The Seahawks held a "Bonus Monday" practice to kick off preparation for their season opener in Atlanta, and after wrapping up their work at the VMAC, head coach Pete Carroll addressed the media to talk about the roster moves his team made over the weekend, competitions for starting jobs and more.
Here are six takeaways from Monday's presser:
1. Ethan Pocic will start at center.
While most of the offensive line seemed to cement itself fairly early in camp, the Seahawks kept the competition open at center for a while longer, and as Carroll confirmed Monday, Ethan Pocic emerged as the winner of that battle ahead of free-agent addition B.J. Finney. Pocic, a 2017 second-round pick, played center at LSU, but his starting experience in the NFL has come at guard, but a strong camp was enough to earn him the starting job.
"Ethan Pocic is going to start for us," Carroll said. "He had a great camp. Ethan had offseason surgery on something that's been bothering him for a number of years, an athletic hernia thing that he's been dealing with. All I can tell you is he did a great job in camp and looked terrific. He was our most experienced guy with handling the whole system and all, and it showed. So we're fired up to see him go."
2. Still no decision at right cornerback, but Tre Flowers has more than held his own in the competition with newcomer Quinton Dunbar.
The Seahawks acquired cornerback Quinton Dunbar in a trade this offseason, but Carroll made it clear from the beginning that Dunbar wasn't going to be handed a starting job. And while that competition remains open, Flowers has responded well to the competition after starting the past two seasons at that spot.
"Tre came back with a level of confidence with two years behind him that he's benefited from," Carroll said. "He had a really good camp, was the best he's been and did a nice job so. You know, sometimes you can overtry, and I think he might not phrase it that way, but I think he was pressing last year a lot and didn't settle in as much . He came back with just a different outlook, and guys change from year to year when they grow, and he certainly did."
3. No, the Seahawks didn't sign Jadeveon Clowney, but Carroll likes what they've added to the pass rush.
Jadeveon Clowney signed with Tennessee this weekend, ending any possibility of him returning to Seattle. Carroll said the two sides kept in touch throughout the process and things remained amicable, but they weren't able to get a deal done. But despite losing one of their top defensive linemen from last season, Carroll likes what the Seahawks have added in Bruce Irvin, Benson Mayowa, rookie Alton Robinson, and whenever he returns from injury, rookie Darrell Taylor.
"I sure like our speed on the outside," Carroll said. "All of our guys have had numbers, they've got number to bring with them. To bring 16 sacks to us just in Benson (Mayowa) and in Bruce (Irvin), that's a real positive. Our guys last year didn't add up anywhere near that, so that's a positive, and hopefully we can enhance their play. We really would like to see J-Reed (Jarran Reed) come back to his number somewhere near what he did a couple years ago. He had kind of a stilted beginning last season. Now that he's back and he's in great shape and ready to go, if he can get his numbers anywhere near where he was to add to it, we can be in good shape."
4. D'Andre Walker has pass-rush upside.
The lack of preseason games means teams weren't able to evaluate each other's rosters as well, which led to only 17 players being claimed, league-wide, a day after teams cut down to 53 players. One player the Seahawks liked enough, based on his college tape, to take a chance on was former University of Georgia pass-rusher D'Andre Walker, who was waived by Tennessee Saturday after not playing at all as a rookie in 2019 due to injury.
"We knew we didn't have the games, so we continued to stay in connection with their college film, all that we would have to go on," Carroll said. "He's a guy that we were interested in the draft last time around, and he has a couple spots that he can play. He can play Sam (strongside) linebacker for us, could be a guy that could be a candidate and Leo (defensive end) spot as well. He's got edge rush abilities, that's what he did in college. So we thought it was a really good opportunity to get a guy that has some upside, figuring that they probably were going to put them on the practice squad maybe, knowing that nobody knew any information on him because he didn't play last year. So our guys did a good job to go back and use the evaluation for him before and figure it out, so we're happy we got him."
5. The Seahawks felt fortunate to get Shaquem Griffin back to the practice squad.
One of the deepest positions on Seattle's roster is linebacker, which unfortunately led to the Seahawks cutting fan-favorite Shaquem Griffin on Saturday. The good news, however, is that Griffin went unclaimed on waivers, and was re-signed to the practice squad. Carroll said there were some anxious moments worrying about getting Griffin back, and also implied there could be opportunities for him to get back on the 53-man roster at some point soon.
"We want him on our team, so we were fortunate to get that done," Carroll said. "You can see that this was not the year that people were claiming, so it worked out well for us. He's a good ballplayer, he had a really good camp, worked hard the whole time, but just the way that the roster turned out this time, this was where he had to start. He'll be ready to play in week one, two or three whenever we get rolling, he'll be ready."
6. No preseason could mean playing time gets spread out more early in the season.
A lack of preseason games could lead to the Seahawks relying a deeper rotation of players early this season, Carroll said, for a couple of reasons. For starters, it could benefit players, from a health standpoint, who didn't get the benefit of preseason games to get used to full-speed game action, and coaches may also need some regular season games to further evaluate competition at some spots having not been able to do so with preseason games.
"There is some conversation we've had about that, about making sure that we see a lot of guys play early on, because we haven't had the games—just to make sure we don't overburden somebody Week 1, Week 2, if we have some opportunities to go ahead and trade some reps and all, so that's part of the focus for us," Carroll said. "That would be just kind of typical for not having preseason games, what would you do? You'd want to see more guys early and make sure that guys are ready to go and that the impact of the first game doesn't weigh into the game too by overdoing it the first time out. So there's some of that going on."
Check out some of the top shots from Seahawks Training Camp, including behind-the-scenes photos of safety protocols in place at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.