Seahawks notebook: Pair of defensive standouts plus injury updates
The Seahawks were back at it Sunday following a day off, and head coach Pete Carroll said there is a different focus for the team now that the first preseason game is behind them.
“We’re trying to clean a lot of things up here, now that we’re out of game week,” said Carroll, whose Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 22-14 last Thursday. “We’re not preparing for anybody now. We want to make sure to go back to the scheme, go back to the techniques that we’re counting on. We’re not experimenting much right now, we’re really working on honing some things in and making sure it’s really sharp. Stuff that won’t apply to the next couple of game plans but stuff for the season. So, It’s just really important that we come out of here with a lot of confidence in what we’re doing and what we believe in.”
In a practice heavy with red zone drills, the offense was not quite as dominant as we’ve seen in recent weeks. With backup quarterback candidate Geno Smith sidelined after surgery to remove a cyst on his knee and newly-signed QB J.T. Barrett suited up but not ready to practice, Russell Wilson and Paxton Lynch took all of the snaps.
The Seahawks amped up the realism by piping in crowd noise on top of music during red zone drills. Wilson connected on some short touchdowns to Malik Turner, Keenan Reynolds, DK Metcalf and Chris Carson, but wide receiver David Moore impressed the most when he battled safety Bradley McDougald for a jump ball at the goal line and won. Wilson also had some nice deep connections with tight end Nick Vannett and wide receiver Jaron Brown but there were some struggles for Wilson Sunday.
Linebacker Mychal Kendricks had what would have been a sack in a game, causing Wilson to sail an end zone pass over tight end Will Dissly’s head. Safety Shalom Luani picked off a pass attempt to WR Gary Jennings in the end zone, and cornerback Jamar Taylor broke up another TD attempt to wide receiver Terry Wright. Taylor almost had a second interception but dropped a Paxton Lynch pass meant for Turner. Lynch did end up getting caught under-throwing a deep ball later. Defensive back DeShawn Shead tipped it and safety Marquise Blair picked it off.
Overall, it was a good day for the defense and Taylor in particular. A veteran cornerback who the Seahawks picked up in free agency this offseason, Taylor is one of the candidates to fill Justin Coleman’s nickel role in the Seahawks’ defense. After practice, Pete Carroll addressed how that competition is playing out so far.
“It’s ongoing. Kalan Reed did a nice job in the game (against the Broncos). Ugo Amadi did a nice job in the game too in the plays that he had, and we know that Jamar Taylor and also Akeem King can play in there,” Carroll said. “So we’ve got four guys (competing for the nickel cornerback role), it’s kind of hard to get the reps right, right now. Kalan Reed’s done a really nice overall job right now, run- (and) pass-coverage-wise. He’s done all of that stuff well enough that he can hold onto the spot going into the week but it’s just up for grabs and those guys will be rotating evenly throughout.”
Another player who stood out to Carroll on Sunday was defensive end Rasheem Green, who got some good pressure and had a sack… the closest thing to it in a practice. Green appears to have stepped it up since missing some time with an elbow injury last week.
“He’s popping out now,” Carroll said. “He flashed in the game really nicely, had a nice day again at practice, had a couple good days last week too. It’s exciting – we need him to be a factor, to play end for sure on early downs and to be an inside rusher would be really something, and he’s competing to be on the first rush group. It’s good to see him showing up.”
The newest backup QB candidate
Pete Carroll was asked about the addition of Barrett.
“J.T.’s a guy we’ve always been aware of and we’ve watched him and known that he’s out there and looked for opportunities to maybe give it a shot. Right now, not knowing what’s going to happen with Geno for this week, we needed insurance going through the week and into the game as well. We’ll see what happens. He’s played in the big time, he’s a leader, he’s real smart, he’s got a strong enough arm. I just like his kind of guy that he is, you know, he’s a QB and so he’ll jump in there and see what he can do and we’ll check him out.”
Here are several updates Carroll had from practice:
• OT George Fant will miss a few weeks with a sprained ankle suffered against the Broncos, but Carroll said the team hopes he will be able to play in the regular season opener on Sept. 8.
• RB Bo Scarbrough was a full participant after bruising his hand in Thursday’s game.
• QB Geno Smith, who had surgery to remove a cyst on his knee, is recovering nicely, Carroll said. “Well, he’s out here moving around already so the next day he was OK. This wasn’t a ligament or cartilage repair, this was something else. They had a little cyst in there that they had to work out. They got it so his recovery should be… could be before the next game, which is great, we’ll see. That’s probably pushing it but he’s determined to come back and play against Minnesota.”
• RB J.D. McKissic (foot) and RB C.J. Prosise (hip) remained out. “McKissic is day to day, just about ready to get back out there,” Carroll said. Regarding Prosise, Carroll said “we’ve got to make sure and clear this strain that C.J. has in his hip, but both those guys have a chance to play in the game.”
• TE Jacob Hollister (groin): “We think Jake has a chance for the game as well,” Carroll said. “He is not as day to day, probably won’t get work the next couple of days.”
• LB Shaquem Griffin sat out practice for the first time Sunday. Carroll said Griffin bruised his knee Thursday. “We’ve just got to hold him out, he’s not quite ready to come back yet.”
• WR Amara Darboh also sat out Sunday. Carroll did not specify an injury but said, “He’s just about ready to go, he’s running fast and all that stuff. He has a chance to get out one of these two days coming up.”