RENTON — Any NFL training camp practice is inevitably a battle of back and forth between the offense and defense.
But Thursday’s Seahawks practice at the VMAC — the 15th of camp — might have the most “one good play by the offense followed by one good play by the defense’’ of any so far.
The Seahawks were not in full pads — helmets and jerseys with sweats/shorts the order of the day — and there was lots of situational work, specifically the two-minute drill.
And maybe that helped contribute to the give and take.
Offensive highlights included a 49-yard TD by DK Metcalf when he took a screen pass from Russell Wilson and outraced the defense down the sideline; a Sean Mannion TD on a fade route to Travis Toivonen, a free agent who has pretty consistently made plays of late; and a Wilson TD on a slant route to John Ursua in a red zone drill that compelled both Wilson and Pete Carroll to race over and offer Ursua some congrats.
But for every offensive highlight there was one by the defense — a breakup by Jamal Adams of a pass to Metcalf over the middle thrown by Wilson; a breakup by rookie Tre Brown of a pass to Metcalf; and a breakup by Ugo Amadi of a pass to Ursua thrown by Wilson.
Finally, on what turned out to be the last play of the day, Amadi — playing nickel — snatched a short pass thrown by Wilson intended for Metcalf to give the defense the last laugh.
“Turnover Thursday,’’ teammate Ryan Neal said later of what was the theme for the practice. “That’s the way to finish.’’
Amadi has been running with the starting nickel at defense with Marquise Blair resting a sore knee, and he has used the time to make clear that he deserves to keep playing in some capacity.
Here’s more of what we saw Thursday:
Receiver battle heating up
The Seahawks’ receiver corps Thursday was as fleshed out as it has been in a while with second-round pick Dee Eskridge seeing his most work yet in team drills and Tyler Lockett, who has been resting a sore groin for the past week or so, also getting back into some team drills.
That left Penny Hart (ankle) as the only receiver watching from the sidelines.
Lockett was still limited, so the usual three receivers in the starting lineup were Metcalf, Freddie Swain and Cody Thompson, who has been with the team since 2019 and appears to be making a legit run at a roster spot depending on how many receivers the Seahawks keep.
Usually working with the second unit were Eskridge, Aaron Fuller and Ursua. It was a particularly good day for Ursua, who had a touchdown from Wilson in a red-zone session and at least two other catches. But as noted, Toivonen also had a TD, as did Cade Johnson on a fourth-and-one pass from Alex McGough. And Eskridge had a couple of receptions as he catches up after missing the first three weeks of camp with a toe issue.
The next 10 days or so will be telling in how the receiver corps shakes out.
Jamarco Jones back to fill out line
Jamarco Jones, who sat out Wednesday’s practice, was back Thursday and appeared to get most of the work in team drills at left tackle with the No. 1 offense, with rookie Stone Forsythe also getting some reps.
With Jones back — he was out last week with back spasms — the No. 1 line, from left to right, typically consisted of Jones, Damien Lewis, Kyle Fuller, Gabe Jackson and Brandon Shell.
When healthy, Jones has typically been the fill-in at LT with Duane Brown continuing his “hold in’’ and Cedric Ogbuehi remaining out with a biceps injury. Fuller continues to work as the starting center with Ethan Pocic (hamstring) remaining out.
And if the Seahawks decide to let the starters play some Saturday night against Denver, that could well be the offensive line to begin the game.
Would that be enough to let the Seahawks also let Wilson get a series or two Saturday?
The different format to the preseason this year — three games instead of four — appears to have teams rethinking how and when they play their starters. But the hunch here is that coach Pete Carroll will want to get the starters some work over the next two weeks.
The typical No. 2 OL Thursday, left to right, was Forsythe, Jordan Simmons, Brad Lundblade, Phil Haynes and Jake Curhan.
Here are some more personnel notes:
— Speaking of Brown, he was not visible on the field at any time for the second straight day. Brown has not practiced all of camp but usually takes to the field to watch from the sidelines at some point.
— Tight end Gerald Everett sat out most of practice after something happened early on that had him being attended to by trainer, working on something in the leg area. He watched the rest from the sidelines.
— Tight end Tyler Mabry (foot) remains out, so if Everett is sidelined for any length of time, Seattle’s depth will be exceedingly thin with Colby Parkinson also sidelined with a foot injury. Once Everett went out Thursday, the only other healthy tight ends after Will Dissly were Dom Wood-Anderson and Cam Sutton, each free agents who initially entered the league as UDFAs.
— D.J. Reed also remains out with a groin injury with Tre Flowers continuing to get the primary work with the starters at right cornerback. However, Damarious Randall has been back the past two days and also got some work with the starters.
— QB Geno Smith, who was not visible on the field the past two days while dealing with a concussion suffered against the Raiders, was on the field but did not take part, wearing a hat and sunglasses.
— For the second straight day, Rashaad Penny got significant work at running back and is expected to play Saturday night.
— DT Al Woods, who is having a nice camp, had a sack of Wilson on a third-down play.