One of the few front-line spots still up for grabs, however, is one that never really was settled last year. J.R. Sweezy, a surprise starter to open last season, is listed as Seattle's starting right guard on the current depth chart, but the job is far from locked down. John Moffitt, a starter as a rookie and for part of last season, is still very much in the competition for that job.
"John has been battling," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. "He's had a chance to compete and he's been mixing time with Sweezy with the first unit. It's a competition that's ongoing. Sweezy has done really well. J.R. is way ahead of where he was a year ago, and he's trying to hold (Moffitt) off, but John is working hard at it."
Sweezy, a defensive tackle in college, moved to offense after the Seahawks drafted him and progressed so quickly that he started the opener last season. His inexperience showed against the Cardinals in that game however. Throughout the season he and Moffitt split time not just from week-to-week as the starter, but oftentimes from series to series.
Even though the competition is still on, Sweezy is a bit ahead at this point.
"(Sweezy) is getting more reps and he goes first, so he's got an edge in that regard," Carroll said. "But we're giving John a great chance to see what he can do with it."
Carroll continues to say that defensive end Bruce Irvin, who is trying to get back from a groin injury, is close to returning, but he still wasn't on the field Wednesday.
"We'll find out," Carroll said. "He's got some stuff we're looking at today. We'll find out more tomorrow."
Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel continues to be out with a groin injury, which isn't helping his chances with winning a starting role. McDaniel was signed with the thought that he could have a shot at taking over for Alan Branch (who left in free agency). But missing two preseason games won't help his chances, especially with rookies Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill playing well in camp.
"We have not seen enough to know where he fits in," Carroll said. "He has a chance to be one of the lead candidates for the three technique spot, but we don't know anything about it right now, we've seen just limited play. So the game time is going to be really important for him. Hopefully he'll get a chance to do that. The other guys are trying to take advantage of that. Jordan and Jesse are jumping at this opportunity. It's unfortunate for Tony. There's nothing we can do about it, he's working hard to get well, he just hasn't made it back yet."
After a day off, Seattle's defense seemed eager to take the theme of "competition Wednesday" seriously, leading to a more physical practice than usual. On one play, running back Robert Turbin got into the open field and looked like he was ready to take on Kam Chancellor. Chancellor, naturally, wasn't going to back down, and the safety planted Turbin into the ground. A few minutes later, rookie linebacker John Lotulelei sent receiver Phil Bates flying out of bounds with a hard hit on the sideline.
"It was a good knocking day," Carroll said. "Guys had a good break and they came back strong and got after it really well. This is a huge day for us, it's competition Wednesday, so it's a big day for us and they battled just the way they're supposed to."
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com.
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