Seahawks Insider Blog

Camp day 2: Alex Collins lighter, faster; Eddie Lacy jovial -- except over one item

RENTON Kam Chancellor said he wanted to retire as a Seahawk -- and the 29-year-old strong safety was nothing but positive about getting a new contract done soon.

Rap star Kendrick Lamar surprised the players by ending their practice.

And the starting offensive line went through another change. Actually, it was a return to what it had been before Sunday.

That and more happened on the second day of training camp Monday, before 2,390 fans on another sunny day along Lake Washington.

PLAY(ER) OF THE DAY: Second-year running back Alex Collins reached back to snare a hard pass from Russell Wilson off his hip. Collins then pivoted sharply up the left side of the field and sprinted with speed he did not have last season as a rookie who fell in and out of shape, and thus coaches’ favor. Collins had All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner chasing him -- all the way to the end zone without catching him.

Through two practices and throughout offseason OTAs and minicamp, Collins has looked quicker. He’s been more decisive. He’s looked more athletic, like the high-school lacrosse player he was.

And maybe he’s just grown up some.

The Seahawks drafted him in the fifth round last year out of Arkansas as a 21-year old who still had a year of college football eligibility remaining. He left Arkansas as one of only three running backs in the history of the Southeastern Conference to rush for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons; Darren McFadden and Herschel Walker are the others.

Coach Pete Carroll and his staff thought Collins came in too big last year -- and stayed too heavy. The Seahawks listed him at 5 feet 10 and 217 pounds last year. He’s listed at 210 now.

When Collins arrived for rookie minicamp in the spring of 2016, Carroll thought Collins was too heavy. He wanted Collins to “recondition” himself and get closer to his college playing weight of 215 pounds. Then, after Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise got hurt ahead of him, Collins fumbled on his only carry in November’s primetime win at New England. Though he recovered his mistake, he got benched for the rest of that game and the following one.

Did he change his diet? Collins nodded.

Did he do more Irish dancing? Collins chuckled. (He trained in Irish dancing, at the encouragement of his younger sister, before the draft to improve his footwork.)

“It was a little bit of both,” Collins said last winter.

Now the lighter, faster Collins is trying to cement his place behind Rawls, Prosise and new running back Eddie Lacy. To do that, he needs to stay ahead of rookie Chris Carson, a bullish runner from Oklahoma State that Seattle drafted in the seventh round this spring, and former USC back Tre Madden, a free agent from last season Carroll keeps praising.

It’s only been two days of camp, but Collins is off to a fast start.

“Alex had by far his best work done in the last three or four weeks,” Carroll said last month at the end of minicamp. “He has just been so consistent for us.

“I think it’s an exciting group (of backs). We’ve never been this strong with this many guys who can compete and do things. We have a variety of different guys that have different strengths that they bring.”

Lacy and Rawls, by the way, don’t exactly look like mortal enemies over their competition to be the lead back:

OFFENSIVE LINE DU JOUR: Our daily check of the most important unit to improve this Seahawks season:

It was Mark Glowinski’s turn to be on the first team, at right guard. Last year’s starting left guard had been the No. 1 right guard through offseason practices until Sunday, when offseason acquisition Oday Aboushi was the starting right guard.

The rest of the line was the same as it was Sunday: Germain Ifedi at right tackle, Justin Britt at center, Rees Odhiambo at left guard and George Fant at left tackle.

But Luke Joeckel got his first series of plays in team scrimmaging with the starters, at left guard and some as the second-team left tackle. Rookie second-round pick Ethan Pocic was again the backup right tackle. Undrafted rookie Jordan Roos was the second man in at right guard. Will Pericak was again the second center in team scrimmaging. Odhiambo was the second man in at left tackle.

Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett, renowned around the league for how quickly he gets going at the snap, beat Pocic and Fant off the ball on opposite sides of the line on consecutive plays

It seems the coaches are easing Joeckel into a starting role at left guard. He’s coming off knee surgery with Jacksonville in October. With the Seahawks guaranteeing him $7 million on his one-year contract, Joeckel’s going to start this season. The question camp will determine is, at left guard or left tackle? For now, he’s the insurance policy if Fant fails to improve in year two as a former college basketball player at left tackle.

DARKHORSE THAT SHINED: Rookie free-agent linebacker Otha Peters stepped in front of a short pass from backup quarterback Trevone Boykin and ran down the left sideline -- with Wagner, Richard Sherman and just about the entire starting defense running with him in celebration of a long touchdown return.

Peters is from Louisiana-Lafayette, playing outside. His job to make the team got tougher Monday when the Seahawks brought back veteran outside linebacker Mike Morgan, who had been unsigned since his Seattle contract ended in January.

Morgan said familiarity with Carroll’s system back to their days together at USC is was biggest factor in him signing after visiting Jacksonville and other places. It was also his biggest advantage in his first day of his new term with the Seahawks, for whom Morgan has played since 2011.

WHAT ELSE I TOOK NOTES ON:

▪ Still no more word on top rookie draft choice Malik McDowell and when he might return to Seattle following his ATV accident in Michigan this month. He can stay on the reserve/did not report until then, then could go on the reserve/non-football injury list if, as seems apparent, he’s not immediately ready to play when and if he returns to the Seattle area from Michigan.

▪ Tyler Lockett was still sidelined, and still had a hood up like Kendrick Lamar

▪ Nickel back Jeremy Lane tipped a pass that Boykin underthrew down the left sideline. The ball fell into the arms of supporting safety Bradley McDougald for an interception, thanks to McDougald’s leap at the sideline boundary. McDougald has most been a free safety in team scrimmaging behind Earl Thomas. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneer looks like he will be a contributor somewhere in the secondary this season, so far a well worthy signing.

▪ For the second consecutive day, Neiko Thorpe has been the No. 1 right cornerback with Lane inside when the defense is in nickel. Rookie third-round pick Shaquill Griffin was again the second right cornerback.

▪ One day after Terence Garvin was the starting strongside linebacker in base defense, former 49ers starter Michael Wilhoite was the first one up there. My colleague Todd Milles was writing about Wilhoite Monday.

▪ Defensive end Cassius Marsh spent most of team-scrimmage time off to the side jumping rope.

▪ Cyril Grayson, the undrafted rookie track star out of LSU, dropped a kick right in front of Carroll during special-teams practice. That was a snapshot into how much he has to learn and grow into his new sport, let alone his new positions of returner and wide receiver.

▪ Bennett was having his daily fun with the fans, specifically the kids:

▪ Rookie strong safety Delano Hill, Chancellor’s current backup at strong safety, stepped in front of Doug Baldwin to intercept a pass from Boykin.

▪ Even though that was three interceptions for Boykin on Monday, he has been the clear No. 2 passer in OTAs, the minicamp and two camp practices since veteran journeyman Austin Davis signed this spring. Davis hasn’t gotten a lot of practice snaps in team scrimmaging, and when he has his passes have often sailed wide, long or short of his receivers. Davis, a former starter with the Browns and Rams who once beat the Seahawks in a game in St. Louis a few years ago, overthrew Paul Richardson on the right sideline by almost five yards late in practice.

SAID AND HEARD: The otherwise smiling, jovial Lacy on Monday after practice, when asked if he’s been eating Seattle-area Chinese food since signing with the Seahawks: “I’ll skip that question.”

In case you missed it, here’s why the running back on a weight-management program with his new team wasn’t laughing at that one.

Lacy has another weigh-in Tuesday with the Seahawks for August, according to an ESPN.com report. If he weighs 250 pounds or less, he’ll collect another $55,000 in an incentive bonus.

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