Seahawks 2020 Training Camp: Top 10 Observations from Day One

Rob Rang

With many of its star players and coaches donning masks and the media sequestered to the sidelines, the Seahawks officially opened their 2020 training camp on Wednesday.

Players were fitted with helmets, but live contact is not scheduled to begin until next week. Still, Wednesday provided our first opportunity to evaluate Seattle’s roster and there was plenty of news provided by Q13Fox’s televised coverage, as well as SI’s sources on the scene, including reporter Corbin Smith.

Here are my Top 10 takeaways from day one at the VMAC.

10. Chris Carson was an excused absentee

Calm down, Seahawks fans, the fact that Seattle’s two-time returning 1,000 yard rusher was not on the field Wednesday was explained away by Pete Carroll, who told reporters after practice that Carson was excused from the opener as he was attending a personal matter.

“Our hearts go out to him and his family,” Carroll said about Seattle’s star runner, adding it is “nothing physical,” an important note since he was recovering from a cracked hip. Free agent addition Carlos Hyde took the first-team snaps at running back in Carson’s absence.

9. Prized rookie Darrell Taylor was present but sidelined

The Seahawks are expecting big things from the No. 48 overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft, but have little choice but to opt for patience with Taylor, who apparently is not yet ready to return to the field following surgery January 30 for a stress fracture in his leg. While the news is troubling, like at running back, the Seahawks fortified the position during the offseason with veterans Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa, as well as fellow rookie Alton Robinson among those eager to fill in should Taylor’s recovery take some time.

8. False positive behind him, John Ursua was back in action

Chalk it up to luck (or, more likely education and commitment) but the Seahawks are one of the fortunate NFL teams to not be significantly impacted, thus far, by the COVID-19 pandemic. The one player red-flagged with a positive test – second-year wideout John Ursua – was shocked to learn of the result and has since produced two negatives, an indication that he (like Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and Jacksonville’s Gardner Minshew II) didn’t actually contract the virus in the first place. Ursua was on the field Wednesday, fielding passes – including a dramatic one-handed catch – as well as punts in a triumphant return to action.

7. So too was K.J Wright...

After undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason, Wright was expected to start training camp sidelined on the PUP list as well. But the Seahawks’ longest tenured and highly respected leader instead was omnipresent Wednesday, with Carroll saying that No. 50 passed his physical with “flying colors.”

6. Players measure in bigger, smaller than expected

Wednesday marked the first time that the media had an opportunity to see many of the Seahawks in person and it was clear that the measurements listed on the Seahawks “official” roster could use some updating.

Second-year defensive tackle Bryan Mone, for example, was listed by the club at a team-high 366 pounds during the offseason, but he appeared significantly slimmer than that. In fact, I’d bet he is at least 20 pounds lighter. Star wideout D.K. Metcalf, on the other hand looked even bigger than his listed 229 pounds, though given his trademark chiseled physique, this may just be a case of muscles on top of muscles, and not the so-called “Covid-15” affecting many of the rest of us not blessed with his athletic genes.

5. Russell Wilson looks locked in

The fact that I’m halfway through my first impressions of Seattle’s 2020 roster before getting to the player ranked second overall in the NFL’s player ranking is an indication of just what a superstar and leader the Seahawks have in their franchise quarterback. Wilson was sharp Wednesday and already showed intriguing rapport with Metcalf, as well as Ursua and notable free agent acquisition Greg Olsen.

4. Speaking of Olsen…

Now 35, it would be easy to cast off Olsen as a player simply trying to steal another shot at a Super Bowl before he hangs up his cleats for good. At least on Wednesday, however, Olsen showed the quickness, soft hands, and savvy which helped him earn three Pro Bowl trips in Carolina – where he never had the consistent passing he’ll have with Wilson. I personally recall watching Olsen attend the Senior Bowl years ago - even when he was not eligible to play – and thinking what a focused and competitive player he must be to do so. Olsen looks ready to be a real contributor to this team.

3. Tight end depth could be special

As exciting as fans should be about the addition of the steady Olsen to this roster, perhaps the best news of the day was the Bionic Man – also known as Will Dissly – and his triumphant return to action. Carroll has said all offseason that Dissly was “killing” his recovery from a torn Achilles and he’d shown a quick turnaround after suffering from a devastating torn patellar tendon tear the year before. Even the ever-optimistic Carroll likely could not have foreseen Dissly back on the field for day one of Seattle’s 2020 training camp, though there he was collecting passes with the same soft hands which drew John Schneider’s fancy at the Washington Pro Day two years ago. Meanwhile, it was interesting to see seventh round selection Stephen Sullivan lining up inside at tight end after the Seahawks initially listed him at receiver. Personally, after watching him alongside Seattle's scouts at the Senior Bowl, I like him better inside anyway... 

2. Rasheem Green looks fit and fast, L.J. Collier strong inside

There is only so much to be gleaned from the first practice, but third-year pro Rasheem Green appeared ready to take on challengers as Seattle’s most productive rusher from a year ago, looking lean and agile. Second-year pro L.J. Collier could be on the verge of a similar jump in production as the one Green made last year, but notably took most of his snaps Wednesday inside at defensive tackle, as reported by Smith.

1. Jamal Adams for Prez

It remains to be seen if the Seahawks will laugh last given the bounty paid for landing Adams, but after the Big Ten and Pac-12 opted out on the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is quite clear that the 2021 NFL draft will be even more of a crapshoot than last year’s, making draft picks potentially less valuable than normal. Adams, on the other hand, looked every bit the part of an immediate difference-maker for a team hoping for a long playoff run, showing the enthusiasm and speed which helped make him a star and team captain with the Jets and LSU Tigers. His presence should provide Seattle all kinds of versatility on defense, especially with first round pick Jordyn Brooks and prized offseason acquisition Quinton Dunbar adding even more speed around him.