By John Boyle
The Seahawks are back on the practice field this afternoon (well, most of them at least) for the first day of a three-day minicamp, so what will be worth watching this week? Here are just a few options:
1. What’s going on with Marshawn Lynch?
The first thing everyone will be looking for this afternoon is whether or not a certain Pro Bowl running back will be in attendance. This minicamp, unlike recent OTAs which Lynch has skipped, is mandatory. Missing all three days would cost Lynch nearly $70,000 in fines, but last week reports surfaced that Lynch would skip it anyway because he’s unhappy with his contract. If Lynch no-shows, we’ll see what Pete Carroll thinks about it later, but offensive line coach Tom Cable offered a refreshingly honest take on a potential Lynch holdout during an appearance on 710 ESPN Tuesday morning.
“It just doesn’t matter,” Cable said on the Brock and Danny show. “This is spring ball.”
2. How does newly signed DT Kevin Williams fit in?
Williams, who the Seahawks signed last week, was a six-time Pro Bowler in Minnesota and mainstay in their lineup, but at 33, what will his role be on a team that likes to rotate defensive linemen? In Seattle’s last OTA session, we saw a new look with Jesse Williams lining up as a starting defensive tackle and Tony McDaniel, a starting DT last year, playing end. Could the elder Williams push the younger one for that role in Seattle’s “heavy” base defense, or perhaps is he a rotational lineman who helps as an interior pass rusher, a role we’ve seen Jordan Hill play in OTAs? The Seahawks will likely spend much of training camp and the preseason sorting the rotation out, but we’ll get our first look at how Williams might fit in this week.
3. Can the youngsters build on a promising offseason?
As Cable noted when talking about Lynch’s potential absence, these workouts are less about the established veterans as they are about the development of young players, and we’ve seen several players make an impression in OTAs. Tharold Simon, injured all of last season, has shown promise, especially in Seattle’s last OTA session when he worked with the starters and had a pair of interceptions. Paul Richardson was Seattle’s first pick in the 2014 draft, but Kevin Norwood has been the rookie receiver making an impact, coming up with impressive catch after impressive catch. Richardson has had some impressive moments, showing off some big-time speed, but a shoulder injury has limited his practice time.
Pete Carroll can’t stop praising the play of linebacker Korey Toomer, who was injured last season. If Toomer continues his promising start to this offseason, the question come training camp is going to be if he can push a veteran for playing time. At full strength, the Seahawks have a ton of linebacker depth, but Carroll and company aren’t afraid to let unproven players push established starters for jobs.
The addition of Kevin Williams could change things a bit, but Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill, neither of whom had much impact as a rookie because of injuries, have been looked good so far, a very encouraging sign for a team with a lot of question marks in its defensive line rotation.