The Seahawks left for Atlanta Friday afternoon for their season opener, a game that will finally allow everyone, from players to coaches to fans, to get a sense of where the team stands after an abbreviated offseason and a training camp with no preseason games.
"We're dying to see where we are," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We've been working really hard at it, of course, and you don't know until you get out there and start matching up and see what happens. (Atlanta) is a good club and they've got a lot of good experienced football players, a good experienced staff and all that, so we're going to get checked out. It'll be a good gauge for us, we'll see where we stand, and we're really looking forward to it."
Here are five things we learned from Carroll's Friday press conference, including the updates on a short injury list.
1. Injury updates.
The Seahawks have only two players listed on the final injury report, backup tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, who has been ruled out with a pectoral injury, and receiver Phillip Dorsett II, who is questionable with a foot injury after not practicing Friday.
"He's got a sore foot that we're trying to get through," Carroll said of Dorsett. "We rested him today, so we'll see what happens."
Asked if the foot injury is one that could linger throughout the season, Carroll said, "I don't know how long it's going to be, I don't know that. We've got to see how he does this weekend, then we'll just take it really one day at a time, one step at a time. Phillip had a really good camp for us, we really like him in there, so we'll see if we can get him back for this ballgame or not, I don't know."
If Dorsett can't go, Carroll still likes the team's depth behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
"David (Moore) has been on it, this is the best David's ever been," he said. "We'll play a lot of guys. Freddie Swain's done a nice job, we're anxious to see Freddie. We really won't have any hesitation playing Freddie."
Left tackle Duane Brown was listed with a knee injury and was limited in practice Wednesday and Friday and sat out Thursday, but Carroll said the four-time Pro-Bowler is fine, and that this is just part of the long-term plan to help get him through the season.
"We've really managed him all the way through camp," Carroll said. "We're just working him on a schedule. He's been around a long time and we want to make sure to take care of him. It's a long year, and we don't want to go until he feels something. We're just managing him kind of with a regular system. We think we're on it right now, so it'll be very much the same for a while."
Also limited Thursday and Friday was Will Dissly, but Carroll said that is just athletic trainers being cautious with the third-year tight end, who is coming off a torn Achilles that ended his 2019 season.
"Really it was the training staff and coaches holding him back throughout camp," Carroll said. "He's ready to go. He had a phenomenal offseason. Where he worked out, they said he worked for nine straight months, and never was late or never missed a minute of his workout time, and it showed. He had a great camp. He's fine. We're just making sure he's ready to go for his first game, and we can play him as we want to."
2. A change on the coaching staff.
Carroll announced at the end of his press conference that special teams coordinator Brian Schneider, who has been with the Seahawks since Carroll took over in 2010, has left the team indefinitely for personal reasons. Assistant special teams coach Larry Izzo will take over special teams coaching duties.
3. No word on right cornerback.
While most competitions for starting jobs have been decided, Carroll still isn't saying who will start at right cornerback between Tre Flowers, the starter there each of the past two seasons, and Quinton Dunbar, an offseason trade acquisition. Carroll did say both will play in this game, and noted whoever wins the job, the Seahawks are better at that position because of the competition.
"Both of those guys are likely to play in this game," he said. "We'll let you know at game time who's going to start… Quinton has had a really good camp and he's shown us the things we need to see, and this is the best that we've seen from Tre, so it's a good situation. The competition has helped us."
4. L.J. Collier will start at defensive end.
L.J. Collier, Seattle's first-round pick in 2019, didn't see much playing time last year after an ankle injury caused him to miss almost all of training camp and the entire preseason. Healthy in 2020, Collier has looked like a different player, and did enough to earn the starting job at defensive end, though as always, the Seahawks will feature a deep rotation on the line.
"He's in better shape than he was a year ago," Carroll said. "He's just healthier and quicker and stronger in every way, and he made it through camp healthy as well. Remember he got banged up early on there with a really nasty ankle. So we've just seen him much more to his ability level. His ankle bothered him even when he came back last year, so we never really saw him. He has had a good camp, he's going to get a chance to start in this game. There'll be a good rotation there, but it's because he's earned it and he's played really well, so I'm anxious to get him out there."
Carroll later added, "He's got really good quickness, he's got great length, he's a really good technician, and he plays with a high motor too. So he's got a lot of good positives about him."
5. Last minute roster shuffling?
One of the many changes this year put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic is a rule that allows teams to add two practice squad players to the roster without having to release anyone, essentially creating a 55-man roster for the weekend. Adding to the intrigue, that move can happen all the way up until 90 minutes before kickoff when teams have to submit inactive lists.
Carroll would not say if anyone will be added: "The cool thing about this is we can wait all the way until right up to game time, almost. So we're going to wait and see."
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.