MAURA DOOLEY

Seahawks Insider: Injury updates, what stands out from camp

Aug 7, 2023, 1:04 PM

Seattle Seahawks Boye Mafe...

Boye Mafe of the Seattle Seahawks looks to tackle the Bears' Trestan Ebner in the 2022 preseason. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks took the field Sunday for the first time since Friday’s mock game, and there were good updates on the injury front, some familiar faces coaching up the D-line and some news from Pete Carroll on the center competition.

First up, the injuries.

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Rookie running back Zach Charbonnet was back at practice Sunday after missing time with a shoulder injury. He looked very comfortable while catching passes at full speed, but Carroll said they are still easing him back in.

“He did really well today,” Carroll said. “He was still limited in his numbers of reps but he did full-speed stuff for us, so he’ll be back for the rest of the week here if he comes out today alright.”

Fellow rookie running back Kenny McIntosh, meanwhile, did not practice after suffering a knee injury on an awkward tackle in the mock game. Fortunately, the update from Carroll was positive.

“Very good news,” Carroll said. “He’s got a sprain. It might be a couple weeks. It looked nasty but he’s flexible, and being the extraordinary athlete that he was, he made it through that awkward position that he got in and came out OK.”

There was more good news on the injury front as Carroll announced that cornerback Riq Woolen, a Pro Bowler as a rookie in 2022, was ready to come off of the PUP list. Woolen only participated in some individual drills Sunday. Carroll said his workload will remain light the rest of the week as they cautiously work him back in, but he was doing so well in his rehab that they couldn’t keep him on PUP any longer.

Asked about how practice reps will shake out at the highly competitive position, Carroll made it clear where Woolen stands.

“He is a starter for us,” Carroll said. “He’s been a starter and he earned it. He did a great job last year so I’ll just ease him back in. It depends on who is on his side at that time.”

Legendary advice

The defensive line got pointers and advice Sunday from a couple of familiar faces, as Seahawks legends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett assisted the coaches during individual drills.

You could see the players soaking up everything that they could from the pair, and Carroll said he loves it.

“It was great to have them in the meetings and with the defense,” the head coach said. “It’s kind of remarkable how smooth that feels. It doesn’t feel like a distraction, it feels like they’re supposed to be here.”

He added that Bennett and Avril will be around the rest of this week. Bennett is in town for his role as an analyst on Seahawks preseason television broadcasts.

Seattle Seahawks’ center battle

After seeing an even split between rookie Olu Oluwatimi and veteran free agent addition Evan Brown through most of training camp, it appears Brown has pulled ahead in the competition.

Brown played with the No. 1 offense in the mock game, and Carroll was asked Sunday if that had provided more clarity on where the competition stands.

“We continue to see it going in a competitive sense,” Carroll said. “Brown is ahead. He’s ahead just because of his experience, and if we were playing today, he would go first. Oluwatimi is doing a great job. He hasn’t had anything negative about him other than his wrist being sore for a couple of days, which held him back. Other than that, he’s right in there and the competition continues.”

Standout on defense

Edge rusher Boye Mafe, a second-round pick in 2022, has jumped out in drills for much of training camp. He wins most of his one-on-one battles and brings pressure consistently during 11-on-11 sessions. He was able to keep that momentum going in the mock game, coming up with a strip sack of backup quarterback Drew Lock.

Carroll has referred to Boye as the “most improved guy from last year,” and Mafe told Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk last week that his sophomore training camp feels like a night-and-day difference from last year.

“I definitely notice a difference in how I see the game,” Mafe said. “It’s slowing down for me now. Over time I’ve just gotten more comfortable being on the field, being in that situation. So I’ve definitely noticed a big difference, a big jump.”

More on the Seattle Seahawks

Will Bobby Wagner’s return fix Seattle Seahawks’ run defense issues?
Why Ray Roberts is so high on rookie center Olu Oluwatimi
Seahawks WR Dee Eskridge suspended for first six games of 2023
Rost’s takeaways and injury notes from training camp
Cowherd: Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll was ‘tone-deaf’ but has ‘pivoted’

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