Let the games begin!
The Seattle Seahawks have been up to their usual antics in the offseason. They signed a few guys to bring in to add depth and competition while stocking the roster full of very talented rookies in the meantime. Come August, competition will bring on a new meaning to a lot of these guys.
Seattle has added so much depth at multiple positions that this looks to be one of the more interesting camps in recent past.
Several positions lost starters or have starters in doubt. With so many battles to choose from, it made it slightly difficult to compile this list. Have no fear, though, as I mired through the list and chose the best.
Here are my 5 battles to look for in camp.
Who the hell doesn’t like a good, old fashioned field goal fest?! While I was kidding 100 percent there, it does bring up a good point. The Seahawks are going to need a solid kicker. That’s an important position on a team like this and it kept the Seahawks in several games recently and won them a few as well.
This camp is going to feature incumbent Steven Hauschka vs incoming rookie Carson Wiggs from Purdue. While I don’t expect Wiggs to take the starting job, the Seahawks liked him enough to go get him. It could bring up a scenario where they keep 2 kickers on the roster like they did in 2008 with Brandon Coutu and Olindo Mare.
Can Deuce Lutui return to his mauling ways?
Now I generalize and call it offensive line instead of their respective positions, because of the ridiculous depth that the line has. Pete Carroll and John Schneider went out and picked up a lot of plug and play guys who can play multiple positions on the line.
The following guys are listed as Tackles: Allen Barbre, Alex Barron, James Carpenter, Breno Giacomini, Paul McQuistan, Russell Okung and Frank Omiyale.
The following are listed as Guards: Paul Fanaika, Rishaw Johnson, Deuce Lutui, John Moffitt, J.R. Sweezy, Lemuel Jeanpierre.
With Carpenter, Okung and Moffitt all coming back from serious injuries, and Carpenter may not start the season because of rehab, this could leave a hole or two on the line. There is a lot of young talent and veteran presence in this offensive line.
Will Barbre’s impending 4 game suspension hurt his chances in 2012? Probably. Can former 1st round pick Alex Barron make the team, let alone earn a starting spot? Hopefully. Will Giacomini, McQuistan and Jeanpierre be as effective as last season and be able to come in and take over if needed? Or can they all play a full season? Most likely.
I’m most looking forward to see how Deuce Lutui fits in with this crowd. A former player for Carroll at USC, Lutui says he is in the best shape of his playing career after dropping weight and bulking up. Can the Seahawks steal another ex-Arizona Cardinal and turn him into a quality starter? (Think Alan Branch last season)
Will Irvin start more than Brock's share of starts with CC possibly holding out?
As with the offensive line, the defensive line has worked similarly, but not nearly to the extent of plug and play as the o-line. The d-line features big battles at tackle and at end this season.
The following are listed as DT: Alan Branch, Jaye Howard, Pep Levingston, Clinton McDonald, Brandon Mebane, Adrian Taylor.
The following are listed as DE: Allen Pierce, Red Bryant, Chris Clemons, Bruce Irvin, Dexter Davis, Jason Jones, Cordarro Law, Greg Scruggs, Monte Taylor.
Although we see familiar, incumbent names on these lists, no spot is safe on this competition-laden team.
Will Branch and McDonald continue to platoon opposite of Mebane? Will Pep Levingston come back from injury and actually compete for a job? Can impressive rookie Jaye Howard crack the starting lineup or will he be relegated to platoon duty, or even worse, the practice squad? Will Jason Jones fare well filling in at tackle after being mis-used as a DE?
And will Chris Clemons be playing with this Seahawks team come week 1? Or will there be a battle for his starting spot? Would Irvin learn quick enough to take the starting job or will Jason Jones have to come over and help out while Irvin is mentored?
I’m most looking forward to seeing what Howard and Irvin do. Howard’s freakish strength and size make him a formidable opponent whether it be for a job or for a win on game day. The front office seems to really like this guy as do fans like myself. Irvin has excited everyone, even his teammates. His enthusiasm and drive have got him to where he is now and he could make a run for a starting job immediately.
Can Williams drop the weight again and return to his form?
The Seahawks like to stockpile wide receivers and take their pick from the group. This year is no different. After grabbing some undrafted rookies and a few veterans from free agency, Seattle is looking to give their next starting QB a good opportunity to succeed with a young corps of receivers.
These guys are listed at WR: Mike Williams, Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, Deon Butler, Ben Obomanu, Ricardo Lockette, Kris Durham, Jermaine Kearse, Justin Helwege, Charly Martin, Lavasier Tuinei.
Will Mike Williams lose his starting spot is the biggest question surrounding this battle. If the current reports are true, and Williams did get lazy again and go back to his old, useless form, how does it shake up the depth chart? Will Durham make the cut again this year or will an incoming rookie show him up? Can Sidney Rice stay healthy?
I’m obviously most interested to see how the Mike Williams situation pans out. Otherwise, I would really like to see if Jermaine Kearse cracks the roster, even if relegated to the practice squad. Being a hometown guy coming from the University of Washington, I would really like to see Kearse catch on with the Seahawks.
The linebacker position got a lot more interesting this offseason as well, with so many becoming free agents. Seattle would eventually lose David Hawthorne to the Saints, but added a slew of talent, including a rookie they drafted in the 2nd round.
These guys are currently listed as LB: KJ Wright, Malcolm Smith, Bobby Wagner, Barrett Ruud, Leroy Hill, Korey Toomer, Mike Morgan, Matt McCoy, Jameson Konz, Heath Farwell, Allen Bradford.
Can rookie Bobby Wagner grab a starting job at MIKE linebacker?
With Leroy Hill returning and KJ Wright seeing the only significant playing time other than Hill, who steps up and starts? And who comes in and out in special situations? Will special teams guys like Morgan, McCoy, Konz and Farwell be able to get some playing time, too?
I’m most interested to see how the aforementioned 2nd round choice, Bobby Wagner does. His traits and abilities fit this Pete Carroll system perfectly. If he pans out, we’ll quickly forget about Heater no matter how much he helped this team.
Onto the most anticipated competition in camp. It will make national headlines and certainly be all we blogs talk about for at least a month. The Seahawks are coming into camp with 4 quarterbacks, and 3 are potential starters. With the acquisition of Matt Flynn, the competition was going to be interesting.
Add in Russell Wilson and you have 3 starting quarterbacks giving their all to win that #1 spot.
The guys listed at QB: Tarvaris Jackson, Josh Portis, Matt Flynn, Russell Wilson.
Will Portis make it out of this competition alive? Is Matt Flynn as good as his 2 NFL starts have shown? Can TJack come back healthy with healthy team mates and improve on last season? And does Wilson even stand a chance?
I’m most interested in seeing how Flynn and Wilson pan out. If Flynn doesn’t win the starting job, will the Seahawks move him or hold onto him just in case?
And can Russell Wilson continue his quick learning ways and do enough to seriously earn consideration for the starting job?
These are all questions that will be answered in time. In the meantime, keep an eye on the roster moves until camp. These competitions could get even better with each acquisition.
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© Brandon Choate for North West Sports Beat, 2012. |
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, Alan Branch
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