Prior to the start of his team's final training camp practice, Pete Carroll joined the Seahawks' flagship radio station 710 ESPN Seattle on Tuesday morning for a 20-plus minute conversation with hosts Brock Huard and Mike Salk.
Here's six things we learned from the Seattle head coach's "Brock and Salk" segment:
1. Camp Energy Has "Been The Best Ever"
Asked about how the energy has been through two weeks of training camp practices and one preseason game, Carroll was quick to reply with one word: "Awesome."
"It's been the best ever," he added. "It's been consistent effort and attention to the motion of the day and all of that that we've seen. It's come out of this offseason. The leadership of this team has really just set the tempo for it and it's a beautiful thing."
Carroll said the Seahawks use GPS devices to track players' energy output on the practice field, and that this year, energy is "way up."
"We track it through the GPS systems that we have," Carroll said. "How much energy they're expending and the speed that they practice at. We're noted for practicing fast. I hope nobody can practice like us anywhere and this is the best we've ever done."
Carroll said part of that difference in energy output stemmed from the way his club carried itself this offseason, where it "just felt different from the beginning" when compared to the two previous two offseasons that saw the Seahawks coming off a Super Bowl win and a Super Bowl loss.
"Coming off the Carolina game it was clear," Carroll said of Seattle's divisional-round playoff exit this past January. "It was just clear that it was going to be different. Just my level of conversation with [Richard Sherman] and Bobby [Wagner] and K.J. [Wright] and Russell [Wilson] and all of the guys, Doug [Baldwin], across the board, has just been at a higher level. And a more focused, tuned-in, clear-eyed perspective.
"I think what's happening is as they mature they're realizing how rare these opportunities are and how they come and go so fast and that they don't want to miss it. They want to make sure that we make the very most of it, which puts us right in the right frame of mind to capture and be mindful and maximize this opportunity."
2. The Seahawks' Best Position Group Is...
We've tracked camp battles throughout training camp here at Seahawks.com, but Carroll called out three specific areas when asked to name his team's best position group at this point in preseason, naming wide receiver, cornerback, and later, when answering a question about Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael's one-two punch, he added running back to the mix.
Here's what Carroll had to say about each spot:
(On the cornerback competition...) "Tharold Simon's had a great camp. He's really finally healed. He's playing terrific. Jeremy [Lane] and [DeShawn] Shead are doing a great job. So it makes us deep and we've got some young guys that are in there battling as well. So those are really good things."
(On the wide receiver competition...) "The receiving thing is cool. With Kevin Smith and Kasen [Williams] making the team last year they're under siege right now. They've got some guys that are going for their spots, so they have to really play up. It's been unfortunate for them. They've been banged up a little bit, they've opened up the door. You've seen Kenny Lawler has done a beautiful job in the second week. First week he was just kind of finding his way. The second week he just caught on fire and had a terrific game. All kinds of guys are contributing. Tanner [McEvoy] had a great game and we'll see how that all fits. So it's an exciting group there, too."
(On the 'one-two punch' of Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael...) "I really like it because we love Thomas and how physical he is and you love the burst and the explosiveness that Christine brings. ... That's a very competitive spot also now. All the sudden three guys come back to practice. Zac [Brooks] did a nice job yesterday, C.J.'s [Prosise] finally back out there, George Farmer has done a good job too, and Alex Collins is in there as well. This is a really good position group. Probably as rivaled with the other two I mentioned."
At each spot, arriving at decisions on which players will make the 53-man roster will come in time, Carroll said.
"I don't know what's going to happen, and we don't care," he said. "We just wait and see. But it's very, very good."
3. Justin Britt "Looks So Natural" At Center
Carroll reiterated much of what he said Monday about the team's new-look offensive line that started the preseason opener against the Chiefs, noting the unit of Bradley Sowell at left tackle, Mark Glowinski at left guard, Justin Britt at center, Germain Ifedi at right guard, and Garry Gilliam at right tackle did a "good job" in their first game-action together.
"We've asked them to come along in a hurry and the way that we've tied it together, the expectation for the way that we want to play, particularly in the passing game really showed up and that was a great thing to see because it's a big issue for us and we want to make sure it's on," Carroll said. "Britt did great, really looked good. Ifedi did a terrific job. Glowinski did a really good job and Brad Sowell in his first time out did a nice job for us. Garry did fine too at the right tackle spot. That whole group did a good job."
After Saturday's game in Kansas City, Britt, who is now playing his third position in three years with the Seahawks, said he finally feels like he's "done a really good job in learning how I prepare and being in a calm setting mentally," noting how comfortable he is at the center spot that he feels like he's been playing "for years." Asked to expand upon what he's seen from Britt in his new role on Tuesday, Carroll echoed much of what Britt said postgame at Arrowhead Stadium.
"Well, we've converted him a couple times now," Carroll said of Britt, who played right tackle his rookie season and left guard last year. "That's because he's flexible and he's a bright player and he's got everything in line. He really has his mind in the right place, his heart's in the right place. He'll work like crazy at whatever you ask him to do. He's just the most compliant guy.
"He has made a technical jump in his control of his body, his pad level, to the point where it looks like he should have been playing center all along. He just looks so natural at it. But I think it would have applied no matter where he was playing. We've really got him to sit down and get his leverage in the right spot. For a big guy he's playing very low and very square. He did it in the running game, he did it in the passing game, it was an enormous accomplishment for him in such a short time."
4. What Trevone Boykin Must Do To Secure The Backup Job
Carroll came away impressed with rookie quarterback Trevone Boykin's play in the preseason opener, and on Tuesday, he highlighted what Boykin needs to continue to do in order to secure the backup quarterback job behind starter Russell Wilson.
"He's doing it," Carroll said. "He's been consistent. He's studying like crazy and hopefully we can clean up and of the little issues, the huddle stuff he got caught a couple times in the game, we got formations a little askew. Those kinds of things he can definitely clean up because he's good, he's really good at it. It just happened in the game. We'll have to see them in more situations to know where and how we can depend on him play after play.
"We know he's a playmaker, we know he's poised, we know he has great confidence. He had no problem in that game, in that situation that he was in, just like he has done at practice. So it's just a process and hopefully he'll have enough time. He'll get enough play time in preseason here and we'll see him continue to do good things, but there's been no indication otherwise."
5. The Seahawks' Strengths As Training Camp Closes
With training camp wrapping up on Tuesday, Carroll identified two areas he sees as the Seahawks' greatest strengths: Experience among the team's "core group of players" and roster depth that's "as good as it's ever been."
"I think we have a number of strengths to note," Carroll said. "One is the experienced core group of players that lead us. I think that's huge. It's a huge aspect of us. Guys that have grown up with us and are really, really in tune with what we're doing. So it's such that they can demonstrate it and illustrate it to other guys. That's huge.
"I think the depth that we have that we feel right now is really a great asset," he added. "The competitiveness on our roster, which is something that we've always talked about and we're always gauging, I think it's as good as it's ever been. Right now we have a lot of guys that can play and a lot of guys that can fit in. It's going to be very difficult to make the cuts on this team and we hope it's that way because that pushes everybody to bring out the best.
"So I think if you're going to nail two of them it's the core leadership that has been with us and the level of play that those guys bring also. Not just their leadership qualities, but their play. And then the fact that we have a very competitive roster at this time has made for this whole atmosphere that we're really appreciative of."
6. What's Next?
The Seahawks will play host to the Minnesota Vikings in the second preseason game for both sides this Thursday night at CenturyLink Field. Looking to that game and beyond, Carroll touched on what he hopes to see as his club's summer workouts roll on.
"Just keep getting better," he said. "We've got to clean things up. We've got to get the line of scrimmage, we've got to get great attention to the details as far as staying out of our own way and making mistakes in the kicking game which showed up in this first week. Really want to try and clean up this penalty thing. Really with the young running backs taking care of the football is an enormous point of emphasis, having to train all these guys into this mindset that we have. So there's a million things, but those are the main things that we've got to hit on."
Look through the best photos from the Seahawks 13th training camp practice held at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Monday.