Seahawks OTA Takeaways: Shaquill Griffin ready for bigger role, Chris Carson jumps out to Carroll
The Seahawks’ last day of OTAs Thursday felt a bit like a final exam – that’s how Pete Carroll described it, at least. Seattle’s head coach told reporters post-practice he’s expecting a very competitive offseason, but the media won’t get another look at this year’s squad until mandatory minicamp kicks off June 12 (a day Carroll expects veteran safety Earl Thomas to return).
In the meantime, here are a few takeaways from the final day of OTAs:
Shaquill Griffin is ready for a bigger role – on and off the field
Griffin is entering just his second year in the league, but with the departure of All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, he’s already preparing to play a bigger role on defense. Specifically, he’ll be transitioning to Sherman’s old left cornerback position – an “honor,” Griffin says – and hopes to play a bigger leadership role off the field as well.
It’s a big task for any 22-year-old, but Griffin is perhaps uniquely primed to step up. After all, Carroll and Sherman both praised Griffin’s performance and consistency last year at the right corner spot, where he earned the starting job as a rookie.
“His mentality about it was fine, he was wide open to it,” Carroll said of Griffin’s transition to the other side of the field. “So that’s most of it … he never balked at it at all and there’s no signs of anything at all that it’s going to be a problem.”
Thankfully, Griffin can still lean on Sherman, now with the 49ers, for help.
“Oh yeah, no doubt (I miss him),” Griffin said. “We still communicate. That’s the best part about Sherm. He’s so down to earth and he’s willing to help anybody… just being able to contact him and talk to him if I need help with anything, he’s like a brother to me. I’m glad I had that first year to be a part of his life and get a chance to play with him. That’s a brother I’ll always have.”
Is Griffin expecting teams to target him now that he’s in a new role?
“I’m hoping so.”
Chris Carson is “absolutely full steam”
710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard and Mike Salk have both mentioned running back Chris Carson as a player who just looks more impressive in his return this offseason, and Pete Carroll didn’t hesitate to praise Carson when asked the same question Thursday.
“What’s really jumped out is Chris Carson,” Carroll said. “Chris has looked incredible the whole entire offseason. He just looks so fit and so cut, and quick, and explosive, and all of that. He might be the guy, when you look at everybody, he’s the guy that jumps out in that regard.”
Carson is returning from a high ankle sprain and fracture that cut his rookie season short. He nearly made it back at the close of the regular season, but was sidelined again by a setback. This offseason, though, Carroll said Carson is “absolutely full steam.”
Carson told reporters he’s gained about 10 pounds of muscle through offseason training, training both in Washington and Texas. Changing his diet through the help of a nutritionist was also part of his program.
“I like to eat – hot wings are my favorite thing to eat, so I kind of cut back on that – and then just getting a nutritionist,” Carson said. “I meal prep, started doing that. And my nutritionist, he’s big on protein shakes and stuff like that. I wasn’t really big on it before him, but I got onto that and that really helped out.
“… The first couple days I was kind of tired, because I’m not used to running around with this weight, but after a while you feel a lot more solid.”