Huard’s Seahawks practice takeaways: Blair seems similar to 2018 Carson
Practices are in full swing for the Seahawks as they prepare for the start of the 2020 regular season in Atlanta.
It’s been a very different offseason and training camp, with COVID-19 preventing fans from attending camp, limiting media availability for players and coaches, and most likely preventing fans from watching games in person for at least the start of the upcoming season.
But there are still ways to get information about the Seahawks if you watch the right things and talk to the right people. That’s what former NFL quarterback Brock Huard has done, and he has some takeaways on some key aspects of Seattle’s roster. He shared those takeaways in the latest edition of the Brock and Salk Podcast.
Here’s what Huard is seeing and hearing about the Seahawks with practices in full swing.
2020 Marquise Blair is similar to 2018 Chris Carson
Earlier in the offseason, the question surrounding second-year safety Marquise Blair was whether he would beat out Bradley McDougald for the starting strong safety job. Now with All-Pro Jamal Adams in the fold, the question is if Blair will beat out Ugo Amadi at nickel cornerback.
Regardless of where Blair ultimately lines up defensively, Huard is hearing great things about the 2019 second-round pick.
“I would say Marquise Blair … is the Chris Carson of this redshirt freshman class,” he said. “And what I mean by that is remember when Chris Carson came back from his freshman year to his sophomore year – he’d played and got hurt (as a rookie) – he came back a different human. He was 20 pounds heavier, he was just stacked with even more muscle and he just had a look in his eye – ‘Yep, this is going to be different and I realized what I needed to do and I’m going to change my body and I’m going to attack this league.'”
Blair has apparently undergone a similar sort of change.
“Marquise Blair, from what I’ve heard, is up 10-15 pounds and yet has not lost any of the quickness and the twitch that made him a second-round pick,” Huard said. “And by all accounts, he has taken some of the frustrations of the rookie year and the lack of playing time, some of the lack of exposure and said it’s not going to be the same way and maybe that has forced (head coach Pete Carroll’s) hand a little bit … of finding a role for him because this guy is a dude possessed.”
How much will the D-line get talked up?
The talk of the Seahawks’ offseason has been centered around the pass rush and the defensive line. The team made some moves to address that area of concern, adding two defensive ends in free agency, drafting two edge rushers and recently signing a defensive tackle.
Huard has said he’s not sure if the Seahawks have done enough with that defensive line unit and he’s interested in how much Carroll talks up that group in press conferences.
“How much effusive praise have we heard about the defensive linemen?” Huard said. “He gave a little shoutout to L.J. Collier and said he looks like a different guy and everything else but what he did in the pass rush drill – he got owned in both his reps, but that’s fine. That’s his first day of (taking on linemen one on one). I’m going to be watching, listening, following more than anything this week. How much effusive praise do we get for Rasheem Green, for L.J. Collier, for Branden Jackson? Because I think that will be a little bit of a tell (of whether the line is actually improved or not).”
Jordyn Brooks looks the part
If you’re a regular Twitter user, you may have seen that many of the Seahawks’ players have been wearing “short shorts” at practices.
Huard, 710 ESPN Seattle’s resident body expert, noted that guys like Adams, wide receiver DK Metcalf and rookie linebacker Jordyn Brooks have been showing off their very large legs. That eventually led to Huard explaining that Brooks has looked impressive early on and reminds him of a former starting linebacker here in Seattle.
“He looks like a faster Mychal Kendricks,” he said. “Before some of the injuries and wear and tear on Kendricks on everything else, he was a baller, he was a Pro Bowler, he was an excellent player. He was fast, really fast, and this guy is very fast … (The sled the Seahawks use in practice) teaches you to play with really low pad level and you see those guys who just struggle to do that – they’re just hip benders and it’s uncomfortable. And then you see guys like Jordyn Brooks with his legs, like he could play the whole game in a catcher’s squat position and he would be just fine and on top of it. He’s really fast, so that’s been an encouraging sign out of the gate.”
Right side of the O-line
The Seahawks will have a very different looking offensive line in 2020, with three to four new starters protecting quarterback Russell Wilson.
One expected new starter is right tackle Brandon Shell, who signed with the Seahawks in free agency. Carroll said that Shell may be his favorite offseason addition based off what he’s been watching in practice. Huard has been impressed as well.
“I don’t know if it’s just you’re no longer watching (former Seahawks starter) Germain Ifedi play right tackle – and this isn’t a horrible shot at Germain who just struggled athletically, was a big guy but he was just lumbering all the time even when he was walking or jogging out, he just was not comfortable – Brandon Shell is a very athletic, large human,” Huard said. “Let’s hope that a guy who has started 40 games and may not have been an ideal fit in a (New York Jets) scheme that was more passive and pass-first, let’s hope this is exactly what the doctor ordered for this offensive line on the other side of (left tackle) Duane Brown to be the physical, athletic presence that Russell really has not had at that right tackle position in a long time.”
Playing next to Shell at right guard may be third-round pick Damien Lewis. If that’s the case, that duo could do great things, Huard said.
“I know (Lewis has) a viable tackle next to him that’s more athletic than Ifedi and I know those two already before you’ve played one single snap are going to be much more athletic than (2019 starting right guard D.J. Fluker) and Ifedi were,” Huard said. “Now, can they hold the point of attack? Can they move people? Can they be as physical? Can they be as consistent? I think it’s very much a question that let’s just say the people in that building are really excited about the upside of those two and you heard it from Pete.”
Listen to the entire Brock and Salk Podcast, which includes even more of Huard’s takeaways, at this link or in the player below.