At long last, the Seahawks will begin official training camp practices on Wednesday from the VMAC. Media will be allowed to be in attendance, and a portion of the practice will be streamed live on Seahawks.com.
We’ve been waiting months for this very moment. Seattle last took the practice field seven months ago in mid-January. That means we’ve had plenty of time to discuss each player and top storyline ad nauseum. But just in case you’ve been on a well-deserved summer vacation and need a refresher, here are the top five storylines to follow during camp.
We’ll revisit each of these five questions at the end of camp to recap how things develop over the next several weeks.
1. Who is going to start at left guard?
Mike Iupati will be given every opportunity to retain his starting job as the incumbent. Pete Carroll surely hopes Iupati will be able to stay healthy and show he’s worthy so that at least the left side of the offensive line can carry over from 2019. Carroll said in January that he didn’t want to see massive turnover up front. And yet, if Iupati gets beat out by Will Haynes, Ethan Pocic or Jordan Simmons, that will mean 80% of the offensive line will be new in 2020 with B.J. Finney at center, Damien Lewis at right guard and Brandon Shell at right tackle.
2. Who emerges from the pack at wide receiver?
We know the top three receivers will be Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and Phillip Dorsett. The roster spots behind them are up for grabs, though. David Moore should be able to claim one even after an underwhelming 2019 season. However, he’ll have a trio of talented youngsters vying for his spot. John Ursua, Freddie Swain and hybrid receiver/tight end Stephen Sullivan are all players to watch in camp. The biggest threat to Moore’s roster spot would be the potential signing of Josh Gordon. That’s a big if at this point given Gordon is yet to be reinstated, and nobody knows if he’ll be given any additional suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse and performance enhancing substances policies.
3. Can Jordyn Brooks unseat K.J. Wright at WILL linebacker?
Both John Schneider and Carroll have opened the door for Brooks to be Seattle’s Week 1 starter at WILL linebacker. Carroll called it his clearest path to playing time. Wright, despite having offseason shoulder surgery, played well in 2019 and should be ready for the start of the 2020 season. He’ll still have to show he’s the clear-cut better option over the rookie if he’s going to retain his job. Seattle was enamored enough with Brooks to take him in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and so it makes sense that the Seahawks would want to get him on the field immediately. Should Brooks show himself to be worthy of starting at WILL, Wright will then be relegated to SAM linebacker as he enters the final year of his contract.
4. Where will L.J. Collier fit in?
Now fully healthy from his severe ankle sprain as a rookie, Collier will have to find a home on Seattle’s defensive line. He’s touted as a player with the ability to rush the passer off the edge on base downs and from the interior in sub packages. Rasheem Green and Branden Jackson are the only players that share a similar skill set which will give Collier every opportunity to carve out a role for himself. The signing of Everson Griffen would change that, obviously, but who knows if that will ever happen. If it doesn’t, then there’s no excuse for Collier to not see a healthy number of snaps come Week 1. If he’s unable to earn such a role, the groans from fans will grow louder regarding the team’s 2019 first-rounder.
5. How will Marquise Blair, Tre Flowers and Ugo Amadi fit into the defense?
Quinton Dunbar has been removed from the Commissioner’s Exempt List after prosecution dropped his armed robbery charges due to a lack of evidence. That means, pending any suspension from the NFL, of course, that Dunbar should be starting in Week 1 opposite Shaquill Griffin. So what does that mean for Flowers? He’s still a capable corner. Can the Seahawks get creative and find a way for him to get on the field? Will he join the mix at nickel with Amadi and Blair? Could Griffin or Dunbar potentially trace their matchups into the slot from time to time? Griffin did express his desire to shadow an opponent’s best receiver this season. All of those questions make the rotation in the secondary a very intriguing storyline to follow. We likely won’t fully get the answer until Week 1, but camp should reveal some of what Seattle has up its sleeve.