The Seahawks wrapped up training camp Thursday, their final on-field work before the roster has to be reduced to 53 players, a process that will be particularly challenging this year due to a lack of preseason games that can be crucial for evaluating young players.
"We haven't had enough competition at this time of the year to really make the evaluations the way we'd like to; we'd like to have all those game snaps and all," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We've told you a million times that you've got to wait until you see guys in games, well we weren't afforded that in the evaluation process, so that's the only setback. But other than that, it has been a really solid camp. I said to you guys early on that I hoped that the work we had done in the offseason meeting on zoom so much would make it such a regular occurrence for us. We hung on there we didn't give up and shy away from it at all. Our coaches did a fantastic job, the players stayed with it, and it helped us throughout this camp where we were zooming a lot. So they felt like there was kind of a continuity that was different than usual, and to some degrees better. I don't know what to tell you about that, but I'm really pleased with how it's turned out."
As for the on-field action, here are five observations from Thursday's practice. And one quick note, these will be the final practice observations of the year, as regular-season practice action cannot be reported on by media.
1. The Seahawks finished camp relatively healthy.
While the Seahawks, like any team, dealt with a few minor injuries, they came out of camp relatively healthy, which is no small feat considering there was no in-person offseason workout period this year. Carroll said that accomplishment is a testament to the job of Seattle's strength and conditioning and athletic training staffs.
"I think the training staff deserves a lot of credit, and the strength and conditioning staff, because this was an unusual offseason for us obviously, because we never worked out with our guys," Carroll said. "Credit goes to the players for working so hard, but the way we've been able to tailor stuff, now we're ready for Week 1, and we've made it through very healthy and in good shape with a lot of continuity that's helped us in a time when we really needed it, because of all of the time we missed. So I'm just pleased with the whole flow of it, it's worked out really well and positively."
As for the current injury situation, tackle Cedric Ogbuehi remained out with what Carroll called a minor pec strain, but he is expected back next week. Rookie tight end Stephen Sullivan remains out with a hip injury. Carroll noted that Sullivan got off to a really good start in camp, but did not give a timeline on his return. Corner Quinton Dunbar was also absent from practice, though that was because he was away to attend a funeral.
Defensive end Darrell Taylor, who spent all of camp on the non-football injury list, the result of a leg injury in college that led to offseason surgery, very well could open the season on that same list, Carroll said.
"We want to be patient with this because we want to get him back fully," Carroll said. "… NFI at the start of the year? That's a real possibility. He's not ready to go yet, so we'll see how it goes."
2. Freddie Swain capped off a strong camp with a good day.
Freddie Swain, a sixth-round pick out of Florida, hasn't generated quite as much buzz as some of his fellow rookies, but that doesn't mean he hasn't had a strong camp. Swain capped off his camp with a couple of touchdown passes from Russell Wilson on Thursday, and he was also used as a kick returner in the mock games, something that could help him find a role on the team.
"Man, he had a nice camp," Carroll said. "He had a really nice camp. He missed a couple days in here with a little something something, but all in all he showed he's a really smart football player and his toughness showed up and his well roundedness showed up—he really contributed in special teams too. So he did a nice job, a really nice job."
3. Alton Robinson continues to flash.
Fifth-round draft picks don't always find ways to make an immediate impact in the NFL, especially not in a year without a preseason, but if training camp is any indication, Alton Robinson is going to have a role in the defensive line rotation. Seemingly every day in practice, Robinson has found himself in the backfield wrecking a play, and he did it again Thursday, shooting past an offensive tackle to stop fellow rookie DeeJay Dallas for a loss.
4. Greg Olsen looks like he'll be a big factor in the passing game.
OK, so it might not be a bold statement to suggest that one of the most prolific pass-catching tight ends in NFL history might be involved in the passing game, but even so, some people questioned how much the 35-year-old former Panthers star had left in the tank. And as he showed yet again on Thursday with a touchdown grab over Tre Flowers, who could not have been tighter in coverage, Olsen can still be a matchup nightmare. Throughout camp and in Seattle's mock games, Russell Wilson has looked Olsen's way quite a bit and the two seem to have good chemistry for new teammates, so coming out of camp, all signs point to Olsen being a big factor.
5. Damontre Moore looks quick.
The Seahawks signed Damontre Moore on Thursday and he was on the field that afternoon. And while Moore, who spent time with the Seahawks in 2016, has some catching up to do, he definitely looked the part with his quickness off the line of scrimmage. He didn't always end up in position to make the play—again, he's still catching up—but Moore's burst off the line to push back tackles on a number of plays that showed he might be able to help Seattle's pass rush.
"He really has a chance to help us right now," Carroll said. "Without Darrell Taylor for a little bit longer, we needed another guy in the rotation, and Damontre has always impressed me with his effort and his chase of the football. He's got a great motor, and I've always liked that about him. He's been up and down to his career and been a lot of places and all. He's very serious right now, really settled down—all of the maturity process that you would hope to see in a guy who was wild and crazy and all that. He's really focused right now. He's a dad and taking care of his little one and his family and all that, it seems to have really given him direction and focus that he has admittedly talked about already. So I'm really pleased to get him because he plays so freaking hard. He really gives it up effort wise."
Photos from the 16th practice of Seahawks 2020 Training Camp, held on Thursday, September 3 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Seahawks Training Camp is presented by Safeway.