The Seahawks will get their first game-action look at the safety duo of Tedric Thompson and Bradley McDougald Thursday against the Colts.
Tuesday marked the last significant practice for the Seahawks before Thursday’s preseason opener against the Colts at CenturyLink Field, and a final chance to get a sense of what we may see from an increasingly new-look Seattle team.
Here are my daily impressions of what I heard and saw.
A BIG CHANCE FOR TEDRIC THOMPSON
Tedric Thompson will indeed get the start at free safety for the Seahawks, teaming with Bradley McDougald at strong safety as Seattle attempts to find the best combo to move on without Kam Chancellor (for good) and Earl Thomas (for now and likely a lot longer).
Thompson, a second-year player who saw eight defensive snaps in the regular season last year, again teamed with McDougald as Seattle’s starting safety core, and that for now appears to be Seattle’s preferred safety duo with veteran free agent Maurice Alexander remaining sidelined.
Carroll said he wants to see Thompson play free safety free and easy without thinking too much.
“I want him to feel comfortable and supported,’’ Carroll said. “We believe that the guy is a really good player and we just want him to let it go and cut it loose and not hold back playing cautious. I think he’s got a lot of plays in him which he has shown, which has given us the confidence to support him in that manner.’’
Starters don’t usually play more than a series or two in the first preseason game but Carroll may let Thompson roll longer to get him more experience.
Carroll, though, also said it’ll take more than one game to sort it all out.
“You never know about his opportunities,’’ Carroll said. “It all depends on what happens in the game and now many chances they give him. He may or may not have them. But we have seen a lot now. He has really been active. So I want this to happen so that he can feel confident and he knows he can do what he has shown out here. And it may not happen this week. It may take us the whole preseason to figure that out. But the main thing is to keep him strong, keep moving, keep him believing and I think he’s going to do some good things.’’
MAXWELL’S ABSENCE COULD CREATE BIG OPPORTUNITY FOR TRE FLOWERS
Veteran Byron Maxwell, who has been the starting right cornerback throughout camp, sat out Tuesday with what Carroll referred to as a groin/hip flexor issue. Rookie Tre Flowers ran with the starters in his place alongside Shaquill Griffin on the left side and that may be the way the Seahawks open on Thursday. At the least, Flowers figures to play a ton as other veteran cornerbacks such as Neiko Thorpe and Trovon Reed were also again out on Tuesday, and Dontae Johnson has yet to do any team drills.
“I’m excited,’’ Carroll said of Flowers, a rookie who is making the switch from college safety. “He’s got a good chance to play a lot of ball. He just needs to be out there and play and see what it’s like and see what it feels like and come back play after play and series after series. So he’ll get a lot of work.’’
Carroll said Flowers — whose 6-3, 203-pound frame has drawn comparisons to Richard Sherman — has taken well so far to the conversion but that “we need to see how that plays into it when he deals with the challenges that come your way at corner. I’m real impressed with him so far.”
JAMARCO JONES A POTENTIAL OPTION AT RIGHT TACKLE
The Germain Ifedi intrigue continued Tuesday as the team’s presumptive starting right tackle again appear to be demoted after committing a penalty.
Ifedi, who was flagged an NFL-high 20 times last season, had been benched during Saturday’s mock game after committing two penaties on one series, a false start and a hold.
Tuesday, he again appeared to be called for a false start late in practice and then on the next drive it was rookie Jamarco Jones working at right tackle with the starting offense during a two-minute drill. Ifedi then worked with the second team.
It was the most significant work Jones, a fifth-round pick out of Ohio State, has gotten at right tackle during camp.
Carroll said Jones has been “a real surprise’’ in how he has picked up the offense quickly but he didn’t portray Jones as yet competing with Ifedi at right tackle.
“We’re looking for guys that can flip and play both sides just to see what that shows us,’’ Carroll said. “Sometimes a guy gets inhibited when they go to the other side and all that. Just trying to see how natural he is. He’s been a left side guy a lot, so he has shown a real good savvy about the game and he is precocious in his awareness and stuff so we are just thinking that maybe there’s a chance it will come easy for him to play on the right side as well. We’ll find out.’’
Given the way Jones has been used the last few days, it’d make sense that he’ll get some time at right tackle Thursday.
As for Ifedi, Carroll didn’t say that the move Tuesday was due to his penalty. But Carroll did say the team is taking whatever measures possible to try to help Ifedi clean up his game.
“We’ve got to put big spaces between those mistakes,’’ Carroll said. “And it was a problem last year, no question about it, and I don’t mind making it noted to him, however we need to do it. We’ve go to get this done. He’s capable of being a terrific player and part of it is he’s got to play really sharp and clean and get rid of that stuff.’’
Carroll otherwise praised the work of the offensive line so far — it has largely remained the same throughout camp with Duane Brown at LT, Ethan Pocic at LG, Justin Britt at center, D.J. Fluker at RG and Ifedi at RT.
“The whole first group has done a nice job so far,’’ he said.
ODDS AND ENDS
— DT Nazair Jones also sat out on Tuesday with an undisclosed injury, the only other new player who appeared to be out.
— WLB K.J. Wright, who’d missed a few days with a groin issue, was back to full duty. But expect him to play sparingly Thursday, with rookie Shaquem Griffin likely to get a lot of work at that spot.
— Carroll said of Dion Jordan that there is no specific update to when he will be available only that they will need to wait until late in the preseason to assess where he is. Jordan is on the PUP list and could begin the season there, meaning he’d miss at least the first six games.
— J.R. Sweezy remains sidelined with a sprained ankle suffered in his first practice on Thursday. Carroll said Sweezy was injured when another player fell on the back of his leg and that the ankle is the same side on which he broke his fibula last season late in the year with Tampa Bay “so we are just being extra careful with it. He looks to be fine but he looks to have a little bit of an ankle sprain.’’
— In your daily kicking update, Sebastian Janikowski was 4-4 out of Jon Ryan’s holds, including makes with room to spare from 54 and 58 yards. Jason Myers was 2-3 out of Michael Dickson’s holds, missing wide right from 58. Each also made kicks from 35 and 48.
— I haven’t seen Duane Brown get beat often in the one-on-one pass rush drills. But Tuesday Barkevious Mingo got a step on him and won a rush to the outside.
— Practice ended with a field goal kicking competition of non kickers, mostly linemen, from 25 yards. It took 13 tries before someone finally made one — snapper Tyler Ott.