Today marked the official end of training camp for the Seahawks.
That doesn’t mean quite as much as it did in the days when the team went to Cheney and the end of camp meant finally returning home and the end of two-a-days. There are no more full-pads two-a-days, and with the team practicing here, the end of camp mostly means players no longer have to live in hotels at night.
Still, there’s some symbolism attached to the end of camp, which comes three weeks after it began, and just a little more than three weeks before the first game.
So let’s take a look back at camp, throwing out a few awards along the way.
CAMP MVP: The Secondary. Okay, so maybe that’s a copout handing an MVP to four people. But the stoutness of the secondary is what stood out the most during the 16 training camp practices. If forced to pick one, I’d probably go with Richard Sherman, who was rarely beaten during camp, continuing a trend from mini-camp and OTAs. But the secondary is also as good as it is because of the way it works together, and in that sense it seems fitting to make this a group award.
ROOKIE DRAFT PICK OF CAMP: Christine Michael might seem the obvious choice after the game he had against the Chargers. But we’re going with DL Jordan Hill, who began camp pegged for potentially just a specialty role as a third-down pass rusher, but has done enough to show that he can maybe be an every down player from the beginning. And we should probably also mention Jesse Williams, who was slowed early by injury but has come on of late to rival Hill for his potential contribution to the line this season.
FREE AGENT OF CAMP: There’s a few candidates to go around on this one — receiver Stephen Williams (pictured above in a John Lok photo), linebacker Allen Bradford, OL Alvin Bailey. But it’s hard to ignore the story of DE Benson Mayowa, who was signed during the team’s rookie mini-camp and had two sacks against the Chargers and is making a legitimate claim for a spot on the 53-man roster.
RISING STAR OF CAMP: This is an award for a young, but non-rookie, player who made the most strides. Walter Thurmond (also pictured above) was a strong candidate for this one, having shown how much of an impact he can make when healthy. But as a player who has started before, maybe he doesn’t quite fit. So we’ll give this one to WR Jermaine Kearse, who a year ago was a free agent scratching for any role on the team and now is, as Pete Carroll often says, a “core” player for his consistent contributions on special teams as well as receiving.
DISAPPOINTMENT OF CAMP: Camp started on a down note with the news that Percy Harvin was on the PUP list, which a few days later was determined to be an injury bad enough to need surgery. Seattle, surely, isn’t thrilled that its investment of three draft picks and at least $25 million isn’t going to yield anything for 3-4 months, if then. Seahawks fans rightly argue that Seattle earned its standing as a team on the rise last season without Harvin. Still, the off-season hype was heightened by the trade for Harvin and the dynamic plays it was hoped he could give the offense. The hope now is he makes it back for a playoff run, and that Seattle is in a good position at that point to take advantage of his return.
DISAPPOINTMENT OF CAMP, RUNNER-UP: The litany of injuries on the defensive line is almost too lengthy to detail. The most notable are the hamstring injury that still has Cliff Avril at less than 100 percent, and the groin injury that has Bruce Irvin currently unable to do anything. The hope is Avril makes it back healthy for the season and his missing of almost everything to this point will end up being much ado about nothing. Irvin, meanwhile, was scheduled to get a lot of work in the exhibition games at linebacker. But he missed the San Diego game, and likely will the Denver game, giving him just two chances to get in some work before beginning his four-game suspension for PED use.
TOP QUESTIONS LEAVING CAMP: 1. Who wins the right guard spot? J.R. Sweezy has the edge, but John Moffitt has also had his moments and this one still appears too close to call; 2. How does the defensive front seven settle itself? As noted in the entry above, injuries have continued to muddle the situation up front. Pete Carroll, though, seems unconcerned, saying they are confident in the players who are healthy to get the job done; 3. Who handles kick and punt returns? Harvin’s injury leaves the kickoff job wide open. Golden Tate will probably handle punt returns, but neither job seems completely settled just yet.
UNSUNG PLAYER OF CAMP: For obvious reasons, Marshawn Lynch doesn’t get a ton of work during camp, which makes it easy to sometimes almost forget he’s on the team. The Seahawks, though, will be led by Lynch and the running game once the real action starts in Carolina, a security blanket worth remembering is there when worrying about some of the team’s other apparent concerns.
SONG OF CAMP: As I type this, it shows Get Lucky by Daft Punk has been played more than 108,000,000 times on YouTube. And it only seems like I heard it that many times blaring from the speakers while covering training camp. I like the song well enough, so not really complaining. But I will never hear it again without thinking of football: