Carroll also offered thoughts on former WSU star Shalom Luani and UW's Darrell Daniels, each acquired by the Seahawks over the weekend.
For the first time this season, it’s officially game week for the Seahawks, who open the 2018 campaign Sunday afternoon at Denver.
After the team’s first practice with what is now its 53-man regular-season roster (one that has already changed three times since it was initially set Saturday afternoon), coach Pete Carroll met with the media.
Here are the 10 most noteworthy things he said in no particular order (other than what he said about Earl Thomas, which is covered here).
Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Sebastian Janikowski and Neiko Thorpe were named captains
Carroll made the announcement of the team vote for captains in leading off his meeting with the media. Wilson has been the sole offensive captain for every season since 2013, his second year. Wagner has been a captain three of the past four years (solo in 2015 and sharing it with Kam Chancellor in 2017). For Janikowski and Thorpe, it is the first time the two have been a special-teams captain (Janikowski obviously in his first year with the team). Departed punter Jon Ryan had been a special-teams captain each of the past four years, sharing the duties in 2016 with the equally departed DeShawn Shead.
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“I’m really happy to see those guys take the leadership role,” Carroll said. “Obviously, the team really liked them and felt that they were the right guys. They’ll be the guys that will take the leadership role as well as a bunch of other guys that will contribute too.”
Expect Shaquem Griffin to start at weakside linebacker against Denver
That’s no surprise given that K.J. Wright had arthroscopic knee surgery a week ago Monday.
But Carroll seemed to confirm it when he talked about Griffin and noted that he is now entering a period of a number of firsts, including his “first-time official start in the league. So we’ll take each one one step at a time.’’
As for Wright, Carroll said he “looks great’’ but said, “He’s still got some swelling and some stuff he’s working on. … this is a remarkable process he’s on and I don’t know why they knew he could get back in a couple of weeks. But he’s got a shot. We’ll see.’’
Tedric Thompson will play against the Broncos, expected to start at free safety.
Thompson sat out the exhibition finale with rib and stinger injuries suffered against Minnesota and was limited in practice Monday.
But Carroll said “he’s ready go to’’ against Denver. Thompson, who had just eight defensive snaps last season, should start alongside strong safety Bradley McDougald in what would be — assuming Thomas doesn’t end his holdout — the first game Seattle will play since 2009 without either Thomas or Chancellor starting at one of the two safety spots.
Carroll was vague on if D.J. Fluker will play against Denver, but J.R. Sweezy will start in his place if needed.
Fluker has a hamstring issue and Carroll said only “we’ll find out later in the week’’ if he can play against Denver.
But if he can’t, then J.R. Sweezy will get the start at right guard.
Sweezy did not play in the preseason due to a high ankle sprain, but Carroll said he could have played against the Raiders.
“He’ll be ready to go by the end of the week,’’ Carroll said. “It’s such a luxury for us to have him to step in for Fluke if we need him.’’
Carroll said they need to see how Dion Jordan progresses this week before knowing if he can play Sunday
One of the real positives for Seattle during the weekend was removing defensive end Dion Jordan from the Physically Unable to Perform list after he dealt with a stress reaction in his leg.
Jordan took part in practice Monday, but Carroll said it was too soon yet to say he will play.
“We are going to see how he does during the week,’’ he said. “Going to go one day at a time right now.’’
If Jordan can return, he could start at the left defensive end spot opposite Frank Clark on the right side. Carroll said Clark, who was limited in camp after coming off hand surgery, is fine.
Dontae Johnson is ready to go at right cornerback
The team’s decision to put Byron Maxwell on Injured Reserve means Johnson — who signed as a free agent after starting all 16 games for the 49ers last season — will start at right cornerback. Seattle also has rookie Tre Flowers at that spot. But Carroll said Johnson would get the nod for now.
“He’s a big (6 feet 2, 200 pounds), good-looking kid on the spot and he’s given us the confidence to go ahead and put him where we have him,’’ Carroll said. “He has the advantage of experience and the start time so we understand that and respect that, especially starting off the season.’’
As for Maxwell, Carroll said he “never got healthy, unfortunately’’ dealing with a groin issue. “He just couldn’t get well.’’
Newly-acquired Shalom Luani can play either strong or free safety
The Seahawks acquired the former Washington State star from Oakland on Saturday for a 2019 seventh-round draft choice to add depth in the secondary.
Luani is one of four safeties on the roster (though interestingly the team lists him as just a defensive back) and Carroll said he can play either spot, if needed.
“He’s a good, tough guy so that’s the first thing we liked,’’ Carroll said. “We liked that he could contribute immediately on special teams and he will in time learn our stuff. He knows how to play free safety and strong safety featured by the way he runs and hits and we loved that about his nature. … we needed the depth, for one, but really added that boost from the safety spot on special teams.’’
Newly-acquired tight end Darrell Daniels will help immediately on special teams
Special teams also were at the heart of the decision to trade receiver Marcus Johnson to the Colts for Daniels, who played at the University of Washington.
With Ed Dickson remaining on the non-football injury list to start the season (meaning he is out at least six weeks), Carroll said the team needed a third tight end behind Nick Vannett and Will Dissly to help that position out on special teams.
“We looked with kind of an edge toward special teams,’’ Carroll said. “Wanted to see that we had a guy from that spot who could play and contribute on special teams. He can easily do that and he’s a good blocker, a physical guy and we liked the opportunity to add him.’’
Newly-added cornerback Simeon Thomas was a player the Seahawks had their eye on all along.
Seattle added Thomas off waivers from the Browns. Thomas, who played at Louisiana-Lafayette, was taken in the sixth round of the draft with the 188th choice shortly after the Seahawks took Flowers in the fifth round at 146.
Carroll said Monday that the Seahawks considered Thomas when they took Flowers, noting they have similar characteristics. Thomas is listed at 6-3, 190 by the Seahawks (Flowers is 6-3, 203) and has arms were measured at 35-1/4 at the NFL combine — Seattle has long had a reputation for favoring corners with at least 32-inch arms.
“He was a guy we saw all the way through the draft,’’ Carroll said. “You probably can see why when you look at him, once you meet him and shake hands with him. He shakes hands with you from about 10 feet away. Just a real profile guy for us. … We took Tre and those were the two guys in the draft I had my eye on. We were hoping we had a shot to get him and when the opportunity opened up we jumped at it.’’
Seahawks confident Ed Dickson and J.D. McKissic will be ready later in season.
As noted above, Dickson has to miss at least six weeks now that he remains on the NFI list. Carroll said Dickson dealt with three different injuries during camp — all muscle-related issues — that also hampered his ability to stay in shape.
“He just hasn’t been able to get (back),” Carroll said. “He’s had, really, three different things that bothered him in the process of trying to get back. All muscle related issues and just couldn’t get well. At this point, he’s not in shape enough so he’s going to have to get in shape in the next weeks and he’ll be healed soon, but he just hasn’t been able to catch up with us fast enough so we’ll wait a little bit longer for him and expect him to come back in six weeks or something like that.”
Intriguingly, Dickson tweeted Monday indicating he was not happy with the decision to leave him on the NFI list.
“Can’t say that I’m happy with the decision but I’m trusting gods plan. I’ll be ready when #84 is called” he tweeted.
McKissic was placed on Injured Reserve on Monday with a broken bone in his foot suffered in camp. He has to miss at least eight games and Carroll indicated he will be back at that point.
“He will be well halfway through his rehab,’’ Carroll said. “But he’ll have to wait the length of the period.’’