SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (9-7)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Renton, Washington
LAST YEAR: Seattle missed postseason for first time since 2011 and injuries and depth issues caught up with aging core. Once-vaunted defense took significant step back and offense that had been best at running was downright dreadful. Seattle had one rushing TD last year by running back and QB Russell Wilson again spent large portions running for his safety. That Seattle won nine games and was in playoff conversation into late December was remarkable.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: Rookie RB Rashaad Penny, WR Brandon Marshall, WR Jaron Brown, TE Ed Dickson, OL D.J. Fluker, DT Tom Johnson, DT Shamar Stephen, rookie DE Rasheem Green, LB Barkevious Mingo, rookie LB/DB Shaquem Griffin, K Sebastian Janikowski, K Jason Myers, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, offensive line coach Mike Solari, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: RB Eddie Lacy, WR Paul Richardson, TE Jimmy Graham, OL Luke Joeckel, DE Cliff Avril, DE Michael Bennett, SS Kam Chancellor, CB Richard Sherman, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, offensive line coach Tom Cable, defensive coordinator Kris Richard.
CAMP NEEDS: Happy Earl Thomas is good place to start. Thomas held out from offseason activities and has said he will not take part in team functions until contract situation is addressed. Thomas’ deal expires after season. Who will be Seattle’s No. 2 wide receiver? Tyler Lockett, now fully healthy after broken leg suffered late in 2016? Veteran Brandon Marshall after injury-filled 2017? Seattle must also find pass rush after departures of Bennett and Avril. Frank Clark can’t do it alone.
EXPECTATIONS: Different than they’ve been since first couple years of Pete Carroll’s tenure. Seattle clearly decided to refresh locker room this offseason. Gone are big personalities of Sherman and Bennett. Also gone: lots of talent, a void that may not be filled immediately. There is optimism about Seattle’s rookie class, but for first time since 2013 Seahawks don’t go into season as one of favorite.
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL