NFL Training Camp: 3 Biggest Takeaways from the Seattle Seahawks Camp so Far
The Seattle Seahawks' training camp is living up to the hype.
In just over a week, there has been a flurry of activity, headlined, of course, by the news that Terrell Owens is the newest Seahawk. Since there already is plenty to read on TO and there will only be more in the following days, I'm going to take this opportunity to talk about something that has gone largely unnoticed: the quarterback competition (just kidding about the largely unnoticed part).
I'll also be detailing a couple stories that validate the selection of a certain 15th overall pick and dispel rumors that Pete Carroll and company are dissatisfied with the Seahawks receiving core.
So let's get rolling and get excited for football!
Bruce Irvin Is a Monster
Bruce Irvin was arguably the most maligned pick of the first round. Experts dubbed him a one-trick pony, and cited his past character issues as reasons to steer clear of drafting him early.
Irvin is currently working to prove his doubters dead wrong, and he's succeeding.
Irvin has been working with Seattle's defensive starters, doing drills with the defensive linemen. In team drills, however, Irvin has been alternating between rushing the passer and dropping into coverage, indicating that team intends to use him as a linebacker.
The results so far are tremendously positive. Irvin has registered "sacks" (keep in mind they can't actually hit the QBs) on numerous days, and perhaps had the best play of camp so far in Sunday's scrimmage.
Irvin was lined up as the weakside defensive end, but the play was a standard I-Power handoff to Marshawn Lynch, meaning that Irvin was just about as far removed from the action as possible. Lynch broke into the open field and seemingly had an easy 80-yard touchdown. Irvin, with his phenomenal speed, was able to chase Lynch down and stop him at the ten yard line.
First off, this demonstrates that Irvin hustles, and doesn't give up on plays. He doesn't just want to rush the passer. He wants to stop the run, even if the runner is 70 yards down the field.
Second, is there any better example of just how fast this guy is? Jacson Bevens of Field Gulls illustrated it perfectly by saying that a touchdown "would have been assured had Seattle taken literally anyone else with their first-round pick in April."
In essence, Bruce Irvin is performing fantastically. He is showing heart, persistence, ability to learn, and, above all, sheer athleticism. He certainly is worth getting excited about.
Wide Receivers, Namely Golden Tate, Are Standing out
With the TO signing, the Antonio Bryant signing, and the Braylon Edwards signing, NFL pundits are speculating that Golden Tate is not performing well enough to earn a No. 2 spot on the roster.
That is not the case.
Tate has been excelling in camp. According to both Field Gulls and the Hawk Blogger, which are two of the most accurate and reputable Seahawks sources out there, Golden Tate has been a standout every day of training camp (and almost every day is covered on one of those two websites).
Tate has improved his route running, is making crisper cuts and getting in and out of his breaks more efficiently. He has shown good speed, hands and decision making on option routes. Tate has stood out before, but with more experience under his belt and coming off a hot end to 2011, Tate is poised to break out this year.
In addition, Ricardo Lockette has shown his incredible speed and solid hands, Braylon Edwards has certainly played the part of the savvy veteran, and Deon Butler has poised himself for a comeback if he makes the squad.
What then do we make of the Owens signing? Remember, Pete is all about competition. If Owens can light a fire under some of the younger players and get them to improve, then his signing is well worth it. The same will be said if Owens can mentor these young players and teach them the finer points of being a dominant receiver in the league.
A third possibility involves moving Golden Tate into more of a slot role, but all of this is largely speculation that I won't extrapolate on until the intent behind the signing is clearer.
Ultimately, the Seattle receiving core has incredible potential, and a couple of receivers are showing that they deserve starting nods.
Carroll's Quarterback Plans Are Opaque, but They Shouldn't Be
A perplexing thing happened during Sunday's scrimmage. Tarvaris Jackson got reps with the first team offense, despite it being Flynn's turn to run with the No. 1 offense. What made this action especially peculiar was the fact that to this point, Matt Flynn had been the clear frontrunner in the competition.
Matt Flynn, from both a subjective and objective standpoint, performed the best on scrimmage day. He led two touchdown drives (note that the first touchdown was a 70-yard reception on Flynn's first throw of the day; for some reason the "objective" article fails to include those statistics), and led a third drive to the one-yard line. He then threw an interception, but since it was off a tipped pass, that can be attributed more to good defense and bad luck than bag quarterback play.
Essentially, it makes no sense to give Flynn second team reps. He ought to win the starting role, because he is the best quarterback and has shown it in practice. Therefore, by nonsensically providing Tarvaris with first reps, Pete Carroll is hamstringing Flynn and not allowing him to develop rapport with the receivers he will actually be throwing to.
Pete detailed in a press conference that he plans to determine the starter for preseason game one in the next couple of days. Heck, the news could come out while you're reading this article. For now, though, the method behind Pete Carroll's madness is questionable, if existent at all. I'm usually one to champion the moniker of "In Pete We Trust," but even I am skeptic of this decision.
So, overall, this gives me an impending sense of doom. The quarterback situation is not going well, because it is not being handled well.
Besides that, though, camp is looking good. If you disagree, agree, or just want to start a Go! Seahawks! chant, please comment below!