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Walking The Walk: DK Metcalf Continues To Show, Not Tell

Seahawks wideout DK Metcalf opened up about his outlook for 2023 and leading by example following Wednesday’s minicamp practice.

Seahawks completed the second day on minicamp on June 7, 2023 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center
Seahawks completed the second day on minicamp on June 7, 2023 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center

In 2022, DK Metcalf snagged a career-high 90 receptions and recorded the second 1,000-yard season in his young career, but as productive as he was on the field, he felt like he wasn't being himself at times last season.

With the departures of linebacker Bobby Wagner and quarterback Russell Wilson in 2022, Metcalf stepped up as a leader for a young Seattle group that would fight its way to a Wild Card berth, but Metcalf felt like he wasn't always being himself in that role—being a vocal leader isn't his way.

"I mean," said Metcalf. "When you lose guys like Bobby and Russ, you try to force yourself into roles that you think you can fulfill. And that just wasn't my role. That's Geno's (Smith) role to be a vocal leader. He's the quarterback, the one calling the plays, he's the one saying 'hut.' Last year it was Quandre (Diggs) and Al (Woods). Just me fitting into my role of just bringing up the young guys, just showing them what it takes to be a professional, just things I've learned from guys like Bobby and Russ, instead of just vocally saying it, just doing it myself. And if they want to do it along with me, they can. If not, they can find their way."

Being the voice of the team required Metcalf to step out of his comfort zone.

"I mean, I've never done it," said Metcalf. "So it was just fairly new to me. And I didn't do it for a reason leading up to that point. I'm a guy that works hard and leads by example."

Looking at Seattle's receiving group, Metcalf pointed out the potential of first-round wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

"He's come in and he has treated it like he is a vet already," said Metcalf. "He knows how to run routes, his body and how to catch. It's really just teaching him the playbook. He's already ahead of the curve of learning the technique that Sanjay (Lal) is teaching. He's just fitting right in with the drills and with the plays that we're calling."

Since being selected by Seattle in 2019, Metcalf has formed one of the league's most-dangerous duos with nine-year veteran Tyler Lockett. The pair combined for over 2,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in 2022. But with concerns about the depth at the position, Metcalf adds on to the recent praise from Smith and Lockett towards third-year wideout Dee Eskridge.

"From last year to now," said Metcalf. "I think he's a totally different player. He's been explosive off the line of scrimmage, catching everything, knows where to line up. He's teaching me stuff -- since I haven't been here for a couple of weeks -- so he's teaching me stuff about the offense, little details about the routes I didn't know before. He's locked in more than ever. With Dee it's just getting him on the field. He's been special this whole camp. And we've seen how special he could be. But injuries just have plagued him throughout the career. Once he steps on the field, you'll see how special he is."

Metcalf further highlighted the unheralded depth at the receiver position and how minicamp brings out the competitive spirit.

"With all the rookies that we have," said Metcalf. "From Matt Landers to Dee Eskridge to Cody Thompson to Jake Bobo, everybody's out there competing. Dareke Young is another one that's been out there competing every single day. Nobody is going to back down from competition in the receiver's room. We are all competing. We all want to see each other succeed. That's one thing that's refreshing to see in the receiver room."

But the offseason isn't just an opportunity for Metcalf to flex his seniority - it's about chemistry and learning from the repetition.

"I think it's just big to get the timing down," said Metcalf. "Besides that, just to get to know each other. I think we got like 30-some rookies that just came into camp. Just to get to know each other and just to feel out everybody and see who is going to be in what position, just see what we'll have during training camp."

Between the COVID-19 crisis of 2020, contract negotiations and rehabbing a foot injury, Metcalf's summers have been unsettled in recent years. This offseason is different, as time management and freedom of schedule lend to Metcalf being able to stress less.

"It's just another thing I can check off my list of things that I don't have to worry about," said Metcalf. "Because going into the offseason I can already have my schedules laid out to where I'm not trying to make last-minute plans or trying to go places last minute. I have a set schedule of what I'm going to do."

But a less strenuous schedule doesn't mean Metcalf is slacking in the preparation that's led to him to compile more than 4,000 yards in four seasons.

"I just went back to what I knew what worked in college," said Metcalf. "So conditioning, 110s, gassers, heavy in the weight room and just technique stuff. I would hit up Sanjay (Lal) every now and again to see what technique stuff I needed to work on because I know he watched my film last year. So me and Sanjay have been in communication this offseason."

Attention to detail is the Metcalf way, and a principle possessed by Seahawks receivers coach Sanjay Lal that's drawn the pupil closer to his instructor.

"Sanjay (Lal) is a detailed coach," said Metcalf. "So it's hard not to talk about him without getting into detail. But he's going to nitpick everything. Even if you think you ran a perfect route he will find you something you can do better. That's what I like about Sanjay he's not going to take the easy way out and, yeah, you won the rep or the route. He'll nitpick and say you could have broke down in three steps or two steps here, or eyes to tuck, or go up and attack the ball. So there's always something you can work on."

And Metcalf now has an idea of what he can do better to help himself and the franchise.

"Win more," said Metcalf. "Win my one-on-one matchups and help the team win."

Metcalf may not want to be a vocal leader, but his words speak for themselves. And judging by the numbers, so do his actions.

The Seahawks were locked in for the second of three days of minicamp on June 7, 2023 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

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