The Seahawks will face the Chargers Sunday in their preseason opener, a game head coach Pete Carroll is excited about even if the final score doesn’t affect their hopes for another NFC West title.
“This is a big deal,” Carroll said. “The preseason to me is huge because we hold off in practice on full speed hitting it and tackling, this is what the games are for. They’re crucial for us, for our development, getting through camp, getting ready for the opener a month from now. They’re a big deal to us and obviously this is where we get the best information about where our players are, where we are schematically, how we’re progressing and so much about the new guys, the younger guys that’re here. It’s really a big deal to us.”
In preparation for that game, the Seahawks were back on the practice field Friday. Here are five observations from Day 10 of training camp:
1. Kasen Williams made up for lost time Friday.
Receiver Kasen Williams missed a couple days of camp earlier this week, and as a result, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the plan was to get him involved in Friday’s practice. And the former Skyline High School and University of Washington standout didn’t waste those opportunities when the ball came his way. During seven-on-sevens and the team portion of practice Williams hauled in at least six catches, a couple of them high-degree-of-difficulty grabs. He also drew a pass interference flag on a deep ball from Russell Wilson.
“Kasen is a really good player,” Carroll said. “He was all over the place today. He missed a couple days so we really wanted to see him be active today and catch him back up, and he did a great job of that.”
Williams, who has spent time on the 53-man roster and practice squad the past two seasons, has his work cut out for him to make the team this year, not so much because he hasn’t been performing, but rather because of the depth at receiver. That has been a common theme at this year’s camp, with Carroll and his players raving about the overall depth on the roster.
“There are going to be a number of position groups that we can go to and we’ll talk about, and the story is basically the same—there’s a lot of guys that can make this happen,” Carroll said. “We’re going to have to see how they’ll cash in on their opportunities.”
2. C.J. Prosise “can do it all.”
Early in the team portion of Friday’s practice, second-year running back C.J. Prosise took a handoff from Russell Wilson and exploded through a hole for a big gain. Later, while lined up at receiver, he beat the safety covering him and hauled in a long pass from Wilson down the sideline.
One of the things Seattle liked most about Prosise when they made him a third-round pick in 2016 was that versatility to be a big-play threat as a runner and pass-catcher. A former receiver at Notre Dame, Prosise has shown the ability to be both an effective runner between the tackles and a matchup nightmare when split out at receiver. Injuries limited Prosise’s rookie season, but if he can stay healthy this season, he has a chance to be a big part of Seattle’s offense.
“Prosise looks spectacular,” Wilson said. “You know, he can do it all… You saw what he could do out there in the New England game, from running the ball to catching it, to the Eagles’ game where he took that one (72 yards) to the house. I mean, he can do it all. C.J. Prosise is definitely a threat for us.”
Following Day 4 of Seahawks training camp, defensive end Michael Bennett played quarterback and wide receiver during a friendly game of touch-football with several youth on-site.
3. Coach Mike B?
Michael Bennett sat out Friday’s practice in what appeared to be a veteran’s day off, but despite not practicing, the Pro-Bowl defensive end stayed busy. On a few occasions, Bennett wandered onto the field between plays, giving advice to young players. During pass-rush drills, Bennett pulled Jeremy Liggins to the side after a rep to offer pointers to the undrafted rookie on his hand usage. Taking on a mentor role is nothing new for Bennett, who hosted several NFL players for workouts this offseason in Hawaii.
“He’s just a great teacher,” rookie Nazair Jones said last month while in Hawaii to work with Bennett. “He has made me so much better only working with me for a little bit. It’s small things, he’s super detailed. That’s starting to rub off on me. I’m trying to reach the stages he has reached, so if he’s looking at stuff that detailed, then I need to look at stuff that detailed. He’s a great teacher, I’m just trying to pick his brain and learn everything I can, whether that’s on the field or off the field.”
Bennett’s off day also included a bit of photography, with him borrowing a camera from team photographer Corky Trewin to snap a few shots.
4. Don’t sleep on Mike Morgan.
The Seahawks signed multiple linebackers this offseason to compete for the starting job at strongside linebacker, and both Michael Wilhoite and Terence Garvin have drawn positive reviews from coaches. But another name, and a familiar one at that, is also in the mix with the Seahawks re-signing Mike Morgan on the second day of camp.
Morgan opened the team portion of practice with the starting defense Friday and on the very first play of a “No Turnover Thursday” practice (practice themes don’t always line up with the calendar this time of year), he ripped the ball out of the running back's hands and took off the other direction.
It’s far too early to call the race for that starting spot at SAM linebacker, but even though Morgan was a later addition to the group, Friday’s practice served as a good reminder that he is very much still in the running.
5. Cassius Marsh continues to impress.
With Bennett and Cliff Avril both getting a rest day, Cassius Marsh saw a lot of time with the starting defense, and he continues to look like a player who belongs with that group. Heading into his fourth season, Marsh is a player several teammates and coaches have named as a potential breakout player in 2017, and that ability has shown up pretty regularly in camp.
“Oh man, Cassius has taken some major strides,” Avril said. “He’s playing great ball all around, from playing the run to playing the pass. I actually worked with him a lot this offseason in Hawaii and at the Von Miller camp and it’s cool to see him taking what he’s picked up in those camps and coming here and putting on a show. I’m happy to see what he’s doing. I think he’s going to have a heck of a year.”
Photos from the 10th day of 2017 Seahawks training camp practice at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center