Seahawks-Vikings: 3 players to watch
3peat to Compete: These players want to slide up before the season starts, 8/8/2023
From the moment he arrived in Seattle, Seahawks fans have known that Pete Carroll’s motto is “Always Compete”. But does he ever go further to answer the question…”For what?”
“For what is it that I am competing for, Coach?”
Like ties always go to runners, attention always goes to starters and this is the presumed meaning of Pete’s philosophy. However, that would mean that nearly two-thirds of the players at Seahawks training camp have no reason to be there other than the beautiful VMAC view.
The premise that “literally every job is up for grabs” was more suited for the beginning of Pete’s tenure in Seattle, when he turned over damn near the entire roster, but I would say that at least 18 of the traditional “22 starting gigs” (for better accuracy, it is actually more than that, but those rotational jobs were mostly all sewn up too) were spoken for at the start of cmap.
A backup player can prepare and compete as if he has a chance to start and that’s great. It is highly encouraged and often rewarded in some fashion.
In many cases, it is also not realistic.
You can compete to start. You can compete to remain a starter. You can compete to be in the rotation or to be the first backup. You can pick your nose. And in the grand tradition of mid-stage Hard Knocks, you could be focused on simply making the roster by any means necessary and collecting true NFLPA, 53-man game checks, substantially more than what you’ll make on the practice squad…but that too is a fierce competition.
“Competition” is the foundation of Pete’s coaching philosophy and it has helped guide him through one of the longest tenures tenures in football history. I mean, really think about that…Pete Carroll’s first head coaching job came in 1994! Of all the active head coaches, only Belichick got an earlier start.
Pete got hired by the Jets before Friends aired on NBC.
But within that philosophy of competing always (when I was a student at WSU, there was a t-shirt in the student store that said “Always Compete, Compete All Ways”…we made fun of it at the time yet it somehow seems even more relevant for this article than Pete’s version) there’s an important question you need to answer first:
Who are you competing against?
It could be a starter. It could be the guy who was “last man in” last season. I’ve never felt you needed anybody else to be measured against other than yourself. Who is the best version of you? Then can you beat that person? The best you?
Luckily for this bonus article, we don’t need to get that deep.
I will outline three players who I will be watching closely during Thursday night’s preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings who are all in some shape or form fighting for their football lives: One who is competing to be a starter, one who is competing to be a backup/key rotational player, one who is competing to make the final roster.
If you’re not a paid member and want a sneak peek, I’ll tell you right now that I’ve already covered receivers Jake Bobo and Cody Thompson, so I won’t go there again today. We’re close at this point to knowing that Evan Brown will start at center over Olu Oluwatimi. We don’t know…but we know.
For those positions that tend to rotate more than others, it’s safe to say that Boye Mafe, Julian Love, and Zach Charbonnet/Kenny McIntosh are going to get plenty of opportunities in the regular season. So I’ll be digging deeper than the surface level options.
There isn’t much to report from Tuesday’s practice: Ken Walker isn’t back yet, Tyler Lockett is doing a little more than he did on Monday, Damien Lewis has missed two days, and the big surprise is that Devon Witherspoon was seen with “a wrap on his leg” per ESPN’s Brady Henderson.
Witherspoon is surely competing in training camp, but I don’t think he’s competing for total snaps. He’s only practicing to give Carroll, Clint Hurtt, and Karl Scott an idea of what position he should be playing when those snaps come.
That doesn’t mean that cornerback isn’t the most competitive position on the team this camp though, because it is. That’s where I’ll start and then I’ll touch on competitions to be a key rotational player and competition to make the final 53-man roster for someone who nobody expects to be on it.
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
If you’re not in the Regular Joes or Super Joes club then click here to get on board. This article is the SEVENTH bonus post at Seaside Joe since the start of August in addition to writing a free article every single day. That’s quite a bargain! The Seaside Joe motto: Always Subscribe.