Long-awaited injury news for the Seahawks on Monday.
Nickel defensive back Jeremy Lane practiced for the first time since he sustained complicated breaks in his arm and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee at the end of an interception return early in Feb. 1’s Super Bowl.
"He looked really quick," coach Pete Carroll said.
Lane will do more on Wednesday, four days before the Seahawks (4-4) host first-place Arizona (6-2) in an NFC West showdown. That will be a test to see how close Lane may be to returning to Seattle’s secondary.
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He has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list all season. He now can practice for three weeks before the Seahawks have to decide whether to put him on the active roster or place him on season-ending injured reserve.
Signs point to him being activated sooner than later. Could he play Sunday when the Seahawks sure could use him, against deep-throwing Arizona?
"It’s possible," Carroll said. "I’m sure he’s going to want to."
When he returns, Lane will be the nickel back that Marcus Burley, DeShawn Shead and even All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman have been in his absence. Burley has returned to practice with a cast-like structure over his repaired, previously broken thumb. So Lane’s return will indeed be a boon to the defense.
"He’s an attack guy, a good blitzer. Playmaker, too," Carroll said. "He’s long enough that he can match up with the bigger guys. He’s quick enough to match up with the smaller guys, and he’s a really good nickel fit for us. Catching him on highlights in preparation for this game, you can see the things that he can do…
"It’ll be exciting to get him back in the competition of it."
Here is all the coach said following today’s short, indoor practice, the players’ return from seven days off for the Seahawks’ bye:
Head Coach Pete Carroll
November 9, 2015
(Open) "Coming off the break, it’s exciting to get back to football. It’s a good break for everyone, we benefitted from the rest. We’ll come back pretty darn healthy here going into this week, which is a great sign for the midpoint of the season. We’re looking forward to this chance to get home and get going, division rival coming in, big matchup Sunday night is all fun and that stuff, but we have to get back to football and really get our work ethic back in order here. That’s what starts today. The guys came back fired up and ready to go."
(On Ricardo Lockette) "He’s travelling and he’ll be in here tonight. He’s flying in with the family and it seems that all the reports have gone well and we won’t see him until probably tomorrow. Hoping for only good signs."
(On if he got to talk to Ricardo Lockette) "Sure. Yeah, and the family during the time. He bounced back, he’s got a great spirit so he bounced back with an attitude that wouldn’t surprise us. He couldn’t wait to get back to his teammates and get back with us. As far as I understand he came directly here."
(On if Ricardo Lockette is doing rehab or laying low) "No, it’s going to be a considerable recovery, so he’s going to be just laying low. There’s stuff that he’ll be doing but not extensive right now. He needs to rest for a good while."
(On if the bye came at a good point) "Yeah. It’s kind of fitting that it’s midseason and all of that. We kick into the second half, all of that talk is really underway. It took us awhile to get back to even, and we’re going hopefully get going with a good game this week and start moving through the second half of the season. Our guys are setting their sights on doing that. It’s good that the first half is over, we’re done with that one. Let’s get going."
(On how Jeremy Lane looked today) "He did well. He practiced in a limited fashion, he’ll go more than that on Wednesday. He looked really quick and looked comfortable and all of that. He’s worked really, really hard to get to this point. It’s fun to see him back out there. It’s been a long haul for him, of course, and it’s great to get him back."
(On if it’s ambitious to think Jeremy Lane could play Sunday) "It’s possible. We’ll just wait and see though. We have no information other than what we just saw. I’m sure he’s going to want to, and we’ll want to get him out there. We’ll just take him one day at a time and see how he recovers and all that normal stuff that we say, and see how it goes."
(On what Jeremy Lane brought to the team last year) "He’s a really active football player, he’s really quick, he’s aggressive. He’s an attack guy, a good blitzer, playmaker too. He can match up with anybody. He’s long enough that he can match up with the bigger guys, he’s quick enough to match up with the smaller guys and he’s a really good nickel fit for us. Catching him on highlights in preparation for this game, you can see the things that he can do. He’s running around making some plays and stuff. It’ll be exciting to get him back in the competition of it."
(On which of Jeremy Lane’s injuries was harder to recover from) "You’ve got to ask him about that. I don’t know. Both took a lot of consideration and a good while to get done. The knee thing kind of has its course, the arm was an unusual injury. That did take some extra time, more than a normal broken arm would. Check in with him."
(On if Russell Okung is back) "Yeah, he practiced today. He looked good."
(On if Cliff Avril and Luke Willson were the only two not practicing) "Yeah, and we think both those guys will work Wednesday. They had a good week, Luke had a particularly good week coming back, so we’ll see. Expect those guys to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday and then have a chance to play."
(On the issues he sees in red zone performance) "We’d like to leave that in the first half, if you could. Offensively, we just didn’t do well enough, didn’t take advantage of our opportunities being down there. That’s really a point of emphasis for us to turn that thing around, want to leave those numbers in the past and see if we can do something really good in the second half there."
(On what they need to do to get Jimmy Graham more involved in the red zone) "We’d love to give him some more looks in the red zone. For all the obvious reasons."
(On what he thinks about their ability to get down to the red zone and increasing production) "Yes. The gist of that."
(On if Paul Richardson will play this Sunday) "Yeah, I think Paul’s going to work to find his fit in the rotation. With last week when he practiced, and then the week off, he’s really ready to go now. So he’s really battling for playing time right now. That’s a really good sign. We’ll see how that goes. When we finished off with him before he got hurt, he was really figuring in and doing a lot of good stuff. He’s in great shape, running as fast as the wind out here. So he looks really good, so we’re really excited to see what he can do and see how he can push the other guys."
(On if anything jumped out at him while self-scouting during the bye week) "Yeah. Yeah, there’s lots of stuff. There’s all kinds of stuff. I don’t want to share that with you if you don’t mind."
(On giving up seven sacks in the first game against Arizona last year) "We just had trouble with them. The team, it’s an unusual defense and scheme. It helps to play them some so that you get more accustomed to their style. Very aggressive, really come at you from all angles, willing to take risks anywhere on the field, somewhat more so than other people. We handled it much better the second time around. But it’s a good scheme, it’s very aggressive, and they’re riding as high as you can right now. They’re having a great year on defense."
(On how it is different playing against Arizona with Carson Palmer) "Well Carson is playing phenomenal football. He looks as good as he’s ever looked. He’s in great command of the offense, he can throw every throw. They have a really nice setup for him with the receivers that they have. The running backs can catch the football. They come downhill with the running game to make you have to defend it. And then they fire the thing all over the field. They’re as aggressive downfield as anybody we play, with players that can make things happen. Carson has just been great I think. The best I’ve ever seen him in all of the years he’s been out there playing. And I think he fits with Bruce [Arians] and the offense and all that, and they’re making the most out of their personnel."
(On if they throw the ball deep more than the Cincinnati Bengals do) "I don’t know who’s – they’re second in the attempts downfield. I don’t know, is Cincinnati first? So then yeah, they’re right behind Cincinnati."
(On what has stood out with the way Earl Thomas has played so far this year) "Earl’s been right on it. He’s been really consistent. Again, our guys are doing great on defense and not allowing explosive plays. We’re right up on top of that. That has a lot to do with Earl doing what he does. Not just in the passing game, but in the running game too. He and Kam [Chancellor] are playing just like we expect them to play, and they’re doing a nice job."
(On how the message of still being in the race was received) "Well I think with great hope. There’s a lot of work to be done. But regardless of what had happened in the first half, we would go after every game to win every single football game down the stretch here and see how far we can take it. And that’s exactly where we are right now. That’s added pressure I guess when you look at it from one point of view, but that’s the only way we know. So we’re going to go after it. You can only do that by one championship game at a time, and we’re going to go after every one of them. Starting with Arizona."
(On what has made them a great second-half team in the past) "We finish better than we’ve started. We’ve taken pride in being a really good finishing team. That’s why it was so hard to have to live with the games that happened in the early part of the year. Just taking great pride in how you finish. That’s playing well at the end, outlasting your opponent and doing things right longer than they can. That’s always been kind of the way we’ve gone about it. At times I tend to think that we play a lot of young guys extensively early, and they can fit in, and from the midseason point on they’re regulars. It’s easy for us to see Tyler [Lockett] and Frank [Clark], and those fellows jumping in right now, and we don’t think of them as young guys playing anymore. That also helps us keep down the reps to a certain extent of the older guys that are playing ahead of them. I don’t know if that allows us to be fresher. I’d like to think that the conditioning factor has always been in our favor. We finish fast and strong. Hopefully we can do that again. We’re very healthy at this time of the year, and we’re going to try to take advantage of that. A lot of teams are working through some difficult challenges and all."
(On how encouraged he is by the improvement on the offensive line) "Well we’re getting better. I’ve been talking about the running game for a few weeks, probably three weeks now. We seem to have improved and caught stride a little bit. Tempo is better at the line of scrimmage, and it looks more like we’re accustomed to. To come out last week we had the best performance protecting the passer. Hopefully we can build on that. That’s really important. Not that it happened then, but that we can do it again. If we put those two elements together, than that makes us the kind of offense that you’ve got to deal with. Hopefully we can continue to find our explosive plays. That’s something we’ve been good at it in the past. We’re kind of in the middle of the pack right now, we can be better there. That’ll fit off of all that. So I’m encouraged, and looking forward to showing that again. It doesn’t mean anything unless we come out and play well again. That’s a very difficult, challenging front, and we’ll see how we do."