By John Boyle
The Seahawks held their annual town hall meeting, an event featuring Pete Carroll and his coordinators Darrell Bevell and Dan Quinn, and attended by a select number of season ticket holders.
Even if you weren’t one of those in attendance, the whole thing is available online at Seahawks.com.
A lot of what was said by Carroll was stuff you’ve already heard if you’ve been paying attention over the past few years—they’re focused on owning the NFC West, not on winning Super Bowls; the goal is to do things better than they’ve ever be done, to get the best out of everyone, and if that happens, results will take care of themselves; Carroll’s “it’s all about the ball” philosophy that focuses on creating turnovers on defense while avoiding them on offense; the commitment to being a running team.
But there were still plenty of nuggets worth passing on:
—Perhaps most notable was Bevell using the phrase, “running back by committee,” when talking about the team’s plans for 2014. Cutting back a bit on Marshawn Lynch’s work load certainly makes sense given that he’s 28 and has carried the ball 901 times over the last three seasons (not including postseason games), but the idea of a committee approach goes a bit beyond what most are expecting. We’ll see how things play out—resting Lynch a lot easier said than done when he’s your best option in a tight game—but Christine Michael is certainly getting his chances right now with Lynch choosing to skip the team’s voluntary organized team activities.
On Michael, who barely played last season after being the Seahawks’ top pick in the 2013 draft, Bevell said: “He’s somebody we’re really excited about. Through all of last year, he’s continued to grow. We really excited about what he has done… He has breakaway speed where he can finish a run, he’s got really quick moves in short areas, and he’s got great power he can put behind his pads.”
Perhaps more important than his physical skills is that Bevell praised the way Michael is paying attention to the details and doing the little things. It wasn’t Michael’s lack of ability as a runner that kept him off the field last year, but rather that he was behind backup RB Robert Turbin in other elements of the position such as pass blocking.
—On the WR position, Bevell echoed what Russell Wilson said earlier this week about the speed of that group, “I don’t know if I’ve had this much speed… That strikes fear in a defense. The speed shows, and we’ll be able to have that this year.”
—Bevell reiterated what Carroll said earlier this offseason that Doug Baldwin is currently in the lead to start at split end (the receiver spot Tate played last year), while Percy Harvin will play the flanker role. Both will also be used inside at times as well.
—On the idea that the Seahawks will start throwing the ball more in Russell Wilson’s third year, Bevell acknowledged that Wilson has grown as a player, but said, “We know our philosophy and how we’re set up. We’re definitely set up to run the football… To sit here and tell you weren’t going to throw it 500 times, it’s probably not going to happen.”
If you’re wondering, the Seahawks threw the ball 420 times last year, the second lowest total in the NFL behind San Francisco.
—Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said they expect a “larger role” for Bruce Irvin as a pass rusher.
—The Seahawks lost several key defensive linemen, but Quinn expressed his excitement about several of the players who essentially redshirted last year like Greg Scruggs, Jesse Williams, Jordan Hill and Benson Mayowa.
—Carroll was asked about fullback Michael Robinson, who remains unsigned and is presumably not be in Seattle’s plans, and Carroll confirmed as much, saying “we think we’re moving on.” Carroll, as he often does, didn’t completely close the door, saying “if we had to we’d call him and bring him back,” but also indicated that Robinson is leaning towards retirement. Carroll did a also point out that he thinks Robinson would make a great coach, and said the two have already discussed the possibility of Robinson coaching some day.
—Carroll, like Quinn, expressed his excitement about several players who missed last year because of injury, saying linebacker Korey Toomer “looks like the hottest player in camp.” Carroll also raved about cornerback Tharold Simon, though added a “we’ll see,” his way of acknowledging that the Seahawks don’t yet know what they have in Simon, who has barely practiced since being drafted in 2013, let alone seen game action.
—Carroll said S Earl Thomas is still the leading candidate for the punt return job, but said there’s a long ways to go and the competition is on.
—Asked if the Seahawks might play a game in London at some point, Carroll said he wasn’t in favor of the idea, noting, “we’re a long ways from London where we are.”
—Asked about his rivalry with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, Carroll turned the question into one about rivalries, saying the Seahawks don’t believe in them, because he doesn’t want his team to treat one game as more important as the other: “We want to play every game is a championship game.”
Carroll did eventually address Harbaugh, but mostly to praise him, saying, “I think Jim’s a great coach. He’s done a fantastic job.” Though Carroll did end that praise with, “and we love beating him.”
—Carroll admitted he did not accomplish a long-running feat of throwing a football as many years as he is old, 62. As he explained it, “I didn’t make it this year… I only now compete when we play in Denver.” In the past couple of years, Carroll has hit his mark before preseason or regular season games at altitude, and as he confessed, while using a smaller-than-regulation ball.
—When tackle Russell Okung submitted a question via Twitter asking when the Seahawks will add a tackle-eligible play, allowing him to catch a pass, Carroll shot down the idea, joking, “I’ve seen better hands on a clock.”