The Seahawks were back at it on Thursday afternoon following an off day, their penultimate practice ahead of Saturday's mock game at CenturyLink Field. As you'll read below, the day belonged to the defense, but we'll start off today's observations with something Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said about one of his new players on offense:
1. Phillip Dorsett II can fly.
Prior to Thursday practice, Carroll made a pretty strong statement about receiver Phillip Dorsett II, who Seattle signed as a free agent this offseason.
"He's the fastest guy we've ever had here," Carroll said. "He runs in the time realms we don't even think really exist, 4.2s and stuff. In our systems with Russ, the way Russ likes to bomb the football, he's a big factor for us. We're just installing stuff in the next couple of days that really accentuate those kinds of plays, and I'm really anxious to see him fit in. Tyler's been phenomenal at that stuff in the past, and to have the complement with all of that speed on the field at the same time—DK and Tyler and Phillip, it's pretty dynamic. He's doing really well. He's gotten behind (the defense) a couple of times."
And as he has done throughout camp, Dorsett showed off that speed again on Thursday, but one of the more interesting aspects of that speed that was on display on this day wasn't so much the ability to get open deep, but rather what his speed, and the threat of it, can do to get him open on intermediate routes. Dorsett, who is competing for the No. 3 receiver spot behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, did show off his elite straight-line speed at times, but most of his catches on Thursday were of the short and intermediate variety, sometimes resulting from defensive backs giving him a lot of space to respect that speed.
2. The defense dominated.
There have been a number of impressive plays and players for Seattle's defense in this camp, but from start to finish, Thursday's practice might have been the most impressive for that unit.
The offense still made some good plays—see the final item in this story—but it was definitely the defense's day. There were sacks, "tackles" in the backfield on running plays, impressive pass breakups on deep balls and turnovers. As has been the case pretty much every day, new safety Jamal Adams was involved in a number of splash plays, but he was hardly alone.
The defense standing out is particularly encouraging because that is the unit that needed to improve the most from 2019. Yes, it wasn't the best day for the offense, but with Russell Wilson and his weapons on the field, the offense is going to be fine in 2020, and for the defense to more than hold its own when starters were going against starters is an encouraging sign that the defense might be making some of the improvements it was hoping to make after a subpar 2019 campaign.
3. The competition is now on at right cornerback.
Quinton Dunbar, an offseason trade acquisition, was on the field earlier this week, but Thursday's practice was the first in which he took part in the team (11-on-11) portion of practice. That means the competition between Dunbar and Tre Flowers at right cornerback can begin in earnest. Flowers, the starter at that spot each of the past two seasons, began the team portion as the starter there, but Dunbar did rotate into that role at times.
4. Setting the edge.
On a good day for the defense, two plays that stood out came in quick succession, and both involved edge players blowing up runs in the backfield. On one play, rookie defensive end Alton Robinson got off his block and stuffed the runner before he could turn the corner. A few plays later, it was Shaquem Griffin shooting into the backfield for a loss. Those plays are noteworthy in part because one thing Carroll noted after the end of last season was the way teams were able to make things happen on the perimeter against Seattle's defense.
5. Bruce Irvin still has it.
And by it, I mean absurd athletic ability. If you've been reading these observations daily, you know that Irvin's athletic ability was mentioned just the other day, but it's worth repeating after, during a pass-rush drill, the 32-year old leapfrogged over a 6-foot-tall tackling dummy as casually as a normal 30-something might step over a toy their kid left on the ground.
Of course that type of athleticism needs to translate to football to really matter in the NFL, and fortunately for Irvin and the Seahawks, it has throughout his eight-year career, and continues to in this camp, including a play early in practice where he flew off the right edge to get into the backfield uncontested for what likely would have been a sack were quarterbacks open to contact.
6. Your daily DK Metcalf.
I did a whole observation about DK Metcalf having a really good camp on Tuesday, so I won't dedicate a lot of space to that again. I'll just leave this here instead:
Photos from the 7th practice of Seahawks 2020 Training Camp, held on Thursday, August 20 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Seahawks Training Camp is presented by Safeway.