RENTON — The Seahawks’ final organized team activity (OTA) practice of the spring Thursday saw the debut of one rookie and another chance to see another rookie with the starting lineup.

Here are some thoughts on those topics as well as on DK Metcalf, Shaquem Griffin and Russell Wilson and more of what we saw at the VMAC.

Gary Jennings gets on the field

Receiver Gary Jennings, a fourth-round pick out of West Virginia who has been out with a hamstring issue, had his helmet on and did some of the early drills, possibly foreshadowing getting more work when the team holds its mandatory minicamp next week (on the field Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday).

Jennings has obviously missed a lot of potential reps with quarterbacks, but the Seahawks have erred on the side of caution with a player who seems likely to be on the 53-man roster, trying to assure he will be fully healthy when training camp rolls around in late July.

Offensive lineman Phil Haynes, who was taken four spots after Jennings at 124 overall, got another long look with the starting offense, working throughout with the No. 1 unit at right guard in place of D.J. Fluker, who was not present. Fluker might have just been getting a day off (and a reminder that OTAs are also voluntary), and the Seahawks undoubtedly like being able to get some significant reps for Haynes, who by all accounts has been a standout so far. He also spent a day earlier in OTAs working with the first team offense at left guard when Mike Iupati was out for a day.

Haynes working with the first team meant Ethan Pocic, Jordan Simmons and Marcus Martin all worked with the second team at guard. Pocic’s status will draw particular attention because he was a second-round pick in 2017 who entered the 2018 season as a starter at left guard before an injury and Fluker’s return from his own injury.


Pocic may have to make the roster as a jack-of-all-trades backup with his ability to play center particularly helpful. He got a few snaps at center in team drills Thursday.

DK Metcalf has another eventful day

Rookie receiver DK Metcalf’s every step seems worth watching these days, and he provided a few interesting nuggets along the way.

First, during early drills, he spent a little time with the defensive linemen doing some hand work with defensive line coach Clint Hurtt, something Doug Baldwin also used to do.

Later, Metcalf was called for an offensive pass-interference penalty for pushing off on Davante Davis but a few plays later made a catch for a long gain on a slant (one of two notable offensive pass-interference penalties called on the day against the offense, the other on Jaron Brown.)

Earlier, he also had a deep pass thrown his way by Geno Smith broken up by Tre Flowers.

He also spent some time early in a 7-on-7 drill working against cornerback Shaquill Griffin, who said later he noticed Metcalf trying a different move than he had earlier in camp.


That, to Griffin, was a sign that Metcalf is progressing and showing an ability to change up his techniques.

“He’s been working on his releases and hand placement, and he did a move on me today which was different and that he had not been doing all OTAs,’’ Griffin said. “ … It’s kind of cool to see him adjust. The speed is definitely there, the size and speed is definitely there.’’

Shaquem Griffin’s game growing in every way

Shaquill Griffin has been a standout throughout OTAs and told reporters later a revamped nutrition plan has helped him lose 12 pounds and get down to 194 pounds, which he says has helped with his speed and quickness.

That plan is directly at odds with that of his twin, Shaquem, who is hoping to add to his listed 227 pounds so that he can have more bulk as he adapts to playing more on the edge and closer to the line of scrimmage in pass-rush situations (the two have hired a personal chef to help in their respective, if differing, quests).

Griffin continues to work at weakside linebacker, and with vets K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks limited, often goes with the No. 1 defense at that spot alongside Austin Calitro in the middle (with Bobby Wagner also sitting out team drills).

But Griffin is also playing some strongside linebacker and being used in some specialty pass-rush situations.


“Now you get to see his speed on the edge like he did in college,’’ Shaquill Griffin said. “ … He’s a little rusty, so when we are going back home, we are talking about he’s got to work back on his pass rush. He’s definitely not the same. But to see him back into it, he’s loving it. Definitely enjoying that part of that he gets to rush again back like he did in college….

“This year, they moved him around a lot more, chance to rush a little at SAM (strongside inebacker), nickel package, he’s playing the WILL (weakside linebacker), just moving around a lot more. Now you can see he’s enjoying it a lot more, because he’s getting back to what he’s used to doing, rushing. Now he’s to the point he needs to gain a little more weight, keep his speed, but be able to rush and go back and cover. He’s been looking good so far in OTA. Think it’s going to be a different year for him.”

Shaquem Griffin is a constant presence on special teams with special-teams coach Brian Schneider saying he thinks Shaquem Griffin “is going to be great this year. I have already seen the improvement. … He was a flash player last year because he has that natural ability, and I just think he is going to be really, really consistent in terms of how he does it consistently (in 2019).’’

David Moore a factor as punt returner?

Many of the Seahawks’ 2019 draft picks were selected in part due to what Seattle thinks they can do on special teams, including potential returners Ugo Amadi and John Ursua.

But when asked about the return game and taking some of the load off Tyler Lockett, Schneider first mentioned third-year receiver David Moore.

“David Moore looks fabulous out there returning points,’’ Schneider said. “He had a great preseason last year. So the No. 1 thing, especially in our punt returner, is you want to make sure you retain possession, and that’s the hardest thing to get in a game, and there’s a lot of decision that goes into it and I really feel comfortable with David.’’


It may be easy to forget that Moore actually got significant work as a punt returner during camp last season and had a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third preseason game against Minnesota called back for what the team felt was a dubious holding penalty. Moore got the highest rating in the preseason by Pro Football Focus last year of anyone with at least three punt returns.

Schneider also said Ursua and Amadi could factor in, though Lockett said this week he’d like to continue as the regular punt and kickoff returner.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys that can do it, too, so however that plays out I think we are prepared for whoever we put back there we will feel good about it,’’ Schneider said.

Russell Wilson gets his holds in

The Seahawks twice last season had to deal with kicker Sebastian Janikowski suffering an injury during a game that left his status in doubt. And against Dallas in the wild-card playoff game, Seattle actually had to play out the second half without him, forcing quarterback Russell Wilson to do a few quick holds for punter Michael Dickson in case Dickson was needed for a field goal or extra point.

That scenario didn’t end up coming into play as the Seahawks went for two points after each of their second-half touchdowns, converting each on runs in an eventual 24-22 loss.

The Seahawks have always prepared backups for the scenario of a starting kicker getting injured, but media got to see it firsthand earlier this week when Wilson held for two field goals by Dickson, each of which he made.


Schneider said of the Dallas game: “It was nuts. … It kind of shocked the system for everyone, and Russell had to hold and it was all different. … We just have to be prepared for those things.’’

And a few more …

  • With Bradley McDougald, Lano Hill and Marquise Blair all remaining out, the starting safety tandem Thursday was again Tedric Thompson and Shalom Luani. Amadi and Marwin Evans have typically been the backups.
  • Akeem King continues to be the primary nickel with the starters. Kalan Reed, out earlier in the week, was back on Thursday.
  • Ben Burr-Kirven also remains out with an unknown injury.