Following the 13th practice of Seahawks training camp presented by Bing at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center, a workout held in front of a capacity-crowd of 2,600 fans, Pete Carroll took time to meet with the media.
Here's three things we learned from the Seahawks head coach:
1. Tye Smith Did Real Well In The Preseason Opener
The snap counts from the preseason opener show that rookie cornerback Tye Smith recorded more action than any other player on Seattle's defense. A heavy workload for first-year players is to be expected in preseason as the coaching staff looks to evaluate its new talent. But Smith was pushed into action earlier than most of the team's young players, moving into the outside cornerback spot with the No. 1 nickel defense as Richard Sherman and Will Blackmon sat out with injuries. Smith finished the night with four tackles and a pass defensed.
"I thought he did well, I thought he did real well," Carroll said of the 2015 fifth-round pick. "The deep ball was well-played, he had a curl route that he got and was on the break there too. He's done that in practice consistently, he's done a nice job. He's made a big statement that he understands what we want to do. Technique-wise he's very good, and he handled the game well."
With Carroll labeling Sherman (hip) and Blackmon (groin) day-to-day this week, the Towson product should shoulder another heavy workload this Friday in the team's second preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
"He's going to get a lot of looks this week as well, so a really good opportunity for him to show where he fits in," Carroll said. "I thought his first showing was excellent. It's been a big leap for him, really. Because technique-wise he understands what we're doing, he shows it day in and day out against our guys and he carried it into the game. So that means he's poised and composed enough to go ahead and believe in the preparation and all that, and that's a big statement that he made. Not all the young guys are able to do that, so it's a good statement. We need him."
2. Tyler Lockett Has The Speed To Finish The Run
Rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who the Seahawks traded up to select in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, averaged 45.6 yards on four kick returns in Friday's exhibition against the Denver Broncos. Included in Lockett's four returns was a 46-yard spurt that helped set up a 33-yard Steven Hauschka field goal and an electrifying 103-yard burst for a touchdown.
"The thing I loved about it is he had the speed to finish the run," said Carroll. "So often the guys, they make a big run and they get there then somebody catches them, or they trip them up or whatever. He finished going away. That's 4.3 [-second 40-yard dash speed] legit and it showed up on the field. He had a lot of fun with it, too. He was very comfortable with it. It wasn't a big deal to him. He's been scoring touchdowns like that his whole life, so it was kind of like, 'OK, here too.'"
Carroll shared an entertaining anecdote about the rookie wideout's score, noting that Doug Baldwin reminded Lockett that he and Jermaine Kearse have each brought back kick returns for touchdowns in preseason play, but then neither of them "got another return in their life." Lockett is looking to buck that trend, Carroll said.
"He says he is going to break the curse and stay with it," said Carroll. "That's not a joke about Jermaine [Kearse]. He's going to end the cycle he said."
3. Preseason Games Have Plenty Of Meaning
Records-wise, the preseason doesn't matter. By the time the 2015 regular season comes to a close it's likely that 12s will be hard-pressed to recall the final scores from the Seahawks' four exhibition games. But to Carroll and the Seahawks coaching staff, as well as talent evaluators around the League, there's plenty of information to be gleaned and lessons to be learned through this first month of football.
"We use these games, these are the four days we have to get full-speed football right," said Carroll. "And we want to cherish those opportunities and make the most of them, and make sure that we make progress, and so that's just the way we've handled it. It's no different than ever, but I made a big deal about it because I want our guys to really go for it in these games, so that they can get their football going."
Carroll didn't sugarcoat things last Friday when he called it a "pretty sloppy game" for the Seahawks, giving the club plenty to work on heading into this week's game against the Chiefs. However, there was one area where Carroll thought his team performed exceptionally well.
"I was really pleased with our tackling," Carroll said. "Our tackling was excellent. We missed four tackles in the game, which is a great first game for a group, and so that part was one of the questions and we did really well at that. We didn't do a lot of other things really well, but we did that at least. We got that accomplished."
- Carroll called out Kevin Smith and B.J. Daniels when asked if any of the young wide receivers stood out in the preseason opener. Smith had two catches for a team-high 36 yards and Daniels had two grabs for 15 yards while also seeing action in the kick- and punt-return game behind Lockett.
- Carroll said the two sides are in communication regularly, but "nothing has changed" in regards to strong safety Kam Chancellor, who has yet to report to camp.