Seahawks OTA notes: Youthful look on the field with veterans sitting out
The Seahawks held their fifth Organized Team Activity on Tuesday, only the second of which that’s been open to the media. Here are a few notes and observations:
Roll call. To recycle an old but currently applicable line, it was more like the Legion of Whom? with so many missing players from Seattle’s secondary in particular and defense in general. Safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor were in attendance but watched without helmets while cornerback Richard Sherman appeared to only take part in the early portion of practice before watching the team sessions. Sherman didn’t do much team work during the first open OTA last Friday either for reasons unclear. DeShawn Shead, Seattle’s other starting cornerback, also watched as he continues to recover from knee surgery. Thomas didn’t do much on Friday, with coach Pete Carroll saying afterward that the team had dialed back his workload after he went hard during the start of OTAs coming back from a broken leg. Chancellor is coming off surgery on both ankles. Michael Wilhoite, one of the three veteran linebackers Seattle signed in free agency, hasn’t practiced in either of the two open OTAs. Tight end Jimmy Graham didn’t practice Tuesday either, while defensive linemen Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Frank Clark were again not in attendance. Carroll said last week that Clark was dealing with an illness (the mumps, of all things) as well as a family matter. Remember: attendance in OTAs is voluntary. Next week’s three-day minicamp is mandatory.
Griffin getting his reps. All the absences in Seattle’s secondary means younger players are getting more turns in OTAs. That has included cornerback Shaquill Griffin, one of the team’s third-round picks. Including the two rookie minicamp practices I attended and the first two open OTAs, I haven’t seen Griffin take a snap anywhere other than right cornerback. That’s the spot opposite Sherman where Seattle has an opening with Shead expected to be unavailable for the start of the season. I wrote about Griffin’s chances of claiming that job in an earlier post.
Blair Watch. June is no time for definitive assessments in the NFL, so how a player looks during an OTA practice usually only indicates so much. But given the way kicker Blair Walsh’s career has gone off track, it was notable when he missed a few field-goal attempts during Friday’s practice in calm conditions. Walsh had a better practice on Friday. He’s the only kicker on Seattle’s roster after the team waived John Lunsford, which indicates a degree of confidence that he’s regained the accuracy he had earlier in his career. But it bears watching.
Wagner, Baldwin on Seahawks’ locker room. Linebacker Bobby Wagner and receiver Doug Baldwin were two of the three players the team made available to the media after practice (left tackle George Fant was the other), and they were each asked for their takes on the ESPN article that reported about strife in Seattle’s locker room. Baldwin conceded that the Seahawks have their issues but that every NFL team does. Said Wagner: “When I walk into that locker room, I see a family and people who want the best for on another.” Here’s a video of some of what Wagner said. It begins with Wagner midway through a comment about how he doesn’t like anonymous sources (the ESPN article was mostly anonymously sourced).
Bobby Wagner on the Seahawks’ locker room: pic.twitter.com/xjZCc9pcym
— Brady Henderson (@BradyHenderson) June 6, 2017