The Seahawks held their third and final mock game of 2020 training camp, but unlike the two earlier scrimmages at CenturyLink Field that simulated an actual game, Sunday's session at the VMAC featured a lot more situational work.
"We had great work today," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "Got a bunch of plays in. We wanted to really put our players in as many situations as we could so they'd have to think game-like, and it worked out. Everything we needed to do field-position wise, then we come down to the last—offense has got to win the game with a minute 40 left and a couple of time outs, and finished with four seconds left on the clock. It was really good for both sides of the ball, and a lot of realistic situations came up that we'll learn from."
Media isn't allowed to report much in the way of details, but going off of Carroll's comments after practice, here are five observations from Sunday's action.
1. Ones vs. ones brings out the best in everyone.
As Pete Carroll noted earlier in camp, the lack of preseason games has caused the Seahawks to change how they structure practice in some regards, and one change has been having the No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense face off more often to get them game ready. That was on display again Sunday, and as always, there was not just good play on both sides of the ball, but plenty of friendly trash talking going on on both sides of the ball.
"The first thing is that it's really competitive, that's the best part of it," Carroll said. "There's so much pride on that field, everybody wants to come out on top. They know we're going to come in here and watch the highlights and al that kind of stuff. They know that they're battling just for some swag and all. It's really good. It's so valuable. And the guys are playing so fast, it feels game-like, it feels game speed, and that's all we could hope for here. That's what you're trying to capture when you don't have preseason games. You want to get it as often as you can so it's as normal as possible, so it's worked out great."
One player who has brought a lot of swagger to practice this year is safety Jamal Adams, who described his on-field energy and trash talking by saying, "That's just me, man. I've always been like that, I've always been wired like that. It gets me going, and it also brings out the competitive juices on the other side. When you're competing at a high level on both sides of the ball, it makes everybody better."
2. Time away from camp hasn't slowed Chris Carson down.
Chris Carson has missed a significant amount of training camp due to a death in the family, but as he showed in Sunday's practice, that missed time shouldn't be an issue come Week 1.
"He looked great today," Carroll said. "He was flying around, looked really light on his feet. He's got fresh legs and showed. It was a good day, good hot day for him to work."
Carroll later added, "He looks great. He hasn't had a snap out here that he didn't look good. He's missed a few days because of family, but we don't have any hesitation with Chris at all. He's fine and ready to go."
3. Marquise Blair continues to be a bright spot.
Yes, Marquise Blair's name keeps coming up in mock games, but that's because the second year safety continues to thrive in the nickel role. Blair had two interceptions in last week's mock game, and while he didn't match that takeaway production this time around, he was noticeable on a number of plays, and continues to draw praise from teammates and coaches.
"He had three or four plays that stood out," Carroll said. "I didn't see him play after play; I've got see the film, but he continues to just be spotlighted player out there He's all over the field, and he's done it and all the big matchups, the big mock game opportunities. He's really shown up—he had two picks in the one the other day, and just made some really nice plays. I couldn't tell how the ball got broken up way down the field on DK (Metcalf) if he knocked it away or what happened there, but he was right on it about 50 yards down the field. He's playing well with line of scrimmage, and he's playing well in coverage. He's really probably been the brightest surprise of camp. We didn't know how he would cover, being that he has been more of a safety, but he's got great quick feet and great feel for routes and he covers people as tight as anybody we have on our team."
4. Ethan Pocic continues to be the leader in the competition at center.
While the Seahawks haven't settled the starting job at center, Ethan Pocic continues to be the leader in that competition that also includes B.J. Finney and Kyle Fuller, who is suspended for the first two games of the season.
"He has been in the lead position there," said Carroll. "To start with because of his background with us and all of that—his command of the position and our calls and the system at all. And he's been performing well. He's done a nice job, and it's nice to see him go against Poona (Ford). He's got two totally different guys in Poona in (Bryan) Mone, and he's holding up well. Kyle Fuller has done a nice job too in there, and B.J. Finney is really coming along. He was obviously the furthest behind in a position where you have to have a lot of command of what's going on. So the competition continues, and next week will be really important. We won't call it, we don't need to, until the end of next week, so we'll let those guys keep battling."
5. Sunday was an important day for Quinton Dunbar.
With Tre Flowers out Sunday due to an ankle injury, Quinton Dunbar opened practice as the No. 1 right cornerback, and while Carroll couldn't say yet how the offseason trade acquisition played having not seen the film of practice, he did note that Sunday's work was important for Dunbar as he continues to compete with Flowers for a starting job.
It's really important for me to see this this film today. We had some one-on-ones, and he played with the first group—Tre was out today with a slightly sprained ankle. This is this is a really, unique football player in Quinton Dunbar. He's got terrific awareness—he's got size and speed and all that kind of stuff, so he can do the things that we need our corners to do—but he has terrific awareness, very good spatial awareness and playmaking ability in a really good challenge attitude. I really like the way he plays. We don't have a lot of work done with him at this point, so we've got a couple more weeks and then the competition continues, but he has made nothing but positive steps towards playtime. I really like his savvy and awareness. So it just helps us depth wise it makes us better. We always like seeing that tall guy over there on their right side, we've seen that for a lot of years, and he certainly can fill that."
Scenes from the second mock game of the 2020 Seahawks Training Camp on Sunday, August 30 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.. Training Camp is presented by Safeway.