News and notes from Seahawks’ Pete Carroll on ‘Brock and Salk,’ including plans for O-line
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll joined “Brock and Salk” on Thursday morning and had plenty of news and notes to share about the team as it in the second phase of offseason voluntary workouts and has 11 new players it selected in last week’s NFL Draft. You can listen to the full interview here or in the player embedded above. Meanwhile, let’s detail some of the more pressing matters he shared.
• Perhaps the most revealing thing Carroll covered was the shape that the offensive line is taking. Due to phase 2 of workouts keeping a slow tempo and no contact, Seattle has been able to use new addition Luke Joeckel, who is coming off a knee injury that limited his 2016 season to four games with Jacksonville. “Right now Luke is kind of a focal point to make sure he’s getting his looks and he can gain as much (as he can) because in phase 3 he won’t be able to go at the same tempo. He’ll get limited work and so this is really important for him,” Carroll said. While the Seahawks can get Joeckel on the field, they’re using him at left tackle and left guard, which is indicative of how fluid things are on the line at the time being. “He can start at both places and he’s gonna be an improvement I think at both places for us,” Carroll said. “Shoot, this guy’s got all the talent in the world. He’s smart, he gets it, so he’s gonna give us a chance but we want to see how that fits together.” Joining Joeckel at both positions on the left side in rotations is Rees Odhiambo, while George Fant is continuing to play left tackle, where he started several games last season. On the right side, 2016 first-round pick Germain Ifedi is getting a chance at tackle. “We’re really excited to see how that goes. We drafted him knowing he could play right tackle,” Carroll said. “The people that we brought in (last year) gave us a chance to play him at guard where he played as an underclassmen (at Texas A&M), so we’ll see how that works.” Free-agent signing Oday Aboushi will compete at right guard with last year’s starter Mark Glowinski, and rookie Ethan Pocic, who played everywhere at LSU but mostly center, will begin his Seahawks career trying things out on the right side. “The guy who has the most flexibility in his background is Pocic, so we’re gonna start him on the right side and see how that works out knowing that we may move him around.,” Carroll said. “We just have all kinds of flexibility.”
• At receiver, Tyler Lockett has progressed to running as he works his way back from surgery to repair a broken leg. “We’re really hoping that Tyler makes a great comeback. He’s worked really hard and he’s on track to do that but that’s still a ways out before we’ll see him running full speed,” Carroll said.
• Tight end Jimmy Graham, who returned last year from a leg injury of his own that ended his 2015 season prematurely, has really caught his coach’s attention. “Surprised to see how quick and explosive Jimmy looks. He looks the best he’s ever looked. He looks trimmer than he’s looked but he’s just as heavy or a little bit heavier because he’s worked out so beautifully. He’s had a great offseason of health and well-being and he just looks like he’s on fire.”
• New running back Eddie Lacy, who had ankle surgery that put him on injured reserve last season with Green Bay, is not yet 100 percent but is participating in workouts. “Eddie’s not full health yet (but in) phase 2 he’s able to do almost everything we do,” Carroll said.
• On the defensive line, the Seahawks’ top draft pick, Malik McDowell, figures to be the heir apparent to Michael Bennett as somebody who go back and forth playing inside and outside. Carroll is clearly excited about his potential, especially since McDowell won’t have to be used at nose tackle like he was last season at Michigan State. “I think what we’re seeing is a guy who has tremendous upside and a body frame that is much different than the guys that we’ve had. And the instincts that he shows to find the football and disengage from blocks and make plays is something that gives us the chance to have a really special player. He’ll play 5-technique like Michael Bennett does, featured as an inside rusher on passing downs and in the nickel group. He’ll play both spots. He’s played all three spots throughout all his years so you can see the flexibility. He’s played a lot of nose tackle which totally diminishes his ability and that’s just the way they had to play him. When we see him in the right spots that we’re gonna feature him at, we know we’ve got a prospect that’s gonna be really good for us.” With Bennett and McDowell being the primary inside rushers, Cliff Avril and Frank Clark will be the main players on the outside. Carroll said the Seahawks are waiting to see how new defensive end Dion Jordan, who last played for the Miami Dophins, will fit into the mix as he is still working his way back from a knee issue.
• Strong safety Kam Chancellor is currently doing work but not yet back to full speed after undergoing surgeries on each of his ankles. Carroll said the procedures were to clean up some nagging problems Chancellor has had for years.
• Free safety Earl Thomas is progressing well from surgery to repair a broken leg. “Earl is working really hard,” Carroll said. “He’s a little bit ahead of Tyler and he’s partaking in some of the conditioning.”
• Carroll gave an idea on what the Seahawks have planned for a pair of linebackers they signed in free agency. Michael Wilhoite, who has played the weakside inside (WILL) and middle inside (MIKE) spots, is learning how to play the strong outside (SAM) position. “Michael Wilhoite is a really nice football player with a lot of versatility,” Carroll said of the former 49er. Terence Garvin is also getting worked out at SAM.