By John Boyle
While all eyes were initially on the guy not practicing Tuesday, there was still football going on at Seahawks headquarters even if Marshawn Lynch wasn’t participating (but hey, at least he showed up, right?)
Here’s a bit of what stood out:
—Defensive tackle Kevin Williams practiced with his new team for the first time since signing last week. He worked mostly as a backup defensive tackle with the base defense (this is as much about him being new as it is his possible place on the depth chart), but also saw time as an interior pass rusher with the nickel defense.
“It’s wide for the second inside spot, we’ll see how that goes,” Carroll said of the nickel defense, noting Michael Bennett is pretty locked in as one interior rusher in that package.
Carroll talked mostly about Williams playing the three-technique DT spot (where Tony McDaniel played last year). That could mean those two compete for a starting spot, or it could mean McDaniel is going to play outside as a five-technique end (think Red Bryant). Most likely, it’s a combination of the two. For most of OTAs, we’ve seen the Seahawks go slightly smaller with their base defense, using Bennett as the starting end opposite Cliff Avril (McDaniel and Brandon Mebane, last year’s starting DTs, have been lining up there again). But at times we’ve also seen McDaniel move outside to the five-technique end spot, a move that could allow the Seahawks to get both him and Williams on the field when they want a heavier run-stopping personnel package. Before Williams signed, second-year DT Jesse Williams played with the first-unit defense when McDaniel moved outside, and Carroll said the younger Williams is still in the mix for that spot.
On McDaniel playing end, Carroll said, “He has exactly what we’re looking for. It’s the length that he has, real long arms, and he’s really stout. That’s why he plays really good at the three-technique spot for us, when we played him some last year, he showed us that he could do it, so we know we could play with Kevin at three-technique and move Tony to five-technique and play big with Mebane playing in there as well, it’s a good group.”
—Second year CB Tharold Simon continued his strong play and is looking very much like a player who will fit in with Seattle’s secondary. Simon had an impressive pass breakup (and he nearly caught it) when he leapt over Ricardo Lockett on a deep pass in the end zone.
“I’m really excited about this guy,” Carroll said of Simon. “He has had a fantastic offseason for us. He didn’t get all of it, he got the second half of it, but everything he has done has been on the top upside of things… He’s really competed well, he’s exactly kind of guy we like. He’s real tall and real long, and he runs really well downfield and covers the deep ball extremely well. We’re excited to get him in pads, there’s a long way to go here, but he’s had a great OTA season and we’re really excited about him getting in the mix and competing. It’s really pleasing, because we just didn’t see anything out of him, he didn’t get to practice hardly at all last year, so really this is the first time we’ve seen him.”
—The punt return competition is a long ways from settled—if you’ll recall, Carroll said earlier this offseason that Earl Thomas is the leader to replace Golden Tate at that spot now—and we saw seven different players fielding punts at the start of practice: Thomas, Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman, Percy Harvin, Bryan Walters, A.J. Jefferson, Phillip Adams.
—Rookie WR Paul Richardson, who has missed several preseason workouts with a sore shoulder, was back on the field, and once again the Seahawks’ top pick showed impressive speed getting open down field.
—While a lot has been made of the impressive play of Korey Toomer this offseason, it’s worth noting that Mike Morgan is getting a lot of reps with the starters at strongside linebacker (as has Toomer). Bruce Irvin figures to take that job back at some point, but the play of Morgan and Toomer is a reminder that the Seahawks will have a lot of depth—and tough decisions—at linebacker.