Earl Thomas’ surgically repaired shoulder is fully healed.
Between now and the Seattle Seahawks’ regular-season opener Sept. 13 at St. Louis, it’s a matter of him strengthening the shoulder enough so he can extend his consecutive games-played streak to begin his career to 91.
That was coach Pete Carroll’s description of where the All-Pro free safety stands after a couple noncontact practices three weeks before the games get real.
“He’s getting a lot more work than he had. It’s all in the process of getting him ready for the opener, in hopes that he will be ready to go that week. We’ll see,” Carroll said Thursday after a light, walk-through practice indoors and just before the team flew to Kansas City, Missouri, for Friday’s second exhibition game.
“It’s worked out fine. He’s taken to it. Earl’s the kind of guy that you have to put the governor on because he’s going to go full speed. And we are concerned about that. But he’s done a great job of handling that. We’ll increase his reps next week quite a bit.”
Tuesday was Thomas’ first day of practicing — albeit in a red, no-contact jersey — since surgery Feb. 24.
“He’s healed. We are just making sure he has all of the time to regain all of his strength,” Carroll said. “So he’s healed and he can do everything right now.”
Thomas talked this week about being happy about the pace of his rehabilitation. But he added a remark that Carroll seemed to be addressing Thursday.
“I don’t think Coach Carroll-wise (it’s gone well); he’s constantly on me. But I think I’m doing a great job as far as rehabbing,” Thomas said.
“I’m just happy that they’ve taken the handcuffs off me and let me kind of do my job. That’s all I can control right now.”
Don’t expect Thomas to play in any of the three remaining exhibition games. There’s just no need.
GOAL FOR KANSAS CITY: PLAY CLEANER
Carroll coyly said “we might” play wide receiver and former 2014 third-string quarterback B.J. Daniels as the No. 3 QB against the Chiefs. Chances are strong he will.
Tarvaris Jackson, Russell Wilson’s primary backup, is going to be out a while with a high-ankle sprain. That means R.J. Archer is likely to play at least two quarters, after Wilson plays about one quarter.
Seattle signed a third QB this week. But Jake Waters, a rookie free agent out of Kansas State, only got to see the full playbook for the first time Wednesday, so he is unlikely to play much, if at all, against the Chiefs. That will disappoint some fans around K.C. who wanted to see Waters throwing to Seahawks rookie Tyler Lockett again. Those two connected numerous times the past two seasons for K-State.
Carroll mentioned how the offense’s starters got 10 plays and the starting defense got 13 plays in last week’s exhibition opener against Denver — and how they will be playing more Friday.
That includes the debut of Seattle’s new-look offensive line, with Drew Nowak at center, Garry Gilliam at right tackle and Justin Britt at left guard. It’s becoming more likely that will be the starting unit for next week’s third exhibition game at San Diego, usually the final “dress rehearsal” for the regular season, and thus the starting line for the opener in St. Louis — along with left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy.
Carroll said he wants to see the starters play more “cleanly” against the Chiefs. Wilson lost a fumble while getting sacked by Denver’s Von Miller on the game’s second play last week, after Miller rushed past Britt off the right edge. That play, plus six other sacks by the Broncos, are why the Seahawks revamped their offensive line.
“We’ve got to take care of the football better,” Carroll said.
A large reason why Seattle has played in two consecutive Super Bowls is how low its turnovers-committed number has been. The offense had 14 turnovers (seven lost fumbles, seven interceptions by Wilson) in 16 regular-season games last year.
Carroll said it’s “wait and see” if rookie DE Frank Clark plays at Kansas City. He hasn’t practiced all week because of a sore ankle. ... Richard Sherman might not play. He returned to practice Tuesday after missing three days plus last week’s exhibition game because of a strained hip flexor. Why risk reinjuring an All-Pro on Aug. 21? ... Update on SS Kam Chancellor’s holdout, Day 21: “We just keep working at it ... working to keep the lines of communication open,” Carroll said. Chancellor has accumulated $880,000 in fines the Seahawks could assess — not that they will.