While the Seahawks and the rest of the NFL remain uncertain exactly how training camps will look when they are scheduled to begin next month — let alone the preseason and regular season — Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Thursday the Seahawks will be on even footing with the other 31 teams long the way.
During a Zoom call with reporters who cover the team Thursday, Carroll said the Seahawks have been told by the state of Washington that the Seahawks will be able to follow NFL guidelines for training camp, which is scheduled to begin July 28, even if the state may not be as open as others.
“So that freedom is there, which is good,” Carroll said. “But we’re going to be very, very, very protective of our players and in the environment and make sure that we’re doing the right thing.”
The NFL has stated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that it hoped that any plans it puts in place would be the same for all teams so that none would have any competitive advantage over another.
The league told teams Thursday that there will be no players admitted into team facilities during the rest of the offseason program — the window for teams to conduct the program ends June 26. That means the first on-field work of any kind won’t come until training camp in July.
But Carroll hinted there may be a chance that teams could report earlier to begin getting ready for camp saying it could be “like a little bit of a phase one” of what the team usually holds during the spring “getting us ready for football.”
The league has consistently said it hopes to start camp on time so that the regular season can start on time, though there is a chance that two preseason games could be canceled, allowing for just a two-game preseason.
Carroll said cutting the preseason “makes sense because of the time frame we are talking about.”
The NFL last week released a possible protocol for how teams will have to adjust due to the pandemic and meeting social distancing guidelines.
Carroll said one thing the Seahawks could explore is holding meetings outdoors to account for data showing the virus spreads more easily indoors.
“Maybe we find out that being outdoors is really a better way,” he said. “We may want meetings outdoors … we may wind up having everything outdoors as much as possible.”
While some teams around the league are concluding their virtual offseason programs this week, Carroll said Seattle will go for one more week. Teams are allowed two hours a day of virtual meetings and two hours a day of virtual conditioning.
Carroll, unsurprisingly, said the virtual offseason has gone as well as hoped.
“I am so fired up about what we have been able to accomplish during this time,” he said. “We didn’t have a clue what was going to happen here. And I asked the coaches to use every ounce of their creativity that they could, and their energy that they could to keep the meetings proactive and involved and upbeat and moving in like we always like to do and didn’t know if that would translate. But it has and we’ve made incredible progress. I think we’re smarter at this point, because of the added time that we’ve had to work and really focus on the mental side of it than we’ve ever been.”
But as for training camp, Carroll reiterated the team still really has no idea exactly how it will all work out, saying the Seahawks are preparing for all kinds of possibilities.
“We have to be wide open,” he said. “Ready to adapt.”
Quinton Dunbar back working with the Seahawks
There remains nothing new in the case of cornerback Quinton Dunbar, who last month was charged with four counts of armed robbery in Florida as the state debates whether to go forward with the case.
Carroll said Dunbar initially took a few days off from the team to deal with the arrest but has been a full participant in recent meetings.
“He’s been very open with the discussions of what’s taken place and the whole process going on,” Carroll said. “I don’t have the details of where that is right now. We can’t comment on that anyway. We have been very much connected with him and what is next and all of that.
“We are following along with him. He is back and participating with us and focusing real well. We’ll see what happens with that.”
Carlos Hyde should be ready week one
Since Carroll last talked to the media, the Seahawks signed Carlos Hyde to beef up the tailback spot.
Carroll said he expects Hyde to compete with Chris Carson while also giving the team the luxury of being patient with the recovery of Rashaad Penny, who suffered an ACL injury on Dec. 8 against the Rams. Such injuries typically take 9-10 months to recover from and the team has hinted Penny will start out on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which would mean sitting out the first six games at the minimum.
“He gives us a chance to really bring Rashad back and carefully bring him back so that he’s a thousand percent right and ready to go when we cut him loose,” Carroll said. “We’re really excited about. We love what he brings, but this will allow us to, I think, be clear about the process of re-entering Penny back into it.”
Hyde is also recovering from an injury having had recent surgery to repair a labrum tear in his shoulder which he said he suffered in the second game of last season while with Houston, for whom he gained 1,070 yards.
But Carroll said Hyde should be ready week one.
“He’s moving along really well,” Carroll said of Hyde. ” … he thinks he’s gonna he’s gonna be fine so sounds like everything’s going great. We haven’t had a chance to get him in the facility yet and see him, but we’re counting on him being ready for the start of the season.”