Here are our daily impressions from Seahawks' training camp with items on Frank Clark, Robert Turbin, Bobby Wagner, Cassius Marsh and more.
Here are our daily impression from Seahawks training camp.
First, beat reporter Jayson Jenks:
1. Bobby Wagner’s speed is truly impressive. The running backs and linebackers did one-on-one drills in which the running backs were tasked with blocking the linebackers in pass protection. Third-year running back Christine Michael had the chore of stopping Wagner, and Wagner burned him at least two times. Michael barely got his hands on Wagner both times. Noteworthy for two reasons: One, Wagner is so fast that an athletic running back struggled to keep up with him. And two, it’s these kinds of skills that have helped keep Michael from seeing much of the field the past two seasons. Michael entered the league struggling to block in pass protection, and though he has gotten better, he still isn’t as crisp as Robert Turbin or Marshawn Lynch. At one point after Wagner burned him, Michael and Wagner worked on what happened over to the side, with Wagner showing him what he was doing. Later in the one-on-one drills, the linebackers dropped into coverage against the running backs, and Wagner once again showed why he is so valuable in the middle. On one play he actually missed jamming the running back at the line but still was quick enough to catch up and cut off the pass in the flat. We all know he’s good, but in moments such as those, it’s fun to remember why he’s so good.
2. Rookie defensive end Obum Gwacham still has a long way to go, and that’s not a surprise. Gwacham played defensive end for one season at Oregon State after previously being a wide receiver. It was a unique and unusual position change, and the Seahawks knew Gwacham would be a project when they picked him in the sixth round this year. Watching the one-on-ones between the offensive and defensive line, it was clear Gwacham is indeed very raw. He got stuffed a number of times by backup offensive tackles Garry Gilliam and Jesse Davis while rushing off the edge. Gwacham is still so lean and light — he weighs only 249 pounds — and struggled against the strength of the bigger Gilliam and Davis. Coach Pete Carroll’s impression of Gwacham: “That he’s raw. And he is the hardest-working guy you maybe can find. He unbelievably gives it up every snap. He’s done a great job on special teams. Because he’s s such a new player to the position, we have to patient with his growth.” One interesting moment: Defensive end Michael Bennett pulled Gwacham aside after one failed pass rush and showed him how to use his hands and dip his body low to gain leverage. The next time Gwacham rushed, he beat Davis around the edge by doing just that. Small steps.
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3. Cassius Marsh is a LEO (a pass-rushing defensive end). The LEO designation essentially means the Seahawks want Marsh to be a pass-rushing defensive end who is hell-bent on going after the quarterback (Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons, etc.). The Seahawks moved Marsh around some last year, from defensive end on both sides of the line to defensive tackle in pass-rushing situations. Though that still is an option, Carroll said he sees Marsh’s best fit right now at LEO. Carroll also said something interesting: Down the road, he sees Marsh playing outside linebacker as well. “We’re not going to do that yet, but that’s coming,” he said. “For flexibility and all.” Marsh is recovering from an injury that wiped out most of his rookie season, and he will be called upon this year to give the Seahawks depth on the outside of their defensive line.
And from Bob Condotta:
1. Kristjan Sokoli keeps working with the starters at left guard; does that mean anything about the other rookie linemen? As he did Monday, rookie Kristjan Sokoli spent much of the day working with the No. 1 offense at left guard. Afterward, Carroll again said the team wants to make sure presumed starting left guard Alvin Bailey has some competition, adding that it’s a nod to what Sokoli, a seventh-round draft pick, has shown. “Kristjan has shown already that he’s really athletic and he’s very tough, so we want to see what happens when we take the burden of the snap off of him and see if he can move faster with the process of learning,’’ Carroll said. “It’s a lot to ask a first-year guy to transition from defense and play center. He’s made up to be a center. He’s really fast and really athletic. We’re just going to see what happens here. We have to get through some games and see what he all means here in a couple weeks.” What’s also interesting about this is that the Seahawks drafted Terry Poole and Mark Glowinski in the fourth round and have both playing at guard at the moment. Yet neither is getting the same look as Sokoli. Glowinski is getting some reps at left guard with the starters, but Carroll said “Mark, if he gets any time, it’s just for flexibility at this point.’’ Poole, meanwhile, is working solely with the backup units as he appears to be progressing more slowly than the other two. For now, if there’s a rookie that’s going to make an impact this year, it appears to be Sokoli.
2. Robert Turbin appears as quick and fast as ever after having surgery on both hips. It had been reported earlier that Turbin had offseason surgery on a hip, which caused him to miss OTAs and minicamp. On Wednesday the team revealed that Turbin had surgery on both hips. The results seem pretty dramatic, as Turbin almost daily is earning raves. “Interesting to see Turbin come back,’’ Carroll said Wednesday. “He had double-hip surgery, and you don’t know what you’re doing to get. He looked the best he’s looked — very quick, explosive, so he’s really made a good first impression. Had a big day a couple of days ago.” Turbin is competing with Michael and Thomas Rawls for a backup spot behind Marshawn Lynch and to show the team he can be an heir apparent, if needed, at some point over the next few years.
3. Frank Clark’s role appears to be coming a little bit more clear. Carroll said a few days ago the team hoped to soon narrow just a bit what it is asking of Clark to let him focus on specific positions. On Wednesday Carroll indicated that is happening, saying Clark is playing defensive end in the base defense and moving inside to tackle in nickel situations — a role similar to that of Michael Bennett. “I love the thought of a 4.6 guy rushing on a guard,’’ Carroll said. “He’s very active, he’s got great hands and stuff. We have to see how that fits. That’s going to take us a while before we know that.’’ Clark, to be sure, will be one of the more intriguing players to watch in the preseason for a number of reasons. For now he appears to be finding a niche on the defense.