Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks' WR Doug Baldwin overcomes season of "hell" to shine against the Kansas City Chiefs

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USA Today

Seattle Seahawks' WR Doug Baldwin overcomes season of "hell" to shine against the Kansas City Chiefs

SEATTLE - Seattle Seahawks (9-6) wide receiver Doug Baldwin neared the end of his postgame press conference following a 38-31 victory over Kansas City (11-4) at CenturyLink Field Sunday night in which he put forth his best performance of the season to help the Seahawks clinch a wild card playoff berth when the final question came regarding what this injury-filled season has been like for him. 

Baldwin's response revealed a man who has fought through pain and frustration, to be there as much as possible for his teammates during what has been one of the least productive seasons of his eight-year career. 

"Ha. This year has been hell," Baldwin said. "This year has been absolutely hell. I've been...oh my goodness. We don't have enough time for that. It's been hell. But I'm so grateful to be healthy enough to be on the field with my teammates to celebrate victories and just enjoying playing football again, just like a kid."

On Sunday night with a nation of NFL fans watching, Baldwin rediscovered that magic that made him a two-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion with the Seahawks. He tied a season high with seven receptions for a season-high 126 yards and a touchdown. His yardage output amounted to 21.3 percent of his season total of 591 yards, which is the second lowest of his career with one game remaining next Sunday at home against Arizona (3-12).

Because of various injuries - mostly a knee injury that caused him to miss virtually all of training camp - Baldwin has missed three games and never has been 100 percent in the games in which he has played. However, over the last six weeks with Seattle making a playoff push, Baldwin has stepped up his game with 25 receptions for 316 yards and all five of his touchdown receptions on the season coming in five appearances (he missed the team's Monday night win over Minnesota on Dec. 10). The Seahawks (9-6) are 5-1 during that stretch after starting the season 4-5. 

With Baldwin seemingly back to top form, Seattle's offense has perfect balance with the league's top rushing attack, which amassed 210 yards on the ground in Sunday's win. 

"Obviously, Doug was great tonight, as always," Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. 

The clear path to victory for Seattle Sunday night involved getting mean and nasty. Be physical. Force the issue. Issue the force. Bring Kansas City's finesse approach to offensive football to its knees while pounding that paper mache defense to a pulp.

Seattle did plenty of both but Kansas City superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes II is no joke. He nearly single-handedly took down the Seahawks with 273 yards passing and three touchdowns. In the end, simply running the ball well on Kansas City wasn't going to do the trick. The Seahawks needed to make plays in the passing game. They needed Baldwin to be Baldwin. 

For all that Baldwin did well on this night, his performance can best be summed up by two plays. In the third quarter, he made a leaping, twisting grab while landing on the front pylon of the left side of the end zone for a 27-yard score to give the Seahawks a 24-17 lead with 45 seconds remaining in the quarter. 

Seattle ultimately led 31-20 and then 31-28 after Mahomes put together a 72-yard scoring drive and ran in a two-point conversion with 4:36 remaining on the clock. At that moment, it appeared logical that Seattle would look to grind out the clock with running back Chris Carson, who had 116 yards on the day. However, Kansas City anticipated that plan of attack and responded by stacking the line of scrimmage to stop the run while leaving its cornerbacks in man coverage on Baldwin and wide receiver Tyler Lockett.

First, Lockett got loose for a 41-yard reception down the right sideline while barely staying in bounds as he fell to the ground at the Kansas City 21-yard line.

"Savage for that," Baldwin said of his teammate.

After a sack of Wilson, he turned to Baldwin down the left sideline with a deep pass that appeared to be out of Baldwin's reach. Baldwin, the third receiver inside, said he thought he had made a good release on cornerback Charvarius Ward, who got a little too handsy and grabbed him, earning a defensive holding penalty that ultimately didn't matter. Running a corner route, Baldwin shook off Ward, pushed vertical to the corner, got his head around in time to locate Wilson's lobbed pass, reached out with his right hand and tipped to ball back to himself for the reception before being taken down by Ward at the one-yard line. 

"Fortunately enough, Russ threw a beautiful ball, gave me an opportunity to make a play and I came up with it," Baldwin said.

Carson finished off the drive with a one-yard run to give his team a 38-28 lead with 2:33 remaining in the game. That drive, Baldwin said, was all about Seattle's receivers delivering when called upon. 

"We don't care about how many targets we've had throughout the course of the game or what the numbers are, we're savages," Baldwin said. "When it's our time to make plays and we're given an opportunity to make plays, we are going to make them."

Lockett said having a healthy Baldwin on the field changes games for Seattle.

"Every time he's out there we know that when the ball is in the air he's going to go out there and make that play," Lockett said. "You've seen it. When that looked like it was too far he made that catch to be able to get us to the one or two yard line."

That play almost didn't happen. A few plays earlier, Baldwin seemingly had a sure reception but the ball got knocked away by defensive back Tremon Smith. On the play, Baldwin tweaked his ankle and left the game before quickly returning to set up the game-winning touchdown. 

"I've never seen Doug play better than that," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "I just thought he was magnificent. Just tough catch after tough catch, then he gets his ankle twisted and he comes back and makes the big play after that. Just heroic stuff."

Despite his great performance, Baldwin had little to say about himself on this night. 

"As a great 21st century philosopher once said, 'I'm just here so I don't get fined,'" Baldwin said when asked about his night while referring to former Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch's famously repeated statement during media sessions leading up to Super Bowl XLIX when he declined to answer media questions.

Baldwin felt more compelled to talk about his team, which has pulled together to return to the playoffs after a one-year absence. 

"It's not just about football," Baldwin said. "These are great human beings. Great men. And when you put that combination of great men together with the right mentality, resiliency and perseverance, and actually care for one another.... It's a beautiful thing to see men come together and care for each other and really play for each other. You can't put it into words. You really can't."

He just did.

Seattle Seahawks 'fired up' about C.J. Prosise, but will he find a way to stay on the field?

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Seattle Seahawks 'fired up' about C.J. Prosise, but will he find a way to stay on the field?

C.J. Prosise is entering the final season of his rookie contract and the Seattle Seahawks running back is in prime position to win the job as third-down back behind Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. But first, he’ll have to prove he can stay healthy.

The fourth-year back has played in just 16 of 48 games over his NFL career due to a surplus of injuries that have kept him from reaching his full potential in Seattle.

Earlier this week, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll put those worries to rest when talking about Prosise’s improved health. He discussed why he’s looking forward to adding the 25-year-old into the competition this offseason.

“C.J.’s been really on it,” Carroll said. “You know, he’s been fit throughout, he’s really strong, worked out really hard in the offseason to get his strength right. His weight is up, but he’s fit and has really been able to do a little bit of everything.”

Just two days later, however, there was further news on Prosise’s progress—he is hurt again.

According to Carroll, Prosise injured his hamstring during practice and was held out during Seattle’s minicamp finale as a precautionary measure. While it sounds like the injury is nothing serious, it appears Prosise just can’t seem to stay on the field.

Prosise, who broke into the league as a third-round pick in 2016, has been on the shelf for two full seasons and he’s finished all three years of his career on the Injured Reserve list.

During his rookie campaign, Prosise suffered a broken scapula against the Eagles following a long touchdown run. He played in just six games that season. Then, in 2017, he sustained an ankle injury after rushing just 23 yards through five games.

Misfortune followed him into 2018, where he notched 18 offensive snaps in six games before abdomen and hip flexor injuries sent him to the IR once again.

Prosise has been plagued by injuries his entire NFL career, but when healthy he’s shown streaks of brilliance. If he wants to be a force to be reckoned with in 2019, he needs to find a way to perform on Sundays.

Seattle Seahawks' LB Shaquem Griffin is on edge and ready to cut loose

Seattle Seahawks' LB Shaquem Griffin is on edge and ready to cut loose

RENTON, Wash. - Seattle second-year linebacker Shaquem Griffin feels at home again on the football field. He's no longer limited to operating exclusively behind defensive linemen while making complex reads before reacting, duties he struggled to adapt to. Instead, the Seahawks have returned the ultra-quick Griffin to the edge position where he thrived at Central Florida while displaying the skills that made him a fifth-round pick last year in spite of not having the use of his left hand, lost at birth. 

Griffin is now free to speed rush quarterbacks with abandon, reel in running backs from the backside and set the edge when plays ramble in his direction. Each of these assignments come second nature to Griffin, who is ready to cut loose this season after a disappointing rookie year that left him somewhat frustrated. 

"It just snapped right back to me as soon as they put me there and I'm having so much fun out there again," Griffin said following the final day of Seattle's minicamp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. "It's just such a big difference because I feel so comfortable out there."

Following trading defensive end Frank Clark to Kansas City prior to the NFL Draft, Seattle became in desperate need of edge pass rushers. Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah could be the answer, but he recently signed free agent and former Pro Bowler from Detroit is recovering from shoulder surgery and could be eased back into action with no set timetable to do so. 

"I don’t think we’ll rush him when there won’t be a need to start him up right out of the chutes, and we’ll see how it goes in the weeks to follow," Carroll said. 

Even when Ansah is full-go, the team will need additional pass rushers to spell him or line up on the other side of the formation on obvious passing downs. Griffin is a candidate to fill that role. But he must prove that he is up to the task.

In college, Griffin showed out as a pass-rushing menace. He made 33 1/5 tackles for loss including 18 1/2 sacks during his final two years at Central Florida. He said running around and playing fast is all he knew in college. Then he arrived in Seattle and suddenly he found himself playing a stacked linebacker position that didn't exactly suit him. Injuries to K.J. Wright to begin catapulted Griffin into the starting lineup at in season-opening loss at Denver and the day didn't go well for the rookie. He rarely saw game action outside of special teams the rest of the season and finished the year with just 11 tackles and no sacks. 

Griffin remains in the process of learning the regular outside linebacker positions and said that middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and Wright have encouraged him to embrace learning multiple positions in order to expand his knowledge base of the entire defense. 

"It makes you show your worth a little more knowing that I can go from off the edge to back to being a stack backer," Griffin said. 

But Griffin's heart is on the edge. 

“At this point, it’s about being available, and giving us a chance to move you around and play hard," defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said of Griffin.  "The guy has real good speed as you know. He really understands the game. And that much speed and that much ability, you’d like to find a place to play him because he’s a weapon.”

Griffin admittedly has been a bit rusty out there in space. He said some of the pass rush moves that came so naturally to him while at Central Florida have been slow to fully return. The nuances of taking proper angles and mixing up moves to throw at pass blockers are still being refined. 

"There's so much that goes into rushing that I've got to get acclimated to that again," he said. "It's all muscle memory and habit."

Griffin hopes to play at a lean, mean 230 pounds. He and his twin brother, Seattle cornerback Shaquill Griffin have hired a chef to help them improve their nutrition and thus their playing ability. Shaquem said he's eliminated fried foods, fast food, chicken wings and pork fro his diet that no consists mainly of lean chicken and fish. 

Another aspect of his life that is different this year is the reduction in attention being thrown his way. Last year, Griffin was one of the top stories in the NFL given his unique story. Now he is old news and likely won't receive that type of attention again until he actually produces on the field. And that's fine with him. 

"I've been able to focus on my stuff," he said, "instead of everyone focusing on me."

Mike Iupati, George Fant giving Seattle Seahawks confidence on improved offensive line

Mike Iupati, George Fant giving Seattle Seahawks confidence on improved offensive line

Two years ago, the offensive line topped the list of concerns heading into the Seattle Seahawks offseason. The o-line gave up 42 sacks and 111 quarterback hits and ranked dead last in Pro Football Focus’ offensive line rankings.

Fast forward to 2019 and the additions of veteran Duane Brown and offensive line coach Mike Solari, are finally paying big dividends.

Seattle led the NFL in rushing last season due to the major contributions of its foursome of Brown, J.R. Sweezy, Justin Britt and Germain Ifedi, who have started 15 games together.

While Sweezy signed with Arizona in free agency, the Seahawks parried with the addition of 10-year veteran, Mike Iupati, who coach Pete Carroll believes will make a big impact.

“I feel, after seeing Mike Iupati come in and fill a spot that was opened up, I really feel great about that,” Carroll said. “And the way he mixed with Duane [Brown] and communicating with 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.”

Fant, who plays at left tackle, has also been spending a lot of time working as a blocking tight end. Carroll says his versatility creates a unique mismatch for other teams.

“Last year at this time, George wasn’t doing anything on the edge; he was playing all tackle,” Carroll said. “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.”

While it's only June and talk is cheap until the season gets underway, the offensive line has been the turnaround surprise the Seahawks could have only hoped for. Injuries could certainly change the picture in the coming weeks, but for now Seattle's offensive line has a chance to be the best in the league. 

[RELATED: Could the Seattle Seahawks feature the NFL's best offensive line?]

Will WR David Moore be the Seattle Seahawks' choice at No. 2?

Will WR David Moore be the Seattle Seahawks' choice at No. 2?

RENTON, Wash. - Seattle wide receiver David Moore appears to be unassuming. He displays no preconceived notions that he should be the one to replace Doug Baldwin in the starting lineup after a strong second year in 2018. Moore doesn't seem to expect the job to be handed to him. He respects the moves Seattle has made at his position and has embraced the three rookies brought in to compete for playing time. 

All Moore covets is a shot to excel, which lays before him. The only question is if he is ready to seize it with his play. He certainly isn't about to verbally claim it. 

"I'm ready to take on the role that I need to take on," Moore humbly stated following a minicamp practice. "Doug left some big shoes that we all have to fill."

Tyler Lockett will be the No. 1 receiver. The candidates to start at No. 2 are Moore, veteran Jaron Brown and rookie second-round pick D.K. Metcalf. Moore, a seventh-round pick in 2017 out of Division II East Central (Okl.), started seven games last season and delivered 26 receptions for 445 yards and five touchdowns. He accumulated most of that production while injuries held back Baldwin. Late in the season, when Baldwin returned to being himself on the field, Moore managed just five receptions for 32 yards.

"Nothing really changed. Just got some more players into it," Moore said. "They showed up and they showed out like they were supposed to."

Baldwin was the key "they" that took opportunities away from Moore, and rightfully so. Now that proposition is non-existent, placing the onus on Moore to seize a prime opportunity. Those around him believe he is up to the challenge.

"He's ready," quarterback Russell Wilson said. "He can play any position. We're excited about moving him around and letting him make plays...He's a true threat all across the field and when he gets the ball he can score."

Seattle coach Pete Carroll made a point of bringing up Moore when asked about the strong spring had by Metcalf. 

"David Moore has made a big jump," Carroll said. "He looks like a complete guy."

Moore appeared in one game as a rookie before last year elevating his play enough to warrant playing time in all 16 games. Still, Moore had to overcome his inexperience, which led the team to limit him to one position rather than move him around. Even so, according to Carroll, Moore would blow some alignments and miss some adjustments. 

"It's not like that anymore," Carroll said. "He can play any of the spots."

That versatility will create opportunities for Moore even if he does ultimately lose the starting job to Metcalf, who by all accounts looks like the real deal, at least in helmets and shorts. The addition of rookies Gary Jennings and John Ursua also created more threats to Moore's playing time. 

Seattle's selection of three rookie receivers, Moore said, didn't bother him or necessarily provide added motivation. 

"It didn't really motivate me that much," he said. "I was just looking at it as we got some more receivers and they are going to help out with the room or they are not. And they all are."

Carroll appeared to assess the dynamic differently. As he sees it, Moore was ready to elevate his game in year three and the presence of more competition may have accelerated the process.  

"Sometimes competition is a beautiful thing," Carroll said. "It brings out the very best and you can see that David has really stepped up."

Seattle Seahawks standout Bradley McDougald is leading the crop of young safeties

Seattle Seahawks standout Bradley McDougald is leading the crop of young safeties

Seattle Seahawks safety Bradley McDougald showed versatility on a reconstructed Seahawks defense last season. That malleability was a key reason the Seahawks signed McDougald as a core part of their nucleus in 2017.  

But McDougald’s 2018 campaign was cut short when the standout safety suffered a partially torn patellar in a late October meeting with the Detroit Lions that landed him on the injury report for the final two-and-a-half months of the season. Despite his lingering knee pain, McDougald appeared in every game last season. 

“I was willing to show the team I could play through a little injury,” McDougald said. “We had to do some Band-aiding and a lot of resting. I didn’t get to practice as much as I wanted to, I didn’t get to see as many looks as I wanted to but I was still able to go out there and compete on Sundays, which was most important.”

After rehabbing the knee injury this offseason and realizing it wasn’t feeling better, McDougald chose to undergo surgery prior to organized team activities (OTAs) so that he could be back at 100 percent before training camp in July. 

“The plan didn’t feel right in my heart and I kind of suggested ‘what about an operation?’" McDougald said. “The rehab time is quick, I feel like my body recovers quick and that’s the route that we went. They came up with a plan, we executed it for a while, I just didn’t feel like I was healing fast enough.”

"Ever since then it's been a steady grind and a steady process to just get back as healthy as possible.”

Now in his third year with Seattle and seventh season in the NFL, McDougald says he’s the “healthiest I’ve ever felt.” 

Alongside cornerback Shaquill Griffin, McDougald will step into an expanded leadership role now that the legendary Legion of Boom has departed. He believes in an "each one, teach one" technique and feels it's important for the younger players to be just as knowledgeable as the veterans. 

"I feel like it’s an honor that they look up to me or ask me questions or view me as a certain way because of years in the league or experience," McDougald said. "But apart of that too is doing it. It’s easy to say something, it’s easy to point your finger, but I feel like going out there and just showing them the right way to do it, the right way to play, it does more than for anybody than anything."

It’s quite possible the 28-year-old could step into a new role in Seattle’s secondary as well. 

McDougald filled in at free safety last year during Earl Thomas’ holdout, but his preference this season is to play strong safety due to his impact at the tackling position closer to the line of scrimmage. He is willing to compete and battle for this position when he returns to the field, which he vowed to do by training camp. 

“There is just more for me to do there in the run game, and in man-to-man coverages,” McDougald said. “But I’m always willing to do whatever to make the team work, to be the best asset for the team. But I definitely intend to play in the box."

Seattle Seahawks' offensive tackle Germain Ifedi enters pivotal season

Seattle Seahawks' offensive tackle Germain Ifedi enters pivotal season

One of the major obstacles that stood between Seattle's offensive line and achieving respectability last year came at right tackle where the Seahawks had spent a first-round pick on Germain Ifedi in 2016 but hadn't seen much in the way of return on investment. 

Ifedi wrestled with both injuries and inconsistent play while making a rough transition from Texas A&M to the NFL. Then came last year when the mastering of his craft began to take shape for Ifedi and, not so coincidentally, Seattle's offensive line improved across the board allowing the team to lead the NFL in rushing while providing ample protection for quarterback Russell Wilson. 

Now entering year four, Ifedi finds himself in a strong position to continue elevating his play because his body isn't under repair as it was last year when he had to contend with a hip issue and a sports hernia.  

"Coming to the end of the offseason program, being healthy for the first time in a couple years for the offseason program, it’s been exciting being able to do everything and work with my teammates out there," he told reporters following the first day of minicamp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash. 

Being healthy is great news for Ifedi, who is entering a pivotal season for his career. Seattle declined to pick up his fifth-year option on his contract making this a make-or-break season for Ifedi with the Seahawks. 

"Reading into their not picking it up, I think football’s a business, man," Ifedi said. "They made a business decision, and I can’t feel one way or another about it. It is what it is. Going into the last year of my contract, that’s what it means."

It also means that this could be his final season in Seattle, even if he has a great year. Doing so might price him out of Seattle's plans with so many other big contracts already on the ledger and another huge deal likely to be worked out at some point with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. 

"It's football, nothing is promised," Ifedi said. "This could be my last day out here. Take it one day at a time...work as hard as you can and everything will work out."

At this time last year many wondered if the offensive line would doom the team's playoff hopes as it did the previous season. By season's end, Seattle had one of the most productive lines in the league. This year they aim to be known as the best, as boasted by left tackle Duane Brown during voluntary offseason training activities.  

"I don't think it's blowing smoke," Ifedi said. "I think we all believe that. We're working everyday for that to be the reality."

[ALSO READ: Could the Seattle Seahawks feature the NFL's best offensive line?]

A second year under offensive line coach Mike Solari could help the unit reach a higher level of excellence. 

"He continues to pound details and we’ve all bought into that and, we all hold ourselves to that standard to start with," Ifedi said of Solari. "So, before he ever asked us anything where it’s self correcting and, they were getting coached up on it, but it’s been exciting and I think we’re still breaking new ground every day on where this O-line can go."

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said he has no problem with Brown or Ifedi believing the line could become the league's best. But... 

"I don’t know if we’re setting our sights on that yet," Carroll said. "Maybe they are in the room, which is great, but we’ve got to come back and run the football like we did and find more ways to be effective in short yard situations. But it’ll come back to really the pass pro. We want to give Russ a really clean pocket back there so he can do his work. That that’ll come along I think as we get together and the guys learn how to make their calls and fit together."

Ifedi's play will have a lot to say about the pass protection's success. He certainly improved his stock last year but clearly needs to show Seattle that he can be productive two consecutive seasons before the Seahawks reach into their pockets to pay the man beyond 2019. 

Now healthy, Ifedi has a strong chance of proving his value. 

"Being able to start from January after the season ended, a couple of weeks," he said, "and being able to work my way through the spring and the summer has been a real big advantage for me this year."

Bobby Wagner and Seattle Seahawks still doing the contract dance

Bobby Wagner and Seattle Seahawks still doing the contract dance

The Seattle Seahawks began their three-day mandatory minicamp today and one person not adhering to the "mandatory" part is middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who again was on hand but not in full participation. 

Wagner, who has one year remaining on his contract, is putting forth a mini holdout until a new deal has been consummated. "Mini" because unlike former safety Earl Thomas last year, Wagner is at least on hand for workouts but not actually taking part in them, as he did during the voluntary organized team activities held the previous two weeks. 

The five-time Pro Bowler is acting as his own agent and has made it clear that he wants his new deal to eclipse the contract the New York Jets gave to D.J. Mosely when they lured him away from Baltimore with a five-year, $85 million deal that included $35 million in guaranteed cash (originally reported to be $51 million). So far, Seattle coach Pete Carroll says the negotiations with Wagner have gone well. 

"He’s handled it beautifully," Carroll told reporters today. "You know, Bobby’s an incredible player in this program and everything that he does, just his presence is obvious. He’s been around for everything. He’s been involved with everything and he’s handled it exactly the way he should under these circumstances."

Doing things the right way matters. Outside linebacker K.J. Wright said he believes that Seattle gave him a two-year extension following last year's injury-plagued season in part because he didn't hold out and participated like a player under contract should. Thomas, on the other hand, conducted a lengthy and contentious hold out in an ordeal that concluded with him breaking his leg at Arizona and then directing a middle figure gesture toward Carroll as he was carted off the field. 

Seattle did not even entertain the idea of resigning Thomas, who landed with Baltimore.

But while everything between Wagner and Seattle appears to be peaches and cream at the moment, let's not forget that we're talking about minicamp here. Not training camp. Wagner, a seven-year veteran, is not in need of minicamp. But Seattle will certainly want him in pads and fully participating when training camp starts in late July. 

By then, Wagner will either have a deal in place or Seattle could have a full-blown stalemate on its hands with the second best player on the team and most important player on defense. 

Seattle Seahawks personnel updates after the first day of minicamp

Seattle Seahawks personnel updates after the first day of minicamp

The Seattle Seahawks kicked off mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, showcasing a plethora of familiar faces and of course, many new ones too.

While players like Bobby Wagner donned a helmet along the sidelines next to running back Chris Carson who is recovering from knee surgery this offseason, there were plenty of players absent from the team’s veteran minicamp due to injury.

[RELATED: Bobby Wagner and Seattle Seahawks still doing the contract dance]

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll took to the podium to provide updates on his players, including four 2019 draft picks who were non-participants or limited during Tuesday’s workout.

Seattle’s second-round safety Marquise Blair sustained a hamstring injury 10 days ago and was sidelined during Day 1 of minicamp. Carroll said he was disappointed the team couldn’t get him back out. Fifth-round pick Ben Burr-Kirven underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia six weeks ago. He has began conditioning work and the recovery time for his injury is 4-6 weeks, putting him right on schedule to return by training camp.

“He’s back running and he’s out, did the walkthroughs and stuff today, so he’s back, just not quite ready to do this workload,” Carroll said.

Running back Travis Homer was out running after missing Seattle’s last open OTAs practice, while wide receiver Gary Jennings, who missed May’s rookie camp and the majority of OTAs, took part in drills.

“It’s unfortunate too for the young guys, these practices are so important to them,” Carroll said. “We miss the opportunity to learn them and they miss the chance to pick up on stuff and get reps and all that.

Veteran guard Mike Iupati, who signed with Seattle this offseason as an unrestricted free agent, tweaked his foot last Thursday in practice. He is expected to miss Wednesday’s minicamp and rookie Phil Haynes will see increased reps in Iupati’s place.

“He got his foot turned a little bit, just got a minor foot sprain,” Carroll said. “He’ll be fine. We’re resting him.”

Wide receiver Amara Darboh is battling a sore knee that has bothered him since last season and the team wants to make sure he’s clear to return for training camp in July.

“He didn’t get injured,” Carroll said. “It’s just sore enough that we want to make sure and get them through the camp and not let this be a factor going through the summer.”

Defensive tackle Jarran Reed, who had a career-high 10.5 sacks last season, was back in action in his first practice since Seattle’s playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Reed underwent sports hernia surgery this offseason.

“That’s the first chance he’s had to get back out there,” Carroll said. “He’s been working a lot and conditioning on the side to make sure he’s coming along. But just the fact that he was out there, it was fun to see him out.”

Two other players making progress include second-year tight end Will Dissly and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. Dissly sustained a patellar tendon tear in the Seahawks 20-17 win over the Cardinals last season.

“He’s on schedule,” Carroll told Seahawks.com. “We’ll get to camp and figure out what it means in camp. He’s running, catching balls and doing stuff in the workouts and all that, so he’s making good progress.”

Defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah, who signed with Seattle in free agency, is making solid progress in his return. The Pro Bowl pass-rusher sustained a shoulder injury that ended his 2018 campaign in Detroit. Carroll said Ansah’s timeline to return is currently unknown and the Seahawks will re-evaluate before training camp.

“He’s working really hard, he’s doing great in his process coming back,” Carroll said. “It’s just a matter of strength gaining. His shoulder is healed and all of that, so it’s just making sure we don’t come back too soon and ensure that his recovery is for good.”

Day two of Seahawks minicamp continues on Wednesday.

Five storylines to watch ahead of Seattle Seahawks minicamp

Five storylines to watch ahead of Seattle Seahawks minicamp

The Seattle Seahawks kick off mandatory minicamp this Tuesday, wrapping up their offseason workout program before July’s training camp. While minicamp and organized team activities share a lot similiarities, minicamp is mandatory and players can be fined for not attending. 

Seattle is coming off a 10-6 season and after losing key players like Doug Baldwin and J.R. Sweezy, a lot of questions remain with training camp only six weeks away. Who will lead the wide receiver group? Will Wagner take the field?

Here are five storylines to watch as the Seahawks begin minicamp this week:

Offensive line looks solid

The Seahawks offensive line took leaps and bounds forward in 2018, moving from dead last in the league to 17th overall at the end of the season. Now, in his second year with the Seahawks offensive line, left tackle Duane Brown believes Seattle's O-line has a chance to be the best in the league

“You saw the production we had throughout the year, and this year, being a year better for it, this time of the year is about getting the information, getting back up to speed on things. And we haven’t missed a beat," Brown said. "I think once we get the pads on, the amount of physicality we’ll play with will be demoralizing for defenses, so I’m looking forward to it.”

The Seahawks also have consistency on their side, as four of the five offensive line starters will return again this year. 

No early favorite for backup QB

One of the bigger storylines heading into OTAs was the battle at backup QB. Former New York Jets starter Geno Smith and former first-round pick Paxton Lynch were signed this offseason to compete for the backup job behind Wilson. While they've only been around for a brief period of time, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer says both players have been "terrific so far." 

“It has been fun to work with both of those guys, that’s kind of my baby—I love developing quarterbacks, I love watching them,” he said. “Paxton’s got a bigtime live arm, he really does. For a big guy he’s really quick and athletic. He picked up the system well. Geno hasn’t been here nearly as long; he’s got a lot of moxie about him, great huddle command, which is cool to see. I think the big thing for them is kind of learning what our standards are, what our expectations are in that room."

Rashaad Penny shines with Chris Carson sidelined 

One thing is for certain: Second-year back Rashaad Penny is a different player this spring. After sustaining a broken finger in training camp last year and a late season knee injury, a more mature Penny has spent this offseason focusing on his health and learning what its like to be a true pro. 

“I’m really pleased with the way he is attacking practice right now," Schottenheimer said. "I think last year he didn’t know what he didn’t know. Now, he’s got some leadership ability, he’s getting a ton of reps because obviously Chris is out. But it’s been fun to watch him grow. The talent is there—we all know that. It’s just him putting consecutive days in a row and I think he has done that the last couple of weeks.” 

The Seahawks hope Penny and Carson, who underwent knee surgery this offseason, will be able to bring the one-two punch to the Seahawks backfield. Carson was present at OTAs, but continues to focus on rehab and recovery. Coach Pete Carroll said it would be "a couple weeks" before Carson rejoins the team, so it is unlikely he will take the field for minicamp. 

Wagner still without a deal

The Seahawks and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner have yet to come to terms on a new contract deal. Wagner, who turns 29 this month, sat out of Seattle’s OTAs while he negotiates a new contract. While Wagner didn’t suit up to protect himself from possible injury, he was on the sidelines coaching and supporting his teammates.

"I will be here -- that will be my participation," Wagner said during OTAs. "I will be here helping the young guys, doing whatever I can. ... You want to send the right message. You want to support the guys. I do feel like the quarterback of the defense is pretty important, so not having that piece would put a damper on the defense. I just feel like it's important for our success, so I'm here."

It’s unclear whether or not Wagner will continue to holdout as the Seahawks begin minicamp this week. Players can be fined up to $84,435 for skipping minicamp, but all indications are that he doesn’t plan to hold out. Wagner's teammate, K.J. Wright, feels confident that the five-time Pro Bowler and Seattle will agree to a deal soon. 

Tyler Lockett ready to lead

This offseason also marked the end of an era of one of Seattle's elite wide receivers: Doug Baldwin. With Baldwin's depature came an uncertainty of who would lead Seattle's young wide receiver group. Enter Tyler Lockett, who recorded 57 catches for 965 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2018, and is now primed to lead the charge at receiver using some advice he received from Baldwin. 

“The biggest thing that I learned when it comes to Doug is you have to be yourself,” Lockett said. “I have to be able to understand who I am as a leader and what I bring to the team as a leader. The things that he brought, I was able to learn from that and I was able to see that. But he also taught me how to be myself, because if I can’t be myself, everybody else won’t be able to accept the message that I’m trying to allow them to be able to receive. So I have to be able to speak from a willing heart.”