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Seahawks Mailbag: Who Returns Kicks, Nickel Competition, Mobile Tickets & More

The Seahawks open up preseason play Thursday night at CenturyLink Field, a game that head coach Pete Carroll said will be something of a youth showcase. But before the Seahawks kick off preseason play, it’s time once again to answer questions from you, the fans. And a reminder if you missed it last week, in addition to asking questions on Twitter, you can now submit questions via this online form, and you can also subscribe on that same page to have the weekly mailbag sent to you via email. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I wasn’t able to get to yours this time around.

Before we get to the football stuff, I wanted to get to a question I saw a bunch over the past week…

Several of you asked questions about the switch to digital tickets and why paper tickets are no longer an option.

I reached out to our Ticket Office—if you want more information, you can always email them at CustomerService@Seahawks.com or by calling 888-NFL-HAWK—and here are some of the reasons behind the change. A digital or mobile ticket is the safest, most convenient and flexible way to receive and manage tickets while increasing protection against fraud. It’s our effort to make your CenturyLink Field experience the very best. Digital tickets provide:

  • Quick and easy entry to CenturyLink Field using your mobile phone or smart device.
  • Instant access to all your season tickets through the Official Seahawks Mobile App or on Seahawks.com.
  • The ability to manage, send or sell your tickets at any time.
  • Reduced risk of lost, stolen, counterfeit or forgotten tickets.
  • An easy way to go green by printing less paper.

Need assistance accessing your tickets? Check out our Mobile Ticket Guide at Seahawks.com for more information and tutorials.

@CSheltonChron asks, “Is Tyler Lockett likely to return kicks/punts again this year?”

A: That’s a great question, and one we might not know the answer to until the Seahawks take the field in their regular-season opener. If it’s up to Lockett, or to special teams coordinator Brian Schneider for that matter, then yes, the All-Pro returner will still be involved in the return game. But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has made no secret of the fact that they are considering other options there in order to take some work off Lockett’s plate now that he has become the team’s top receiver.

If someone like David Moore or J.D. McKissic or Keenan Reynolds or Ugo Amadi can prove himself in the preseason, then it’s entirely possible that Carroll could decide to take one or both return jobs away from Lockett, but the Seahawks value special teams in a big way, so they won’t throw someone back there who isn’t capable of protecting the ball and of making plays.

Jacob Ponder from Santaquin, Utah asks, “Any word on Russell Wilson’s backup quarterback?” @RainyCityGamer also asked about the backup battle and how preseason reps will be divided between Geno Smith and Paxton Lynch.

A: Both Smith and Lynch have had some good days in camp thus far, but it’s far too soon to say one has taken a big lead in the race—though the fact that Smith is starting Thursday would seem to indicate that he’s at least a little ahead as of now.

Carroll said earlier in camp that they plan to use all four preseason games and all of training camp to make a decision, and that they’ll try to keep track of reps so as to give both players an even shot—similar to what they did in 2012 when they had a three-way competition for the starting job—so look for Smith and Lynch to get pretty even work over the next few weeks. The competition between those two is part of why Carroll said Wilson won’t play in Thursday’s preseason opener.

“We’ve got a big competition at the quarterback position in particular,” Carroll said. “We want these guys to play as much as they can and play their way into their spots. I don’t want these to be decisions we have to make without a lot of great information, so that’s what’s most important right now.”

Mike Diamond from Minneapolis asks, “Thoughts on receiver Jazz Ferguson?”

A: Ferguson, an undrafted rookie out of Northwestern State—he began his college career at LSU—stands out first and foremost because of his size. But over the past few days, the 6-foot-5, 228-pound receiver has also been a standout because of his playmaking ability, including this past Saturday’s mock game when he had two touchdowns to lead a green team comeback, including the game-winner on the final play of the scrimmage.

“He had a couple great plays,” Carroll said Monday. “He has done well, he’s done really well. He’s the biggest guy we have out here. He’s been a factor as a big guy at will, he had a couple grabs again today, he’s battling, part of the competition.”

All of that being said, Ferguson is going to have a tough battle to make the 53-man roster; the Seahawks are deep at receiver and it’s hard to see a scenario in which Lockett, Moore, Jaron Brown and DK Metcalf aren’t on the team, which means everyone else is likely competing for just one or two roster spots.

@VillageJester asks, “Toilet roll over or under?”

A: Over, definitely over.

@djentle_jake asks, “What newcomers or second-year players do expect to really make a mark this year? My money is on Tre Flowers?”

A: Given what he did as a rookie, Flowers is a good choice when it comes to second year guys, especially considering that it was his first year at cornerback having played safety in college. Two other second-year players I think will make big jumps this year are running back Rashaad Penny and defensive tackle Poona Ford. The Seahawks are also counting on second-year ends Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin to be a big part of their defensive line rotation.

As for rookies, DK Metcalf and L.J. Collier are the two most obvious choices, but Flowers’ emergence as a fifth-round pick turned Week 1 starter is a good reminder that we don’t always know in early August who is going to do the most in the regular season.

@PandaHombre asks, “Who’s looking like our starting nickel CB?”

A: So far Akeem King has gotten the most work with the No. 1 defense in that role, but that’s a good competition to watch throughout the preseason. Kalan Reed has also seen a lot of playing time in the nickel spot during camp, and rookie safety Ugo Amadi is also getting looks there, and Carroll said the rookie will get a lot of playing time there in Thursday’s preseason game. And it also wouldn’t shock me if the Seahawks never settle on one defensive back for this role. King and Amadi, for example, are very different players from a physical standpoint, so it’s possible that depending on matchups from week to week, the Seahawks use a different player as the nickel back, perhaps using a smaller player like Amadi or Reed or Jamar Taylor to cover smaller, shifty slot receivers, while favoring a player like King to match up with bigger slot receivers or teams that use a lot of multiple tight-end sets. 

@Team_Nordin asks, “How good of a boy is Turf?”

A: Very. Turf is a very good boy.

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