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Seahawks enter life without Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner as offseason workout program begins

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, right, shakes hands with Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Glendale, Ariz.   (Associated Press)
Bob Condotta Seattle Times

The Seahawks won’t truly know what life will be like without quarterback Russell Wilson until regular-season games are played in September.

But they’ll get a feel for it when they begin their official offseason workout program — the first time the Seahawks will gather as a full team without Wilson since he was drafted in the spring of 2012.

Players will start arriving Monday for the start of the nine-week workout program that begins Tuesday.

The first two weeks of the program consist of meetings, strength/conditioning and physical rehabilitation, per NFL rules.

The next three weeks can include on-field workouts that feature individual or group instruction and drills, but with no live contact and no offense-vs.-defense drills.

Beginning May 23 the Seahawks will hold the first of 10 OTAs, or organized team activities, in which they can work seven-on-seven, nine-on-nine and 11-on-11 with offense against defense but with no live contact.

The program concludes with a minicamp June 14-16.

Everything except the minicamp is voluntary.

But with a new defensive coordinator in Clint Hurtt and a remade defensive staff, and with some significant changes to the offensive staff and a wide-open battle at quarterback, the Seahawks undoubtedly are hoping for close to 100% attendance.

Receiver DK Metcalf is expected to be among those participating. There has been much discussion of Metcalf’s future with the team now that he is eligible for a contract extension. But there are no indications that he would not show up for the program, as some players aiming for new deals have done.

Coach Pete Carroll indicated after the end of the 2021 season he was hoping for full participation after two years in which the offseason program had been altered due to COVID-19.

In 2020 all of it was held virtually with no on-field drills until training camp.

Last season, more than 40 veterans — including Wilson — skipped much of the early portion of the program due to COVID-19 concerns before showing up for the final week of OTAs and then the minicamp. Mostly only rookies and young players took part early on.

That cost the team some valuable time in learning its new offensive system under first-year coordinator Shane Waldron.

“I mentioned that to the guys today before we got out of here,” Carroll said two days after the end of the 2021 season. “We kind of did the bare minimum during the last year in terms of opportunities to get together. Let’s revisit that, what the criteria is, what’s going on. … I asked the guys to really be in communication, and let’s make a really good run at understanding what is available. Thinking of that, we know that it will help.

“We know it’s better for guys, particularly the young guys, to get fitted into the new systems. It’s better for them to be practicing with guys that know what’s going on than just practice with rookies, like we did (in 2021). We’ll see what happens.”

And certainly, there is much work to do.

The defense will begin learning the tweaks expected to be implemented by Hurtt, new defensive-passing-game coordinator Karl Scott and associate head coach for defense Sean Desai, specifically more use of a 3-4 front.

Seattle also has a new offensive-line coach in Andy Dickerson, who a year ago was the run-game coordinator, as well as a new passing-game coordinator in Sanjay Lal and a new run-game coordinator in Chad Morton.

The Seahawks will also look for new leaders to emerge.

Wilson was the offensive team captain the past nine years, as voted by teammates, and linebacker Bobby Wagner — who was drafted the same year as Wilson and released the same day Wilson was traded — was a defensive team captain or co-captain six of the past seven years.

Once the Seahawks hit the field for drills they will also begin to get their first look at Drew Lock — acquired by Seattle from Denver in the Wilson trade and now competing with veteran Geno Smith for starting QB job. By the time on-field drills begin the Seahawks may also have another QB to add to that mix, acquired through the draft or elsewhere.

The departures of Wilson and Wagner have fed the idea that the Seahawks are starting over.

But Carroll has insisted the team’s approach will be no different from any other year, with the goal to win now.

Veteran defensive tackle Al Woods this week echoed that thought, saying he has the same confidence that Seattle can be competitive without Wilson and Wagner.

“Just the culture we have,” Woods said. “The culture we have is a winning culture. Us being competitive at practice. It’s not going to be the same group of starters. However, everybody has got to go out there and compete. The best players are going to play. I feel like once we get out there and we start — the camaraderie, the togetherness — and start working with each other — iron sharpens iron. I think we’re going to be all right.”