The legendary Seahawks safety made a visit on a day when the team appears as if it may have settled on a safety combo to use for Thursday's preseason game against the Colts. That and more observations from Day 9 of training camp.
The Seahawks practiced for another couple hours in the blazing sun at the VMAC Monday.
But the lasting memory for the fans who attended the team’s ninth practice of training camp will likely be something that happened outside the field of play — the return to the sidelines of safety Kam Chancellor.
Chancellor, who is on the team’s reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list and out for the season, walked onto the field in street clothes about halfway through practice, his first appearance of camp.
He was initially warmly embraced by the likes of Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner and then as more players realized he was there, he was swarmed during a brief break.
He watched the second half of practice from the sidelines, appearing to bark out instructions and encouragement. At one point he got into a stance, giving some sort of advice to rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin.
Afterward, Chancellor walked over to the viewing area to applause, cheers and raucous shouts of “Kam,” stopping to sign every autograph request that came his way, staying at least a half hour or so after practice.
Through a spokesman, Chancellor said he didn’t want to speak to the media on Monday but would at another day, saying he plans to be around the team regularly. Chancellor tweeted in July that his career is likely over as he has not been cleared to return to the field due to a neck injury, writing that he was told he would risk paralysis if he tried to play again.
Chancellor, though, remains on the team’s roster as he is owed $6.8 million in an injury guarantee in 2018 and $5.2 million in 2019 and the salary cap ramifications mean that for now the team’s best option is to leave him on the roster.
As Chancellor made his debut on the sidelines fellow founding Legion of Boom member Earl Thomas stayed away for another day, his holdout showing no end in sight, with fines reaching past the $750,000 mark.
Here’s more of what I heard, thought and saw Monday:
Ifedi keeps his job for now
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll rather frankly said he was “real disappointed” in two penalties that right tackle Germain Ifedi was called for on one series in Saturday’s mock game, which resulted in his benching during the drive, replaced by Isaiah Battle.
But you wouldn’t think that would be enough yet for the team to make a change at right tackle, and Monday Ifedi was in his usual spot with the number one offense, the regular offensive line remaining as it has been throughout camp.
Still, the team hopes that Ifedi — who led the NFL with 20 penalties last season — is getting the message.
Just in case, offensive line coach Mike Solari made it clear again when he spoke to the media Monday calling Ifedi’s penalties “unacceptable. It’s just unacceptable and he knows it’s unacceptable.”
But Solari also defended Ifedi, saying “he is a good football player. He is working at it. He is getting better at his craft.” And for now, the team is sticking with him at right tackle, hoping a little early tough love will help Ifedi turn things around.
Ifedi, though, has said before that he knows he has to clean up his penalty issues and at some point, the team is going to need to see action more than hear words.
Ifedi said Monday he appreciated that when he was taken out of the lineup, Solari immediately talked to him about why.
“He talked about composure and coach saw something on the field and he thought it was a good time to get me out of there, get me a breather and cool off,” said Ifedi, who was first called for a false start on the first play of the drive and then a hold a couple of snaps later. Ifedi said being benched and the talk he received is proof that “they want to take care of you and see you do well and not lose your composure out there.”
Still, there was one sign the team is continuing to explore options at right tackle if more are needed as rookie Jamarco Jones got a few snaps at right tackle after having played almost solely left so far.
Isaiah Battle remained the usual number two right tackle and would be the most likely alternative option. But Jones will apparently get a look, as well, and Willie Beavers also continues to get some snaps at right tackle.
Another option down the road could be George Fant, who is still working his way back after an ACL injury a year ago. Fant worked solely at left tackle on Monday, usually with the number two offense.
Safety combo locked down for first game?
With a game now three days away it looks like the Seahawks will go with a starting safety combination of Bradley McDougald at strong and Tedric Thompson at free.
The Seahawks have used that combo for most of camp other than a few days when veteran free agent Maurice Alexander worked at strong safety alongside McDougald. Alexander, though, remains out with a hip injury meaning on Monday it was against McDougald and Thompson working as the starters with the backups typically being Delano Hill and Mike Tyson with T.J. Mutcherson and recently signed Lorenzo Jerome also working in some.
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McDougald has said that while he’ll play wherever, he likes strong safety because he’s closer to the action and feels a little more comfortable there and the Seahawks may be siding for now with putting him where he feels best with both Thompson and Hill having played sparingly last season as rookies (Hill 32 snaps, Thompson eight). One other thought could be that they also have used McDougald more at strong safety in his year-plus with the team and it’s where he was expected to play this season alongside Thomas at free, so they may feel any combo with McDougald at strong is the best for now. But also expect the Seahawks to try a lot of different combinations at safety as they seek to get the best fit in the post-Chancellor/holding-out-Thomas era.
Odds and ends
— There were no new injuries apparent and a few players who had been out at some point last week returned, notably cornerback Shaquill Griffin, defensive tackle Tom Johnson, center Justin Britt and defensive end Marcus Smith. Among those remaining out was K.J. Wright, Jalston Fowler and J.R. Sweezy, as well as the players such as Dion Jordan and Ed Dickson who are on the PUP or NFI lists, as well as Doug Baldwin, Maurice Alexander and D.J Alexander. Cornerback Dontae Johnson, who was cleared to practice last week, was in uniform but didn’t appear to do any team drills.
— With Wright out, Shaquem Griffin again worked as the starting weakside linebacker. The rest of the defense appeared the same as it has through camp, though, with Byron Maxwell continuing as the right corner alongside Shaquill Griffin. And the absence of Jordan and with Frank Clark remaining limited means players such as Jacob Martin and Branden Jackson continue to get a lot of work with the ones at end.
— When the Seahawks ran their first play during team sessions the receivers in the base offense were Brandon Marshall and Jaron Brown. Marshall played little during team sessions today but lining up with the first unit appeared another sign of the impression he has made. Now the team just needs to get comfortable that he can handle the amount of snaps they’d like for him to make an impact.
— In your daily kicker update, I actually didn’t see it all as it occurred during the time Chancellor was walking onto the field. But both Jason Myers and Sebastian Janikowski hit a 55-yarder with Janikowski’s appearing as though it would have been good from 60-plus.
— Hill had an interception on a tipped pass thrown by Alex McGough that went off the hands of Tanner McEvoy, though in pretty heavy traffic. McEvoy also had another pass go off his hands with a defender close by.