As Seahawks coach Pete Carroll would say, Tuesday was “the day before the day before” their preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts. The Seahawks held a full practice Tuesday, then will lighten up the work load Wednesday before hosting the Colts at CenturyLink Field Thursday night.
Here are five things that stood out from Day 10 of Seahawks training camp:
1. Shamar Stephen could be a difference-maker for this defense.
Free-agent addition Shamar Stephen has been described by coaches as a big, run-stuffing defensive tackle. Those players are vitally important to a defense, but that’s not always the flashiest role due to the sometimes infrequent number of opportunities to make big plays behind the line of scrimmage.
But what has been evident a few times in camp, and again on Tuesday, is that Stephen will not just be someone who can win at the line of scrimmage by taking on blocks and holding his ground; he also finds himself in the backfield quite a bit, particularly on running plays. During Saturday’s mock game, Stephen recorded one of the defense’s two sacks, and on Tuesday during a brief 7-on-9 running-game period, Stephen shot into the backfield twice to tackle running backs behind the line of scrimmage.
“Shamar is big, thick, studly, big hands, getting off blocks, filling up the line of scrimmage, and he’s a good pursuit guy,” Carroll said. “He has already demonstrated a real good sense for where the ball is going.”
2. Tre Flowers is getting a good chance to show what he can do.
Byron Maxwell and Neiko Thorpe were both held out of practice Tuesday, which meant a long look with the No. 1 defense for Tre Flowers at right cornerback.
Flowers, a fifth-round pick out of Oklahoma State, is still adjusting to a new position having played safety in college, but Carroll has spoken very highly of the rookie’s development throughout camp and offseason workouts.
Carroll noted that he’s “excited” for Flowers, who on Thursday “is going to get a chance to play a lot of ball.”
3. Jamarco Jones is proving to be a quick study.
Jamarco Jones, a fifth-round pick out of Ohio State, spent almost all of camp at left tackle with the No. 2 and No. 3 lines prior to this week, but on Monday he briefly saw time on the right side of the line, followed by a series at right tackle with the starting offense on Tuesday.
“We’ve been starting to work him—we’re looking for guys who can flip and play both sides, just to see what that shows us,” Carroll said. “Sometimes guys get inhibited when they go to the other side. We’re just trying to see how natural he is. He has been a left side guy a lot.
“He has shown a real good savvy about the game, and he’s precocious in his awareness and stuff. So we think maybe there’s a chance it’ll come easy to play on the right side as well. We’ll find out… Jamarco has been a real surprise that he has picked up stuff so soon, (offensive line coach Mike Solari) has been really impressed with him.”
Photos from Day 10 of 2018 Seahawks training camp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
4. A few injury updates.
Carroll gave a few updates on injured players who weren’t able to practice Tuesday.
As mentioned earlier, Maxwell sat Tuesday, the result of what Carroll called “a little bit of a hip flexor thing that’s bothering him.” Carroll said it hasn’t yet been determined if Maxwell will play in Thursday’s preseason game.
Guard J.R. Sweezy was sidelined again, the result of an ankle injury sustained on his first practice after signing with Seattle last week.
“He sprained his ankle a little bit,” Carroll said. “A guy fell on his leg the other day. It’s the same leg that he broke, so we’re just being extra careful with it. He looks to be fine, but we’re just being careful with it.”
Carroll was also asked about defensive end Dion Jordan, who remains on the physically unable to perform list: “We’re kind of shooting for the end of preseason to see where he is. It’ll take us that long before we get back to him.”
Linebacker K.J. Wright returned after missing the previous two practices due to a groin injury, though don’t be surprised if a veteran of his stature is limited or even held out of a preseason game if that injury is even remotely an issue.
5. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this.
Sebastian Janikowski and Jason Myers are in the midst of a tight competition for Seattle’s kicking job, with both regularly booming in kicks from 50-plus yards with room to spare. But if for some strange reason the Seahawks ever find themselves needing an offensive or defensive player to make a clutch kick, well, they might be in trouble. That much was apparent on Tuesday when Carroll ended practice by seeing what non-kicker could make a 25-yard field goal.
Guard Jordan Roos started things off, missing badly low and to the left. Defensive tackle Poona Ford was next, making better contact, but missing to the right. And on they went, offensive and defensive players, some making solid contact, some with shanks, but none splitting the uprights. Guard Willie Beavers and defensive tackle Jarran Reed were both wide left. Linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who kicks left footed, missed right, while his twin brother Shaquill kicked right footed and missed left. Center Justin Britt made great contact, but his attempt hooked to the left, then Austin Davis, who has made from 40-plus in practice before, pushed his attempt wide right. Defensive end Branden Jackson, assistant special teams coach Larry Izzo and tight end Tyrone Swoopes missed too, then Austin Calitro nearly took out an official with what would have been a well-placed penalty kick in soccer. Finally, after 13 misses—Ford somehow talked his way into two attempts—long snapper Tyler Ott mercifully brought practice to an end by splitting the uprights.
Though if Ott became the emergency kicker, who snaps the ball?
Following Day 10 of 2018 Seahawks training camp practice, the offense and defense engaged in a friendly field-goal kicking competition.