Though far more significant events were taking place in the world of sports on Wednesday, the Seahawks conducted their second mock scrimmage in front of 72,000 empty seats at CenturyLink Field.
Unlike last Saturday when the final two quarters of their first mock game were canceled following Branden Jackson's unfortunate head injury, Seattle finished this latest dress rehearsal with several players starring on both sides of the football.
As was the case last weekend, I'm limited on what details I can report from the scrimmage, but here are five key takeaways:
1. The Russell Wilson to DK Metcalf connection isn't in midseason form... but it's still a lethal combination.
Wilson wasn't quite perfect on Wednesday, as he did uncharacteristically misfire on a few throws during the scrimmage, including on a deep skinny post to Metcalf. But he still finished 11 for 16 on the afternoon and threw two touchdown passes, including a beautiful 30-yard toss on a go-route to Metcalf. With Linden Stephens lined up across from him, the second-year receiver used his blazing speed to gain a step on the third-year cornerback, who managed to maintain decent coverage downfield despite an obvious size disadvantage. But even with Stephens doing a solid job sticking to his receiver, Wilson lofted a perfect pass right into Metcalf's hands in stride for a long touchdown. Stephens shouldn't feel too bad - based on how the quarterback/receiver duo has looked throughout camp, they will be toasting a lot of corners like this on Sundays.
2. The light switch has officially been turned on for Marquise Blair in his second training camp.
Over the past week, aside from Jamal Adams, a strong argument can be made Blair has been Seattle's best defensive player. Cornerback Shaquill Griffin echoed those sentiments, telling me after the game that Blair "has been the front-runner" for the secondary in recent weeks. After dominating in a red zone session during a recent practice with a sack and a pass deflection, the former Utah standout picked off reserve quarterback Anthony Gordon twice. The first one came off a deflection by Griffin, while he basically ran the route for Gordon on the second one, which basically functioned as a punt. He also shot in the backfield for a tackle for loss and forced an incompletion with physical coverage on another play. He was easily the star of the day for the 'Hawks and if he keeps trending upward playing in the nickel role, a much-improved defense should be even better in 2020.
3. Carlos Hyde continues to make his presence felt out of the backfield.
Throughout camp, rookie DeeJay Dallas has been the center of attention for Seattle's running back group with Chris Carson away from the team addressing family issues. While the fourth-round pick has earned such praise, as noted by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, Hyde has gone under the radar while having a strong camp of his own and aside from Wilson, he may have been the best offensive player on Wednesday. Though the Seahawks didn't release rushing stats, the veteran back reeled off three explosive runs of 15 yards or more, showing off his surprising second gear at 230-plus pounds. Along with running with power, Hyde exhibited excellent patience and decisiveness with the ball in his hands, hitting creases when they opened and getting downhill in a hurry. Teaming up with Carson and eventually Rashaad Penny, Seattle should have no shortage of elite running back talent.
4. Though he had an inconsistent game, Seattle finally saw a few splash plays from Jordyn Brooks.
After three weeks worth of practices, Bruce Irvin seems to have locked up the starting strongside linebacker role. But there have been some signs in recent practices that Brooks, Seattle's first-round pick back in April, is starting to feel more comfortable in Ken Norton Jr.'s defense. On Tuesday, he swatted away a pass from Russell Wilson blitzing off the edge during a red zone session. Then in Wednesday's scrimmage, he was involved with a tackle for loss in the run game and showed off his elite speed and instincts by blowing up Travis Homer on a running back screen for a big loss, drawing a few oohs and ahhs in the press box. Coverage remains a work in progress, as he allowed tight end Tyler Mabry to break away from him in coverage for a big play, but there are plenty of positive signs of progress for the rookie heading towards the season.
5. Seattle might have an unexpected sleeper or two emerging at the receiver and tight end positions.
The Seahawks aren't strangers when it comes to undrafted rookie receivers making the 53-man roster. From Doug Baldwin to Jermaine Kearse to Malik Turner more recently, it's arguably been Seattle's best position for mining undrafted talent. While he's still a long shot to make the team, former Washington receiver Aaron Fuller has bolstered his case tremendously in the team's two mock games. He made a leaping catch with Griffin glued to him in the first scrimmage and then on Wednesday, he made a ridiculous diving one-handed grab in the end zone to haul in a touchdown from Danny Etling. Coach Pete Carroll called it the play of the game after the scrimmage. Meanwhile, at close to 250 pounds, Mabry showed off his athleticism by hurdling over Quandre Diggs in the middle of the field on a catch and run opportunity. Greg Olsen mentioned him by name a few times on Tuesday and the rookie out of Buffalo has at least positioned himself for a practice squad spot.