Coach Pete Carroll thinks Marshawn Lynch is in great shape. (Here was the running back on Thursday at Seahawks minicamp, making his first appearance on the field since February's Super Bowl):
Carroll's not worried about settling the starting competition sooner rather than later. He's excited to see how Kasen Williams may fit into the wide-receiver mix.
All that and more here below, the transcript of all Carroll said Thursday at the end of the Seahawks' mandatory minicamp, their last time on the field as a team until training camp begins July 31:
Pete Carroll, end of Seahawks' mandatory minicamp June 18, 2015:
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"Well, it's a pretty long haul to get through the whole off-season. A lot of aspects of this off-season that we took on to try and challenge us to have the best that we could have and the best that we've had. It turned out great. Phase 1, Phase 2, gets us started and revved up for the OTA season. We had a really solid OTA season. Guys participating and working hard. We finished up today, mini-camp was beneficial. We had a good mini-camp. Our numbers of practices were down a little bit here but the work that we did and the team stuff that we did was really a great benefit so the guys take off now. They got six weeks to get out of here. Obviously, this is a huge opportunity for our guys to finish the off-season. It's a little less structured, but they're going to hang out and work a lot together and get us ready for a great training camp when we come back."
What's the message you sent?
"We want them to really be working hard together as much as possible. It's much easier to work out when you work with other players. Our big thing is about coming back with the right attitude about making this a great team. That's beyond the lifting and the running and all that stuff. That about getting their minds right to really work together and work with one another."
Any difference between transitioning from one season to the next with this season compared to others?
"They're all unique but there's obviously a similarity in that we do the same things so much. Last year's issues that we dealt with are different than this year's issues that we dealt with. But they can be issues that cause problems just the same. Winning and losing. The ways our guys have worked and the dedication that they've demonstrated and the camaraderie that they've demonstrated makes me think that we're going to have a great training camp coming back and the things like always that happened before we need leave behind and move forward and we've done that. "
How have you treated last year's Super Bowl. Has that been a motivating thing or do you just ignore it?
"Honestly, we've worked through the entire off-season like we did last year. We had issues all the way through the off-season after winning the game that caused problems. And you have to deal with them. There's similar fashion, ya know. How long does it linger. How long does it stay with you. Our guys have demonstrated they they're ready to move on and all of that. We've done a lot of stuff to make sure that we encompass everybody. Right at the outset of that, the aftermath of the game, it was important to recognize that everybody's going to deal with this individually and on their own. And we wanted to respect that. And we have done that. And everybody's brought everybody back to the point where we're thrilled with what we did this off-season, so we'll be ready to go."
Do you expect Russell to have his contract when you guys come back?
"They're still working at it, and I'm hopeful. We're hopeful. That's why we're working."
Talk to him about contract stuff?
"We've talked all the time. We're on the conversation of everything that's going on basically all the time -- specifically about that. No."
Does deal need to get done by training camp?
"No, I don't care how long we keep working. Whatever it takes to do the right thing."
Assess the rookies, please:
"Other than Ryan Murphy, who had to stay out for the school stuff, these guys have really jumped into it. They look like they understand what's going on. They're hustling around. They're flying around the practice field. They've spent all the extra hours that they can. Our coaches have worked as much as they possibly can to keep them versed. Their attitudes have been great about the learning and all, you know? So we haven't had to hold back. We haven't treated them like they don't understand or they're not getting it. They've been given the full boat of installation on both sides of the ball and in special teams, and they're doing great. The indication is, when we come back, how fast do they play? Do they play with confidence and do they understand what's going on so that they can show themselves? That's what we hope, and every indication is it's been successful."
How did Bennett, Irvin and Lynch look?
"Well Michael's been out here a couple days. He looked fine. He looked right back ... He's worked really hard. Marshawn is an extraordinarily well conditioned athlete. He didn't work today, but I can't imagine him not being in amazing shape like he was last year. I think he'll try to top that this year, so I have no problems with that."
Have you talked with Bennett and Irvin about their situations?
Update, expectations for Jesse Williams?
"Yeah, Jesse's in the recovery mode from a major surgery, had a kidney removed. The process now is to get him back in shape. He's free to come back, and it's just a matter of how soon he can get strong and what kind of level of conditioning can he achieve and then we're going to reassess. But the doctors have said that it's safe for him to come back and play football. Now he just has to go through the rehab and fully recover and put himself in a position where he can have a chance to make the team, so we're rooting for him every bit of the way. It's been an extraordinarily difficult time for him and his family to have to deal with such a young man dealing with issues like this, but he's got great support and he's a wonderful kid and he's got a great attitude about it, and I would think if a guy can come back from it, he will do that. So we're giving him every opportunity."
As a coach, what concerns to you have about him playing with one kidney?
"Well I know only what the doctors tell me. I don't know what that would be like, but the doctors say that he's cleared, so..."
On the balance between confidence and entitlement: “That’s a good question. As you go through the success and it adds up and the expectations follow and mount in a sense, there is an opportunity to go one way or the other. All those years at SC really gave me a chance to be in the middle of all of that. I sensed entitlement at times and the young guys that come into the program don’t know what it took to get there and the struggles of it. And sometimes when they haven’t been through the struggles of it sometimes they don’t respect what it takes and so we have to constantly revisit the past and let them know where it was and what it took so that they can share in the lessons. And then after a while you get so far away, and we are not there yet, but you can get so far away that there is no connection to it. At SC after eight or nine years or something the guys who ere in year seven and eight they had grown up in the early days watching it happen but they did not have the sense of it. And I felt like that was a big standing to have from the coaching staff and myself and now its just a making sure that we see it happen. You gauge it by their work ethic and their willingness to consistently lay it on the line out here. So we are not in that mode right now. But there is still stuff that is happening. I’ve told our guys a number of times, Russell Okung and Earl, they are not the same as they were when they got here years ago. They have grown through a lot of stuff and experience a lot of success and the trials and all as well and there is so much to learn but we cant always think that we are the same. We are not. We are growing and changing and adjusting. And so it’s a really exciting dynamic to work with for a coach and all and that’s why last year was such a great challenge for us and this year is such a great challenge for us and we really look forward to trying to manage that and navigate that.’’
On worrying if the players ever tune out his message: “I think about that on almost a daily basis and now to keep it fresh and how to stay on top of it. When you know that what you believe is what you believe in and you are going to stay with it. There is great comfort in that and familiarity. But sometimes I have to find ways to keep it fresh and all of that. The responsibility that the older players have to teach the younger players is what keeps it going. They know it’s fun for them to watch the younger guys learning and sensing and come to an understanding and stuff and so they help tremendously. There was an extraordinary illustration today to see Cliff working with Frank and to see KJ talking to the young linebackers and to see those guys working really hard helping. Richard Sherman has been dedicated to helping the young corners and keeping them out after practice and trying to instill in them the mentality . So that’s how we keep it fresh but I’m always challenged by that.’’
Anybody you anticipate not being out there right now? “I don’t want to speculate on that side of it other than to say that Jeremy has got some work to do to get back. I don’t think we’ve predicted that he would be out there the first days, but I think he’s still got some time with complications and stuff he’s going through, but he’s handling everything really well. We’ll see. Other than that, I don’t have much to comment on.”
How’s Earl Thomas? “Seemingly great. He’s really excited about where he is and his ability to do all the stuff and run around. They just want to wait all the time that they can. He should be ready and raring to go.”
Christine Michael? “His hamstring is a little tight. He wanted to go today, but we held him out. He went for about half the practice.”
Did you learn anything these two months? “There’s a lot to be gained. You just can’t learn everything. You can’t learn if a guy is going to block and tackle. You can’t tell that so we can’t even expect to understand that. We’re really trying to see how well they can learn, how they take the information, are they comfortable with it, how they handle themselves when they’re challenged or don’t do well. There’s a thousand things that we learn about the kids. Sometimes it’s probably good for us to be away from the football part of it so we can make sure and really be absorbed in who they are as people, what they need to support them as they learn and grow and all of the communication things are really at the top of our mindset to try to manage at this time. There’s a ton of things that we’ve learned.”
Any couple guys stand out: “It’s been really fun to learn Tyler Lockett. He’s got a lot of responsibility as he goes after this return job. He’s inside playing on the slot and the receiver position and he’s playing outside. We’ve just thrown everything at him because he seems to be able to handle it. He studies really hard. You don’t really know until you get these about how dedicated they will be when they’re in our setting. He’s an excited addition to the team. I think Jimmy Graham coming in with the big history and all the accomplishments that he had. He could have been all kinds of things, but he’s a great kid. He’s as hard a worker as we can hope to get. He loves the game, he loves the challenge, he loves coming to a new setting and having to prove himself. He’s feeding off of that. He’s fit in with the players. There was some talk about stuff in other seasons, but that’s become part of the fun. He’s a great addition. We’ve learned a lot about him in particular. There’s stuff everywhere.”
How much does Tarvaris solidify the backup spot? “He gives us great confidence. He took the group down in OT today and won the OT today. He was the MVP straight from Montgomery, Alabama. He is a steadying force for us. He’s been around. He’s a great guy. The players really respond to him. He’s tough as nails. He knows our system beautifully and supports Russell and his efforts very well. He’s got to compete, now. He’s battling. R.J. has had a really good offseason with us, which is great. It’s how we like it. But it’s great to have T-Jack back.”
How much deeper is the wide receivers group?
Carroll: “It feels deeper, yeah. And you’re right about Chris [Matthews]. He obviously made a big statement at the end of last season. He is unique in our group because he is so tall and such a factor in that regard. We’re really hoping he can be a special aspect of our team.
“You add him in and [Kevin] Norwood coming back healthy. We have to wait a little bit, but Paul’s going to be another exciting addition. He finished great last year until he got hurt. The group is very competitive and it’s very fast, and to have Chris and the other end of the spectrum as a big guy is really fun to have that, too.”
Center Drew Nowak being left-handed:
“It’s not an issue. Sometimes it could be and we were concerned about that. I talked to Russell today about that and he notices nothing. We are giving Drew a real look at that spot. It’s a real key spot for you guys to watch to see how it works out. That will be as competitive as any spot we have.
“Lem has done a nice job and he’s really the elder statesman in that group. We wanted to learn a lot about Drew because he changed from defense to offense from college. We loved his competitiveness and his toughness and want to see how far he can take it. He seems to be handling himself really well in the competition.”
Any other veterans competing in for that spot?
When would you like to have it settled?
“I’m not worried about it. It seems somewhat interchangeable right now. Everybody has worked with Russell. There doesn’t seem to be any problem with that. We’ll go to camp and have a plan how to rep those guys because you can have too many guys in the competition. Right now, Tom [Cable] has been moving guys around to add to their ability to adapt to other spots. We’ll just see it through and see what happens.”
Talk about Pinkins and Marsh moving to LB:
“If you looked today carefully you could see Cassius [Marsh] was playing some outside backer spots for us. He’s in that same make-up, 250 pounds and he runs well and has good length to him and all. He can be a Sam backer as well as a Leo. We’ve seen Bruce [Irvin] do the same thing over time.
“That’s just for flexibility for the future to see how well he [Marsh] adapts to that. He’s been studying it for some time and he did a nice job today. He has a learning curve but he did a nice job today.
“Pink has given us an extraordinary athlete at the spot and he’s learned a ton. Probably the most improved guy on the football field would be Pink from where he started. So we’ll see what happens when we go to camp. We’ll line him up and give him a chance to go at it. You can’t find a guy much faster than that at outside backer in the league. We’ll see how he does.”
What do you see in wide receiver Kasen Williams?
“I’ve known this kid for a long and watch him grow up in football here at the U [Washington] and have a lot of regard for his natural football ability and catching range. In minicamp he did very well. We had to wait out the school thing. But he caught three balls out there today and looked pretty good the first time out. We want to see how special he is when he mixes in with our group. I know him to be a really productive, aggressive football player at the receiver spots and I’m anxious to see how he fits in”
How do you feel about RB Thomas Rawls?
“I’ve studied Thomas a lot and I love his style of running. He’s really a head-knocker. He really goes after guys. When you get to see him with the pads on you’ll see how physical he is. He had play after play in college of just smacking people and running and breaking tackle. He’s showed very good feet and caught the ball well. He’s going to be a very willing blocker and he was a real bright spot. He really jumped out at us, knowing that his most exciting dimension hasn’t even been seen yet. He’s had a great camp [offseason] for us. It will be really fun to see him when we start playing ball.”