The Seattle Seahawks open training camp on July 31 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Washington. Here's a closer look at the Seahawks camp, which wraps up on Aug. 19.
Top storyline: All eyes are on whether the Seahawks can become the first team in the salary-cap era to reach the Super Bowl in three consecutive seasons, and only the third team in history to do so. Miami played in three consecutive Super Bowls (VI, VII, VIII) and won two. Buffalo made it in four consecutive seasons (Super Bowls XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII), losing all four. If Seattle reaches Super Bowl 50, it will become the first team to play in at least three in a row in 22 years. The question everyone will ask is whether the Seahawks can overcome the heartbreaking loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. The other story entering camp is the fact quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks have not agreed to a new deal. Wilson wants a contract that would make him, for now, the highest-paid player in the game. The Seahawks haven't given any indication they would do so, which leaves the two sides at a surprising impasse.
Position battle to watch: Who will win the job as the starting center? Tight end Jimmy Graham was well worth it in the offseason trade that brought him to Seattle, but there was a price to pay. The Seahawks sent former Pro Bowl center Max Unger to the New Orleans Saints to acquire Graham. Now they have to find the right man to fill the void and there will be an open competition entering training camp. Four players are vying for the spot. The leading contender is veteran lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre, but it's far from a done deal. Patrick Lewis, who started four games toward the end of last season, also is in the running, but the surprise candidate for the job is Drew Nowak, a former college defensive lineman who has yet to play a down in an NFL game. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said they are giving Nowak a real look. Carroll added the center position is the one to watch through the preseason, saying it will be as competitive as any spot they have. Rookie Kristjan Sokoli, a nose tackle in college, also is part of the competition. The man who wins the job has big shoes to fill to help keep the Seahawks the best running team in football.
Veterans to watch: Everyone will be watching Graham to see how he fits into the offense and how much Wilson targets him. Graham made quite an impression in organized team activities with several red zone TD catches. That's what they hope he brings to the table. And fans will want to see if defensive end Michael Bennett shows up on the first day of camp. Bennett is unhappy with his contract and has hinted he might skip part of camp. Free safety Earl Thomas is coming off shoulder surgery and did not participate in team drills during OTAs. Neither did nose tackle Brandon Mebane, who missed the second half of last season with a torn hamstring. How much each player participates at the start of camp will be interesting to see.
Rookies to watch: Wide receiver/kick returner Tyler Lockett was the most impressive rookie in OTAs, but now everyone gets to see him in action on returns in preseason games. Defensive end Frank Clark, the controversial second-round pick by the Seahawks, will be under a microscope to prove he was worth all the criticism the organization endured by selecting a player who was kicked off the team at Michigan over a domestic violence issue.
Bubble watch: Running back Christine Michael, a former second-round pick who is starting his third season, may need to fight to keep his roster spot against rookie Thomas Rawls of Central Michigan. In addition, the Seahawks have 10 defensive ends in camp and they probably won't keep more than five. That could mean trouble for Greg Scruggs, Demarcus Dobbs and David King.
Offensive line must step up: No quarterback has been under more duress the past two seasons than Wilson, which shows how valuable his scrambling ability is and his instincts to make plays on the run. Now the team will have a new center (a player who may or may not be up to Unger's quality level), a new left guard (probably Alvin Bailey) and a starting tight end in Graham who isn't known for his blocking skills. Left tackle Russell Okung needs to show he can stay healthy and return to his Pro Bowl form of three years ago. Right tackle Justin Britt, who started every regular-season game as a rookie last season, must continue to improve and eliminate some of those rookie mistakes. The Seahawks drafted three offensive linemen in Mark Glowinski, Terry Poole and Kristjan Sokoli (a converted nose tackle) in hopes of adding depth and finding a solution to some of the unit's pass-blocking woes.
For daily updates at camp, check out the Seattle Seahawks' clubhouse page.