Here are five takeaways from Seahawks' mini-camp, which concluded on Thursday.
The Seahawks are now officially into their summer vacation with mini-camp having concluded Thursday. With a couple of days to reflect, here are five things that stood out during the week of mini-camp:
1, There’s no quarterback controversy. I don’t mean the traditional QB controversy of who should be the starter. Seattle hasn’t had that since early in 2012. What I do mean is that a year ago at this time there were still questions about Russell Wilson’s future and his contract and if he was deserving of the type of deal he was seeking. Now, after a season in which Wilson shattered Seattle’s record book and an off-season in which coach Pete Carroll said Wilson has “made a clear step ahead,’’ he is unquestionably the leader of the Seahawks’ offense. While there may be a few areas of concern for the Seahawks, the most important position on the field isn’t one of them, something that can be easy to take for granted but shouldn’t be.
2, Maybe a little surprisingly, Jimmy Graham is ahead of Thomas Rawls in recovery. Carroll said he “absolutely’’ expects both players to be ready for the start of the regular season, so it may not matter when or in which order they return to practice. Still, it was a little intriguing that Carroll said Graham was ahead of Rawls given the nature of their two injuries — Rawls a broken ankle and ligament damage and Graham a torn patellar tendon. The positive spin is that it means Graham is simply having a good recovery from what can be a tricky injury — Graham doing some running and even leaping to make catches during warmups was certainly encouraging. And if Rawls needs a little more time than maybe had been thought, the good news is the Seahawks’ increased depth at tailback.
3, The Seahawks appear set to give their current offensive line alignment a real shot. There were reports this week that the Seahawks might have interest in recently-released veteran left tackle Eugene Monroe. But the greater likelihood is that some other team pays Monroe closer to the $5-6 million or so he may want than the Seahawks, who appear more content with the current makeup of their offensive line than some may think. Seattle’s current starting OL consists of Garry Gilliam at LT, Mark Glowinski at LG, Justin Britt at center, Germain Ifedi at RG and J’Marcus Webb at RT. Gilliam and Webb missed all or most of mini-camp, resulting in some different looks on the line. But the Seahawks appear set to give that fivesome a long look in training camp. The biggest question heading into the OTA/mini-camp season was Britt and whether he could make the transition from guard to center. The real answer won’t come until pads go on in the fall. But after a few rocky moments with off-target snaps early in OTAs, Britt settled down, and by the end of mini-camp looked more natural and comfortable at the spot.
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4, The Seahawks are poised to be just massive in the secondary. Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard said the transition of Brandon Browner to safety is going well so far. Tharold Simon is also again healthy, and a likely Seattle cornerback scenario is for Richard Sherman and Jeremy Lane to start in the base defense with Lane then shifting inside and Simon taking over on the outside in the nickel. And if the Seahawks had both Browner and Simon on the field in a dime defense, that could have the Seahawks featuring four defensive backs who are 6-3 or taller on the field — Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Browner and Simon — along with Lane at 6-foot and Earl Thomas (5-10). Simon has to stay healthy and play consistently throughout camp to win that spot, with his closest competition coming from 6-2 DeShawn Shead.
5, The Seahawks appear as harmonious as ever. A year ago at this time, the Seahawks were not only trying to shakeoff the residue of the stunning Super Bow loss, but they also had the uncertainty of Wilson’s contract looming as well as that of Bobby Wagner, and then Michael Bennett’s suddenly public desire for a new deal — and what no one knew at the time, Chancellor’s unhappiness with his contract, as well. Now, the team appears healthier and a little more refreshed (as well as feeling again like something of an underdog) after the divisional playoff loss to Carolina. And the only real unresolved business among player contracts heading into the summer is an expected extension for receiver Doug Baldwin. Bennett remains desiring a new contract but for now seems to be taking a little more conciliatory tone, possibly realizing that if all goes well he’s going to get a significant payday within the next year. Chancellor is back in the fold and professing that any tension is in the past (and one reason for Chancellor’s apparent contentment now is that he knows he is not going anywhere for 2016 and will get the $6.1 million due him this year. One of Chancellor’s apparent concerns was that the team might release him heading into the last year or two of his contract when the guaranteed money had run out and his cap number increased markedly). There remains the unfinished business of new contracts for coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, whose deals each last through the 2016 season. But if Carroll is worried about it, he isn’t showing it, giving his usual brushoff to a question about his contract on Thursday saying “everything’s great. I’m under contract.’’