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5 Takeaways from the Seahawks’ first day of mandatory minicamp

(AP)

Tuesday marked the first day of the Seahawks’ three-day mandatory minicamp. After practice, reporters were able to speak with head coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson. Here are a few takeaways:

1. Defensive end Frank Clark and cornerback Byron Maxwell were there.

Defensive end Frank Clark and cornerback Byron Maxwell skipped OTAs earlier this month, but both players were on the field as the Seahawks kicked off their first day of mandatory minicamp.

“Byron got his work done today, he jumped back in,” Pete Carroll told reporters after practice. “Frank’s still got a little problem, he’s got a little hamstring that’s been bothering him throughout the offseason. He hasn’t quite got it right (but) he got a little bit of work today.”

2. But Earl Thomas was not.

Seahawks All-Pro safety Earl Thomas announced his holdout Sunday, and as expected, was absent from minicamp Tuesday. Carroll said he last spoke to Thomas a few weeks ago.

“I wish he was here and that would be nice,” Carroll said. “But we’re focused on the guys that are here and we’ll see how that goes.”

A few of those guys include safeties Bradley McDougald, Delano Hill, Maurice Alexander and Tedric Thompson, all of whom will be able to see some more focused work as Seattle looks to fill the void left by Thomas’ during his holdout.

3. Bradley McDougald is ‘taking the lead’ at safety.

Speaking of Bradley McDougald, Carroll says the veteran – whom Seattle signed to a new three-year deal this offseason – has been stepping up to the challenge of filling in for Thomas.

“Bradley has really taken the lead, just as he did last year when he played he just picked right up and came in,” Carroll said. “He started a lot of football games in the league, he’s got a lot of background and it shows. Very confident and he’s a good communicator and he helps people just like our guys need to. So he’s just embraced that from the first day.”

A versatile player, McDougald served as a backup for both Thomas and strong safety Kam Chancellor last season (the latter role lead to a six-week starting stint at the close of 2017).

4. A couple young receivers are making a roster bid.

Defense was the focus of the day with the return of Maxwell and Clark, and Thomas’ holdout, but there were a few standouts on offense when it came to getting in work on the field. Carroll has made clear Seattle’s intention to return to a strong run game, so it’s no surprise that first-round pick running back Rashaad Penny and a now-healthy Chris Carson have been capturing most of the media’s attention.

However, the wide receiver group also has some newer faces that are impressing coaches. And the battle at the bottom of that position group will be an interesting one to watch. With the departure of Paul Richardson and tight end Jimmy Graham, Wilson will need dependable targets behind veterans Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. Tuesday, two young receivers managed to catch Carroll’s eye.

“If you watched practice today, Keenan (Reynolds) had a really good day,” Carroll said of the 23-year-old wide receiver.

Seattle signed Reynolds, a former Navy quarterback, as a free agent in May. With Baldwin having a rest day, Reynolds was able to get some playing time at Baldwin’s spot.

“Keenan in (Baldwin’s) spot just jumped out today,” Carroll said. “I talked to him earlier, I said ‘You know, (there is a) pretty good opportunity for you these next couple days here’, and he said, ‘Yeah I know I’m watching.’ And he lit it up today. So I was really excited for him. He’s a great kid. And you can see why he was a leader and big time player and all that.”

Carroll also had good things to say about second-year receiver David Moore.

“David Moore has been special for us, he’s a very, very good athlete. He came from a really small program, and he wasn’t able to catch it all in stride until late in the season when we finally got him active the last week, but you can see the playmaking ability. We’re already trying to figure out ways to move him around so he can show off what he’s got. He doesn’t look like it, but he’s a real strong kid, probably 218 pounds, and he’s physical. We’re really excited to see him like we did in preseason last year with run after catch stuff. He’s had a very good camp, he has made a big jump—made the freshman-sophomore jump, and it’s exciting to see that.”

5. Russell Wilson is flying helicopters?

Given that mandatory minicamps are still closed practices, there isn’t a ton of on-the-field news to share. But one interesting tidbit from Russell Wilson’s press conference was his new hobby: flying helicopters.

Wilson, who said he tries “to do something different” every year, has been training to fly helicopters for about a year.

“I don’t get much time to kind of get away and free (my) mind a little bit,” Wilson said, when asked why he picked up the unique hobby. “And I don’t mean that in a weird way, I just mean that in a sense of just being able to see, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, you get to Seattle, you get up in the air, you get to see the mountains and you get to see the trees and the water and everything. For me, I get to see where God is and what God has created. It’s a blessing. Just every day. I’m thankful every day for what God’s been able to give me, I’m thankful for my family and everything else. So that’s the cool part for me.”