The Seahawks are into their second week of organized team activities, which means it's starting to feel at least a little bit more like football season even though the opener is still more than three months away. With football activities underway, it's time once again to answer questions from you the fans. Thanks as always to everyone who submitted a question, and apologies if we weren't able to get to yours this time around.
@conradkrueger16 asks, "Will Russell Wilson be seen as a legitimate MVP candidate this season?"
A: I don't see how Wilson isn't a legit MVP candidate in 2016 considering how well he played last year, particularly in the second half of the season. When you consider that eight of the past nine MVPs have been quarterbacks, and that the award almost always goes to a player on a playoff team, Wilson is in a good spot to contend for the award based on the position he plays and also on the talented roster around him. Of course, being a quarterback on a winning team isn't enough on its own to be MVP; that player also has to put up impressive individual statistics, which is something Wilson showed he can do in a big way last season. After Seattle's loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10, Wilson finished the year by throwing 24 touchdowns and one interception in the final seven games of the year, six of which were Seahawks victories, and he finished the season with a league-best 110.1 passer rating. Wilson went five straight games from Week 11 to Week 15 throwing three or more touchdowns without an interception, making him the first quarterback in NFL history to accomplish that feat. So yeah, Wilson is more than capable of putting up big numbers, MVP-caliber numbers even, on a winning team.
And this isn't just the opinion of somebody local who has been covering Wilson and the Seahawks for a long time. The Ringer, Bill Simmons' new media venture, recently put out a podcast with two of its NFL writers, Robert Mays and Kevin Clark, and Mays ranked Wilson fifth, while Clark called Wilson's his No. 1 quarterback. https://soundcloud.com/ringernflshow/ep-4-ringer-nfl-show-top-ten-quarterbacks.
The one thing Wilson will likely have working against him is that in Seattle's offense, he isn't going to throw as frequently as some of the league's top quarterbacks—no matter how good the passing game looked last year, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made it clear he is committed to having a balanced offense—so Wilson might not have the yardage or touchdown totals of some other quarterbacks. But if the Seahawks keep winning, and if Wilson puts up similar numbers to the ones he posted in the second half of last season when it comes to passer rating, touchdowns, yards per attempt, etc., then he could have a real shot at an MVP award.
And speaking of quarterbacks…
@ArthurBL11 asks, "What are the chances the Seahawks go with Trevone Boykin or Jake Heaps as the backup quarterback or re-sign Tarvaris Jackson?"
A: Carroll has sounded pretty excited when talking about Boykin, who signed as a free agent after going undrafted, and while the TCU product has catching up to do as a rookie learning a new offense, the Seahawks like that there are similarities between his game and Wilson's.
"What was so attractive about him is that he's such a versatile quarterback," Carroll said last week. "He can do so many things and he had so many playmaking opportunities at TCU. He showed you he can make the big plays in the pocket, he can make the plays out of the pocket, he can run the football, he can make those crazy things happen sometimes when he's scrambling and moving around. All of that, plus he's got a great arm. He has come out here and kind of shown he has all of that working for him. He hasn't had any problem with the learning. Of course he's behind where Russell is, but that's just natural—I don't see any reason to think he's not going to pick things up. So when we get all the way to the preseason games and he gets a chance to show us what he can do, we'll try to figure it out and see how far along he has come. I do like that he has the makeup that we can keep the offense the same and really emphasize the same run game and perimeter attack we like. That's a positive for him, but we have a long way to go."
That doesn't mean Boykin will be handed the backup job, however. To win the job, he would have to show that he has a firm enough grasp on the offense to make Seattle comfortable going with a rookie in that spot, both in practice and in preseason games. And as Arthur mentions in his question, Jackson is still available as a free agent, and Carroll has said the Seahawks are still open to the idea of re-signing Wilson's backup for the past three seasons—Jackson didn't re-sign with Seattle until June last year—so Jackson or another veteran could be an option in addition to Boykin and Heaps.
@RAYKation asks, "If you had a time machine to bring back one past Seahawks player in his prime to place on this year's team, who would you pick?"
A: First off, if I had a time machine, I don't think this is what I would do with it, but since that's what you asked… I would probably bring back an in-his-prime Steve Largent. I don't pick Largent because of need—the Seahawks are pretty darn deep at receiver right now—but rather because I'd love to see how his game would translate to today's NFL. Even in the 1970s, Largent was thought to be too small and too slow to succeed in the NFL, but instead he put together a Hall of Fame career that saw him set just about every receiving record in the books by the time he retired. If an in-his-prime Largent were to show up anonymously in an NFL camp right now, people would no doubt make those same assumptions about his size and speed, but I have a hunch that the great hands, route-running and other aspects of his game that stood out so many years ago would translate to today's game pretty well.
@joergfabian and @me__ both ask if there is an update on the status of tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Thomas Rawls.
A: Carroll gave an update on both players last week, noting that both are jogging and "making really good progress." There is no definitive timeline for either player, but Carroll expressed optimism that both Rawls (ankle) and Graham (knee) can make it back for the start of the season.
@KBottom2 asks, "What will the Seahawks' biggest adversity be this season?"
A: Obviously the Seahawks, like any team, would prefer to just avoid adversity and win every game, but that's not going to happen. Whether it's injuries, chemistry issues, a tough stretch of games or something else, nearly every team will face a rough patch during an NFL season, and what often defines the best teams is how they respond to those tough times. As Carroll discussed late last season, it took a while for the Seahawks to find their chemistry, but when they did, they finished the season winning six of their last seven regular season games.
The Seahawks hope to avoid any similar issues this year, but even if the chemistry is perfect from the start of the season, that won't by itself lead to on-field success. The Seahawks will have an overhauled offensive line this season, and while coaches are excited about the talent they have to work with, it can take the line time to come together, as was evident last year. For Seattle's offense to pick up where it left off last season, the line will need to hit its stride faster this year, something Carroll has pointed to as a goal several times this offseason.
@FinalUniqueName asks, "Which Seahawk would win ABC's Wipeout? American Ninja Warrior?"
A: Well, considering that Jon Ryan was actually on “American Ninja Warrior,” that's a good pick, right?
Otherwise, Earl Thomas would be a good pick just based on speed and athleticism. Or how about DeShawn Shead, who competed in decathlon as a track and field athlete in college?
@The_Sandman25 asks, "How many running backs do you think Seattle has on the 53-man roster?"
A: With the Seahawks drafting three running backs, that should be one of the most competitive position groups on the roster, making this a tough question to answer. The Seahawks carried five running backs/fullbacks for much of last season, a number I could see them going with again this year, though perhaps with four running backs and one fullback instead of three running backs and two fullbacks, which was the case last year. And as always, final roster spots at any position group can come down to special teams play, so a running back on the bubble might be battling with a receiver or defensive back as much as he is another running back.
@CharlieWilson asks, "Will Cassius Marsh or Frank Clark get some reps at strongside linebacker?"
A: Carroll has mentioned Marsh as a possibility at strongside linebacker, where the Seahawks have an opening following Bruce Irvin's departure in free agency. Like Irvin, Marsh began his career as a defensive end, but has the athletic ability to do some of the things asked of a linebacker such as dropping into coverage. It appears Clark will stay at defensive end, and last year's second-round pick has a chance to take on a bigger role as a pass-rusher this season.
@Lougheed_E asks, "What is going to be similar and different between Brandon Browner's possible new role now compared to what he did with the Patriots?"
A: It's too soon to know exactly how the Seahawks will use Browner in his new hybrid role, but both Carroll and Browner have mentioned that it could look similar to what he did in New England two seasons ago.
"I had the chance to see him play in positions like he's being asked to play now when he was in New England, and we saw some really good things we thought we could mix into our stuff, and he's very much looked the part," Carroll said. "But I really think it's about him, we like the guy so much."
That will likely mean spending some time lining up on opposing tight ends and bigger receivers, something Browner did with the Patriots.
"I love it," Browner said of his role in Seattle's defense. "It's kind of similar to some of the things I did in New England. I'll be matched up on guys that fit my size, be in there on the run a little bit. It'll show my skillset a little bit."
"That's what I did in New England. Matched up against guys I see eye-to-eye with—tight ends, 6-6 guys, 240-plus."
@ArrDJay asks, "What beer will you be drinking to celebrate 103 days until the Seahawks' first regular-season game?"
A: Wait, is that a thing we celebrate with beer now? Works for me. Well if I am having a beer today, it'll probably be something local and hoppy. Maybe a Wonderland Trail IPA from Two Beers, or a Mosaic Pale Ale from Seapine. Or one of several IPAs made by Georgetown Brewing would be good, or maybe one of the Schooner Exact IPAs I picked up at the brewery yesterday, or a Bale Breaker Top Cutter IPA, or Flying Lion's Another IPA, or… Darn it, now I'm thirsty.
Photos from the fourth of nine Organized Team Activities (OTAs) that the Seahawks held at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Tuesday, May 31.