TNT’s Gregg Bell on Jamar Taylor, quietly a standout this month, battered runnings backs and more from Seahawks camp day 14
The Seahawks technically “ended” training camp on Tuesday.
The finish to the 14th practice of the preseason was the point on the team’s schedule it supposedly “broke camp.” The players’ families and friends were at the practice then shared a barbeque lunch with their men after it.
But the morning practices then afternoon walk-throughs, the meetings, the film study and the competition for jobs—all that and more will continue each day for the final 2 1/2 weeks of the preseason. It will resume following the players’ off day from practice on Wednesday.
“I wish I was going to go home and get some rest,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer joked of camp supposedly ending following Tuesday’s practice.
“It was a good way to end camp, although we are still really rolling along. Get a chance to get into Minnesota (Seattle’s opponent in the second preseason game on Sunday) a little bit this week. It was really a fun practice. It got pretty competitive out there which is always fun to see, a lot of jawing. At the end of the day, it was a great workday. We got them some they got us some.
“Good way to ‘end camp.’”
Here’s what I saw, thought and heard in Tuesday’s practice, which was in helmets and shoulder pads for the second consecutive day.
HEY THANKS: The practice started with Light My Fire by The Doors booming over the sideline speakers. It was welcome respite, if only for a few minutes, from the almost-constant rap music.
At this point in camp, all the rap songs that boom throughout each practice sound the same. The same bass and backbeat. The same A-B A-B rhyme pattern to all the lyrics. The same, noticeable lack of actual instruments as the music.
THIN BACKS: Looks like running backs C.J. Prosise (hip), J.D. McKissic (foot) and rookie Travis Homer (groin) won’t play in Sunday’s preseason game at Minnesota. They have missed all practices this week.
Bo Scarbrough missed Tuesday’s practice. He hurt his hand and wrist in last week’s preseason opener.
The offense had just three healthy running backs available for practice: Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Xavier Turner.
The Seahawks signed Turner one day before their first preseason game against Denver. He ended up rushing a team-high 13 times for 42 yards against the Broncos. Coach Pete Carroll introduced Turner as the newest team member—after the game in the locker room at CenturyLink Field.
Carson and Penny may get more work than they and the coaches planned Sunday night in Minnesota. Or Turner may get even more than those 13 carries against the Vikings.
METCALF FLEXES: Another day, another DK Metcalf physical show.
The hulking rookie wide receiver was matched one one against starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin during a drill with the quarterbacks near the goal line. Russell Wilson’s back shoulder throw into the end zone was into Griffin’s tight coverage. But the 6-foot-4, 229-pound Metcalf turned and simply ripped the ball off the back of the cornerback’s shoulder pads for the touchdown.
“He’s just bigger than the guy and kind of takes it away from him,” Schottenheimer said, referring to both Metcalf’s play and one later in practice by 6-5 rookie wide receiver Jazz Ferguson.
How much the risk-averse Wilson throws into coverage to Metcalf will be an ongoing curiosity this season.
FERGUSON’S BID: Each day Ferguson seems to make a case to be the next Seahawks undrafted rookie to not only make the team but significantly contribute.
Call it the Doug Baldwin/Jermaine Kearse/Thomas Rawls/DeShawn Shead Designation.
BARTON IN THE MIDDLE: Rookie third-round draft choice Cody Barton looks like he is going to start for Bobby Wagner at middle linebacker Sunday.
Barton spent the spring at middle and outside linebacker, two spots he played collegiately at Utah. But since Wagner had blood-injection therapy in his aching leg nearly two full weeks ago, Barton has exclusively been a middle linebacker.
On the first play of an 11-on-11 scrimmage Tuesday, Barton broke in freely on a bootleg pass attempt by Russell Wilson. Wilson turned right into Barton for what would have been a sack, had Barton been allowed to tackle the quarterback.
Early this week he was backing up third-year veteran Austin Calitro as Wagner’s fill-in. Tuesday, Barton was the number-one man in the middle of the defense calling coordinator Ken Norton Jr.’s signals.
Wagner missed his sixth consecutive practice. Coach Pete Carroll had initially held out hope Wagner might be back in two weeks, which would be Sunday. But there is little reason to rush the All-Pro back now for a meaningless exhibition.
More likely: Wagner returns to practice sometime next week and tries to play in the third preseason game, Aug. 24 at the Los Angeles Chargers. Under Carroll, that third game of August has been the starters’ most extensive and final rehearsal for the regular season, playing into the second half.
HILL IN THE DEFENSE: Lano Hill, coming back from a cracked hip that prematurely ended his 2018 season, was the strong safety with the starting defense late in the day’s 11-on-11 scrimmaging. He was the second-team strong safety earlier in practice.
That sets up a final two weeks of August of Hill and rookie Marquise Blair, impressive in last week’s Denver game, battling for a starting job. It’s looking increasingly that if one of those two win it, Bradley McDougald will go from strong to free safety to begin the year. If Hill or Blair don’t seize the job, McDougald stays at strong safety where he’s been much of the preseason, and Tedric Thompson would likely start the season at free safety.
MINGO’S DAY: Barkevious Mingo’s conversion back to hand-on-the-ground defensive end to be the speedy edge pass rusher Seattle desperately needs in 2019 remains a, um...work in progress.
Mingo’s pass-rush drill Tuesday wasn’t much better than his subpar one Monday. Or his one from Sunday. Actually, it was worse.
On consecutive snaps, Mingo got thrown to the ground by an offensive lineman, starer and reserve alike.
The first time reserve guard Jordan Roos pushed down Mingo to the grass when the end tried to loop inside on a two-man stunt. The second face plant came when starting right tackle Germain Ifedi rode Mingo out wide, out wider than basically belly-flopped onto his back and pushed him prone into the turf.
AMADI WITH THE 1s: Rookie safety Ugo Amadi, one of the team’s fourth-round picks in April, was the nickel defensive back with the starting offense for a couple plays late in the practice.
It’s Akeem King, Kalan Reed, Amadi and seventh-year veteran Jamar Taylor competing for the nickel spot vacated by Justin Coleman signing with Detroit for $9 million per year in March. As I wrote Tuesday, Taylor has to my eyes looked like the best of the four so far, albeit while on the second defense.
SHAQUEM GRIFFIN BACK: Linebacker Shaquem Griffin was back practicing after missing two days with a bruised knee. That makes it likely he plays at Minnesota.