Before the Seahawks began camp, I put out these questions: A set of unknowns that we’d hopefully get answers to over the month of August. Now it’s time to share the new information camp has provided as well as acknowledge what remains up in the air.
(Note: this is something I’ll be doing weekly. I’ll submit five questions that will serve as keys to the game/storylines that will determine the outcome. After each contest, I’ll review the questions in regard to how everything played out.)
1. Who is going to start at left guard?
This was a silly question in hindsight, because the job was Mike Iupati’s all along. What would have been a better question was to ask, “Who is going to start at center?” I assumed incorrectly that B.J. Finney was a lock to start there after he was given $4.5 million guaranteed, and the team cut Justin Britt. Finney underwhelmed in camp to the benefit of Ethan Pocic. Pete Carroll said he has decided on a starting center but won’t reveal his choice until next week. I’d be shocked if it isn’t Pocic. Finney got reps at both guard spots and could be the No. 2 guy at all three interior positions on Seattle’s offensive line.
2. Who emerges from the pack at wide receiver?
This question has taken wild turns over the last month, and I’m not sure there’s a clear answer. John Ursua and Freddie Swain were the most impressive receivers not named DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett. Phillip Dorsett had his moments, but he has a sore foot that the team will have to manage throughout the season. Paul Richardson signed late in camp and seemed to be a lock to make the roster, but Carroll seemed to downplay him on Thursday. That leaves newly signed and still suspended Josh Gordon. When he’s officially reinstated (the timing of the move indicates that decision could come soon), Gordon will assume the role of Seattle’s No. 3 receiver. Dorsett will be used situationally and every other receiver on the roster isn’t likely to see much playing time at all.
3. Can Jordyn Brooks unseat K.J. Wright at WILL linebacker?
This remains one of the unknowns following training camp. My gut says Wright will be the starter in Week 1 against the Falcons. They might give Brooks a series or two, but it would be bold to leave Wright’s experience on the bench against an offense as explosive as Atlanta’s. Brooks will likely be eased into the lineup rather than flipping a switch and starting the rookie while benching Wright all together. If Brooks is able to show well in a limited role, the coaching staff would then trust him to handle more reps. The Seahawks have the ability to be patient with Brooks given their depth at linebacker. There’s no sense in throwing him into the deep end and hoping he can swim.
4. Where will L.J. Collier fit in?
It’s worth noting that Collier looks the part more than he did as a rookie. He looks like he’s in better shape and was noticeably quicker in camp. However, his performance in August didn’t inspire a ton of optimism that he’s in store for a breakout season. Collier works hard but seems to lack polish or a singular standout trait that he can lean on other than his high motor. I genuinely hope I’m wrong here and that he ends up posting double digit sacks this season. I’m just not sure I see it, unfortunately. He will likely split reps at the 5-tech with Rasheem Green on base downs. Collier will also be a candidate to be an interior rusher in sub should he prove he warrants those reps.
5. How will Marquise Blair, Tre Flowers and Ugo Amadi fit into the defense?
Blair was the star of camp, receiving Metcalf-levels of hype from his teammates and coaches. The Seahawks are convinced that Blair is going to be a star nickel for them in 2020. Ken Norton praised Blair’s ability to blitz and said the second-year DB covers man-to-man as well as anyone in Seattle’s secondary. Ugo Amadi may get some run against traditional slot receivers, but his role will likely be limited to special teams. It remains undecided as to whether or not Flowers or Quinton Dunbar will start opposite Shaquill Griffin. My guess is that Flowers starts in Week 1 due to Dunbar’s late start to camp. However, those two could jockey for playing time all season.