RENTON — Another day, another move made at cornerback by the Seattle Seahawks, a position that for years was the picture of stability.
But bigger news than the addition the team made of Nigel Warrior — claimed off waivers from the Ravens — was coach Pete Carroll essentially naming Tre Flowers the starter at right cornerback after practice.
On Tuesday, the Seahawks moved D.J. Reed from the right side to the left. Reed was the starter on the right side when the 2020 season ended and the presumptive starter heading into camp.
But a hip injury held him out of much of training camp, and Flowers used that time to win the job. Or, that’s what Carroll strongly intimated even if he stopped short of outright proclaiming it.
Asked why Reed was moved, Carroll said: “Tre had such a good camp. He just battled every day and did a great job. And, you know, when you let guys compete, sometimes you don’t know how it’s gonna turn out. That’s the whole idea. And I thought Trey had a fantastic camp. And so that’s why he gets a chance on the right side.”
Asked outright if Flowers was now the starter on the right side, Carroll said, “You’ll see.” But the praise he lavished on Flowers all camp and the move of Reed spoke volumes.
Flowers started 15 games at right cornerback in both 2018 and 2019 before losing the job last season initially to newcomer Quinton Dunbar. Then, after Flowers suffered a hamstring injury at midseason after filling in for Dunbar, Reed stepped in and started the final five games there.
That had many thinking Flowers was mostly working to keep a spot on the roster during camp, not to necessarily win back the job.
But Carroll insisted all along that the competition was open.
“He knew he was up against it (competing with Reed),” Carroll said of Flowers. “D.J. kind of being banged up kind of gave him an opportunity there to really show, and he took advantage of it.”
Still, that the team doesn’t have it all figured out was evident in not only the waiver claim of Warrior but the trade two days earlier for Sidney Jones, a former star at the University of Washington.
Jones was in uniform and went through practice Wednesday, wearing No. 23.
Carroll said he wouldn’t say where Jones will play other than to note he has experience on both sides (Jones has also played extensively in the slot).
“He’s a complete football player,” Carroll said. “We’ve known him for a long time, of course, being from here … we really have a lot of a lot of information on him knowing the coaches who have coached him and the whole thing.”
Asked if Jones knows the Seahawks’ specific techniques for corners, Carroll gave an enthusiastic “yeah’’ and said: “(UW coach) Jimmy (Lake) did a good job with him. Really coached the heck out of him.’’
Carroll, though, intimated it will take a little while for Jones to get up to speed with the totality of Seattle’s defense.
“Sidney’s not coming in here to stand around,” Carroll said of Jones, who was a second-round pick of the Eagles in 2017 and spent three years there before playing last season with the Jaguars and then traded to Seattle for a 2022 sixth-round pick this week. “He wants to play. And so in time when we get him adapted to what we’re doing and all that, he’ll be battling, too.”
Warrior was a safety at Tennessee — and Seattle scouted that school avidly when drafting rush end Darrell Taylor in the second round in 2020 — but moved to cornerback with the Ravens. He played the final two games of the preseason at right cornerback before being waived.
Carroll also said the team loved the physical “mentality” that Warrior has shown in his career and said, “I’m looking forward to seeing him join with the guys.”
Left unsaid was the status of Witherspoon. He got a contract with a guaranteed $4 million in the spring that gave the assumption he would step into the starting role.
But Carroll has said all along Witherspoon would have to keep fighting for it, and he did so again Wednesday.
Carroll last week said Damarious Randall still had a legit shot to overtake Witherspoon for the job. But after seeing his only action of the preseason Saturday against the Chargers, Randall was released, and then Wednesday was not even on the list of 14 practice squad players signed.
And maybe most intriguingly, Carroll indicated the team is not doing adding to the cornerback spot saying “you’ll see a couple other things that happen here, too.”
At another point, Carroll said: “See all the guys who are coming in here? We’ll wait until it all gets announced.”
Let the guessing game begin.
The addition of Warrior gave Seattle six cornerbacks, one more than the team often has. And that’s not including safeties Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi, who are battling for the nickel corner spot.
But one way a spot could open is by Seattle putting rookie Tre Brown on injured reserve. Now that the 53-man roster setting has passed, players can go on IR and be recalled in as little as three weeks.
Brown is dealing with a sprained knee. When asked about his status, Carroll said it is uncertain.
“He’s recovering from that little knee sprain that he got, and the timeline isn’t set yet,” Carroll said. “I don’t know how that’s going to turn out right now. … We know it’s going to be OK; we’re just not sure when.”
So for now, keep writing your Seahawks cornerback depth chart in pencil with the eraser closer at hand.