitive with the addition of seventh-round draft pick rookie Kenny Lawler, who reportedly had a really nice day on Tuesday. But Williams showed Thursday he also remains in the mix.
“Kasen made some unbelievable catches today,” said quarterback Russell Wilson, noting that he has been able to do regular throwing with Williams and Kevin Smith and some of the other young receivers this off-season which he thinks has their on-field chemistry further ahead of where it was a year ago.
3, Trevone Boykin appears to be continuing to make a good impression.
If the Seahawks played today (I realize they don’t, but it works for the purpose of this discussion) the backup quarterback to Wilson would be Boykin, who was signed April 30 as an undrafted free agent. Boykin again ran the second offense today with Jake Heaps following Boykin in the rotations. Boykin had some nice throws, such as the one noted above to Williams. Another time, he evaded the rush and rolled to his right and on the run threw an accurate pass for a completion to rookie tight end Nick Vannett. The Seahawks could still sign free agent Tarvaris Jackson. But if Boykin continues to play well it could also make them more comfortable with the idea of going without Jackson.
Carroll has noted that one reason the team really liked Boykin was his similarities to Wilson in playing style — specifically, his running ability mixed with a strong arm — and said “He’s come out here and he’s kind of shown that he’s got all that working for him. He hasn’t had any problem with the learning. Of course he is behind where Russell is but that’s natural.
“I don’t see any reasons to think that he’s not going to pick things up. So when we get all the way around to the preseason games and he gets a chance to play and show us what he can do we will try to figure it out and see how far along he has come. I do like that he has the makeup that we can keep the offense the same and we can really emphasize the same run game and perimeter kind of attack that we like, so that’s a positive for him. Got a long way to go.’’
Asked if the team would be concerned going with a rookie as the backup quarterback, Carroll said “if we make that decision we will have gotten through that concern.’’