The third and final phase of the offseason is in full swing as the Seattle Seahawks hold the first of ten offseason team activities (OTAs) this week at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, phase three allows all coaches to be present at on-field team practices and 10 OTA days, which will be broken up in to four mini camps over the next four weeks as the Seahawks prepare for training camp. No live contact is allowed during these practices and one on one offense vs. defense drills are also prohibited. These restrictions are intended to keep the focus on technique and conditioning at this point in the season, allowing coaches to teach and perfect the playbook while carefully observing the newest additions to the team and veterans looking to retain starting positions.
The first mini camp runs this Tuesday through Thursday and the competition is fierce as players take advantage of the opportunity to show Pete Carroll and the coaching staff just why they should have the starting position in Week 1. The chilly weather was not a factor as the Hawks breezed through the first day of workouts with team cameras onsite to capture the action as the competition unfolded. It is now well-known that rookie Russell Wilson is in contention for the starting quarterback position; Pete Carroll made the announcement following this year’s rookie mini-camp in which he obviously impressed Carroll, squashing many doubts that he is too short for the position. With three quarterbacks vying for the starting position the Seahawks are almost guaranteed to have a strong starting and back-up quarterback this year, a roster development that has been long overdue. Wilson threw 400 passes during the rookie minicamp and now stands alongside newly signed free agent Matt Flynn and veteran Tarvaris Jackson as the real work begins in the fight for the starting position.
Pete Carroll must trim the roster down to 53 by the end of the preseason and with the current roster at 90, there will be many cuts over the next few months as the final 2012 Seahawks team emerges from this group of players. Rookie tight end Cooper Helfet has already been cut from the roster to make room for incumbent Kellen Winslow Jr. who was acquired in a trade from the Buccaneers on Monday. Unlikely to be cut however, is first round draft pick Bruce Irvin who stepped in at the No. 1 spot in practice this week, and second round pick Bobby Wager who was in as starting middle linebacker. The competition is tough this year and Pete Carroll has many difficult decisions ahead of him but it is safe to say that there will be some—if not many rookies on the field come Week 1.
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