Notes, quotes and anecdotes from Monday's Seahawks OTA.
Here are a bunch of news, notes and observations following the Seahawks’ OTA (Organized Team Activity) on Monday, the third of four that will be open to the media.
— The three players who have been sitting out for voluntary reasons remained absent — free safety Earl Thomas, cornerback Byron Maxwell and defensive end Frank Clark. Thomas and Clark are sitting out to make a statement about their contracts (each has deals that are up after 2018) while it’s unclear the situation with Maxwell, who re-signed with Seattle in April, getting a one-year deal. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, one of two players who was made available to the media following the OTA, said he expects Thomas back “real soon” though he didn’t specify when. However, the general expectation around the Seahawks is that Thomas will be in attendance for the team’s mandatory mini-camp next week when players can be fined up $84,435 if they are absent (teams do not have to fine players but they can, per the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Players cannot be fined for missing the voluntary OTAs). “Yeah hopefully he will be back real soon,” Wagner said. “I don’t see anything kind of happening with that. I’m expecting him to be here, I’m hoping he will be here, and we are going to have a lot of fun together.”
— Left tackle Duane Brown, the other player made available to the media, also is entering the final year of his contract and it’s thought the team will work to get an extension with him done at some point. But Brown, who held out last season at Houston and essentially forced a trade with the Texans working out a deal with Seattle, said he has not talked yet with the Seahawks but also said it’s not a pressing issue at the moment. “My agent is handling that,” Brown said. “I trust that everything is going to happen in good time and when it is supposed to. For now I’m just concerned with this moment and embracing every day that I have here this offseason. This is the first time I have been able to work with this group of guys in the offense and I am really cherising it and enjoying it. I’m not concerned with that. I am concerned with improving as a player and helping my group up front improve and doing all I can for this team and everything else will work itself out.”
— Brown, who typically kneeled for the national anthem last season, had harsh words for the NFL’s new national anthem policy, announced last month, in which players are expected to stand for the anthem if they are on the field with teams being potentially penalized if they don’t. Brown echoed comments of some other players saying one of his biggest issues is that players were not consulted before the league approved the policy. “I don’t like it,” Brown said. “I don’t like it. I think its dismissive. I don’t think its ever properly been acknowledged there was no one that was consulted with or talked to about the matter, so we have discussed it amongst ourselves and we are still discussing it to see how we are going to handle it as a team. But I don’t agree with it at all.” Asked what the team would do if a game were held tomorrow, Brown said “we don’t have to play tomorrow so we’re still figuring it out. … we’re still talking about it. But we’re not happy about it. So we’ll see.”
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— Safety Bradley McDougald, who was absent for last week’s OTA open to the media for a personal matter, was back on Monday and teamed with the number one defense at safety with Delano Hill (with Thomas out and Kam Chancellor not cleared to play).
— Kicker Sebastian Janikowski also was again sidelined with a hip issue leaving kicking duties to Jason Myers. Rookie punter Michael Dickson has been the primary holder, another role held in the past by veteran punter Jon Ryan. Seattle won’t keep two punters and the growing expectation is that Dickson will win the job and at some point the team will waive Ryan, who has been with the Seahawks since 2008 and is the only player let who predates the arrival of Carroll in 2010.
—- The defensive line continues to be a little thin with DE Dion Jordan continuing to be sidelined (it’s unclear why — coach Pete Carroll did not meet the media Monday) and also joined on Monday by Jarran Reed and Quinton Jefferson. Shamar Stephen has also been out. With Clark also absent, that’s three potential starters and two key backups not taking part on Monday. But again, these are voluntary and a time of year when the Seahawks will take it cautious with any injury. Those absences, however, had Seattle typically going with a starting front four of Branden Jackson and Marcus Smith at the ends and Nazair Jones and Tom Johnson at tackle. Also sidelined on Monday was Dadi Nicolas.
— Receiver Brandon Marshall did not take part in any team drills as he is apparently being eased in after signing with the team last week and also having had surgeries on his ankle and toe and saying last week he did not start running full speed until April.
— Chris Carson continues to have an impressive OTA, generally appearing to go first in the tailback rotations followed by Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis (with J.D. McKissic and C.J. Prosise getting lots of work in the third-down/two-minute role). Brown said he’s like what he has seen so far from Penny. “Rashaad has looked great so far,” he said. “We don’t have pads on but from what I’ve seen, he has great vision, runs behind his pads well.”
— D.J. Fluker has also been out as the team plays it careful with a knee issue. Fluker and George Fant are the only two of the 16 offensive linemen on the roster who are not taking part in drills. As you can see in a video below, Fant often mimics the reps of those in the drill, doing so at right tackle, the position where it is expected he will play once he gets cleared to return, which is expected to happen by training camp, barring any setbacks. Fluker played last season with the New York Giants with new OL coach Mike Solari and is expected to be the starting right guard. Jordan Roos is holding that spot for now with Fluker out. “D.J. gives you a physical presence in there,” Solari said. “The whole thing again is that he’s got to compete for the spot, so we’re looking forward to getting him on the field to compete for the spot, showing the guys how to be physical—physical in a sense of getting the pads down, driving the backside knee, fundamentals, aiming points, hand placement, and then critical just to keep those feet moving.”