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4 Seahawks training camp storylines to follow
Is Drew Lock going to breakout? Will starting 5 OL stay the same? Seaside Joe 1599
The Seattle Seahawks report to training camp next Tuesday and start practicing on Wednesday. That means that Seaside Joe is now ready to begin the tricklings of training camp coverage, with full bore daily reports and updates starting in a week!
Seahawks report to training camp in: 7 days!
First preseason game: 23 days!
If I was subscribed to Seaside Joe, I too would probably grow tired of self-promotion and asking for subscribers, so at least know that I am self-aware. Still, if you haven’t joined our email list yet, it would mean a lot for us, as would joining Regular Joes to get all of the bonus and premium content!
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Once we hit some of our needed milestones in the future, I guarantee there will be a lot less talk about signing up for Seaside Joe…if anything, I’ll be trying to lose subs! For now, do what you can, if you can, to help us grow and reach other Seahawks fans headed into 2023 training camp. This WILL be the best home for it and a great alternative for social media updates, as well.
Pop Quiz hotshot: Which of these quarterbacks were never signed by the Seahawks? There is more than one answer… Paxton Lynch, Anthony Gordon, Mark Sanchez, Danny Etling, Jake Heaps, J.T. Barrett, Terrelle Pryor, Brady Quinn, Jack Coan
I’ll post the answer at the bottom of the newsletter. Until then, these are four training camp storylines you’ll want to follow during 2023 training camp.
Seahawks same OL from Start to Finish?
Though we always get some day 1 training camp stories around the league, news of players “playing with the 1s” who nobody expected to be that important, there is an anticipated starting five for the Seahawks on the offensive line at the beginning of camp. Here’s a short rundown by Brandon Thorn for Establish the Run:
Last year, we heard stories all offseason about Geno Smith and Drew Lock “competing” to be Seattle’s starting quarterback, only to find out weeks into training camp that the competition was a bit of a facade—intentionally or unintentionally, that is what it was. Lock didn’t get a single snap with the starters until the competition was all but decided and Geno took the first two starts in preseason, although the second was when Lock was reported to have covid.
So Carroll says that Brown and Haynes have competition for the jobs at center and right guard, but will he actively rotate in Olu Oluwatimi, Joey Hunt, and Anthony Bradford? Or does something have to go wrong for one of the starters before the backups have a chance to do something right? Carroll has talked about Brown like the starting center so far:
"Evan has come in here and commanded the leadership. He has more experience than Olu's got. We'll see how that all works out.”
And Haynes is going into his fifth season with the Seahawks, coming off of a career-high in snaps and slowly easing into the right guard position in a rotation with the departed Gabe Jackson. For Haynes to lose the job to Bradford, a fourth round pick out of LSU, for non-injury reasons, it would be a disappointment for all involved except maybe Bradford and John Schneider’s scouting department.
As for Joey Hunt, Carroll threw his name in there for center also, noting that he is experienced, to which I told myself, “Yeah, I guess that’s true, he’s been in the league for what…three years?”
And then I remembered that Hunt was drafted IN THE SAME YEAR AS GERMAIN IFEDI, JARRAN REED, CJ PROSISE, NICK VANNETT, REES ODHIAMBO, QUINTON JEFFERSON, and ALEX COLLINS. It was 2016!
I feel like we should print t-shirts that say “I was alive when the Seahawks drafted Joey Hunt”
Sorry for the exhaustive emphasis, but Joey Hunt being drafted seven years ago and realizing that he was on a roster with guys like Will Tukuafu and C.J. Spiller is one of those “time is flying” smacks in the face that I didn’t expect. Hunt winning Seattle’s starting center gig would be seven times more shocking that Geno Smith winning the quarterback job in 2022.
So, the storyline to follow throughout camp is whether Pete Carroll keeps these starting five players together for every snap from July 26th (first day of practice) to announcing his 53-man roster.
I’ll post four poll questions for YOU to gauge what fans think and post the results this weekend. Be sure you are subscribed to Seaside Joe in order to see the results and we’ll find out much later in the future how right we were:
Do the Seahawks have a secret superstar?
A name that my eyes continuously dart towards when I check the depth chart on OurLads, which I do multiple times per day, is Mario Edwards, Jr.. As I mentioned in the initial write-up on Edwards when the Seahawks signed him in May:
Edwards, who is two years younger than Harris, played in 464 snaps for the Tennessee Titans and had 17 tackles, 14 pressures, three sacks, 11 QB hits, and four tckles for a loss.
It was Edwards’ eighth season in the NFL, having bounced around with five different teams, and he’s never played a 16-game season before, let alone 17. He was in 13 games for the Titans last season and here’s what Tennessee blog Music City Miracles had to say about his lone campaign there:
Edwards joined the Titans off the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice squad in late September. He immediately claimed a keynote rotational role as the Titans struggled with injury at the position throughout the entire course of the campaign. Edwards took advantage of his role by recording 3.0 sacks, 34 pressures and 23 quarterback hurries, per Pro Football Focus.
Over the past 13 seasons, Carroll has proven that he has a knack for unearthing never-before-seen production out of veteran defensive linemen castoffs from other teams, including: Michael Bennett, Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril, Clinton McDonald, Tony McDaniel, and Al Woods. He also did wonders for Brandon Mebane and Red Bryant after inheriting them from the previous regime. And he was able to squeeze more juice from Bruce Irvin, Quinton Jefferson, Carlos Dunlap, and maybe Shelby Harris to a degree.
He doesn’t have perfect track record (Jadeveon Clowney, Sheldon Richardson, Ahtyba Rubin, etc.) but there’s enough there for me to think that Edwards could be that “forgotten” guy on the roster who ends the season as a must-keep signing as a 2024 free agent. He’s never played in a full season, but he’s consistently played in most games and there’s no major injury history there. Under the guidance of Clint Hurtt and new pass rush specialist Brandon Jordan, maybe there’s more hidden in Mario than we expect.
It shouldn’t take long—maybe one or two weeks from the start of training camp—to be hearing that certain names are moving up the depth chart faster than anyone could have predicted. I’m not talking about preseason surprises like the “Kasen Williams journey” or anything, but legitimate starting options. Dee Eskridge “too good to hold back”? Dareke Young “will see a lot of snaps on offense”? Kenny McIntosh “ahead of DeeJay Dallas”? Mike Morris “will play a lot in Week 1 against the Rams”? Julian Love “Seattle’s most dangerous new weapon”?
Shelby Harris “is brought back”? Harris hasn’t signed with any team yet and the Seahawks do have an open roster spot. They just don’t have money.
Edwards isn’t the only name my eyes dart towards. He was just the first one. To be a REAL surprise though, then it’s probably a name I didn’t even mention.
Got one you want to throw in? Let me know in the comments:
How will injury timelines impact final 53-man roster and personnel groupings?
Every team goes through dealing with injuries, even at this time of year, but 2023 training camp feels like an especially complicated situation for the Seattle Seahawks:
Bryan Mone could have been the starting nose tackle, but he’s recovering from a torn ACL and not expected back in time for Week 1.
Jordyn Brooks could have been a starting linebacker, but he’s recovering from a torn ACL and there’s no clear indication of when he will return.
Jamal Adams would have been the starting strong safety, but he’s recovering from a torn quad—less predictable than a torn ACL—and it feels like Pete is constantly oscillating back and forth from pessimism to optimism with his return date.
It’s not just that the players are out and they will be replaced by backups, which is typically the main concern with injuries right? It’s that these are unique players without clear understudies. Hurtt can’t just run the same defense with and without Adams. Seattle doesn’t have another linebacker like Brooks to pair with Bobby Wagner, even if Devin Bush is a former a top-10 pick. Pete had this to say about the linebackers earlier in the offseason:
"I think it's an exciting room when Jordyn gets back out there with the fellas," Carroll said. "Devin is an exciting football player. Runs really well, versatile, all over the place—sideline to sideline guy. We got Bobby in the building so that feels good, stature wise, and leadership wise and production. He had a terrific season last year. And our younger guys, getting Jon Rhattigan back. Jon is really back to full speed and bigger than he's ever been. We're anxious to see him. And Vi Jones is 10 pounds heavier and he's ready to go. And he's much more connected to the position because it was a little bit of a transition for him. It's a very good group. We'll get a lot of play out of that and we'll get a lot of special teams out of that group too."
But I really do not care about “injury news” when the update is simply, “Well, we hope to get him back by…” or “Well, we are pumped up about his progress since…” I only care about, “He’s back.”
If the news isn’t, “He’s back” then it ain’t news.
If the Seahawks place any of these players on PUP to start the season, then they will be out for the first four games. Since Seattle has a Week 5 bye week, that means that any player who goes on PUP will have five weeks to recover and then won’t actually play until six weeks from the start of the season.
We can all but guarantee that these three players will start out training camp on the preseason PUP, which has different rules, but we won’t know of their Week 1 status until we hear Pete Carroll say…”He’s back.”
Until then, our storylines will monitor the competition at nose tackle and if someone like fourth rounder Cameron Young is potentially even better than Mone. I wrote some about that in Monday’s bonus article previewing the defense headed into training camp. Join Regular Joes for bonus-bonus-bonus.
We’ll also see how Love is gelling with the secondary and figure what his best role will be without Adams, and then maybe with Adams. Will Pete entertain putting someone like Joey Blount or a UFDA at strong safety and keep Love in a different role in anticipation of Adams’ return? Is there a chance Adams never returns? And we’ll see if Bush has been a free agent steal or a free agent bust; there isn’t a strong candidate on the roster behind him to take that job away, will the Seahawks add a linebacker between now and the end of camp?
I’ll take this poll question in a slightly different direction…Are you tired of the constant uncertainty and general underwhelming returns on Seattle’s high-profile safety?
What if Drew Lock looks especially sharp this time?
Something and someone who we aren’t talking about this time that we almost EXCLUSIVELY talked about in 2022 (although for those who weren’t subscribed to Seaside Joe last training camp, I made it a point to not desperately over-cover Seattle’s QB competition until actual, real, tangible news about it was released, of which there turned out to be very little substantiative reporting—and if you think I’m whistling dixie I’ll post one of the most well-received articles from last training camp below…) was Geno Smith vs. Drew Lock and whether the Seahawks could have stolen an underrated gem in the Denver Broncos trade.
And I’m not talking about the 2022 fifth round pick we always forget about! (Subsequently traded.)
There were a lot of people, myself as convinced as any of them, who believed that Drew Lock would be the Seahawks starting quarterback. I was pretty sure that it would happen by Week 1, but worst case scenario I felt that Geno was bad enough to eventually give way to a cup of coffee for Lock.
I can’t brag about calling Devon Witherspoon without giving equal coverage to the fact that I was exceptionally off-base with my Lock prediction.
Still, I haven’t seen anybody address the fact that we are almost certain to see way more of Drew Lock in the 2023 preseason than we saw in the 2022 preseason and there’s a chance that he could look really, really good. In fact, part of the reason that I expected Lock to eventually pull ahead of Geno was that in spite of his blunders, Seattle’s offense was consistently more exciting and seemingly more likely to put up points when he was under center than when Geno was under center. I don’t have the stats in front of me now, but prior to Lock’s messy preseason finale performance that reportedly put the final nail in his coffin last year, the Seahawks drives found the end zone more often than Geno’s drives.
And I despise reading too much into the preseason more than the next person does, but there wasn’t much else to go off of at that point.
Now that Geno isn’t in a “competition” for the job at all, there’s a good chance that we see a lot more of Drew Lock in the first half of preseason games, more often playing with and against starting caliber NFL players, and he will now have had something like 12-16 months to have learned and become comfortable with Shane Waldron’s system and developed chemistry with these receivers and tight ends. What if he’s good?
Well, it doesn’t have to mean that Geno’s job is in danger. It could mean that the Seahawks gain more confidence in Lock and extend him during the season despite being in a backup position. It could mean that the Seahawks entertain trade offers for Lock. It could mean that Seattle gains leverage in any sort of talks with Geno Smith in 2024, when they have to decide about his next guaranteed bonus payments. It could mean that, whether we like the drama or not, Seahawks fans start chanting for Lock at the first signs of regression for Geno in the regular season.
It was a storyline most people couldn’t shut up about in 2022. Now it’s one nobody’s talking about yet in 2023. But Lock—one of the highest-paid backups in the NFL now after Seattle gave him a significant raise to stay with the team this offseason—might be in a much better position to succeed this year than he was last year and that’s certainly something that Seahawks fans will want to keep an eye on.
You don’t have to try to be “right” with this last question, just go with your gut feeling…
Answer: The Seahawks held tryouts for Jack Coan and J.T. Barrett but didn’t sign them and the team was rumored to be interested in Mark Sanchez, Pete’s former QB at USC, as a backup in 2018. The rest are all past members of the Seahawks.