Here are our daily impressions from Seahawks' practice with items on the secondary, the receiving corps, Frank Clark, and more.
Here are our daily impressions from Seahawks’ practice from beat reporters Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta.
First, from Jenks:
1. This is a good time for the young members of Seattle’s secondary. The downside of this is obvious: The Seahawks are without regulars Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman, Will Blackmon and Jeremy Lane (and Tharold Simon is just easing into his return to the field). But the upside is that the younger, less experienced members of Seattle’s secondary will get a shot to show themselves because, well, the Seahawks don’t have a lot of choices right now. Rookie cornerback Tye Smith stood out in coverage and play heavily in Friday’s preseason game. Second-year safety Dion Bailey, an undrafted free agent, has drawn praise this training camp and will continue to see starting time at strong safety. Same with rookie undrafted free agent Ronald Martin at free safety. Bailey and Martin both practiced with the first-team defense on Monday, and Carroll said he wants to see how they do in that situation. This isn’t ideal for the Seahawks, of course, but what it does is allow them to get long looks at some of the players who will give them depth come the start of the season. As long as the regulars come back from injury or, in Chancellor’s case, a holdout, the Seahawks should have a more experienced, more readily available, second team in the secondary.
2. Rookie Frank Clark looked as impressive on film as he did in person. Clark emerged from Friday’s preseason game as one of the stars, and with good reason. He was all over the place, and he made himself noticed play after play after play. At one point he even had all three tackles on drive that saw the Broncos punt. But I was curious to see what Carroll thought of Clark once he watched the film, just to see if Clark’s star dimmed at all. He wasn’t flawless, but Carroll said Clark was just as impressive overall after watching the tape of the game. And what Carroll pointed out was how much “variety” Clark had in his production: He was quick off the edge, chased down running backs from the back side, forced a fumble, was laterally quick to get to running plays inside and rushed from both outside and inside. It was about as good of a first showing from Clark as anyone could have anticipated.
3. The play that special teams coach Brian Schneider was most pleased with might surprise you. I caught up with Schneider after Monday’s practice and asked him a lot about Tyler Lockett for a story down the road. But I also asked Schneider what players stood out on special teams. Here is his response: “I told all the players this: We did a lot of good things. We had some good kickoffs. We had a fumble recovery on a punt. But the best play to me was on the fourth quarter punt when we had all our twos and threes in there and they’re giving maximum effort. No one sees that. No one is going to write a story about that. But you see all 11 guys just totally straining and giving great effort and they caught it. But to me I made a big point of that because that’s what we ask. We ask for great effort.” It’s an small look into what the Seahawks stress from their players on special teams; this is the same team that races into the end zone and tries to keep track of who gets the most fired up during the season. All that little stuff matters.
And from Condotta:
1. Kevin Smith and B.J. Daniels may be emerging from the big mix at receiver. Friday gave evidence that the top five receivers on the team are Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Chris Matthews, Tyler Lockett and Ricardo Lockette. If the team played a game today, those five would be on the team (Matthews should only be out up to 10 days or so with the shoulder injury suffered in the game). Pete Carroll last week called the group after that “a big mix.” Two who may be crawling out from that a bit, though, are Kevin Smith and B.J. Daniels. Each not only made some plays as a receiver in the game, especially Smith with a tough catch over the middle, but also in special teams. “Kevin Smith played really well,” Carroll said. “He had some really nice catches and tough, tough plays he made.” As for Daniels, Carroll noted that “B.J. looked comfortable in the game. He made a couple mistakes but he was real competitive in the game. That was a good sign. On special teams he was by far the leader on the receiving group.” Daniels then turned in one of the highlight plays of Monday’s practice with a one-handed grab reminiscent of the one Odell Beckham made famous last season. The two could be making it even more difficult for Kevin Norwood, a fourth-round pick last season, to make the roster.
2. R.J. Archer figures to get a lot more snaps at QB with Tarvaris Jackson out — and that might not be a bad thing. It seemed like the fan perception of R.J.Archer’s performance Friday was all over the map. Maybe it’s because Archer got off to a shaky start but then seemed to get better as the game wore on. That only makes some sense considering he was rushed in a little before he was due to play after Tarvaris Jackson went down with an ankle injury in the third quarter, and that it was his first NFL action since 2011. He hit on five straight passes in Seattle’s final scoring drive, capping it with the TD toss to Thomas Rawls. That Jackson is out for a few weeks or so has the Seahawks considering their options at backup quarterback, and the team could well sign someone to at least provide another arm in camp, if nothing else (B.J. Daniels figures to take some snaps each day and will be available as a No. 3 QB if needed, as well). But what is sure to happen is that Archer will get more snaps now, both in practice and in games. And whether it was playing in a game Friday or just getting more comfortable with camp entering its third week, Archer seemed to have his best practice of camp today. He seemed more accurate overall and more confident with the throws he did make. And he also shows a little better running ability than his resume might suggest. The team wants Jackson as its backup. But they may also be comfortable enough for now with Archer.
3. Is anything going to change anytime soon with Kam Chancellor? I wish I knew. But it’s hard to tell where this is headed. You heard ESPN’s John Clayton predict that the breakthrough might come today, in part because this was a day when it made sense for it to end — a missed preseason game is a pretty big statement as is. But Carroll’s comments on it today didn’t suggest that anything is imminent. Asked if there is anything new on Chancellor, Carroll said: “Just that our conversations continue and nothing has changed. We’re in communication regularly.” That was the case last week, too, and the week before that. The standoff apparently remains the same —Chancellor wants some sort of enhancement to his contract (possibly guaranteeing base salaries in future seasons) while the Seahawks don’t want to set a precedent of rewarding a holdout of a player with a contract with three years remaining (or, to be more accurate, redoing a deal that has any more than one year remaining.) Asked today if he was surprised how long this has gone on, Carroll shook his head. “Knowing Kam and knowing how strong-minded he is, I think he’s made a statement that he’s really got a thought here that he’s holding onto. We’ll see how it goes.”