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Seahawks Players 'Excited To See Where We Can Go' With New Defense

News and notes from OTA session No. 5 of the Seahawks’ offseason workout program.


Organized team activities continued for the Seahawks on Thursday, which for head coach Mike Macdonald, represented another positive step in the growth of his team.

"It was a great day out there. A lot of good football, a lot of good situation stuff," Macdonald said. "We got better today, so I'm pretty stoked."

As Macdonald detailed last week, the goal for the team isn't to have its entire offense or defense installed at this point, or to be ready for game action during a voluntary workout in late May. Instead, the focus now is on just taking positive steps each day as a new coaching staff builds out its offense and defense.

"I think you can just feel it coming out of the huddle," Macdonald said when asked where he's seeing that improvement. "You can hear the defense being ahead of plays more, anticipating things. There's things we're always going to chase, especially with the young guys, but when you start to see how it all comes together on both sides of the ball and guys understand how it fits, I think you can feel that just by the speed of how we're practicing.

"We keep pushing the envelope, having progress every day, taking the next step, that's the challenge. We don't have to be ready to play tomorrow, but we do have to take the next step every time we get out here. That's the focus, that's what it's been and that's what it will be."

Players have embraced the challenge that comes with installing new schemes in the offseason, and while offensive players like quarterback Sam Howell and tight end Pharaoh Brown raved about Ryan Grubb’s offense, on the defensive side of the ball, veteran defensive lineman Jarran Reed praised what he has seen so far out of Macdonald's defense.

"I love it, I think it's a great change for us," Reed said. "We got a lot of guys that can play a lot of different positions. I'm excited to see where we can go with this. We got to get everybody back, everybody gelling together but I'm excited to see where this defensive line can go."

On a few occasions, Macdonald has talked about versatility when it comes to defense, and that should definitely be a strength of a defensive line that features players who can play multiple spots like Reed, Leonard Williams and Dre'Mont Jones.

"They can use a lot of my talents a little bit more, move me around a little bit more," Reed said. "I think we've got multiple guys that can do that. Not just us being stationary, moving us around a little bit, creating some mismatches for everybody else along the line.

"I think that will benefit us a lot. Guys won't know where we're going to be at as much, so we can create some confusion along the offensive line. It shows everybody's versatility and that's the main thing. Zero, three to four to five, believe it or not it's all the same thing. A little different body types and speed, but we can work around that."

And it isn't just Seattle's new head coach who has impressed Reed when it comes to the defense. Defensive coordinator Aden Durde, who has a defensive line background, most recently serving as the defensive line coach in Dallas, has been very hands-on with the line, something that isn't always the norm for a coordinator.

"That's my dog," Reed said. "Those are the kind of coaches that I like. Coaches that get out there, it's not like barking, just coaching hard. They show that they got spirit for it. You can tell he wants to be out there, he wants to coach hard. He wants us to do well, and he coaches us hard, and I like that. A.D. is a great guy, he's passionate about it and we're passionate players when we play the game."

Linebacker depth tested early on.

While there is plenty of time between now and the start of training camp, one challenge for Macdonald and company when it comes to installing the defense is that they are doing so without two of their top linebackers on the field in Jerome Baker and Tyrel Dodson. Dodson has been limited in his work, while Baker is rehabbing a couple different injuries, meaning bigger roles for the likes of Jon Rhattigan, Patrick O'Connell and rookie Tyrice Knight.

"It's tough because some of the guys aren't out there," Macdonald said when asked to assess that spot. "It's something we're chasing right now. We're seeing how it fits, where guys feel more comfortable inside or outside, that sort of thing. So it's probably early to give you a full report on that."

On Baker, who had wrist surgery in January, Macdonald said, "He's working through some things right now. We probably won't see him until training camp. He's going to be fine, but right now we won't see him out in OTAs"

In addition to the wrist, Macdonald said Baker has "lower body stuff he's working through."

Asked if he was concerned about Baker not being able to take part in offseason workouts, Macdonald added, "I wouldn't call it a concern, but any time someone isn't getting all the reps, you've got to figure out different ways to get them the reps, so it's mental stuff, it's walkthroughs, we're trying to be creative in the building to make sure he gets all the things he needs to see. He'll be up to speed, he'll be ready to roll."

As for Knight, a fourth-round pick in this year's draft, Macdonald said, "He's coming along. The mentality is there. The game's fast for him right now, but it's a process. It's his fifth practice with the big boys, and like all the rookies, they have a lot to learn, but he's made some plays, he's seeing some things right now, so there's a foundation there that we're excited about. He's a rookie right now, so he's got to pick it up just like the rest of them."

The Seahawks participated in their fifth OTA practice of the offseason on Thursday, May 30, 2024 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Check out the 12 best photos from their practice.

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