Here are some things we learned at Seahawks practice Monday.
Here are observations from Seahawks’ training camp Sunday from beat reporters Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta.
First, from Jenks:
1, Player I’m most intrigued to see: safety Bradley McDougald
It’s not just because we both went to the University of Kansas. McDougald is a starting-caliber safety in the NFL, joining what is already one of the league’s best safety tandems.
So…how does he fit in?
Defensive coordinator Kris Richard and coach Pete Carroll have both said McDougald will be used in a variety of ways, outside of being a backup to Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.
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The Seahawks have been creative with roles in the past, and McDougald is the guy I’m most curious to see how they use. He’s good enough to help this team.
“Just with watching him without the pads on, he looks like he is going to lay some bruising hits,” Chancellor said. “He has the form. He has the mindset. He is a guy that can cover…I think he is going to be a guy that makes plays and just be able to make impact and adds value to the team.”
2, The Seahawks are easing in rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin.
That’s not surprising, but judging by the early rotations at cornerback, Griffin is behind Jeremy Lane, DeAndre Elliott and Neiko Thorpe on the depth chart.
All three of those guys were with the Seahawks last year, and because the Seahawks ask their corners to play a unique and intricate style, experience is highly valuable.
It’s a particularly interesting time for the cornerback position because DeShawn Shead’s injury has opened up the starting spot opposite Richard Sherman.
The Seahawks have praised Griffin’s mind, but it will be interesting to see if Griffin, a third-round pick, pushes for playing time this season.
3, Linebacker Otha Peters made the play of the day.
Peters, an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana-Lafayette, jumped a Trevone Boykin pass and picked it off. He took off running the down the field, joined by most of the defense, even those guys who weren’t on the field during the play.
Peters is fighting for a spot among a crowded linebacker corps that includes stalwarts Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright as well as veterans Michael Wilhoite, D.J. Alexander, Dewey McDonald and the recently signed Mike Morgan.
And from Condotta.
1, The backup QB battle will be interesting, to say the least.
I wrote earlier that the passing game wasn’t real sharp today. It wasn’t on Sunday, either. There’s obviously little reason to worry about Russell Wilson. But Seattle’s backup QB situation is hardly set in stone with free agent Austin Davis competing with second-year QB Trevone Boykin. Each had a few misfires on Monday and though I think Boykin remains the leader for the backup job that’s hardly a given.
And if each struggles when the games roll around and Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned there will be no shortage of NFL observers wondering if the Seahawks should maybe revisit that option. I’m not sure they will no matter how shaky things might get — and it’s really early to conclude anything, obviously. Maybe each just needs a little more time to settle in.
But the second halves of Seattle preseason games this season may provide a lot more reason for watching than in years past.
2, Player I’m intrigued to see: WR Kasen Williams.
It’s amazing how quickly players suddenly go from the young up-and-comer to one of the vets fighting for a roster spot.
The receiving position seems like it’s deeper and more competitive this season in part due to the arrival of rookie draft picks Amara Darboh and David Moore. Each has had some nice moments so far — Darboh had a long TD reception of a pass from Wilson today.
But Williams, the former Skyline and UW standout now in his third season with the Seahawks, remains in the mix and appears to be working in the rotation with the second unit most often, meaning right on the cusp of a roster spot.
A year ago he was considered one of the players to watch entering camp after a standout offseason program. Then he suffered a hamstring injury and was waived and then brought back to the practice squad before ending up back on the 53-man roster for the final game of the season and the playoffs.
Monday, Williams ended practice with a diving catch of a pass from Boykin providing a reminder that he’s still around.
3, The return jobs will be interesting to watch as long as Tyler Lockett makes his way back.
Carroll said Sunday that he doesn’t expect Lockett to be on the PUP list long. And the assumption is that once he returns that he will also retake the position of being the main kickoff and punt returner. But the Seahawks might also want to take some of that load off of Lockett’s shoulders, especially as he eases back into action which could put a little more importance on the return games in the preseason to see who can best fill those roles.
Lockett could only watch on Monday as a bevy of players took their turns at returns. The group consisted of Paul Richardson, J.D. McKissic, Cyril Grayson Jr., Jermaine Kearse, Alex Collins and Doug Baldwin.
The ability to return could be especially critical for guys who will be fighting for roster spots such as McKissic, Grayson and maybe even Collins, who can hardly be considered a lock to make it.