Russell Wilson looked incredible during Sunday’s practice – the best day he has had in the Seahawks’ first seven practices – and he followed that up with a really solid performance in Monday’s mock game.
Afterward, coach Pete Carroll said Wilson’s practice repetitions had been increased over the course of the first week of practice, which is great news for two reasons:
1. It shows that Wilson is ready to handle a heavy workload even after reporting at 208 pounds, the lightest he has been to start a training camp since entering the NFL.
2. It means we see less of Seattle’s backup quarterbacks, as Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Seattle helpfully pointed out. Trevone Boykin and Austin Davis have been downright cringe-worthy at times, which leads the list of things we’re still trying to figure out:
Is Seattle’s backup QB currently on the roster?
To be fair, this is kind of like debating the fate of the sleeves off a vest, which is to say it’s completely meaningless given Wilson’s utter, adamant refusal to miss so much as a practice let alone a game. But on the off chance that Wilson were to be incapacitated – say if he were to be smote by a meteor – and the Seahawks would have to start a backup quarterback, would you trust either Trevone Boykin or Austin Davis? It’s not quite as bad as asking whether you’d want to freeze to death or drown, but there’s not exactly an enjoyable answer to the quarterback question, either. Boykin has the ability to make things happen, but he tends to fly by the seat of his pants. If he’s developing into something more than a run-around playmaker, he has kept that growth carefully hidden through the first week of practice, tending to duck, dart and dodge while showing a consistent inability to throw accurately from the pocket. Davis might be lights out studying the playbook and have a keen understanding of the offense, but his arm strength makes you wonder if he could break a window with his fastball let alone how he would function in an NFL game. Oh wait, we know how Davis would function in an NFL game. While he was with the Rams, he started against Seattle in a game in which he rarely threw more than 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. The Rams won that game, but Davis’ production was less than overwhelming. No one has won the backup job yet. In fact, judging by the first week of practice, both these candidates may lose their chance this month.
Is Germain Ifedi falling out of favor?
You’re starting to get that the sense the team is less than thrilled with him. Ooooh, that sounds almost mystical, doesn’t it? You’re starting to get the sense … Well, that’s how a reporter indicates that a team appears increasingly skeptical of a player’s trajectory even though no one is coming right out and directly saying so in a public interview. Not that it’s easy to have someone who coaches or manages this team say something honestly critical of any player. Everyone follows Carroll’s cues in their unrelenting optimism and positivity, which may be great for getting the most out of players, but is absolutely terrible for signaling which one of those players may not be meeting expectations. But Ifedi has been largely absent from the lists of players being praised for their development and growth. He’s switching positions from right guard to right tackle, which isn’t a sign of success. And then attempts to ask specifically – and discreetly – about Ifedi have been met with raised eyebrows or shrugs, which prompts a reporter to use weasel words like I did and say you’re starting to sense that he’s not developing like you’d hope a first-round pick would. In other words, when asked about Ifedi’s progress at right tackle, no one is going out of their way to declare how great things are going, which constitutes criticism in the rose-tinted world of Carroll-inspired optimism. Now that Ifedi’s back from the injury suffered in the training-camp fight with Frank Clark, keep an eye on the competition at right tackle with rookie Ethan Pocic.
Are the Seahawks still trying to make Jimmy Graham a consistent run-game blocker?
Seemed like the question of Graham’s blocking had been asked – and answered – by his performance during his first two years in town. Graham could do it. Not necessarily consistently, mind you, but he could do it. It’s just that when you took all things into consideration, maybe it was better to use the elite pass-catching tight end to, oh I don’t know, catch passes? But with Graham entirely healthy after returning from a serious knee injury, Carroll is again beating the drum for Graham to be a bear at the line of scrimmage. “He’s really become the ‘Y’ blocker for us when we want him,” Carroll said. “You can run right at him. You can expect him to be a dominant guy at the line of scrimmage. That’s a change. That is really a change and he’s worked at it and developed it. Didn’t really see him as a blocker in the past, and he does now.” I don’t use emojis, but if I did, I would put the eye-roll emoji right here.