You might have a sore eye at the end of the day trying to keep track of DeShawn Shead on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice field.
With Kam Chancellor still out after offseason hip surgery, Shead has been pushed into action at three different positions the past two months — cornerback, free safety and strong safety — while also retaining his role as a tone-setter on special teams.
So how does he keep up with all of it? He became a sponge.
“I stay on top of it everyday. When the coaches are coaching the corners up in the meeting room, I listen to the coaching as if (defensive backs coach Kris Richard) was coaching me up,” Shead said. “When (Richard) is coaching the strong safeties up, I listen. Because you never know when I’ll be in at any one of those positions.”
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Shead played only 16 snaps on defense last season — half of which came in the Seahawks’ 35-point Super Bowl victory. But the third-year pro out of Portland State will have a prime opportunity to show what he’s learned when the Seahawks play a mock game at training camp practice Saturday and beyond that considering the departure of last season’s backup safety Chris Maragos.
Since the players weren’t in full pads in Friday’s walkthrough, Shead used his reps to help speed his mind up by seeing formations and routes.
“Today was a real good day,” Shead said. “We were focusing on resting our legs up for tomorrow. Real mental day just to be on our keys and on our landmarks.”
Chancellor participated in Friday’s workout, but Shead’s role won’t be diminished in the mock game. He will likely receive snaps at all three of his positions, but he’s mostly focused on the mental side — which he hopes will lead to big plays.
“(The mock game) is just to prove having no mental mistakes, doing my job,” Shead said. “(Richard) always harps on how there’s no real recipe to making plays except for doing your job and the plays will come to you.
“We knew it was coming up, so I’m excited to go out there and showcase my talent. But its just like any other day. I treat every day as if it was a gameday. Still got to stay on top of my keys and stay on top of my run fits, and things like that.”
While Shead has a refined work ethic off the field, he has a similar appetite for improving his ability on it by taking advantage of coaching.
“(Richard is) teaching me all the little things that I need to know, helping me with my technique, helping me with reading concepts and things like that,” he said.
He also hopes his progression on special teams will make him a standout next season.
“I plan to make an even bigger impact on special teams — trying to be one of the best in the NFL,” Shead said. “I’m learning everyday still at that, trying to get better everyday. It’s the little things that matter — technique, position, blocking, things like that.”
Shead might have a long way to go before replacing Pro-Bowlers in Chancellor or Earl Thomas. But he’s comfortable being in the position that he is.
“I feel a lot more comfortable than I have the past two years,” Shead said. “I’m feeling very comfortable at strong safety and corner, as well. Still learning everyday, getting better — there’s a lot to learn still.”