Bumpus: The 3 Seahawks with most to prove in training camp

Jul 27, 2022, 9:17 AM

Seahawks Jordyn Brooks...

Jordyn Brooks of the Seattle Seahawks before a Jan. 2 game against the Detroit Lions. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Seahawks training camp kicks off Wednesday, and there’s no shortage of storylines to follow as Seattle begins a new era.

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Gone are Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner, which means some familiar faces will need to step into larger leadership roles as well as become more important contributors. The same can be said of some new faces, too.

Former Seahawks receiver Michael Bumpus shared the three players who have the most to prove during Seattle’s training camp Tuesday on Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Bump and Stacy.

RB Rashaad Penny

After a strong finish in 2021, Penny re-signed on a one-year deal and was already expected to again be a key part of the Seahawks’ offense. With it now official that Chris Carson has been released and will reportedly retire due to a neck injury, Penny faces even more pressure going forward.

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“He’s connected directly to the news that broke today … Chris Carson is no longer going to be a Seahawk. He’s retiring,” Bumpus said Tuesday afternoon. “… It has to be Rashad Penny. He’s got a lot to prove because it’s his show now. Can he be the guy that we saw at the end of the season? He has to be the catalyst now.”

The Seahawks have always stressed a balanced offense with a potent rushing attack under head coach Pete Carroll. Penny showed he can carry the load at the end of 2021, but he now will be looked to from Day 1 to be “the guy.” Additionally, the oft-injured 2018 first-round pick must show he can stay healthy.

“That’s been the knock on (Penny), man. We’ve had him for four years and we’ve only had him really for six or seven games,” Bumpus said. “Can he be healthy? Can he be relied upon? Can you lead this group of Ken Walker, Deejay Dallas and Travis Homer? … I think he can do it. I really do …  He has to be the complete running back. He has to make it so the coaches do not want to take him off the football field at any time or at any moment.”

LB Jordyn Brooks

Another first-round pick facing added pressure in 2022 is Brooks.

Seattle’s first selection in 2020, Brooks will now be the Seahawks ‘mike’ linebacker since Wagner is no longer with the team. He will also be the team’s defensive playcaller on the field with the “green dot” helmet.

“I feel like he’s already proven that he can be a guy. He can be the ‘Robin’ when it comes to that linebacker position,” Bumpus said of Brooks. “But he didn’t have the green dot (before) and he wasn’t getting guys lined up. (Now) he’s got to lead. He’s got to lead a unit that has some veteran guys on it, that has Jamal (Adams) out there, that has Quandre (Diggs) back there … He’s the guy who’s communicating out there.”

In addition to added responsibility is, simply, replacing a perennial All-Pro and future Hall of Famer in Wagner.

“You are following the greatest linebacker to ever play for the Seahawks,” Bumpus said. “People are already going to be comparing you to him. But I think he’s up for the challenge. He led the team in tackles last year and learned a lot from Bobby. Bobby was a great mentor.”

QB Drew Lock

Lock is a new addition to the Seahawks, coming to Seattle in the trade with Denver involving Wilson. Now he will compete with Geno Smith, Wilson’s backup the last three years, to be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback.

Bumpus thinks Lock was dealt a tough hand in his career in Denver.

“You had a decent rookie year in about five games and won a few of those games (then) got beat out by Teddy Bridgewater (in 2021). You had three coordinators over there, you had a COVID season (in 2020) where I feel like it stunted your study and your development a little bit,” he said. “I’m not saying this guy is going to be the savior but this is his last opportunity I feel like to be a starter in this league now.”

Bumpus made it clear that Lock faces far more pressure and has more to prove in training camp than Smith.

“We know that Geno is going to be able to run this offense and get them in and out, communicate, be a leader out there. Is he going to be able to win the big game? I’m not sure,” Bumpus said. “… I think it’s on Drew Lock not just for this football team but for himself and for his career. As an athlete, once you once you stop performing at a high level you second guess yourself like, ‘Am I good enough to be here? Am I supposed to be here?’ I don’t want that for Drew Lock. Even if he goes out and wins the job and he’s not the Pro Bowl-type quarterback, he’s not top 10 when it comes to yards, do enough to keep that confidence within yourself because once you lose that as an athlete, it is a wrap for you and I do not want that on anybody, especially not Drew Lock. If he can prove himself in camp, if he could stand there toe-to-toe with Geno Smith and win that job, it’s going to do a lot for the team and even more for him personally.”

Listen to the full third hour of Tuesday’s Bump and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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