PHOENIX -- Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll spoke for over an hour at the NFC coaches breakfast at the league meetings on Wednesday morning.
Here are some of the key items Carroll addressed during his extended chat with reporters on Wednesday.
1. Tyler Lockett, Earl Thomas won't be full speed until training camp.
Both receiver Tyler Lockett and free safety Earl Thomas sustained broken legs over the final two months of the regular season. While both will be back in plenty of time for the start of the regular season, Carroll indicated the team would take it slow with the recovery for both players.
"Tyler’s a little bit ahead cause of the surgery he had," Carroll said. "Earl’s doing really well. They’ll be around and involved in a little bit of everything but they won’t be able to go full-speed. We probably won't get either guy until camp. I know Tyler wants to get back sooner than that, he may, but we’ll see."
2. Seahawks still high on George Fant, but will get challenge from Luke Joeckel at left tackle.
George Fant had a bit of a rough introduction to the NFL after assuming the starting job at left tackle at midseason following a knee injury to Bradley Sowell.
Fant - a former basketball player at Western Kentucky that had incredibly little football experience - started the rest of the season at left tackle for the Seahawks. While his athleticism clearly shone through at times, there just isn't any way to get around a total lack of football experience.
But the Seahawks remain high on Fant's potential in the long-term. However, they realize they can't just hand him the job again this season without another option.
"I think it’s a really good situation," Carroll said. "And if George had to sit for a while what could be better for him than sitting behind a guy who was a No. 1 pick in the draft and knows how to play the position if that happens it would only enhance his future and we have high expectations for him down the road. High expectations. We just don’t know. It’s going to be really fun to see what happens."
3. Carroll was obviously unhappy with his linebackers last year.
The Seahawks have signed three different linebackers in free agency and are still in communication with Mike Morgan about a return as well. However, Carroll's comments on Wednesday made it perfectly clear that they are looking for more from that position this year.
"I think we've checked the box in free agency and we'll see what happens in the draft," Carroll said. "There are some really interesting players in the draft too so we'll be looking and see how it goes. If we're unable to draft anybody, I think we're on the verge of being OK as it is so it's going to be a very strong group. I don't feel like I can say that over the last couple years. I feel like we've been piecemealing with young guys and free agent guys coming off the wire. We've had to work hard at that and I think this is a more experienced group coming in. Of course they have to adapt to what we're doing and all that but they're all pumped up about it and we're all looking forward to that."
Carroll isn't referring to Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright with that quote, but the depth options behind the starting duo.
The additions of Michael Wilhoite, Arthur Brown and Terence Garvin will inevitably push Kevin Pierre-Louis and Ronald Powell for spots.
4. Carroll says Seahawks couldn't afford Steven Hauschka, excited for Blair Walsh.
The Seahawks will have a new kicker for the first time since 2010 this season after Steven Hauschka signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.
The departure of Hauschka was expected as soon as Seattle signed Blair Walsh prior to the start of free agency. Carroll said the decision to move on was for competitive and financial reasons.
"I think we just continue to try to get better and work our way through it and also always has to do with cap," Carroll said. "He capped out about three times higher than we could afford. Steven has been a great, great player for us, done a lot of great stuff and it's been a lot of fun working with him but that was just a business deal really when it came down to it, as well as competition.
As much as the decision to move on from Hauschka was a cost-related move, Carroll was also very excited about the addition of Walsh.
"I'm really fired up about Blair. Blair has been a great kicker. He's shown great, great heights in his career. He's also seen the other side of it, but we see him as a very experienced player that has a chance to have big upside. We'll continue to develop through the competition of it too and see what happens, but I think we were fortunate to find a guy like that."
Photo Credit: Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll speaks with reporters from the NFL owners' meetings at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Ariz. on March 29, 2017. (photo by Curtis Crabtree / Sports Radio 950 KJR)