Rookie running back Alex Collins made the most of his extended exposure with the first-team Seahawks offense Sunday to score a running touchdown and a receiving touchdown to highlight the first game-type scrimmage of training camp.
The fifth-round draft pick out of Arkansas showed unexpected skills as a receiver, pulling in three passes, including a 50-yard score on a wheel route up the left sideline from backup quarterback Trevone Boykin. Collins totalled just 27 receptions in three seasons at Arkansas.
He followed that up with a short scoring run set up by a sideline circus catch by Jermaine Kearse on a pass from Russell Wilson.
Wilson also threw a touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett.
“This is definitely the best mock game we’ve had in my opinion,” WIlson said. He particularly cited the 97-yard drive that ended with the Lockett score. On that drive, rookie receiver Montario Hunter caught a deep ball from Wilson up the left sideline. Hunter, from Elizabeth City State, ran a 4.33 40 on his pro day, and said the Seahawks clocked him at 4.38 and 4.39 recently.
Coach Pete Carroll said he thought the team looked “a little raggedy out there early,” in part because the coordinators were using headsets to call in the plays, and the technology failed them for a while.
The Hawks have Monday off, and on Tuesday “kick it into game week, so it really gets real in a hurry,” Carroll said. They open the preseason Saturday at Kansas City.
Carroll said he thought the teams did a good job with their perimeter pass rush, keeping pressure on the quarterbacks. It seemed that Cassius Marsh, particularly, had a big in that regard. Playing the strong-side linebacker in base defense, he also came to the line as an edge rusher in the nickel sets, and proved to be a tough matchup for the offensive tackles.
Offensive line coach Tom Cable again shuffled the deck up front, working on his unit’s versatility. Most notably, Bradley Sowell got first-unit reps at tackle on both sides of the line. Cable said earlier that he was in the mix at both spots. The lineman who didn’t get snaps, however, was newly acquired guard Jahri Evans.
Evans, one of the best guards in the league over the last decade, was signed as a free agent on Saturday. He hit the ground running and was in full pads with his new teammates, but did not see action in the scrimmage. Afterward, he explained that he came to Seattle on Thursday and liked what he saw. “There’s a great group of guys here,” Evans said. “They work really hard; they’re about winning. I had 10 good years and won a lot of games (in New Orleans). It just feels good up here; it’s a good offense, a good scheme. I’m just eager to get to work.”
Carroll said that Evans was brought in to compete at guard. He’s not been assured a start or playing time, despite his All-Pro credentials. He’ll be 33 this month.
Carroll reported that Thomas Rawls was coming off the PUP list, but tight end Jimmy Graham was going to need a little more time.
A number of Seahawks were kept out of action. Carroll said that back Christine Michael was “ill,” and will be ready when they come back from the day off. Kam Chancellor (groin), too is expected to be back on Tuesday. Doug Baldwin (calf) shouldn’t be out much longer, but Carroll still called him “wait and see.” Defensive end Frank Clark (calf) is getting eased back, but did not participate Sunday.
Receivers Kasen Williams and Kevin Smith were both out with hamstring injuries. Carroll said that rookie running back Zac Brooks (hamstring) will return soon, but C.J. Prosise (hamstring) is expected to miss the first preseason game.
Carroll said that the versatility the offensive linemen have shown in recent days makes him feel that “we’re ahead of where we thought we would be ... we’re big and physical up front.” The line has been source of considerable speculation based on the lack of experience. How much Evans will cure that remains to be seen. Rookie first-round guard Germain Ifedi will continue at that position on the right side for now as he learns the ropes, but Carroll said that he will be given a try at right tackle at some point before camp is over.