The two training camp battles that will determine Seahawks season

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23: Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23: Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner /

The Seattle Seahawks have talent all over the field, but two key positions could keep the team from reaching its Super Bowl potential.

Remember last year’s training camp? While we Seahawks fans start every year with hope of the team making a deep playoff run, last season was different. We may not have admitted it then but we should in retrospect. There was no returning Marshawn Lynch. The offensive line was even more of a question mark than going into 2017. Jimmy Graham was coming off injury. And these were just the unknowns on offense.

The Seahawks seem to be a bit more set heading into this year. Seattle added quality to its running back group with Eddie Lacy. While one question is who will get more carries, Lacy or Thomas Rawls, the answer has no negative. Rawls and Lacy are both good. So is C.J. Prosise.

Left tackle and right cornerback need solutions prior to week one of the Seahawks season. The Green Bay Packers will not care or have mercy on Seattle if the Seahawks are still trying to figure out who should play where. During Day One of training camp, we got at hint at what Pete Carroll might be thinking about these two positions.

Left Tackle

George Fant returns after playing left tackle for the first time in his life during his rookie year. This is why 12s do not have any anger towards Fant. What he was asked to do – start at the most important position on the line in his first year with absolutely no experience – no human should have been expected to do anywhere near well. Fant did play a bit better as the year went on, however. Though he was never very good.

This offseason, Fant put on pounds in the form of muscle. On Sunday, Fant weighed in at 319. Pete Carroll said Fant maximized his opportunity to add positive weight during his first offseason of football training, “It’s the first time he ever had a football offseason weight program, so just through hard work he got bigger and stronger and was able to add 22, 23 pounds from where he was last year. It’s all great weight, he’s in great shape and we’re really excited about that.”

Luke Joeckel will push Fant for starting reps at left tackle, though. At least, if day one of camp is any indication. Seattle used a variety of lineups attempting to find the right mix. About Joeckel, Carroll said, “We think he could start at guard or tackle, and that’s a great asset for us. He’s got experience, he’s been around, and he’s a heck of a football player.”

Prediction: Fant will be the starter and Joeckel will start at left guard. The reason this is the answer is because Seattle would then need to find a starter at left guard. Fant starting makes the most sense. For now.

Right Cornerback

This is the position also known as “the starter at the corner opposite Richard Sherman.” Last year’s starter, DeShawn Shead, is still a Seahawk but hurt. Shead could possibly not even play at all this season. There are several players who could take his place, however. Among them are Jeremy Lane, rookie Shaquill Griffin and Neiko Thorpe.

Lane appears to be the most likely candidate as he is the most known commodity. Thorpe is in his second season with Seattle but has been in the NFL since 2012. Griffin has loads of potential, but rookie corners in the NFL are not known to do well.

The Seahawks, of course, play a lot of 4-2-5 which means two corners and a nickel. Just to complicate things, the Seahawks could have rookie safety Delano Hill play the nickel.

Prediction: Lane starts at the beginning of the season. He has not played overly well out wide, so he must perform much better to keep his role. If he does not do well, Thorpe will step in. Everyone else on the team though is just keeping the spot warm for Griffin.

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Both left tackle and right cornerback have to be good, though, for the Seahawks to win the division and make a deep run in the playoffs. Otherwise, Seattle will fall short of its goal of winning the Super Bowl once again.