Following day three of Seahawks training camp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center, a workout held in front of a capacity-crowd of 2,600 fans, Pete Carroll took time to meet with the media. Here's five things we learned from the Seahawks head coach:
1. Lemuel Jeanpierre Would Start At Center If Seattle Played A Game Right Now
Through the first three days of camp, its become clear that Lemuel Jeanpierre and Drew Nowak are the leading candidates to replace Max Unger on the Seahawks' starting offensive line after the center was traded to the New Orleans Saints this offseason as part of the deal for tight end Jimmy Graham. Carroll's comments on Sunday framed the sixth-year pro Jeanpierre as the favorite.
"Right now if we were playing a game, Lem would start for us," Carroll said. "He's got the experience and the background, which gives us the confidence that he can make the calls and help us."
Outside of Nowak, who worked with the number-one offense on Sunday, Patrick Lewis and rookie Kristjan Sokoli are the two others involved in what is currently a four-man competition for the starting job.
2. He's Really, Really Excited About Frank Clark
Carroll buzzed when asked about the progress of defensive end Frank Clark, the Seahawks' first pick (No. 63 overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft.
"Frank looks good now," Carroll emphasized. "Frank is fast, and he's sudden. He's got terrific strength about him. He's got natural lower body strength that shows up.
"I'm really, really excited about Frank."
To this point, Carroll said Clark has demonstrated enough flexibility that the team is enjoying the luxury of being able to move him around to different spots along the defensive line in hopes of learning where he fits best. The Seattle coach admitted Clark still has a lot to learn, but was passionate at the thought of mixing the Michigan product into the pass-rush rotation of Cliff Avril, Jordan Hill, Bruce Irvin, and Michael Bennett.
"When you look at the pass rush, at the potential of our pass rush, being with Cliff and Bruce outside, and Mike Bennett and Frank as well as Jordan Hill on the inside, that's pretty exciting," Carroll said. "That's maybe as fast as we've ever been, potentially, and I'm hoping we can make that a group that can really, really come to life. It always is an area that you're working on. This might be our best shot."
3. He's Hoping To Get Kam Chancellor Back "As Soon As Possible"
With four-year extensions now done for both quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Bobby Wagner, Carroll said the club can "get after it" when it comes to strong safety Kam Chancellor, who has yet to report to training camp.
"We were in the midst of these talks for some time so we were still working with that, but our focus is never off of Kam," said Carroll. "He is such an integral part of this team and we love the guy so much. Since we needed to turn our attention to it, we have been. But now we really can get after it. I'm hoping we can get him back here as soon as possible. We miss the heck out of him."
4. Dion Bailey Should Return On Monday
Second-year free safety Dion Bailey opened training camp on the team's non-football injury list with what Carroll described as a hamstring injury. Carroll said he expects the USC product to be back on the practice field on Monday for the team's fourth practice of camp.
"He looked great running the last couple of days, so he should be back Monday," said Carroll.
5. Tyler Lockett Looks Like Doug Baldwin
After yet another impressive day on the field, rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who the Seahawks moved up to select in the third round (No. 69 overall) of this year's draft, drew praise from his new head coach. Carroll said he couldn't wait to get into the film room to watch Lockett's practice tape after a session that saw the former Kansas State standout excel in one-on-one drills.
"His suddenness in and out of these breaks is like Doug [Baldwin]," Carroll said, comparing the first-year player to 2014's leading receiver. "That means that we've got another guy that can get away from people. Terrifically strong hands. He's very confident. He's solid as a football player."
Lockett is expected to earn reps as the team's primary kick and punt returner in 2015, but as offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell alluded to yesterday, Carroll thinks Lockett could push for playing time at wideout, too.
"I talked to him yesterday in my office," Carroll said. "Just go for it. See how far you can take it. You're in the competition for the returns of course, but he's fighting for play time as receiver as well. We're not going to restrict him in any way at this point."