Far more important things were taking place in sports all around the country Wednesday, but before a historic afternoon and evening in the world of sports began to unfold, the Seahawks kicked off their second mock game of 2020 training camp. And again, there were much more significant things happening elsewhere—and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll spent much of his press conference addressing those important topics—but since football did take place at CenturyLink Field, here are seven observations from Wednesday's mock game and Carroll's press conference that took place after.
1. Marquise Blair had a big day.
Mock games are being played without fans this year, which means media is limited in what it can report, but what we can tell you is that second-year defensive back Marquise Blair had a huge day, one that included two interceptions in addition to a couple of other highlight plays.
"Marquise Blair had a big day," Carroll said. "… He did a nice job, obviously, two huge plays turning the ball over."
Blair, who spent most of his rookie season as a backup free safety, is the front-runner to win the nickel defensive back job this year, and his play of late has only seemed to solidify his standing on the defense.
When talking about the defense as a whole, Carroll added, "Marquise has been a noticeable change—I mean look at the day he had today—but he has been a noticeable change playing the nickel spot."
Left cornerback Shaquill Griffin said he has seen a change out of Blair in his second season.
"He's comfortable," Griffin said. "I feel like last year, he was kind of going with the flow, he was a rookie, he was learning. Now he's playing more like a vet. He's comfortable, you can feel it when he's out there, he doesn't feel like he shouldn't be out there… He's showing up and making the plays we're expecting him to make. He came up big twice today, which is cool, because we can expect that from him during the season… It's cool to see him come into his own. He's doing an amazing job so far."
2. The defense continues to shine.
Seattle's second-team offense, led by Geno Smith, put together a couple of good drives against the starting defense in last weekend's mock game, but other than that the last week or so of camp has seen the No. 1 defense perform at a very high level, and that continued on Wednesday. Even without All-Pro safety Jamal Adams on the field—more on that below—the starting defense was dominant, albeit against offenses led by Seattle's third and fourth quarterbacks, Anthony Gordon and Danny Etling. While the competition might not have been quite the same on Wednesday, the starting defense has more than held its own against Wilson and company in recent practices.
"I'm really excited about these guys," Carroll said. "We've had an infusion of spirit and leadership and playmaking from Bruce (Irvin) and Jamal coming in, and I'm anxious to see the effect that Quinton Dunbar can have also just to add to what we already have. There's an energy about this group, they're really excited about playing together. We've got to get good. We've got to get our stuff right, get our assignments down, our calls and our adjustments down and all of that. So that's what we're racing for by the opener to get that done so we can play really good clean football and cut these guys loose and let them go. But we're faster, we seem to be more athletic. Marquise has been a noticeable change—I mean look at the day he had today—but he has been a noticeable change playing the nickel spot. So we really feel like we've boosted this group, as well as guys just getting a little better every year like they do. We have very high expectations that we're going to play a lot of good football."
Added Griffin: "I feel like we're starting to come into our own, which is the best part. We've still got a lot of stuff to work on and figure out, and after today it's a good feeling to see where we're going, and getting the ball taken way. That's the stuff we've got to build on."
3. The passing game was sharp.
While the starting defense had its way with the non-starters on offense, Wilson and the No. 1 offense were also very impressive. Wilson led three touchdown drives on five possessions, throwing touchdowns to DK Metcalf and Jacob Hollister. Wilson completed 11 of 16 attempts, including three catches for both Greg Olsen and David Moore.
"We saw some good stuff throwing and catching today," Carroll said. "Russ threw the ball real nice, guys made some nice plays. Greg Olsen looked good catching the ball, DK came back with another big touchdown, Jacob Hollister looked sharp, Lock did a good job, D-Mo I think had three catches for the day."
Carroll was also pleased that for the second straight mock game, the starting offense did not commit a turnover
"I'm pleased that we're taking care of the football," he said. "The foundation of what we're all about is taking care of the ball, so that's good we've been able to knock that out the last couple of weeks."
4. Carlos Hyde continues to impress.
For as sharp as Wilson and the passing game were, it was not an unbalanced day for the offense, not with Carlos Hyde ripping off multiple explosive gains on the ground. Rushing stats weren't kept, but Hyde put together an impressive day, one that included a touchdown run to cap the first scoring drive of the day.
"It was a good job of throwing the ball around, but I thought the other side of it was that I thought Carlos Hyde looked really good, again," Carroll said. "He seems to just continue to be right on the mark. He's going to be able to be a big factor for us."
5. An undrafted rookie made the play of the day.
As mentioned earlier, the starting defense didn't give up much on Wednesday, but finally late in the game the backup offense was able to break through thanks to a play where a good throw and great catch was enough to beat good coverage. Aaron Fuller, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Washington, went low in the end zone for a diving, one-handed grab of a ball thrown by Danny Etling.
"The play of the day was Aaron Fuller, what a great grab, from Danny terrific throw and catch," Carroll said.
Carroll also noted that Fuller has shown up in both mock games, a good sign for a rookie trying to make an impression in a year with no preseason games.
"He had a pretty good game last week too," Carroll said. "He's had a couple of good weeks here, a couple of good outings. He's been doing fine in practice too, but he has really come through in both game-like situations, so that's a pretty cool statement. Nice job."
6. Jamal Adams' strawberry misfortune and other injury updates.
Safety Jamal Adams practiced Tuesday with a large wrap protecting his hand, then did not take part in the mock game, though he did participate in pregame warmups. There is not, however, a significant injury concern for Adams, but rather a cut on his finger that required stiches, the result of a slip-up while cutting strawberries, Carroll said, calling it a "very minor situation."
Also not taking part were a pair of injured receivers, Phillip Dorsett II, who continues to battle a foot injury, and John Ursua, who has what Carroll described as a minor hamstring injury.
"Johnny just tweaked his hammy a little bit, it's really slight, but enough to hold him out, not push it the very next day," Carroll said. "Phillip's got a sore foot that he's had in and out for quite some time, and it just acted up. So we have to rest him for a bit and see if we can get him back. He said he feels really good today after just a couple of days. It might be the kind of situation we've got to monitor and see what it takes to keep him feeling good, because he has had it for a while."
The only new injury to come out of the day that Carroll reported was a turned ankle for right tackle Brandon Shell, which occurred during pregame warmups. Carroll did not yet know the severity of the injury.
In a non-injury personnel note, Chris Carson was back with the team and went through pregame warmups, though he did not participate in the mock game. Carson has been away for the team for much of camp tending to a death in the family. Carroll said Carson will practice after Thursday's day off.
7. Visits from two familiar faces.
Carroll confirmed that two free agents who are well known to the organization were in for visits on Wednesday, 2014 draft picks Paul Richardson and Justin Britt. Carroll said the visit was mostly to assess where they are after ending 2019 on injured reserve. Britt, Seattle's starting center for the past four seasons and a six-year starter on the Seahawks line, tore his ACL last season, then was released in the offseason in a salary-cap related move. Richardson, who signed with Washington as a free agent in 2018, was also released earlier in the offseason.
"Both guys ended their season with injuries, so we need to see what those guys look like," Carroll said. "Obviously we know a lot about both of them and we think highly of both of those guys, so we'll see how it goes."
Scenes from the second mock game of the 2020 Seahawks Training Camp on Wednesday, August 26 at CenturyLink Field. Training Camp is presented by Safeway.