Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on Wednesday confirmed that the team for now considers rookie Shaquill Griffin as the starting right cornerback, replacing Jeremy Lane.
Always Compete is such a big part of Pete Carroll’s philosophy that those two words are emblazoned at the bottom of the scoreboard at the team’s training facility in Renton.
And to Carroll, the benching of cornerback Jeremy Lane — which compelled Lane to fire off two angry tweets on Tuesday afternoon — was simply further confirmation that the Seahawks live by their slogans.
“That’s how it goes,’’ Carroll said. “We don’t have a rule around here that if you have been in your spot you get it forever. That’s not the way it works. We compete. Central theme in the program.’’
Lane tweeted Tuesday afternoon “How I get bench on a day off !!” and followed that up with “(Expletive) ridiculous’’ after apparently being told that rookie Shaquill Griffin will remain the starter at right cornerback and that there is also no guarantee that Lane will regain the nickelback job that has been filled by Justin Coleman — Lane had been the starting right corner and shifted to the slot when the Seahawks go to their nickel package.
Lane hasn’t played since early in a game against the Colts on Oct. 1 when he suffered a groin injury with Griffin and Coleman since filling in and Seattle holding the Rams and Giants to a combined 17 points as the Seahawks again ascended to a long-familiar spot as the defense allowing the fewest points in the NFL — Seattle is tied for the lead this week at 15.7 per game.
Carroll also seemed to indicate that Lane’s tweets were just his own way of competing and didn’t publicly reveal any irritation at Lane’s use of social media to express his frustration (Lane didn’t appear to have any regrets about the Tweets as they remained up as of Wednesday afternoon).
“He wants to play,’’ Carroll said. “He wants to play and he hasn’t had chance to practice. Got a little bit of work last week. He hasn’t practiced with us really, with a guy coming off a groin he’s got to go today and tomorrow and Friday and see how he recovers from those days and see if he is ready by game day. We don’t know that yet.
“But he is battling to come on back and this place is about competition and there is competition on both sides (right cornerback and nickel). We’ve had really good play at the positions he vacated and those players are doing a good job, which is really what we want. He just wants to play.’’
Carroll said the plan was for Lane to “go full speed’’ in practice Wednesday and that the team will then “see how it goes” in determining if Lane can play Sunday against Houston and what his role would be.
Richards Sherman echoed Carroll’s comments that the Lane situation illustrates that every job is always open.
“It’s competition, so it’s always ongoing,’’ Sherman said. “So we treat it like everything else. I’m sure he’ll get a chance, an opportunity to compete and get his job back and when he gets his opportunity I’m sure he will take full advantage. It’s status quo around here. They allow people to go compete for their jobs. It’s open competition at all times and that’s the most pure part of ball. I think it’s unfortunate because he got injured — he didn’t necessarily have as much to do with being replaced as just circumstantial. But it’s kind of how the game goes.’’
The benching of Lane has led to rumblings that the Seahawks will try to deal him in advance of the NFL trade deadline next Tuesday at 1 p.m. Pacific time. Lane’s base salary of $4 million for this season has already been guaranteed and a team trading for him would have to take that on.
Lane also would appear unlikely at this point to finish out a contract that goes through the 2019 season, a four-year deal worth up to $23 million signed in the spring of 2016.
Releasing or trading Lane would give the Seahawks some significant salary cap relief in 2018 and 2019. Lane is due for salary cap hits of $7.25 million each of the next two years but with dead money of $2.5 million and $1.25 million, meaning Seattle could save $4.75 million in 2018 and $6 million in 2019.
Lane was a sixth-round pick in 2012 and has started 19 games in his Seattle career including nine last season when he was the team’s primary nickelback. He’s essentially played only two games this season having been thrown out of the opener at Green Bay when it was ruled he threw a punch on the first series of the game and then being injured early against the Colts.