Seattle enters camp with new starters at all five spots — justin Britt, left tackle Garry Gilliam, left guard Mark Glowinski, right guard Germain Ifedi and right tackle J’Marcus Webb. Here’s a quick primer on some particularly interesting players, positions and questions as camp opens Saturday.
RENTON — The Seahawks open training camp Saturday morning with expectations that down the stretch they will contend for a third Super Bowl appearance in four years.
The 10 a.m. practice will be the first of 13 open to the public. Here’s a quick primer on some particularly interesting players, positions and questions as camp opens.
Three players for whom training camp might be make-or-break
CB Tharold Simon: A fifth-round pick in 2013, Simon flashed potential during a late-season run as a starter in 2014. But injuries have limited him to just 11 games in three seasons. Simon spent much of the offseason program working with the first-team nickel defense at right corner (with Jeremy Lane moving inside in those scenarios). But the Seahawks are typically deep at corner, and the time is now for Simon to show he can stay healthy and play well consistently.
RB Christine Michael: Michael played credibly when re-signed late last season, and with Thomas Rawls still rehabbing from injury, worked as the No. 1 tailback throughout the offseason program. But with three drafted rookies on hand and Rawls expected to return by the regular season, Michael will have to show last year’s revival was lasting.
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C Patrick Lewis: The starting center the second half of last season, he begins this year as the backup to Justin Britt. He also has to stave off rookie Joey Hunt, a sixth-round pick who has drawn raves. Lewis has a $1.67 million non-guaranteed deal so if the Seahawks decide they like Britt (whose cap hit this year is just over $1 million) as the starter and Hunt as the backup, Lewis could be the odd man out.
Three position battles to watch
As mentioned above, Britt has been moved from right tackle to center, his third position in three years, and figures to get a long look to see if he can make that a permanent move.
While the Seahawks are high on undrafted rookie free agent Trevone Boykin,there remained a thought that they could turn to security blanket Tarvaris Jackson if needed. But after Jackson’s arrest in June for pulling a gun on a woman reported to be his wife, he won’t be back. If Boykin falters, the Seahawks will undoubtedly take a look at the waiver wire after the cutdowns to 75 and 53. Jake Heaps is running as the No. 3 QB.
Mike Morgan has the lead in the battle to replace the departed Bruce Irvin but will have to hold off Cassius Marsh and Eric Pinkins. But the Seahawks will also divvy up Irvin’s responsibilities a little among players at other positions, meaning whoever wins the SLB job likely won’t be on the field as much as Irvin was.
Three big questions
The offensive line
That’s pretty much all that needs to be said to identify what is the number one question hanging over the Seahawks. Seattle enters camp with new starters at all five spots — Britt, left tackle Garry Gilliam, left guard Mark Glowinski, right guard Germain Ifedi and right tackle J’Marcus Webb. The Seahawks seem committed to seeing how that group will work together, but also expect to see young players such as Hunt and guard Rees Odhiambo get long looks, as well.
The health of Thomas Rawls and Jimmy Graham
The Seahawks have repeatedly said each will be ready for the start of the regular season. Neither, though, will be ready for the beginning of camp, and each is likely to begin on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Players can come off that list at any time and the Seahawks plan to be cautious, so it may still be a little while before either hits the field.
Which undrafted rookie free agent will make the inevitable run at a roster spot?
Boykin is an obvious choice, but as a potential backup QB he’s also not likely to make an impact anytime soon unless the unthinkable happens.
Here are three others to keep an eye on:
SS Tyvis Powell: The Ohio State grad is intriguing for his size alone — 6-3, 211.
DE David Perkins: With Chris Clemons headed into retirement, the Seahawks will take an even longer look at some of the younger pass-rushers.
LT George Fant: Fant was a basketball star at Western Kentucky who played just one season of football there as a tight end before bulking up from 250 to 296 and moving to tackle with the Seahawks.
Three off-the-radar vets who could make noise in camp
DE Ryan Robinson: Robinson is another who could benefit from the retirement of Clemons. The fourth-year player was running with the first team in the offseason in 2015 before suffering an Achilles injury and sitting out the season. He has a legitimate shot to make the roster as a pass-rusher.
TE Brandon Williams: Seattle seems pretty set at tight end with Graham, Luke Willson, Nick Vannett and Cooper Helfet (and possibly just three spots for tight ends). But Williams, who spent the last three seasons with Carolina before signing with the Seahawks in April, earned praise from coach Pete Carroll at the end of minicamp and could at least make some decisions that much more difficult.
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste: Seattle seems similarly set at cornerback. But Jean-Baptiste is intriguing if for no other reason than his size (6-3, 215) and that he was a second-round pick of the Saints in 2014 before being released last season.