Seahawks seventh training camp practice observations: Boye Mafe flashes as he rushes off the rim
RENTON, Wash. — Welcoming coach Pete Carroll back from a five-day absence after testing positive for COVID-19, the Seahawks returned from a day off and took to the field for their seventh practice at training camp open on Friday.
While highlights were few and far between in a somewhat uneventful unpadding session, several players from both sides of football stood out with stellar performances ahead of Saturday’s mock game at Lumen Field. Here are five takeaways from Friday’s session at VMAC.
1. Geno Smith and Drew Lock quietly had effective days and showed their athleticism as running backs.
After finding success with the deep ball in Wednesday’s practice, Smith and Lock weren’t as aggressive looking for pitches on the field Friday and big plays were hard to come by in part due to a extensive work on the goal line. However, with each seeing a few snaps with the team’s first offense, both quarterbacks were more decisive from the pocket and threw with better anticipation, completing north of 65% of their passes each in practice sessions. Seattle team.
Enjoying a strong day of rebounding after struggling earlier in the week, Smith’s highlight came towards the end of practice when he dodged an oncoming pass from Darrell Taylor and rolled to his right to extend play, eventually finding Tyler Lockett crossing the pitch. for a touchdown. As for Lock, he found Tyler Mabry in the seam for a big 7-on-7 win and had bad luck with Penny Hart dropping a perfectly thrown pass on a skinny post. Both quarterbacks also found success on the field, each finding dirt with a rushing touchdown per play and picking up several first downs using their legs.
2. A bunch of deep, understated tight ends flex their muscles and display receiving chops.
Throughout the offseason, Carroll and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron have spoken about their tight group after adding Noah Fant to the mix and re-signing Will Dissly, and on Friday that group did their best practices collectively as receivers. . Although he didn’t have explosive receptions, Fant caught a pair of tilts from Lock for early pick-ups, showing off his ability after the catch by turning around for extra yardage. The reliable Dissly also caught a pair of short passes in 7-on-7, linking up with Smith and Lock on different plays.
Showing their depth at the position, Smith found himself with Colby Parkinson on a fade route during the goal-line period, throwing a jump ball for the 6-foot-7 tight end at the climax. Despite excellent coverage by safety Josh Jones, his height advantage proved too much to overcome and he made the pass for six points. Even Mabry got in on the act, catching three assists in the afternoon to continue a strong training camp so far. If there’s been a constant for both quarterbacks thus far, they’ve both shown a propensity to seek out their tight ends in the passing game and use midfield to do so.
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3. After waiting his turn, Abraham Lucas received his first shot to work with the first team offensive line.
Until Friday, the Seahawks had yet to open their right tackle competition to Lucas, a third-round pick from Washington State. Putting his feet under him, he worked exclusively with the second-team offense, often lining up alongside guard Phil Haynes and opposite Stone Forsythe. The oldest statesman in the tackle group with five starts to his name, Jake Curhan received the majority of first-team snaps with Forsythe spinning behind him.
But as promised by line coach Andy Dickerson on Wednesday, Lucas would eventually enter the fray and Seattle elevated him to play all the first-team snaps in Friday’s session. Without pads, grading a lineman can be an exercise in futility — if not impossible — but his athleticism and light feet were evident in his passes against Taylor and Alton Robinson during team drills. As well as allowing a few quick pressures on Taylor, he performed well in pass protection and is expected to receive first-team reps in Saturday’s scrimmage simulation.
4. Learning in a situational passing throwing role, Boye Mafe began to make his presence felt in the backfield.
While other rookies such as cornerback Coby Bryant shone early in camp, Mafe got off to a somewhat slow start in OTA-style unpadded practices. But as Carroll noted while speaking with reporters after Friday’s session, the second-round pick jumped out of the movie once the pads came out from Tuesday and he started flashing his physical and athletic features. elite working to the limit. That trend continued on Friday, as he generated multiple pressures during team drills, including smothering a flicker of chips and finding his way to Drew Lock to force the game to be smothered.
Mafe didn’t show up just as a pass thrower either. During an 11-on-11 drill where the attack had to pick up at least four yards to receive a point for a successful play, he shrewdly reacted to a bubble screen thrown outside the hash and smashed his way a path through a pair of blocks on the outside to wrap the receiver on the line of scrimmage. According to Carroll, the Seahawks plan to use the rookie as a specialty rusher to allow him to play faster and pin his ears on the edge. As evidenced by the latest practices, he could wreak havoc in such a role right away with the aim of eventually becoming a down player.
5. Stepping up with Jordyn Brooks sidelined, Cody Barton continues to make plays defending the run and covering.
Sitting for a second straight practice with what Carroll called a “twisted hamstring,” the Seahawks were without their new campaign general in Brooks. But the linebacking group hasn’t missed a beat without him thanks to Barton, who continues to take advantage of his first legitimate starting opportunity. Early in the team run session, despite not having the ability to tackle or wrap, Barton perfectly diagnosed a pair of runs from Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer from his position as weakside linebacker and met them at the line of scrimmage. He also stalked DeeJay Dallas on an off-tackle run in the goal-line period for a save.
Unsurprisingly given his safety record, Barton’s play in coverage was even more impressive. Facing 3rd and 3rd and needing to move the chains to stay on the field, Geno Smith tried to connect with Fant working in the middle on a crossing route. But the fourth-year linebacker had none of it, staying in step with the athletic tight end before extending his left arm and crushing the pass for a deadly miss. Playing fast and confident in the middle, the former Utah standout couldn’t have started the season better as he prepares to replace Bobby Wagner in the roster in 2022.
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