The Seattle Seahawks opened training camp without Marshawn Lynch for the first time since 2010 last month and while they have a #BeastMode-sized gap to fill at running back, having Russell Wilson, Pete Carroll on the sidelines and that very nasty defense means never having to lower your Super Bowl expectations.

Russell Wilson (and Ciara) might get the headlines but Seattle is still living large based off that python defense they have. Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Brandon Browner are still lurking in the secondary as a multi-headed beast giving wide receivers nightmares and that defensive front is still anchored by the monstrous Cliff Avril and havoc-wreaking Michael Bennett. Seattle’s defense was #1 or #2 in most significant categories last season and somehow only allowed 81.5 rushing yards/game for the entire regular season. And that’s no outlier, over the past three seasons Seattle has been in the top five for total defense, pass defense and rushing defense. This is a vicious, veteran-heavy unit that takes an uncommon pride in their work. Worried about complacency slowing this group down? Not on Michael Bennett’s watch. 

That’s right, as Bennett explained to our own NFL Radio in the above clip, he’s hungry for more and has been studying his own weaknesses while also reviewing the game tapes of JJ Watt and Von Miller.

Camp Talk

Russell Wilson has further cemented himself as the leader of this squad and has spent the offseason taking care of his body, staying in shape, and ensuring that his longevity and health has as much to do with toughness as anything else.

The Seahawks are Russell Wilson’s team now and with the departure of Lynch’s highly respected presence in the locker room, Seattle will need Wilson to tap into his leadership on the field and in the clubhouse.

Fantasy Sleepers + Studs

Stud: Russell Wilson is a great dual-threat quarterback who will get you touchdowns and yardage through the air and on the ground. His wide receivers are constantly slept on and Jimmy Graham’s coming back hopefully at full strength. With Lynch gone and the team seemingly still figuring out if it’s gonna go with Thomas Rawls or an RBBC approach, count on Wilson to be throwing early and often in the first quarter of the season.

Sleeper: Take your pick of any of these purported “sleepers”: Jimmy Graham, Tyler Lockette, Doug Baldwin or Thomas Rawls. They’re all somewhat proven commodities who fantasy types keep ignoring or under-valuing. With Russell Wilson leading this offense they’re all solid bets.

Catch all 32 NFL training camps on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Channel 88.

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