Seattle Seahawks training camp preview

Associated Press

After months of waiting, it’s almost time for the Seattle Seahawks to begin their quest for a third consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

The Seahawks will kick off training camp on Friday at the VMAC in Renton. Between off-the-field drama and question on the field, this is one of the most anticipated Seahawks’ training camps ever.

Before the preseason gets underway on August 14, there will be quite a few Seahawks storylines to keep tabs on.

Top Storylines

The obvious top storyline that will be followed at a national level is Russell Wilson‘s contract negotiations. Seattle isn’t expected to get a deal done before Friday’s self-imposed deadline, meaning Wilson will likely play out this season on his rookie deal before negations resume next offseason.

That shouldn’t come as a huge shock, as a possible deal before training camp always felt like a longshot. The question is how much of a distraction the Wilson saga will become during camp. Pete Carroll is typically excellent at keeping his team focused, so the Seahawks should be equipped to handle it.

On the field, the most intriguing group to watch will be the new-look offensive line. It’s not clear what the final unit will look like, but we do know there will be new starters at left guard and center. Offensive line is the group that benefits from continuity the most, so the Seahawks will be watching the unit carefully.

Additionally, it will be interesting to see the offensive packages the Seahawks run with new tight end Jimmy Graham. Graham should offer some new looks in the red zone in particular, and some two-tight end sets could help the Seahawks develop into a very explosive offensive.

Receiver Tyler Lockett will be the top rookie to follow closely. With Seattle’s lack of depth, Lockett is expected to contribute right away as a receiver and punt returner. How polished Lockett looks during training camp could have a big impact on Seattle’s success this year.

A pair of second-year players are poised to take on larger roles will also be a big training camp storyline. Kevin Pierre-Louis figures to get significant snaps at strongside linebacker, while Cassius Marsh will figure prominently into the defensive line rotation while also getting some time at linebacker.

Top Roster Battles

While nothing is confirmed, Alvin Bailey seems to have a pretty firm handle on the starting left guard spot. That leaves the most tightly contested battle at center, which also happens to be Seattle’s biggest question mark.

Lemuel Jeanpierre, Patrick Lewis and Drew Nowak are all expected to constitute receiving first-team reps at center during camp. Jeanpierre likely has the slight advantage due to his experience, although the unknown Nowak is impressing the coaching staff at the moment.

Rookie defensive line convert Kristjan Sokoli will also be worth monitoring, although he is probably a year or two away from actually starting.

It will also be interesting to see how the cornerback situation shakes out, particularly while Jeremy Lane is out. Cary Williams is expected to replace Byron Maxwell as the second starting cornerback, but Tharold Simon will get his shot. Will Blackmon and Marcus Burley will also be in competition to be the primary nickel corner, provided Lane isn’t ready for the regular season.

There also could be some surprise competition at running back. Thomas Rawls continues to impress and could challenge Christine Michael for snaps behind Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin.

Possible Holdouts

The biggest news of the week is star safety Kam Chancellor threatening to holdout if he doesn’t receive more money. Chancellor is a critical part of Seattle’s defense, particularly given the depth the team has in the secondary, so this obviously has to be concerning news for Seattle.

Chancellor still has three years remaining on the extension he signed back in 2013. However, after the team set the precedent of renegotiating extensions last year with Lynch, Chancellor and others may be willing to attempt to get a raise.

Elsewhere, Michael Bennett is still considering a holdout to renegotiate his extension. There’s also some contract drama with Bruce Irvin, although it seems likely he will be gone after this season.

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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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