The Seahawks will finally be on the field Wednesday for their first practice of training camp, a big step in getting ready for the 2020 season. Before practice begins, it's time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around.
@DekaylinSzn asks, "How big of an impact do you expect Jordyn Brooks to make in Year 1?"
A: We obviously don't know yet where Brooks will play or whether or not he'll be a starter, but I have a hunch he's going to be on the field a lot in 2020 one way or another, and given his track record in college—he had 108 tackles and 20 tackles for loss in 12 games last season—he should be able to make a pretty big impact right away. A stated offseason goal for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider was to get faster on defense, and Brooks definitely adds an element of speed at linebacker, so again, we don't yet know where he'll play, but I'd expect Brooks will get plenty of chances to make plays in 2020.
Carroll said Brooks will start out camp playing weakside (Will) linebacker, but has the flexibility to play the strongside (Sam) position as well. K.J. Wright has been the starting weakside linebacker for most of his career, but started out playing middle and strongside linebacker, so there's definitely a way to get both of them on the field with Bobby Wagner.
Here's what Carroll said when asked about that topic earlier this week: "I think the spot that makes sense to us at this point—(Brooks) could play all three spots at linebacker, he's physically capable and I've seen enough film of him, there's a lot of film of him playing all different spots. Any college guy that came to us, you would love to see what we've seen in him. He started four years and he's had thousands of snaps, so the flexibility is there. The most obvious path would be the Will 'backer spot, we'll see how that goes. We'll start him there and see how fast he can grasp it and become comfortable. We have tremendous flexibility and our guys have been here for a long time in our program. With Bruce coming back and K.J. and Bobby, that's a fantastic group of guys. We've got a lot of options and planning here to weigh out, and we've got to see how it goes. That's why this goes back to competition, we'll see how it all plays itself out. K.J. has been a fantastic player, he might have had his best year for us last year, Bobby's at the top of his game, and we're thrilled to have Bruce back, but that doesn't mean that all those guys don't play at the same time, all four of those guys on the field at the same time. There's options for how we can do that that we've worked out, the competition will settle it. I'm not concerned about it at all, the competition will tell us what we need to do here, because the options are all there for us."
@NibblesDBun asks, "Will they figure out how to use Shaquem Griffin this season?"
A: It appeared as if the Seahawks started to figure out how they want to use Shaquem Griffin late last season when he started working into the defensive line rotation as a situation pass-rusher. Griffin didn't record a sack in the regular season—he did have a big late-game sack to end a Packers drive in the playoffs—but he did cause pressure on a number of notable plays, including Quandre Diggs' pick-six against the Rams. It appears the Seahawks like Griffin in that role and it's one he is comfortable in, having been a very productive pass-rusher in college, the question now is whether or not he can expand upon that role in 2020. Given the Seahawks' struggles to get to the quarterback last year, there's no reason for them not to give Griffin every chance to earn playing time in camp.
Asked about Griffin as a pass-rusher at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this offseason, Carroll said, "It was worthwhile doing. He did show us some stuff. He showed us his speed and he's got the motor that you like to see in pass rushers, particularly on the edge. It's a challenge for him – he rushed most of the year about 213 (pounds) – not many guys doing that, so he had to be speed oriented, which he was. He helped us, but we need more help and we need to better than that and he'll need to add to that too. He'll get another chance to be right in there again, we'll see how that develops."
@ScoobyG3 asks, "If nickel doesn't work out for Marquise Blair, what role do you think he'll have on defense?"
A: Obviously he's going to have to earn it in camp, but I get the sense hearing Carroll rave about Blair that the Seahawks will find a way to get the second-year safety on the field one way or another, regardless of whether or not he's the primary nickel defensive back. Look back to 2017 when Justin Coleman was the nickel for most of the season; the Seahawks still found ways to get Bradley McDougald on the field with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas in certain matchup situations. I could definitely see a scenario where someone like Ugo Amadi is the nickel for certain matchups, while Blair could play that role in other games. There will also be situations where both of those players can be on the field at the same time in dime packages. And with injuries being an unfortunate reality of the NFL, it's always important to have good depth, because there's a very real shot Seattle will need another safety to start games this year beyond just Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs.
@piratesunshine asks, "With no preseason game, will season ticket holders be refunded?"
A: Season ticket holders will be either refunded for preseason tickets or receive a credit towards 2021 season ticket renewal, based on the preference you submitted for the 2020 season. For more details or questions on your account please contact your Account Rep or email CustomerService@Seahawks.com.
Michael Moore from Puyallup asks, "Are and Seahawks opting out due to COVID-19?"
A: The deadline for COVID-19 opt outs has passed, and one Seahawks player, guard Chance Warmack, did opt out. Seahawks general manager John Schneider noted on the Peter King Podcast last month that the Seahawks would be supportive of Warmack or any other player who decided to opt out.
"Chance had a situation that was very personal that we totally respect," general manager John Schneider said last month on the Peter King podcast. "… We won't hold any animosity towards anybody who wants to opt out. We'll respect their opinions, and we'll be ready in terms of having an emergency list of players ready to keep competing every week."
@wenfot asks, "What do you realistically think the chances are of the NFL having a full regular season?"
A: There's just no way for me to accurately speculate on that other than to say that the Seahawks and other NFL teams are doing everything they can to make a 2020 season happen. The early testing results for Seattle and other teams have been encouraging, so now it's up to everyone staying disciplined, and yes, up to the ongoing pandemic, which unfortunately is still calling the shots in a lot of ways, to determine whether or not things go smoothly over the next few months.
Jerry Steele from Chelan says he's a Seahawks fan from the beginning and adds, "All lives matter to me, and if any player kneels during the national anthem or stays in the locker room as it is played, I will not watch again."
A: I'll say this to your statement and plenty of others that I've seen along these lines—If all lives matter to you, then presumably that means Black lives matter to you as well, yes? And if Black lives matter to you, then you should be able to empathize with the fact that Black people have faced oppression and systemic racism in this country from the earliest days of slavery to the present day. That's not an opinion or political statement, it's a fact that is backed up by even a basic understanding of U.S. history, and how that history continues to affect what is happening in the country today. As a result, football players, the majority of whom are Black, are speaking out and asking for their country to do a better job living up to the ideals it claims to stand for. Some players may choose to do that by peacefully protesting during the anthem, and if they do, they are doing so not because they are anti-America or against the military, but because they want to bring attention to the fact that, throughout the history of this country, Black people have been treated as if their lives don't matter equally. And if a man using his platform to strive for equal rights in the form of a peaceful protest is enough to make you abandon more than three decades of fandom, then I'd question if all lives really do matter to you.