By John Boyle
The Seahawks opened training camp Saturday—and get ready to be shocked here—they did so with a lot of optimism. Now we all know that’s the case for just about every team in every sport, but this training camp does have a slightly different feel than did the previous two under Pete Carroll. While the first two years were more about rebuilding the roster Carroll and GM John Schneider inherited, this year they come into the season with a roster that is almost entirely theirs.
“We have high expectations,” Carroll said. “We want to do a lot. We want to make this team really a sharp football team and be very, very competitive against anybody we play, wherever we play them. We ain’t backing off of that, that’s just something that we feel. It’s taken us some years to get here, we’ve made some huge steps, and made some declarations of who we’re going with and the players we want to play with, and it’s exciting to be bringing it together again. It feels like it’s the third year, it feels like it’s been three years working to get to this point. We’re really looking forward to this camp and making the most out of it, seeing the surprises and building and drawing from the experiences that we’ve had and what we know about these guys, and really doing something special.”
One of the big factors in Seattle’s ability to do something special or not so special will be what it gets out of its quarterback. As expected, Tarvaris Jackson got the bulk of the snaps with the first team today, and the expectation is that Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson will get their crack at it soon. Carroll said he has a plan, and a timetable in mind, but he isn’t saying what it is.
“We’ve got a big-time formula that we’re unveiling here as we go with the reps and how we do it and the timing and the patience that it’s going to take to make really good decisions here,” Carroll said. “This is just the first step of it, but we’ve got a lot of things in mind that we want to get done.”
Asked if he had a timetable in mind, Carroll said he did. Asked if he’d share it with the media, he quickly responded, “Absolutely not. We have a very strict schedule that we can set in motion now, and then we’ll adjust as we go depending on what happens… It’s going to take some time, and we’re going to take the time that’s necessary.”
So besides a quarterback competition, what was going on today? Here are a few notes from Day 1.
—Asked about Marshawn Lynch and his recent arrest, Carroll said: “This is something we really can’t talk about. Marshawn and I have been on the topic since the first day of it and we’ve had very good communication about it. There’s a process going on that we really just can’t even talk about it, but I’m pleased with the way he’s worked with us so that we understand what’s going on. This is a process that really has to take a life of it’s own and we’re following it through.”
“(I’m) always concerned and disappointed when anybody gets in any trouble of any kind. Didn’t know the fact, didn’t know anything about it, and we talked our way through it, understand it, and I was pleased the way we were able to interact so that we could be on top of it. We’ll make it through.
—Carroll was also asked about the team’s decision to release Mike Williams earlier this month, and he was blunt in his answer:
“It was just time to move on. Mike had come back and he had done some good things for us. I just felt like it was time to go ahead and move on. I thought Mike had topped out what he was going to for us at this place. Hopefully he’ll get another chance to do something somewhere else.”
—Three players, T James Carpenter, CB Walter Thurmond and WR Jermaine Kearse, began camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Receiver Sidney Rice, who is coming off of two shoulder surgeries, was not on the PUP list, but did have a red jersey on and was limited in his work. Carroll remains optimistic that Rice will be ready to star the season, but said they want to build him up slowly for now.
“He’s real close,” Carroll said. “… We’re just going to go through this conservatively and lengthen the time of his recovery through this camp. It’s great that he’s working and getting the timing work, but won’t get him banging for a while.”
As for the three players on the PUP list, Carroll said Jermaine Kearse, an undrafted rookie out of Washington, is close to being back from a broken foot, but needs to build his conditioning. Thurmond, who broke his leg last season, is still farther off, according to Carroll, and there is not set timetable on him. Carroll also said he has no timetable on Carpenter, who is still coming back from a knee injury.
“W’re just happy that he’s out here running and he’s starting to make progress,” Carroll said of last year’s first-round pick “We don’t know how to project that down the road here; we’re just going to wait and take care of him and see how it goes.”
There have been reports speculating that Carpenter won’t play this season, to which Carroll responded: “They can’t know that because we don’t know that. We’ll just wait and see.”