I hate Training Camp. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. Why? Because there’s really only BAD news that can come of it. Oh sure, you hear all the stories about so and so being in the best shape of his life; about so and so looking good in his recovery from a devastating injury last year; about New Player X looking good since coming over from Old Team Y. But, ultimately, what does any of that mean? Nothing. Nothing until you can see them in a real game, with real hitting and real tackling and real opponents trying to knock your block off.
You know what you hear about in Training Camp? TEAMMATES trying to knock one another’s block off!
What an absurd start to Training Camp! First we get Malik McDowell’s ATV Accident Heard ‘Round The World, and then we almost immediately transition into a fucking Royal Rumble with Frank Clark sucker punching Germain Ifedi.
Now, I’m not one of these pearl-clutching spineless weenies who shudders at the thought of a little inter-camp violence, but by all accounts this wasn’t your average dust up between the offensive and defensive linemen. This was a nasty, vicious and I’ll also call it COWARDLY shot at a guy who wasn’t even aware of what was about to happen to him. I give Frank Clark a lot of leeway because he’s a good player who I desperately want to see be great, but he’s starting to sound like a real fucking asshole, and when his temper (combined with his sheer idiocy) starts to not only take himself out of the equation, but other Seahawks? At that point, you’ve gotta call a punk a punk, because Frank Clark is acting like a little punk ass bitch. And I say this knowing full well I’m not a female blogger, so I know he won’t actually go after me.
I mean, come on! He knocks Ifedi out and costs him valuable, precious Training Camp days when he’s trying to convert back to right tackle after a year at guard? AND, he knocks himself out in the process??? They can try to spin this that he’s had this knee issue all along; all I know is before the sucker punch, he wasn’t wearing a knee brace, and after the sucker punch, boom, knee brace. Do the math. JET FUEL DOESN’T MELT STEEL BEAMS!!!1
The silver lining is that it looks like both Ifedi and Clark will come back and contribute pretty soon here. In the meantime, Ethan Pocic has gotten a billion reps at right tackle, and by all accounts looks pretty good. Certainly better in pass protection than in run blocking, which I love, because I feel like by next year at this time he can bulk up with enough muscle to vastly improve his run blocking. I think it’s tremendously easier to teach run blocking than pass protection, so if he’s already coming in as a plus pass protector, then he’s WAY ahead of the game compared to other rookie offensive linemen we’ve brought in here (Carpenter, Sweezy, Britt, Ifedi, Fant, Odhiambo).
If I can just briefly throw in a paragraph about the rest of the O-Line, it looks like Fant is pretty locked in at LT, and Joeckel is locked in at LG. Joeckel is still coming back from injury, so they’re bringing him back slowly, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he misses some time this season, but word on Joeckel when he’s in there is nothing if not positive. Britt, of course, is the unquestioned leader of this O-Line and is hopefully working his way towards a mid-season extension. Glowinski and Aboushi are in a dogfight right now for RG, with Glowinski taking the lead in recent days. It would nevertheless not shock me at all to see both Pocic and Ifedi on the right side of the line in some order, when all is said and done.
Anyway, getting back to the Seahawks shooting themselves in the foot, let’s get back to Malik McDowell. He came in and reported, and was immediately placed on the Non-Football Injury List. Meaning, obviously, that he’s injured and it wasn’t football related. The team is extremely cagey right now about his future, but word trickling out isn’t promising. Not just that he’s going to miss the pre-season, but that he very likely will end up missing the WHOLE season. Which is just a fucking disaster for a guy who was going to be a major part of this defensive pass rush. I mean, at a minimum, it was going to be HUGELY important just to get him professional reps and get him used to life in the NFL, but he also has the talent to be a difference-maker, and he really shit the fucking bed.
So, the question here is: what does that mean for his contract? It sounds like he might miss out on his 2017 salary and the team might even go after a quarter of his signing bonus. What I’m wondering is: if he doesn’t play at all this year, will 2017 count against his service time? I mean, rookie contracts are 4 years, which means the Seahawks have 4 years of control over the career of Malik McDowell. If he turns into a superstar, it’s fucking bullshit that the Seahawks could lose out on a year of him being under a team-friendly contract. If he’s going to be out entirely this year, 2018 should technically be his rookie year, if there’s any justice in this world.
As for the rest of Training Camp, it’s more of what I alluded to at the top. Jeremy Lane was looking better than ever (until he got hurt, then he’s had to sit out). Shaquill Griffin has looked like the best rookie on the team, taking over for Lane, and appears to be making great strides. Christopher Carson, rookie running back, has been on fire from day one, even succeeding in blitz pickup drills. Russell Wilson has looked great when he’s been given time to throw. And, the backup quarterbacks look like absolute hot garbage.
But, again, what does it matter? Show me something come gametime. This Sunday, 5pm, against the Los Angeles Chargers, which sounds as stupid to say and write as it is.