By John Boyle
Pete Carroll had his first press conference of the week as his team prepares for a season opener against Green Bay.
“It’s everything you can ask for on opening night,” Carroll said of the primetime matchup between two of the NFL’s top teams.
Two players recovering from surgeries Bruce Irvin (hip) and Kevin Norwood (foot) are both practicing this week, and Carroll said he’s “hopeful they have a chance” to play Thursday. However considering both are in their first week back, my hunch would be that neither plays this week and that they’re working their way back for Week 2 or 3.
DE Cassius Marsh, who left Thursday’s preseason finale with a hip flexor injury, is back to practicing and good to go, Carroll said, while the news isn’t as good for fellow rookie Kevin Pierre-Louis, who injury his hamstring in the game. Carroll didn’t give a timetable on Pierre-Louis, but said the linebacker pulled his hamstring, an indication he’s all but certain to be out.
RB Christine Michael, who sat out the final preseason game with a hamstring injury, is “banged up” according to Carroll and his status is up in the air.
LT Russell Okung, who played in the last two preseason games and is working his way back to full speed after offseason foot surgery, is good to go, and when Carroll was asked if they would need to occasional spell him in the game for conditioning reasons, he said, “I would think he’d be fine.”
CB Jeremy Lane (groin) is expected to practice as well, Carroll said, though he wasn’t clear on what Lane’s status for the game will be.
In non-injury news, Carroll said Earl Thomas will indeed be his team’s punt returner, though he gave only a brief, “yes” to the question without expanding. Perhaps the return of Bryan Walters could mean Thomas isn’t handling every return.
On the non-injury front, Carroll raved about two of his star players, noting that Richard Sherman has “had his best offseason work” to date, even after an offseason full of potential distractions, from a new contract to the cover of EA Sports’ Madden video game to a number of other commercials and appearances. Carroll also said he’s been very impressed with the play of quarterback Russell Wilson, who led the first-team offense to 11 scored on 13 possessions in the preseason (they punted on their first possession in the preseason opener, then had a field goal hit the upright against Chicago): “He’s in great control of what’s going on. He’s very, very comfortable, he’s playing faster than he has at any time, he understands better what we want… He’s had a near perfect preseason in preparation and the way he’s worked, and almost scored every time we had the ball.