Premium Preview: Practice report from The Pit

The big stories this week at Seahawks Training Camp, of course, were the returns to the field by All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas and defensive tackle Jesse Williams. Neither participated in team drills on Thursday, however, where the real action was. During that time I focused on the battles at left guard and center.

In the coming days, you'll start to see a transition at SeahawkFootball.com, as some of the content will be available only to the most passionate and loyal of the 12s - to those wanting to be real insiders.

The following is the kind of peek into practices that SeahawkFootball.com insiders can expect. You can always ask questions in the forums for other features that you'd be interested in.

Thursday, August 6, 2015 Practice Report

The Seahawks broke into one-on-ones about 30 minutes into practice with the offensive and defensive linemen squaring off towards the south end zone and receiving drills between quarterbacks, receivers and corners going on closer to the VMAC.

The majority of the 2,500 fans probably focused on the skill position snaps but my undivided attention was spent on the big guys battling it out along the line of scrimmage. The football purist in me was certainly a factor but so too was the reality that 40% of Seattle's offensive line is unsettled.

For the first time I've seen during camp, veteran Lemuel Jeanpierre lined up with the ones, rather than Drew Nowak. Jeanpierre was flanked at left guard by the rookie Kristjan Sokoli, who in recent days had supplanted Alvin Bailey as the "starter."

Jeanpierre didn't just get the first snaps, he got the most snaps at the center position during the early one-on-one and team drills, generally doing a solid job. I asked Pete Carroll during his post-practice meeting with the media Sunday about the center position and he said that Jeanpierre would be the starter if the team had a game. Jeanpierre looked ready to do just that.

At left guard, Bailey had a significantly better showing in this drill than Sokoli, who has a tendency to drop his head on contact, leaving him vulnerable to swim moves. At other times, Sokoli keeps his head up but in doing so, stands to tall, causing him to lose the leverage battle and simply get drive backward on bull rushes. Sokoli was often brushed off by Seattle's defensive tackles during the team drills later, getting flat stuffed at one point by Brandon Mebane (who is playing very well, by the way). In short, Sokoli looks raw. Given the transition he's making as a former defensive tackle and the talent he's facing with the ones, that isn't surprising.

Bailey is just much more polished at this point. He showed power, balance and agility during one on one drills and during team drills pinned back D'Anthony Smith and later Michael Bennett on runs to the left that sprung for "touchdowns."

Sokoli has the athleticism and want-to that could make him a starter someday but I'd be stunned if Bailey isn't the starting left guard in Week One of the regular season, barring injury, of course.

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