Quandre Diggs took pride in being back on the field for Seattle's season opener, an accomplishment that allowed him to start every game for each of the past three seasons despite suffering a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula in the 2021 season finale, an injury that required surgery and a grueling rehabilitation process.
But while Diggs was able to make it back for last season's opener and play in every game, the Seahawks' Pro-Bowl safety wasn't at his best early last season. He wouldn't use his leg injury as an excuse at the time, but in retrospect it's easy for Diggs, and for those around him, to see that he was a better player—the player he was before the injury—late in the season compared to the first half of the year.
Diggs didn't play poorly early in the 2022 season, but he also wasn't quite his usual playmaking self, which showed in the fact that all four of his interceptions came in the final seven games of the season, including an overtime interception in Week 18 that helped send Seattle to the playoffs, as did six of his seven passes defensed. That strong finish allowed him to earn Pro-Bowl honors for a third straight season while also becoming the only player in the NFL to record three or more interceptions in each of the past six seasons.
So in many ways Diggs' 2022 season was a success, but he also came out of that year knowing he can be even better in 2023. After the first day of Seattle's three-day minicamp, Diggs said he wasn't really himself last season until, "middle to the end of the season. You always want to feel like yourself. But it definitely was middle to the end of the season where I honestly felt like I can go out and make the plays that I need to make, and I could just trust that ankle that I can put it in the ground and I can just go and explode."
Earlier in the season, Diggs was playing with some physical limitations.
"As a post-safety you need your breaks, be able to trust your ankle, trust your feet," he said. "And I don't think I was at that point. As much as I worked—I literally had a month offseason to get ready for a full season—it was kind of rushed. So I didn't get to do the drills and things I normally do in offseason."
This year in organized team activities and now minicamp, the difference is noticeable.
"Quandre looks incredible," defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt said during OTAs. "We could tell last training camp and even in earlier parts of the season, he was still recovering. He wasn't quite himself. You saw his play obviously, he got a lot more comfortable, he played better in the second half of the year. I think it's given credit to the fact that he had to come off of a major surgery late in the year from the previous year. Watching him run around now, he looks like Quandre as we know him."
In addition to feeling better, physically, Diggs is also enjoying this offseason because Bobby Wagner is once again his teammate, providing a veteran presence in the middle of the defense.
"It's awesome," Diggs said. "I mean, I know the young guys probably was tired of us talking him up last year about, you know, just who he is as a person, having him in the locker room, being able to lean and kind of depend on him. And I still ask him hella questions, you know. I mean, so for me, I was talking to him all the time. And for me it's been big having him back, even if I'm not here, I'm still talking to him, still texting. It's been dope. It's been dope for sure. I'm excited to have him back."
With Wagner standing in the background watching the press conference, Diggs took a playful shot at his friend, adding, "Hopefully as an old man he can still make some plays out there."
With minicamp underway, this week also saw safety Jamal Adams and linebacker Jordyn Brooks return to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Both players have stayed home in Texas rehabbing injuries during the voluntary portion of offseason workouts, but having them back, even as spectators, was a welcome sight for Diggs and his teammates.
"This week is dope because now everybody's here, you know what I mean?" Diggs said. "And everybody's running their own race. I know Mal and J.B. are going through with injuries and rehab and stuff like that. I talk to those guys, and having Mal back, it's been awesome. You guys know our relationship. You know it's different when 33 is out there. Just the energy, a contagious thing that he brings. And it's one of those things that I can't wait (until) he's back out there playing, it's going to be fun. I know he has big goals, which he should. And I'm excited to line up next to him and go back to work."
The Seattle Seahawks opened up minicamp with new and familiar faces on June 6, 2023 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.