The first week of training camp for the Seattle Seahawks has been exciting for the thousands of 12s in attendance. Unfortunately, the injury bug has also been attending camp, and it’s been biting.
As it stands today, James Carpenter, Michael Bowie, Kevin Norwood, Bobby Wagner, Malcolm Smith, Kam Chancellor, Korey Toomer, Cassius Marsh, Anthony McCoy, and Jesse Williams have all picked up injuries. Some are worse than others. Carpenter has only a calf strain, while McCoy and Williams are now on Injured Reserve due to knee injuries. In addition, Bowie’s shoulder injury is apprently so bad that it needs surgery. As a result, he was waived today by the Seahawks. If he clears waivers, he will be placed on IR with McCoy and Williams.
But this piece is not going to be one that panics at the number of injuries accumulating. Rather, I aim to look at the positives and look at some underrated players who have stepped up and exceeded expectations this past week.
First, safety Jeron Johnson deserves some attention. While Chancellor is recuperating from hip surgery, Johnson has been taking snaps with the first team defense and has not disappointed in the least. He’s performed so well that he has garnered impressive praise from some high profile teammates.
According to Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com, Richard Sherman has said of Johnson, “Jeron is always disciplined. He’s always technically sound. He’s right where he needs to be. He’s always in the right spot doing the right thing. Calling out the plays. He’s a very sound player. He’s going to make the open-field tackle. We don’t miss a beat when he’s out there.”
It’s good to see Johnson fulfilling that next man up mentality the Seahawks employ. Chancellor’s rehab has gone smoothly, so it’ll be back to backup status for Johnson. But the way Johnson has been performing so far and being a leader at the crucial safety spot, I’m expecting to see Johnson be a part of some special packages during the regular season. Sure, he may not be playing as much once the games count, but having a guy who can come in for a few plays and not make the defense lose a beat is a rare thing to have.
Another guy who has been proving himself is tight end Cooper Helfet. He’s been limited to special teams in the past, but with McCoy’s achilles tendon injury, Helfet is getting a chance to show what he can do on offense. It’s a long shot that he’ll get playing time during the regular season, since he would be sitting behind Zach Miller and Luke Willson anyway, but it’s all about making the most of an opportunity. If he continues to impress the likes of Pete Carroll, who knows, maybe Helfet could make a jump up the depth chart. He’s got great hands and is stronger with each passing year, so it’s not out of the question.
Rookie linebacker Brock Coyle is getting a fantastic opportunity as well, and he’s seized it. While Bobby Wagner is nursing a recent pulled hamstring, Coyle is taking snaps with the first team. According to head coach Carroll, “He gives us the confidence that he can make the calls and handle the adjustments. He’s physical and he’s done really well at special teams. He’s going to play a lot in these early [preseason] games and we’re excited to see what he can do at full-speed tempos.”
Once the preseason games start, this rookie out of Bozeman, Montana, will definitely be a guy I’ll be keeping an eye on.
One final winner I need to write about is the Seattle Seahawks front office. They finally got Marshawn Lynch to come to camp after they agreed on a contract restructuring. The front office got Lynch to agree to the very same offer they extended back in May (adding his incentives of $1.5 million to his his $5 million base salary this year). So even though they blinked first in this holdout, they didn’t really blink first. And now Lynch can be just about that action again. I do feel sorry for Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, though; I bet they liked getting all the snaps in camp.
Who’s impressing you in camp thus far? Leave a comment below.