With training camp set to open in one week, now seemed like a good time to answer your questions about the Seahawks, or whatever else, before things get crazy next week.
@tzahn asks: "Which SEA player would you want to take on a camping trip? As in, who would be the best survivalist?"
A: I'm a little embarrassed by how much of my Friday was spent pondering this. For starters, we have to eliminate long snapper/former U.S. Army Green Beret Nate Boyer from this conversation, because if he's eligible, it's no contest.
So moving past Boyer, if you just want a big tough dude, then numerous offensive or defensive linemen would make sense. Tony McDaniel, J.R. Sweezy, Justin Britt, Russell Okung? Hard to go wrong there. Or maybe a combination of size and speed would be good, somebody like Kam Chancellor, who could probably intimidate a bear should you run into one. Marshawn Lynch also meets most of the requirements, from toughness, to speed, to the ability to push trouble out of the way, to the fact that he might have snacks on him, but it might make for a lonely trip if he isn't talking to you.
Ultimately, I'm going with Brock Coyle. Maybe I'm stereotyping Montanans when I just assume that Coyle could handle himself in the wild, but, well, I kind of assume Coyle would fare pretty well in the wild. Let's check his Instagram account.
Yep, I'm sticking with Coyle.
The only exception would be if you can guarantee me that, should we get stranded, we'll come across an abandoned airplane. Then I'll take Jimmy Graham.
Now if we're talking all-time Seahawks, I'd have to go with Steve Hutchinson. Hutch is an avid hunter and fisherman, and more importantly, he's as tough as nasty as they come.
@Ckrawl asks: "Who is Kam Chancellor's backup at strong safety if DeShawn Shead is Earl Thomas' backup?"
A: The short answer is Shead. Unless the worst case scenario were to play out, the versatile Shead, as of now, would be the top backup at either safety spot. If, however, you're trying to put a second-team defense on the field at practice, Shead obviously can't play both spots, so then the question is what young safety steps up. If Dion Bailey or Triston Wade or Steven Terrell is the best of the backups, then Shead likely would play strong safety with one of them at free, but if another strong safety—Ryan Murphy, Keenan Lambert or Ronald Martin—were to emerge as the next best option, you'd see Shead at free safety.
@angelnek1 asks: "How do they determine the cuts? That's freaking me out. Gresh vs. Boyer in particular. Seems like a really stressful time for the players, half of them won't make it?"
A: You're right that this is stressful time for players, especially those on the bubble. They all know that the 90-man roster has to be trimmed to 53 before the season starts, so a lot of them won't be around for long. As for what goes into the cuts, there are a number of factors, only one of which is talent. The most athletically gifted players can lose their job to somebody who is a harder worker, or who grasps the offense or defense better, or who just has a better team-first attitude. And for those fighting for backup jobs, special teams play is a huge factor as well. Age can also factor into a decision, as can money thanks to the league's salary cap. As for the long snappers you mentioned, Clint Gresham and Nate Boyer, you can never rule anything out in Pete Carroll's 'Always Compete' world, but Gresham has been a very good long snapper for the Seahawks since 2010, while Boyer, 34, only started long snapping in college a few years ago, so he has his work cut out for him.
@TimDYo asks, "Would the Seahawks ever want to play an NFL game in London?"
A: It's safe to say the Seahawks wouldn't want to move one of their eight home games to London, both because that would be disappointing to their loyal fans, and also because they have a very good win-loss record while enjoying the league's best home-field advantage. And even if it were a road game, the logistical challenges of a west coast team traveling to London would be tough, though that could be mitigated somewhat if it the trip were tied to a game on the east coast on one end and a bye on the other.
What you can bet on is that if the Seahawks ever do travel to London, logistical headaches would not be discussed by Carroll or used as an excuse. While Seattle playing multiple 10 a.m. PT games has long been a point of contention for fans and some players and coaches in the past, Carroll has always made a point of saying he won't worry about things he can't control. So if the schedule ever sends Seattle to London, expect Carroll and his team to focus on what they can prepare for and not worry about the lengthy trip.
@JeffRichardsSea asks, "Which character on Beverly Hills 90210 did you relate with and why?"
A: I'm going to say Steve Sanders, but not because I actually relate to him or any other character on the show, but just because everyone is talking about Sharknado 3 this week, a movie that stars Ian Ziering. Also, I really just chose this question so I could include the video of one of the great cheesy/dramatic television scenes of the 90s.
@TheCrappyTotals asks, "Is B.J. Daniels no longer taking snaps at QB? If not, what is his new role and what are his odds of making the team?"
A: Before Tarvaris Jackson re-signed and while Russell Wilson was away to attend the funeral of Cliff Avril's father, Daniels worked at quarterback mostly just because the Seahawks needed another arm, but yes, he otherwise has made the switch to receiver. As for his odds of making the team, that will likely come down to his ability to contribute on special teams. The Seahawks are pretty deep at receiver, so it would be tough for Daniels, as athletic as he is, to push for playing time right away at a new position. But if he can win one of the return jobs or find some other way to make himself indispensable on special teams, then he'd have a shot to stick around.
@OmarSidd asks, "What do you expect our base 4-3 and nickel/third-down defensive line to look like in September?"
A: Based on what we've seen in offseason workouts, as well as on who is back from last season, I'd expect to see the same starters in the base defense: Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril at end and Tony McDaniel and Brandon Mebane at tackle. The nickel, as of now, looks like it would be Jordan Hill and Bennett inside and Avril and Bruce Irvin at end. All of that being said, it's worth remembering two things. One, there are still a lot of practices and four preseason games between now and Sept., so things could change based on competition. Two, even if those are the starting units, the Seahawks will likely rotate their linemen heavily given the depth they have added to the D-line. Rookie Frank Clark will have a role of some sorts, Ahtyba Rubin is another big body who can spell Mebane, and expectations are still high for Cassius Marsh, who showed potential last year before suffering a season-ending injury. Those three and plenty of others can and will factor into the rotation whether or not they are starters.
@mikewarren68 asks, "Will the passing game increase as Russell Wilson gets better?"
A: Good question. There are two ways to look at this, and if you're asking will the passing game increase in terms of volume of passing, the Seahawks hope that won't be the case. Carroll has said repeatedly that he wants to stay balanced on offense, no matter who is on his team. Over and over Carroll has been asked if his team will eventually throw more with Wilson under center, and over and over he explains that, in his view, a balanced approach is the best way to go.
Now, if you're asking if the Seahawks passing game can evolve as Wilson improves, then the answer is most definitely yes. Wilson will be the first to say he can be better in several areas, whether that's in the red zone, on third down, or simply making a better decision here or there. So will the Seahawks throw significantly more? Not if things are going according to plan. But can the passing game become more efficient with a similar number of attempts? That's the goal.
@Truthistold2U asks, "Does Jimmy Graham look like he is improving as a blocker?"
A: This will be a big topic of conversation about Graham until he shows what he can do blocking in Seattle's offense. The truth is, we don't know yet if he is improving, because blocking is almost impossible to judge in a June practice without pads. That being said, Graham has made it clear he is confident in his ability to block, something he wasn't asked to do very often in New Orleans, and offensive line coach Tom Cable came away impressed with Graham's willingness to learn and improve in that area of his game.
@SPE247k asks, "What are your thoughts on our offensive line situation? At the Seahawks Town Hall, Cable made it sound promising?"
A: One of the biggest question marks for the Seahawks heading into camp is their line, which lost two of its five starters with Max Unger going to New Orleans in a trade and James Carpenter signing with the New York Jets in free agency. But you're right, Cable is optimistic about this group even if there are some questions to be answered. Alvin Bailey lost more than 20 pounds following the season and the Seahawks are encouraged by what they're seeing out of him at left guard. Veterans Lemuel Jeanpierre and Patrick Lewis have both started games at center, so they're battling there, as are rookie Kristjan Sokoli and former practice squad guard Drew Nowak. In terms of depth and looking to the future, the Seahawks are very high on the athletic ability of their draft class that included Sokoli, Terry Poole and Mark Glowinski, as well as undrafted rookies like Kona Schwenke and Jesse Davis. Those players might not all contribute right away, but they could be a big part of the future.