For the first time since December 2019, the Seahawks took to the field at Lumen Field with fans in the stands and held a lively scrimmage on Sunday in front of an estimated 10,000 passionate 12s.
Unlike preseason games, where established superstars like Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf and Bobby Wagner usually show up quickly before being replaced, Seattle’s top players competed well into Sunday afternoon.
Here are 10 brief observations from the entire action.
10. First things first: the starting grid
The Seahawks started the day with their first string offensive, facing what appeared to be the third string defense. Reigning left starter Duane Brown and center Ethan Pocic did not participate and were replaced by rookie Tackle Stone Forsythe and center Kyle Fuller, respectively. Otherwise there were all normal names in Seattle’s starting offensive, with Pro Bowl wideouts DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett starting on the outside and seeing all three “starting” tight ends – Gerald Everett, Colby Parkinson and Will Dissly – for a longer period of time.
Defensively, the Seahawks lined up along the defensive line from left to right with LJ Collier, Al Woods and Poona Ford while Darrell Taylor and Benson Mayowa watched the action on the sidelines. Wagner was now the longest-serving defender on the team and, along with Jordyn Brooks, was in his usual place at Inside Linebacker. Marquise Blair took over for Jamal Adams in strong security with Quandre Diggs behind him and Ahkello Witherspoon and Tre Flowers operating on the corner.
In addition to Brown, Pocic and Adams, the offensive linemen Jamarco Jones (back cramps) and Cedric Ogbuehi (biceps strain), defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche and cornerback DJ Reed (bar) alongside Brown, Pocic and Adams were at the side.
9. Scrimmage rules are different; the end result does not reflect the big games
While the action on Sunday included real NFL officials (and penalties), the scoring was only kept loosely. No touchdowns were officially attributed to Wilson, but he finished off Metcalf nice deep in the Scrimmage team’s third game and met the sophomore Freddie Swain on a late crossing route that could have counted as a score. Swain punched cornerback Damarious Randall inward and while the corner was trying to slow his opponents’ progress by grabbing his hand and slowing him down, Swain held his feet and tore himself free and headed for the end zone. Rather than attribute the touchdown to Wilson and Swain, however, the Seahawks kicked Jason Myers attempt his second field goal of the day. Myers ended up trying four field goals and an extra point and scoring each. The last “official” result on Sunday was 22-3.
8. Chris Carson sets the tone with an early touchdown
The Seahawks thrilled the 12s by taking their initial ownership right on the field and culminating in a formidable drive with a determined touchdown scamper from the newly signed star who brought Chris Carson back. Seattle should have scored earlier, with Wilson throwing one of his few misfires on Sunday in the general direction of Tyler Lockett. Instead, the ball soared up and Damarious Randall managed to break it. After a quick pass to Carson moved the ball within the three-yard line, the Seahawks ran the product of Oklahoma State behind the new right guard Gabe Jackson for a short score. Carson parried a high strike from backup linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven, spun out of contact and crossed the goal line as he crashed onto the lawn.
7. Rookie Stone Forsythe starts with the left tackle and holds up pretty well
With Brown and his primary backups canceled on the left tackle, the spotlight was squarely on Seahawks’ sixth round pick, Stone Forsythe, to protect Wilson’s Blindside Sunday. The massive 6-foot-8,307-pound rookie performed admirably at pass protection, demonstrating the impressive initial speed, balance, and length that helped him allow only three bags in nearly 500 passes for the University of Florida last year . Forsythe even showed better leverage and grip strength than expected, clinging to opponents’ jerseys and doing a good job of “sitting down” and dictating the action instead of panicking when edge rushers hit him.
Unfortunately, Forsythe’s inconsistencies were just as evident in the running game. Despite being massive and surprisingly light-footed, the rookie still has no idea where the defenders are going. He did badly against backup linebacker – and fullback – Nick Bellore in the second quarter run by Alex Collins, which resulted in the game getting crowded.
Forsythe was, of course, the last of Seattle’s three draft picks this spring. Second round receiver D’Wayne Eskridge attended Sunday’s scrimmage but was still sidelined with a sore toe. Sources suggest that the quick receiver should be ready to return to training next week.
Round four cornerback Tre Brown made his Lumen Field debut.
6. Pass-rush is coming home
New play caller Shane Waldron did a great job unbalancing Seattle’s defenses, calling a variety of quick-hit plays, and using multiple four- and even five-receiver formations that stretch the field vertically and horizontally . Nonetheless, there have been occasions when Seattle’s much-touted passport rush came home, including in the fourth quarter when Carlos Dunlap flew past Brandon Shell to force Wilson to reach into his pocket – right into the waiting arms of the free agent -Acquisition Kerry Hyder, which had slipped between Fuller and the veteran guard Jordan Simmons. Wilson was not hit, but the game was labeled dead and ruled a sack, leading to Myers’ fourth field goal attempt.
5. Poona Ford and the defensive line own the line of scrimmage
Indeed, given the turnover and lack of healthy, active bodies along the offensive line, the Seahawks did a pretty good job of protecting their quarterbacks and giving their runners some space on Sunday. The new uptempo offensive and the fast passer, who quickly got the ball out of the game, contributed to their success. Still, one of the NFL’s more talented defensive lines managed to score many wins, especially in the middle. Poona Ford broke through for the liveliest game, collecting a fumble from the undrafted free agent who brought back Josh Johnson, who didn’t expect a pitch from backup quarterback Geno Smith. Ford broke the line and picked up the ball, rumbling the final 20 yards or so to give the defense their own touchdowns seconds in the third quarter.
Ford wasn’t the only center-back troubling Seattle’s limited centers. Veteran Al Woods shot through the center of the third string, Brad Lundblade, later in the game, knocking down a pass from Smith to force another field goal attempt by Myers.
4. Colby Parkinson, not Gerald Everett, steals the limelight at the narrow end
As during much of the training camp, the Seahawks often showed their slot receivers and tight ends on Sundays. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Colby Parkinson was the most noticeable in sophomore, sometimes simply using his 6-foot-7, 251-pound frame for big defenders. He played a particularly impressive game towards the end of the second quarter, working past defender Ryan Neal to take a soft throw from Geno Smith to convert the long fourth residue.
Unfortunately, the 2021 debut wasn’t quite as exciting for Gerald Everett as he was unable to collect a well-thrown deep ball from Wilson on the right sideline while Diggs and UDFA Safety Aashari Crosswell pushed him – the former pulled a flag from the referees. The penalty seemed justified on the replay, but Everett had the opportunity to play a big game and it slipped through his fingers.
3. Specialists show their all-pro form
The Seahawks had one of the best specialty teams in the league last year and all signs suggest nothing has changed. As previously mentioned, Myers continued with the perfect accuracy he had shown a year ago converting all 24 of his field goal attempts. All-pro Michael Dickson didn’t get many chances on Sunday, but when called to do so, he threw a beautiful punt in the left corner that rolled dead at the three-yard line. Of course, both of your jobs are made easier by the high-quality long snaps from Tyler Ott. The Seahawks even received a banned punt late Sunday, with former Fresno State tight end Cam Sutton breaking the middle to make one final big game.
2. Cornerbacks: the good, the bad, and the ugly
With four of the five cornerbacks who left the city on last year’s opening list, cornerback is obviously the position to watch throughout camp. As mentioned earlier, the Seahawks kept DJ Reed out today, but Ahkello Witherspoon and Tre Flowers did well on Sunday. Witherspoon made a particularly impressive move after a deep ball from Geno Smith against last year’s training camp star Cody Thompson. Using his size, arm length and speed to eliminate any space, Witherspoon forced Thompson to the sideline, forcing an incompleteness of a well-thrown ball. Flowers was not actively targeted for good reason; he was in a great position all day and, according to Carroll, has enjoyed his best training camp since being called up by Seattle.
While Witherspoon shone in his best one-on-one chance, former University of Washington cornerback Jordan Miller took a tackle chance against Alex Collins, and veteran Pierre Desir was knocked aside early on by a nasty stiff arm from Carson .
1. One new (apparently minor) injury and no further updates to “Holdouts” Adams, Brown
Receiver Penny Hart “twisted his ankle a little”, according to head coach Pete Carroll, but no other injuries appeared to have occurred during the day. Carroll told the media at the end of the scrimmage that the club had been careful with some of its injured players and decided to take care of them rather than pushing them too soon. Seattle is taking the same approach with Jamal Adams and Duane Brown, who continue to participate in the exercises but have not yet participated in the exercises while trying to negotiate renewals of their respective contracts.