The Seahawks moved practice indoors on Tuesday, the result of the unhealthy air in the region caused by smoke from wildfires.
"The air quality was such that it was better for us to come in here, so that's why we're inside," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll explained.
In addition to a change of practice scenery, Carroll covered a number of topics when he met with the media following practice, ranging from last weekend's preseason game to the decisions made on a couple of special teams competitions to injury updates. Here are five things we learned from Carroll's Tuesday press conference:
1. "The comp is on" at right tackle.
While George Fant worked his way back from the knee injury that ended his 2017 season, the Seahawks have kept him at left tackle, the only position he has played since making the transition from college basketball to the NFL two years ago. But now that Fant is getting closer to full strength, he is also going to compete for the job at right tackle, something Carroll said the team has had in mind all along, but that had to wait until Fant was ready. Germain Ifedi, the starter throughout camp and two preseason games, remains the man to beat there, but Carroll made it clear that the former first-round pick will have to earn that job while competing with Fant and Isaiah Battle, who returned to practice Tuesday from the knee injury he sustained in the preseason opener.
"The comp is on," Carroll said when asked about Fant working at right tackle Tuesday. "George has had kind of a startling career really, to come so far so fast. There's nothing that we put in front of him that he couldn't handle. Even when you take a look at the rehab process that he went through, he had just totally competed and attacked it, and came back in great shape. So, this has been the thought all along, to get him back moving again, feeling comfortable with his left side and with the thought of him getting over there and competing on the right side. It's just another example of the competition that's on the roster. It's good for everybody, it's good for guys that are in front, it's great for the guys that are working for their spots, and that's always been our mentality… We think (Fant) is ready to compete at this spot, this is what we've had in mind the whole time."
On Ifedi's performance against the Chargers, Carroll said, "He did some good stuff, and he got in trouble a couple of times. He's cleaned up some things in his game that I'm happy about and I'm hoping that would continue; I think it will. He went against a really good guy—(Melvin) Ingram got after him a little bit. He got after all of us a little bit, he played a really good football game. But he's making progress, and he's competing like crazy, and he's learning the new stuff, he's picking it up. But he's getting challenged too. He knows we think a lot of George Fant, he knows we have a high opinion of what he's capable of doing, and we've thought the same about Isaiah too. He's obviously in a competition over there and it's going to bring out the best in everybody."
2. Jon Ryan is "one of the great ones."
Coaches and general managers often talk of the tough decisions their jobs often require them to make, and on Monday the Seahawks had to make a very difficult one, parting ways with longtime punter Jon Ryan, who had been with the team for a decade. The Seahawks still think very highly of Ryan, who already found a new team, signing with Buffalo Tuesday, but rookie Michael Dickson has been good enough to earn the job.
"Let me say this, Jon Ryan has been a great Seahawk," Carroll said. "We have loved the time we spent together, he's been here since the beginning. I know everybody would understand that it's a very difficult decision when you have to make one like this after all this time together. And, he was doing great; Michael was just kicking out of this world and did the things we had hoped he could do. Really, there was a chance for Jon, I hope in the next short while, he'll be hooked up with somebody. There were some teams that were interested, it was the right time to help Jon get moving too. He's been a great player, he's been a great competitor, he's been a great team guy, great community guy, we love him. He's always a Seahawk, will always be, really one of the great ones. We miss the heck out of him, but it's something when the time came, we had to go ahead and do it."
3. Carroll's thoughts on the kicking and punting battles.
With the Seahawks releasing Ryan and waiving kicker Jason Myers (who has since been claimed by the Jets), the team's competitions for those two spots both were decided Monday, with Dickson and Sebastian Janikowski coming out on top. Asked about those battles, Carroll noted that one reason for making the decision now was to get those two more time working together with Dickson holding for the left-footed Janikowski.
"Sebastian has been kicking the ball great, he's on it," Carroll said. "We wanted to make sure in time, together, Michael with Sebastian and all of the holding the synchronizing of that. So, it made sense to go ahead now and make the move. Sebastian has been right on it, he's in terrific shape, he's really holding up great. He's had a great camp."
Carroll said the extra reps for Dickson will not only help him develop, but also help the team in evaluating all he can do.
"It'll help us too, because we can, without having to split time, we'll be able to utilize some stuff that we can do, and see some more things that we're excited about," Carroll said. "He's a very, very versatile punter. There's just a lot of things that we're excited about with him and we need to get it going. I think it's good for him to feel the confidence in the program that we're behind him. He's a real savvy competitor. He's strong, he's going to do a nice job in handling that. It's for all reasons, you get work in… Like I said in the kicking game too, for place kicking, he needs to be part of that as well. The more reps we can get, the better off we will be by the opener, so it all kind of connected."
4. Despite preseason losses, "we think we're seeing all kinds of great things"
While the Seahawks are off to an 0-2 start to the preseason, Carroll remains encouraged by a lot of what he has seen so far, though obviously there is still plenty to be cleaned up.
"The offense went right up and down the field again," Carroll said. "We moved the ball well just like we did in the opener—it didn't look any different. Unfortunately, we didn't finish the drives any better, we didn't get that done. But the ability to mix, the solid group at the line of scrimmage—the five guys up front did a nice job again, including (Will) Dissly, I thought he did a nice job with them in run blocking and protecting. Our guys were able to make plays, Chris (Carson) looked good. A lot of good, positive things excluding finishing drives.
"Both games were really kind of marred by the turnover in the first game and the penalty on the touchdown run. Change some stuff, we should overcome it anyway, but real excited about that. I liked how after the first drive on defense—Philip Rivers kind of showed us Philip Rivers, I thought he did a great job in the opener—but our guys held up real well after that. So we're making progress, we're making a lot of progress. The result of the game isn't really telling the story for us, we think we're seeing all kinds of great things. To see Rasheem (Green) play well again, and other young guys, like I said, Dissly, and some of the younger guys playing just continue to show that they belong. The competition is really heated, and this is a week of that, and you can see it today in the practice the way the guys went after it. They know that they're battling for their spots, and it's exciting as a coach because you know everyone is tuned in, everybody's really focused to bring their best and we're challenging them to do that. We'll take it to Minnesota which will be a really good matchup for us, and we'll see where we are as well."
5. Brandon Marshall continues to progress.
Veteran receiver Brandon Marshall has made a number of standout plays in practice throughout camp, but because he's coming off of two surgeries, the Seahawks have been careful building him back up. In light of that, Carroll was encouraged by what he saw on Tuesday from the six-time Pro-Bowler.
"He feels really good," Carroll said. "This was probably his best day and he felt it coming out and expressed it throughout the practice. He's back in there. I think we're really moving ahead. I think it's very positive. We've worked through it and I think everybody's done a nice job of bringing him along to make sure we didn't overdo it in our zeal to want to see what he can do and all that. We've kind of harnessed that well enough so that here he is in Week 3 (of the preseason) and he's ready to go. He really does have some special abilities. He's got some special stuff that he brings us and Russ (Wilson) really has a feeling for him when he's out there. You can see that he goes to him quite a bit. I'm excited to see how that goes. The competition goes on and (we have) two huge weeks to see what this all means. But I'm thrilled that he's made it back with time before the final week and all that. He's ready to go."
Photos from Tuesday's practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in preparation for Friday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.