RENTON, WA - Marquise Blair won the starting nickel cornerback job out of training camp last year, beating out fellow PAC-12 alum Ugo Amadi. He was impactful in his first start against the Falcons in Week 1, racking up seven tackles and a forced fumble.
After that solid performance, his season was sadly cut very short after he suffered a devastating knee injury just seven snaps into the Seahawks' Week 2 matchup versus the Patriots.
Then began his long road back to getting on the field in a Seahawks uniform once again.
Now healthy, Blair has a unique opportunity with training camp underway. Not only is he battling for the nickel corner spot for the second-straight training camp, yet again with Amadi, but Jamal Adams' absence on the field allows him to step into the three-time Pro Bowler's role at strong safety.
"We were really excited about Marquise and his play," coach Pete Carroll said following the team's first practice of training camp on Wednesday. "The time that he can take advantage of when Jamal's not there really helps him get reps and shows us where he fits in. He's an exciting player for us."
Adams arrived in camp but did not participate on the field as contract extension talks have now bled into camp. Until a deal gets done, he's not expected to be a full-time participant, though he's also working his way back from multiple shoulder and hand surgeries.
Assuming Adams' contract issues are resolved before September, Blair will have to win the battle at nickel corner to start on Ken Norton Jr.'s defense once again. However, this is valuable time to show the coaches just what he can offer as a strong safety as well.
He also possesses the skills to play free safety and provide depth behind current starter Quandre Diggs.
It's definitely worth keeping the Utah product ready as a safety as an insurance policy. With contract talks ongoing with Adams, nothing is guaranteed at this point. As of now, neither of the team's Pro Bowl safeties in Diggs nor Adams are under contract after this season. The time could come very soon where Blair is called upon to take on a heavy load at one of the safety spots.
The experience Blair is getting now, taking snaps at safety as Adams and the Seahawks quarrel over his contract, is invaluable. As Carroll mentioned, it's an opportunity to see what Seattle has in Blair as a safety and as depth behind Diggs and Adams. Versatility is always valuable and this is yet another opportunity for Blair to display his skillset at multiple spots.