For the first time since 2011, the Seattle Seahawks start their organized team activities (OTA's) without Marshawn Lynch. Of course Beast Mode has all but filed his retirement paperwork, but that is not the only storyline heading into these OTA's.
Usually at this time of the offseason we are used to welcoming and needing to learn new names and faces. However this year the Seahawks have some familiarity with at least a couple of the "new" faces in town for OTA's. Coming to compete for a pass rushing spot is former former Seahawk defensive end Chris Clemons. With Bruce Irvin now making Oakland home, Clemons is slotted to be battling Mike Morgan and Cassius Marsh for the SAM linebacker position in Seattle's base defense.
Another new-ish face around the VMAC is original LOB member Brandon Browner. With Browner's arrival comes a little wrinkle in Pete Carroll's defense. Carroll is reported to have a hybrid safety/nickleback position in mind for Browner, which is rumored to be a signal for a new base defense. With no draft picks or free agent money spent on an Irvin replacement, it has been whispered that this safety/nickle hybrid will replace the SAM linebacker, leaving just Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright out there.
OTA's also presents a chance to check on the status of two of the offense's most important pieces, Thomas Rawls and Jimmy Graham. Rawls is recovering from a broken ankle and Graham a torn patella tendon, neither is likely to participate in anything remotely strenuous if at all, but we should see first hand what their "positive recovery process" is looking like.
For a second straight year, the offensive line with be watched heavily, as no one is convinced this is a strong point for this team. And for the second straight year center is up for grabs. Surprising when you consider that Patrick Lewis has starting experience, and stabilized the line when he was finally inserted into the starting lineup to replace Drew Nowak. Gary Gilliam looks to be tabbed to protect Russell Wilson's blindside, a job as important as any on the field.
Michael Bennett likely will not be in attendance, unhappy with his contract. Although he has definitively stated that he will not miss any of training camp in the very likely event his contract is not amended. He has two years remaining on his current deal signed after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl.
OTA's, yet another talking point for sports shows to keep the NFL relevant even when they're not playing. They're not even in the real preseason, but it's still oddly exciting despite the fact.