First-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba is ready to go at Lumen Field. (Photos by Ben Ray / Sound Publishing)

First-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba is ready to go at Lumen Field. (Photos by Ben Ray / Sound Publishing)

Seahawks host mock game at Lumen Field | Preseason football 2023

“It’s great to get back in front of our fans in front of Lumen,” said QB Geno Smith.

Seahawks fans watched and players played their first “game” on Aug. 4 at Lumen Field with the annual mock game — giving the players live reps before the preseason begins.

Fans were treated to up close and personal seats and even a chance at an autograph and souvenir after the game. Quarterback Geno Smith was excited to play in front of fans at Lumen again.

“I felt really good out there. It’s great to get back in front of our fans in front of Lumen. Just kind of get the feel of what the games are going to be like,” Smith said.

Smith led the first team offense against the second team defense, while Drew Lock led the second team offense against the first team defense. Smith found receivers DK Metcalf and rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba on the opening drive.

“It was really good. They felt being in the stadium. I saw Jaxon coming off the field for the first time and his eyes were huge. He said ‘I had no idea it was like this.’ It made a big impression on him,” Head Coach Pete Carroll said.

Seahawks QB Geno Smith looks at fans before the mock game. (Photos by Ben Ray / Sound Publishing)

Seahawks QB Geno Smith looks at fans before the mock game. (Photos by Ben Ray / Sound Publishing)

Jake Bobo was an undrafted wide receiver out of UCLA and made some great catches and even a touchdown in the final seconds of the game.

“Bobo is doing a great job,” Geno Smith said. “He was a guy who was just showing up on tape making plays, consistently a guy who knows his assignment. He’s got a lot of confidence and a lot of swag.”

Many Seahawks fans know and remember Super Bowl champion Michael Bennett. Coach Carroll had a comparison to a new Seahawk who reminds him of Bennett: Dre’Mont Jones.

“He has creativeness like Michael Bennett and we’ve kind of looked at him like that. The way he penetrates and takes advantage of guys gives him an edge,” Carroll said about his defensive lineman.

“He’s a dynamic player that we’re fired up about,” Carroll added.

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll going for a high-five with the defense. (Photos by Ben Ray / Sound Publishing)

Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll going for a high-five with the defense. (Photos by Ben Ray / Sound Publishing)

Now on the defensive side, one of the standout players in camp so far is second year linebacker Boye Mafe, whom Carroll can’t say enough about.

“It’s a night and day difference, he’ll be the first person to tell you … It’s so different. He’s putting together some really good stuff in terms of the pass rush. Just getting a game of his own, his style and the things he’s working on. He’s a good run defender, really tough runs, really well. So he’s doing everything well right now,” Carroll said.

Carroll has seen the same adjustments in his two tackles on the offensive line as well: Abe Lucas and Charles Cross.

“Their outlook on the game is entirely different. They were just surviving much of last year, scraping to get by. They thought they had all the answers, but they didn’t know any better. But now you can see how clear it has become to them in game,” Carroll said.

“Everything you can point at they feel a real advantage now, where they didn’t feel that last year,” he added.

Seahawks first-round pick Devon Witherspoon throws a football to a coach during warm-ups. (Photos by Ben Ray / Sound Publishing)

Seahawks first-round pick Devon Witherspoon throws a football to a coach during warm-ups. (Photos by Ben Ray / Sound Publishing)

It took a personal commitment from Mafe this season to work on his game and his understanding where he stands as a player. One thing that is different — he has a year of experience under his belt rather than having a lot to learn and remember as a rookie. In the mock game, he recorded a strip sack, one of two turnovers the defense created.

“Coming into a new team (last year), I didn’t really know what I was doing. This year I told myself this offseason, I was going to spend a lot of time understanding what my role is. Understanding how this defense works for me and what we’re trying to accomplish,” Mafe said.

If the Seahawks’ defense makes the jump they want to this season, Mafe could play a huge part. The Hawks take on the Minnesota Vikings Aug. 10 at home, with the toe to leather at 7 p.m.


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