Wednesday marked the end of training camp for the Seattle Seahawks.
It’s sort of semantics these days in that the team holds all of its practices at the VMAC anyway.
The main thing that happens when canp ends is the players no longer are housed in hotels and have some more free time.
That said, the end of camp servers as a good time to do a little reviewing of what we have seen so far.
So here are a few quick thoughts on camp to date:
BEST PLAYER: Percy Harvin. Harvin has been out there almost every single day — his little injury Tuesday was much ado about nothing — and has been a consistent standout. He’s been so steady that it’s almost been easy to overlook at times how critical he could be to the team’s success this season (and one reason why even less should be read into how the offense looked against Denver than should be the case for a preseason opener). Harvin. an even better Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse and adding Paul Richardson could make the Seattle WR corps the most improved unit on the team this season.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: Phil Bates. The receiver was an early standout, making a legit run at a spot on the 53-man roster. A little illness seemed to slow him a bit last week. But he’ll be one to watch these last three weeks to see if he can produce on the field the way he often has in games. Honorable mention to guard James Carpenter. This one could come back to bite me — we all know Carpenter’s injury history, and he missed time again last week with a calf injury. But Carpenter early on looked like he was on the verge of becoming the player the Seahawks envisioned in drafting him in the first round in 2011.
MOST SURPRISING PLAYER: Brock Coyle. The linebacker from Montana has gone from longshot to virtual lock, starting in the middle against Denver with Bobby Wagner out. He should get another start Friday with Wagner still sidelined. Coyle had been good in the spring but seems to have taken what he learned then to another level during camp. At this point, he seems like a player that if the Seahawks cut him and tried to get through to the practice squad, he’d probably be picked up. Still, keeping Coyle probably means releasing veteran and special teams captain Heath Farwell, and that won’t be an easy call.
MOST SURPRISING DEVELOPMENT: The loss of Michael Bowie. When camp began on Jyly 25, Bowie was still a rising star on this team, a player many figured would be the starting right tackle on opening day. Now he’s a Cleveland Brown after hurting his shoulder and being placed on waivers with an injured designation, and claimed by Cleveland anyway (OL coach Tom Cable said yesterday in an interview on ESPN 710 Seattle he thought the unwritten rule is that teams don’t claim injured players. But we’ve seen that happen a few times throughout the NFL this season). Since Bowie can’t play this year, it’ll take a few years to really know the ramifications of this move. But undoubtedly it will be one to watch down the road.
BIGGEST CAUSE FOR CONCERN: The easy answer is the offensive line, though I think that will begin to look a lot better this week with Max Unger and Carpenter returning to game action and then Russell Okung coming back to full duty in the following week. The team still needs to solidify the right tackle spot and the interior depth — watch for veteran Wade Davis to get some extensive action this week as the team seems what he has left, and if he can make a run at one of the interior spots that right now figure to go to Lemuel Jeanpierre, Stephen Schilling and/or Caylin Hauptmann. An underrated cause for concern might be the depth on the defensive line, and simply that so much of it still seems uncertain. Seattle needs these next few games to get a real gauge of what it has in Greg Scruggs, Benson Mayowa and Jordan Hill, with it appearing that Cassius Marsh would likely be out for at least a few weeks with what is reported to be a slight knee sprain. You heard coach Pete Carroll say yesterday how disappointed he was in some of the edge play of the reserve defensive unit, something that will be a real emphasis against the Chargers. One of Seattle’s underrated strengths last year was its defensive line depth, and it remains a little uncertain exactly how all of those second-team roles will fill out this year.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Any significant injury qualifies. But the two that stand out are the season-enders to tight end Anthony McCoy and defensive tackle Jesse Williams, who each also missed all of last year with injuries and had seemed back to health and poised to play key roles this season. Williams would obviously have likely been a factor in the defensive line depth mentioned above.
MOST UNDERRATED PLAYER: Mike Morgan. The fourth-year vet from USC entered camp as a guy you wondered whether he’d make the roster. But at the moment, he’s the starting SLB in the absence of Malcolm Smith and Bruce Irvin to injuries (not to mention Korey Toomer). When those guys come back, it will change the equation. But coaches say Morgan is playing LB better than ever and he remains a special teams standout. At the moment, looks like just about a lock.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING AWARD: Everything related to Marshawn Lynch Lynch has been in the spotlight a lot through camp for non-football reasons. But the guess here is that none of this will mean anything once Lynch begins actually playing football again and likely looking like the same old Marshawn Lynch.
THING WE’RE STILL REALLY CURIOUS ABOUT: Will Earl Thomas really return punts? He got the first return against Denver and remains at the top of the depth chart. But it feels like there’s an awful lot to still be sorted out there. It will be interesting to see if Paul Richardson gets more involved in the punt return situation as the preseason progresses.