Guard Jordon Roussos #65 (R) of the Seattle Seahawks pass blocks against defensive tackle Jesse Williams #90 during Rookie Camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on May 11, 2013 in Renton, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
by Curtis Crabtree
RENTON - The next time the Seattle Seahawks step onto the practice fields at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center will be for the start of the training camp next month.
The team wrapped up their three-day mandatory mini-camp on Thursday and will have over a month before beginning preparations for the 2014 season in late July.
"We got a lot done and we’re really excited about it and we’re ready to go to camp," head coach Pete Carroll said. "I’m concerned about this five-week period. It’s a long time for the guys to be out on their own with the rules and all that so we’ll see how that goes. But if everything just keeps going like it has been, we’ll be ready for camp and really be excited about our chance to have a good football team."
Carroll gave a pretty lengthy response when asked about what he believes are the strengths of his team at this point in the offseason.
"I think the defensive line, depth-wise, is really good. I’m really excited about that. I think with LB Korey Toomer coming back at us and really looking fit to compete and LB Kevin Pierre-Louis coming out and showing some really cool stuff too, that position seems good," Carroll said.
"The receiver position seems good. TE Anthony McCoy coming back to the tight end position helps us out. The running backs with RB Christine [Michael] no longer a rookie, we’ve improved there. I love the competition at receiver and the speed at receiver right now – it’s a really exciting group for us. It’s going to a great group to watch in camp.
"We’ve got some really cool guys to compete on the DB end. CB Tharold Simon has been a really good return to us and CB A.J. Jefferson has looked really good too. So there’s just a lot of groups - I’m hoping that in a lot of groups we just improve some. That really helps us if we can get that done."
Jesse Williams Finally Healthy:
Knee issues plagued DT Jesse Williams for the entirety of his rather brief rookie season.
A lingering meniscus injury from college severely limited his effectiveness during the offseason and training camp. Williams suffered further injury to the knee during the preseason and landed on injured reserve.
Williams said he didn't have surgery to repair his knee. He traveled home to get orthokine injections in his knee, a treatment that wasn't available in the United States.
After an offseason of rehabilitation, Williams says he feels the best he has in years.
"Probably (since) before Alabama," Williams said. "Alabama was a tough gig for me. I feel a lot better now. I've lost close to 20 pounds now. It feels a lot better on my knee and running out there is a lot easier for me now."
He said he's down to 312-315 pounds and feels much better at that weight.
Williams said the issues with his knee definitely affected his ability to perform on the field last preseason.
"I was a lot, to be honest," Williams said. "I tried to tough it out as much as I could. Watching back on film from last year - even from rookie mini-camp to now - getting off the ball and pushing off my right leg is night and day for me to see."
Carroll said he wasn't sure Williams would be able to continue playing after the injury he suffered last year, but is thrilled with the progress he's made and the performances he's shown this offseason.
"I thought that maybe Jesse was done," Carroll said. "We didn’t know coming out of the last season. He had a tremendous offseason. His rehab work was great. He worked every day. He’s ready to get in the middle of it. To bring that guy back to us at full speed could be really a great addition."
Williams said the mental part of the game wasn't much of a challenge and he feels like he has a pretty good handle on all the positions Seattle has put him at this offseason. Now it's just a matter of doing it consistently throughout training camp.
Odds & Ends:
The mini-camp appeared to have taken its toll on the players as more guys were sidelined on Thursday.
LB Horace Miller, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (groin), S Dion Bailey, OL Jared Smith (arm), TE Cooper Helfet, WR Arceto Clark, WR Taylor Price and WR Bryan Walters (shoulder) also sat out Thursday's practice.
They joined the group of LB Bruce Irvin (hip), LB Malcolm Smith (ankle), LB Heath Farwell, LB Korey Toomer (hamstring), S Kam Chancellor (hip), RB Marshawn Lynch (ankle), T Russell Okung (foot), TE Chase Dixon, WR Kevin Norwood (foot) and WR Sidney Rice (knee) that had sat out previous days of the mini-camp.
The good news on the injury front is that head coach Pete Carroll said every player on the roster has a chance to be ready by the start of training camp.
Only Irvin and Rice were players he mentioned that may not be able to make it back in time for the first day of camp.
- There were no explosive moments like the fight that broke out on Wednesday. However, RB Christine Michael and S Jeron Johnson did get into a minor squabble and continued to jaw back and forth for a short time after the incident.
- S Earl Thomas has taken the most reps as punt returner this offseason, according to Carroll. WR Percy Harvin feels comfortable in the role now as well with WR Doug Baldwin and CB Richard Sherman able to catch punts as well. WR Bryan Walters, CB A.J. Jefferson and CB Phillip Adams have also taken reps at the position.