Maurice Alexander has a new injury which for now may bring a little stability to the Seahawks' Earl Thomas-less safety position. Plus: Doug Baldwin was back on the sidelines. Beat writer Bob Condotta makes his observations from the seventh day of training camp.
The schedule said the Seahawks would be off the field around 11:15 a.m. or so, a light practice set for the day before the team holds its annual mock game.
Instead, the Seahawks went an hour longer than originally planned, putting on the pads and hitting like a usual, intense training camp workout.
The mock game is still on for Saturday with the Seahawks having apparently decided to just get in a bit more work than planned, especially for a lot of the team’s younger players.
Here are some thoughts on what I heard and saw.
No worries: Doug Baldwin back on the sideline
Baldwin was conspicuously absent on Thursday a couple of days after it was revealed that he will be out for a few weeks to treat/rest a sore knee. Friday, Baldwin was back with the knee still in a sleeve.
Coach Pete Carroll said Friday that Baldwin was away for a little while getting his treatment plan set up (whether Baldwin may also have gotten a Regenokine treatment that other Seahawks have in the past he wouldn’t say).
Baldwin isn’t likely to see any time in the preseason.
But Carroll said there is no worry he won’t be ready for Sept. 9 and the regular season opener at Denver.
“None,’’ he said when asked if there is any concern about Baldwin’s availability for that game.
“He is no different than he was in the offseason,’’ Carroll said. “We just wanted to kind of reconstruct his return and conditioning and all of that. He took a little bit of time off and we just didn’t handle that quite right so we just wanted to give him a chance to get back right, take really good are and all that, knowing that he’s fine.’’
Baldwin took part in the first two training camp practices before being sidelined.
Baldwin’s absence has opened the door for younger receivers to get a bit more time.
Taking advantage the last couple of days has been 2017 third-round pick Amara Darboh, who had a good day on Wednesday and on Friday with a leaping, hanging-in-the-air catch of a Russell Wilson pass over Byron Maxwell.
“He’s had a little bit of in and out of being fully healthy,’’ Carroll said. “And he feels great right now and he’s firing on all cylinders and he has made a number of plays the last couple of days. This is an ongoing kind of rolling competition with the wide receivers and it’s a really exciting group and he has been hot the last couple of days.’’
Darboh’s status as a third-round pick won’t hurt him in getting a long leash to show what he can do. As of today if you had to pick six receivers to make the final roster, I think he’d probably be on it, along with Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown, Brandon Marshall and Marcus Johnson.
Marshall obviously remains the wild card with his health going a long way toward making that decision. Marshall didn’t do a whole lot Friday but Carroll said the hope is he will soon be full go.
McDougald-Thompson the leading safety duo with Alexander out
After practicing two days earlier this week, working at strong safety with the starting defense with Bradley McDougald at free, Maurice Alexander has been sidelined with a hip flexor the last two days.
Carroll was vague on when Alexander — who was delayed in hitting the field while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery — may be back, and the injury may explain why the team this week signed free agent Lorenzo Jerome, who was on the roster of the 49ers for a bit last season.
With Alexander out (and Earl Thomas remaining a hold out), the leading safety duo for now is McDougald and Tedric Thompson, working at strong and free, respectively.
Jerome got a lot of work Friday with the twos alongside Delano Hill with Mike Tyson also remaining out with a rib injury suffered earlier this week.
For now, the McDougald/Thompson duo appears to have a clear edge on the others as the starting alignment with Alexander having only practiced twice and the team not able to learn much about him yet.
As for Thomas, Carroll said there is nothing new. The total amount Thomas could be fined for what he’s missed is now above $600,000 (and possibly more depending on when the Seahawks would have started the clock on Thomas’ absence, either with reporting day or the first actual practice. Regardless, the money is piling up.)
Will the Seahawks impose those fines? Asked about that on Friday Carroll wouldn’t say though it’s thought the Seahawks did collect fines from Kam Chancellor in 2015 and will do so again. For now, the Seahawks are still hoping Thomas will show up and play what almost certainly would be his final season in Seattle.
Sagging backup QB battle?
The backup QB battle between veteran Austin Davis and rookie Alex McGough figured to be one of the more interesting of camp.
But at the moment, it appears there’s no real decision for the Seahawks to make with Carroll on Friday saying Davis “has been really solid’’ while delivering a frank assessment of McGough that jibes with what we have seen in practice.
“I think it’s been really hard on Alex to get going,’’ Carroll said. “He’s been struggling. It’s been hard for him. There is a lot of offense in — we are a very-high tech offense, there is a lot going on and he hasn’t been able to get back even where he was in the offseason. So we have given him a lot of work and it’s going to come. We’ve seen a lot of good stuff from him but right now it’s hard on him.’’
The hope around the team is that maybe McGough is “a gamer’’ and will perform better in games than he has in practices. If not, the Seahawks may have to consider if they are fine with just Davis as a legitimate backup to Wilson or if they would want to add to the quarterback competition (though don’t start thinking about Colin Kaepernick. The ship appears to have sailed on that).
Seahawks sign 2 new DTs for depth at injury-riddled position
The Seahawks continue to insist the injury issues on the defensive line aren’t all that big of a deal.
But they have continued to pile up. Friday, both veteran DT Tom Johnson and rookie Poona Ford were sidelined with injuries, Carroll saying Johnson has a slight groin issue (he wasn’t asked about Ford). That added to Dion Jordan still being on the PUP list, Frank Clark remaining limited and Marcus Smith also remaining out (though Rasheem Green did return after missing Thursday).
Both Ali-ifua and Adusei-Hyeamang got lots of work on Friday with the backup units.
Henry’s waiving leaves the Seahawks with 14 offensive linemen.
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Henry had been working as a backup guard and center which made it interesting Friday seeing Joey Hunt get a couple of snaps at right guard with the starting offense. Hunt is also battling for a backup interior lineman spot and his ability to show he can play something other than center will be vital.
Odds and ends
— There was no change to the starting offensive line though J.R. Sweezy got what apparently was a rest day after working on Thursday. Carroll reiterated he will be thrown into the competition at right guard.
— There was a clear pecking order when the team did a goal line drill midway through practice — Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis. C.J. Prosise and J.D. McKissic appear mostly slated for the two-minute/third-down back role for now.
— Nick Vannett had his best day of camp catching about a 30-yard pass down the team from Wilson against tight coverage from Wagner to then set up his own short TD reception from Wilson a play later. He remains the starting tight end with Ed Dickson still out (though Carroll said Dickson should return soon).
— Tyler Lockett had one of his best days of camp with two long receptions from Wilson.
— In your daily kicking update, there was actually no live kicking as the Seahawks instead practiced fakes when they lined up for field goals.
— Austin Calitro appears to have taken over the backup middle linebacking spot for now. Emmanuel Beal had run there earlier in camp.
— Carroll said Khalil Hill has a shoulder injury and Jalston Fowler a hamstring issue, which has left Tre Madden as the only healthy fullback of late. But Carroll indicated both should be back soon.