The Seahawks were back on the field Thursday for the penultimate day of organized team activities and the last session open to the media ahead of next week's mandatory minicamp.
While the past two weeks haven't exactly been real football, they have given Carroll and his coaching staff a good opportunity to assess the team prior to training camp, and he likes what they've seen so far.
"We're going, we're rocking along here," Carroll said. "The tempo of our days, and stacking good days after good days has been a good sign for us. We're on the move. Things feel like we're making progress. We're getting to see the young guys and getting them plenty of turns to start gathering information, they seem to be assimilating well, similarly, the free agent guys also. Everything is really on the up right now, so we're really happy about what's happening."
With that in mind, here are five takeaways from organized team activities so far:
1. Geno Smith has been "everything you could ask for" this offseason.
The big storyline last year in offseason workouts and training camp was the quarterback competition between Geno Smith and Drew Lock. Both players are back this year, but the dynamic is different with Smith having established himself as a Pro-Bowl quarterback who just earned a lucrative multi-year contract extension.
While Smith is anything but complacent having experienced that success, Carroll has seen some changes in his quarterback, and all in a good way.
"He has been a really positive influence on the other guys," Carroll said. "He is so determined, he's got his eye on the ball the whole way now. He has been so consistent and available, and the messaging is so solid, it's like, everyone needs to come along with him, he's going. It has just been such a remarkable thing to watch the way he's taken over the opportunity and how he commanded it so well last year. Then he has handled the success and the Pro Bowl and the offseason and the hype and all of that, and how he has answered it is with great work. He's in great shape, he's as strong as he's ever been, throwing the ball a ton, you can't wear him down. He's everything you could ask for. He's doing it. And it's a benefit for Drew also to see that and watch how far he's come and what he's doing. It's a great example for him, and Drew's got to keep chasing it the whole time now; he's a play away from being out there. We're really excited to have that dynamic back with those two guys, because they get along great, they help each other, and they're great influences on one another. But Geno's not sitting back taking it easy right now, he's going for it. It's really been obvious."
2. Mike Jackson has had "a fantastic offseason of work."
Mike Jackson came into last season as a relative unknown to all but the most diehard of Seahawks fans, a former fifth-round pick who had spent time in Dallas, Detroit and New England before signing to Seattle's practice squad in 2021.
But after injuries opened the door for Jackson in training camp, he took over a starting role and went on to start all 17 games despite challenges to his job from more experienced players as they returned from injuries during the season. This year the Seahawks used their first pick, the fifth overall selection, on a cornerback, Devon Witherspoon, leading many to assume that Witherspoon will step into the starting lineup opposite Tariq Woolen, who is coming off a Pro-Bowl season as a rookie. And while that very well could end up being Seattle's starting cornerback tandem come Week 1, Jackson has shown throughout offseason workouts that he won't go down without a fight.
"He's feeling the confidence that comes from what he accomplished last time around," Carroll said. "He played a really solid football season, did a lot of good stuff. He comes back and feels like he's in really good shape and he feels great about it, and the fact that we drafted a guy, yeah, that sends everybody's alert up.
"He has had a fantastic offseason of work. He has been on his game. You can see the experience and the carryover from last year. We have a young team, he seems like a season veteran for us. He can feel it, and he's taking a really good leadership role out here."
3. The Seahawks are "in a good spot" at center even if they don't yet know who will start.
The Seahawks currently have an open competition going on at center between Evan Brown, a free-agent addition with significant starting experience, Olu Oluwatimi, a fifth-round pick in this year's draft, and Joey Hunt, who has started 11 games over a seven-year career, including eight games for Seattle in 2019. And while it's too early to know who will emerge as the starter, the Seahawks feel good about that position having added Brown and Oluwatimi to the mix this offseason.
"It's going to be a great spot to watch, it really will," Carroll said. "Evan has come in here and commanded the leadership with the experience—he has more experience than Olu's got—so we'll see how it all works out. Joey is an experienced football player too, so we have a really good spot. We're just going to let it happen and see what happens, see how it goes. We're not going to set any timelines on it or anything like that, it'll work itself off, but Olu has done a nice job jumping in. He's a bright kid and it shows up and he gets it, he's confident. You could see him playing.
"I don't know when it'll take place, if Evan makes the push or (Oluwatimi) makes the push, but the position is in good hands right now, we're in a good spot."
4. Dre'Mont Jones' transition has been "smooth as can be" so far.
The Seahawks added defensive end Dre'Mont Jones early in free agency hoping he will upgrade the defensive front, and while the real indicators will come when pads come on in training camp, what he has shown so far when it comes to learning the defense has made a good impression.
"It's been smooth as can be," Carroll said. "Learning the concepts and principles of stuff that we're doing, and we're learning him too, because he's got special talents, and we want to make sure that we accent them and use them. We're learning that as we go. He's been really consistent about everything."
5. Tyreke Smith is back to full speed.
The Seahawks hoped Tyreke Smith, a fifth-round pick out of Ohio State, would add to their pass-rush rotation last year, but instead the outside linebacker missed his entire rookie season with a hip injury. Smith is back and fully healthy this offseason and is very much looking like a player who could factor into things in 2023.
"Really good quickness, really good understanding of the position," Carroll said. "He understands edge rushing—that's why we drafted him, because we thought we saw a real special knack from him. He's had a good offseason. We've really, really made him work hard in the weight room and work on his strength to get him physically right. He had a difficult injury in his hip, but he's back and going now. He's doing everything, he's full speed."
The Seahawks completed their fifth OTA session of the offseason on June 1, 2023 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash.