RENTON, Wash. – Because the Seattle Seahawks made it through their offseason program without any obvious incidents or issues, Pete Carroll could finally crack a bit of a joke about their troubled past.
“I think we had our most compliant OTA season. I’m really proud of that, finally,” Carroll said. “Old dog, new tricks. It was hard.”
The Seahawks wrapped up their offseason program Thursday with the conclusion of their mandatory minicamp. Seattle’s offseason program was shorter than most others in the NFL because of penalties incurred by the team for previous violations during the spring workouts.
New rules regarding offseason workouts were put in place with the collective bargaining agreement approved before the 2011 season. Between the start of that new CBA and the beginning of the 2016 regular season, there were four violations of those offseason rules, according to the NFL. Three of those were by the Seahawks.
The last violation took place last June during an OTA when two players collided and suffered head injuries while going after a deflected pass during a session that required no contact. Carroll was given a $200,000 fine, a $400,000 fine was given to the team and Seattle lost a fifth-round pick from April’s draft.
And Seattle was docked three OTA practices from this offseason.
Despite getting less practice time than others, Carroll felt the changes made to avoid any future penalties during the offseason workouts kept Seattle from falling behind.
“We finally figured that out and in doing so, we were able to up the reps on guys and I think we’re the smartest we’ve been coming out of this camp at any time in any of the past years,” Carroll said. “We’ve had the most situation work. We’ve put guys in a variety of different spots where they have to think and make decisions and choose how they play and fit in with us. We feel like we have made a lot of movement forward.”
Seattle was also penalized for offseason violations in 2012 and 2014. Carroll said the non-contact period is beneficial in terms of getting players on the field and getting reps, but there are some major evaluations that can’t be made until training camp arrives.
“We adjusted. That was part of trying to figure out how to do this the way that they want us and fit in with all the rules,” Carroll said. “We think we did our best job with that. We think we made up ground that we hadn’t made in years past.”
NOTES: Carroll said only a handful of players might be limited when training camp begins, including CB DeShawn Shead, DT Quinton Jefferson, DE Dion Jordan and WR Tyler Lockett. Shead is still recovering from a major knee injury suffered during last season’s playoffs and Carroll said it was unlikely he’d be ready by the start of the season. … One of Carroll’s biggest offseason highlights was Jimmy Graham, who was limited the entire 2016 offseason while recovering from a major knee injury. “He had a phenomenal offseason. Great work with us. His preparation to get here was just terrific.”
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