Audio: Head Coach Pete Carroll 7/26/18

Thursday press conference: Head Coach Pete Carroll 7/26/18

(On the start of Training Camp) “What a blast, coming back to football. It was really fun to get started today. It’s a big wait, that six weeks. It’s a long time and it’s six weeks of wondering. You don’t know what the heck is going to happen. The guys came back ready to go, had good running yesterday, terrific work today, so we’re off and going. It’s exciting, we’re all fired up and a lot of stuff for us to see (with) a lot of new players that we’re looking [at]. The competition is set up and (it’s) just a lot of fun putting things together. It’s also part of the coaches, too. Seeing our coaches go to work and put our stuff together after the whole offseason and all that we’ve done, we jumped off to a really good start and you can see the connection between players and coaches. (I’m) fired up about it.”

(On the hunger for playoffs amidst doubters) “I think we’ve sensed it the whole time. I think we’ve sensed it since the last game of the season, without question. It’s really been part of the mentality that’s made these guys kind of in this mode of they’re really grinding and they’re really fired up about working and making right and all that, and there’s so many areas for us to improve from last season and it’s so obvious. It’s already underway.”

(On the younger group) “Yeah, the whole time it has been. It has been throughout the offseason and just the outlook of it, you can see and it’s just brought, again – and they’re telling you – a sense of urgency that feels good and feels right and I’m really excited about it. Today was a freakin’ blast. Couldn’t ask for more.”

(On the absence of Earl Thomas) “Well, you know, he’s been here for a long time and we always expect him to be here. That’s kind of how it is. So, he should be here, and he’s not. It’s really about the guys who are here now and we’re just going to keep moving and grooving and putting it together. It’s unfortunate.”

(On the roster move regarding Kam Chancellor) “Yeah, he’s going to miss this year. He’s going to miss this year.”

(On the potential future of Kam Chancellor) “I’d like to be ale to tell you that kind of stuff. I don’t know. I don’t know. He had been an awesome Seahawk and he always is and will be and all that, but for right now that’s what this is about and he will miss the season.”

(On the report that Earl Thomas was done with Seattle) “I don’t know that. I don’t know that. I’m saying, I don’t about that statement.”

(On having an indication that Earl Thomas may be back when the season starts) “I don’t know that, but we expected him back. He’s under contract.”

(On the roster move regarding Malik McDowell) “There’s not much I can say about it at this time. He’s just, what’s the status we put him on? Non-football waive.”

(On if he can shed light on the McDowell situation) “No.”

(On the safety group) “Yeah, we’re going to do some rotating to see those guys. The competition is on. This was the first time we got to see Mo Alexander. I’m excited to see what he can do. I was really impressed with what Mo did and what I’ve seen in years past. He was unable to participate throughout the offseason. This was his first time on the field. We’ll ramp him up in the next five or six days. He’s ready to go, but I’m excited to see how he fits in as well. So, it’s a great competition. T2 (Tedric Thompson), he looks sweet. He’s looked great throughout all of the time we’ve had him. He’s got great feel for what’s going on. He’s a great studier, he’s had a fantastic offseason, and he looked great out here to get us going. He’s right in the middle of it all.”

(On where he sees Mo Alexander slotting in) “He’s played both. He’s played both, so I’ve got no problem with moving him. We’ll see how it fits. Bradley (McDougald) has done such a good job for us and he has the flexibility as well. We have tremendous flexibility so that’s not an issue. We’ve just got to find the two best guys to play for us and figure out how to fit them in. For years, we’ve been coaching safeties based on their personal makeup and attributes, and we’ve had so much experience that we have different things that we can do with different guys. This is a real fascinating challenge to me, to see how we tweak it and fix it so we can put these guys in the best position to get the most out of them. They’re not all the same. They’re different makeups and Delano Hill is going to be a fantastic competitor in this one as well, so we’ll see how it goes.”

(On Bradley McDougald potentially stepping in as a starter) “He has been before. He’s started in the league before. That’s not a question there, but he’s got really good instincts, he’s a really smart hitting football player, he’s a good tackler, he fits the running game really well, he plays the deep ball well, and he happens to be one of the best man-to-man guys as a safety, also. He was a very good cover guy last year. The only difference between him and maybe some of the other guys, like with Kam, was Kam was twenty pounds heavier. He was just a bigger guy. But Bradley does everything that you want him to do. He’s a leader and he’s a really good guy to have on the team.”

(On the disappointment in moving on from Malik McDowell) “It always was disappointing. This whole process was disappointing because he had a real upside. We took a big pick to take him and all that, and unfortunately it didn’t happen. We made a move last year because he wasn’t here, so that just shows you how important he was.”

(On if the communication from McDowell was poor) “No, I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that. There was really not much to communicate about. It was just a time thing, so we had to just wait it out and unfortunately, it never could come around.”

(On the offensive line group and having a starting five in mind) “It is important. It’s exciting to see that. Mike (Solari) has done a nice job of trying to keep these guys all connected so that the communication can really be at a height as much as possible. The leadership there, with Duane (Brown) and Justin (Britt), it’s two great guys to be active and making sure that everybody’s fitting together. (Germain) Ifedi has now played a few years, you know? He’s been around too. D.J. (Fluker) took his shots with the first group today which was good. (Ethan) Pocic was at the left guard spot. It’s a good-looking, solid group and we need to see how they go and how they develop. There’s guys that are, this is a deep competitive group here. (Rees) Odhiambo got back out here for the first time since the offseason, really, and we’ll ramp him up in the next couple of days, too. He’s in the middle of it, (Jordan) Roos is in the middle of it, (Isaiah) Battle is in the middle of it, and George Fant is coming back so we’re excited about this group now. I don’t know how it’s going to wind up settling at this time, but to go back to your point, it is great to have those guys connected and all that. That’s the point and we’re hoping to build on that.“

(On the plan with George Fant) “George is going to be maybe four to five days here before he’s ready to go. He seems to be ready. We’re just getting him back into practice mode to ensure that he’s back, and then by the eighth, that’s kind of the date that we’d like to see how far he’s come and we’ll just keep evaluating it day-by-day. But we’re ramping him up. He’s full-go. He’s full-go but we’re holding him back a little bit right now.”

(On possibly moving him to the right side of the line) “The potential is there. Yeah, the potential is there, but he has no background. He has no background playing over there other than the little bit of work we did in the offseason to prepare for that. Right now, we think it’s best for him to sit there at the left tackle spot where he knows what he’s doing and get him back in action and then we’ll see what happens from there and we’ll see how it all fits. This is exciting because there really (are) some choices that will come to us in time if everybody stays healthy and right and all that, and if that is the case then we’ll just figure it out when the time comes.”

(On who will jump out early) “Ah. Let’s hope on (Ethan) Pocic. He got thrown in there last year. He’s had a really good offseason. He got a lot stronger, he worked really hard at it. He’s going to grow in similar fashion from his freshman year to his sophomore year. They grow a ton. Let’s see what happens. He’s been pretty well locked in on the left side there and we’ll see if he can hold it. I’m really hoping for that. He does everything that he can possibly do to give you every reason to think he would. I’m fired up about all that he’s done to get to here but now we’ve got to get the pads on, get to knocking and all that kind of stuff before we know.”

(On the growth of Ethan Pocic) “Physically, mentally, he’s just taken the next step. He’s just more mature about everything. You think about how much he knows today that he didn’t even have a clue on last year. That’s a natural improvement.”

(On Brandon Marshall) “Well, Brandon worked today. We’re going to ramp him up. He’s ready for camp, but we want to make sure that we bring him in – there are a number of guys that we are progressing along to make sure that the comeback is real and they feel good about it and we build them up and don’t rush. Brandon is one of those guys.”

(On Ed Dickson) “Yeah, Ed Dickson came up with a groin thing in the last couple of weeks. We’ve just got to start him slow. We’re going to hold him out for a little bit until he starts feeling better. It’s a minor groin injury, but it is something that’s worthy of note, so we’ve got to hold him back.

(On Dion Jordan) “Yeah, Dion’s got an issue that we’re working on right now. It’s going to be a few weeks with him, before we’ll be able to get him back out.”

(On whether or not Dion Jordan’s issue is a new injury) “Yes. It’s different. It’s something that came out of his workouts.”

(On whether or not Dion Jordan will be PUP) “Yes.”

(On rotating safeties based on situations) “It rarely happens for us in the past with history like that, but there’s enough unique qualities in there that substituting and maybe working some of the special things we can do to highlight their stuff, that’s definitely in the works and we’ll see how that goes. We happen to have really good cover guys in the safety spots – guys that can cover you one-on-one and can cover wide receivers, also. There’s three guys in there that come to mind in that. We’ll see how that fits. That does give us some freedoms and some things that we can do. Ken (Norton) has done a nice job of bringing some things to us to add to our package that we’re excited about and some of that has to do with using the safeties.”

(On what happened with DeAndre Elliott) “He just didn’t make it through the process.”

(On whether or not it was the same injury from last year) “Yes.”

(On what he hopes to see out of Shaquem Griffin) “That’s a good question. We just really want to see him keep growing and understand the position. He has not played a lot behind the line of scrimmage so it’s important for him to just get the feel for it and to utilize his instincts and his speed. We’re really trying to get him to utilize the run-through principles that he has the ability to do, and the chase and the scrape type of abilities because he’s so fast. He gained a lot of ground here in the offseason. The last week (of minicamp) was his best week so we’re hoping when we come back, we’ll see more of that and just more comfort. He is a pass defender. You can see that already, so we just need to make sure that he’s making progress. He’s a good learner and he studies really hard and he’s working diligently at it. There’s nothing to point to that he’s not going to get it done. It’s just going to take some time. His experience, really, is what we’re working on, and trying to get him familiar with the new position.”

(On Shaquem Griffin at his college position) “Yes, he was more on the edge.”

(On teaching, given the new helmet rules) “First off, I think this is a topic that you guys should let yourselves become more familiar with because this is a big deal. It’s a big deal. The game is in transition right now and it’s a really important transition. We started transitioning some time ago, really specifically, and fortunately for us it’s put us in position where we’re okay (and) we’re comfortable with the changes that are coming. There’s a couple of particular things that – coaching points – that have come up that the league has generated, that will be points of emphasis for us and that’s about keeping your face up as much as possible and it’s just a tremendously clear emphasis of not using the top of your helmet and you’re not using your helmet as a weapon. That’s not new for us at all, but I do think that we can get better at some areas of it and it really has to do with leverage and keeping our face up when we make contact so we stay out of the penalty situation and stay in the safety mode. I think it’s a big deal. There was a time, I don’t know how many years ago it was, I was fighting it like crazy. I was fighting it just like an old dog. I didn’t want to see it coming, didn’t want to have it come our way, and I know I transitioned a while back and so as this has been coming to us now, I’m excited about the change for the game. You won’t see the difference in the game, the fans won’t see the difference, the players will feel a difference in time, and I think we’ll be able to see a great product. It’s not going to change things drastically at all, but we have to make these adaptations now and so we’re making a big deal about it to our players. That’s why I don’t mind talking to you about it, because I think everybody who has listened to football and interested in football needs to understand that things are changing right now. I think the leadership that came from the league and also from the Player’s Association, it was necessary and it was warranted and we’re doing the right thing and we’re going to figure out how to make this a really good part of the game and it shouldn’t even hinder us in any way.”

(On whether the biggest effect of the new helmet rule will be along the line of scrimmage) “No, I think it’s across the board because it can happen multiple times on any play, where guys use the top of their helmet. We’re just getting out of it. It’s really about going back to really good shoulder leverage play and all faces will be able to handle it and deal with it.”

(On whether or not football will be reducing speed, like rugby) “Oh gosh, that’s not true. I’m sorry, that’s not – you’ve watched rugby, man. They kill those guys with their great technique shoulder tackling. There’s no shying away from the physical part of it. It’s just a different way of hitting it. You’re not using (your head) to make the impact you’re using your shoulder to make the impact. They’re hitting just as hard, running just as fast. Their game is different because they don’t block. They’ll have those scrums, they’ve got all kinds of other things that are crazy and physical and all that. But they don’t shy away from any of the hitting now and we won’t either. I don’t think it’s going to affect us in that way.”

(On Neiko Thorpe’s development as a cornerback) “He’s right in the middle of the competition now. He and Maxie (Byron Maxwell) and Tre Flowers. Those guys are going to be battling on that side over there. Again, this is a fantastic competition to keep your eye on. Cue into it. I think you’ll have fun watching how they match up and how they play the technique. You’ll see them day after day going after it. We’ll be battling when we get to the one-on-ones in a couple of days and all that stuff that happens that’s going to give these guys a chance to make their statement of who they are and how they fit in here. Neiko is a good football player. He’s physical, he’s tough, he runs fast, he’s been one of our guys long enough. He’s really good technique-wise now. He’s like what we saw Maxie (Byron Maxwell) develop into after a couple of years. It’s a good competition and we’ll see how it goes.”

(On the trending development from special teamer to cornerback) “Those guys all came along that way. It’s fitting. If they’re going to be a guy that can play corner, they’re going to be a good special teams guy. It goes hand in hand.

(On how much of a factor pass protection is amongst running backs) “It’s really big. It’s a big deal and Chad (Morton) went after it right off the bat today because we’ve emphasized the heck out of it with the new guys. We’ve got some young guys back there. Chris (Carson) just has one year with us and really, a half of a season. We have to figure it out with him, we have to figure it out with C.J. (Prosise), we’ve got to figure it out with (J.D.) McKissic, and of course we’re working with (Rashaad) Penny on it. (They) had a really good first day. These guys have been working on it all offseason. Their rules really is part of it, really identifying and that’s the first step, but then the physical part is really important too and that’s what they have to develop and put the pads on. But, making good progress and it was an exciting first day. Didn’t make any errors on the pickups and stuff like that so it’s a good start for us, but it is really important, and it’ll keep a guy off the field if he can’t do it.”

(On Jacob Martin) “Yeah, Jacob is a really good player. In college, they played him on the edge and rushed him all the time, which he can do. He’s got it in his package there, but we all thought that if we worked him at the SAM linebacker spot, we might be able to use that in pressure situations, still rush him on third downs but also make him a linebacker for us for the competition of it all. That was great to see him make a play today. He’s a really grinding, physical athlete, man. We love the way he brings it. All offseason, he proved that to us. We saw it the first day and off we go. We got a long ways to go, though.”

(On his weight) “He, um, I think he was 246 (pounds).”

(On learning from the 2015 absence of a high-profile safety in Kam Chancellor) “You’ve got to keep moving. You’ve got to keep going and go about your business. You have to. I mean, it’s a whole different situation. You’ve got to coach the guys who are here, and that’s really what the focus is. It will continue to be that.”

(On mentioning the Earl Thomas situation to the guys present at Training Camp) “You guys have done all that I needed to do about that. I appreciate it.”

(On Bobby Wagner possibly tweaking something) “Just making sure that he’s okay coming out of his workouts. That’s all. Just eased him in today. Good observation.”

(On learning anything from Kam Chancellor’s holdout in 2015) “You know, I’m thinking about if I should tell you about this one or not. Really, I think the thing that I learned about it was about Kam. Kam went through a long, hard process and was arduous for him because of who he is and what he’s all about and his character and the leader and tough dude and the team guy that he is. It was hard on everybody because of him and who he is and all, and when he came back around and realized that, ‘okay, I’m back in business and ready to go,’ to see him turn back to that solid character-riddled unbelievable leader was an awesome thing to see, because there was the point there that he was a million miles away, you know? And then when he came back around, we had a wonderful meeting and he really just made some great statements about where he was going and what I could count on from him and how he had kind of endured it, and it was just really impressive. It was emotional, it was impressive, and he never took a step backwards. What I’m going to say to you is that sometimes, good stuff comes out of this stuff and it’s a hard process and it’s challenging. It’s hard to get to the essence of what’s going on, but when Kam did (return), he never looked back and I was so proud to see how he came through it. It was a very difficult situation on all of us because of the way it happened and all, but that’s what I learned on that one.”

(On Tyrone Swoopes in the TE competition) “One of the most exciting guys to see in this camp for us is Tyrone because we know that he has the littlest background at this spot (with) the fewest snaps and all. Hasn’t had an offseason lift in as a tight end, really. Been a quarterback his whole life and all that. Last year was kind of a ‘maybe I will, maybe I won’t,’ so he was totally tuned into it. He’s had a great offseason. He’s athletic, he’s physical, he’s not just a run-and-catch guy like you might think because he’s a QB. He’s got enough physicality to play on the line of scrimmage and block people. I believe that’s going to show up in this camp so we’re really excited to see what he does. He’s right in the middle of the competition.”

(On his favorite memory of Russell Wilson) “There’s a lot of memories with Russ and it sounds like he’s gone, but I think it’s the moment on the sidelines, that he’s done a number of times, when he says ‘we’re going to win this game’ and it looks like there ain’t no chance. It looks like you’re out of the game and why would you ever say something like that. It’s just his undying spirit and when that shows up and I see him come out of him and he loves the challenge of, this doesn’t look like you could ever get this done, and we’re going to get it done. That’s happened a number of times on the sidelines and it’s that look, that exchange that we make and that’s my favorite thing that’s happened with Russell over the years. I can’t wait for it to happen again.

(On Dontae Johnson’s timeline) “I don’t know what to tell you right now. He had a pretty good report yesterday. I don’t think he’s any longer than two weeks. I don’t think so. I might be optimistic on that one. But he’s healing and everything’s gone right and all that, they just got to clear him and just really scans and x-rays and stuff like that.”

(On Frank Clark) “Frankie had a wrist operation a while back in the summer and he’s coming back from it and is working hard to get back in action.”

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