Pete Carroll's Thursday press conference provided several updates in the injury department, which you can check out right here. Beyond that, there were a few more takeaways from the Seahawks head coach as his team readies for its third preseason game of the year, this one set for 5 p.m. PT on Saturday, Aug. 29 against the Chargers in San Diego with national television coverage on CBS (channel 7 in Seattle).
1. The Offensive Line Will Look The Same
In the team's second preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs, the starting line consisted of Russell Okung at left tackle, Justin Britt at left guard, Drew Nowak at center, J.R. Sweezy at right guard, and Garry Gilliam at right tackle. Carroll said that same group will start this week's game against the Chargers.
"In this case, we're going to let them keep playing," Carroll said. "Continuity is important, but we're only going to get so aged at this time. This is the second week these guys have played together, so we can't get that experienced at this time. But it is really important that they keep talking the same language and playing the best as they can. We'll keep them together."
The unit didn't surrender a single sack of quarterback Russell Wilson last week, even with Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston - who had 22.0 sacks in 2014 - working against Gilliam, the undrafted free-agent Seattle signed last year. Gilliam was seeing his first-ever starting snaps for the Seahawks and impressed his head coach in the process.
"Garry is jumping at the opportunity," Carroll said. "This is an extraordinary opportunity coming out of the free-agent status just a year ago, and really just trying to make his way and be part of this team. Now he's got a chance to start, and he recognizes it. Tom [Cable] is really pleased with the way he's applied himself. His work habits have been great. He feels the responsibility of it and it looks like he's giving himself a chance to really take this job."
On the other side of the line, the second-year pro Britt is making strides at left guard after starting 16 games his rookie season at right tackle. Britt's move inside came as the Seahawks look to get their five best linemen on the field at the same time.
"Britt, he's a pro," Carroll said. "He was last year as we told you about the attitude that he brings every day and the attention to details and stuff have just carried right over. He jumped into the spot and he looked like he'd been there a long time. So really, a really good transition for us, one that we're really excited about that we did it, and it's good for us at this point.
"We'll make some more evaluations after the weekend."
2. This Was The Seahawks' Best Week of Practice By Far
Quarterback Russell Wilson's Thursday meeting with the media preceded Carroll's, with Wilson stating that this past week of practice has felt like a playoff-type atmosphere. Carroll conceded that the team has enjoyed its "best week" of the young season.
"Yeah, it was our best week by far," Carroll said. "We put every day back-to-back with really good focus and really good speed in practice. The competition was there in a lot of areas that made it for a heightened week of practice.
"You can feel it," Carroll added. "It's getting closer, and it looks like it and they're showing that by the way they're preparing and working."
3. The Starters Will Play Into The Second Half
A majority of players on Seattle's No. 1 offense and defense played through the first half in last week's game against the Chiefs. The third exhibition is traditionally the game that sees each team's starters play the most snaps of preseason and Carroll said the Seahawks' first-team units would see action into the second half.
"We've done a lot of good things to make some headway here, and learned a lot about our players, and now it's a really big opportunity for them to show us how far they've come," Carroll said of what he's looking to see from Seattle's first-stringers. "Probably my focus goes to the offensive line to see them go at it again, see how they do.
"We will play some more plays this week and look forward to these guys coming out after halftime and playing, getting ready to play. This season is just around the corner."
Whether or not players like running back Marshawn Lynch will play remains to be seen. All Carroll offered was a "We'll see" when asked if Lynch will play this weekend after not seeing a single snap the past two weeks. With the amount of work Lynch's legs have received the past four seasons, coupled with the nine-year veteran's knowledge of the offense, "Beast Mode" might be an exception to Carroll's thought that all his players need to play at this point of the year to help get them ready for the regular season.
"These guys need to play," was Carroll's response when asked if recent injuries around the League might influence how much he plays the Seahawks' starters in preseason. "They need the play time. They've got to get ready. You can't hide from it, it's coming right around the corner. They need to be fit and mentally right to play four quarters of football two weeks from now, so we've got to take this next step."
It was family day here at the VMAC as the Seahawks had their last practice of the week before heading to San Diego tomorrow for a preaseon matchup against the Chargers on Saturday.
- The Seahawks, who were flagged an NFL-high 130 times last season, were penalized 10 times for 71 yards in the preseason opener and 11 times for 105 yards last week at Kansas City. It's been an area that has troubled Seattle in the past and one that Carroll said they're concentrating on cleaning up this week. "This is not the way we want to go," said Carroll. "We set out to not to let this happen, so we're going to see if we can correct this the next couple weeks. We don't need to be making it hard on ourselves, it's hard enough as it is. We're working very diligently to see if we can get that cut down and not let that be a factor."
- Carroll said "Everything is as it's been" with strong safety Kam Chancellor, who has yet to report to camp. DeShawn Shead and Dion Bailey are expected to see work at the spot in Chancellor's absence this weekend. "At this point, it's important for us, we have to continue to look," Carroll said. "The opener is coming and we have to get our guys ready to play and so that's what we're doing."