Our daily impressions from Seahawks' training camp include items on Tyler Lockett, the receiving corps, Jordan Hill, and more.
Here are our daily impressions of Seahawks’ training camp from beat reporters Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta.
First, from Jenks:
1. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill and the strange challenge of his speed. Hill said something really interesting about his quickness and speed the other day: “Sometimes I still feel like it’s a disadvantage for me now,” he said. “I’ll get off the ball too fast sometimes, and if for instance it’s a run, I’m all up in the offensive lineman’s grill, and I can’t get my hands onto him because I’m on him too fast.” It’s an odd concept on the surface, but defensive coordinator Kris Richard explained what Hill meant: “It’s about situational awareness and situational smarts. Of course you want to get off the football quickly if it’s a pass, but ultimately we have run-gap responsibilities. We like our guys stopping the run on the way to the quarterback.” Richard said Hill is stouter against the run, and while that’s something that’s hard to tell until full contact in games, the Seahawks think Hill is starting to figure it out.
2. Rookie receiver Tyler Lockett is still young and learning and has a ways to go. Lockett has looked really impressive for much of his short time with the Seahawks so far. He’s quick and shifty, gets in and out of his cuts really crisply and just looks fundamentally sound, which is not surprising given that his dad and uncle both played in the NFL But Lockett has made noticeably fewer plays in the last three or four practices, and after Tuesday’s practice, Baldwin offered some interesting insight into what Lockett is going through as a rookie: “He’s in the mode right now where he’s thinking a little bit too much, but I think once he gets out there and lets the game take over he’s going to ball out.” The Seahawks are still counting on Lockett in big ways as a return man this season, and he should get some time at receiver as well. But the biggest challenge for young players is consistency, and in that way Lockett is no different.
3. Fullback Will Tukuafu punishes people when he blocks. This is more an appreciation than any kind of deep analysis, but in the few chances where we’ve seen Tukuafu actually get to block anyone, usually linebackers, he delivers such solid contact that it just sounds a little different than the other collisions. This is neither new nor surprising considering Tukuafu is 6-2, 280 pounds. But for some reason I was thinking about that today while watching him practice. In a drill earlier this training camp, in which the running backs had to block the linebackers while they blitzed the quarterback, Tukuafu’s pads exploded on guys.
And from Condotta:
1. Lemuel Jeanpierre was the starting center today — but who knows who it will be tomorrow. The seemingly daily shuffle on the offensive line continued Tuesday as veteran Lemuel Jeanpierre spent the day with the No. 1 unit with Drew Nowak — who had been there on Monday — back with the No. 2s. The coaches have said the battle is tight, and maybe they simply wanted to see how Jeanpierre worked alongside Keavon Milton, who is suddenly working with the ones at left guard ahead of Alvin Bailey. For now, each of those competitions appear to remain too close to call. What was interesting is that the rest of the OL units appear to be getting some stability, as each of the rest of the top three units has been pretty much the same the past few days.
The No. 1 unit today was, from left to right, Russell Okung, Milton, Jeanpierre, J.R. Sweezy, Justin Britt. The second unit, left to right, was: Garry Gilliam, Alvin Bailey, Nowak, Mark Glowinski and Jesse Davis. And the third OL was, left to right: Kona Schwenke, Kristjan Sokoli, Patrick Lewis, Will Pericak, Terry Poole.
2. Dion Bailey continues to impress at strong safety. Expect Bailey to start for the Seahawks against Denver Friday night as the team continues to play without Kam Chancellor, with no real end in sight to his holdout (one source said today is that the perception around the league is that that is “no chance” the Seahawks will give in to Chancellor because it would “open the flood gates” to other players wanting to try something similar. Chancellor’s fine, by the way, is now up to $580,000). Bailey has overtaken DeShawn Shead as the starting strong safety the past few days, in large part due to what coaches and teammates say are superior instincts in reading plays and also in his ability to play the run, due in part to a history as a linebacker at USC. Recall that Bailey spent much of last year on the practice squad, after rejoining the team after being cut in August when he suffered a severe ankle, experience that has given him a solid foundation for what he is doing in camp now. “He has been around us for a year, so he understands out system and our philosophy and our standard, and really the simple fact is that he is healthy,” said defensive coordinator Kris Richard. “He was coming on strong last year before his injury so it’s not a surprise to see him play the way he is.”
3. The younger receivers seem to go up one way, down the next, with coaches looking for consistency. Kasen Williams was the story of Monday when he turned in another couple of highlight-reel catches to go with having tied for the team lead in receptions with four in Saturday’s scrimmage. But coaches always say that what they are looking for most is consistency. And Williams showed he’s still a work in progress when he dropped two passes late in Tuesday’s practice — one when he was wide open near the sidelines on a third down play that ended the drive for the offense. Meanwhile, Kevin Norwood, who had seemed silent the last few days, had a better day Tuesday, showing good body control on one play where he reached over Will Blackmon to make a leaping grab of a Tarvaris Jackson pass near the end zone. In other words, there’s a lot still to be determined about the final makeup of the receiving corps.