Three Things: Seahawks rookies making impressions
The Seahawks get a break after four days of training camp, which makes it a good time to offer a synopsis of what we’ve seen so far as well as those things we’re still trying to figure out.
What we’ve learned:
1. One Seahawks rookie is fighting for immediate recognition.
That would be right guard Germain Ifedi. On Monday, the rookie from Texas A&M tangled with veteran Michael Bennett, who took exception to something Ifedi did. On Tuesday, Ifedi was pretty ruthless, not only throwing Brandin Bryant onto his stomach but then laying on top of him. Bennett and Cliff Avril both took exception, hollering at Ifedi to slow his roll. And while Ifedi may not get high marks in citizenship from his counterparts on the defensive line, Seattle’s first-round pick has shown that he possesses the kind of mean streak that J.R. Sweezy was known for.
2. One Seahawks rookie is going to be playing catch-up.
That would be running back C.J. Prosise. He was slowed by a hip-flexor injury during the team’s offseason workouts, and he strained his hamstring in the first half of the first practice in training camp. While it’s too soon to label him as fragile, the seven to 10 days he’s expected to miss in camp or going to put him behind when it comes to showing the coaches he’s ready to serve as the third-down back, especially when you consider that pass protection is an essential component of that job. An NFL team doesn’t hold your position while you get healthy. That’s just the blunt reality for a rookie like Prosise.
3. The fiercest competition for a roster spot is at wide receiver.
Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Jermaine Kearse are the top three receivers on the roster. Hard to imagine someone with Paul Richardson’s speed not making the team. The fight to fill the remaining spot or two is going to pretty intense with players like rookie seventh-round pick Kenny Lawler, Kevin Smith and Douglas McNeil not to mention Deshon Foxx, who stood out through the first four days. But don’t forget Kasen Williams. He is moving better than he has at any point since his sophomore year at Washington, when he caught 77 passes and appeared well on his way to living up to the sizeable recruiting hype that accompanied his arrival on Montlake. He suffered a broken bone in his leg the next year and really only now looks like he’s back to being the athlete he was.
What we’re still trying to figure out:
1. Will Justin Britt stick at center?
The Seahawks have raised eyebrows with position switches before, whether it was moving Red Bryant from defensive tackle to end in 2010 or drafting a defensive lineman like Sweezy to play him at guard in 2012. Still, there’s plenty of skepticism about whether Britt will settle in at center after starting at right tackle as a rookie in 2014 and at left guard last year. Britt has taken all of the first-unit snaps through the first four days of training camp. If he does win the job, Seattle’s line would become one of the biggest in the league with every starting standing 6 foot 4 or taller. If he doesn’t win the job, Seattle will have a utility lineman who has played every spot along the offensive front.
2. Why Seattle’s interceptions plummeted the past two season?
The Seahawks picked off 14 passes last season. They intercepted 13 the year before. Compare that to the 28 passes Seattle intercepted in 2013 and it makes you wonder exactly what happened. It’s possible that’s a symptom of the pass-rush dropping off. After all, Avril and Bennett were coming off the bench as nickel pass-rushers in 2013. How about the fact that opponents were playing from behind more in 2013, forcing them to throw the ball? Well, that contradicts the reality that Seattle’s biggest difficulty on defense last season was holding onto late leads. If Seattle still has one of the best secondaries in the league, it needs to show it with more interceptions this season.
3. Is Seattle comfortable with Trevone Boykin as the backup quarterback?
Right now, Russell Wilson is the only quarterback on Seattle’s roster who has thrown a pass in an NFL game. Wait. That’s not quite right. Jake Heaps played in a pair of preseason games last year for the Jets, attempting a grand total of one pass, which was incomplete. Heaps is No. 3 on the depth chart while Boykin is the backup. Tarvaris Jackson won’t be charged after he was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence in June, but Seattle had not shown an inclination to bring the veteran back even prior to that incident. One thing to watch will be the Jets, who have four quarterbacks on their roster. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter and Christian Hackenberg is a rookie who was drafted in the second round. That means either Geno Smith or – more intriguingly – Bryce Petty may be in danger of not making the team. It will be interesting to see if Seattle looks for an upgrade on the waiver wire.