It is a long road for NFL players to make the 53-man roster. Signing a contract does not guarantee a spot on the roster. Players are going to engage in heavy competition for their jobs in upcoming training camps.
Throughout the offseason, the Seattle Seahawks have added a variety of talent at every position. The position battles to watch for in the Seahawks training camp include starting right tackle, second-string running back and backup wide receivers.
Right Tackle: Michael Bowie vs. Justin Britt
The Seahawks lost last season’s starting right tackle Breno Giacomini in free agency to the New York Jets. While it may sting to hear that Seattle lost a starting player, the change may help the Seahawks. According to Pro Football Reference, Giacomini accounted for eight penalties last season. Additionally, Giacomini was out for eight weeks due to an injury. Michael Bowie filled in for Giacomini those weeks.
Bowie was a seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft for the Seahawks. He had a rough start in replacing Giacomini, but improved his play each week. This year the Seahawks selected Justin Britt in the second-round of the draft. Britt’s resume is appealing. At Missouri he was a three-year starter and played both tackle positions. Britt was also an undefeated wrestler in high school.
During organized team activities (OTA’s) and minicamp, Bowie and Britt took turns in playing at right tackle. On the second day of minicamp, Britt took every snap at left tackle. Bowie has NFL experience in starting games, but he showed up to OTA’s out of shape.
Whoever is more physical and shows improvement in training camp and in the preseason will be the starting right tackle. As of now, it seems like Britt is more likely to win the job. This could be the most intriguing position battle in the Seahawks training camp.
There is no doubt that Marshawn Lynch will be the starting running back for the Seattle Seahawks next season. The competition for the backup running back position has become very competitive this offseason. While Robert Turbin earned the second-string position last season, Christine Michael is beginning to attract attention. The coaches have praised Michael for coming into the offseason with a focus on the details.
“Christine has made the most progress,” Head Coach Pete Carroll said in a press conference earlier this offseason.
Michael was the Seahawks first pick of the 2013 draft. In his rookie season he played in four games, ran for 79 yards in 18 rushing attempts and converted five runs into first downs.
Like Michael, Turbin showed up to offseason practices ready to earn playing time. Turbin has shown he can run between tackles better than Michael. Turbin also has more experience which leads me to believe he will remain as the second-string running back. Michael will need to have a consistent and impressive training camp and preseason in order for him to beat Turbin and earn a spot as Lynch’s backup. If Michael keeps up his good work, he could be a reason why the Seahawks do not sign Lynch to a contract extension in 2015.
Wide Receiver: Sidney Rice vs. Chris Matthews
The Seahawks have added a lot of talent to their receiving core this offseason. It is safe to say Doug Baldwin and Percy Harvin will be the starters. Jermaine Kearse and this year’s draft picks Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood are sure to be on the 53-man roster as well.
An interesting piece of the Seahawks receiving core is Sidney Rice. Rice has had several injuries and only played in eight games last season due to a torn ACL. After testing the free agent market, Rice re-signed with the Seahawks for one year worth $1.4 million per Spotrac. Rice has not participated a lot in the offseason practices. In order to make the active roster he needs to show the coaches he is healthy and can perform well.
Chris Matthews is another receiver on the Seahawks roster to watch. The former CFL player is 6-foot-5 and weighs 218 pounds. He missed most of the 2013 season with a turf toe injury, but piled up 1,192 receiving yards in 2012 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He also won the CFL’s Rookie of the Year award in 2012.
Matthews is Rice’s biggest threat because of his athletic ability. If Rice can stay healthy and play well in training camp and preseason he will make the active roster. Otherwise, Matthews can become a big downfield target for quarterback Russell Wilson.
What position battles will you focus on during training camp? Let me know in the comments below or we can discuss your thoughts on Twitter @Holli_Alexa.