Our Seahawks notebook includes items on whether Jimmy Graham will play in the opener, Garry Gilliam being named the starting right tackle, the decision to waive Troymaine Pope, and more
Here are a bunch of notes from Seahawks practice today from beat writers Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta
GILLIAM TO START AT RIGHT TACKLE
The Seahawks’ battle for the right tackle job is over: Garry Gilliam will start the season opener.
Gilliam had competed with free-agent acquisition J’Marcus Webb during the preseason, but coach Pete Carroll named Gilliam the day one starter at right tackle.
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“Feel good about Garry,” Carroll said. “The continuity from last year helps. His development, he’s just getting started. His upside is still out there. And I think it gives us great flexibility having J’Marcus. He’ll play on both sides for us and continue to battle to play. So its a competition in progress on both sides.”
The Seahawks’ offensive line for the first game Sunday against Miami will look like this: Justin Britt at center, Mark Glowinski at left guard, Germain Ifedi at right guard, Bradley Sowell at left tackle and Gilliam at right tackle.
Gilliam started training camp as the Seahawks’ starting left tackle, but Sowell, a veteran free agent, took over the spot before the first preseason game midway through August.
Gilliam then competed with Webb, the highest-paid offensive linemen on the Seahawks, throughout the preseason for the right tackle job. Ultimately, Gilliam beat Webb out and the Seahawks liked the continuity of keeping Gilliam at right tackle; he started there for the Seahawks last season.
Gilliam started at right tackle for the Seahawks last season.
“I thought Garry had a good finish to his camp,” Carroll said, “and he’s ready to go.”
JIMMY GRAHAM’S STATUS UNKNOWN FOR OPENER
Carroll said he isn’t sure if tight end Jimmy Graham will be ready for the season opener Sunday against the Dolphins.
Graham, who had surgery for a torn patellar tendon in his right knee, didn’t play in the preseason.
Carroll said the Seahawks would push Graham during the week like he’s preparing to play on Sunday, even though they don’t have any expectation that he will play.
In short: The Seahawks still aren’t sure if he will make it back until after he gets through this week of practice.
“We’re going one day at a time with the thought that he’s going to play,” Carroll said. “That’s our thought. We’ll find out how that works out with no goal in mind at this point.”
But Carroll also said in the same answer, “I have no expectations that he’s going to play this week. I’m not counting on that happening. I’m just counting on him coming out and having a really good day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and then we’ll see what happens from there.”
CARROLL SAYS POPE WAS A GREAT FIND BUT TEAM WAS SET AT RUNNING BACK
What some fans viewed as one of the more controversial decisions by the team — waiving running back Troymaine Pope — was portrayed by Carroll as maybe not having been that tough of a decision for the Seahawks.
Carroll said the team liked Pope, who led the Seahawks in the preseason with 162 yards on 24 carries, but implied that the team was pretty set with its tailbacks all along.
“He’s a really good player, he’s a nice player,” Carroll said of Pope. “We liked our running backs, they’re in good shape, they had their spot right there, but he did have a really good preseason and he was a great find. We’ll see what happens with the Jets.”
The Seahawks added to the fullback corps Monday adding Tani Tupou after having released Will Tukuafu Saturday.
Said Carroll of Tupou, who played mostly defensive tackle at Washington: “He did a great job. He’s made a terrific transition, he can play on both sides of the ball. We’re excited to see him go. He’s a big, pounding fullback at 280 plus and he’s made a transition quickly. He showed it right off the bat, it wasn’t like it took him a long time. He made good statements early on so we were excited about him throughout. He didn’t do much of that in college, he didn’t do a lot but he did some, and it just made sense to him.”
Carroll, though, intriguingly seemed to imply that Tukuafu could return down the road — if he had been on the roster this week his entire salary of $760,000 for the season would have been guaranteed. He could come back next week and his salary would not be guaranteed.
Said Carroll of Tukafu: “Yeah, he didn’t make it this week.”
CARROLL EXCITED ABOUT ELLIOTT
One of the biggest surprises to make the initial 53-man roster was cornerback DeAndre Elliott, an undrafted free agent from Colorado State. The Seahawks kept Elliott after deciding to waive Tye Smith — a fifth-round pick last season — and Marcus Burley, the team’s primary backup nickelback the last two seasons.
Said Carroll of Elliott: “You can find very few plays throughout the preseason where he wasn’t busting his tail and doing good stuff. He was very consistent, very aggressive, playmaking was in there. We’ve seen him battle with all of our guys throughout the practices and then he capped it off with really good film that he put together for the preseason. We’re really excited about him.”
Finally, here are a few other Carroll quotes on a few other topics
On Dewey McDonald, a player listed as a safety whom the Seahawks plan to play at linebacker that the team acquired in a trade with Oakland over the weekend: “He looks like a guy who can help us immediately on special teams, he may be able to help us with DeShawn Shead who plays so much on teams and in the same kind of role, because DeShawn is going to play a lot of snaps for us otherwise. I’m hoping that he’ll fit in nicely. … We’re going to play him at linebacker, put him in the weak side linebacker spot, see how that looks. He can certainly play safety for us, he’s already done it in a very similar system that we can already recognize. I told him, ‘I know you can play safety, I want to see what you can do in the competition of this spot.’”
On Tanner McEvoy being healthy and making the team: “He’s good, he’s ready to go. He really got back last week and we wanted to keep him out of that last game to ensure that he’d be here this week. He had an excellent preseason for us. Very versatile football player. Really made a great statement because of what he did on special teams. He’s done some other things too, but on special teams it really jumped out. That’s always been the way our young receivers have made their spot. He kind of did it in classic fashion so we’re happy to have him on there.”
On whether Nick Vannett can play this week: “He’s still working at it. He’s the one guy that really couldn’t practice today. It’s like day-to-day, week-to-week kind of thing here. If he can get back by the end of this week running around — he’s doing some of the running now. He won’t make it this week. We won’t play him this week. But after that, next week he’s got a chance.”