A little less than five weeks until training camp. So, we’ll look at five things from the offseason:
1. How will Lynch’s desire for more money play out? We had two questions answered this week: First, Marshawn Lynch showed at minicamp. Second, he definitely wants more money. After various reports of the latter, Lynch’s consigliere, Michael Robinson, told local reporters Thursday that Lynch has been “the face of the franchise” since arriving and wants to be paid like it. The Seahawks have $7,121,573.00 in salary cap space after signing Kevin Williams. They probably want to extend K.J. Wright, but it makes sense for them to wait until deeper into training camp to see how everyone who had surgery bounces back, and if there are any other injuries. After that, maybe they figure a way to get Lynch some more money in a new contract. Though, the odds seem low.
2. The defensive line could be better. Despite Red Bryant and Chris Clemons leaving, the Seahawks’ defensive line could be even better this season. They retained the guys with the largest impact — Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Brandon Mebane — while having capable replacements for Clemons and Bryant. Benson Mayowa put on weight to work at rush end. Tony McDaniel moves back to five technique where he has played a lot earlier in his career. Defensive tackle Jesse Williams said this is the best he’s felt since before going to Alabama. Jordan Hill and Jackson Jeffcoat are also in the mix. The addition of six-time Pro-Bowler Kevin Williams, and a chance to reduce his snap count by almost 50 percent from last season, gives the Seahawks another commodity.
3. The feisty approach has not left. Everyone knows Richard Sherman. They don’t know wide receiver Phil Bates, the man punching Sherman in the head at minicamp. Bates is one of the most affable guys in the lockerroom. He’s also a longshot to make the team, but that didn’t stop him from standing up to Sherman when things became physical. Earl Thomas and Doug Baldwin argued vehemently throughout Wednesday’s practice. Everyone else had cooled down, yet those two continued to have words until the end. No one was more amused by all of this than Lynch, who was cackling near the line of scrimmage and goading Sherman. This is the environment general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll touched on when talking during the draft. Were the rookies ready for that? If they weren’t, they should be ready once training camp starts after getting an up-close look.
4. Who’s healthy? The Seahawks also have a significant set of injuries to monitor. Strong safety Kam Chancellor (hip), left tackle Russell Okung (foot), wide receiver Sidney Rice (knee) linebacker Bruce Irvin (hip) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (ankle) all did not participate in the three-day minicamp because of surgeries. Irvin is unlikely to be back until late in training camp. Rice may not be ready at the start, but should be participating near the start. As for Chancellor, Okung and Smith, Carroll said each “has a chance” to be ready for the start of camp. “All those guys – we’ll have to wait and see,” Carroll said. “As they progress and the work builds up, do they handle it well? We won’t know that until we get there. Everybody’s projected to have a shot at it so that’s what we’re counting on right now.”
5. Receiving group is deeper and faster. The addition of Paul Richardson and healthy return of Percy Harvin has the Seahawks’ receiving group faster than last season. Ricardo Lockette, who was inconsistent in minicamp when trying to catch, is also among the speedsters at receiver. As a result, the nickname “Legion of Zoom” is being suggested. But, the receiver who impressed me the most at camp was Kevin Norwood. He was as consistent as any player — rookie or veteran. He’ll still have significant things to prove in training camp and the preseason after quickly adapting to the Seahawks’ practice tempo.