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Five Things We Learned From Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll On The Final Day Of OTAs

The Seahawks still have next week’s mandatory minicamp before players take a long break ahead of training camp, but Thursday’s session of organized team activities marked the end of the voluntary offseason workout program that began in April, making it something of a “final exam for this offseason,” head coach Pete Carroll said.

Here are five things we learned from Carroll on the final day of OTAs:

1. The Seahawks “recaptured the mentality we need.”

While players can’t show everything in offseason workouts—they’re not in pads, contact is non-existent—they are able to show their coaches that they have the right mentality and level of energy, and that they’re learning what they’ll need to be ready for training camp. And after two months of offseason work, Carroll likes what he has seen from his team.

“Today is really kind of the final exam for this offseason,” he said. “We’ve been through Phase 1, 2 and 3 now, so today was about putting them in as many situations as we could to see how much they understand about our football, make them have to think and use all the installation that has been presented to the guys. And we had really good work today, got a ton of situations taken care of, and I really thought the guys were really focused into it. We’ve had a very, very good offseason to this point. We’ve got minicamp coming up this week, then it’ll be in the books for this season. We’ve made a lot of progress, there has been a lot of communication emphasis here between coaches and players, and players and players, across the board. I’m really pleased with what we’re seeing. Energy was great again, and really we look like we’ve recaptured the mentality that we need to practice the way we need to practice. We’ll get through this minicamp, then when we come back is when we really start football. This is really OTA football; you’re really under control and managed, and the guys really stuck to it and did a nice job, we got a lot of work done.”

Recapturing the mentality doesn’t mean that previous teams have lacked it, but rather that doing so is a challenge for every team every year when players reconvene for offseason workouts.

“Every year I would always tell you the exact same thing—the first thing we’ve got to do is recapture our work ethic,” Carroll said. “It has been paramount in the presentation of our approach and philosophy. It doesn’t matter about your football, if the guys don’t work hard and bust your tails, then you’re not making the most of your opportunities, so that’s really what that’s about. I think there’s a sense of energy that there is some newness, you can feel it. I really appreciate that the guys are in that mentality. There’s some opportunities for positions and openings and stuff that are available, and you can feel them, they know. They know what we’re looking for, we spent a lot of time talking about what’s important to us as a staff as we’re trying to put our team together—the mentality they need to bring, the energy they need to bring and the consistency they need to bring. These guys matched the criteria there and gave themselves a good shot. It’s going to be a very, very competitive camp with a lot of really exciting spots to watch. So it’ll be fun to see how it goes.”

2. Chris Carson, Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin, among others, have stood out.

When Pete Carroll was asked who has impressed him with how they looked from a physical standpoint, he singled out a number of players, but led off with second-year running back Chris Carson, who is back to full health after missing most of his rookie season with a leg injury.

“What has really jumped out is Chris Carson,” Carroll said. “Chris has looked incredible the whole time, the entire offseason. He hasn’t missed one snap of anything. He just looks so fit, he’s just so cut and quick and explosive and all that. He might be the guy, when you look at everybody, who jumps out in that regard.”

In terms of overall play, it’s no surprise that two of Seattle’s best and most experienced players were the first mentioned by Carroll.

“Doug (Baldwin) and Russell (Wilson) had really good work up to now,” he said. “They have really been the best they’ve ever been, looked the tightest they’ve ever been. Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer) has helped them in some ways that shows that. There’s a bunch of guys—Duane Brown has looked phenomenal throughout the camp, he has just looked great; Jarran Reed has been at his best; Ethan Pocic came back 20 pounds heavier after a really great offseason of work that we really wanted him to do, and he just carried it off and did a beautiful job. I could keep going, there’s a lot of guys, but those guys are really the guys that are kind of at the top of it. And I’m going to get in trouble with Bobby (Wagner) and K.J. (Wright) and all the rest of those guys, but those guys looked good.”

3. Shaquill Griffin is comfortable with a move to left cornerback.

With Richard Sherman now in San Francisco, the Seahawks will open a season with a new left cornerback for the first time since Sherman took over that job in 2011. It appears that that they’ll fill that spot by moving Shaquill Griffin, the starter at right corner for most of last season, to the other side of the field.

Left corner is generally viewed as the more demanding of the two outside cornerback spots because most quarterbacks are right handed, and as a result prefer throwing to the right side of the field, or the defense’s left side. Carroll said Griffin should have no problems with the move.

“It just depends on the guys,” Carroll said of the move. “We started early, so we had to wait and see. Physically it was no problem, he had played back and forth in earlier years. His mentality about it was fine, he was wide open to it. That’s most of it. If a guy feels uncomfortable and he’s telling you he’s feeling uncomfortable, then he is. He never balked at it at all, and there’s no signs of any evidence at all that it’s going to be a problem.”

4. Tyler Lockett “looked great” on the final day of OTAs.

One of Thursday’s standouts was receiver Tyler Lockett, who had several catches, including a deep sideline catch and a touchdown reception just a few plays apart on a scoring drive led by Wilson. That’s a big difference from where Lockett was at this time last year when he was rehabbing the broken leg he sustained late in the 2016 season. Lockett was able to play all of last season, but the injury kept him from being at his very best. Early indications this offseason point to Lockett being back to his old self in 2018.

“It has really been a blessing for him to be able to get his legs back underneath him,” Carroll said. “Last year it was a struggle throughout the season—the offseason for certain—but through the season itself, he was not able to do things in the same manner he had done in years past. That’s really just workload, he just couldn’t do as much, he had to take care of his legs more. He’s back at it, he’s really playing fast, he has no resemblance of any after effects of the surgery. So that’s real positive. He looked great today in particular.”

5. A few injury updates.

Among those players who has not been on the field of late is defensive end Dion Jordan. Carroll said that Jordan had surgery on his knee for “a really small issue” and will likely be ready for training camp.

“He had a surgery to correct a little something,” Carroll said. “Everything went really well, and we’re hoping that by camp time he’ll be ready to rip and all that. A little knee thing. He’s had some complications over time, so it was worth it to go ahead and clean this thing up. It was a really small issue, but it’s one that was going to sit him down for six to eight weeks, so we just went ahead and did it.”

Tackle George Fant, who tore his ACL in the 2017 preseason, is not yet taking part in on-field workouts, but will be ready for training camp, and likely could take part in these offseason workouts if necessary.

“George could probably get out now if we need him to, but it’s just not worth it to do that,” Carroll said. “He’s chomping at the bit. Now he has had two years of lifting and getting his strength training in order, he looks great. He has done everything, he has been here the whole time working with us, so we feel really good about the process of getting him ready. There’s just no reason to do it.”

Guard D.J. Fluker, a free-agent addition this offseason, was back on the field Thursday after missing some recent work.

“D.J. Fluker had missed some time, got out there today and should give us some more work next week,” Carroll said. “We had a chance to help him out too with something that came off of last season, so we rested him a lot during this time, and now he’s ready to go again.”

Carroll also clarified that safety Kam Chancellor still has not had the tests on his neck that will give him and the team more information about his ability to play or not in 2018.

Also absent Thursday was Brandon Marshall, whom Carroll said went home a day early for some rehab work.

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