It was "Competition Wednesday" on a Monday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center as the Seahawks kicked off game-week preparation ahead of their preseason opener against the Vikings.
And with players back in pads, the competition was physical and spirited, with both sides of the ball enjoying plenty of good moments, though it was a particularly good day for the defense up front, with the defensive linemen and outside linebackers creating a lot of pressure.
Here are five observations from Monday's practice:
1. Derick Hall had a very good day.
When it comes to the Seahawks rookie class, a lot of the attention has been on first-round picks Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Part of that has to do with their draft status, as well as the positions they play—it's a lot easier to notice cornerbacks and receivers in practice than players in the trenches—and, of course, part of it has to do with the fact that they've both just looked really good.
But as second-round pick Derick Hall showed on Monday, the Seahawks are expecting to get contributions out of their entire rookie class, and not just those at the top of the draft. Hall, one of Seattle's two second-round picks along with running back Zach Charbonnet, had a great day of practice, starting with pass-rush drills, and continuing onto the team portion of practice. During pass-rush drills, Hall showed off both power and speed to win several one-on-one reps, then when he was on the field with the entire defense, he had at least a couple of sacks.
2. A favorite has emerged in the center competition.
Through the first week of camp, Evan Brown, a free-agent addition, and Olu Oluwatimi, a fifth-round pick in this year's draft, alternated days working with the No. 1 offense as they competed for the starting job at center. And while there is still plenty of time for things to change in that competition, it has become clear in recent days that Brown is currently leading the way. On Monday, Brown worked with the No. 1 offense for the fourth straight day, including Friday's mock game, and a day earlier Seahawks coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that the veteran currently is leading the rookie in that battle.
"We continue to see it going in a competitive sense, with? Evan ahead," Carroll said Sunday when asked about the center competition. "He's ahead because of his experience, if we were playing today, he would go first. Olu (Oluwatimi) is doing a great job, hasn't had anything negative about him besides his wrist being sore for a couple of days that held him back. Other than that, he is right in there as the competition continues."
3. Zach Charbonnet has come back strong following a short absence.
Zach Charbonnet missed a bit of time with a shoulder injury, but the rookie running back is back to full participation in practice, and in what was his first padded practice of camp, he had a second straight day that featured several impressive runs one day after Carroll said the rookie "looked great today." One run in particular that stood out featured Charbonnet making a decisive cutback in the backfield to hit a hole, then burst into the second level before outrunning the defense to the end zone. With Kenneth Walker III expected back soon, and with Kenny McIntosh avoiding a serious knee injury, the Seahawks should have a lot of talent and depth on display at running back once they're back to full strength at that position.
4. Dre'Mont Jones bounced right back.
Defensive end Dre'Mont Jones didn't finish Sunday's practice having, as Carroll explained, jammed his toe late in practice. But despite walking off the field minus a shoe yesterday, Jones was back in action on Monday and was part of an overall strong day for the defensive line.
5. Another day, another Legend.
Sunday's practice featured a pair of Seahawks Legends on the practice field helping coach their former position groups, with Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett both helping mentor the next generation of Seahawks pass rushers and defensive linemen. Both players were back on the field helping out Monday, and joining them was another member of Seattle's Super Bowl winning team, K.J. Wright, who spent his time with the linebackers.
Both Wright and Bennett are part of the preseason broadcast for Thursday night's opener against Minnesota.
The Seahawks held a practice under the lights at Lumen Field on Friday, August 4, 2023 as part of the Seahawks 2023 Football Fest.