The Seahawks wrapped up their 2019 offseason workout program this week with a three-day mandatory minicamp, and after seeing his team for the final time before training camp begins in late July, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll came off the field excited about his team's potential.
"We've had an excellent offseason," Carroll said. "These guys have done everything we've asked for. We have an attitude of pushing it to the next, what's next and what's coming up and always looking forward and positive and supportive of one another. Offense, defense mixed really well. I love the way the coaches have made our sessions really where the players have been held accountable throughout. They've been tested on a regular daily basis and it's just become part of the norm and I think we're communicating better than we have because of it. So everything's rolling."
Here are seven takeaways from Carroll on what he saw from his team over the past three months off offseason workouts:
1. This team's "makeup and mentality are really right."
For all physical ability Carroll saw on the field during organized team activities and minicamp, what might be more important heading into the 2019 season is the way the team carried over from last season the right type of attitude about working well as a team.
"This has been pretty smooth," Carroll said. "The attitude—this locker room, coming from last season, you could tell it was a special group. They have a way about themselves where they really care about getting along. They want to get along, they want to be part of this thing together. And they've been very open about that. So it has been a great group to work with. It really has been. I'm so excited about it, because every day they come and they're having fun and working hard and pulling for one another, and they're competing too. That's really as much as we can hope for a this point, and now we've got to come back and get really good. We've got to get good in all kinds of areas. The makeup and the mentality are really right. We should be fine there."
2. If players put in the work before training camp as expected, "We'll win games right here in these next six weeks."
The conclusion off the offseason workout calendar means some free time for players, and while the break is hard earned, Carroll sends players off with a message of keeping up the work during their downtime so they can come back prepared for training camp.
"This is an extraordinarily competitive time," Carroll said. "So many things can happen, guys can go south on you, they can get better. Changes can occur right now. We're really trying to be focused about it. We've helped them create a plan for their offseason to make sure that they're coordinated, organized and they'll max this out.
"If these guys just get back here and they're like they were, we're going to be fine. A lot can happen now. We'll have a lot of guys working out together in different areas, and I'm hoping they'll feed off of one another and put forth a great six weeks. There's no reason that every one of these guys shouldn't come back in the best condition of their life. This is the only season they have in their life and they should do everything they can to do that. That has been the message, so they've been challenged to make the most of us. This is crucial to us that we do a great job here. We'll win games right here in these next six weeks."
3. It has been tough to evaluate the defense with so many players sitting out.
While the Seahawks are excited about the depth of their defense, they haven't had a chance to see what will likely be their starting defense during OTAs and minicamp. Veterans like Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Mychal Kendricks, Jarran Reed, Bradley McDougald, Ziggy Ansah and Lano Hill, among others have been limited or sidelined during offseason workouts, which means the Seahawks are, as Carroll put it, "using our imagination right now," when it comes to evaluating the 2019 defense.
"There's six or seven guys who we think will wind up playing a lot of football for us that we're holding out right now," Carroll said. "But those guys will be ready for camp and ready to roll, and it'll be a pretty nice group. I'm really excited about Bobby, K.J. and Mychal. Those guys bring tremendous experience and playmaking, more than we've ever had, so I'm anxious to get those guys on the field at the same time to see what they can do. I think they're going to help other guys play well—I know they will. Their communication and the savvy they bring, that's all you could ask for. It's going to be a really fun group to put together."
It has been particularly difficult to evaluate safety because what should be a very competitive position group has been short-handed with McDougald and Hill sidelined. Second-round pick Marquise Blair has also been out recently with a hamstring injury.
"It's a little bit difficult because Bradley is not out there," Carroll said. "Bradley really has been the leader and the best communicator for us and just the experience and all of that. And then Hill hasn't been there, and he made a big push at the end of the year and he's a guy really in the mix. So we're going to have to reserve judgment a little bit in how it's going to wind up in the starting spots. It was really good for the younger guys to get the reps. (Ugo) Amadi got all kinds of turns. We missed out also on Marquise not getting his time. So it's going to be an interesting spot when we come back to campus. We're going to have to make up a lot of ground there. I think Bradley is scheduled to be fine first day of camp and should be out there going; that'll be really important. He'll help us continuity wise. T2 (Tedric Thompson) played really well for us all along and been really consistent. So that's been good. But there's going to be some comp there. It's going to be interesting to see what happens."
4. Carroll is very excited about kicker Jason Myers.
Carroll opened his press conference in a somewhat unusual manner, enthusiastically saying, "let's talk kickers." Carroll had just watched Jason Myers make another "game-winner" to end practice, continuing what has been a nearly perfect offseason of kicks for Myers, a 2018 Pro-Bowler who the Seahawks signed in free agency.
"Both of our opportunities to end these sessions have come down to a tie last play, last-second kick, which just highlighted the consistency that Jason Myers showed for us," Carroll said. "He did a great job throughout this offseason. We're really fortunate to have him. The consistency was really there and the leg power and all that, working together with Michael (Dickson) and Tyler Ott. Those guys did a great job. So that move that we made to get him, I think is going to work out great for us and it's going to give us the confidence to utilize the kicker like you'd hope to in crucial situations, long balls when we've got to go for it. We're going to be playing with a lot of confidence in that regard. He did a great job. So I'm really happy that—and to have Michael too, we love what Mike can do. So I really feel good about that part of the kicking game. And it just kind of just jumped out at me that here we go again. And I gave him three chances here at the end and he hit them all, again, as he did in the last camp too. So just good stuff."
5. Barkevious Mingo will work more as a pass-rusher this year.
After signing with the Seahawks last year, Barkevious Mingo won the starting job at strongside linebacker and also was one of Seattle's best special teams players, but because of his focus on learning the strongside spot, the Seahawks weren't able to use him as much as a pass-rusher as they'd have liked. This year in offseason workouts, Mingo has spent more time working with assistant head coach/defensive line coach Clint Hurtt with the hopes that he can be utilized more as a pass-rusher. Carroll has said he hopes to get Bobby Wagner, Mychal Kendricks and K.J. Wright on the field together at the same time, presumably meaning one of them will play strongside linebacker, and Shaquem Griffin is playing that spot now as well, which means there will be more chances for Mingo to focus on another role.
"He still is a Sam backer for us, and can do that, but we're also going to continue to work him—if you watched in this camp, he worked a lot with Clint in the pass rush stuff," Carroll said. "We want to really accentuate that for him and not divide his focus. Last year it was Sam backer and a little bit of pass-rush stuff, and he never really got to dig in. He can make problems for the opponent because he's so fast and so long, so we will really try to accentuate that, and we'll do that again through camp. We want to really specialize him as a rusher knowing he can play the 'backer spot."
6. The rookie receivers made a good first impression.
There understandably has been a lot of hype surrounding second-round pick DK Metcalf, who stood out throughout OTAs and minicamp. Metcalf is not only unusually big, fast and strong for his position, but he is also, as Carroll put it, "a very natural player" in terms of his route-running and understanding of the game.
But as good as Metcalf has been, he isn't the only rookie receiver to impress over the past couple of months. Seventh-round pick John Ursua has come on strong of late, and while he only recently returned to action because of a hamstring injury, fourth-round pick Gary Jennings has also started to show why the Seahawks liked him coming out of West Virginia.
"As we closed out this time, we were able to get a good look at John Ursua," Carroll said. "He started to feel comfortable and show us the kind of quicks and change-of-direction stuff that made him one of the big scorers in college football last year. You can see it, he's got a real style to him. He's a slot guy, he really is that mold. I really like that the last four days or so we got Gary Jennings out there to see what he can do. We don't know enough yet, didn't get enough information, but certainly is big and strong. He looks the part, he doesn't have any trouble running the routes and we're trying to run, and he catches the ball nicely. So these guys—it's how well they handle the installations, can they go out there and play football and play well? Not just get out there, but can they play well and do things right. It's very, very competitive at this spot. So we'll see what happens, but those guys looked really good."
7. Almost everyone should be available for the start of training camp.
As mentioned earlier, the Seahawks were missing a lot of key defensive players during offseason workouts, but Carroll said he expects nearly everyone to be ready for the start of camp. As Carroll outlined earlier this week, free-agent signing Ziggy Ansah likely won't be practicing when camp begins, and while the Seahawks will be cautious with tight end Will Dissly, who is coming back from a torn patellar tendon, he should be ready early in camp if not on Day 1.
"We think Will is going to be ready for camp and ready to go," Carroll said. "What we'll do is we'll just make sure before we cut him loose, but everything is on line—we talked just yesterday that we think he's going to be on track to be ready. The decision will be, should we start it right from the beginning or should we wait a week or whatever as we just ensure that he's back? We do not want to rush this one at all. We want to make sure that he's a thousand percent confident and ready to go and can make all the breaks and plants and (change of direction) and all that stuff. So we'll take a real good look at it, but it's really promising that he's going to be ready to go. We're totally thinking he's going to be ready to go for the season, I have no question about that."
Photos from Day 3 of the Seattle Seahawks' 2019 mandatory minicamp, the final day of the team's offseason workout program held on Thursday, June 13 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.