The Seahawks are more than a week into training camp and their preseason opener at Los Angeles against the Chargers kicks off Sunday, so with players off Tuesday, now is a good time to answer questions from you, the fans, on what we've seen so far in camp and what lies ahead. As always, thanks to everyone who took the time to ask questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around.
@Mswhitwell asks, "How many running backs will we have at the start of the regular season?"
A:In the past the Seahawks have usually had either three or four running backs, plus one fullback on the roster. Given the depth there, I'd lean towards the Seahawks keeping four this year, particularly if that fourth back is someone who can contribute on special teams, but it's still way too early to tell. Obviously Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise seem like the safest bets as of now, but nothing is written in stone just yet, and several other players have been impressive already in camp, including second-year back Alex Collins, free-agent addition Mike Davis and seventh-round pick Chris Carson.
@ThatsMrDavis asks, "Will we see much of the starters this Sunday?"
A: The short answer is, no, we almost certainly will not. The long answer, however, is that it depends on which starters and/or who ends up winning starting jobs at certain positions. In last year's season opener, Russell Wilson played just one series, but a young line that was still being sorted out played into the second quarter. So I wouldn't expect to see players like Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Jimmy Graham or most of Seattle's veteran starters on defense play late into the game, but that doesn't mean potential starters at positions up for grabs—strongside linebacker and right corner, to name a couple—might not play longer. And as was the case last year, the Seahawks could decide to leave the offensive line out there a bit longer to give that unit more time to come together.
@HolliWinters asks, "When will we see Tyler Lockett in a preseason game?"
A: It's very good news that Tyler Lockett, whose 2016 season ended with a broken leg in Week 16, is back on the practice field so soon after a serious injury, but I'd doubt the Seahawks are in a huge rush to get him back out for preseason action. Lockett has been limited in his first couple of days out, so even though he said he could play in a game right now, it would be pretty surprising to see Lockett on the field this weekend. If Lockett is ready for game action later in the preseason, a tune-up wouldn't hurt, but the Seahawks won't rush him back.
@scohenPI, who used to be on the Seahawk beat for the Seattle PI before moving on to "real" news, but who was at Monday's practice, asks, "Who is your favorite former Seahawks beat reporter who stopped by the VMAC yesterday?"
A:Definitely Dave Boling, who just retired from a long career with the News Tribune, but was there Monday. Oh, were you looking for a different answer, Stephen? OK, how about John Clayton, another TNT alum? Can't really think of anyone else off the top of my head.
@LEGIONofBOOM, @JJHARRISON1 and @ryandcal all asked about rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin and his chances of winning a starting job.
A:First off, just a heads up to two of you, your caps lock is on… As for the questions on Griffin, the third-round pick is off to a good start in camp, and has impressed his coaches and teammates both with his physical ability and his willingness/ability to learn. Now does that good start mean he'll be starting Week 1? Not necessarily. Jeremy Lane has also been impressing his coaches in camp thus far, and before being sidelined with an injury Carroll described as a minor "soft tissue thing," he was the starter at right cornerback. Neiko Thorpe is another name to watch, and it was Thorpe, not Griffin, coming in as the third corner in nickel earlier in camp. With Lane out, however, Griffin has been the starter, so he's right there in the mix. And as much nickel as the Seahawks play, it's worth remembering that there are essentially three "starters" at corner, so even if Lane starts in the base defense, Griffin or Thorpe or some other corner will still see significant playing time.
@Shaunblahblah asks, "Favorite in-state, long weekend vacation location?"
A:Ooh, this is a good one, and there are so many options depending on the time of year and what you like to do. One of the best things about this state is the variety of geography you can get to in a few hours or less.
My wife and I got married in Walla Walla, so that definitely makes my list, particularly if you like wine. If it's winter and the snow is good, I'd take a long weekend at Crystal Mountain over just about anything. Washington's coast isn't Hawaii or California when it comes to weather, but there are a lot of great, uncrowded beaches and funky towns to visit. Lake Chelan has a lot of fun options ranging from biking to golf to wineries to, well, a big lake and all that comes with that. It has been way too long since I've been there, the San Juan Islands are great as well.
@AEricksonFan asks, "What's the battle like at wide receiver?"
A:Receiver is a very tough position group to call both in terms of who ends up getting on the field and also who makes the roster. It's pretty safe to assume that Doug Baldwin is the No. 1 receiver, but beyond that, nothing is certain. It wouldn't be a surprise at all if Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson or Tyler Lockett was the starter along with Baldwin in two-receiver sets, though as much as the Seahawks use three receivers, there's plenty of playing time to go around for all four of those players. Beyond that, presuming the Seahawks keep five or six receivers, it's going to be tough on coaches to sort things out. As Carroll detailed Monday, there's a lot of diversity in the types of receivers the Seahawks have, and a lot of players, ranging from third-round pick Amara Darboh to Tanner McEvoy to Kasen Williams to J.D. McKissic, to name a few, who could fill those final couple of spots.
@TruthisTold2U asks, "Do any offensive linemen look much improved?"
A:The Seahawks are counting on their line to get better in 2017 in part because of pieces they added in the offseason to compete for jobs, such as free agents Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi, and rookie Ethan Pocic, but more than anything, they're banking on growth from the young players coming back from last year's team, including three 2016 rookies, George Fant, Germain Ifedi and Rees Odhiambo.
Coaches have liked the growth they have seen from all three, and in particular from George Fant, a former college basketball standout who was basically new to football last year. And it's not just rookies who are showing signs of improvement. Mark Glowinski only has one year of starting experience under his belt, and he's moving back to right guard, his more natural position, and as well as Justin Britt played last year, it's worth remembering that it was his first year at center, so there's still room for growth for him as well.
For more on that group, here's what offensive line coach Tom Cable said about the line over the weekend.
And finally, @eigenseide, @Tumbarello16 and @NibblesDBun all want to know what kind of sunglasses Pete Carroll had on during Monday's practice.
A:Somehow we've gone two years doing these Q&As without a single Pete Carroll's-sunglasses question, and then there were three in one day? That's either a really boring conspiracy organized by you guys to assure a particular question gets answered, or more likely, a sign that Carroll's sunglasses game was on point Monday. And to answer the question, they're Maui Jim sunglasses.
Photos from the seventh day of 2017 Seahawks training camp practice at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.