With a week of training camp under their belts, the Seahawks held a mock game that featured plenty of highlights, but was also a bit "raggedy" at times, according to head coach Pete Carroll. When all was said and done, the Russell Wilson-led first-team offense put up 20 points against the backup defense, while the backup offense, led alternately by Trevone Boykin and Jake Heaps, scored 10 points on the starting defense.
Unofficially, Wilson completed 17 of 26 passes on seven possessions, with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett. Boykin was 4 for 8 with a long touchdown pass to running back Alex Collins, while Heaps was also 4 for 8, with both backup candidates on the field for three possessions each.
Defensive highlights included three "sacks" from Cliff Avril—quarterbacks were in red, so they weren't actually tackled—a fumble recovery by safety Steven Terrell on a ball knocked loose by defensive end Ryan Robinson, and some of the usual dominance we've come to expect from Michael Bennett when facing one-on-one blocks.
"I thought we looked raggedy for a while there, and I think I need to do a better job organizing," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We had coaches in headsets for the first time and they couldn't hear me talking to them, so I'm running around and I couldn't get anything done. We finally got going there in the second half of that thing and it worked out better. Good, hard work today. This was a day that we needed, we took a lot of plays. They got in the 70s with their number (of plays), which is a good work day for us. This is kind of the culmination of the first phase, and I'm really anxious to see the film and see how we did, see what the guys looked like. We come back Tuesday and really within a day or so, we really kick it into game week and so it really gets real, in a hurry. I'm anxious to see where we are.
"One thing we did do, is we did a pretty good pass rush. I thought we did a nice job keeping the quarterbacks under pressure in that regard."
The day included a perfectly-timed, though unplanned, flyover from an F-18 just before kickoff, in-game flyovers by the Blue Angels, and a pregame coin toss by two randomly-selected fans from the crowd of 2,600, the most 12s at camp to date.
Here are six observations from Sunday's mock game, the first three from team reporter John Boyle, and the last three from digital media content manager Tony Drovetto.
Rookie running back Alex Collins hauls in a long touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Trevone Boykin at Sunday's scrimmage during the eighth practice of Seahawks training camp.
1. Alex Collins Was A Very Busy Man
With injuries and illness limiting Seattle's options at running back, the trio of Collins, Troymaine Pope and Cameron Marshall—the latter two having just signed in the past few days—were all very involved in Sunday's scrimmage. Collins in particular had eventful day, with some big highlights overshadowing an early fumble. While Collins did give the ball up on a third-down carry early in the mock game, he more than made up for it, first with a long touchdown catch from Boykin, then later with a 3-yard touchdown run.
"It was a big day for Alex to get his shot," Carroll said.
Despite the one fumble, Carroll said the fifth-round pick out of Arkansas has done a good job taking care of the ball in his first training camp: "He's doing great. That's the first time the ball has come out. He has done a really good job, he has been really secure. We're trying to do everything we can to knock it out too, we've been pounding on these guys every day. I'm anxious to see how that (fumble) happened."
2. Russell Wilson And The No. 1 Offense Got Going Late
When things were still "raggedy" early in the mock game, the starting offense managed just a field goal in its first four possessions, but the No. 1 offense capped its day with two touchdown drives, including a 97-yard drive, and a field goal. On that long touchdown drive, Wilson hit Tyler Lockett to convert on third-and-8 early in the drive, he hit Montario Hunter with a deep pass to get into the red zone, then he capped the drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Lockett on fourth-and-2.
"Definitely the best mock game we've had in my opinion," Wilson said. "You know, a couple miscues here and there across the board on offense, defense, whatever, but a lot of great plays today. Guys are getting signals, guys are getting plays, getting first downs. I thought we were great today on third down for the most part. We had a great drive, the ones. We had a great drive on offense, coming 97 yards to go down the field and score a touchdown to Tyler Lockett, which was really, really big, and you've got to do that in games. So I thought we did a great job."
With Doug Baldwin still sidelined, Lockett and Kearse stepped up in the passing game, with Lockett catching a game-high seven passes, and Kearse hauling in four, including a long catch down the sideline that set up Collins' second touchdown.
"Tyler Lockett had a phenomenal day today," Wilson said. "Jermaine Kearse had some huge catches today; made that huge catch down the sideline on the go ball. You know, he's done a lot of great things for us, as always. He's so clutch."
3. Eric Pinkins Has Been The "Biggest Surprise" In Battle At Strongside Linebacker
As the Seahawks continue to let competition play out at strongside linebacker and right cornerback, the starting spots continued to rotate—with Mike Morgan up first at strongside linebacker and DeShawn Shead first at right cornerback in the mock game. But while Morgan was up first at strongside linebacker on this day, one player who has caught Carroll's eye in that competition is converted defensive back Eric Pinkins.
"Mike Mo is doing a really good job, we are very confident in his play, he can really do everything we need the position to handle, he can handle it all," Carroll said. "Cassius [Marsh] has done a good job there too. I think the biggest surprise is Eric Pinkins; he is really doing well. He is the fastest guy, he's kind of the flashiest guy. Remember, he was a DB at times so his coverage skills are really good, he has been very, very physical and he looks good on special teams as well. He is an exciting player for us as we are watching him. He is going to play a ton in preseason and we will figure it out about a month from now."
4. Jahri Evans Was At Left Guard
Jahri Evans, the six-time Pro Bowler and four-time first-team All-Pro offensive guard who Seattle signed Saturday, was on the field wearing No. 62 and in full pads. The 6-foot-4, 316-pound 11-year veteran didn't take part in the mock game, but worked through individual drills before the scrimmage started. In his 10 seasons with the New Orleans Saints Evans played right guard, but the Seahawks had him at left guard, where he was working Sunday with the third unit.
"I feel good, I've been working out back home," Evans said after practice. "This is the first time I got to bang, only had a few plays out here during individual, but I feel pretty good."
Coach Carroll, who made a point to stop by and watch his most-recent signing go through position drills Sunday, said Evans will "also play right guard in his attempt to compete" but the club is starting him on the left side to "see what kind of flexibility we have."
"He's not been told he's the starter or anything like that," Carroll said of Evans. "He's been brought in to compete, hoping he'll add to the level of our play."
5. Seahawks "Really Excited" About New-Look Offensive Line
Looking to the offensive linemen who were starting Sunday's scrimmage for the Seahawks, the first unit saw Garry Gilliam at left tackle, Mark Glowinski at left guard, Justin Britt at center, Germain Ifedi at right gaurd, and J'Marcus Webb at right tackle. It was the same five that we have seen take first reps throughout camp, and just like the team's previous seven practices, there was a bit of shuffling with the No. 1 group as the scrimmage went on. Patrick Lewis was plugged in for Britt at center and ran with the first group at one point, while Bradley Sowell saw snaps in place of Webb at right tackle and in place of Gilliam at left.
"We are really excited about where we are at," Carroll said of Seattle's O-line. "We are ahead of where we thought we should be. We have been through this before and the guys seem really connected, we have some flexibility. Brad Sowell is giving us some flexibility, he can play on both sides. We know Garry can play on both sides. Of course we need all of these weeks and this week in preparation for the Kansas City game is huge, but we like what we see.
"We are very big and physical right now and we love that part about it. Britt is really big at center, you can't get bigger than Germain and J'Marcus is huge and both Garry and Brad are big on their side, so we've got a lot of size. Glow is not the biggest guy, but he might be the toughest guy we have. We're really excited about where it's going. I hope it's going to be really good right away."
Added Wilson: "I feel great about the offensive line. I think they're looking really good. Honestly, they're really confident, they've got a good mix in there. We have a solid five that's been in there for the most part. The sixth, seventh, and eighth guys that have been coming in there and really understood what we're trying to do. They're really taking on the challenge and it's going to be a great year, I'm looking forward to it."
6. Trevone Boykin "Is Making The Transition"
As Boyle started to mention above, Boykin finished Sunday's mock game with a few nice plays, going 4-of-8 with the long touchdown pass to Collins where he rolled out of the pocket to avoid pressure and find the open man down field. Boykin led three total drives, two of which ended in punts, but his reps also came against the first-string defense. Post-practice, Carroll paused briefly before answering a question on his comfort level with having Boykin as Wilson's backup.
"Every time I'm asked that I kind of contemplate at first because I don't want to go too far with it too fast," Carroll said. "He has done a great job, he really is a good football player. I think why I say that is because I have watched him play so much, he did so many great things when he played in college, why wouldn't he do those things here if he can make the transition? Well, he is making the transition, but we will need to see him play in these games and he will have to log a bunch of snaps before we get to the point of where we have enough background to understand what he is really going to do.
"He can throw it, he can run it, he is smart, he handles the huddle well, he's got a really good demeanor about the way he handles it. He is a very cool competitor so that has to translate into our games. We will see, but he has done a great job."
Check out the best photos of the 2,600 fans who attended the eighth day of Seahawks training camp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Bonus Observation Because It's Too Cute Not To Include
As players left the field, a young fan named Cora, who was wearing a Thomas Rawls jersey, caught the running back's attention just as he was about to head inside. Rawls motioned for Cora to duck under the ropes and come see him—it turns out Cora, 7, and Rawls have met a couple of times in the past, her dad said—and this time she brought him a present. Cora gave Rawls a necklace that matched her own, though hers reads "best" and Rawls' reads "friends," and the necklaces are magnetic so, as Rawls noted before giving Cora a hug, "We'll always be connected."