As we get to another round of questions about the Seahawks we’ll first provide an update on where things stand with the training-camp schedule.
Sunday marked the second of two days devoted to physicals.
And if there is significant news coming from those physicals it wasn’t yet revealed Sunday afternoon as the Seahawks had no new transactions listed by the NFL, either for normal football moves or anything related to COVID-19 (the only mention was that linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee, who was waived as injured on Saturday, passed through waivers and reverted to the team’s injured reserve list).
Seattle still has not had a player placed on the COVID-19 Reserve list (84 have around the league) with all teams now through the initial four-day testing phase, though players will continue to be tested every day for two weeks.
Players who pass physicals will transition to the next phase of training camp Monday, an eight-day period devoted to strength and conditioning.
This phase not only allows for workouts (the Seahawks splitting into offensive and defensive groups for those sessions) but also for quarterbacks to do some throwing to receivers.
So yes, you might on Monday get your first official look at Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and other quarterbacks and receivers in action at the VMAC (media at-large won’t be present but team/players will likely provide a video or two of the action).
The strength and conditioning phase lasts until Aug. 12, when teams can hold their first practices.
Now, onto some questions.
A: With Jadeveon Clowney, I’d say by the start of the regular season.
With Everson Griffen, I’d assume sooner.
Clowney has proven willing to be incredibly patient, and the only real deadline he might feel is the first week of the season.
But one thing I heard last week is that Clowney “isn’t giving any discounts.” That if maybe you think that now that camps are beginning he’d be willing to drop his demands some — especially with the Seahawks — that you’d be wrong.
That signaled to me, anyway, that he’s in this for the long haul.
Obviously, if the second week of September rolls around and there’s no offer that’s what he really wants, then at that point he’s going to have to take what is there if he wants to play.
But especially this year, I’d doubt he’s rushing to sign a deal he thinks he can get a month from now and have to go through training camp.
As for Griffen, I’d imagine he signs with someone sooner because I don’t think his market will be the same as Clowney’s.
For each player, what could start to make the decision-making process clearer is once the NFL is past the opt-out deadline — as of Sunday, exactly the cutoff when players can opt-out remained unclear.
It initially was set to be a week after the agreement between the league and the players was signed. But as of Sunday, the agreement had yet to be signed. If the league sticks with that deadline, then players would have until at least Aug. 9 to opt-out.
But with roughly 40 players having chosen to opt-out as of Sunday afternoon and more doing so each day, the league reportedly wants to move that deadline up (ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday the deadline could be as early as Wednesday).
Players opting-out is creating both open roster spots and more cap room for some teams that might not previously have been interested in players such as Clowney and Griffen (the Patriots have had eight opt-outs as of Sunday afternoon, to name one).
Clowney in particular might want to wait out that deadline, at the least. And maybe the passing of the deadline will spur some activity on the Clowney front.
But I also don’t think anyone should be surprised if he waits until September.
A: This is going to be a really interesting thing to watch, whether and how much the lack of an offseason really impacts what we see on the field in the fall.
This is so unprecedented that everything at this point is obviously a guess.
But the easy answer would seem to be that the other players besides rookies who would be most impacted are players new to the team, who could have used the offseason work to get that much more acclimated to the playbook.
For the Seahawks, I think that could specifically impact the offensive line, which could have three starters new to the team this year — center B.J. Finney, right guard Damien Lewis and right tackle Brandon Shell. Building offensive line cohesion in the offseason is tricky anyway, and will be more so this year, especially for teams with new players.
But, as Seahawks coach Pete Carroll mentions every time these kinds of questions get asked, it’s the same for every team, which will put the onus on each coach/organization to make the necessary adjustments and see who can do it the best.
The guess here is teams might simplify some things, especially early on, to account for some of the lost time but that by the time the regular season rolls around it won’t be anything anyone on the outside will really notice.
A: This is another thing that will be interesting to watch.
Teams obviously spend a lot of time in the May/June on-field periods beginning to form their special teams, which are generally made up primarily of younger players.
But that’s where the 14 padded practices — which the assumption is will include a few scrimmages — will come big.
The good news for the Seahawks is that they have a veteran kicking battery of kicker Jason Myers, punter/holder Michael Dickson and snapper Tyler Ott, which is now in its third year working together and should be able to hit the ground running.
The other good news is that Seattle broke in a number of young players last year who became vital parts of special teams and likely will hold the same roles this season — linebackers Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven, defensive backs Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair and running back Travis Homer were all among the top seven in special-teams snaps last year (via ProFootballReference).
In fact, each of Seattle’s top eight players last year in special-teams snaps return, the others being fullback Nick Bellore, linebacker Shaquem Griffin and tight end Jacob Hollister. Also, the Seahawks brought back special-teams captain Neiko Thorpe, whose overall snaps were limited due to injury a year ago.
So if nothing else, the Seahawks at least don’t appear as if they’ll have to break in as many new pieces on special teams this year as they did a year ago, which should ease the impact of not having had the offseason program to refine those units.
A: This is a lament I hear often from Seahawks fans.
I’d point out two things.
One is that the clock is often running down because Russell Wilson is using all the time available to him to continue surveying the defense as it gets aligned before the snap — and obviously, if he’s changing a play, a blocking scheme or giving a signal to a receiver about a route to change, that all takes time, too.
And that’s part of the benefit of an elite quarterback, having someone who can control things at the line of scrimmage while also being cognizant of the play clock, with the team having given even more control to Wilson to run things at the line with each passing season.
Another is that the Seahawks weren’t really all that much slower than the average NFL team last year in using clock between plays.
According to FootballOutsiders.com, the Seahawks ran a play every 28.23 seconds last year. That ranked 20th in the NFL and wasn’t too far off the leaguewide average of 27.63.
The Seahawks, though, had one of the bigger variances of time between plays in the first and second halves last season.
Seattle ran a play every 29.53 seconds in the first half last year, which ranked 30th, and every 27.07 seconds in the second half, which ranked 12th (NFL averages for the two halves were 27.72 and 27.54, respectively).
Seattle scored 187 points in the first half last year and 209 in the second (with another nine in overtime), which helps feed the idea the Seahawks are better at a faster tempo, though how statistically significant 22 points is spread out over a 16-game season can probably be debated.