The Seahawks returned to practice Monday ahead of their final preseason game, a Thursday night contest in Oakland. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll met with the media following practice, and in addition to providing a few health updates, he also gave his thoughts on last week's game against Kansas City, as well as a few of the ongoing competitions for starting jobs and roster spots.
Here are six things we learned from Carroll's Monday press conference:
1. The Seahawks are making progress, but still have room for improvement.
Friday's win over the Chiefs gave the Seahawks a 3-0 preseason record, and they have shown plenty of positives in all three phases of the game, but that doesn't mean Carroll is content with where his team is heading into its final preseason game. Yes, there has been a lot more good than bad, but there are still areas in which the Seahawks hope to get better between now and their Sept. 10 opener in Green Bay.
"I think the first three weeks have gone well for us," Carroll said. "I like that we have made progress and that the games kind of look the same in a number of areas. We continue to find a lot of stuff that we have to clean up and work on, but in general, we have been making progress. I like some of the consistency that has shown up but yet we are trying to improve of course. So we're going into the last game here with high hopes of continuing that. It is really important that we take the next step to finish this thing off right. We are looking at this as the finish of the preseason and we would like to end on a good note. This will be a game of a lot of opportunity for guys to play."
While Carroll didn't specify who will play how much in the final preseason game, as a general rule, starters don't play a lot in the fourth preseason game, so Thursday night will be big for roster hopefuls looking to show they deserve a spot on the team.
2. Rees Odhiambo and the rest of the offensive line held up well against Kansas City.
Rees Odhiambo started at left tackle Friday night, his first start following George Fant's knee injury, and the second-year tackle from Boise State did nothing but help his chances to hold onto that starting job heading into the regular season. And it wasn't just Odhiambo that played well; Carroll was encouraged by what he saw from the entire starting line, which played into the third quarter.
"We liked the way the whole group played," Carroll said. "They played very solid. We're making progress, we're showing consistency and all of that."
On Odhiambo, Carroll said, "He had two plays he got graded down on significantly, one of them was on the sack and there was another one in the running game. But he did a nice job, and he was very comfortable with it. I was really proud of him; he handled it with poise and he was comfortable playing with the guys under the concerns about starting and all. He handled it very well. And Matt Tobin did a good job for his first time out too, just to make it through the game and be able to pick up as much as he did. It told us a lot about his background and his mentality that he brings us."
3. Mark Glowinski appears to be leading the competition at right guard.
Mark Glowinski and Oday Aboushi have been battling for the starting job at right guard throughout training camp and the preseason. And while Carroll didn't come out and name Glowinski the Week 1 starter, he did give a pretty good clue that things are heading in that direction when asked about that competition. Glowinski will start this week's game, and with Luke Joeckel not expected to play, Aboushi is moving to left guard, at least for this week.
"He is going to start this week," Carroll said. "I think Mark has done a really good job and so has Oday. Oday will play on the left side this week though. Mark will start on the right side, you'll see Oday play on the left side in place of Luke, and I think we'll hold off any conclusion we'll have to make. I'm really fired up about Mark. You can see the jumps he's made from last year—his first year starting, to now. It's really clear and he's really aggressive and tough and he's doing things right. We're really pleased with him so far."
4. Amara Darboh has been good in practice, and now will try to show it in a game.
Amara Darboh has done plenty to impress coaches in practice, but the rookie receiver has not made much of an impact in Seattle's preseason games thus far. Darboh missed Seattle's first preseason game with a sternum injury, then on the first pass throw his way in preseason game No. 2, he hit his head on the turf and left the game to be evaluated for a concussion. Darboh did get back last week and played 10 snaps against the Chiefs, but did not have a catch.
Yet despite a lack of production in preseason games, the Seahawks are still excited about what they've seen from the third-round pick out of Michigan.
"He really hasn't had the game (opportunities) to show you stuff, and he missed one game, but he has shown a lot of really good stuff in practice," Carroll said. "So he will play a lot this week and hopefully we will get the ball to him a few times."
5. The competition is still on for the No. 2 quarterback job.
Through two preseason games, it looked like Trevone Boykin had a pretty firm grip on the No. 2 quarterback job, not just because he was the first quarterback into the games following Russell Wilson, but also because he had played very well. On Friday, however, Boykin struggled a bit, while Austin Davis played very well. Carroll isn't going to base too much on one preseason performance, but the competition isn't over yet either.
"You've got to wait and see on that one," Carroll said. "But they are going to be battling it out. I think it has been a very competitive position for us. Trevone did a really good job the first two weeks; he struggled a little bit last week. I think if we would have kept playing him he would have been fine and come out of it. I think it was just the sequencing, but then again, Austin played really good last week, he was perfect. It is great. It's a great battle for us, and these guys have been going out every day out here, so we will add all of that together and figure it out. But we are going through this game; we don't know what we are doing yet."
6. The defensive line depth is encouraging.
In Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, the Seahawks have Pro-Bowlers starting at both defensive end spots. Ahtyba Rubin gives Seattle a proven veteran presence at one defensive tackle spot, and 2016 second-round pick Jarran Reed returns having started part of last season. But in addition to feeling good about that group, the Seahawks also like their defensive line because of the depth they have seen this summer. Rookie Nazair Jones actually started Seattle's last preseason game instead of Reed, and while he may or may not contend for that spot going forward, he has shown enough that Carroll expects the third-round pick to be a part of the defensive line rotation.
"Gosh, he has been probably the, maybe the biggest surprise, maybe other than Chris (Carson) of the (rookie) group," Carroll said. "… He has picked up multiple positions already and really (defensive line coach) Clint (Hurtt) has no problem with counting on moving him around a little bit, which is really good and positive for him. He has shown good motor. He is a big, long tough guy and he is making progress. We can really see him playing and helping us in the rotations right now. That is a lot of progress to have made in this short amount of time."
Later in his press conference, Carroll also expressed optimism about what they've seen from Quinton Jefferson, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, as well as free-agent addition Marcus Smith, among others. How the roster shakes out remains to be seen, but it appears the Seahawks will be able to have a deep line rotation in 2017.
"(Smith) has got versatility to him," Carroll said. "He can play outside backer if we need him too. We like him as a rusher as on the edge playing the LEO spot for us. He is athletic and he's got a good burst. He's got a good sense for it too. He is in the mix to be the top four or five rushers in our group. We have a good group. Cassius (Marsh) has done really well to add in, as well as Frank (Clark). We are getting some flexibility from these guys, and I hope we can keep guys fresh in order to the tempo really up if it all comes down to that."
The best photos from the Seahawks' Monday practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in preparation for Thursday night's preseason game against the Raiders.