Preparations for the 2018 NFL season are about to begin in earnest.
The Seattle Seahawks open training camp this week, with the team’s first on-field practice taking place Thursday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, and this year the Seahawks enter camp with a lot of issues that need to be addressed.
It’s an unusual situation for Seattle. The Seahawks are coming off a 9-7 season in which they didn’t make the playoffs for the first time since 2011, then they endured an offseason of dramatic change as Seattle parted ways with stalwarts such as cornerback Richard Sherman (released and signed by the NFC West-rival San Francisco 49ers), strong safety Kam Chancellor (career ended by a neck injury) and defensive end Michael Bennett (traded to the Philadelphia Eagles). And there’s intrigue as well in the form of free safety Earl Thomas and his threat to hold out.
The Thomas situation is the one that’s received the most play this offseason. Seattle’s six-time Pro Bowl free safety is entering the final year of his contract and he’s seeking a lucrative extension, something the Seahawks seem disinclined to give the 29-year-old. Thomas made his now-infamous “come get me” comment to Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett following the teams’ meeting last season, and he’s since taken to social media to request a trade:
So whether Thomas shows up Wednesday when players report is a huge issue for the Seahawks, especially given that with the departures of Sherman and Chancellor he represents the last remaining core member of the Legion of Boom secondary.
But the Thomas situation isn’t the only one that will be vital for Seattle to sort out at training camp.
As always there’s the offensive line. Seattle’s O-line has been a mess the past few years, as the Seahawks’ power run game deteriorated and quarterback Russell Wilson was forced to run for his life. During the offseason Seattle made a change with it’s offensive line coach, replacing Snohomish native Tom Cable with Mike Solari, who’s said he intends to pivot away from zone blocking and toward straight-ahead blocking.
Then there’s the situation at running back, where Seattle doesn’t have an incumbent No. 1. Will first-round draft pick Rashaad Penny be the answer to reviving Seattle’s run game? Can second-year man Chris Carson regain the form he showed early last season before suffering a season-ending broken leg? Can the talented C.J. Prosise finally stay healthy? Or will the likes of Mike Davis and J.D. McKissic be asked to carry substantial loads again? How this situation sorts itself out will have a significant impact on the offense.
And there’s other questions, such as whether receiver Brandon Marshall has anything left in the tank to contribute to the Seahawks, or who will win the battles for the kicking and punting positions.
So which of this issues will you be monitoring most closely when training camp opens? Let us know by voting here (if you vote “other,” let us know what in the comments section):