Following the ninth practice of Seahawks training camp presented by Bing 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 four things we learned from the Seahawks head coach:
1. The Jimmy Graham-Russell Wilson Connection Is A Work In Progress
During a red-zone drill on Monday, quarterback Russell Wilson fired a quick pass to tight end Jimmy Graham on a short route over the middle of the field near the goal line. Graham didn't turn his head around in time and Wilson's strike hit him in the helmet. The two players have shared pretty good chemistry so far, but Carroll said the play was a reminder there's still plenty of work to be done.
"They're not there yet," Carroll said. "It's just going to take time. The intricacies of the things that they're trying to do together go way deep, so it's going to take them a lot of time."
Graham and Wilson stayed after practice to work on that specific play for a few moments, just as they did this past Saturday after Wilson's deep ball for Graham in the team's mock game resulted in a Mohammed Seisay interception.
"Both of them are really determined to get this thing figured out," Carroll said. "They're doing great, but there's more room for them to make up."
2. Bruce Irvin Is Having His Best Camp Ever
Fourth-year linebacker Bruce Irvin, who the Seahawks chose in the first round (No. 15 overall) of the 2012 draft, is enjoying his "best camp" ever according to Carroll. The Seattle coach was asked about Irvin's apparent weight gain this offseason and Carroll said the club didn't direct him to put on the pounds, but the results have been to the Seahawks' liking so far.
"The added strength that he has makes a difference," Carroll said. "We can see him able to disengage and get off blocks more than he had in the past. He's always been a speed guy, but he's playing with more power now, and that's really important to add to it, but he's still really fast."
Carroll called Irvin a standout from Saturday's mock game as Irvin consistently found himself around the quarterback, getting the best of the team's second- and third-string offensive lines.
"He's looked the best he's looked," Carroll said. "This is the best camp he's had. I'm really happy about it."
3. The Young Offensive Linemen Need A Lot Of Work
The Seahawks used three drafts picks on offensive linemen this past May, selecting Terry Poole (No. 130 overall) and Mark Glowinski (No. 134) in round four and Kristjan Sokoli (No. 214) in round six. Jesse Davis was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent and Kona Schwenke was added as a tryout player from the team's rookie minicamp.
The drafted trio of Poole, Glowinski, and Sokoli have bounced between different positions through the early stages of training camp. Poole has worked at guard and tackle, Glowinski at right and left guard, and Sokoli at guard and center. The Seahawks liked the players for their versatility, fully knowing it could take them time to develop, especially players like Sokoli and Schwenke, who played defensive line in college.
"The young guys need a lot of work," Carroll assessed of Seattle's O-line. "We made a lot of mistakes, just mental errors, just not seeing fronts the way they need to see them. Physically they look like they're capable, that's the good side, but it's just going to take time with these guys."
Carroll said the young linemen will receive plenty of snaps as exhibition play opens.
"They're going to play a ton in the preseason," Carroll said. "We're just going to force them to see how far they can take it."
The Seahawks' first preseason game comes against the Denver Broncos this Friday night at CenturyLink Field.
4. Kevin Pierre-Louis Stood Out The Most In The Mock Game
On top of applauding Irvin and defensive linemen Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, and Jordan Hill for their play in this past Saturday's intra-squad scrimmage, Carroll labeled second-year linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis as "the single guy that stood out the most."
Seattle took Pierre-Louis in the fourth round of last year's draft and at the time area scout Todd Brunner compared him to NaVorro Bowman, the three-time first-team All-Pro linebacker who Brunner scouted for the San Francisco 49ers. Pierre-Louis' 4.51-second time in the 40-yard dash made him the fastest player at his position at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine and it's been that speed that's turned heads through the first nine practices of training camp.
"Kevin is doing great," Carroll said on Saturday. "I'm so excited about the way he's playing. He's playing smart. He's really fast. He's got special athleticism."
Pierre-Louis missed the start of his rookie year with a hamstring injury and was later placed on injured reserve after a shoulder setback kept him sidelined around midseason. He's healthy now, and even with Irvin, Bobby Wagner, and K.J. Wright entrenched as the team's starting linebackers, Carroll expects Pierre-Louis to find his way onto the field.
"If we were playing today, we would get him into the rotation and have him playing some," Carroll said last week. "Spell the guys who have to play so many snaps. We wouldn't hesitate at all."