RENTON, Wash. (AP) — When the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl after the 2013 season, they created a roster with depth no one else in the NFL could match.
Ask around, and the Seahawks believe they’ve constructed a roster entering this camp with the talent and depth to rival that championship squad.
“I think it’s going to be one of our most competitive camps,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “This is a chance for us to have a roster that reminds us of a couple years back and hopefully it’ll play out that way.”
The Seahawks begin training camp on July 30 with relatively few questions. There is no Super Bowl hangover like last season lingering over the franchise. There aren’t contract disputes or huge injury concerns.
Yes, there are questions about the offensive line and when a couple of key offensive players will be ready. But for the most part, it’s been a mostly quiet offseason from one of the presumptive favorites in the NFC.
“Once you have kind of been here for a while you kind of know. We know how we want to approach practice. We know how we want to take advantage of every opportunity that we have had,” Seattle QB Russell Wilson said. “We also know what it takes to win a lot of games.”
Here’s what to watch as the Seahawks open camp:
HARD TO IMAGINE: Once again the offensive line is forefront among Seattle’s biggest questions entering camp. Last year, the Seahawks made significant changes two weeks into camp and the fallout from those changes never settled until the midpoint of the season when Drew Nowak was replaced at center by Patrick Lewis.
The Seahawks spent the offseason again tinkering with their offensive line, but this time it was by necessity after losing Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy in free agency.
First-round pick Germain Ifedi and newly acquired J’Marcus Webb are slated to be the right side of the line with Garry Gilliam and Mark Glowinski on the left side.
The question is whether Justin Britt can make the move from guard to center and play his third position in three years or if the Seahawks will be scraping their plans again just weeks before the start of the regular season.
ON THE MEND: Running back Thomas Rawls and tight end Jimmy Graham are both trying to work back from significant injuries that ended their 2015 seasons early. It was expected that Graham’s recovery from a torn patellar tendon would take longer than Rawls’ broken ankle, but Carroll surprised many at the end of minicamp by saying Graham was ahead of Rawls in the rehab process.
The importance for Seattle is getting both back healthy as each is expected to play significant roles in the Seahawks’ offensive success. Rawls was a breakout star last year filling in for Marshawn Lynch while Graham’s role in the offense finally started clicking just before his injury.
BETTER MAN: The one position battle of significance for Seattle is at strongside linebacker after losing Bruce Irvin in free agency. Irvin was known mostly as a pass rusher, but became a critical part of Seattle’s success at stopping the run because of his ability to hold the edge playing on the line of scrimmage.
Veteran Mike Morgan has the most experience at the position. Cassius Marsh might have the best physical traits to be used the same way as Irvin was. Kevin Pierre-Louis is also an option because of his athleticism. The wild card in the scenario could be Frank Clark if Seattle decides they want him on the field more. Clark played just on the defensive line last season, but slimmed down in the offseason.
SOMETHING IN RESERVE: Is Seattle ready to move forward with an inexperienced backup to Russell Wilson? That’s a major question to be solved in training camp as undrafted rookie Trevone Boykin would be the presumptive backup to Wilson at this point. Expect them to bring in a veteran to compete for the backup job.
MIND YOUR MANNERS: Last year, the Seahawks were blindsided by safety Kam Chancellor’s decision to hold out for a new contract. The move backfired and may have tempered thoughts of any other Seahawks under contract of following a similar path. Defensive end Michael Bennett has been the most vocal — and most deserving — of getting a new deal, but he still has two years remaining and the Seahawks have remained averse to setting that precedent.
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