5 things to watch as Seahawks start OTAs

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comMay 27, 2014 

The Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday will take another incremental step toward playing football again by starting offseason training activities.

They will run four workout sessions: Tuesday through Thursday, June 2-3, June 5 and June 9-12. Four of those days are open to the media.

The defending Super Bowl champions will be mixing in new faces and trying to reboot their stars for another Super Bowl run during these first OTA sessions.

Here are five things to watch for over the two weeks:

THE FIGHT AT WIDE RECEIVER

This figures to be a battle lasting right up to the end of training camp. The Seahawks drafted two wide receivers — second-round pick Paul Richardson and fourth-rounder Kevin Norwood — to bolster the unit.

During the offseason, Seattle signed Chris Matthews out of the Canadian Football League and Taylor Price, a former receiver

with New England and Jacksonville who spent the past two seasons on injured reserve.

Adding those four to the returning group of Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Ricardo Lockette and Bryan Walters will make wide receiver the most competitive position on the roster.

Despite being a run-first offense, Seattle felt the need to up the wide receiver personnel in the offseason, particularly after leading receiver Golden Tate went to the Detroit Lions in free agency. That leaves rookies and outcasts to fight it out with the veterans.

DO OR DIE FOR CARPENTER

The Seahawks used their first pick in the 2011 draft to select left guard James Carpenter. That sent a message of how they felt about Carpenter’s ability.

This offseason, the Seahawks did not pick up Carpenter’s fifth-year contract option (each first-round pick receives a four-year contract with a fifth-year team option). That sent another message — namely what Carpenter has produced is not good enough. Carpenter rotated with Paul McQuistan at left guard last season. Coach Pete Carroll claims Carpenter is in much better shape this offseason than last, when he was slowed by two knee injuries. Carpenter didn’t appear to get his wind during the year, and his NFL future could be on the line with his performance this season.

BACKING UP BACKUP QB

Backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has a guaranteed one-year contract for the upcoming season, two years in Seattle and five previous years of experience in Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s system, making him close to a lock as the No. 2 quarterback behind Russell Wilson. Something dramatic would have to happen in camp for Jackson to be displaced.

Behind him, Terrelle Pryor, who was acquired from the Oakland Raiders in the offseason for a seventh-round draft pick, former University of Washington star Keith Price and B.J. Daniels will fight for the third quarterback spot. The Seahawks typically only have two quarterbacks active on game day and three on the 53-man roster.

Pryor’s athleticism always intrigues, though Price should have a good shot to make the team because of his prior relationship with Carroll and Russell Wilson. Price also had a strong rookie minicamp as an undrafted free agent.

HOW HEALTHY IS EVERYONE?

Linebacker and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith had a walking boot on his right foot during the Seahawks’ visit to the White House on Wednesday. Left tackle Russell Okung had offseason surgery on a toe injured throughout last season. Strong safety Kam Chancellor underwent minor hip surgery this offseason. Wilson dealt with a sore left shoulder last season. Cornerback Richard Sherman left the Super Bowl early because of an ankle injury. Center Max Unger had various injuries — including concussion issues — last season.

Then, there’s wide receiver Percy Harvin. Arguably the most tantalizing player on the team, Harvin underwent hip surgery in August and had just five catches and three carries over the Seahawks’ 19 games last season. He was at voluntary offseason workouts at team headquarters in Renton and at the informal workouts Wilson organized for the second consecutive year at Hermosa Beach in California. He finally appears ready to go.

2013 OUTLIERS MAKING A PUSH

Players such as defensive tackle Jesse Williams, defensive end Greg Scruggs and cornerback Tharold Simon missed last season because of injuries. Each will fight for a spot starting in OTAs, all with a legitimate shot to play backup roles at their positions.

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @Todd_Dybas

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