The Seahawks are off the field from their walk-through practice indoors here at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton. It was like a Saturday in the regular season, with no helmets and just T-shirts and shorts.
Here are the quick highlights from what coach Pete Carroll said following it — and after he talked for about 10 minutes to Dick Motta, the former NBA coach who was the coach of the Washington Bullets when the SuperSonics beat them to win the 1979 NBA championship. Motta went on to coach the Dallas Mavericks in the 1980s (look it up, kids!):
–Get ready for Marshawn Lynch to get his first carries since the Super Bowl. Carroll said of tomorrow night, “It’s time for him to get some carries.” Lynch was in the backfield for only the first two plays and nothing more last week against San Diego; his only tangible contribution then was being faked to by Russell Wilson on a play-action pass.
The coach again praised his star running back for how good of shape he is, even after reporting a week late to camp following a short contract holdout that netted him an extra $1.5 million guaranteed for this season, to $6.5 million.
–Carroll is sounding like rookie Justin Britt will open the regular season as the starting right tackle, a job most assumed would be Eric Winston’s by now when the Seahawks signed the ninth-year veteran at the start of training camp.
“He’s been really solid. He’s making great strides to begin a legitimate starter,” Carroll said of Britt, the 6-foot-6, 325-pound, second-round draft pick from Missouri.
Offensive-line coach Tom Cable has been impressed with how quickly Britt is learning nuances of being an interior blocker, with all the calls and recognition of defensive fronts. To hear Cable tell it, Britt has rarely made the same mistake twice.
–Expect Kam Chancellor to make his exhibition-season debut tomorrow night. Carroll said his strong safety “is ready to play some football.”
–Carroll says LB Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and rookie WR Kevin Norwood (bone spur, foot) may get on the practice field next week.
–Bryan Walters’ momentum to become the Seahawks’ punt returner has come to a thudding stop. Carroll said Walters won’t play in tomorrow night’s third exhibition game against Chicago because of the sore ribs that have kept him watching practice with an electric-stimulation machine attached to his torso all week. Walters, the fifth-year pro and Ivy League’s career leader in punt-return yardage, got hurt while daringly returning punts into waves of oncoming Chargers last Friday.
Earl Thomas will again be the first man back returning punts tomorrow. Be that as it may, eh?
–Vote of confidence: Pete Carroll called running back Christine Michael “the most improved” Seahawk this preseason. Take that for what it may be worth. But, at a minimum, it’s not damning, despite Michael’s two fumbles within an eight-carry span over the first two exhibition games.
–Carroll deadpanned about the a few, shall I say, “skirmishes” in practices lately, such as Thomas vs Simon yesterday during stretching that I mentioned last night after KING-5 TV aired the footage.
“We are working on our retaliation skills,” Carroll said.
–It’s Last Chance Saloon time for Korey Toomer. The fifth-round draft choice from Idaho in 2012 has barely been on the field this preseason, back only this week, following a hamstring injury. “Time’s running out,” Carroll said. “More show than other guys, he’s got a lot to show.”
That sounds harsh, as if Toomer egged Carroll’s house last night. But what the coach is referring to is the fact the linebacker has been on injured-reserve for each of his first two seasons with the Seahawks, and this week just came off the preseason physically-unable-to-perform list. He’ll play tomorrow night — because he has to in order to have any flicker of hope of getting on even the practice squad for the regular season.
–DT Michael Brooks, signed off waivers last year from Detroit, had surgery today on his knee, Carroll said.
–The coach said undrafted rookie LB Horace Miller has a bad knee sprain and will be out for a while.
Here is the first couple minutes of Carroll today. He is standing next to Chase, a guest to practice today through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Carroll playfully consulted with Chase on a few personnel question, to get the kid’s opinion and then “relay” it to us:
And here is the transcript of Carroll’s entire Q/A today:
Head Coach Pete Carroll
August 21, 2014
(Opening) This is another great opportunity for us coming back to CenturyLink. We loved our week last week and the way the guys played and responded was really cool but that was last week so we’re really hoping that we can come back out and get it all revved up again one last time before the preseason is done here. We had a good week and so we’re ready to go.
(On what you need to see from the starters Friday night) We just want guys to play. We want them out there and have to get them more play time, just to get adapted to the new season again. As we stage it, this is the game they will play the most and so, other than that, its consistency. We like to see us come back out and play really good, smart football again. Take care of the ball like we always do. Just see if we keep growing.
(On how important it is for the offensive line to get some work together after getting some guys back) It is really important. It has been obvious on the practice field, just the language that they share, the communications, the sense for one another. It makes a big difference in this position, more than any other position in the game. It’s great to see it out there. If we get everybody out there soon, we will be good in this ball game. But we continue to practice together which is really good. But you’ll see who plays when we come tomorrow night.
(On how far Christine Michael has come and has left to go) I think he’s the most improved guy. I think he’s the most improved player on our team. I think he’s come a long ways, in so many ways. He just needs to keep playing and he needs to keep showing and competing. And that he’s growing as a football player and he’s explosive and his mind is in and he’s all over it and so we’re just anxious to keep bringing him along.
(On if details for Christine Michael are the big thing he needs to focus on) Yeah, there are details for everybody. He has some too. It’s just a general sense of getting comfortable with the game and what’s expected of him and all of that. He’s really been busting his tail to get it done.
(On how important it is to get Marshawn Lynch a few touches in the game tomorrow) How important? I don’t know if I can really label that. But it’s important. There is importance. Yeah, it’s time. It’s time for him to get some carries and get involved a little bit. Really, I could not be more pleased with the conditioning level that he’s had – the consistency of practice and his preparation has been great so he’ll be ready to go and I know he’s looking forward to that too.
(On if he will play the guys that are just coming back next week where he normally wouldn’t) Might we? We will find out.
(On how Malcolm Smith and Korey Toomer did this week) They did well. They like the way they practiced. They’re ready to play some football which is great.
(On Kam Chancellor) Kam Chancellor’s ready to play some football. He may get out there.
(On how important the next few weeks are for Korey Toomer) Time’s running out. We haven’t had a chance to see him. He had a really good off-season, but unfortunately he just has not had enough back-to-back time to really establish where he is on the roster and all of that. So more than some other guys, he has a lot to show. Hopefully, he’ll get some good opportunities.
(On what you’ve seen from Earl Thomas at punt returner) Well, we’ve just seen a little bit. He’s practice really hard at it. A bunch of guys have. We’re ready to do whatever we need to do. He’ll get out there first again in this game and hopefully he’ll get a couple shots.
(On Bryan Walters playing tomorrow) It doesn’t look like it. We’re going to hold him out.
(On Jimmy Staten injury status) It’s really up to the rehab guys. He’s working hard, he’s making progress. We’re just hoping that he can get back out next week so he can get some play time. It’s going to be kind of a race to get there. It’s been really unfortunate. He just hasn’t had the chance yet. He did really well, came in great, just showed some glimpses of what he could be and then hopefully we’ll get him some play time.
(On Kevin Norwood) He’s progressing really well. He feels great. Next week is the week that possibly he can get back going again. It’s going to be, again, it’s kind of like Jimmy [Staten], it’s a race to get him back out there. The week will be short again.
(On Kevin Norwood’s injury status and him playing next week) We’ll see. We are hoping that. We are really aiming for the next week, if we can get him out the week after that. And if we can get him out the week we will go for it. He’s getting real close, he has had no setbacks. He’s flying around the field so it’s just a matter if it’s the right days and we will see how each day goes back-to-back well and we will see what happens.
(On how Justin Britt is progressing) Really solid, his progress has been really solid. He’s making great strides to be a legitimate starter. I’ve said before it’s all in his makeup that really kind of substantiates that he’s able to do this and handle this so it’s gone great so far.
(On the scrimmages and practice this week) We are working on our retaliation skills.
(On Horace Miller and Michael Brooks) Yeah, Michael Brooks is going to get operated on. I think that’s happening today and Horace, it’s awhile to get back. He’s got a pretty big knee strain. He’s still on crutches and all.
(On if Bobby Wagner can get back next week) We are hoping so.