For the first time since the wild-card playoff loss last January in Dallas, the Seahawks will take the field as a whole this week at the VMAC, for what the NFL lovingly terms organized team activities (OTAs).
That’s a fancy way of saying that everyone -- offense, defense and special teams -- can all work together after having had to do any drills up until now separately (only offense, only defense, etc.), though the workouts are voluntary and are not held in full pads and full contact is not allowed.
NFL teams can hold 10 OTAs over the next three weeks, and Seattle will first hit the field Monday afternoon. The first of four that will be open to the media will be Tuesday.
Of the 53 players who were on Seattle’s roster for the Dallas game, all but 11 return.
But of those 11, five were listed as starters, and another, Justin Coleman, was as valuable as any other defensive back.
Among those gone are leading pass rusher Frank Clark and Doug Baldwin, maybe the best receiver in team history other than Steve Largent.
And that list doesn’t include Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
But the 42 who return represent the core of how coach Pete Carroll is hoping to move on successfully from the Legion of Boom era, now officially over with Chancellor’s recent release.
Seattle, in fact, takes the field for OTAs with just three players left from the team that beat Denver in the 2014 Super Bowl -- Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.
Here are five things I’ll be watching as OTAs unfold:
How will the receiving corps come together?
Baldwin’s departure leaves a big hole in the offense even if he was likely never going to play again at the same level even if he had returned, and the team has been preparing to replace him.
Seattle has Tyler Lockett as one sure thing at receiver, but that’s about it. Carroll has twice mentioned hoping to get more out of Jaron Brown in his second year with the team, and David Moore might also take a big leap in Year 3.
But the real key is going to be how quickly the three rookies the team drafted progress, and particularly second-rounder DK Metcalf and fourth-rounder Gary Jennings.
Metcalf was the standout of the rookie minicamp, both for his obvious physical gifts but also for what Carroll said was a more advanced mastery of the position than the team had thought he might have at this stage.
But replicating that against veteran NFL players will be more of a challenge, and just how much the team can expect to get out of Metcalf this season will become clearer over the next three weeks.
Jennings and seventh-round pick John Ursua each sat out minicamp with hamstring issues but Ursua was said then to be out only for precautionary reasons and Jennings also may be back.
Who is where at the safety spots?
The safety position is also among the most wide open on the team, which, like the receiver spot, contains one sure thing -- Bradley McDougald is going to start somewhere.
McDougald, though, can play either strong or free safety, and Seattle’s task now is to find the best combination in the back end -- will it be McDougald at free and Delano Hill or rookie Marquise Blair at strong? Or McDougald at strong and Tedric Thompson at free?
And where will rookie Ugo Amadi fit in after being drafted with the initial thought that he would play free safety but then spending much of rookie minicamp playing the nickel?
It’ll take a while to sort all that out, and Seattle can be expected to try a few different combos until making any final decisions.