Open competition is a hallmark of Pete Carroll's coaching philosophy, and nowhere is that on display more than training camp.
The Seattle Seahawks will take the field Sunday for the first time this summer. Here is a look at some of the bigger camp duels to keep an eye on.
Eddie Lacy vs. Thomas Rawls: Lacy is the favorite to be the team's featured back, but Rawls has a chance to make some noise with a strong summer. Rawls was fantastic as a rookie in 2015, piling up 830 yards and leading the league with a YPC average of 5.65. But last season he struggled through injuries and averaged just 3.20 YPC.
It's telling that the Seahawks aggressively pursued running backs in free agency, eventually landing Lacy. Both players will get touches, but how the workload is divided will be determined by how productive they are on the field.
C.J. Prosise will be the third-down back and figures to be a big factor in the passing game. If he can prove he's durable, Prosise could carve out an even bigger role than anticipated.
George Fant vs. Luke Joeckel: The coaches have gone out of their way to praise the work Fant has done this offseason. He was put in an impossible spot as a rookie, starting 10 games at left tackle after having not really played football since the eighth grade. Fant will have to show that he's improved significantly, but he's the favorite to start at left tackle.
The Seahawks signed Joeckel to a one-year, $8 million deal in the offseason. He'll compete at left tackle but seems more likely to fit in at left guard. Offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable said Joeckel played as well as any left guard in the NFL last season, even though he started only four games there.
Ethan Pocic vs. the right side of the OL: Pocic's versatility in college made him a favorite of the Seahawks' staff, and the 2017 second-round pick will get a chance to compete at both right guard and right tackle as a rookie. At the very least, he'll give Seattle a backup who can play multiple positions (including center). But Pocic could push right guard Mark Glowinski and right tackle Germain Ifedi for a starting job.
Jermaine Kearse vs. Tyler Lockett vs. Paul Richardson: The Seahawks are primarily an 11 personnel team (one RB, one TE, three WRs). But which three receivers will play the most snaps? One will be Doug Baldwin, but beyond that, nothing is certain. Kearse is coming off a down year. Lockett is trying to bounce back from a season-ending broken leg. And Richardson, who is entering the final year of his contract, will look to build on the momentum from the end of last season.
All of the active receivers generally rotate in, and if Lockett is healthy (or close to it), he'll definitely be one of the top three. But the Seahawks will use training camp and the preseason to figure out roles and playing time.
Jeremy Lane vs. Shaquill Griffin vs. Neiko Thorpe: The cornerback spot opposite Richard Sherman is up for grabs. DeShawn Shead started there last year and played well, but he's rehabbing from a knee injury and is unlikely to be ready at the start of the season. The most likely scenario is that Lane starts at right corner and shuffles inside in nickel, but he's coming off a down 2016 season.
According to Football Outsiders' charting, the Seahawks ranked 27th against wide receivers who lined up in the slot last year. That can't be blamed completely on Lane, but it backs up the eye test in regards to his play.
The coaches love Griffin, but he'll have to prove he can play the ball in the air and eliminate big plays down the sideline. Thorpe will have a chance to win the job as well.
Michael Wilhoite vs. Terence Garvin: Sam linebacker is probably the least significant position in the Seahawks' defense. Whoever wins this job will be on the field only on base downs and will be replaced in nickel coverage. Seattle signed both Wilhoite and Garvin in free agency, and one of them will replace Mike Morgan.
Blair Walsh vs. a new kicker: Seattle has pegged Walsh to replace Steven Hauschka, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency. But if Walsh looks shaky, the Seahawks could bring in competition. Meanwhile, there's a long-snapper duel between Nolan Frese and Tyler Ott.