The Seahawks will board their flight to Indianapolis Friday with about as healthy of a roster as can be expected in the NFL, with no players listed on the injury report as questionable, doubtful or out. And they'll head to Indianapolis looking to continue a trend of strong play on the road, with the Seahawks posting a 12-4 road record over the past two seasons.
For more on both of those topics, here are five things we learned from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's Friday press conference:
1. The Seahawks are as healthy as Carroll can remember.
The Seahawks head to Indy with every player on the 53-man roster available, a rarity even in Week 1, and Carroll wasn't sure whether he'd seen that before.
"I don't remember another time," Carroll said. "I don't... It's a good thing. It's a real positive. It has to do with a lot of elements—the conditioning that the guys put forth to get ready, then once they got here, working with our training staff and strength and conditioning and all of that, and good fortune too. It's a pretty good list right now."
The Seahawks do have a handful of players on injured reserve, including three who were placed there after the initial roster was set—tight end Colby Parkinson, cornerback Tre Brown, tackle Cedric Ogbuehi and cornerback Nigel Warrior—meaning they're eligible to return as soon as Week 4.
While Carroll doesn't know if those players will all be back at the soonest opportunity, he said "We anticipate all the guys coming back."
2. The Seahawks are looking to continue their road success.
The Seahawks opened the 2018 season with back-to-back road losses, but ever since those two games they've been a very good team on the road. Seattle won four of its remaining six on the road in 2018, its only losses a thriller at Los Angeles and an overtime loss at San Francisco, then in 2019 the Seahawks went 7-1 on the road, losing only at Los Angeles. Last season the Seahawks were 5-3 on the road, including a season-opening win at Atlanta. Now the Seahawks will open on the road in the 10 a.m. PT timeslot again, looking to replicate that road success.
"I hope we can find the success we've had on the road," Carroll said. "I've presented it again to the guys that this is the first two-day trip that we take and how we do it and all of that. We take a lot of pride in that—the last few years we've been highly successful."
3. What Carroll is looking to see out of his team in Week 1.
Even if a team returns its coaching staff or most of its players, every year is different, so even Carroll isn't exactly sure what he'll see out of his team on Sunday. As for what he is looking to see, Carroll said, "I want to find out if it all fits together. If we can play complementary ball and be balanced on offense and stay away from the bad plays that happen on defense. Stay out of the problem areas, penalty situations. We had a fantastic season last year with penalties on special teams. We had a pretty good year for penalties in our club. I like to see if we can control the things that are within our control. The primary thing is the football. Can we do a great job at taking care of it? That's what I want to see, if we're on it again. It's always been such a huge emphasis for us, but you don't know until you get going again. We've been pitching and selling and practicing and all that, but we have to see how that thing bounces out there."
4. The nickel competition remains ongoing.
The closest competition in training camp might have been the battle for the nickel corner spot between Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair, and even though the regular season is upon us, things aren't settled there.
Blair won that job in camp last year but went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 2, and Amadi played well there after taking over, and he has been even better in camp this year according to Carroll.
"Ugo and Marquise are still in competition," Carroll said. "They both did everything we hoped they could do, and we haven't declared who is on top of that yet so we will let the competition continue."
Carroll indicated earlier in the week that both players could be used in that role, and the fact that they're still competing could indicate both will see the field on Sunday.
5. Updates on the new cornerbacks.
The Seahawks will have two starting cornerbacks with experience in their defense in D.J. Reed and Tre Flowers, but the other three cornerbacks on the 53-man roster—John Reid, Sidney Jones IV and Bless Austin—have all been recent additions to the roster. That makes it too soon to know how all of those players will fit in, but Carroll likes what he has seen so far.
"There has not been enough time to really call it with Bless and Sidney, but John Reid has done a really good job," Carroll said. "He has had a couple of weeks, so we have to wait a bit. It looks as smooth as can be on the practice field, they look very comfortable. Our guys have done a great job of helping them translate what we are asking from what they've done. We don't take guys and make them something they are not, we try to figure out how they can fit into our stuff with the style that they bring and then build from there. We are not making it uncomfortable for those guys to try to transition. We'll tweak some stuff as we go, but Bless has looked good and Sidney has been all over the ball; he's made a lot of plays in practice already in a short period of time, that's a really good sign. John Reid is the type of guy who automatically knows what's going on, he is a really smart football player. Wherever he's deployed, he fits in really well. He made that transition really obvious and easy for us to see him."
First meeting in 1977, the Seahawks and the Colts have faced one another 12 times in the regular season over the years. They will face off this Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 1 of the 2021 season.