OPEN CAMP: July 30, Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Renton, Washington.
LAST YEAR: Won NFC West for fourth time under Pete Carroll and reached playoffs for fifth straight season, winning at least one game in each of those seasons. Quarterback Russell Wilson played through injuries, while key injuries to Earl Thomas and Tyler Lockett were critical in postseason. Seattle’s playoff run ended with 36-20 loss to Atlanta in divisional round that highlighted issues with offensive line running ball and protecting Wilson, and depth on defense.
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IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: OL Luke Joeckel, RB Eddie Lacy, LB Michael Wilhoite, K Blair Walsh, OL Oday Aboushi, DB Bradley McDougald, rookies DL Malik McDowell, OL Ethan Pocic, CB Shaquill Griffin.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: K Steven Hauschka, LB Mike Morgan, OL Garry Gilliam, LB Brock Coyle.
CAMP NEEDS: CB Deshawn Shead suffered major knee injury in playoff loss to Atlanta, so Seattle needs to settle on starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman, likely to be either Jeremy Lane or rookie Shaquill Griffin. How far along FS Thomas and WR Lockett are in recoveries from leg injuries will be closely watched early in camp. There’s also question of how carries will break down in backfield between Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise.
EXPECTATIONS: Anything less than playoff spot and being in Super Bowl conversation is now considered disappointment. Offseason was filled with drama surrounding CB Richard Sherman and whether it was time to rebuild elite defense that is getting older. But with standouts Sherman, Bobby Wagner and Wilson at quarterback, no reason to view Seattle as anything but favorite in NFC West.
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