Thursday's crowd at 2018 Seahawks training camp, presented by Safeway consisted entirely of season ticket holders, concluding the team's slate of open workouts at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Thursday's practice, also known as the day before the day before, was the last held before fans, and on this overcast morning the day was dedicated to season ticket holders. In all, more than 32,000 fans attended Seahawks training camp practices over the past three weeks.
Here are six observations from the final open practice of camp:
1. Paying "Respect" to the Queen of Soul.
On the day music icon Aretha Franklin passed away, Seahawks players were listening to her music in the locker room before practice, quarterback Russell Wilson said. Once on the field, Franklin's hit song Respect played during warmups, with head coach Pete Carroll getting into the song while his players stretched.
"That's one of the concerts that I never got to go see live in person, but I know Aretha Franklin meant a lot to Ciara, meant a lot to me," Wilson said. "I remember growing up to Aretha, my whole family dancing and singing to it… I think that at the end of the day, what are people's legacies? What do you want your legacy to be? Whether if you're a quarterback, whether if you're a singer, whether if you're a teacher, no matter what we do. I think that we have to think about that more, and she lived a legacy of inspiring women, of inspiring people. She was a woman of culture, a woman that was able to really change the circumstance of music, and so to think about that and what she's done and the legacy – legends never die, as you know. She's one of those people. I know that she'll be up in Heaven smiling down and singing her tail off."
Franklin did have one small connection with the Seahawks, having performed the national anthem before Super Bowl XL:
2. The running back depth is evident.
While the Seahawks are currently playing without first-round pick Rashaad Penny, Thursday's practice provided a good reminder that they're still in pretty good shape at running back while the rookie recovers from surgery on a broken finger.
Chris Carson continues to look good, or as safety Bradley McDougald put it, he "looks like a monster." C.J. Prosise was a full-go after missing a couple days with a hip flexor injury, and was heavily involved on this day both as a runner and a pass-catcher. Mike Davis was back from a one-day absence as well, and J.D. McKissic enjoyed another strong practice, particularly catching the ball—he had an impressive leaping grab in traffic, as well as a long catch and run down the sideline on a wheel route.
"The depth of the running back position is huge," Wilson said. "You think about, obviously, we're missing Penny right now but you think about guys like Mike Davis who can make a lot of plays. You think about obviously C.J. Prosise who got back in there today officially. Really, really playing today, and then obviously J.D. McKissic too. He had a great day today too. It's exciting. It's exciting to see all the guys make plays, make the right cuts in the run game, to make the right blocks in the pass protection game, to be really, really smart players, to be pushing each other competitively in a good way, and then ultimately we love playmakers and those guys can make all the plays that you can imagine."
3. Brandon Marshall "had a great day today."
With each passing day, Brandon Marshall looks more and more like a player capable of doing big things for the Seahawks offense, and that was again true on Thursday. Early in practice during a red-zone drill, Marshall hauled in an impressive one-handed grab on a back-shoulder throw, using his other arm to box out cornerback Dontae Johnson. Johnson wanted a flag for offensive pass interference, but didn't get it. And to Johnson's credit, he defended Marshall well on a similar play later in practice to cause in incomplete pass.
And it wasn't just Marshall using his size to win in the red zone, he made a number of plays all over the field, showing he still has good speed at 34-years-old, and the kind of precise route-running you'd expect from a veteran with six Pro Bowls on his résumé.
"He had a great day today, Brandon did," Wilson said. "I mean, he looked exceptional today… He's played a lot of football and he knows how to get prepared. He knows how to play at the highest level. He looked really, really good today and made a lot of great catches. Caught the ball in the end zone, made some great catches in the field today. It's showing up. He's working his tail off."
4. Tedric Thompson comes downhill fast.
Since settling in with the No. 1 defense at free safety, Tedric Thompson has been getting more and more comfortable in that spot every day. And as Thompson gets more comfortable within that role, it allows him to play fast, something that shows up in a number of ways, not the least of which is his ability to go from a deep center field position towards the line of scrimmage in a hurry to make a play. On Thursday Thompson nearly intercepted a short pass and broke the ball up after starting the play from a deep middle assignment, and throughout camp he has looked fast and decisive in run support from that position as well.
"He's growing," safety Bradley McDougald said. "I just see growth continuously. Growing, not making the same mistake twice. He had a great play coming from the middle of the field today, breaking up a pass. Just gaining confidence, I think that's what the first game did, and he'll gain even more as he'll continue to go through these preseason games and onto Week 1."
And speaking of safeties…
5. Lorenzo Jerome has "made a bunch of good plays."
A day earlier, Lorenzo Jerome made a leaping interception in the middle of the field, one of a handful of nice plays the second-year safety has made since joining the team earlier in camp. On Thursday, he was at it again, jumping a route to break up a pass that he nearly intercepted.
"He's been a really bright player out here," Carroll said. "He has been physical, he's understood the system, he's got a really cool attitude about toughness and positioned himself to make a lot of plays. He's made a bunch of good plays for us. I didn't know much about him until he showed up and Johnny (Schneider) thought he had something in him and, shoot he's done a nice job for us. We're learning as we go here but he's going to play a lot and we're going to see how he fits in. Special teams has been a strength of his too in the first couple of weeks."
6. Nice hands, detective.
One of the biggest cheers of the day came on what technically was an incomplete pass. After recovering his own fumble and scrambling away from pressure, Wilson threw the ball away well out of bounds, but before the ball hit the ground, Steven Azevedo, a detective for the King County Sheriff's Office, went to his knees to make a pretty impressive catch just before the ball hit the ground, a grab that caused a few nearby defensive backs to run over and celebrate. Oddly enough, this wasn't the first impressive sideline catch for Azevedo, one of several members of the Sheriff's Office who provides security at training camp.
Practice photos from Day 14 of 2018 Seahawks training camp, presented by Safeway, the team's final summer workout open to 12s at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.