Skip to main content

6 Things We Learned From The Seahawks 2024 Offseason Workout Program

Takeaways from the Seahawks’ first offseason under new head coach Mike Macdonald


The Seahawks wrapped up their offseason program last week with a two-day mandatory minicamp, a pleasant surprise to players who had been scheduled to be on the field for three days, but who were rewarded for a successful offseason with an early start to their summer break.

"Just really couldn't be happier with the effort," Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald said last week, moments after announcing the day off to his players. "That's what I was telling them. The effort, the intent, the energy, the attitude, all the things we're asking them to do, they responded every day. Just really excited about where we're at. We've been going at it here. We had the extra week with the new staff and everything. Felt like it was an opportunity to get out of here healthy and have a great offseason.

"I hope we're building what we're trying to build. I think we're on our way. But shout-out to our coaches, too. We just try to take advantage of every meeting, stack those meetings over and over and over again, stack every opportunity we've had on the field. Just felt it was time to say we've gotten great work in. Let's get the heck out of here."

With players getting the heck out of here, let's take a look back at the first offseason workout program under Macdonald and dive into six things we learned about the Seahawks following their first few months working under a new coaching staff.

1. Versatility will be a strength of the defensive line.

Last year and in past seasons, the Seahawks had multiple defensive linemen who played multiple spots—that's just par for the course in today's NFL—but what has been evident as the team learns a new defense led by Macdonald and defensive coordinator Aden Durde is that this particular D-line will feature a lot of players playing a lot of different spots along the line.

Jarran Reed, primarily a nose tackle last season, touched on that earlier in the offseason, noting he's getting some work at defensive end, and Leonard Williams, who has moved around plenty in his career, said he is learning six different spots along the defensive front. Dre'Mont Jones, meanwhile, is a player who came to Seattle known for his inside-out versatility, and in minicamp he indeed could be seen lining up in different spots and, when players broke into position groups, spending time with the outside linebackers as well as the defensive linemen.

"I think it benefits us in creating matchups where you're putting the defensive player in the best position and then you're also confusing the offense," Williams said. "It makes it harder for the offense to study us knowing that they may see Dre'Mont (Jones) at a five technique on film, and then when we line up and play against them, he's probably going to be playing zero or three-technique. It is harder for an offense to scheme against one specific player because we move around so much. And then it's also giving us freedom as players to use our best skill sets in the best situations and the coaches are doing a good job of knowing that we're all different. Even though he might say get from point A to point B, he's going to tell me to get there differently, or he'll allow me to get there differently than the way J-Reed will get there. I think to me that takes a great coach to understand that we're different players and even though we can do the same job, we may do it differently."

2. Geno Smith feels good about Ryan Grubb's offense.

Coming off of back-to-back Pro-Bowl seasons, quarterback Geno Smith is learning a new offseason heading into his third year as Seattle's starter, and while there is always an adjustment period for a quarterback changing offenses, his career experience of playing with multiple teams and even more coordinators will help him adapt quickly. And while it's sill early, Smith is really excited about what he is seeing from new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb's offense.

"Very impressed, man," Smith said of Grubb's offense. "Obviously from the stuff he's done in college he has a great track record. And then just being a part of the system, being able to learn from him, the type of guy that he is, type of man that he is, type of coach that he is. I think there is going to be great things coming for us. Coach Grubb is doing a great job being demanding, making sure guys are studying and on point and knowing their assignments, but also giving guys some grace. It is a new system, new offense, and guys are going to mess some things up. That's not necessarily a terrible thing. We can gain from that. So Grubb is doing a great job. It's our job to make the plays come alive and make it all look good."

While Grubb's offense might not look exactly the same in the NFL as it did at the University of Washington, there are still plenty of elements in a passing game that turned Michael Penix Jr. into a Heisman Trophy finalist that also fit Smith's game.

"I feel like I'm a drop-back passer and I feel like this is a drop-back offense, an offense that's going to spread the ball around, trust the quarterbacks to make the right decisions," Smith said. "That's pre- and post-snap. I think that's something that I'm really good at. Just want to make sure I'm doing the right things when it comes to that."

3. 2023 first-round picks Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba both look poised to big things in Year 2.

The Seahawks used a pair of first-round picks last year to select cornerback Devon Witherspoon and receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and both had strong rookie campaigns, especially Witherspoon who was selected to the Pro Bowl and who was a finalist for AP Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. And as good as those two were in 2023, early signs point to both playing even bigger roles in their second seasons.

"JSN is a great player and expecting great big things out of him," Macdonald said. "He's had a great offseason. Works his tail off. His practice habits are awesome. Moving ability is pretty elite. I think we got a really cool plan for him. For him and Spoon a lot of times end up going against each other, it's tough right now. You can't contest the ball, but you're trying to be competitive. We're in these red zone periods, so there is a delicate balance there. I thought we handled it great staying off the ground and making some really good plays and executing at a high level."

"It's great," Macdonald said of the energy Witherspoon brings. "I told him today I couldn't believe he was the smartest football player of all time and it's only his second year in the NFL. He's got an answer for everything. No, hey, be yourself. That's who he is. We love him. He's a great player already in this league. We're really excited about him. Again, all those guys are great, man. Energy is right where we want it."

4. The secondary looks deep, but we're still waiting to see the full complement of options at linebacker.

Speaking of Witherspoon, he is just a part of what looks to be a very deep secondary, one that includes three Pro-Bowlers in Witherspoon, Riq Woolen and Julian Love, as well as a mix of experienced and young players. At cornerback, Witherspoon, Woolen and Tre Brown look to be top trio for now, but there are plenty of players pushing for playing time behind them, including former starter Mike Jackson, veteran Artie Burns and 2024 draft picks D.J. James and Nehemiah Pritchett. Safety, meanwhile, underwent significant change with the team moving on from Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams, then signing free agents Rayshawn Jenkins and K'Von Wallace. Among those joining Love, Wallace and Jenkins in the competition at safety are Coby Bryant, a former starter at nickel corner who began the switch to safety last season, and Jerrick Reed II, a standout on special teams as a rookie before tearing his ACL.

"We are really excited about our secondary, and I think there is some flexibility there," Macdonald said. "We can get some personnel groups for guys moving around, play matchup ball a little bit. They're in a good spot."

What's less clear as of now, however, is how things will look in front of that secondary. The Seahawks signed Jerome Baker and Tyrel Dodson as potential starters to replace Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks, but both missed most of the on-field work during offseason workouts while rehabbing injuries from last season. There's still plenty of time for both to catch up and both could very well end up starters when the season begins, but in the meantime, their absences have meant a big opportunity for Jon Rhattigan and Patrick O'Connell, who saw extensive work with the starting defense.


Seahawks Football Fest

Seahawks Football Fest presented by KING 5 is back at Lumen Field!

Kickoff your weekend on Saturday, August 3rd with this exclusive practice and a day full of FOOTBALL. FAMILY. AND FUN!

Tickets are on sale now and start as low as $12!

5. The new-look kickoff will provide a lot of intrigue this summer and fall.

With the NFL making significant changes to the kickoff rule this offseason, Jay Harbaugh and every other special teams coach around the league have been trying to figure out the best strategies to deploy both on kickoff teams and for returns. The new rule should create a lot more return opportunities, but the structure of the play is so different than the past version of the kickoff, no one knows for sure what will and won't work once games begin. And because there is so much newness, Harbaugh said he expects teams to continue to adjust well into the regular season.

"We're having a blast," Harbaugh said during OTAs when asked about the rule. "We're really excited about it. It's totally new for everybody, and it's just cool to see the different ideas people have and being able to take what we know from the old world of kickoff and kick return, and see what's still true and what's not true. It's just a fun process as you go, just trying different things and realizing, 'Hey, this might not be what we thought.' It's organized trial and error."

6. There's a lot of learning going on for the coaching staff as well.

While we tend to think of OTAs and minicamp as a time for players to learn and grow, there has been plenty of that going on for the coaching staff as well. Of course, Macdonald has a vision for how he wants to run a football program, but he is still a first-year head coach, so as he has noted throughout the offseason, he's still making adjustments to how he does things throughout the process. Add to that the fact that offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, defensive coordinator Aden Durde and special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh are all first-times in that job at the NFL level, and that Macdonald had never worked with Grubb or Durde before this year, and there have been plenty of opportunities for this coaching staff to adapt and grow over the past few months.

"I've said this before, it's hard to have a hundred-thousand-day plan where every hour is etched in stone," Macdonald said. "You have to be flexible, be able to move and shake. If you go in with that mindset, if things pop up, you're expecting the unexpected to a certain extent. I wouldn't say just roll with the punches, but apply the principle of what we're trying to achieve. I'm really excited about where we're at. I told the guys, we haven't stopped anybody yet, we haven't scored any touchdowns yet, nor should we. It's not the time for that. But I feel really good on the foundation we've been able to build. It will be good to get a couple days' break. I'll be excited to start camp. It's an exciting time of year.

"We got a lot of great people that are working in this building. It's not just me. We got a lot of talent, a lot of great people that want to help the team. If we deploy all those people the way that we want, I think we can create something really special."

The Seahawks completed their second and final practice of minicamp on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

Related Content