The Seahawks' backup QB battle will likely be determined by who plays better in preseason games.
RENTON — As is the case for just about anyone entering his second season in the NFL, Seahawks backup quarterback Trevone Boykin says he feels like a different player this summer than he did a year ago.
Having never really had to call plays in a huddle in college — TCU ran the spread — Boykin said he’s now comfortable with Seahawks’ calls that he says sometimes “are 14 words.”
Having spent the summer employing a different conditioning and nutrition program — he said he emphasized lifting — Boykin says he weighs about 215 pounds now compared to 205 a year ago.
And having spent the off-season throwing regularly with the likes of Odell Beckham — a friend from college days — he says feels his passes have a bit more oomph.
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“I think it’s helped me throw the ball with a lot more velocity,” he said.
Boykin, though, also enters year two in the NFL facing renewed versions of old questions about his reliability and maturity after being arrested in March for marijuana possession and public intoxication following an incident in which he was a passenger in a car that hit the Sidebar Bar in Dallas, along the way also hitting seven people on a crowded sidewalk.
The case remains unresolved with an announcement of charges scheduled for Aug. 22 in Dallas County Criminal Court (something for which Boykin will not have to be present). It was the second time in just over a year that Boykin had been arrested. He pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor resisting arrest for an incident in Dec., 2015 that undoubtedly helped result in him going undrafted.
As might be expected, Boykin on Wednesday said he couldn’t comment on the case.
“It was just a situation that I really can’t talk about just because it’s still ongoing,’’ Boykin said. “But right now I’m just focusing on football. It’s all about ball to me – moving on. You live and you learn and I’m here just trying to get better.”
Asked if he was worried that the NFL could levy its own suspension Boykin said simply “that stuff will take care of itself.”
The Seahawks have said they planned all along to sign another quarterback to compete this year with Boykin for the backup job behind Russell Wilson.
But when the team pursued Colin Kaepernick in May it was hard not to wonder if they were sending a message to Boykin while also approaching the situation with a bit more urgency.
Boykin, though, said he didn’t take any specific meaning out of the dalliance with Kapernick.
“I have full faith in myself and what I do and what I bring to the table,” Boykin said.
The Seahawks, however, will want more than just relying on faith to again hand the backup job to Boykin.
While Seattle didn’t sign Kaepernick the Seahawks did bring in veteran Austin Davis, who has 10 NFL starts and was the starter for the Rams when they beat the Seahawks in 2014.
And while Boykin generally runs the No. 2 offense in practice and follows Wilson in the quarterback rotations with Davis following Boykin, Seattle coach Pete Carroll has portrayed the backup QB battle as wide open.
Certainly, Boykin has seemed to do little in the training camp practices open to the public to distance himself from Davis — his throws may have more velocity but they’ve too often been off-target.
In a mock game Monday, neither put up impressive numbers though there appeared to at least be a slight edge handed to Davis, who was 8-13 for 68 yards and one drive to a field goal in his three possessions while Boykin, who was 6-11 for 41, saw his three possessions end in two punts and an interception (Davis also threw an interception, with each coming off tipped passes).
As Carroll noted, Boykin and Davis each had to work primarily against the No. 1 defense Monday with the No. 2 offense.
“It was hard, you know, they went against the first defense quite a bit and they didn’t give them much,” Carroll said. “They’re pretty stingy on the defensive side.”
Boykin and Davis should have a fairer fight when the Seahawks open the preseason Sunday in Los Angeles against the Chargers.
With Wilson likely to play the usual series or two that the starters generally get in the preseason opener the rest of the game will belong to the two backups.
Carroll says how they perform in the preseason games — the first and the fourth being the two games in which they will the most action — will pretty much make the decision of which will be the backup. And almost certainly, which quarterback to keep since with Wilson having healed from all of his 2016 ailments there isn’t much reason to keep a third quarterback.
“Both guys are making progress and both are commanding the offense okay,” Carroll said. “It will come down to game time and how they play in games. It will really be pivotal for those guys.”
That Boykin has been running the number two offense, is younger and, as a result, presumably has more upside has fed a conventional wisdom that he has the inside track on the job.
Conversely, even though the Seahawks have publicly supported Boykin, they’ll want as much hard evidence as they can get to show they can still trust him with a position that with the turn of an ankle can suddenly be as important as any on the team.
Boykin, though, says he feels no more pressure than he did this time a year ago.
“I feel like you’ve got something to prove every day,” he said. “You’ve got something to prove every year. And if you don’t have that mentality then you are slipping. That’s how I feel.”