RENTON, Wash. - The Seattle Seahawks were on the practice field on Monday in front of reporters for the first time with veterans and rookies together at the same time.
There was no Russell Wilson, no Bobby Wagner. There are no players remaining from the Seahawks teams that made it to back-to-back Super Bowls with one championship in 2013 and 2014. Instead, it was Geno Smith and Drew Lock at quarterback, and Jordyn Brooks and Cody Barton at linebacker as the Seahawks fully shift into a new era.
But while there are many questions for the 2022 Seahawks to answer, this stage of the offseason makes it difficult to find much in the way of answers.
"It’s really fun to finally get out here, put the helmets on, and kind of play fake football," head coach Pete Carroll said.
The Seahawks can't line up in full 11-on-11 drills during this phase of offseason work. The amount of contact is highly regulated with the team getting fines and losing draft picks in the past for pushing the line too far.
They are also voluntary workouts until next month's mini-camp and many veterans were not in attendance for Monday's sessions. Some – such as DK Metcalf, Jamal Adams, Marquise Blair and Tre Brown – remain away as they recover from offseason surgeries. Some others were away for personal reasons or taking advantage of the "voluntary" aspect of the workouts.
Without any players from the Super Bowl teams left, there is a void for new players to step up as leaders.
"Every year the team takes on kind of a new makeup and it comes from the personalities of the players and the leadership," Carroll said. "The leadership has shifted a little bit and that’s obvious, so it feels, just as it is, it’s a new season, a new team, and here we go. It’s fun to watch take shape and see the guys' step into the roles, they’ll be much more of that once we get to camp and rolling."
Brooks will take over calling plays on the defensive side of the ball with Wagner no longer in the middle of Seattle's defense. While it's something he hasn't done yet with the Seahawks, it was a role he handled in college at Texas Tech.
"You really got to know what's going on," Brooks said. "You’ve got to know the call, and you’ve got to be able to project your voice into the huddle where everybody knows. That’s when the field goes crazy, it's hard to hear. And so we’re kind of getting that simulation here in practice, with the music and everybody's talking around the sidelines. Just try to project my voice into the huddle. So everybody hears the call and we are all on the same page."
Added Carroll: "He’s feeling it, there is an example of a guy that is feeling the opportunity. He knows that he’s in front, he knows that he has to call the shots, and he’s going to make the adjustments, he and Cody (Barton) in particular. Both of those guys are engaged with this level of communication that positions them to leadership. It’s fun to watch and I can tell that they are really accepting that challenge."
The competition at quarterback between Smith and Lock won't really be able to ramp up until they can get more real in practice in training camp settings. For now, Smith has the advantage due to his familiarity with the offense. But Lock is making progress in getting up to speed.
"He’s right with us," Carroll said. "Geno really has the package nailed, so I have that to gauge him on. He’s hanging with Geno throughout all of this, and we are not holding anything back, we really just unloaded the installations, he’s doing well."
- Running back Chris Carson wasn't at practice on Monday as he continues to recover from offseason neck surgery. Carroll has been non-committal about Carson this offseason. However, he said Carson was in town and they'd know more of his status later this week. "Chris is around, I’ll know more later in the week, I don’t have any update for you," he said.
- Running back Rashaad Penny was out not taking part in the practice on Monday. Carroll said he's got a slight hamstring issue at the moment that is holding him back. "He’s got a hamstring thing that is still tight, we are just making sure that he’s okay. He’s working out and conditioned really well today, he was running and flying around, but not ready to get where he can control the tempo," Carroll said.
- Cornerback Tariq Woolen will get into practice on Wednesday after being held out through rookie mini-camp and Monday's OTA. Woolen, like Penny, had been battling a minor hamstring issue. "Wednesday is his day to come back out and go, so he ran really well today and looked really good conditioning wise and all of that. We just wanted to buy him a couple more (days)."
- The new offensive line for the Seahawks on Monday consisted of first-round pick Charles Cross at left tackle, Damien Lewis at left guard, Austin Blythe at center, Phil Haynes at right guard and Jake Curhan at right tackle. The second unit had Stone Forsythe at left tackle, Greg Eiland at left guard, Kyle Fuller at center, Dakoda Shepley at right guard and third-round pick Abe Lucas at right tackle.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll speaks with reporters after practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on May 23, 2022. (photo by Curtis Crabtree / FOX 13 Seattle)
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