The intensity ratcheted up on the third day of training-camp practice for the Seahawks on Friday, the first this year that featured the offense and defense working against each other.
It also featured the first injury situation of camp worth watching as starting defensive tackle Jarran Reed left early with what appeared to be a lower-leg injury.
Players and coaches were not available after practice as interviews were done via Zoom beforehand, so there was no word on the situation with Reed. Reed came up limping after an early drill, and after walking around a little bit headed into the locker room and did not return.
Poona Ford, the team’s other starting defensive tackle working at nose tackle, was held out late in practice with what appeared to be a calf issue. But after receiving some treatment Ford stayed on the field (though he did not see any more action) suggesting it’s not a serious issue. Ford also dealt with a calf injury last season.
Reed’s injury might not be serious. This is the time of year to be ultra cautious, especially with a proven veteran. Reed is the Seahawks’ best player at what is one of their thinner positions.
The Seahawks have Reed and Ford entrenched as the starters at tackle. The only other tackles on the roster are players with little or no experience — second-year player Bryan Mone, undrafted rookie free agent Cedrick Lattimore and Demarcus Christmas, a sixth-round draft choice in 2019 who did not play last year because of a back injury.
Christmas filled in for Reed during the remaining drills, with Mone serving as Ford’s backup at nose tackle. The Seahawks also can use ends L.J. Collier and Rasheem Green as tackles on passing downs.
Having just five true defensive tackles, and only two with significant experience, has led to the thought that the Seahawks would look to sign a veteran free agent.
Among tackles still available are two who have been linked to the Seahawks in recent days — Damon “Snacks” Harrison and Marcell Dareus.
The 30-year-old Dareus played six games for Jacksonville last season before suffering a season-ending core muscle injury. He made Pro Bowls in 2013 and 2014 while with Buffalo.
Harrison, 31, played 15 games last season with Detroit and had been contemplating retirement, but it was reported he would consider playing this season.
Former Seahawk Brandon Mebane remains a free agent as is Timmy Jernigan, a starter for the Eagles in their Super Bowl victory over New England two years ago. Reports last week stated he was on the verge of a contract with Jacksonville.
Of course, Jadeveon Clowney remains available, too.
The Seahawks already are dealing with one worrisome injury situation on the defensive line with second-round pick Darrell Taylor still on the Non-Football Injury list recovering from surgery last January to repair a shin injury that he played with in 2019 during his last season at Tennessee.
As for Reed, the Seahawks obviously will be hoping his issue is nothing major with the team confident he will have a bounce-back season in 2020, as evidenced by the contract (two years worth up to $23 million) he received last March.
A second-round choice out of Alabama in 2016, Reed had 10.5 sacks in 2018 — the only tackle in team history to have 10 or more in a season other than Hall of Famers Cortez Kennedy and John Randle — but struggled to attain the same effectiveness last season after missing the first six games while suspended for violating the league’s personal code of conduct.
The Seahawks went with Al Woods in Reed’s absence last season. But Woods signed as a free agent with Jacksonville and opted out of playing this season.
The Seahawks are off Saturday. By Sunday it’ll become clearer — if not before then — whether the team has anything to worry about with Reed.
Here are a few other notes from practice:
Brooks working at weakside linebacker
Pete Carroll has said first-round pick Jordyn Brooks will start his career at weakside linebacker, and that’s indeed where he was early in practice Friday. In some early drills, he worked with the first unit (media is prohibited from reporting on what happens in the 11-on-11 drills).
Veteran K.J. Wright also has been working at weakside linebacker, and was with the ones for practices earlier in the week.
Carroll said the team would look to give Wright some rest days as he not only doesn’t need a ton of practice as he enters his 10th season in the NFL, but he had surgery in the offseason to repair a shoulder injury. Carroll said earlier in the week the injury was significant enough that the team thought he might have to start camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
That was a big hint from Carroll that Brooks can be expected to get significant time working with the starting unit at weakside linebacker in camp.
A Penny sighting
Running back Rashaad Penny was present at practice for the first time this camp, having cleared the league’s COVID-19 testing protocol after arriving last week after staying in southern California rehabbing his knee.
Penny remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list, and is likely to stay there at the start of the regular season and miss at least the first six games after suffering an ACL injury against the Rams on Dec. 8.
Chris Carson also remains away from the team while dealing with personal matters that include a death in his family.
That continues to leave the bulk of the tailback work to Carlos Hyde, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas. The team did re-sign rookie free agent Patrick Carr on Friday to add some depth. Carr, who played at Houston, had been signed following the draft and waived last month.
No Dunbar just yet
Still absent is cornerback Quinton Dunbar, but he might make his Seahawks debut Sunday.
Dunbar flew to Seattle from Miami last Sunday after he was taken off the commissioner’s exempt list after it was learned he would not face charges for armed robbery.
Dunbar had to go through the four-day COVID-19 testing protocol and take a physical. The physical was expected to happen Friday (it’s assumed Dunbar passed the testing because there were no additions for Seattle to the COVID-19 reserve list Friday).
If he passes the physical the assumption is Dunbar will be able to practice Sunday.