The Seahawks didn’t need long Thursday to put the wraps on minicamp — and their offseason program.
Seattle was on the field for about 90 minutes or so during a workout attended by a few dozen former players invited as part of an NFL Legends Community event.
Among those was Hall of Famer Walter Jones, who took a few moments to introduce himself to every current Seahawk offensive lineman (though he needs no introduction to many, notably George Fant, to whom he has become something of a mentor).
After the practice came a few more meetings and then players were sent on their way, free until returning for training camp in late July — camp cannot begin sooner than 15 days before the first preseason game on Aug. 8 against Denver.
Here are five things that stood out during our last look at the Seahawks for six weeks or so.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll opened his post-practice press conference volunteering his pleasure with the team’s new placekicker, Jason Myers, signed in March to a four-year deal to hopefully solidify what has been an inconsistent position the past two seasons.
He noted that Myers on Thursday hit three straight field goals in what were “game-winning” situations, just as he had a week ago when the team wrapped up OTAs.
“Both of our opportunities to end these sessions have come down to a tie, last play, last-second kick, which just highlighted the consistency that Jason Myers showed for us,” Carroll said. “He did a great job throughout this offseason. We’re really fortunate to have him. Just consistency was really there and the leg power and all that working together with (punter/holder) Michael (Dickson) and (snapper) Tyler Ott. Those guys did a great job. So that move that we made to get him I think is going to work out great for us and it’s going to give us the confidence to utilize the kicker like you’d hope to in crucial situations, long balls when we’ve got to go for it. We’re going to be playing with a lot of confidence in that regard. … I gave him three chances here at the end and he hit them all, again, as he did in the last camp too. So just good stuff.”
Practice, of course, is one thing and games are another.
But so far, Myers appears ready to pick up where he left off in 2018 with the Jets when he made 33 of 36 field goals and the Pro Bowl.
If there’s been a general theme during OTAs and minicamp it is that the offense and defense may have reversed the roles each has held through much of the Carroll era. Now, it’s the offense that appears pretty well set, notably a veteran offensive line, while the defense remains a work in progress.
In fact, it was the offensive line that Carroll mentioned first when asked what he has learned so far about his team this offseason.
“I feel, after seeing (free agent left guard) Mike Iupati come in and fill a spot that was opened up (when J.R. Sweezy signed with Arizona), I really feel great about that,” Carroll said. “And the way he mixed with (left tackle) Duane (Brown) and communicating with (center) Justin (Britt) and now on the left side just really gives us confidence. George Fant, too, and what he’s doing, how we’re playing him, moving him around. Last year at this time, George wasn’t doing anything on the edge; he was playing all tackle. Now we come back with a real clear idea of what he can do and how we can utilize him. And so we’re just so much farther ahead in that regard and taking advantage of the mismatch that he creates. And there’s not very many 329-pound tight ends in the NFL, you know. And it’s fun to be huge.”
That the Seahawks seem to really like Fant in that role also indicates that for now the team is fine to leave him there and have Germain Ifedi at right tackle (Fant filled in two games for Ifedi there last season).
While almost every key player on offense was available throughout the offseason program (one exception being running back Chris Carson, though Seattle doesn’t really need to learn more about him at this point), much of the defense was sidelined for much or all of it, including potential starters such as end Ziggy Ansah, tackle Jarran Reed, linebackers Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Mychal Kendricks and safeties Bradley McDougald and Lano Hill. Other than Ansah, all are expected to be ready for the start of training camp, with the team hoping Ansah can return in mid-August or so.
Carroll said that meant it’s been hard to get a real handle on exactly how the defense is going to look.
“Yeah, we’re using our imagination,” Carroll said. “We’re using our imagination right now. There’s six or seven guys that we think will wind up playing a lot of football for us that we’re holding out right now. But those guys will be ready for camp and ready to roll and it’ll be a pretty nice group.”
MINGO GETTING HIS RUSH ON
The re-signing of both Wright and Kendricks and the team’s hope to use them together on the field in 2019, as well as the move of Shaquem Griffin to playing strongside linebacker, has led to questions about the future of Barkevious Mingo, who was the starting strongside linebacker last season and who is set to make $3.4 million this season on the final year of his contract.
Carroll added some clarity to it Thursday saying that the team hopes to use Mingo much more as a pass rusher this season along with knowing he can still help out at SLB if needed.
“He still is a Sam backer for us, and can do that, but we’re also going to continue to work him — if you watched in this camp, he worked a lot with (defensive line coach) Clint (Hurtt) in the pass rush stuff,” Carroll said. “We want to really accentuate that for him and not divide his focus. Last year it was Sam backer and a little bit of pass-rush stuff, and he never really got to dig in. He can make problems for the opponent because he’s so fast and so long, so we will really try to accentuate that, and we’ll do that again through camp. We want to really specialize him as a rusher knowing he can play the (SAM) backer spot.”
Also, as Carroll noted, Mingo was one of the team’s most vital special teams players last season, playing 373 special teams snaps, 94 more than any other player.
“We want to make sure we get a good role for him so he can help us on defense,” Carroll said.
MOORE HAS MADE BIG JUMP
Carroll (and quarterback Russell Wilson) heaped lots of praise throughout on rookie DK Metcalf, who capped his first stint as an NFL player with another solid workout Thursday.
But Carroll said another receiver who has caught the team’s eye is David Moore, a third-year player who started six games last season and had 26 receptions for 445 yards. But he also saw his production tail off at the end of the year.
Carroll said Moore may well have been motivated by the drafting of Metcalf (as well as Gary Jennings and John Ursua in later rounds).
“He made a big jump,” Carroll said. “He looks like a complete guy. In the past we have kept David at one spot (split end) so he could really focus on a spot. It’s not like that anymore. He can play any of the spots, motion him and shift him and all kinds of things, and he’s got it. Sometimes competition is a beautiful thing and brings out the very best.”