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Monday Round-Up: NBC Sports' Peter King Visits Seahawks Camp: 'Legion of Boom Returns'

NBC Sports Insider Peter King reports back on his visit to Seattle’s offseason training camp with high praise. 


Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Monday, August 28 — about your Seattle Seahawks. 

NBC's Peter King Reports From Seahawks Camp

Earlier this month, NBC sports writer and longtime league insider Peter King stopped by the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for a look at the 2023 Seahawks. After interviewing quarterback Geno Smith about his offseason journey to improve, King pens his thoughts on the franchise's potential, warning the football world not to “sleep on Seattle.”

After a trip to the 2022 NFC Wild Card and a strong offseason of moves in the draft and free agency, anticipation has been high through the summer for Seattle's 2023 team. Despite injuries hobbling several key rookies like wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba and cornerback Devon Witherspoon along with several veterans, Seattle’s talent on both sides of the ball and depth has Pete Carroll excited about the year ahead prior to waiving seven players on Sunday ahead of Tuesday's deadline to trim the roster to 53 players.

"As we get to this weekend," said Carroll. "You think about it, OK, here comes the change in the roster and all of that. Sixty-nine of these players are going to be with us, and that is a bunch of guys in this locker room right here that are going to stay with us. There will be some changes, there are always some, but the bulk of these guys are going to be with us, and I love that because these guys are connected and they know how we play, what we expect, how we prepare, how we talk about our challenges and all of that. And that's only going to make us better as we go through the start of the season coming up.

"I feel really good where we are right now. We've had a great camp. I would have loved to have gotten that touchdown right there. I would be screaming about, 'You can win the game in the fourth quarter' and all that kind of stuff and having fun with it, but we didn't get that. But all the rest of it we did, and so I am really pleased with all the work that is being done here."

After a day with the team, King went in-depth in praising Seattle's offseason acquisitions, including bringing back longtime captain and linebacker Bobby Wagner after a season with the Los Angeles Rams. King pledges that the return of the beloved Utah State alum will help the league's 30th-ranked run defense in 2022.

The return of Bobby Wagner, who ended his lone year out of the Seattle womb playing well for the Rams, is a bonus. I got a kick out of asking him about the rebirth of the Legion. "When I played against the Seahawks last year," Wagner told me, "they had all these new guys. They're talking trash. I'm telling them, like, 'I had that jersey before you guys were even born. Don't tell me what the Seahawks mean! I created what the Seahawks mean to you guys.'" He feels a fun bond with the newbies.

It's going to be a tough road. Seattle was_in the mid-twenties in points and yards allowed last year.

Speaking of the Legion, Wagner's a wise owl.Love the Seahawk fans. In the lone home preseason game when the defense was introduced before game, Wagner got one of the biggest ovations I've ever heard at an exhibition game. Chilling. This was Aug. 19, at Lumen Field, against Dallas. The ovation lasted a good 15 to 18 seconds. "You dream about moments like that," Wagner told me. "Unforgettable."

Wagner's 33, but he's coming off two straight years—2021 in Seattle, 2022 with the Rams—of impressive performances as the nerve center of_the defense. Though he can see the end of his career, he thinks he has a year or two of defensive quarterbacking left in him. He negotiated his own contracts with the Rams and this year with Seattle GM John Schneider to return. _

"It's about football, but it's about life after football," he said. "Like, I want to be able to negotiate deals that don't have anything to do with football. The energy I get from business people is the knock on athletes is they don't have the experience. So I'm trying to eliminate that stereotype that we don't have that experience that I've been doing it for a while now. That's one thing they can't say about me… It's a great story. It's not finished. I'm excited to get out there and continue to prove that I can play at a high level." Seattle's playoff life this year might depend on Wagner.

In a more-aggressive than usual free-agency period for the franchise, Seattle snagged top talent at several positions to bolster the roster - including safety Julian Love, defensive linemen Dre'Mont Jones and Jarran Reed, and of course, Wagner. With the No.5 overall selection, Seattle selected Illinois corner and 2022 Big Ten Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year Devon Witherspoon. Cornerback Riq Woolen leaped from Day-3 selection to 2022 Pro Bowl selection, while fellow rookie corner Coby Bryant tied for No.1 in forced fumbles league-wide with four. Safety Quandre Diggs made his fourth-consecutive Pro Bowl, while safety Jamal Adams was cleared from the PUP list last week. King breaks down why Seattle's blend of youth, athleticism, size and skill resembles the iconic Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" secondaries of the previous decade.

Legion of Boom redux. So much of this roster construction fascinates me, because GM John Schneider—exactly as he did in building a Super Bowl team a decade ago—concentrated on the back end of the defense, the linebackers and secondary. Seattle didn't have a huge need at safety, but Schneider went out and bought a top-five player on the Giants' defense last season, safety Julian Love; he and Quandre Diggs will form a terrific safety tandem and allow Jamal Adams to roam down in the box to be a playmaker—if he's finally healthy. First-round corner Devon Witherspoon beefs up a rich depth chart there. My favorite player in the back: Coby Bryant, who will play all five positions (both safeties, both outside corners, and nickel) as needed this year, and will play them in a playmaker fashion.

Geno Smith is a lean machine.Smith became a pescatarian last spring. "I haven't had chicken or beef in four or five months now," he told me. "I've been eating really healthy, really clean." It'd be interesting if Smith, one of the great stories of the NFL in 2022, can be better than his re-emergence on the NFL scene last season. With all the hand-wringing aboutRussell Wilson's departure, Smith far outperformed Wilson in Seattle in 2021 and Wilson in Denver in 2022. He threw for 4,282 yards, with 30 TDs and 11 picks, and a rating of 100.9.

He says he intends to be more of a running threat to even out his game in 2023. "I still feel like I don't really do enough of the stuff on the move. Being able to create off-schedule. And then being able to attack a little more in the red zone." Smith had top-10 QB numbers in 2022. The Seahawks should hope he can match those numbers. Smith is determined to improve them.

No. 20-overall selection wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba shined throughout camp and the preseason before wrist surgery forced him to be sidelined. But with the Ohio State alum expected to make a fast recovery to join 2022 1,000-yard wideouts Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, Seattle's receiving corps looks promising. Second-year running back Kenneth Walker III rushed for 1,050 yards as a rookie, and is now joined by bruising UCLA alum Zach Charbonnet in the backfield. King breaks down why the added firepower can help Seattle compete for the NFC crown at the end of the season.

Seattle's so much deeper at the skill positions.WithJaxon Smith-Njigbaand upstart free agentJake Boboset to impact the receiver corps, and a (supposedly) healthyKenneth Walker IIIand rookieZach Charbonnetanchoring the backfield, this is going to be an offensive attack that gives teams problem.DK MetcalfandTyler Lockett(2022 combined: 174 catches, 2081 yards, 15 TDs) have had excellent camps.

I left here _thinking if Seattle can improve to middle-of-the-pack against the run, the NFC West will be a Niners-'Hawks contest into January. _

With the preseason over, the time for speculation around Seattle's 2023 season is over. As the clock ticks until the September 10 home-opener against the Los Angeles Rams, the Seahawks look to heal up in-preparation for a championship push.

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