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Seahawks OTAs Week 2 roundup: Graham’s arrival, Robinson’s emergence

Crystal LoGiudice / USA Today Sports

After missing some key names the first week, the Seattle Seahawks started to resemble their true selves more during the second session of OTAs on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the VMAC.

As expected, Bruce Irvin, Michael Bennett and Marshawn Lynch have all yet to make an appearance. However, the Seahawks got Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham back this week after they missed the first session attending a funeral together, which dramatically changed the entire complexion of team drills.

Perhaps the most important piece of NFL news for the Seahawks this week had nothing to do with the team at all. The Carolina Panthers agreed to a lucrative extension with quarterback Cam Newton, which will in turn have an impact on Wilson’s upcoming extension or the price of the franchise tag should Seattle decide to go that route.

There’s only so much a team can show in noncontact drills this long before the regular season beings. Still, a few on-field developments are worth noting.

Jimmy Graham’s first official practice

After missing the first week, Graham wasted no time making his presence known to the Seahawks. Words like “outstanding” and “unstoppable” were used to describe him during his first two days at OTAs on Monday and Tuesday.

As expected, Graham shined in the red zone (a weakness for the Seahawks a year ago), scoring five touchdowns in a single team drill. Even more importantly, he is quickly developing a rapport with Wilson and is understanding his new role in a physical, run-first offense.

Seattle has also been showing a lot of two-tight end sets with Graham and Luke Willson. While Willson has a lot of work to do in some areas, his athleticism coupled with Graham’s size will cause a lot of problems for opposing defenses.

Changing defensive line rotation

With Michael Bennett absent, Brandon Mebane recovering from a torn hamstring and Tony McDaniel out, a few players had a chance to get some extra snaps on the defensive line. New addition Ahtyba Rubin got lots of action at nose tackle, while second round pick Frank Clark filled Bennett’s role and moved around a bit.

The most interesting developments were at defensive end. Cassius Marsh, who looked promising before missing much of his rookie season with a foot injury, took a lot of first-team snaps, as Ryan Robinson filled in at the other end.

Robinson might be worth monitoring for the rest of the offseason, as he’s gained the attention of the coaching staff. At 6-foot-4 and 251 pounds with explosive athleticism, Robinson is the kind of tweener the Seahawks have had some success with on the end. He played 12 games as an undrafted rookie for the Oakland Raiders in 2013 before spedning much of last season on Seattle’s practice squad.

Getting Healthy

The Seahawks ended last season with numerous serious injuries and added a couple more during the offseason. This week, there was finally some good news.

Earl Thomas is not yet near 100 percent, but progressed well enough to participate in position drills this week. Kam Chancellor has recovered from various injuries and will finally have a healthy offseason, which is bad news for opposing offenses.

With Robert Turbin still recovering from hip surgery, Rod Smith and Thomas Rawls received some opportunities at running back. Christine Michael, who was supposed to use OTAs as an opportunity to show Pete Carroll and company what he can do as the feature back, was held out early in the week for an undisclosed reason.

Other injuries include Jeremy Lane and Paul Richardson, who may miss the start of the regular season. Tharold Simon also remains out with a shoulder problem.

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Nathaniel Reeves

Nathaniel Reeves is a journalism student at the University of Washington, currently covering sports for The UW Daily in addition to Sports Out West. He has been closely following Seattle sports his entire life.
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