Pete Carroll likes what he’s seeing out of James Carpenter

The Seahawks declined a fifth-year option on James Carpenter, their first-round pick in the 2011 draft, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have high hopes for him in his fourth season.

Carpenter, who began his career as Seattle’s starting right tackle before suffering a serious knee injury midway through his rookie season, is trying to lock down the starting job at left guard after splitting time there with Paul McQuistan last year, and Pete Carroll had nothing but good things to say about Carpenter following Wednesday’s organized team activities.

“He’s had a fantastic offseason,” Carroll said. “He’s down about 15 pounds, he’s had a great start to the offseason, he’s been focus, he’s in it, and he’s moving like crazy. He doesn’t look like the same guy physically. He’s looked the best he’s ever looked by far right now and with a long ways to go. So we’re really fired up about James and he’s excited about it too. He feels great, he’s the smartest he’s been, he understands the most, and he feels the best. That’s all great stuff for us.”

Asked how he would characterize Carpenter’s up-and-down career, Carroll said, “He was banged up a lot, he had problems. He had a problem with his knee; he had a really serious knee injury. That just kept him from finding his balance. The fact that he played guard and tackle, we bring guys in here to play, and we don’t really know where they’re going to wind up. You can hold that against us if you want, but I think you see all of our guys move around. So he shows good flexibility, he has good background now; he’s overcome the big challenges. Now it’s really looking like an upside from this point forward.”

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