Coach Carroll spent most of this press conference addressing the young players and explaining decisions on who to keep and who to cut. He maintains his optimism for the upcoming season in all areas, including an offensive line that he admits is still a working progress. The key takeaway from this conference is that Thomas Rawls is healthy and ready to play, and Jimmy Graham still needs time. A couple interesting side notes are that we don’t have anyone to fill the role of Brandon Browner (DeShawn Shead will be asked to cover high producing TE’s), and coach believes the team will be fine without Marshawn Lynch.
How exciting is game one finally here against Miami?
This is an enormous event coming up. Opening day of the NFL season for everyone. The whole country gets cranked up about it. Of course we worked so hard to get to this point, we’re very happy with how things have turned out through the off season getting our guys together, getting ready for camp, and being healthy getting ready to go for the season. We’re really pumped up about it. It’s a great event, it’s really something special and we’re excited to be part of it.
[Couldn’t hear question]
Like we said all along, we thought this was a great and competitive roster and we thought guys could come out like this. It’s a great number. I don’t know what other teams are doing, but for us it’s a good solid number. It’s a statement of picking the right guys then battling when they got here and competing in camp to make it through. It’s not easy.
What did DeAndre Elliott do to make the team?
You can find few plays throughout the preseason where he wasn’t busting his tail and doing good stuff. He was very consistent, very aggressive, playmaking was there, we seen him battle with all our guys in practice, and he capped it off with really good film that he put together in the preseason. We’re really excited about him.
15 rookies in total made the roster. How is it getting all of them up to speed?
Kind of like a freshman class isn’t it? I think it’s a good statement about what we’re doing. We believe in young guys. We believe young guys can play, we’ve committed to that a long time ago and it’s worked out fine for us. We’ll see how these guys do. We have to see, but it’s a good statement of the process getting [young] guys that can compete and battle for spots. I’m happy about it. I’m not worried about it at all.
Were you always that way with young guys? [question based on answer]
Ever since I went to USC yes I was. From those days when I was in charge of personnel. From that point forward, yeah. The point of that is I’ve always believed we can coach up young guys, but not until you have control over who’s going and staying can you really make that statement.
Tani Tupou being one of those guys as well [couldn’t hear end of question]
Yeah, 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 full back at 280 plus, and he’s made a transition quickly. He showed it right off the bat it’s not 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 it in college, he did some but not a lot, but it made sense to him.
What did you see from Garrison Smith and Dewey McDonald?
Both those guys looked like they had a chance to help us. We found a couple of guys, and we were looking to get better, and we thought those guys would be better on the roster than other guys that we let go. It was really just the competition of it ad through the film and watching them. Just our evaluation process. Hopefully they’ll help us.
Will Dewey help on special teams? [question based on answer]
He looks like a guy that can help us immediately on special teams. [He] may be able to help us with DeShawn Shead who plays so much on [special] teams and in the same kind of role. DeShawn’s going to play a lot of snaps for us otherwise, so I’m hoping that he will fit in nicely.
Is there a possibility he will do some of the stuff you had in mind for Brandon Browner?
No. We’re going to play him at linebacker. The weak-side linebacker spot, and see how that looks. [He’ll] certainly play safety for us, he’s already done it in a very similar system that we recognize. So I told him ‘I know you can play safety, I want to see what you can do here to add to the completion at this spot’.
Who are some of the guys on the roster who can fulfill the vision you had for Brandon Browner like cover tight ends and things like that?
We’re fortunate that DeShawn Shead can do a little bit if everything. He’s played safety and he’s played corner and he’s played nickel so DeShawn gives that guy that if we want to match a corner on a big producing TE, that’s where we can go. We have real nice flexibility with other guys. Jeremy [Lane] gives us that flexibility too, and so does Tharold [Simon].
What happened with Jordan Hill?
He couldn’t stay healthy. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to put his best foot forward and other guys did well. Really this a bigger statement about Quinton Jefferson. He really has come to us and he can play five technique and three technique and be a contributor to the rush technique as well as an inside guy. It was just a guy beat another guy out because of availability and hard work. It’s more about Q than anything else.
What do you need to see from Jimmy Graham this week?
We’re going one day at a time. He’s pumped up about it. We’re going one day at a time with the thought that he’s going to play. That’s our thought. We’ll find out how that works out with no goal in mind at this point. Really we’re just going to do it and see what that means. He’s doing that so that he practices at his highest level and he’s rely pushing it so we can see. It’s really similar to what we did with Thomas [Rawls], and we’ll see what that means at the end of the week. We’ll take it one day at a time, then one week at a time. 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 on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, then we’ll see what happens from there.
Did you name captains yet?
Yes, we did. On offense Russell Wilson as captain again. On defense Kam Chancellor was voted captain. And on special teams John Ryan and DeShawn Shead were voted in as captains. Those votes were all from the players.
Was letting Troymaine Pope go a hard decision?
Yes, he was a really good player. He was a nice player. We liked our running backs, we’re in good shape at that spot there, but he did have a really good preseason and he was a great find and we’ll see what happens with the Jets.
How is Thomas Rawls? [question based on answer]
Think of where we were at this time last year and what we knew about him. He had just come off the Raider game in preseason where he had a good game stomping around on the field making some runs and we thought maybe he would be able to help us. Well, now we think he can be a terrific factor for our running game. His attitude, the great work ethic that he brings, the toughness that he brings. He’s just a great addition. We know that now. He’s much more confident. He knows where he fits, he’s ready in the next couple of weeks to get back to where he can start a game, take a game over, and do all of the things that he can do. It’s still time to care of him as we get him back. He’s only carried the ball a couple of times so far, but he’s done everything we could ask of him. He’s had an extraordinary off season of hard work. Everybody admires the heck out of him. He was here every day throughout the entire off season getting ready and just did a great job so it’s a great accomplishment for him. He looks like he’s at full speed, ready to go.
How is Thomas Rawls relationship with the offensive linemen? [question based on answer]
Yeah, the chemistry between the running back and lineman is huge. Our guys think the world of him and you’ll notice when you see them pick him up off the ground after a run and looking after him. That’s a great relationship there.
How does the new IR rule change things for you?
There’s only a couple of individual situations that make a difference. Bringing guys back that are released injured, there’s a new situation there, they return a little sooner. You have a guy available in half the time that it was before so that’s good. It’s good for the players too I’m glad that that happened. It’s a good rule that gets guys back to their team so they can have a chance to make a living.
Tanner McEvoy made it. Is he healthy?
He really got back last week, but we wanted to make sure and keep him out of that game so he could 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 he really jumped out and that’s been the way our young receivers made their spot, and he did it in classic fashion so we’re happy to have him on there.
Obviously the players choose the captains, but what are your thoughts on who they picked?
I love these guys as captains I think there are a number of guys that could have been [captain], but the players singled these guys out. Russell’s a great leader, he makes great statements of who he is and who we are, and represents us beautifully. There isn’t a finer guy to have as your captain than Kam Chancellor. He is the epitome of what you’re looking for in all ways, and everybody knows it. John Ryan continues to get recognized by our guys for all the hard work he does and the leadership he brings. To recognize a guy like DeShawn Shead, that’s a great statement of the program. There was a few years back when he was one of seven or eight guys here on the practice squad who worked his way all the way through with great heart and he stuck to it, with toughness, and he’s elevated to a point where he’s a captain now. It’s really a great statement about the young man that he is.
What does Kam [Chancellor] here in camp do? [question based on answer]
It’s a big boost for us. He’s a great leader, he’s always been a great leader. He’s a terrific player as well. The combination of what he brings and the play on the field is really special to us and we’re thrilled to have him.
With so many rookies you have to rely on, what’s the difference maker to get these guys to produce sooner than later?
Well, its already started and is under way. We want our guys to fit in as early as we can so we try to find things that they can do well and get them on the field and let them contribute. The sooner they start contributing and gaining confidence, the faster they develop. Then somewhere halfway through the season you’ve got guys very comfortable playing and you’ve brought your young guys into the fold and I think it’s always helped us strength wise and productivity wise toward the end of seasons. It’s an important element to have as you build your roster throughout the season. We have to play them to find out. And we have to work them into that.
What did you see from Jarran Reed?
He proved it when he got out here. He’s a terrific run player he’s a great technician, really tough, great attitude. He practiced today so he’ll back in action. He has terrific instincts, the savvy that he brings is special, and he makes special plays kind of feeling where the blocks are coming and where the ball carrier is going. I think he’s a big improvement for us, and with our big guys in side we have a good mix we can go with right now. And he can play nose-tackle and three technique.
Is Nick Vannett progressing?
He’s the one guy that couldn’t practice today. It’s a day-to-day, week-to-week thing here. If we can get back to 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. Next week he has a chance.
Right tackle, what will it look like?
Just feeling it you know. We told you it would take all camp to do it. We did take all camp and figured it out. Feel good about Gary [Gilliam]. The continuity from last year helps. Just his development, he’s just getting started. His upside is still out there. I think it gives us great flexibility just having J’Marcus [Webb] play on both sides for us, and continue to battle to play. So it’s a completion in progress on both sides. Bradley’s [Sowell] done a great job on the other side so far in camp but we’ll keep working our guys and making sure we do the right thing with them. But right now, I thought Gar had a good finish to this camp and he’s ready to go.
Do you have a situation where you need to get a feel for how Thomas Rawls is playing or are you going in with a certain number of snaps you plan on giving him?
We’re just making progress with him. I don’t want to to rush him. This was his second preseason game in a sense. We’ll see how he does and I’d love for him to carry the ball quite a bit in this game, and we will see where we stand for next week. We want to bring him along properly and carefully. We want to make sure we take care of him.
What do you think of C.J. Prossie? [question based on answer]
He’s a talented football player. It was really exciting seeing what he did on special teams last week. He made some big plays and really showed his heart and his athleticism in another area. There really isn’t anything he hasn’t done well. Very smart, he really did an appropriate amount of studying while he was down so that it didn’t hurt him in terms of his assignments and principles and protection. He did a really good job, we didn’t see anything we didn’t like. He’s a complete football player.
How do you think the team has adjusted to Marshawn [Lynch] not being here this year?
I think we’re fine. I think we’ve been fine for a long time.