Following a three-day rookie minicamp—not to mention the U2 concert at CenturyLink Field—Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was upbeat Monday morning when he sat down with the Brock and Salk Show on 710 ESPN Seattle.
Carroll, who for the record says a late-1960s B.B. King show at San Francisco's Avalon Ballroom was his all-time favorite concert, shared thoughts on what he saw over the weekend from his rookies while also discussing a number of other topics about his team. Here are six things we learned from Carroll's interview with Brock and Salk:
1. The rookie minicamp "went really, really well."
Once Carroll was finished discussing concerts, the interview turned to Seahawks' just-concluded rookie minicamp, and as was the case after Sunday's practice, Carroll gushed about what he saw out of his team's rookie class.
"We've been balling, we had a blast," Carroll said. "It was a great camp, a lot of really positive things coming from the new guys. Everybody was kind of in-character as we'd hoped. Really seemingly a well-together group mentally. They're really tuned into battling and learning and the urgency was there, so everything went great. It went really, really well."
For more specifics on the weekend, you can find more from Carroll here.
2. The past two draft classes should help the Seahawks have a very competitive roster.
While it's still too soon to pass judgement on last year's rookie class or compare it to this group, Carroll is expecting big contributions from both groups, with the end result being a very competitive roster from top to bottom.
"I still like that class a lot," Carroll said of the 2016 class. "This again feels like, top to bottom, everybody is competitive, everybody is going to have a chance to make some noise, a couple of the free agents too. I think this is just on top of what happened last year. I don't know if it's better yet, we won't know that for a couple of years, but really, really solid."
If things go the way Carroll is hoping, rookies will push veterans for their jobs, which is, as Carroll notes, "what competition's all about. And those who don't respond to that don't last, they go somewhere else. This should be a really deep roster this time around. This should be the most competitive offensive line, this should be the most competitive wide receiver spot, this should be the most competitive running back spot—look at all the guys we're battling with right now. The DB thing is coming on, the new pass-rushers, they're going to feel it across the board, which is what makes us who we are."
3. The Seahawks remain open to changing players' positions.
When the Seahawks rookies took the field, Ethan Pocic, a center for most of his college career, was at right tackle; Mike Tyson, a college safety, was playing cornerback; and Malik McDowell, who mostly played nose tackle at Michigan State, was primarily lined up at defensive end. This, of course, is nothing new for the Seahawks and for Carroll, who says those moves are all about putting players in the best position to thrive.
"I think we're probably more open to that than others, I don't know that though," Carroll said. "We're just trying to figure out what's best for the guy. There's a good example when you look at Malik. He played a lot of nose tackle, and he's real long and linear and all of that, and in my mind, that just doesn't fit his future. So he won't be there much other than in some special pass-rush situations. He looked very comfortable, he looks perfectly fitted to be a five-technique (defensive end) in all the stuff we want to do, and I think it's going to translate also to being an inside rusher in nickel."
4. If the young defensive backs are going to contribute, they'll have to be disciplined.
If you've been paying attention to Carroll's teams over the years, you know that there are few things more important to him on defense than eliminating big plays. So as talented as this rookie class of defensive backs appears to be, they won't get on the field until they learn to do what is required of them in Seattle's defense.
"We're very, very demanding of them," Carroll said. "They have to strictly take care of their business. In particular, the corners have to stay on top on the deep ball or they can't play. You can't play guys who can't do that. And the free safety has got to stay in the middle, he's got to take care of those seams and those post routes and just eliminate those as a factor. Earl (Thomas) over years and years of playing with us, you just don't see big post routes thrown on us. That hardly ever happens. That in itself is such a huge positive for a football team, because they're not throwing the ball over your head.
"That's their awareness, that's showing their accountability, their consistency and all that. We're no good if you don't know what you've got back there. That's what they'll come to learn."
5. The Seahawks "definitely" will run the ball more in 2017 than they did last season.
On a few different occasions this offseason, Carroll has said the moves the Seahawks have made—most notably the signing of free-agent running back Eddie Lacy—were done in part to help them get back to being a balanced, physical team on offense.
Asked if the Seahawks will run more this season than last year when injuries to several running backs and quarterback Russell Wilson helped derail the running game, Carroll didn't hesitate to say they would.
"We definitely will," he said. "We lost 100-something runs last year. That was basically the story; that was basically the tale of why everything came about as it did. The defense had to do more stuff, we had to throw the ball more, we had to pass protect more and all of that because the running game got knocked up with the quarterback being a mess and the running back station, everybody being banged up, we were just unable to find it. I think we're going to come roaring right back at it."
6. The Seahawks are looking at all options when it comes to Wilson's backup.
Because of significant ankle and knee injuries, Wilson was never quite right last season, affecting not just the running game but his performance overall. After what Carroll described as "an extraordinary offseason," expectations are high for Wilson heading into his sixth season.
"I think what you saw the second half of the year before," Carroll said when asked what Wilson can be this year, a reference to the red-hot finish to the 2015 season when he threw 24 touchdowns with one interception over the final seven games. "He has the ability to be the best quarterback out there doing his thing… We have tremendous expectations for Russell's performance this year."
Yet as good as the Seahawks expect Wilson to be, last year's injuries also served as a reminder of how close any team can be to needing its backup quarterback. Trevone Boykin held that role last season, and is the leading candidate to keep that job as of now, but Carroll said the Seahawks will consider other options, be it the players they looked at during their rookie minicamp, or someone not currently on the roster.
"We're always looking at whatever's available," Carroll said. "We're looking keep it competitive there too. Trevone did nice job for us last year, but we're still looking, as we always will."
Asked specifically about some veterans who are on the market, Carroll said, "We're looking at everybody, really. We really are. We've been tracking everything that's going on. We've got cap and roster issues and stuff like that that we're still trying to make sure we manage properly, but quite frankly, yes, we're looking at all those guys."
Photos from the third and final day of Seahawks rookie minicamp at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.