Seahawks coach Pete Carroll talked about the recovery of tight end Jimmy Graham, the state of the offensive line, and more when he met the media Wednesday at the NFL league meetings.
BOCA RATON, Fla.— Seahawks fans may still be in a state of worry over the makeup of the team’s offensive line, particularly the left tackle spot in the wake of the loss to free agency of Russell Okung.
But someone not sharing that angst is coach Pete Carroll, who said during his media availability at the NFL league meetings on Wednesday that he thinks the line is taking good shape with the additions of tackles Bradley Sowell and J’Marcus Webb and the expected development of younger players, notably Garry Gilliam. As did general manager John Schneider the day before, Carroll said Gilliam will move from right to left tackle this year and will be given a shot to replace Okung.
“I think we are in good shape,” Carroll said of the left tackle spot. “It’s very fortunate that we have Garry Gilliam. The combination of the fact that he played this year and did a good job, he gained the starter’s mentality and all that, we think we have an athlete who is really equipped to play that spot. But we are going to have to go to camp and see how that works out.We’ll have the flexibility to see how Brad looks there. We could also do J’Marcus there if we have to and Garry could stay on the right side, so we’ll figure that out when we get to camp and get our hands on the guys.
“But Garry Gilliam, he’s a tremendous prospect to be a left tackle also. I think you guys are real concerned about this spot — we’re really not. We’re excited to see how it turns out. But we have good viable guys to take a shot, and we’ll see how Terry Poole can do too at the right tackle spot to give us four guys who really can mix it. We have to figure it out as we go, but I’ve never been worried about that. But we just want it to happen quickly and get the thing situated as quickly as we can. No timeline on that but that will be one of our concerns as we go through.”
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Here are a few other highlights of what Carroll had to say Wednesday:
- On if he was surprised by any of the players the team was able to retain, or that the team lost, in free agency: “We went into it with the thought that we know that teams come after our guys. So we felt like there would be a pretty good surge there and really it’s not surprising. Even the money, we kind of thought that the money would go where it went and it could take those guys off our club. We really thought that could happen. We were really happy to get (cornerback) Jeremy (Lane) back, thought that was a big deal for us because his best play is ahead of him. He has done great stuff for us. But that solidifies the corner spot going into the draft which I thought was important.’’
- On losing Russell Okung and how the process went with Okung representing himself: “I think it turned out fine for him. He did a good job. It was a difficult challenge and I was worried about him. Seriously I was worried about how he was going to pull that together and that’s a lot of responsibility, and the fact that he had his injury to compound his whole story there. I thought it was going to be hard for him. But I’m really fired up for him that he pulled it off and got a good deal and a long-term opportunity and made a lot of money. We are just at the stage where we have got make these tough decisions. We always tell you there are tough decisions and sure enough this year the tough decisions were to watch guys leave and that’s kind of how that goes, and we have anticipated that. So there wasn’t really any surprise because we felt that people would value our players enough that they would take em off our roster.’’
- On losing Bruce Irvin and how to replace him: “We did a lot of things with Bruce, he played SAM (strongside) backer for us and also rushed on third down for us. We did everything you can do with a guy I think. I heard he said otherwise, but he did a lot of good stuff. Frank Clark is going to really help us. We think he is going to be a premier rusher, he showed that last year. So losing Bruce as an outside guy on the right side really opens up the opportunity for Frank to step up and do some good things for us. But there may not be one guy that we have to load up the SAM backer spot and also play there. Mike Morgan did really well for us when he played there last year at the SAM spot but he’s not going to be the third-down rusher so it might be a combination of guys playing. But it will be a spot to watch, though. … We’re going to play Cassius Marsh at SAM backer some and see how he does there and he can also double as a third-down rusher, too.’’
- On his contract and a report that he has been negotiating a new deal with the team: “Naw, I’m in great shape.’’
- On the status of Kam Chancellor and Michael Bennett and if there have been any talks with either of them: “Everything is going great. Everything is going great. We’re off to having a great off-season and guys are working really hard to make that happen.’’
- On Jimmy Graham’s recovery: “I communicated with him yesterday and he seems to be doing really well. He’s excited about the process and he’s getting through it. This is a big challenge but he’s got a great attitude about it. He’s a worker, he’s a guy that likes to work out and bust his tail to get right so he’s focusing all of his attention on that, and flying. He’s still flying a lot, he keeps sending me flying videos which are great. So he is making great progress. He’ll be back in town in he next couple of weeks and we’ll really get a great assessment of that but everything seems to be going really well.’’
- On Jimmy Graham’s season in 2015 and if they are working in the off-season on ways to get him more involved: “We don’t have to do that. I know that seems like the focus — he had 50 catches (officially, 48) and he was off to a marvelous start with us. We wanted to get him he ball in the red zone more. We didn’t do as good of a job there as we thought, by the time he played eight games with us, whatever it was (actually 11), we would have thought he’d have more touchdown catches (he had two). So that was part of maybe developing his impact with our team. But it was just a matter of timing, he and Russell (Wilson) being together and executing better. Both of those guys doing better to function at a higher level. That’s just the natural progression of developing a rapport with a player, particularly of this style. He’s an extraordinary athlete, an extraordinary player He cares as much as any player we have ever coached. And he was willing to work at it and so was Russell so it was just a matter of time before they would hit like Russell did with Doug (Baldwin) last year. That was a great illustration of what chemistry is all about for a quarterback and a receiver and I think that was on the way. It’s going to happen. We felt we saw all of the examples of that that we needed to see.’’
- On status of Paul Richardson: “He’s in great shape. He just had to overcome a severe hamstring. But he’s ready to go. That’s an exciting part of our game. He was really coming on, we all saw him starting to emerge and then he got banged up again. But hopefully he’ll just be able to have a good, steady process of adding to the team. He’s a deep threat. He’s a great catcher. He’s a route runner so it’s kind of like we pick up a whole bonus guy coming to us and really high expectations for him coming in.’’
- On Mark Glowinski being able to take over for J.R. Sweezy at right guard: “Yeah we are really counting on Mark to be a player. We loved what he did when he finally had his chance to start and we saw him in practices. He’s a real tough guy, totally gets it. We think he’s a natural guard. It was part of the understanding that if we lost Sweeze he would have a chance to step up and we are excited about what he can do. He looked really good when he played against he Cardinals and showed us I think the future that he can play for us and be a big factor.’’
- On Justin Britt remaining at left guard: “He gives us flexibility in that he can play both spots, If we need him to play tackle he can play tackle. But I think he is just going to continue grow as a guard. He did a nice job in the running game. He needs to improve in pass protection, principles and stuff. But we are counting on him to really come through for us. We think those guards (Glowinski and Britt) give us a really secure spot with big upside.’’