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John Clayton’s Seahawks takeaways: Offense is the big story at OTAs

Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett is showing he has the skill set to play the slot. (AP)

Even though the theme of the Seattle Seahawks’ offseason has been improving the defense, offense seems to be the main storyline at OTAs.

Notebook from the Seahawks’ second open OTA practice

During the second OTA session of the year open to the local press Wednesday, there was plenty of excitement generated by the offense at Seahawks headquarters in Renton. Improved competition for the backup quarterback job made for big plays in the passing game, and the running backs look good.

Let’s get to some thoughts from the second week of OTAs.

• Russell Wilson looks particularly sharp. As always, he looks great on the deep pass, but what impressed me the most was the velocity Wilson used throwing shorter passes in the middle of the field.

• Wide receiver Tyler Lockett looks good when the Seahawks put him in the slot. The big thing for slot receivers is having the experience to learn how to adjust routes depending on how defenses are covering them. Lockett is healthy. He’s smart. He’s got the experience. And as we know, he’s fast.

• Paxton Lynch showed some good things in his battle for the backup QB job, but Geno Smith looks better. Lynch might have more upside because he’s 6-foot-7 and a former No. 1 draft pick. Smith, however, has starting experience, an ability to get the ball downfield and appears natural running the offense. Still, this battle won’t be sorted out until the preseason.

• It looks like Germain Ifedi is in good shape at right tackle. George Fant will continue his role as the big blocking tight end, but he said he’s been moved to the left side working behind Duane Brown. Fant started half the season at left tackle two years ago and did well as a rookie who had never played on the offensive line before coming to the pros.

• As much as everyone is looking forward to watching second-round pick Marquise Blair make big hits at safety – something players can’t do in OTAs or minicamp – Blair isn’t bad in coverage. He knocked down a deep pass and showed great range Wednesday.

• Shaquill Griffin made some nice plays at cornerback, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. Griffin took some criticism last year but part of his problem was a leg injury that nagged him toward the end of the season. This will be Griffin’s third year as a starter. Also of note, Tre Flowers was present Wednesday and looks good at right corner.

• The aforementioned Brown said the Seahawks’ offensive line could end up being the best in football. That might be a stretch, but his comments show how confident the blockers are. The Seahawks are coming off a season in which they were the best running team in football. Plus, the addition of Mike Iupati makes the line bigger and more talented.

• Even though it’s hard to judge defensive linemen in practices that don’t have contact, Poona Ford looks as though he’s ready to make a big jump at defensive tackle. Ford was great in his limited time trying to get on the field and stop the run.

• Good news for fans who want the Seahawks to pass the ball more: the passing offense looks encouraging, particularly with deep balls. There is more speed at wide receiver, too, and it doesn’t hurt that the Seahawks have three quarterbacks who can get the ball downfield.

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John Clayton on 710 ESPN Seattle
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