Can Seahawks be even better this season?
Seahawks receive their rings, and talk about what they have to do to repeat. In some ways, the team might be better off at this time than it was last year.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON – The Seahawks ended minicamp with a 90-minute workout in the sun Thursday, the last time they will be on the field until training camp begins July 25.
Fittingly, they celebrated their pending summer vacation with a party.
This was far from just any normal party, however, as players, coaches and other team officials headed to a private ceremony Thursday night where they were to receive their Super Bowl rings.
Quarterback Russell Wilson said the affair figured to be equal parts celebration and motivation.
“Tonight when we get that ring, and put that heavy ring on our finger and you realize that we actually won the Super Bowl, it makes you want to do it again,’’ Wilson said. “And that’s what we have, that’s the itch that we have — how we can do it again and how we can do it that much better.’’
As minicamp ended, there was a feeling around the team that for as good as the Seahawks were in 2013, they might be better now.
“I definitely believe we are way further ahead and it’s exciting,’’ Wilson said. “It’s something that you have an itch because you know how to do it at a very high level. And the best part about it is we can continue to do it better. There are a lot more ways that we can be better.’’
How can the Seahawks be better than the team that went 13-3 a year and raced through the playoffs before ultimately beating Denver 43-8 in the Super Bowl?
As minicamp ended, here were five possibilities:
1. An improved receiving group
It became evident quickly through OTAs and minicamp that the return of a healthy Percy Harvin and the addition of second-round pick Paul Richardson has given the Seahawks faster receivers than last season. The group also appears deeper, and likely simply better when factoring in the experience of Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, to name two.
“We have a really good track team right now,’’ coach Pete Carroll joked Thursday. “It is a really fast group, and it’s really exciting to see the guys catch the ball well, too. ... There is nothing like being fast and that kind of speed.’’
2. A deep defensive line
The Seahawks lost veteran ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant and tackle Clinton McDonald.
But the Seahawks signed veteran free agent Kevin Williams. And they are seeing the progress they hoped to from second-year players Benson Mayowa, Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill and rookie Cassius Marsh. They should be deep and versatile up front, again.
“I think the defensive line, depth-wise, is really good,’’ Carroll said.
3. Linebackers on the verge of a breakout
The Legion of Boom secondary, and to a lesser extent the line, tended to get most of the credit last season (Malcolm Smith’s Super Bowl MVP award a notable exception). But the linebacking group could become one of the best in the NFL. Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright — who each missed games last year due to injuries — are entering their prime, Smith is back, and young players such as Korey Toomer and Kevin Pierre-Louis add depth and athleticism.
4. Improved depth in the offensive backfield
Carroll says that the maturation of second-year tailback Christine Michael and a healthier Robert Turbin means “we have improved’’ at running back. Marshawn Lynch — assuming his contract situation doesn’t get too out of whack — will again be counted on to be the main force at tailback. But Seattle has other options.
5. Good overall health
It’s easy to forget some of the lingering health issues hanging over the team entering last season. On Thursday, Carroll said every player on the roster could be ready for the start of camp.
The two biggest questions are receiver Sidney Rice (knee) and linebacker Bruce Irvin (hip), each coming off surgeries. But each is at positions deeper than a year ago.
“I’m hoping that in a lot of areas we have improved some,’’ Carroll said.
If so, then the party might have just begun.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699
or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta