Pete Carroll talks Earl Thomas, injury updates ahead of season opener

Sep 7, 2018, 10:00 AM | Updated: 11:14 am
Pete Carroll, Russell Wilson...
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll offered injury updates Friday morning. (AP)

The Seahawks’ first week of the 2018 regular season is already loaded with headlines – from the long-awaited return of Earl Thomas to a blistering Sports Illustrated piece – but for now, head coach Pete Carroll is focused on the task at hand: starting the season off with a win against the Broncos in Denver.

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The Broncos are 17-1 in their last 18 home openers, and Seattle will face challenges on both sides of the ball. Denver was top-5 ranked defense in 2017 and new quarterback Case Keenum poses a threat for a young defense that might play without Thomas, despite his return earlier this week.

“He’s made it through practices,” Carroll said of Thomas during an interview with Dori Monson on KIRO 97.3. “We’ve given him limited work at this point just to start to acclimate him. And we’ll see what we do with it on the weekend. We don’t know quite yet. Still just taking in information, making sure he’s OK in how he’s responding. The last thing we want to do is put him in a situation where he’s not comfortable, he’s not physically ready for it. So we’re checking that out.”

Still, Carroll doesn’t mind Denver’s 17-1 home opener record.

“Those numbers make it a big challenge in one regard, but I like stuff like that,” Carroll said. “Those are good kinds of numbers for us to go after. So we’re going to go to what we do and play the game we love playing and see if we can take it all the way to the finish and get a win. We don’t think anything else. And we’re going for it.”

Here are a few other notes from Carroll’s interview with Monson. You can hear the full interview when it airs on 97.3 KIRO at 12:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.

On Broncos quarterback Case Keenum: “He’s a really good ball player. He’s got the game in hand, he makes really good decisions, he didn’t turn the ball over a lot last year. In a mixed offense in run and pass in Minnesota he really thrived, and that’s what they’ve constructed around him now. You can really count on him to lead the team and make good choices. And so we’re going to have to get in his way some. We’re going to have to push him around some knock him around in the pocket, make him have to move. We’re going have to make sure to not let the running game get going because they’d be satisfied with running the football all day long if they could; they’ve got a big old rookie running back in Royce Freeman. So it’s going to be a good challenge for us.”

How much can you tap into your motivational coaching style when you have a business decision that involves strong personalities?: “I can’t really separate it. The time that Earl and I have spent together just over the years, going through all that we’ve gone through… we’ve developed a long relationship. And I feel like I know him really well, and I’m sure he feels the same. And so what happens is when you get to serious stuff eventually and you start to put things together and you start to make decisions, you’re counting on your relationship; you’re counting on how you know the person and how you can trust and all that. And that’s just how we do it. I don’t know any other way to do it. You can’t separate it, it’s all part of it. And we’ve worked our way through it to the point where he’s back with us. We would hope that he’ll always be with us. That’s what our intent has always been.”

Any other injuries we should be aware of? “There’s always some stuff we’re working through. We’ll see as we get to game day… basically (right guard D.J.) Fluker is going to be in question, and we’ll see how the other guys are. We’ll know more Saturday and Sunday.”

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