The Seahawks kicked off their final week of preseason practice Sunday, beginning a week in which they will not only prepare for Thursday's preseason finale at Oakland, but also try to work out some final kinks before the regular season begins.
"Last week of camp, and we still have a lot of work to do," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We have a lot of stuff we're working on cleaning up, and as we prepare for the Raiders game too. We're really taking this as the last push that we can make before you get into the official game plans and all with the start of the season. They're really important days for us practicing, and we had really good hard work in today."
Following that "good hard work," Carroll met with the media to discuss last week's preseason game, his team's injury situation, and what lies ahead. Here are five takeaways from Carroll's press conference:
1. The first-team offense "looked sharper."
Seattle's first-team offense failed to produce points in the first two preseason games, but given their most playing time of the preseason, the starters scored two touchdowns and two field goals on six possessions in Thursday's win over the Cowboys. It wasn't a perfect day for the offense, but those scores represented progress, which is also what Carroll saw after reviewing the tape.
"We can do better, but we looked sharper," Carroll said. "The line of scrimmage was good again for the running game, pass protection was solid. Timing was good, we missed a couple balls here and there that would have made a big difference in the first half of play, but I thought it was really solid. We played really hard across the board in all phases, and I was fired up for the feeling there at the stadium. The last time before the real season and it was a good warmup."
2. J'Marcus Webb put himself into the conversation for a possible starting job.
While Bradley Sowell and Garry Gilliam were again the starters at tackle Thursday, J'Marcus Webb, who missed the first two preseason games with a knee injury, saw time with the No. 1 offense both at right and left tackle.
"I thought he did a great job," Carroll said of Webb. "It was great to see him out there. He did a very solid job on the right side and flipped over and was very comfortable on the left side. It's not necessarily obvious that the guy was going to be able to do that. He looked very good in practice during the week, so we got him a few snaps there just to show us the flexibility that we may have moving forward, when you have to adjust and move things around. He's battling for a spot to play now, he's right there in there, so we're very happy about that."
Offensive line coach Tom Cable added of the competition at tackle: "I like what's going on at the tackle spot, but it's still unsettled."
Things do seem more settled in the interior line, with Mark Glowinski at left guard, Justin Britt at center and Germain Ifedi at right guard with the starting offense throughout the preseason.
"The guys are doing a really good job, I really like the consistency we've had and the communication seems good," Carroll said of the interior line. "It's been very solid, so they're doing a good job of holding their spots right now."
3. C.J. Prosise had a positive first game.
When the Seahawks selected Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise in the third round of the draft, they made it clear right away that they saw a role for him to contribute immediately as the team's third-down back. Prosise, however, was unable to show how he would fit into that role after suffering a hamstring injury on the first day of training camp. Prosise made his preseason debut on Thursday, and did enough to leave Carroll encouraged by the rookie's chances to help the offense.
"I was really happy with C.J.'s first outing," Carroll said. "He looked fast, he was confident, he had fun playing. He came off the sidelines and he was having a ball playing football. He was poised about it and handled it well. He had a couple nice runs and we're just going to keep going, this is a big week for him. It's just a big week to have him in practice again, but the game will be important. He'll play quite a bit this game."
Pass protection is particularly important for a running back playing that third-down role, and Carroll said Prosise was "very sharp on his assignments," in that area. "He needs to get tested game speed, but he's really good at his assignments, so we're really pleased about that. We don't have any problem with that at all, it's just reps. He'll get a lot of opportunities."
4. Russell Wilson's "focus has been exquisite" despite a busy offseason.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a very busy offseason, from delivering the commencement speech at the University of Wisconsin to hosting Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Sports Awards to getting married in England. But a busy offseason is nothing new for Wilson, and despite everything he had going on, he came back for camp more prepared than ever, Carroll said.
"He's been exactly the same," Carroll said. "All that he's been is better. He has just been clearer, we've communicated on a higher level based on the years and experience, our conversations are more on it. I see nothing but better. He's had a great off season and with getting married and all that stuff, he's dealt with it beautifully and handled it. His workouts and his conditioning, his arm strength, everything is really there, and his focus has been exquisite, so I have no problem."
5. This has been a "very forward moving" training camp and preseason.
From the beginning of camp, Carroll and his players have said things feel different this year than they have in the past two years following Super Bowl runs—some have even compared this to the summer leading up to the 2013 season. And after four weeks of practice and three preseason games, Carroll still sees his team progressing at a different rate than it has in recent years.
"It's just felt very forward moving," he said. "The whole time we've just been working and growing and dealing with stuff to come together as a team. The learning process and the teachable moments, everybody is in. It's really been a terrific camp. It's been a fantastic offseason and a terrific camp of growing. We're trying to grow as a team and start this season at a more connected level than we have been in the past years. We've had a couple distractions that are difficult and challenging, and we've learned from it and we've handled it, but not as well as we would have liked. It's just felt like we're ahead of that pace in this season. We'll see how it goes, you never know until you start playing, but we're looking forward to that."
Photos from the Seahawks' "Bonus Day" workout on Sunday at Virginia Mason Athletic Center held prior to the team's final preseason game of 2016 against the Oakland Raiders.