Every day between now and the start of Seahawks training camp, Seahawks.com will take a look at some of the team's most intriguing storylines, position battles and players heading into the 2017 season. Today, we kick off the Top 10 list by focusing on the status of some of the team's top players who are coming back from injuries. The list continues Thursday with a look at a player who was awfully good in 2016, but who is poised to have an even bigger year this season.
When the Seahawks take the field on Sunday, July 30 to open training camp, inevitably there will be a few players on the sideline. That is not, however, necessarily a big deal, even if those players open camp on the physically unable to perform list. Unlike the regular season, when players on the PUP list have to sit out at least six games, players on the PUP list in camp can come off it at any time, and in many cases those listings are precautionary and players do indeed come off PUP very quickly.
This year, as is almost always the case for every team, the Seahawks come into camp with some injury question marks, but for the most part the news this offseason has been positive.
Perhaps most encouraging has been the progress of All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, whose 2016 season was cut short by a broken leg. When the season ended, it was uncertain if Thomas would be ready for camp, but during offseason workouts, Thomas was doing, "way beyond what he thought he would be," according to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
While it's possible Thomas could be limited at times—Carroll said "we'll make sure and work our way into it"—Thomas' status for the season is no longer in question.
Fellow safety Kam Chancellor finished the season on the field, but he did need surgery on both ankles to deal with bone spurs. He, like Thomas, was able to do a lot in offseason workouts and should be a full-go in camp.
As for receiver and All-Pro return man Tyler Lockett, Carroll said last month that "Tyler's still a question" for the start of camp. Lockett also saw his season end with a broken leg, but unlike Thomas, his injury did require surgery. Lockett has been making good progress in his rehab and is running, and camp is a real possibility, but even if he's sidelined on Day 1, he has a good shot to get back on the field quickly.
"He's aiming for camp and we'll see how he does there," Carroll said. "And I wouldn't be surprised if he's ready and running at top speed by then."
DeShawn Shead, last year's starter at right corner, is further behind in his recovery from the knee injury he sustained in Seattle's final game, a playoff loss at Atlanta. While Carroll hasn't ruled out a return by the start of the season, that seems unlikely at this point, and at the very least a return for the beginning of camp is off the table.
"He's making great progress," Carroll said on the final day of offseason workouts. "He is one of the all-time best healers. He applies himself as well as a person can do in terms of getting back. He's got all the grit and the perseverance about making it through this as quickly as you possibly can, so he's doing great."
As for Week 1 of the regular season, Carroll said, "I don't think we'll be pushing him on that regard. Maybe he does it, I should never say no to him. Maybe he can pull it off. We'll see."
Two of Seattle's top free-agent signings, running back Eddie Lacy and offensive lineman Luke Joeckel, are also recovering from injuries that ended their 2016 seasons early. Both Joeckel (knee) and Lacy (ankle) were able to do limited work in offseason workouts
On Lacy, Carroll said "I can't see how he wouldn't be" ready for the start of camp. "I think he's at a really good tempo already."
While no definitive timetable has been given on Joeckel, who is competing for the starting job at left guard and left tackle, both he and Carroll expressed optimism, noting that he was doing more in offseason workouts than expected.
Other health-related question marks heading into camp include second-year defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson, who had knee surgery last season, free agent signing Dion Jordan, who had another knee surgery since signing with Seattle, and receiver Tanner McEvoy, who had surgery on his toe this offseason.
Check out photos from Day 3 of the Seahawks' mandatory minicamp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.