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Five Things To Watch In Seahawks 2024 Minicamp

With Seahawks minicamp starting Tuesday, here are five storylines to watch this week.


The Seahawks kick off mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, the final phase of the offseason workout program under first-year head coach Mike Macdonald. With a full team, minus a handful of players recovering from injuries, expected to be on the field, this will be our best look yet at the 2024 team. Granted, there is a ton of work to get done between now and the start of the season, and none of the questions below can be fully answered in mid-June, but with that disclaimer out of the way, here are five storylines to keep an eye on this week as the Seahawks take the field for their three-day minicamp:

1. How will defensive coaches utilize a deep and talented defensive line?

Versatility has been one of the buzzwords of this offseason when it comes to Mike Macdonald's defense—he wants players capable of doing multiple things well at all three levels—and one of the places that trait has been evident early on has been Seattle's defensive line

In addition to being a deep and talented position group, Seattle's D-line also features multiple players who can play multiple spots along the line. Jarran Reed, for example, was listed as a nose tackle last season, but can play everything from that role to 3-tecnique defensive tackle to defensive end. Leonard Williams also moved around plenty last season after joining the Seahawks in a midseason trade, and likely will be used in different spots again, and Dre'Mont Jones, who showed inside-out versatility last season, especially after the acquisition of Williams, also can line up just about anywhere on the line. Even Byron Murphy II, Seattle's first-round pick in this year's draft, figures to be utilized in different spots depending on down-and-distance situations.

Reed discussed the versatility of the defensive line earlier this month, noting, "I think we've got multiple guys that can do that. Not just us being stationary, moving us around a little bit, creating some mismatches for everybody else along the line.

"I think that will benefit us a lot. Guys won't know where we're going to be at as much, so we can create some confusion along the offensive line. It shows everybody's versatility and that's the main thing. Zero, three to four to five, believe it or not it's all the same thing. A little different body types and speed, but we can work around that."

Defensive coordinator Aden Durde agreed, saying, ""I think that's what good defensive lines are," Durde said. "You look at the groups and right now it's kind of hard because we can't go full gas, but it's what are people good at? What are their individual roles? How do they fit into the picture? What down and distance would they be good at and where do they excel? I really believe upfront it's about creating a way of playing that enhances people's ability in certain situations. There's a couple of guys that really just flourish in every situation and there's other guys like Hank (Johnathan Hankins) or those guys that flourish in certain situations and then how you rotate them. We've got so much versatility."

2. What's the latest with the offensive line competitions?

A certainty heading into the 2024 season is that the Seahawks will look different on their offense line, but what is not yet known is what exactly the line will look like come Week 1. Last year's starting left guard, Damien Lewis, and center Evan Brown, both left in free agency, while Phil Haynes, who split time at right guard with rookie Anthony Bradford, is currently a free agent.

Free-agent signing Laken Tomlinson appears to have the inside track on the left guard spot, while second-year center Olu Oluwatimi is the early favorite to win that job, though he'll still have to face competition from Nick Harris, among others. Right guard, meanwhile, appears to be the most open competition with Bradford fighting to hold off rookie Christian Haynes and second-year guard/tackle McClendon Curtis.

"We've got a little ways to go there and I just mean more about the reps and opportunity," offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb said. "Some of the guys are still working through things and getting back and so there's been a lot of guys shuffling in and out there, but we've been working through some of that, and I think that they'll continue to grow each week. I think Charles (Cross) and Laken (Tomlinson) have done a good job of building the mesh on the left side a little bit there. So that's probably the most continuity we've seen is those two guys working together. I think that's the next step for us is continuing to build continuity within that group. And we're coming."

Tackle appears to be set with Charles Cross on the left side and, when he's back to full health, Abraham Lucas on the right—veteran tackle George Fant gives the Seahawks a strong option there in the meantime—but the competition for the interior line spots will be one to watch both this week and throughout training camp and the preseason.

3. How are Geno Smith and Sam Howell developing in a new offensive scheme, and how does new QB P.J. Walker look up close?

The Seahawks are still installing their schemes on both offense and defense, so what we see this week is far from a finished product, but minicamp will still provide an extended look at how starter Geno Smith and backup Sam Howell look as they adjust to Ryan Grubb's offense, one that Smith and Howell have both raved about already this offseason.

Smith said he's expecting “great things" out of Grubb's offense, noting "I feel like I'm a drop-back passer and I feel like this is a drop-back offense." While Howell added, "it's going to be a lot of fun to be a quarterback in this offense."

Grubb, meanwhile, has been impressed with those two quarterbacks so far.

"They're awesome," he said. "They're freaking awesome. They are. I think that they're both really, really hard workers. They're very diligent, intelligent and I know that it means a lot to them and I think that their leadership in the room and how they react and work together says a lot about the kind of guys that they are. That they understand the team concept and they're both fighting to get better every day. And I couldn't be more happy with number one, where they're at. And then the type of guys that management has brought into this place have done a really good job."

Asked about his offense and how it fits Smith, Grubb added, "I think that there is a really good marriage there with some of the skillset that Geno has. I think that we ask our quarterbacks to do a lot. Luckily for us, Geno's really athletic as well. I think for us we don't have to limit it to just drop back. I think he's really good in the play action game as well, which will be a big part of our offense. And I think for us it's not just the five step all the time, but I do think that Geno is really good at getting the ball out on time and very efficient with the football, which he obviously showed in 2022, led the league and completion percentage. I think that's something that that marriage, understanding how to get the ball out on time and really take care of the football is something that works really well."

This week will also be a first-look at P.J. Walker after the veteran quarterback signed on Monday, though he will be playing catchup and may be limited in what he is able to do so soon after signing.

4. Will Jaxon Smith-Njigba continue a standout offseason, and what does that mean for his second season?

After injuries limited the start of Jaxon Smith-Njigba's NFL career, he finished last season strong, and appears to be poised to do big things in Year 2. That was evident not only in Smith-Njigba's play down the stretch last season, but also in how he has looked throughout offseason workouts, coming up with impressive catch after impressive catch in OTAs.

"JSN is a great player and expecting great big things out of him," Macdonald said. "He's had a great offseason. Works his tail off. His practice habits are awesome. Moving ability is pretty elite. I think we got a really cool plan for him. For him and Spoon a lot of times end up going against each other, it's tough right now. You can't contest the ball, but you're trying to be competitive. We're in these red zone periods, so there is a delicate balance there. I thought we handled it great staying off the ground and making some really good plays and executing at a high level."

5. What does the secondary look like with so many talented and versatile pieces?

Much like the defensive line, the Seahawks are also very excited about both their talent and versatility in the secondary. At safety, Julian Love and Coby Bryan both have experience playing all over the secondary, while newcomer Rayshawn Jenkins is looking to step into a starting role and make a difference as well. The Seahawks also signed K'Von Wallace, another safety capable of doing multiple things, and with Jenkins, Love, Wallace and Bryant in the mix, there should be some interesting three-safety combinations available should McDonald choose to go that route, as he often did in Baltimore.

And speaking of talented and versatile, second-year cornerback Devon Witherspoon offers both of those traits in a big way, having earned Pro-Bowl honors as a rookie playing both in the slot and outside. With players like Riq Woolen and Tre Brown outside and Witherspoon inside—he can also bump outside if the Seahawks want to have a third safety on the field instead of a nickel corner—the Seahawks are excited about their talent and depth at corner.

"We are really excited about our secondary, and I think there is some flexibility there," Macdonald said. "We can get some personnel groups for guys moving around, play matchup ball a little bit. They're in a good spot."

The Seahawks held their ninth and final OTA of the 2024 offseason on Thursday, June 6, 2024 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

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