The Seahawks wrapped up their mandatory minicamp Thursday, which also meant the end of what head coach Pete Carroll described as "a very, very good offseason." With offseason workouts over, players now get six weeks off before reporting to training camp in late July, a time Carroll notes will be important for players so that they come back in shape and ready for camp.
"I'm really fired up about everything that's going on," Carroll said. "I'm concerned about the six weeks coming up, that the guys do a really good job taking care of themselves, coming back stronger and faster. They're in good shape right now, we would be ready to go into camp and we'd be in good shape. This is a concern—I think all the coaches are probably concerned around the league—what happens during these six weeks, but our guys are going to compete to do a good job and take care of it, with really good leadership they'll pull that off. Then we'll come back and let it rip. A lot of opportunity, a lot of competitive spots here, which is exactly how we like it. You can tell the players feel it, you can sense it from them. We did learn a lot too. I feel like we got a lot of information from our guys. The coordinators did a good job of putting guys in situations so we could see them and get a feel, so it's not like we've got to start all over again in camp and figure who's who. I think we can pick up from where we left off and see if we can progress some guys and create some roles, and give some guys to contribute in their unique way. So we'll see how that goes."
Here are six things we learned from Carroll following the final day of minicamp:
1. "The overall energy" of the team is what jumped out to Carroll the most during offseason workouts.
Different players and position groups stood out throughout OTAs and minicamp, but from a big-picture standpoint, Carroll said it was his team's energy level, and the consistency with which players brought that energy, that made the biggest impression on him over the past couple of months.
"I think it was the consistency and the attitude throughout," Carroll said. "The effort was excellent and upbeat, positive, supportive, accepting of one another, learning new guys, the older guys made it really comfortable for the new guys to fit in, which just facilitates the process. I think we saw the benefit of that. That's why we kind of feel like we have a good sense for guys now. We've come quite a ways in the short time that we have. I think it's the overall energy that really stands out the most."
2. Carroll wants to make sure his players return to camp in as good of shape as they're in now.
While players will enjoy some well-earned time off between now and training camp, what Carroll doesn't want his players to do is relax too much, not after seeing so much good work out of them up to this point.
"The key is to stay consistent through your workouts and don't rest too long," he said. "They don't need a vacation right now; they need a little break from the push we've been in right here, but like our guys shared with our other guys, a few days and let's get back at it. It's too important that we stay on task. They've worked so hard to get where they are, you don't want to have go back down conditioning wise then work it back up. They've just invested too much at this point. So finding a consistent regimen and having a good plan and sticking with it and being smart about it."
3. Carroll likes what he's seeing from the rookie class.
When Carroll walked off the field following Thursday's practice, he had a brief one-on-one conversation with rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin. Later, Carroll revealed that the conversation was to praise the way the fifth-round pick has progressed during his time with the team.
"I just talked to him coming off the field," Carroll said. "What was really positive was how he finished the offseason. Moving back to an inside (linebacker) spot for him was new and he had a lot to learn and a lot to pick up. Just in the process of it, as a guy who wants to do right and do things just as they coaches are coaching him up, we didn't see him really cut loose until the last, really in this camp, he really felt comfortable and started flying around and you could see how fast he is and the acceleration that he has. It's really unique, it just jumped off the film. I think we'll see it again in today's practice, but the first two days were a change, which was really positive. I didn't want to see him be stoved up too long where couldn't get comfortable so he could start moving and flying, and he did it. The same thing happened with (Barkevious) Mingo too, both of those guys showed that after being here a while, they needed to get comfortable, then all of a sudden you start to see the burst and the speed that they bring that has been part of their makeup."
And Griffin wasn't the only rookie to make a strong impression. Asked about the class as a whole, Carroll said, "Really there's nothing but solid stuff here. Rashaad (Penny) really was impressive throughout. He has picked up a ton of stuff. (Running backs coach) Chad (Morton) was just talking about the pass protection stuff that he looks so comfortable with after the time he has been here. That was something that was new for him and a demanding part of the game. We don't have any hesitation that he's going to be fine in that area. He's a really good route runner and a good catcher, very smooth, has excellent feet, he stayed in great shape throughout all of the time that we had him, he reported well in shape, he didn't have go back and forth. He came in about 230 and kind of maintained that weight throughout. Rasheem (Green) has been impressive. Then just moving right through the guys, it has been a good group so far and we're off and running with them. Will Dissly, what we wanted to see in him, we saw everything we could see. He needs to be in pads because he's a line of scrimmage guy who can help us. He weighs 270-something playing tight end, we've wanted to get big and strong there. He was the guy we hoped to get, we got him and he looks the part. You go right through the class, that's what it feel like. We talked about Shaquem. Michael Dickson did a nice job too kicking the ball, he's going to be in the competition of it. I'm just fired up about the whole group."
Later, when asked about Alex McGough, Carroll said the quarterback, "has come a long way. I don't know if you noticed from the reps, but we threw him in and gave him a lot of turns to see where he could take it. He's got a good arm, he runs well, he's studying, he's learning, it doesn't seem too big for him at this level of competition. We're not into the playing games yet, we'll have to wait and see—we're not even into camp yet—but he's done a nice job with it so far and warranted giving him extra shots. We know a lot about Austin (Davis) – Austin has done a beautiful job for us in the role that we've asked him to fill. We needed to see how far we could take Alex. He threw a lot of great balls, made a lot of great plays, made some bonehead plays too and you could see that he's got stuff he's got to figure out. But when he knows what's going on and he's got a good sense for what the plays are and where people are going, he's been pretty assertive. He's done a nice job."
4. Carroll is excited about the two defensive tackles Seattle added in free agency.
The Seahawks lost starting defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to the Minnesota Vikings in free agency this offseason, but they added a pair of tackles to help fill that void, Minnesota's Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen. While Stephen has been unable to practice while recovering from a knee injury, he has still made a strong impression on his coaches, as has Johnson, who has been on the field.
"Shamar has made an impression about his work ethic, even though he's not on the field," Carroll said. "How he studies, the way he communicates, the way he's helped younger guys learn and grow, he's in on everything, he's not distanced himself at all even though he hasn't been able to get on the field. So he's made really good first impressions. Tom has been right in the middle of everything and I wish we would have found him years ago. He's a great competitor, he's got a tough mentality, he cares tremendously, he's a great worker, he's exactly the kind of guy we like having on the team. You guys might not realize this but Tom and Shamar played a lot of football last year, on a really good defense, on a really good defensive line, with a really good package of stuff that they do and we just kind of got those guys to come over here. I'm very confident in what those guys are bringing. I studied the heck out of it. I've seen everything that they've done the past couple years and I know what we're getting. This worked out really very well for us. I'm thrilled about those guys. And of course we haven't seen Shamar but Shamar's going to be big and play big like we like from those guys inside. If everything comes back as we expect, he'll have a big role for us. It's great for our depth."
5. The competition is on at kicker and punter.
The Seahawks made a couple of significant additions on special teams this offseason, signing veteran kicker Sebastian Janikowski, a former Pro-Bowler, and trading up in the fifth-round to select punter Michael Dickson. But just because the Seahawks signed a big name and kicker and made a pretty significant investment in terms of draft capital on a punter, that doesn't mean those positions are settled. Jason Myers, who signed earlier in the offseason, has shown a big leg at camp and looks like a player who will push Janikowski for the job, and Ryan, the only player on the roster who predates Carroll and general manager John Schneider in Seattle, is very much in contention to keep the job he has held since 2008.
"It's going to be real competitive," Carroll said. "Seabass (Sebastian Janikowski) missed a couple of days just getting through coming back, and in that it gave Jason (Myers) a chance to get some extra kicks in there, so that was good for him. But when they're out here battling, they're in it. And the punters too now, they're battling every session that we go. It has been competitive, we've been keeping score and keeping track of everything so that we have really good info to figure it out in time. We don't have to hurry to make these decisions at all. We're blessed to have real experience at both spots, so we'll see how the young guys do and see if they can make a run at it."
One underrated part of Ryan's game that could be somewhat of a factor in the punter competition is his skill as a holder. Dickson has limited experience at that part of the job, while Ryan has a long history at that subtly important special teams role.
"Jon's great at (holding), so he has a real leg up on him in that regard," Carroll noted.
6. The Seahawks should be pretty healthy by training camp.
A number of players have missed or been limited in offseason workouts as they recover from injuries and/or offseason surgeries, a group that includes Stephen, defensive end Dion Jordan, safety Maurice Alexander, receiver Brandon Marshall and offensive tackle George Fant. While not everyone will be a full-go from Day 1 of camp, Carroll does expect to have nearly everyone on the field when training camp begins.
"We predict that everybody will be starting camp with us, maybe on different levels of activity, but we think everybody's going to be back and ready to go," Carroll said. "It looks like that. Mo Alexander is an interesting kid for us to see – we haven't seen anything from him yet on the field so that'll be one of the guys. Of course George is a big deal too to see him get back out there. Brandon will be important. It looks like everybody should have a chance to be healthy. We're counting on that, and then we may be limited as we enter the activity level for those guys… Dion is on schedule for that as well."
Asked specifically about Marshall, the six-time Pro-Bowler Seattle signed recently, Carroll said, "We're just making sure that we don't have a setback on a hamstring that's recovering. We talked about it today – he's got a solid six weeks, he'll be well. We need to do a really good job as we re-introduce him back into our tempo and speed and all that, that we don't overdo it early in the excitement to see what he can do and all. He brings a real savvy and experience that we're anxious to see how it fits. It's going to be another guy in the competition that brings some uniqueness to us. Very big-statured kid, different than some of the other guys. He's like Tanner (McEvoy). So we'll see how that fits."
Carroll said Kam Chancellor is still awaiting further tests on his neck injury to determine his future. On 2017 second-round pick Malik McDowell, Carroll said, "I don't have any information for you."Six Things We Learned From Pete Carroll On The Final Day Of Offseason Workouts
Photos from the third and final practice of the Seattle Seahawks' mandatory minicamp on Thursday, June 14 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.