Day one of Seattle’s OTAs are in the books.
Here are five impressions from Times reporters Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta.
1, The most noticeable thing was the intensity of the organized team activity (OTA), which is the official way of saying a practice that isn’t mandatory. The Seahawks, particularly members of the defense, like to talk trash, and they didn’t really let off the gas from how they practiced a year ago. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, of course, were the most vocal, but you could hear it from Doug Baldwin, Max Unger, Michael Bennett and Bobby Wagner too. My favorite moment came when Unger yelled at one of the officials for missing an offsides call. Wagner then turned to the ref and mocked Unger by pretending he was wiping away tears.
2, Defensive lineman Greg Scruggs lined up inside at tackle. Scruggs added weight this offseason after missing all of last year with an injury, and he slotted behind Tony McDaniel as a backup defensive tackle. He could be a candidate to fill the third-down pass-rushing void left by the departure of Clinton McDonald.
3, As expected, Michael Bowie is going to get every chance to win the starting right tackle job left by Breno Giacomini. Bowie started there last year when Giacomini was injured, and although he struggled at times and was inconsistent, he opened OTA’s as Seattle’s starting right tackle. He’ll compete with rookie Justin Britt for the job.
4, A couple of things that caught my eye in the secondary, although neither was surprising: DeShawn Shead appears to be Earl Thomas’ backup at free safety now that Chris Maragos is gone. Shead filled in for Kam Chancellor for a few plays in the Super Bowl at strong safety, and he can also play corner. Jeremy Lane is Seattle’s starting nickel corner, a role filled by Walter Thurmond a year ago.
5, Baldwin stood out and looked especially crisp on day one. He beat new corner Phillip Adams a couple of times deep down the sideline and also hauled in a deep one-handed catch. Baldwin lined up outside most of the day while Percy Harvin lined up in the slot inside.
And from Condotta
1, To answer one obvious question, Terrelle Pryor is playing nothing but quarterback. Today’s session was open to the media, and the team knew that, so who knows what might happen behind closed doors. But for now, it appears Pryor’s sole objective is to win the backup QB job, or at least be the No. 3, behind Russell Wilson. Pryor got a lot of time today with Tarvaris Jackson not here while dealing with a family issue and Keith Price nursing a groin injury. And while he had some good throws, there was a definite difference in the consistency between Pryor and Wilson. Still, as Carroll noted, Pryor’s greatest attribute — his athleticism — may not come fully onto display until pads go on and he can run around more.
2, As Jayson noted, Baldwin had a heck of a day — he might have been the offensive standout (and who knows how motivated he may be right now to try to show the team at every avenue that he can that he’s worthy of a long-term extension?) Watching Baldwin and a healthy Harvin, though, leads one to wonder if Seattle’s receiving corps might be better this year even without Golden Tate. Harvin looked great today. So did Baldwin. Paul Richardson is limited right now but has obvious speed. Jermaine Kearse will be back, steady as ever. And if Sidney Rice, who Carroll said again today is ahead of schedule, can come back healthy, that’s a pretty stout starting five. And that’s without figuring in Kevin Norwood, who could also be a factor.
3, James Carpenter, said to be in the best shape of his career, did indeed pass the looks test. He looked slimmer and more athletic on the field today working with the No. 1 unit at left guard. And a healthy and on-point Carpenter would go a long way toward solidifying the offensive line. There’s an equally long way to go to get to September. But the early signs there are definitely encouraging. Also, a guy I think continues to get a little overlooked in the OL conversation is Caylin Hauptmann. He’s listed as a tackle, but he ran behind Carpenter as the No. 2 left guard today and I think he’s got a chance to contribute this year. To answer the question, the No. 1 OL, left to right, was Alvin Bailey (with Russell Okung out), Carpenter, Max Unger, J.R. Sweezy and Bowie. The No. 2, right to left, was Britt, Stephen Schilling, Lemuel Jeanpierre, Hauptmann and Garry Gilliam (fixed from earlier).
4, The big news of the day was Carroll’s assertion after practice that Earl Thomas, as of today, would be the team’s starting punt returner. I’ll write a little more on this for the paper tomorrow. I know the initial reaction is why risk a player as valuable to the defense as any in the NFL returning punts. One answer is that this is not a team that’s gotten anywhere worrying about the bad that might result from a decision. Carroll coaches from aggression and positivity. And worth noting that Thomas plays lots of special teams, as is. We’ll see if Thomas is really the one doing it come Sept. 4. But if he’s not, I don’t think it’ll be out of fear of him getting injured.
5, Sixth-round pick Eric Pinkins was playing solely safety today, from what I saw. It’s too early to say the cornerback experience is over. But for now, the Seahawks may want to get Pinkins comfortable at the NFL level, playing a position at which he is familiar, before going further with a move to cornerback. It also makes some sense to use him at safety with some depth questions there. It also looked today like free agent signee Terrance Parks, listed as a cornerback, was playing some safety. I also saw Dion Bailey, listed as a strong safety, playing some free safety. In other words, lots of guys getting looks all over the place, which is par for the course.