Month: August 2023 (Page 1 of 2)

Seahawks take another risk, this time at defensive tackle

It feels like Jarran Reed will be asked to play a LOT of snaps this year

One injury to Jarran Reed and the Seahawks will have a crisis on their hands.

That doesn’t feel like a hyperbole. This is the current D-line depth:

Myles Adams
Mario Edwards Jr.
Dre’Mont Jones
Mike Morris
Jarran Reed
Cameron Young

Young and Morris are currently injured. That means right now, the Seahawks only have one healthy defensive lineman who is over 300lbs. Reed.

Sure, Matt Gotel is back on the practise squad and can be called up to the active roster. That will almost certainly happen for week one against the Rams.

It does feel strange, though, that this topic isn’t being more widely discussed. It’s as if people don’t want to focus on the one glaring weakness on the roster when there are positive things that can easily act as a distraction.

Plus, the real football hasn’t started yet. It’ll become a big talking point if the Seahawks can’t stop the run up the middle or struggle to keep their linebackers clean at the second level. For now, it’s akin to that injury or illness you delay seeing the doctor about until it becomes too serious to ignore.

The Seahawks are small up front, lack size, don’t have any D-line depth to speak of, are set to ask two key players to take on a ton of snaps and if either misses significant time, it could be fatal for the defense.

Many fans hoped cut-down day would provide some relief on the defensive line. It never felt likely because as we keep saying, teams collect good defensive linemen, they don’t cut them. It’s very easy to stash even a minutely enticing D-liner as your 53rd man simply due to the importance of the position.

Seattle didn’t claim anyone at the position. Nobody in the league did. It speaks to how protective teams are of defensive linemen worth having.

It means the Seahawks are left with what they’ve got.

It shouldn’t be a problem against the hapless Rams who are seemingly in the spring-time of a major cultural and roster shift. LA gives off a slightly shambolic vibe at the moment with a top-heavy roster with some big names and not a lot else.

After that though, things could become serious very quickly.

Another reason I think people struggle to be too critical at the moment is the Seahawks splashed out on Dre’Mont Jones. That move went so against everything they’ve done in the past, you almost feel inclined to raise a glass and give them the benefit of the doubt. Jones was a great signing. A vital signing.

However, it feels like the whole D-line — and potentially the success of the defense this year — rests on Jones’ $55m shoulders. At least his and Reed’s. They are going to be relied on so much. That means a high percentage of snaps and a need to perform.

You don’t need to be a tactical savant to know it’d be worth testing the underbelly of Seattle’s defense early and often, rather than trying to combat their speed and talent in the secondary. Running the ball successfully would also take away a pass rush that is extremely promising. It’s going to be a huge challenge for this team every week after giving up 150 yards a game on the ground last season.

It’s seared into my brain, the memory of being in the press box in Munich and watching the Tampa Bay offensive linemen screaming at their sideline begging their coaches to ‘let them eat’. I’ve never seen that from a collective O-line group before. They knew they had Seattle’s number up front and were making it very obvious to everyone in Bayern Munich’s stadium. ‘We can run all over these guys’.

The Seahawks cleaned out the D-line responsible for that day during the off-season but are now left relying on two key free agent signings, two rookies, a second year UDFA and a man on his seventh team in eight years.

Everything else connects. If the D-line can’t do its job up front, it’ll impact Bobby Wagner and the linebackers. Wagner showed mortal traits in 2019 and 2020 when the Seahawks couldn’t keep him clean, or relied too much on him to produce choreographed opportunities for a blitzing Jamal Adams. It led to Wagner’s departure. Now that he’s back — if they want the best of him, they need to play well up front. It’s no coincidence he came roaring back into form last year with Aaron Donald playing on LA’s D-line.

What happens when Seattle’s D-line comes up against a big offensive line and an opponent determined to run? A light D-line doesn’t exactly fill you with confidence.

God forbid Reed and/or Jones miss any time because what then? 80% snaps for Myles Adams? And how can they manage Jones’ and Reed’s workload with such meagre depth?

It’s again hard to fathom how it’s come to this. They have $11m in cap space because they always had leavers to pull this summer (and they’ve been pulled). They could’ve easily signed at least one more veteran defensive tackle in March or April but chose not to. Heck, the Ravens had less money than the Seahawks this month and still signed Ronald Darby and Jadeveon Clowney.

In the next few weeks the Seahawks are either going to look like geniuses or they’re going to be shown up for completely neglecting a glaring, obvious issue in a totally unacceptable way — preventing a really promising roster from being as good as it can be.

They’ve been here before and had mixed results. A year ago they rolled the dice on Geno Smith and Drew Lock being ‘enough’ at quarterback and were proven right. In the past they’ve banked on Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin being enough to fix a pass rush and were shown to be misguided. Go back a bit further and look at how they approached the offensive line during years of turmoil up front. Trading Frank Clark and then trying to make up the shortfall with Ziggy Ansah, L.J. Collier and a last-minute trade for Jadeveon Clowney. Mixed results.

This is a trend for the Seahawks — to take big, arguably unnecessary, roster risks.

We’ll see how this latest one plays out. It’s hard to understand why they didn’t just sign one or two more grizzled veterans when they had the chance to at least feel like they don’t have to put too much on the plate of Reed and Jones or rely on currently injured first year players to succeed.

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Some thoughts on Christian Wilkins & the Seahawks

Christian Wilkins is seeking a new deal in Miami

Last week we discussed the possibility of trading for Chris Jones, who continues to hold-out in Kansas City with no resolution in sight.

The other dissatisfied big-name defensive tackle at the moment is Miami’s Christian Wilkins. He’s been ‘holding-in’ during camp as he seeks a new deal. Talks reached a stalemate and things came to a crescendo this week when they extended his D-line partner Zach Sieler to a three-year deal worth up to $38.6m.

According to Ian Rapoport, Wilkins and the Dolphins are poles apart in contract talks. That’s why Miami pivoted to Sieler, sensing things weren’t going anywhere with Wilkins.

A decision of some kind is forthcoming. Wilkins will be a free agent after this season, meaning he’ll need to be given the franchise tag or allowed to hit the market if a new deal isn’t signed.

Some Seahawks fans (and fans of other teams) have started to ask whether a trade could be in the offing. I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

It might not be as well publicised but the Dolphins are the AFC equivalent of the LA Rams. They are in an extreme ‘win-now’ mode. They’ve gone big in trades for Tyreek Hill, Bradley Chubb and Jalen Ramsey. They spent a fortune on Terron Armstead. The addition of Vic Fangio to lead the defense is a statement appointment.

They’re currently trying to complete a trade for Jonathan Taylor. They are being incredibly aggressive with the intention of winning as quickly as possible.

Financially they are a bit of a mess. They’re already $32.3m over the projected cap for 2024. They don’t have any obvious levers to pull either. They are going to have to mimic the Saints and basically spend the next few years borrowing on the credit card to make sure they can eventually re-sign talented younger players like Jaylen Waddle.

It’d be easy to conclude that trading Wilkins would do them a favour. It’d be one less mouth to feed. Yet it makes no sense for such an aggressive team to make that move now.

If you’re going to be as aggressive as the Dolphins, there’s no half-measure. If you trade Wilkins you create a void in the middle of the defense. The Dolphins don’t have a ready-made replacement waiting or great depth. You don’t go all-in, making the trades they have made, to then push a vital defensive lineman out the door.

If the Dolphins do trade Wilkins, it’s far more likely to be next year after tagging him. What is more likely is down the line they’ll get a deal done. Either way, trading him now would make little sense and would just create a problem.

Aggressive teams have to fly by the seat of their pants. The ones who create these ‘all-star’ teams loaded with stars are focused on the here and now, not the future. The Rams picked their poison, won a title and could easily be one of the worst teams in football in 2023 after being so aggressive. The Dolphins are probably thinking they want a piece of that and it’ll all be worth it if it means short-term glory and pain down the line.

I don’t see a scenario where Miami lets Wilkins walk. It’d probably take an insane haul. You can arguably justify a big trade for Chris Jones fresh off a 15.5 sack season. Wilkins, who’s only a year younger than Jones, has never had more than 4.5 sacks in a season.

Extremely talented, proven interior defensive line are as valuable as any non-quarterback position in the modern NFL. This is why both Wilkins and Jones are jostling for contract leverage, to max-out their pay at a time when they’re services are massively in demand.

I don’t anticipate either will end up in Seattle, or anywhere else for that matter. There’s certainly no excuse for the Chiefs not to pay Jones given their cap riches for 2024 and beyond.

Sadly, there’s not much of a solution brewing for the Seahawks unless they’re willing to be as aggressive as the Dolphins in the trade market. They are light up front, in size and depth, and unfortunately it could be a problem for them when the season kicks off. Fans are hoping for cut-down day solutions but as we keep saying — teams don’t cut good defensive linemen, they collect them.

I want to finish the article with a heads up. For the last few years I’ve had easy access to college football games on British TV. I could watch 5-6 games every weekend live or recorded. Combined with ESPN Player a year ago, I was able to watch as many as 8-12 games per week in full.

This year things are changing. Currently, no British TV channel has rights to show college football other than Notre Dame games on Sky Sports. This is because the broadcaster BT Sport has been bought out by TNT/Discovery. ESPN Player has also just announced it’s shutting down. Right now, I have no access to games.

People will suggest VPN’s but I broadcast for the day job on Saturday’s and when I’m travelling to commentate on a game, I often won’t get back until late. I need to be able to record games to watch back.

It’s not a huge issue because full games are loaded on to YouTube every week. However, I will need to wait for these to be uploaded before I can share my views. That could take a few days.

I’m hoping a streaming service like DAZN might step in at the last minute because there’s a growing market for college football in Britain. It’s practically unthinkable that we’d be shut-out. Sadly that is the case at the moment. If things change I’ll let you know but I might be more likely to write thoughts/reports in mid-week this year rather than the weekend.

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Olu Oluwatimi will be Seattle’s center, sooner than later

You can often learn a lot from Pete Carroll’s press conferences by parsing what he says. His tone often reveals more than the words.

It’s also pretty difficult for the world’s most energetic 71-year-old to hide excitement.

We’ve seen it with the way he’s discussed Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jake Bobo. Although the pair arrived in Seattle in very different circumstances, Carroll’s tone with both players has been nothing short of gushing. There’s a twinkle in his eye when he discusses the pair. It was notable that the often jocular Carroll seemed offended by a question after the first pre-season questioning Bobo’s speed (a characteristic that, it has to be said, the same reporter keeps bringing up and really needs to let it go — Bobo is legit, has been secure on this roster for a while and his pre-draft forty time was massively impacted by atrocious weather conditions).

Carroll expressed a concerned tone when talking about Mike Morris’ injury situation. Michael Jackson’s had a couple of challenging pre-season games. When asked yesterday for a review, Carroll looked away and said, “I need to see the film” — often code for an unwillingness to delve too deep into what was a tricky afternoon (the film isn’t needed when he wants to share positive thoughts).

I’ve noticed in the last two press conferences — before and after the Green Bay game — he has gone above and beyond to praise Olu Oluwatimi. He’s talked him up as being right in the mix, fighting for the starting job. He’s praised his toughness, fighting through injury to get back on the field. He’s all but stated ‘this is our guy’.

Evan Brown may start the season but he’ll be fighting to keep the job. I wouldn’t even be shocked if they throw Oluwatimi in there for week one. I think they see the former Michigan man as a long-term solution, someone who is capable of learning on the job just as Charles Cross and Abe Lucas did a year ago.

Perhaps Brown, a veteran, is more prepared today? I’m not suggesting they don’t rate him or don’t believe he can start. I just think with the way Carroll is speaking, they view Oluwatimi as the answer to a problem that has existed for a long time.

He was Mr. Consistency in college and is well regarded for his level-headed, intelligent approach to the position. If he does start against the Rams, it’d be a baptism of fire against Aaron Donald. That might just be something he has to suffer through as part of the learning process. Within a month he might’ve benefited from the live action and be in the best position to start for years to come.

Evan Brown is only on a one-year contract. They’ll start him if he’s clearly well ahead of Oluwatimi. That’s not the sense I get from Carroll, though. Oluwatimi is contracted for four years and if he can pick up the slack quickly — that’s three fifth’s of your offensive line on cheap rookie contracts for years. If it works out, they could be left with one of the best young offensive lines in the NFL.

Call this a hunch based on the way Carroll is speaking. Watching Oluwatimi combine with Anthony Bradford to carve open a huge running lane for Deejay Dallas yesterday has to get him excited. Oluwatimi was part of a very successful, award-winning, Championship winning O-line in the BIG-10. He’s better prepared than most players to come in and start quickly.

I get a sense that sooner than later this will be Oluwatimi’s starting role and when he gets the job, he won’t relinquish it — securing the heart of Seattle’s O-line for years.

Don’t rule out week one against LA for a starting berth.

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Seahawks end pre-season with defeat in Green Bay

I’d love to offer some thoughts on the final pre-season outing. Sadly with GamePass switching over to DAZN this year, unlike the previous system, you can no longer watch online when you’re travelling Europe. Thus, I was shut-out. At least it wasn’t a regular season game.

I’ve seen bits and pieces courtesy of some rogue YouTube channels posting highlights. From what little I’ve seen it felt like a classic Drew Lock game. His arm talent was clearly on show again, as was his athleticism. His ability to complete pretty, explosive passes can be a thing of beauty. He made some excellent throws (including another touchdown to Jake Bobo — who is going to surprise a lot of people this year, I’m convinced of it).

Lock’s near pick-six in the first quarter though was clear evidence of the other side of his game.

He’s immensely talented. He is right up there in terms of natural gifts, arm strength and he is well above par when it comes to size and mobility. There is this side to his game though where you feel like a glaring error is never too far away. If he can eliminate those plays, the sky’s the limit for him. You just wonder, however, whether he’ll ever be able to do that. This is year five now.

Nevertheless, there’s little point in focusing on a negative today. He is, if nothing else, a talent-rich backup. There are plenty of lousy backups in the league, so that’s a plus. He’s in a tough spot — intriguing enough to want to see more but will he get the chance somewhere one day?

Let me know what you thought of the game in the comments section.

Could the Seahawks make a big move after all?

Chris Jones is holding out in Kansas City

I wrote an article last week discussing the defensive tackle position and kind of dismissed the idea of a late, bold trade to bolster Seattle’s thinnest position.

So why, a week on, am I writing something different?

I think a few things have changed. Firstly, injuries. Cam Young is still out, Jarran Reed is receiving a rest day to limit his workload and Mike Morris has a concerning, lingering shoulder issue.

It’s one thing to be a bit green and small up front — it’s quite another to simply have a lack of bodies due to injuries.

I’ve also been watching with interest the developments in Kansas City. The Chris Jones holdout felt like a point-proving exercise for a while that would eventually get resolved without much fuss. Yet it’s now veering towards crisis point. He’s threatening to sit-out half a season. Andy Reid is having no time for it, stating, “Whatever happens, happens. The game goes on.”

It’s worth remembering that we’re only two weeks removed from Chiefs GM Brett Veach saying they had “no intention” of trading Jones. I suppose it’s also worth recalling that’s the exact same language the Seahawks used before the Russell Wilson trade. “No intention” stops short of a firm ‘no’ and sounds like a denial when it’s only sort of a rejection of the idea.

I did a bit of digging around Chiefs’ sites to gauge how they feel and was surprised to see some fairly open-minded articles.

This one points out they were willing to move Tyreek Hill. They were validated in doing so, winning a Super Bowl the next season. When you have Patrick Mahomes and a decorated Head Coach, it seems you can out-last anyone else.

An interesting dynamic is also noted regarding other players who will need to be paid in the future and how firm the Chiefs were in negotiations with Orlando Brown Jr:

Certainly, Chris Jones deserves to be paid more than what his current contract is set at. His play has dictated that he is arguably the best defensive tackle in the league, outside of Aaron Donald. Once again, Kansas City reportedly made him a significant offer. However, the Chiefs have been okay with moving on from star players that are seeking a noteworthy raise or are attempting to reset the market. Look no further than the aforementioned Hill or Orlando Brown Jr.

All told, recent history indicates that the Chiefs are unlikely to budge on sizable offers. The future salary cap outlook is always going to be crucial for a team with the best quarterback in the NFL. And while they would likely want to keep Jones for his entire career, other names like Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, Nick Bolton and L’Jarius Sneed are in a contract year in either 2023 or 2024. Outside of Mahomes, it is going to be rare for a player to reset the market in Kansas City. The Chiefs have made that abundantly clear.

It’s still unclear why the Chiefs haven’t just sorted this out by now. They have over $47m in projected cap space next year, 10th most in the league despite the fact they’re paying their franchise quarterback big money. They can easily afford to give Jones a front-loaded pay-rise to secure the rest of his peak years.

It could be that Jones is simply being too unreasonable and therefore, he’s pricing himself out of an extension anywhere not just Kansas City. That would also seem an odd thing to do. He’s won the jackpot getting to play with Mahomes. He has two rings, a healthy bank balance and moving away will make him richer financially but probably not in the ring department.

Then again, Hill also sacrificed the chance to play with Mahomes to go to Miami. He’ll be productive but not as productive as he’d be with a quarterback seemingly destined to be the best to ever play the game.

Maybe there are cashflow problems surrounding a $477m commitment to Mahomes over 10-years that are not abundantly obvious? It helps the cap hit but maybe hammers the spending money. Who knows? That’s speculative, it’s just a bit weird how the team and player haven’t found common ground. Jones is a rare talent.

One other reason why I dismissed a trade last week was the potential cost of a deal. Why wouldn’t the Chiefs ask for a Jamal Adams-esque haul?

Yet in this article, from another Chiefs fan-site, the suggested price is a lot less extreme:

As I’ve said before, wide receivers are a hot commodity, but pass rushers are worth their weight in gold. Which is why I think the Chiefs could easily get at least two first-round picks for Chris Jones. However, his age could absolutely play a factor in that outcome.

At the absolute least, it seems reasonable that a team would give up one first round pick, a second, and then a few late round picks similar to the Hill trade. Anything less would feel like a net loss for the Chiefs.

Jones has just turned 29 so this is likely to be a one-contract trade. You’d be making a deal for his remaining peak years — age 29-33.

It’s tricky to project how a defensive tackle will hold-up. It’s not easy being 310lbs and retaining speed, agility and quickness into your 30’s. Joints have taken a beating by that point. Yet Jones isn’t a typical defensive lineman. He had 15.5 sacks last season. That’s insane. He has 65 sacks in six years as a featured player.

If he produced 40 sacks in four years, that would easily — in my opinion — be worth a first and second rounder plus change. It can be the difference between a good and great team, especially when you have decent overall depth but lack a generational quarterback like the Chiefs.

He also wouldn’t necessarily need to have massive-sack numbers. His impact in crucial games could be defining. Many consider the Frank Clark trade a bit of a miss for the Chiefs but ultimately, his sack production in the playoffs was a major contributing factor in Kansas City playing in three Super Bowls.

I genuinely thought ‘never again’ on trades like this and I’d say that for probably any DT not named Aaron Donald or Chris Jones. Yet his talent combined with team need makes it intriguing. I don’t think you’ll find anyone in the draft next year like Jones. I’m tempted to say it’d be worth the outlay to see if he can take you to the pinnacle.

It would be a huge move but then they’ve already invested a handsome sum in Dre’Mont Jones. Perhaps he’s their one splash and makes a big trade highly unlikely? I’d say that’s probably right. There is something quite exciting though about the two Jones’ teaming up inside with Seattle’s exciting young edge rushers (and perhaps even a blitzing Jamal Adams) attacking a key third down.

Josina Anderson loves a cryptic tweet almost as much as a mention that she can phone or text many players for breaking news — but I couldn’t help but be drawn to this bait:

The Seahawks have been kind of quiet, right? And that isn’t typical for them.

Is something building behind the scenes?

I think the answer is ‘probably not’ but it’s August, the ideal time for a bit of ‘what if?’ talk among friends.

I’d prefer the Seahawks to keep building through the draft, find ways to be opportunistic and follow the plan that has worked so well in the last two off-seasons. Yet there comes a point where you’re close and the temptation to make that one big move to push you over the edge just grows exponentially. When it’s a truly world-class player you’re talking about, it becomes even more intriguing.

The Head Coach turns 72 in September. They have accelerated the build somewhat by paying top dollar to players. Would you be in favour of a big trade? Would you offer a first and second rounder for Chris Jones, plus some later round compensation?

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Wednesday notes: QB’s and Seattle’s mini injury crisis

I’ll have some thoughts on a mini injury crisis for the Seahawks in a moment but first some notes on the draft…

The reality (again) of the 2024 QB class

I’ve tried to temper some of the OTT draft chatter about the 2024 quarterback class. People are projecting players in the first round who, currently, have no business being there. Caleb Williams at USC is the real deal and will almost certainly be the top pick next year, unless a team with a young QB earns the top selection and decides to stick and pick Marvin Harrison Jr. After that though, I can’t project any other QB to round one. Drake Maye gets a lot of love and he has some qualities but his play was too inconsistent last year and a fair amount of work is needed to justify the hype.

Today the Senior Bowl put out their extensive watch-list for 2023. There are 47 quarterbacks listed, including some big names. Several players on the list are being touted as top picks, even first round picks.

However, Jim Nagy provides a cautionary yet optimistic note. He says of the 47 quarterbacks named, Bo Nix is rated the highest. He currently has him as a day-two selection. That means, of all the names listed by the Senior Bowl, none are currently carrying first-round projections. This is despite draft media saying they are.

Nagy also notes that at this time in previous years Joe Burrow and Kenny Pickett weren’t considered high picks. Burrow went on to have one of the greatest seasons ever in college football history and became a deserved #1 overall pick. Pickett also found a home in round one (although I’d argue that was a reach).

There’s certainly a possibility some of these players will elevate over the coming months. However, this is what I suspect this class is going to be. It’ll be light on first round players and deep in the middle rounds. That’s a stark contrast to this year, where we had three (deserved, in my opinion) top-five quarterbacks. I think it’s a mistake that C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson are starting as rookies but they warranted consideration by the teams taking them.

From a Seahawks perspective, if they end up needing to draft a quarterback next year (either because Geno Smith performs below expectations and/or Drew Lock departs) then it’s quite possible we’ll be debating day-two players, not high draft picks.

Thoughts on how they approach the position

I do think it’s curious how conservative the Seahawks have been at quarterback, refusing to invest any picks apart from Russell Wilson and Alex McGough. For a GM like John Schneider, who clearly loves QB scouting, it’s interesting that they haven’t taken more shots.

The Wilson trade saga didn’t creep up on anyone. It was reported in 2017 they would’ve drafted Patrick Mahomes if available and a year later they were prepared to trade Wilson for the opportunity to draft Josh Allen. Yet they didn’t see anyone in the middle rounds to chuck into the mix and try to develop.

I do wonder if they’re almost trying too hard for perfection. They struck gold with Wilson and maybe Schneider takes so much pride in how he evaluates quarterbacks — thus, why it’s become well known publicly that he loved Mahomes and Allen — that he is almost ‘too safe’ and doesn’t want to take shots, he wants to draft the next star. In order to do that, he’ll need to have a conviction over a player that he arguably wouldn’t need at other positions.

That’s speculative on my behalf but I don’t think it’s out of the question. After all, plenty of teams roll the dice on draft picks at quarterback. To only use two in 13 years, one of which was a seventh rounder, suggests they are very careful at the position. Post-Wilson trade, they also had two loaded classes with multiple picks. Big name players fell. Yet at no point, in either draft, did they feel comfortable pulling the trigger on a QB.

To a degree I don’t mind that. I thought in 2021 they should’ve strongly considered taking either Kellen Mond or Davis Mills instead of Dee Eskridge. The Wilson chatter was building and it would’ve provided insurance. On reflection, the Mond suggestion was a poor one. He had the arm and his college tape improved over four years of progression. I wasn’t the only one who liked him either — Chris Simms was a big fan. However, in the pro’s his rigid throwing motion and mechanical stiffness has prevented him making an impact. Mills on the other hand has looked good, I’d say. He struggled last year in an impossible situation in Houston but I think he’s done well in pre-season this year (I watched him vs New England) and I still believe he could develop into a decent starter.

What I would say though, is I’m also happy the Seahawks don’t force us into indulging in misplaced hype. Raiders fans (and media) are getting all excited about fourth round pick Aidan O’Connell. I’ve watched his tape and he’s fair enough throwing on a short and intermediate level but his arm strength fades dramatically beyond that. He has limitations. The Josh McDaniels scheme has lived without a big-armed signal caller in the past so maybe O’Connell can still excel? I just personally find it difficult to get excited about a player who will most likely only ever be able to chip-away at opponents without much of a kill shot or improv-skill. You need a certain type of coach for this (McDaniels, Shanahan etc) and the Seahawks just play a different way.

Watching someone like O’Connell chew up third and fourth stringers, creating a bit of a false dawn, probably wouldn’t help much in the short or long term. Good look to him in Vegas but I’m happy to wait for more upside (as, evidently, the Seahawks are prepared to do).

Drew Lock has plenty of physical upside and I hope what he showed against Dallas was a player really starting to make the most of his talent. He was more settled, calm, controlled and he impressed. If he plays against Green Bay this weekend, it’ll be a good chance to finish with a flourish.

The injuries are piling up

It’s only a few days ago that Pete Carroll was singing Jarran Reed’s praises (rightly) and then mentioning how important Mike Morris was to the defensive rotation. Yesterday, Carroll used a concerned tone to mention a lingering shoulder problem for Morris with a distinct hint of ‘might need to get this sorted’ and ‘might not see him anytime soon as a consequence’.

It’s increasingly baffling to me why the Seahawks have found themselves in this position. They have no depth up front. When you bring it up, you’re often told ‘nah it’ll be fine’ (© Critical Drinker) by some fans.

The Seahawks basically have Reed as the only trusted +300lber on the roster. I hope Matthew Gotel is the man to end the ‘nose tackle musical chairs’ but that remains to be seen. It’s great that they have such a dynamic inside/out rusher like Dre’Mont Jones who can create issues in numerous spots (including, crucially, the interior). Yet how and why have they ended up with barely no competition on the D-line?

Who is actually competing in camp? It’s just been a bunch of injury absentees and a set (but limited) depth chart. An injury to Reed would be catastrophic.

People have mentioned that in 2013 they didn’t have the deepest, big-name D-line. I’ve made that point myself. However, I made that point right after the draft and still anticipated further moves (even on a low level). Plus in 2013 they had Red Bryant (326lbs), Tony McDaniel (305lbs), Clinton McDonald (297lbs), Jordan Hill (303lbs) and Brandon Mebane (311lbs). That’s a stark difference to the current roster, which is incredibly light in size and numbers.

I keep hearing that cut-down day will be vital for Seattle but what are we saying here, that there’s an abundance of cuttable defensive tackles in the league and the Seahawks are simply the only ones waiting to strike? I fear that actually, options are going to be limited or poor. Teams don’t give away good defensive linemen. They collect them.

Again, I don’t really understand why it’s come to this. We’re agonising over a potential Mike Morris absence and Cam Young is still out too. How did they not bring in a couple of extra veterans between March and now? They have $11.4m in cap space. They had levers to pull that have since been pulled, so there was no reason not to be more active in free agency.

Baltimore just added Ronald Darby and Jadeveon Clowney despite having barely any cap space. Couldn’t the Seahawks have done a bit more over the last five months to help the defensive line? Especially after giving up 150 yards a game last year against the run?

Someone like Greg Gaines, signed to a $3.5m one-year deal in Tampa Bay (structured so his cap hit is only $1.6m this year) would’ve been ideal. Instead, there’s a bit of a black hole at the position beyond Reed. If he gets hurt, it’ll be a crisis. If he takes on too many snaps, he’s more likely to get hurt.

Michael Bennett mentioned in the Dallas broadcast that they miss a Red Bryant type. He’s right. I also think, however, they also need two other bodies. Maybe Gotel can be one? Maybe they will find a cut from somewhere else who can contribute? It just feels like serious questions need to be asked about how exactly the Seahawks have ended up being so light in the trenches and whether it’ll be costly when the regular season begins.

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Notes on the Dallas Cowboys pre-season win

Before getting into the notes, a heads-up we’ll be doing a live stream at 3pm PT on Sunday discussing this game

— Boye Mafe has earned rave reviews during camp and has been touted by Pete Carroll as a player who’s taken a big jump in his second year. We saw further glimpses of that in this game. Mafe was incredibly active using a full range of skills to impress. I think the most satisfying play was a violent hand-jolt to contain the edge on a run play. We already know he has the explosive traits and quickness to rush, this was an example of a play that gets you on the field early and often.

— Jake Bobo just continues to be involved and active. He played with the starting offense and made a 28-yard chunk play with a fantastic double-move to destroy his opponent in coverage. He then coaxed a vital ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ flag out of a Dallas defender on a subsequent drive, following a failed third down conversion. That flag, subtly earned by Bobo, was followed by Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s 48-yard completion and then a one-yard touchdown run. It was a great assist from Bobo who feels like a total lock to make the roster.

— We spent so much time on the blog discussing Bobo and Zach Charbonnet that it was good to see both combine on back-to-back plays to fire the offense. Charbonnet followed Bobo’s 28-yard completion with a dynamic, explosive run. He just looks so sharp, fierce and quick. How can you not be excited by the prospect of these running backs (health permitting, of course)?

— I thought Drew Lock was excellent in this game. He looked more relaxed than last week and on point. He appeared comfortable throwing on the run and looked like a proper player here. He’s needed to be more consistent and clean and there was real evidence of that today. His throw to Smith-Njigba was perfect for a big gain. His throw to Noah Fant with 4:44 left in the first half showed off what an athlete he is. Lock’s off-platform arm strength is genuinely great. This was an impressive display.

— I really like Tyreke Smith and think he should make the roster, even with a loaded EDGE group. He had a nice TFL with 7:48 left in the third quarter and he had the game ending sack with Will Grier scrambling for his life. He looks really agile and capable of skipping by blocks to penetrate. There’s definitely something to work with here. He ended the game leading the team for tackles and had two registered TFL’s.

— Several other players impacted the game positively. SaRodorick Thompson ran for a solid 50 yards on 11 carries including a touchdown. Tyjon Lindsey had 36 receiving yards and a nice 27-yard punt return. John Hall forced a safety with a wonderful shed to block a punt. Levi Bell finds ways to get involved and even got a block on the goal-line for a score when lining up at full-back. Tre Brown had a better game including an interception where he showed good recovery skills. Finally, it might’ve been against third and fourth stringers, but Derick Hall showed excellent power at the POA to strong-arm the tackle, disengage and finish for a sack.

— There were also some negatives. Firstly, the run defense continues to be suspect. At one point Michael Bennett on the broadcast stated: “More missed tackles. Attacking the interior. The Seahawks need a Red Bryant type of player. A big body who doesn’t care about making the play. He just wants to push a guy back. That’s what this defense needs.” Bennett was exasperated by the run defense for the second week in a row. Deuce Vaughan had a scoring run where Jerrick Reed and Coby Bryant whiffed opportunities to bring him down and the interior was pushed back too often, while gap-control was again a concern. The fundamentals of the defense are just off and as Bennett notes — without a bigger player content to just eat space and control, you wonder if this is going to be a serious problem when the real action starts.

— At times it felt like the defense was too easy to play against, another thing we’ve seen for several years. They gave up an 80-yard drive for Dallas’ first score which lasted 17 plays and took 7:48 minutes off the clock. This feels ominous because, whoever plays, this has been a characteristic of this team for too long.

— Charles Cross was dominated by Sam Williams for a sack. I had reservations about Cross in the 2021 draft and partly that was watching Ole Miss vs Mississippi State where Williams had him on toast. It’s not a great look that Cross was overpowered with a punch to the chest by a 261lbs rusher. You’ve got to be stronger there and be able to contain. I said a year ago he had to get stronger and be able to hold position better and this was an example of the same college problem rearing its head.

The Seahawks and a defensive tackle dilemma

A thought occurred to me recently that I immediately dismissed but I thought I’d share with you anyway.

Are the Seahawks going to make one of ‘those’ trades?

The current roster is strong and deep in most areas. The offense looks practically loaded. Defensively, serious investment at linebacker and the secondary has created an intriguing looking collection of players.

Yet there’s no getting away from the fact that at the heart of the defense, there’s a lack of size, depth and arguably talent. There’s not even really much of a competition going on, unlike at several other spots on the roster.

That’s not to say they’ve been neglectful. They clearly haven’t. The signing of Dre’Mont Jones was a refreshing new approach to free agency. I think the Jarran Reed addition is worthy of praise too. Yet at the moment they’re banking on Jarran Reed to anchor the line and there’s a distinct lack of numbers and size waiting in the wings.

Thus, the fleeting thought on whether a big trade would be forthcoming.

I’m fascinated by how they’ll approach this. Will they stand pat, hope for the best and that some young players can mimic Abe Lucas a year ago and stand up to be crucial contributors in year one? Will they be aggressive to add? Will they be inactive and regret it if it ultimately costs the team when play begins?

In the past when there’s been a glaring weakness they’ve often been active buyers. The Sheldon Richardson, Duane Brown and Jadeveon Clowney trades are good examples. The most recent (and most expensive) deal was the move to acquire Jamal Adams.

On each occasion, a fix was sought to solve a problem. The Richardson trade was a direct response to Malik McDowell’s ATV crash. Brown was needed after an injury to the starter at left tackle. Clowney filled a Frank Clark-shaped hole.

In Adams’ case, we need to remember the off-season Seattle had in 2020. They failed to re-sign Clowney (a stated priority) and could only replace him with Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin. The quarterback (Russell Wilson, remember him?) had publicly called for the team to acquire ‘stars’. The defense was in serious danger of regressing and they made a very aggressive deal for a playmaker. Although Adams wasn’t a like-for-like replacement, in many ways he replaced Clowney as the ‘focal point’. Or at least that seemed to be the intention.

So what do they do in 2023? I’d argue talent and depth is required. However, I don’t think they’re going to make a significant trade this time for several reasons.

Firstly, they haven’t lost anyone. At least so far. If Dre’Mont Jones suddenly was ruled out for a long period of time this could change things. At the moment though they need to add and improve, not replace.

Secondly, I think this is a different Seahawks team these days. I think the flop of the Adams trade has left a mark. They’ve since gone about trying to acquire more draft stock, rather than trade it away, with a renewed focus on building through the draft. They’ve also had a lot of success in the last two drafts. Are they going to be more conservative in the trade market going forward? Possibly.

Thirdly, they have already invested in the defensive front with the Jones and Reed signings. How they go about creating depth is a question that probably won’t be answered with ‘big bold trade’.

I don’t imagine a blockbuster deal is forthcoming but I also don’t think we should ignore or limit how often we discuss what is clearly the weak point of the roster (especially on a blog that is ultimately designed to spend considerable time discussing roster construction).

Jones is very talented with a lot of potential to develop even further (thus, his price-tag) while Reed is a very capable trench performer with alpha qualities. It’s a little bit scary when you peak at the other players at Seattle’s disposal, though.

A pair of rookies and second-year Myles Adams fill the depth chart, alongside Mario Edwards Jr who’s on his seventh team in eight years. Bryan Mone is out indefinitely with no sign of a return any time soon.

I’m sure we’ll see plenty of different looks up front where they have two or three defensive tackles/five techniques on the field for early downs. At the moment though, whatever they roll with, they’ll be light up front.

Reed is listed at 306lbs by the Seahawks on their website. Jones is 281lbs and Mario Edwards Jr is 280lbs. That’s your starting D-line and it’s understating things to say it lacks size.

Depth is supplied by rookie Mike Morris (291lbs) and second-year Myles Adams (290lbs). Cameron Young (304lbs) is currently not practising with an injury.

I’m a little bit concerned looking at this group that Jarran Reed is going to be playing probably more snaps than he should. If he gets hurt, what do they do?

This is part of the problem when you feel like you need to completely revamp a unit. Adams and Mone are the only holdovers from last year. Everyone else is gone. When you then spend big money on Jones and reasonable money on Reed, you have limited money to play with.

Edwards Jr is here on a dirt-cheap deal and the Seahawks are seemingly banking on him playing beyond what he’s shown so far in his NFL career. They’re also relying a lot on Morris, Adams and eventually Young supplying adequate depth.

It feels paper thin with a huge emphasis on the two key off-season additions in free agency. Imagine if you lost either? Then you consider the run defense. Do they have enough good run defenders up front? Will their new additions learn quickly or is a slow start defensively inevitable for yet another year? Will they able to read plays, plug gaps and contain the edge better than last year, where they gave up 150-rushing yards a game? How will the investment at linebacker be impacted if the play up front is underwhelming? Are they too light on the D-line?

A few weeks ago I thought they might add to the depth by bringing back Shelby Harris and/or Al Woods yet neither happened. Now, in an attempt to fill the ‘Mone role’ while he remains unavailable, they’re continuing a game of ‘nose tackle musical chairs’. Every week a player is added to the roster and then a few days later, they’re off again. Some (Robert Cooper) have had a couple of goes as they search for a ‘good enough’ solution.

John Schneider has spoken about believing if you can play the nose in college you can do it in the NFL. It’s somewhat concerning, therefore, that they are basically looking for a passable warm body and can’t find someone suitable.

I also think this scheme more than any other is predicated on talent up front. We’ve seen a tentatively similar defense produce the #1 unit in the league with Aaron Donald blowing up the interior. We’ve also seen the same person who coached that defense move to the Chargers, inherit and acquire elite talent off the edge and struggle because he hasn’t got a serious interior threat.

Maybe Jones and Reed can be a ‘Coke Zero’ version of Donald and Greg Gaines in LA? I really hope so, although I’d feel a lot better if the actual Gaines had been signed to play next to them. Either that or they’d found someone to properly anchor the middle of the defense, to allow the key pair to disrupt. The entire D-line would feel so much stronger with a proper nose tackle, freeing Jones to play inside/out and Reed to essentially do a bit of everything.

I’m trying not to think about the Seahawks not having the #10 pick in 2022 because of the Adams trade — a selection that would’ve placed them to potentially draft man-mountain Jordan Davis.

It’s at a time like this that someone often flops into the comments section to accuse me of obsessing over Adams. I just think it’s impossible not to spend a lot of time reflecting on how damaging that trade was or to now question why he is still set to earn a team-high $18.1m this year despite an unclear timeline on his return.

As we’ve said a few times — it would’ve been perfectly reasonable to approach him about a pay-cut. Had he been cut, or if he was to be cut today, there’s no way he’d get close to $18.1m on the open market. Given the nature of his injury, a fair prediction is he’d either receive a lukewarm market or teams would wait until he was close to a full recovery before considering signing him.

Instead the Seahawks are paying an elite salary for a complete unknown. For all we know, he’ll start the year on the PUP list and miss at least six weeks. A conversation about a pay cut or at least converting some of his salary into incentives would be totally understandable. Frankly, if he rejected the idea, he probably should’ve been sent packing by now.

Either way, some of his money (on top of the $11m in cap space they currently have) could’ve gone towards a more experienced, deeper D-line and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

I fear it’s too late to do anything about it now. If there were any nose tackles out there, they’d probably already be in Seattle. There’s no Snacks Harrison waiting at the diner. The Seahawks haven’t ever really shown much interest in bringing Ndamukong Suh back to the PNW. Linval Joseph, approaching his 35th birthday, has the same age/endurance issues that presumably led to Al Woods’ departure.

One of the necessary features for a team in the modern NFL is a strong D-line. It feels like most contenders, even the ones who bank on the genius of Patrick Mahomes, have an elite level D-liner capable of wrecking games — or tremendous depth. For the Chiefs it’s Chris Jones. The Eagles have bodies galore, as do the 49ers. The Bills spent big on their defensive front. The Cowboys and Jets — among the top defensive units last year — also have strong talent and/or depth within their D-lines.

If the Seahawks are going to truly take the next step as a team, it’s not a stretch to believe they need more up front.

Thus, I think they’re another off-season away from being a legit Championship contender — even in a wide-open NFC. If they’re playing the long-game, that’s fine. I would understand and embrace that. Perhaps they believe they can lean on a D-line heavy draft next year and wait this out?

The thing is, they do feel quite close to having an ideally rounded roster (at least on paper) today, when the NFC looks particularly unthreatening (at least compared to the AFC). This is the one big question mark. D-line. That makes you want cake today, rather than in 2024.

Also, we don’t know what challenges next year will bring. It’ll be harder to focus on the D-line if Geno Smith doesn’t take his opportunity this year to justify a contract that’ll be worth between $31-40m next year. If he needs to be replaced, that will likely take precedence. I hope it doesn’t come to that but we don’t need to pretend it’s out of the question.

They also don’t have much cap space available next year and all signs point towards a draft focus rather than a free agency focus in 2024. Therefore, the later they pick the harder it’ll be to find D-line solutions (and while many are hailing the DT depth next year, the usual caveat of it being far too early to judge definitely applies here — I’ve started dipping into the group and would urge some caution).

If they did want to try and fix this now, who could they target?

There are no clear nose tackles so it’d have to be a different type of interior defender.

The two players that you could at least bring up in a conversation are Kansas City’s Jones and Miami’s Christian Wilkins. Both would cost an absolute fortune, firstly in picks and then in salary, making any potential deal appear fanciful at best.

The Chiefs would be mad to part with Jones, especially with $47m in effective cap space ready to play with next year. It’s unclear why they haven’t just paid him.

Jones has just turned 29 so it makes more sense for the Chiefs to keep/reward him than it would be for another team to trade a kings ransom for him and then pay him a record-breaking deal. A trade feels virtually impossible. What would it take? The starting price would have to be two firsts, you’d think. How many elite years would you get out of him though?

I’d say it’s a non-starter.

Wilkins is a slightly more realistic option. He is currently ‘holding-in’ for the Dolphins. Despite the fact he’s still on his rookie contract, he actually turns 28 in December so he’s not as young as you might think.

He’s a very good defensive tackle, he’s extremely athletic and he’s a great character. The problem is — and this is probably why Miami is finding it hard to reach common-ground on a contract — his general performance is better than his production.

In terms of consistency he’s excellent. He had an 85.1 PFF grade a year ago (ninth among DT’s) and he had plus marks as a pass rusher and run defender. In 2021, he recorded an 83.3 grade.

However, he’s never had more than 4.5 sacks in a season. It’s just not a huge part of his game. In comparison, Jones has two 15.5 sack seasons in his career and 63 sacks in six seasons as an established starter.

Wilkins is very good. Jones is a game-wrecker.

Trying to work out Jones’ salary worth is easy. You make him the highest paid DT in the game. Working out Wilkins’ value is far trickier.

The Dolphins would likely ask for premium trade compensation because it’d create a hole in the heart of their defense and the entire league is crying out for good, quality DT play. That would make it hard to work out exactly what is fair value for a player who might never get more than five sacks a year.

I can’t think of any other obvious trade candidates to discuss. Vita Vea’s contract restructure means that’s a no-go as it’d be far too expensive for the Buccs to deal him. Quinnen Williams and Jeffery Simmons both just got paid. Ditto Daron Payne and Dexter Lawrence. Even in the second and third tier talent-lists it’s not clear who you could move for apart from someone like Johnathan Hankins, given Dallas spent a high pick on Mazi Smith.

I suspect the Seahawks will end up bringing someone in who is cut by another team and perhaps the game of ‘nose tackle musical chairs’ will simply continue until someone sticks?

I hope the likes of Mike Morris and Cameron Young can settle in quickly, stay healthy and provide good rotational options. Young in particular feels like a more integral player than he probably should be as a rookie. They need him to get back on the field, take a chunk of reps and excel in the way the likes of Abe Lucas did as a rookie, albeit in a rotational role rather than a full-time starter. I think he’s got the skills to do it but that’s a lot of pressure on young shoulders.

There are a lot of exciting aspects of Seattle’s roster. I think we can all agree that, should everyone stay healthy, the offense looks about as exciting as I can remember since I started following the Seahawks. Never before have they had this many explosive, dynamic weapons.

There are positives about the defense too. Yet if they get pushed around up front and if they simply can’t plug gaps, defend the run properly and contain off the edge — a lot of good work on the roster elsewhere will be undone.

That’s a frustrating thought made all the more frustrating by a lack of an obvious fix. When we need a Snacks Harrison-level option to cling to, there’s not even a crumbs Harrison out there.

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Curtis Allen’s camp notes (16th August)

This is a guest post from Curtis Allen…

The last day of Seahawks’ training camp available to the public was a bit more relaxed, with players not working in their pads in preparation for Saturday’s preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.

It was also a welcome sight because the team (and more specifically the defense) has been really banged up with injuries recently.

Devon Witherspoon and Jamal Adams have been hurt. They were joined today by Tre Brown sitting practice out with an unspecified injury. In the linebacker group, Jordyn Brooks was dressed but not practicing after coming off the PUP. Up front, Mike Morris and Darrell Taylor have had shoulder injuries and Bryan Mone’s status is anybody’s guess at this point.

A lighter practicing day was warranted whether it was part of the schedule or not.

Usually, a practice of this nature gives an advantage to the offense. Without the rough and tumble work happening in the trenches and the receivers running routes without fear of taking hard shots over the middle, opportunities to score are far easier to come by.

That was true of today’s practice with the offense putting together several very effective plays.

That does not mean that the defense was taking it easy. The defensive backfield provided tight coverage and were very competitive.

The best play of the day defensively came from Julian Love. He’s having a pretty quiet camp by all accounts but here he was hand fighting with Metcalf on an in-breaking route to the end zone:

Even so, offense ruled the day. Of note though — several of the catches and plays were of the variety you would actually see in live game play – tightly covered with the quarterback’s accuracy and the receiver’s ability to adjust and make the play the difference. Have a look at this fade to Metcalf from Geno Smith:

The coverage by Artie Burns may not be absolutely perfect but that ball was a great example of what we saw. The quarterbacks and receivers nicely synching to make it a rough day for the defenders.

It was not all about Metcalf, though. Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba had touchdown catches in the scrimmages. Smith-Njigba’s was a particular beauty — a toe-tapping corner of the end zone grab that showcased his body control and Geno Smith’s accuracy.

One receiver garnered a lot of my attention today though — Jake Bobo. With Dee Eskridge’s problems, Cody Thompson’s ascension cooling due to an injury and Dareke Young just now being able to practice, Bobo has taken full advantage of the opportunity presented to him.

After an impressive performance in last week’s game, it appears the Seahawks want to see what they have in him. He was literally all over the field today. Bobo took his standard snaps on the kicking coverage but also frequently worked with both Geno Smith and Drew Lock in the offensive drills and scrimmages:

The Seahawks had him running all kinds of routes — slants, crossers, simple ‘find the soft spot in the zone and sit downs’ and timing routes down the sideline and he produced results on every play:

Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though. This rep is a good example. You can see Bobo lumbering a little bit in his run and Lance Boykin (he of the 4.73 40-yard time) is not exactly prime competition.

This ball is placed perfectly by Geno Smith and Bobo is able to go up and get it and come down in bounds. It appears as if Boykin bails on the play at the end, perhaps reasoning the ball is sailing out of bounds. Yet Bobo reels it in.

That is the kind of day he had – everything the Seahawks asked him to do, he did and did well. It is possible that today was a designed ‘development day’ to give the coaches some practice film to review in order to further their evaluations.

Do not be surprised if he gets reps with the top offense Saturday to see him against better competition in a game setting. Or, the exact opposite — very little action because the Seahawks have seen enough to make their decision and want to give the other receivers some reps.

Other Practice Notes

— Drew Lock had several more impressive throws today, including a bomb to Matt Landers for a touchdown. He is quickly reaching the point where he is calm and in command in practice and now needs to translate that to game play. Look for him to get plenty of work on Saturday.

— Coby Bryant seems to be settling on being a backup safety and the starting nickel that can transition to safety when the defense wants to change up their looks. It feels like we should count on that as the plan until Devon Witherspoon can get back on the field.

— Speaking of Witherspoon, Pete Carroll offered a weak assurance that he is on the road to recovery with his ‘he can run in a straight line’ statement. It is not a death knell but you should know he said that of Darrell Taylor several times in his rookie season. The point being — do not hold your breath waiting for Witherspoon to get on the field again soon.

— It still seems strange to me to see Boye Mafe and Uchenna Nwosu dropping in coverage at times. This feels like something that good offensive teams will exploit in order to try to nullify their speed off the edge. Or put another way, make them play the game they want to play. Is Bryant enough to either cover a tight end or occasionally set the edge in place of those guys?

— It does appear that Jamal Adams is progressing. He dressed today in his jersey but is obviously still in recovery and did not participate. To his credit, he is doing everything he can to pump up his teammates. He also stayed after practice again to sign autographs.

— Seeing Woolen take full reps today after a full practice yesterday was extremely encouraging. He still needs a lot of development time for all of his talent. It also helps the coaches sort out the other side cornerback. There’s no better timing than now, with Tre Brown out today.

— Speaking of that, Woolen vs Metcalf is worth the price of admission. Even in practice for a handful of reps. We are talking about two of the most physically impressive human beings in the game locking horns.

— Tyreke Smith appears to have been classed by Pete Carroll as ‘he is going to have to make an impact on special teams’ rather than being in competition for an OLB spot with the other top four players. He took several reps on the punt squad and was the first guy to really break downfield from the front line group, for what it’s worth.

— Noah Fant says he is fully recovered from his knee injury. I am not convinced. He seemed to labor today. More than once he split off from the offense on the sidelines to take a few steps and sort of collect himself.

— BT Jordan’s pass rush drills are a blast to watch. I do not know if they will yield results but from just watching them work you can see their skills showing up. Hall has a strength and build that is exciting. Nwosu has real quickness. Mafe? He’s got both of those things.

— A lot was made about a run Deejay Dallas had for a touchdown today. They are always nice to see but this was a ‘manufactured’ play by the offense. They lined him up as a wide receiver but close to the line, had him run across the formation at the snap and had an upback leading the way in a sort of jet sweep. It is a formation type practice rep that may work in a live game but is not very repeatable. Running backs need to find their holes and create yards to succeed when the games count and this play was not that.

— Zach Charbonnet also had a touchdown run and looks very competitive out there. Ken Walker had his helmet and did some light drill work and Pete Carroll assured us he will be ready for Week One. Kenny McIntosh dressed but did not have his helmet or participate in drills but appears close also. So, the running back group may yet be at full strength soon.

— Speaking of Dallas, he got most of the punt return reps today. Jaxon Smith-Njigba got a few as well but not nearly as many. I would think the Seahawks like Dallas’ reliability and will look to have him be the main returner Week One with a mandate of ‘just don’t cough up the ball.’ They likely are tempted to have Smith-Njigba back there but will do the math between his tender hamstring and the drop-off between the third and fourth wide receiver and take the safe route for now and stick with Dallas.

— I still think Charles Cross’ physical transformation is not being talked about enough. Standing with the backup left tackles he looks trimmer, more muscular and far more athletic. A physically stronger approach could really fuel a second-year jump, which would be just what the doctor ordered for this offense.

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