Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Mike Salk attended Seahawks’ mandatory minicamp this week and shared his 10 biggest observations, including on the starting quarterback battle.
1: Geno Smith, QB1
Geno Smith was the starting quarterback. He worked exclusively with the starters and while I didn’t chart the number of reps each quarterback took, it sure looked like he was the top option.
I can understand giving Geno the first crack at it, but I am shocked that they weren’t splitting time with the top unit. I would have expected Drew Lock to get an equal shot to work with the starters, especially since he is widely considered to be the better quarterback!
The only explanation I can come up with is that Lock said after the second day of practice that he felt “a little overwhelmed” when he started learning Seattle’s offense. While he said that he feels much better now, perhaps that was a concern for the coaching staff? One question mark that has followed him from Denver is his ability to lead – learning the offense would seem to be a crucial part of doing so.
2: Star safeties working
It was great to see Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams practicing inside. No, they weren’t able to practice the whole time and they are still working themselves back into it. But it was a good reminder of the quality of playmaker the Seahawks have in that secondary. And with a new defensive style that is supposed to be more aggressive, those playmakers should be in prime position to succeed.
3: A Seahawks TE flashback?
Noah Fant reminds me of Jimmy Graham. He isn’t as big (four inches shorter) but he moves the same way and he is built similarly. He should be the third receiving weapon in this offense and I am very curious how much he is utilized with a new quarterback under center.
4: One rookie is physically imposing
Tyreke Woolen is huge. You can’t help but notice the rookie corner. His physical stature for his position is impressive. Now we’ve seen tall, long corners here before. Some have shined (like Richard Sherman). Others have struggled (like Tharold Simon and Tre Flowers). But he has a unique size and speed combination that is going to be a ton of fun if he gets it right.
5: Darrell Taylor a talker
Darrell Taylor was loud. We have known he is a freaky athletic player for a while and last year he showed he can use that in a game. But for whatever reason, I saw him as a quieter type. Not so much in the practice I watched. He was loud, barking, talking trash, and having fun with his teammates. Maura Dooley noticed the same thing at OTA practices. I love it. If he can take the leap this year, it would go a long way to restoring this pass rush.
6: Rashaad Penny looks fit
Rashaad Penny looked to be in great shape. Best I remember him looking. I know fans are reluctant to trust his health (and they are probably right). But there should be no more doubting his ability after what we saw at the end of last season. He is a legitimate difference maker when healthy and used appropriately. And staying in top shape is an important step in his remaining healthy.
7: More reps for Lockett
Without DK Metcalf there, it felt like every pass went to Tyler Lockett. Now look, I’d be throwing it to him every time too if I was in a battle to start at quarterback! But seeing how many targets he had pointed out some of the top heavy nature of the weaponry here. The combo of Metcalf and Lockett with Fant is a strong one. But after that, there are a LOT of question marks. I’m sure that’s not lost on Metcalf nor his agent as they negotiate his deal.
8: Rookies getting starter reps
I saw three rookies working with the first-team. Boye Mafe, Abe Lucas and Charles Cross. Three of their first four picks. And there is a chance we could see Coby Bryant start this year. And we will likely see a heavy dose of Ken Walker. That may not be a great comment on the roster they had at the end of last year. But it is a huge compliment to the draft they just completed.
9: New center not like the other OL
New center Austin Blythe is small. Joey Hunt redux? No, he’s bigger than that and has had a lot more success in this league. But he really seemed small next to the huge athletes they have on the offensive line. Stone Forsythe is gigantic.
10: Big love for Big Al
The guys seem to love Al Woods. And why not? “Big Al” has been a wrecking crew for them in the middle and should thrive in this 3-4 system.
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