The absences of the likes of Earl Thomas and Byron Maxwell are giving other players a chance to run with the starting units.
Here are five takeaways following Wednesday’s Seahawks OTA (Organized Team Activity), the second of four that will be open to the media, and the fifth of 10 the team will hold overall.
1, Bradley McDougald missed Wednesday’s OTA to deal with a family situation, giving Seattle’s secondary an even younger look.
With McDougald gone for the day and Earl Thomas continuing to stay away from all of the team’s offseason program, Seattle was without both of its projected starting safeties Wednesday.
That had two 2017 draft picks — Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson — working with the starting defense at strong and free safety (Maurice Alexander, a free agent signee and former starter with the Rams, is also sidelined with an injury).
Days like Wednesday when they get the bulk of the work are critical for each to begin showing coach Pete Carroll that they belong after each played sparingly last season as rookies.
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“It’s big camp for these guys,’’ Carroll said Wednesday. “Both of them were kind of introduced (last year) and now they need to go. And there is a chance for these guys. They are both really accomplished athletes, they are both smart kids. They run well, they fit well, they get it you know? And so it’s how far can they take it, and that’s going to be about instilling confidence in them and teaching them really well and (defensive backs coach) Andre (Curtis) and (secondary coach) Nick (Sorenson) are really digging into those guys and hoping they can really take them and make the big jump that guys can make sometimes and give them a chance to compete for starting time. So we’ll see how it goes.’’
2, Along with Thomas, also remaining away from the voluntary workouts are Byron Maxwell and Frank Clark.
Maxwell appears the favorite to be the starter at right cornerback with Shaquill Griffin moving to the left side. But with Maxwell out Seattle is getting a look at the right side at the likes of Justin Coleman, Neiko Thorpe and rookie Tre Flowers. Coleman is also expected to be the starting nickel, but the team could also look to see if he could evolve into the kind of role Jeremy Lane was slated for heading into last season of starting on the outside in the base defense and then moving inside in nickel situations with another corner entering and playing the outside.
3, With Brandon Marshall arriving, it will become even more vital for young receivers such as David Moore and Amara Darboh to make an impression during OTAs and mini-camp.
Darboh, a third-round pick last year, and Moore, a seventh-rounder, each might now have a harder time making the roster with Marshall on board. Certainly, there’ll be more competition all the way around,
Here was Carroll’s assessment Wednesday of what Darboh and Moore have done so far this offseason.
“This is a crucial camp for these guys,’’ he said. “Last year was their indoctrination and introduction to the NFL. This is a crucial time for them to show that they can make that jump from year one to year two. Amara has been a little bit slowed down, so he hasn’t had a chance quite yet to express himself. David has really been getting a lot of opportunities right out of the shoots here. We really have been excited about his overall ability and natural athleticism and his strength and his power that he has. We are doing everything we can to give these guys a great chance to see how far they can take it. The competition in that room is really going to be high. It’s a talented group. There is some young too it. I think Doug (Baldwin) and Tyler (Lockett) – they bring an experience that really helps those guys. They have all along. I know are going to continue to do that. I am really excited to see how this one turns out.”
4, Carroll likes the progress of the offensive line.
Free agent signee D.J. Fluker, expected to compete for the starting right guard spot, remains out with a knee issue the team is being careful with given that it’s May.
That has Jordan Roos continuing to fill in at right guard along with the rest of what for now are the projected starters — right tackle Germain Ifedi, center Justin Britt, left guard Ethan Pocic and left tackle Duane Brown.
That all were with the team at the end of last season — and Ifedi, Britt and Brown in the same positions with Pocic simply switching sides — has Carroll thinking the line is ahead of where it was a year ago at this time.
“Very smart group of guys with a really good attitude and good leadership in that room as well,’’ Carroll said. “Really we have very high expectations for how we are going to play up front and I can’t tell you that I have said that in years past based on the time we have put together, how they are taking to the new stuff and also kind of where it will all fit together. We have a chance to be really solid.’’
5, Sebastian Janikowski also remains out with a hip issue.
The 40-year-old missed last season with a back injury and has so far not been seen during OTAs with what Carroll said last week was “a little hip problem the other day and just needed a little rest, so we rested him.” It’s probably too early to worry much about injuries. But that the hip appears to be lingering is at least worth watching given Janikowski’s age and missing last season.
It’s also giving his competitor — Jason Myers — an early chance to make something of an impression as he is handling all of the placekicking in OTAs for now.
That Janikowski got $600,000 guaranteed while Myers didn’t get any, though, continues to lead to the idea that he’s a pretty heavy favorite to win the job, assuming health doesn’t get in the way.