Seahawks Insider

Carroll on Okung: “Not nearly as bad as it looked’

Post by Eric Williams on Aug. 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm with 21 Comments »
August 13, 2011 6:13 pm

Looks like the Seattle Seahawks are cautiously optimistic on the Russell Okung front.

Head coach Pete Carroll said the second-year offensive tackle’s injury is not a severe as first thought, and that the hope is to have him back on the field in a couple weeks.

Okung watched practice in a jersey and shorts from the sidelines this afternoon, with Tyler Polumbus working with the first unit in his spot at left tackle.

“Russell’s not nearly as bad as it looked,” Carroll said. “He’s walking around fine. He’s not in a boot. We’re not talking about how long yet, but it’s nothing like the ones he’s had. And so I don’t know if we can call it mild or not, but he was out walking around. And he’s moving, and doing the toe raises and stuff. So he’s way more active than he was at any time early in the other ankle injuries that he had. So we’re feeling pretty positive that something’s going to come out, and within the next couple weeks we’ll be in pretty good shape.”

So will he be ready to for the regular-season opener on Sept. 11 at San Francisco?

“Yeah, it is conceivable that that could happen,” Carroll said. “And we’ve already been talking that way.”

And does it help that he’s had high-ankle sprains before?

“Maybe so,” Carroll said. “Let’s just see how it goes. He does have the knowledge of what it took to get back. But the time frame we dealt with last time is not the time frame we want to deal with this time. We want to get back a lot quicker. So he’ll know what it’s like to feel when it’s starting to return I’m sure. So hopefully that will help him.”

Injury report: Several players missed practice today, including DT Jay Alford (unknown), Okung (ankle), DT Ryan Sims (knee), CB Byron Maxwell (sprained toe), WR Chris Carter (unknown), CB Roy Lewis (knee), WR Deon Butler (leg), TE Cameron Morrah (toe) and DT Colin Cole (ankle).

Defensive ends Red Bryant (knee) and Chris Clemons (ankle) returned to practice, but Bryant was limited to individual drills. DE Kentwan Balmer (neck stinger) also returned, but was limited to individual drills.

Receiver Mike Williams (toe) also was limited to individual drills, along with Justin Forsett (stiff neck). Sidney Rice (shoulder) and Ben Obomanu (shoulder) were both full go.

Carroll said he’s taking his time with Bryant and Williams because he wants to make sure they can play on Saturday against Minnesota.

“We just want to get him back on the practice field. He got through all the individual stuff and did fine. We’re going to try and not rush any of the guys coming back. Clem got a little bit of work for the first time. We’re just going to happy to get them on the field and get them working again, and so that’s kind of where it is with Red. And we’ll see how he handles the workload, and see if he can take it.

“It’s more about what happens tomorrow after working today.”

QB Competition back on?

Carroll anointed Tarvaris Jackson the starter when training camp start, but he lavished praise on Charlie Whitehurst after practice on Saturday, noting the fact that the backup quarterback is always the most popular choice with fans.

“Backup quarterback is always considered really highly until he has to play,” Carroll said. “And fortunately for Charlie he did some good stuff. He won the division game we needed against the Rams and did some good things. Charlie is having an excellent camp. He benefited from the early work, where he got all of those reps. And really since Tarvaris has come here, he has done nothing but get better.”

Carroll went on to say that Whitehurst is playing with confidence and picking up the offense faster than he thought he would.

“The competition I thought would take a month or something, or six weeks or something, but it’s really come on a little sooner,” Carroll said. “And so it’s great to have a couple guys who can play. And they feel Josh Portis, too. Those guys know that Josh Portis can make some things happen.”

So the next logical question is, has Carroll moved up the timetable on the competition between Tarvaris Jackson and Whitehurst?

“No, not yet,” Carroll said. “I’m sticking to where we said we were from the beginning. Tarvaris has done nothing but good stuff, and he’s only practiced six days now. So let’s give him a couple of weeks to give him his offense and his personnel in mind, and who he’s playing with and all that stuff.”

DE Wilkerson fits in

Free agent pickup defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson was one of the players who stood out defensively for Seattle against San Diego on Thursday.

The 30-year-old finished with a sack, consistently applying pressure when in the game. The Seahawks like Wilkerson’s ability to play both defensive end and defensive tackle in passing situations.

“Jimmy brings experience,” Carroll said. “He brings versatility. He has good history in the scheme and the principles. Of course Todd knows him real well. I think with a bunch of guys coming together, Jimmy’s a real settling force for us. He’s been out there, and he’s played in a lot of football games. And he came off and played really well the first time out.

“He had an injury a little bit ago, and last year recovered and made it back. This year he looks quicker and stronger than he did a year ago even. So we think we got him at a really good time, and we’re very fortunate to have him.

Notes from practice
Leave a comment Comments → 21
  1. raymaines says:

    Only the most optimistic guy in the world could say something like this:

    And does it help that he’s had high-ankle sprains before?

    “Maybe so,” Carroll said. “Let’s just see how it goes. He does have the knowledge of what it took to get back…”

    Normal people are starting to think Okung has glass ankles and the ‘Hawks should draft another left tackle next year, but PC thinks it’s an advantage to have been through this before. It’s no wonder he could recruit so well. He is exactly the person I would want as the head coach of my favorite football team, but I’m glad he’s not my next door neighbor. All of that super positive mojo makes me feel like excusing myself to go get a drink.

  2. Taking a different perspective, even though that particular ankle also had a sprain last year… there was nothing else for the rest of the season on it. Sure, he played through some pain, I guess, but it’s not he was reinjuring the same one. I’m not gonna lie and say I’m not concerned about those ankles though.

  3. edstang45 says:

    Love your post raymaines, made me laugh!!!!!!!.. “but I’m glad he’s not my next door neighbor. All of that super positive mojo makes me feel like excusing myself to go get a drink.” ………your a real asshole and now my favorite poster!!! keep it commin I like your thinkin
    ……excuse me now I need a drink

  4. Soggybuc says:

    “Charlie is having an excellent camp. He benefited from the early work, where he got all of those reps. And really since Tarvaris has come here, he has done nothing but get better.”

    So in coach speak translation: OMFG did we screw this one up!!, sorry guys we will stick a fork in our eye before we ever go after another teams reject like we did here.

  5. That’s funny, raymaines, but I think Carroll simply meant that Russell learned last year how to rehab an ankle, and so there’s more confidence in him now that he’s proved himself.

    People have been saying Russell Okung is “fragile” or has “glass ankles” must not know this player’s history: Okung never missed a college game due to injury. 47 straight starts, 39 at LT. He started and won a bowl game with a sprained knee. He started 10 pro games in pain with sprained ankles, and led his offensive line in most of those games. He’s proved he can play well when in pain. That gives me all the more confidence in him.

  6. Non contact, didn’t turn the ankle.
    Carroll: “Russell’s not as bad as first thought.”
    How bad was it suppose to be?
    I know unexplained things can happen like Cincy DL Krumrie broke his leg running in the SB.
    Kids from my youth grew to fast causing knee and joint toubles.

  7. Dukeshire says:

    excile – My thoughts exactly. lol. Non-contact that didn’t roll has him out for “a couple of weeks”? That’s much worse than it looked, to me. It’s “conceivable” he could play in the opener? great… (sigh)

    Eric, agreed about Wilkerson. Very active and disruptive.

  8. Wondering if they can come up with some sort of ankle brace, to minimize the chances of this recurring?

  9. I’m sending Russel a couple rolls of duct tape for each ankle to get him through the season. I suggest you all do the same.

  10. williambryan says:

    If the next time Okung takes the field, and isn’t wearing a heavy duty ankle brace/tape, I will be very dissapointed.

  11. piperfeltcher says:

    Seen some bad non contact injuries including a couple of blown achillis injuries. I thought Whitehurst looked a lot more comfortable in the pocket then last year he was setting his feet before throwing which he did not always do last year. Hard to judge T. Jack after a weeks practise and I doubt he spent a lot of time working with the WR’s who played.


    Mr. Happy said that resigning Matt was his number #1 off-season priority right after last season ended.

    Bevell called Matt when they had that open window around the draft. They were still interested.

    The new CBA was announced with only 4 years to UFA status. There’s really no way they were going to give Matt a 2-year deal especially now (and I know they were reluctant before) because Matt Flynn will be signed next off-season to take over the keys to this franchise. Just like the Green Bay QB named Matt before him (as Holmgren had been in GB when Hasselbeck was drafted and Schneider was in GB when Flynn was, too).

    Unless Jackson makes sure we end up with the #1 pick and we get Luck.

    My prediction (didn’t really think about it as much until the guy mentioned it on the blog yesterday about Flynn) is that we’ll have a Matt back as our QB next year.

  13. guiltybystander says:

    When it comes to Okung, I’ll believe it when I see it. He seems to be an injury magnet. The name Chris McIntosh is starting to creep into my mind more and more. Okung has the ability and attitude to be an outstanding guard in the NFL, but the man has to stay healthy.

    As for the “QB Controversy” (such as it is), it WAS foolish for Carroll to name Jackson as the starter so early. This is a guy who’s thrown for 3,866 yards and 24 touchdowns in FIVE seasons, and couldn’t get it done when he was a starter for the Vikings in 2007. I’m not sold on Whitehurst, either, but did Paul Allen really agree to sign $8 million worth of paychecks for two years so he could hold a clipboard on the sidelines?

    I think the guy to really watch may be Josh Portis. I’m totally unimpressed with the guy off the field, if his Wikipedia page is at all accurate, but Portis is the best pure athlete at QB the Hawks have had since Seneca Wallace. Seattle will have a very good O-line in the future, but for now they’re still awfully young (although bringing in Gallery was a master stroke) and they’ll have a hard time maintaining the pocket until they gain a little experience…offensive line is a very tough position to learn in the NFL.

    It never hurts to have a QB that can run out of trouble and keep a play alive when the pocket collapses. Portis seems to have the ability to do that and keep his wits about him. Jackson can run, too, but I’m not convinced he does well under that kind of pressure. Whitehurst? He’s in trouble the moment the pocket goes bye-bye.

    In the end, I think the Hawks are watching the waiver wire very closely because if they really ARE committed to Jackson, they’ll want to get rid of Charlie’s contract and that can’t do that unless they find a vet willing to sign at well below $8 million for the year.

  14. Dukeshire says:

    Bobby – Like we mentioned last night, I think if Seattle (Schneider) is genuinely interested in Flynn, they ought to try and trade for him. There are 6, maybe 7 teams including Seattle in need of a “franchise” QB, he’ll be in high demand and very expensive. Although having Schneider here (presuming they have a positive relationship) may help. And Carroll did say on Softy’s show after the season, that while he values draft picks, he’s not opposed to trading them (even multiple, including a 1st) for someone he considers a potential franchise QB.

  15. Frankly to me when I re-watched the game I was very unimpressed with Jackson. I know he’s only had 6 days of practice before the game, but his biggest issue to me seemed to be his field vision. He just didn;t seem to have the ability to move AND keep his vision down field. He held the ball WAY too long on at least two occasions, maybe more. He was terrible looking off defenders and coming back to other receives. His progressions were simply not there. He had one little crossing pattern toss where he completely stared down his receiver the entire time. The ENTIRE time, from the moment the receiver broke right to left, he stared him down all the way across. Amazing it was completed and I laughed when Jaws complimented him on it. I’m of the belief that Jackson’s inert abilities just are not there. Practice or no practice.

    Charlie looked MUCH sharper in terms of his vision of the field. On at least three occassions he went through his progressions, looked off a defender and CAME BACK to a receiver earlier in the progression. Very typical of your better QB’s in this game. And his accuracy, while it was only fair on a couple tosses, was very good on most.

    Personally if Jackson improves significantly I will be surprised, yet I suspect we will see Charlie continue to improve. I know it’s still early but it is what it is and that’s my opinion, right or wrong. :)

    And oh yeah…Protis looked lost his first few plays, but once his instinct kicked in he looked pretty decent. Had very good downfield vision while scrambling. Granted against 3rd and 4th stringers, but I think he earned some time with the 2nd unit next week.

  16. Err…someday I will learn to type. “Portis” not “Protis”. :)

  17. Duke – agreed.

  18. Concerning some of this mobility stuff…

    Perhaps the most mobile QB I have ever seen in person was Dan Marino. Man, I was stunned when I saw him get around in the pocket. I had no idea. I know some people were talking about this yesterday or the day before (Brock had mentioned it, too), but I think too many people take an athlete like Jackson and talk about his mobility and don’t take into consideration that he has no mobility or presence in the pocket (where QBs need it the most). Sure, he can get out and run like crazy, where Marino never could, but there’s a lot more to it that what, seemingly, meets the eye. Brady is good in the pocket as well. I saw him a few years back as well, but he was no Marino with respect to his quick feet and ability to make defenders miss while eluding the rush.

  19. Dukeshire says:

    Good point, Bobby. People do generally think straight line speed in reference to mobility. But as you say, it can also be the matter of quickly sliding a foot or two inside a chaotic pocket. Grossly undervalued.

  20. I think the best QB right now in terms of buying time, while not being a threat to run downfield is Roethlisberger. And I agree with you guys, it’s a huge asset for a QB.

    Great to hear this news about Okung. If he’s walking around, etc., it doesn’t seem like a four-week injury.

    And w/r/t Flynn, after the way CW has worked out, you think we’d look at another back-up QB over picking one early in the draft? I guess in this case Schneider would certainly know him better.

  21. wabubba67 says:

    Okung stretched out the ligaments in both of his ankles last year. As a result he will be vulnerable to re-injury until those ligaments completely retract (probably about 12-18 months from now).

    He is not “injury prone”, he is vulnerable to one specific type of injury in the short term. In the long term, he should be fine….get him the best ankle braces money can buy and two terrific tape jobs whenever he takes the field.

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