Rookie Trevone Boykin will get his first chance in a game setting Saturday to prove he can be the Seahawks' backup quarterback.
If nothing else, the Seahawks battle at backup quarterback will make preseason games more interesting.
The Seahawks haven’t really had any intrigue at the backup QB spot since the preseason opener in 2013 when Tarvaris Jackson lit it up and essentially ended any chance Brady Quinn had of being the No. 2 behind Russell Wilson.
But with Jackson unsigned after being the backup the last three years, the Seahawks have undrafted rookie free agent Trevone Boykin and former Skyline High star Jake Heaps working behind Wilson.
Expect both to get plenty of time in Saturday’s preseason opener at Kansas City (kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. Seattle time) with Boykin following Wilson after a series or two, with Heaps then finishing up.
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Boykin said a few days ago he can’t wait to get on the field in Kansas City.
“First NFL game ever,” he said. “No matter if it’s regular season or preseason, you go in there and treat it like a real game every time.’’
And for Boykin and Heaps, the stakes are particularly high.
The Seahawks haven’t ruled out that they might still go after a veteran to back up Wilson, with some likely to be available in a few weeks when teams cut rosters to 75, and then to 53.
Conversely, the Seahawks haven’t ruled out that Boykin could convince them that he’s ready now to be Wilson’s backup. In particular, the Seahawks will be looking to see if the kind of plays the dual-threat Boykin was able to consistently make in college he can now also pull off in the NFL
“It’s going to be a good process for him to go through these next four games,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Wednesday. “That is going to speak volumes for him and obviously we are going to get great opportunity going against our defense every day. That is a great challenge for him and he has been able to hold his own. Then he is going to have to continue to progress and take it through to the preseason and really show us that he’s got a great handle on it, and this will be his first test coming up.”
One thing that attracted the Seahawks to Boykin is that his style is similar to that of Wilson and does not call for a wholesale change in the offense when he is at quarterback.
But Boykin mostly played in a spread offense at TCU, and while Boykin has noted that he worked in a more conventional offense early in his college career, one of the big questions will be how he can adapt to playing under center and handling a huddle.
Bevell said Wednesdsay Boykin has adapted well.
“From the system that he has come in from and to come into our system when you’re not calling plays in the huddle sometimes that can really hamper young quarterbacks,” Bevell said. “I think he has done a really nice job of coming in, studying the playbook, being on the words and the verbiage that he has to repeat in the huddle so that’s going to be a cool thing to watch in the game. To see how well, you know there is not going to be a coach standing there to make sure he is saying it right so that he is going to be able to spit that out in the huddle. Once he has broken the huddle he has done a really nice job of, ‘ok now I can focus on where everyone’s going’ and I think he’s really played well out here.”
Boykin said quarterbacking from under center — where he often gets to work with TCU teammate Joey Hunt — and handling the huddle haven’t been the biggest challenges for him so far.
Instead, said Boykin, “the hardest thing for me right now is calling (pass) protections. But as far as concepts and setting the plays in the huddle I’ve gotten 10 times better than I was from when I started.’’
Bevell said Heaps has also shown improvement throughout camp, and that now the goal for each quarterback is to replicate that practice success in a game, preseason or otherwise.
“We’ve got good competition at that position,” Bevell said. “I think Jake is pushing him as well. Both those guys are making some big splash plays out here, so I think it is going to be fun to watch them play and see how much they are going to be able to retain and react to.”