Key takeaways from Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll's post-minicamp press conference on Thursday, June 18 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
1. The Offseason Message
Carroll opened his session with the media by stating how beneficial the team's offseason work has been to date, even though the club was forced to operate with limited time on the field.
"We had a good minicamp," Carroll said. "I know our numbers of practices were down a little bit here, but the work we did and the team stuff that we did was really of great benefit."
The Seahawks will now disperse from team headquarters and return in six weeks when training camp gets going in late July. Carroll paraphrased the message he left players with as they work to finish out the offseason strong.
"We want them to be working hard together as much as possible," said Carroll. "It's much easier to workout when you're working with other players. Then our big thing is about coming back with the right attitude about making this a great team. That's beyond the lifting and the running and all that stuff, that's about getting their minds right to really work together and work for one another. That's been a big theme for us."
2. The Rookies Understand What's Going On
Carroll came away impressed by the work of Seattle's 2015 rookies, a class headlined by defensive end Frank Clark, wide receiver Tyler Lockett, offensive linemen Terry Poole, Mark Glowinski, and Kristjan Sokoli, cornerback Tye Smith, and defensive end Obum Gwacham. Safety Ryan Murphy, Seattle's seventh-round pick, has yet to take part in any team activities as he finishes up at Oregon State.
"These guys have really jumped into it," Carroll said. "They look like they understand what's going on. They're hustling around, they're flying around the practice field, they've spent all the extra hours that they can. Our coaches have worked as much as we possibly can to keep them versed. Their attitude has been great about the learning and all, so we haven't had to hold back. We haven't had to treat them like they don't understand or they're not getting it.
"They've been given the full boat of installation on both sides of the ball and on special teams and they're doing great. The indication is when they come back how fast they play, they play with confidence and they understand what's going on so that they can show themselves. That's what we hope. Every indication is it's been successful for them."
3. Tyler Lockett & Jimmy Graham Stood Out
Lockett, the team's third-round pick out of Kansas State who's first in line for punt- and kick-return duties this year, was one of the offseason standouts in Carroll's eyes.
"It's been really fun to learn Tyler Lockett," said Carroll. "He's got a lot of responsibilities - he goes after this return job, he's inside playing in the slot in the receiver position, and he's been outside. We've just thrown everything at him because he seems to be able to handle it."
Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham, the team's pseudo first-round pick acquired in a March trade with the New Orleans Saints, was the other player Carroll called out.
"Jimmy Graham coming in with the big history and all the accomplishments that he had, he could have been all kinds of things," Carroll admitted. "He's a great kid. He's as hard a worker as we could hope to get. He loves the game, he loves the challenge, he loves coming to a new setting and having to prove himself. He's feeding off of that."
4. The Team Is Pretty Healthy
Cornerback Jeremy Lane was the lone Seahawk Carroll disclosed when asked if he sees any players not being ready by the start of training camp.
"I don't think we've predicted that he would be out there the first day," Carroll said of Lane, who injured his ACL and forearm in Super Bowl XLIX. "But I think he's still got some time with some complications and stuff he's going through. He's handling everything really well. We'll see."
Free safety Earl Thomas, who underwent offseason surgery on his shoulder, didn't participate in Thursday's minicamp but is doing "seemingly great," according to Carroll.
"He's really excited about where he is and his ability to do all the stuff and run around," Carroll said of Thomas, who did participate in limited fashion during OTAs. "They just want to wait all the time that they can and he should be ready and raring to go."
5. Russell Wilson's Contract Status
Negotiations are still ongoing between the Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson, who's eligible for a contract extension as he enters the final year of his rookie deal.
"They're still working at it," Carroll said when asked if he expects the two sides to reach an agreement before training camp. "I'm hopeful. We're hopeful. That's why we're working."
Pressed for a timeline, Carroll added: "I don't care how long we keep working, whatever it takes to do the right thing."
6. The Wide Receiver Position "Feels Deeper"
The Seahawks' 90-man roster is currently set with 12 players at the wide receiver position.
Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, the team's starting wideouts last year, are joined by the rookie return specialist Lockett, Super Bowl XLIX star Chris Matthews, 2014 draft picks Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood, special teams ace Ricardo Lockette, converted-quarterback B.J. Daniels, and a slew of up-and-comers looking to make their mark in Deshon Foxx, Kevin Smith, Douglas McNeil III, and Kasen Williams.
Carroll said the group "feels deeper" than it did a year ago and expressed particular excitement when asked about the potential of the 6-foot-5, 218-pound Matthews.
"Chris is a guy that obviously made a big statement at the end of last season and he's unique in our group because he is so tall and such a factor in that regard," Carroll said, referencing Matthews' four-catch, 109-yard and a touchdown outing in February's Super Bowl, Matthews' first catches in the NFL. "We're really hoping that he can be a special aspect of our team."
Williams, the Sammamish, Wash. native and standout pass catcher for the University of Washington Huskies who signed last week, saw his first on-field action with the Seahawks since participating in the team's rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.
"We want to see how special he is when he mixes in with our group," Carroll said of the 6-foot-1, 219-pound rookie. "I know him to be a really productive, aggressive football player at the receiver spot, so I'm excited to see how he fits in."
7. Thomas Rawls "A Real Bright Spot"
With Marshawn Lynch present for minicamp but absent from voluntary workouts, Robert Turbin rehabbing a hip he recently had surgically repaired, and Christine Michael nursing what Carroll called a "tight" hamstring, Thomas Rawls received a good amount of work in the Seahawks backfield throughout the team's offseason program.
The 5-foot-9, 215-pound running back signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Central Michigan, where he ran for 1,103 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014 despite missing four games. Carroll, who said he has studied Rawls closely, called the 21-year-old ballcarrier "a real bright spot" for Seattle.
"I love his style of running," said Carroll. "He's really a head-knocker. He really goes after guys and when you guys get to see him put the pads on you'll see how physical of a runner he is. He had play after play in college of just smacking people and running and breaking tackles and all that. He showed very good feet, he caught the ball well, he's going to be a very-willing blocker.
"He was a real bright spot," the Seahawks head coach added. "I thought he really jumped out at us and he was very consistent, worked throughout the whole thing knowing that his best, maybe most exciting dimension, hasn't even been seen yet. He had a great camp for us. It'll be really fun to see him when we start playing ball."
8. Jesse Williams In "Recovery Mode"
Jesse Williams was recently cleared to workout after undergoing kidney surgery for Papillary Type 2 cancer. Seahawks.com digital media reporter John Boyle caught up with Williams earlier this week, when the 24-year-old Seahawks defensive tackle opened up about his battle with the disease. Carroll touched on the subject again following Thursday's minicamp.
"Jesse is in recovery mode from major surgery, had a kidney removed," Carroll began. "The process now is to get him back in shape. He's free to come back and it's just a matter of how soon he can get strong and what kind of level of conditioning can he achieve, we're going to reassess. But the doctors have said that it's safe for him to come back and play football. He has to just go through the rehab and fully recover and put himself in a position where he can have a chance to make the team.
"We're rooting for him every bit of the way. It's been an extraordinarily difficult time for he and his family to have to deal with it, such a young man with issues like this. But he's got great support and he's a wonderful kid, he's got a great attitude about it. I would think if a guy could come back from it, he will do that, so we're giving him every opportunity."
9. Tarvaris Jackson A "Steadying Force"
The Seahawks agreed to terms on a contract with Tarvaris Jackson last week and the quarterback who's backed up Russell Wilson the past two years officially re-signed with the club this past Tuesday. Carroll said inking a new deal with Jackson gives the club "great confidence" at the quarterback spot moving forward.
"He's a steadying force for us," Carroll said of the 32-year old Jackson, who enters his 10th NFL season. "He's been around. He's a great guy. Players really respond to him. Tough as nails, he knows our system beautifully and supports Russell and his efforts very well."
Before Thursday's minicamp, the lone arm working behind Wilson had been R.J. Archer, who Carroll said Jackson will battle for the backup spot.
"He's got to compete now," Carroll reminded. "He's battling. R.J. has had a really good offseason with us, which is great, how we like it. But it's great to have T-Jack back."
The Seahawks enjoyed a day outside for the final day of minicamp.