Analysis: 10 Takeaways From Seahawks' Mock Scrimmage on Sunday

The Seahawks' mock scrimmage at Lumen Field has come to an end and Rob Rang has 10 takeaways from Sunday afternoon's events.
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For the first time since December 2019, the Seahawks took the field at Lumen Field with fans in the stands, holding a lively scrimmage in front of an estimated 10,000 passionate 12s on Sunday.

Unlike preseason games in which established superstars like Russell Wilson, DK Metcalf and Bobby Wagner typically make quick appearances before being replaced, Seattle’s top players were competing long into Sunday afternoon.

Here are 10 quick observations from all of the action.

10. First thing's first: the starting lineups

The Seahawks started off the day with their first string offense competing against what appeared to be the third string defense. Incumbent starting left tackle Duane Brown and center Ethan Pocic did not participate and were replaced by rookie tackle Stone Forsythe and center Kyle Fuller, respectively. Otherwise, Seattle’s starting offense featured all of the normal names with Pro Bowl wideouts DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett starting on the outside and all three “starting” tight ends—Gerald Everett, Colby Parkinson and Will Dissly—seeing extended time.

Defensively, the Seahawks lined up from left to right with L.J. Collier, Al Woods and Poona Ford along the defensive line with Darrell Taylor and Benson Mayowa seeing action on the edge. Now the longest tenured defender on the team, Wagner was at his usual place at inside linebacker, along with Jordyn Brooks. Marquise Blair took over for Jamal Adams at strong safety with Quandre Diggs behind him and Ahkello Witherspoon and Tre Flowers operating at corner.

Along with Brown, Pocic and Adams, others sidelined during Sunday’s scrimmage included offensive linemen Jamarco Jones (back spasms) and Cedric Ogbuehi (bicep strain), defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche and cornerback D.J. Reed (groin), among others.

9. Scrimmage rules are different; the final score doesn’t reflect the big plays

While Sunday’s action featured real NFL officials (and penalties), scoring was only loosely kept. Officially speaking, Wilson was not credited with any passing touchdowns, but he had a beautiful deep completion to Metcalf on the team’s third play from scrimmage and hit second-year pro Freddie Swain on a late crossing route that could have been ruled a score. Swain beat cornerback Damarious Randall inside and while the corner attempted to slow his opponents’ progress by latching onto his hand and slowing him, Swain kept his feet and ripped himself free, crossing into the end zone. Instead of giving Wilson and Swain credit for the touchdown, however, the Seahawks had kicker Jason Myers attempt his second field goal of the day. Myers ultimately attempted four field goals and an extra point, making each. The final “official” score Sunday was 22-3.

8. Chris Carson sets the tone with an early touchdown

The Seahawks thrilled the 12s by taking their initial possession right down the field, culminating an impressive drive with a determined touchdown scamper by re-signed star running back Chris Carson. Seattle should have scored a play earlier, with Wilson tossing one of his few misfires Sunday in the general direction of Tyler Lockett. Instead, the ball sailed high and Damarious Randall was able to break it up. After a quick pass to Carson moved the ball inside of the three-yard line, the Seahawks ran the Oklahoma State product behind new right guard Gabe Jackson for a short score. Carson brushed off a high hit from backup linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven, spinning off of contact and crossing the goal line as he tumbled to the turf.

7. Rookie Stone Forsythe starts at left tackle and holds up pretty well

With Brown and his primary backups at left tackle sitting out, the spotlight was squarely on Seahawks’ sixth-round selection Stone Forsythe to protect Wilson’s blindside Sunday. The massive 6-foot-8, 307-pound rookie performed admirably in pass protection, demonstrating the impressive initial quickness, balance and length which helped him allow just three sacks in nearly 500 pass attempts last year for the University of Florida. Forsythe even demonstrated better leverage and grip strength than expected, latching onto the jersey of opponents and doing a nice job of “sitting down” and dictating the action, rather than panicking as edge rushers get to him.

Unfortunately, Forsythe’s inconsistencies in the running game were just as clear. While massive and surprisingly light on his feet, the rookie does not yet anticipate where defenders are headed. He whiffed badly against backup linebacker—and fullback—Nick Bellore on a second quarter run by Alex Collins, resulting in the play getting stuffed.

Forsythe, of course, was 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 the speedy receiver should be ready to return to practice next week.

Fourth-round cornerback Tre Brown made his Lumen Field debut, taking the opening kickoff up the right sideline and showing his trademark quickness and tenacity in coverage.

6. Pass rush gets home

New play-caller Shane Waldron did a nice job of keeping Seattle’s defense off-balance, calling a variety of quick-hitting plays and utilizing several four and even five-receiver formations that stretched the field vertically and horizontally. Nevertheless, there were occasions where Seattle’s vaunted pass rush got home, including in the fourth quarter when Carlos Dunlap blew past Brandon Shell to force Wilson to step up in the pocket—right into the waiting arms of free agent acquisition Kerry Hyder, who had slithered between Fuller and veteran guard Jordan Simmons. Wilson wasn’t hit but the play was called dead and ruled a sack, resulting Myers’ fourth field goal attempt.

5. Poona Ford and the defensive line own the line of scrimmage

Given the turnover and lack of healthy, active bodies along the offensive line, the Seahawks actually did a pretty nice job of protecting their quarterbacks and allowing their runners some space on Sunday. Their success was aided by the new uptempo offense and passers getting the ball out quickly. Still, one of the more gifted defensive lines in the NFL had plenty of victories, especially up the middle. Poona Ford broke through for the splashiest play, collecting a fumble from undrafted free agent running back Josh Johnson, who didn’t anticipate a pitch from backup quarterback Geno Smith. Ford broke through the line and collected the ball, rumbling the final 20 yards or so to give the defense its own touchdowns seconds into the third quarter.

Ford wasn’t the only interior defensive lineman to give Seattle’s limited centers trouble. Veteran Al Woods bulldozed through third-string center Brad Lundblade later in the game, slapping down a pass from Smith to force yet another field goal attempt from Myers.

4. Colby Parkinson, not Gerald Everett, steals spotlight at tight end

As has been the case throughout much of training camp, the Seahawks featured their slot receivers and tight ends often Sunday. Perhaps not surprisingly, second-year pro Colby Parkinson was the flashiest, using his 6-foot-7, 251-pound frame to simply big boy defenders at times. He had an especially impressive play late in the second quarter, working past defensive back Ryan Neal to collect a soft toss from Geno Smith to convert what would have been a long fourth down.

Unfortunately, the 2021 debut for Gerald Everett wasn’t quite as exciting, as he was unable to collect a well-thrown deep ball down the right sideline from Wilson, with Diggs and UDFA safety Aashari Crosswell crowding him—the former of which drawing a flag from the referees. The penalty appeared warranted on replay but Everett had an opportunity to make a big play and it slipped through his fingers.

3. Specialists show off their All-Pro form

The Seahawks boasted one of the league’s best special teams units last year and all indications are that nothing has changed. As mentioned previously, Myers continued with the perfect accuracy he demonstrated a year ago when he converted all 24 of his field goal attempts. All-Pro punter Michael Dickson didn’t get many opportunities Sunday, but when called upon he lofted a picture-perfect punt into the left corner that rolled dead at the three-yard line. Of course, both of their jobs are made easier with quality long snapping from Tyler Ott. The Seahawks even received a blocked punt late Sunday, with former Fresno State tight end Cam Sutton breaking through the middle to make a final big play.

2. Cornerbacks: the good, bad and ugly

With four of the five cornerbacks who made last year’s opening roster no longer in town, cornerback is obviously the position to watch throughout camp. As mentioned previously, the Seahawks kept D.J. Reed out today but Ahkello Witherspoon and Tre Flowers held up well Sunday. Witherspoon made an especially impressive play on a deep ball from Geno Smith to last year’s training camp star Cody Thompson. Using his height, arm length and speed to eliminate any space, Witherspoon forced Thompson towards the sideline, forcing an incompletion off of a well-thrown ball. Flowers was not actively targeted and for good reason; he was in terrific position all day long and, according to Carroll, has been enjoying his best training camp since being drafted by Seattle.

While Witherspoon excelled in his best one-on-one opportunity, former University of Washington cornerback Jordan Miller whiffed on a tackle opportunity against Alex Collins and veteran Pierre Desir was knocked aside by a wicked stiff arm from Carson early on.

1.  One new (seemingly minor) injury and no further updates on “holdouts” Adams, Brown

Receiver Penny Hart "turned his ankle a little" according to head coach Pete Carroll, but no other injuries seemed to have cropped up during the day. Carroll shared with the media at the conclusion of the scrimmage that the club opted to exercise caution with some of its injured players, deciding to take care of them rather than push them too soon. Seattle is taking the same approach with Jamal Adams and Duane Brown, who continue to attend practices but have not yet participated in practice while attempting to negotiate an extension to their respective contracts.