RENTON, Wash. -- This is the time of year when Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll always holds his breath.
Seattle concluded their three-day veteran mini-camp on Thursday and players will now have the next six weeks to themselves before reporting for training camp on July 25. It's a period of time that always leaves coaches feeling helpless in hoping that nothing goes wrong before the team reconvenes for the start of the season.
"I’m concerned about the six weeks coming up, that the guys do a really good job taking care of themselves, coming back stronger and faster," Carroll said Thursday afternoon. "They’re in good shape right now, we would be ready to go into camp and we’d be in good shape.
Carroll's fears were realized last season when top draft pick Malik McDowell was severely injured in an ATV accident and ultimately missed his entire rookie season. The chances remain high that McDowell never plays a down of NFL football. So it's a legitimate worry for Carroll and the coaching staff as players leave for the next six weeks.
"This is a concern -- I think all the coaches are probably concerned around the league -- what happens during these six weeks, but our guys are going to compete to do a good job and take care of it, with really good leadership they’ll pull that off. Then we’ll come back and let it rip."
With offseason workouts now in the rear-view mirror, here's some of the top takeaways from the team as they hit the summer break.
Carroll expects roster to be at close to full health for start of training camp:
When the team reconvenes at the end of July, the roster should be almost universally available to begin training camp.
Carroll said Thursday that the group of players they had on hand for the three-day mini-camp should all be ready to go in late July.
"We predict that everybody will be starting camp with us, maybe on different levels of activity, but we think everybody’s going to be back and ready to go," Carroll said.
That includes players such as George Fant (knee), Brandon Marshall (hamstring), Dion Jordan (knee), Dontae Johnson (foot) and Maurice Alexander (shoulder).
"It looks like everybody should have a chance to be healthy. We’re counting on that, and then we may be limited as we enter the activity level for those guys," Carroll said.
It doesn't include Kam Chancellor or Malik McDowell.
Chancellor is still awaiting a definitive test on his neck to determine if he can continue his football career after being injured last November in Arizona. Meanwhile, McDowell's situation with the team remains unchanged after injuries sustained in an ATV accident last July wiped out his rookie season and brought his career into question.
No updates on the Earl Thomas front:
Thomas followed through on his plan to skip the team's mandatory mini-camp. He said he intends to remain away from the team until his contract situation is resolved.
While several players spoke about Thomas' absence over the last three days, little has changed in the circumstances of his hold out. Carroll said he hadn't heard anything new regarding Thomas' situation during the mini-camp.
"Our guys are working. We are at work. They are busy," he said when asked about the matter.
Thomas can be fined $84,435 by the Seahawks for missing all three days of the mini-camp.
Tyler Lockett "healthier than he's ever been" after being limited in 2017:
Wide receiver Tyler Lockett said Thursday he believes he played last season somewhere around 75 or 80 percent of his total ability as he worked back from the broken leg that ended his 2016 campaign.
Lockett appeared in all 16 games for Seattle last season and made eight starts. However, the explosiveness of his first two seasons in the NFL appeared to be absent most of the year.
"It doesn’t matter how you feel when you go out there," he said. "If you go out there, it’s time to go. You can’t make excuses if you don’t get open. You can’t make excuses if you don’t catch the pass. If you’re out there, everybody expects you to do the same thing if you weren’t hurt."
Lockett has been able to take part in a large portion of the team's offseason work, though he was rested throughout mini-camp this week. Nevertheless, Lockett feels he's back in form and ready to contribute again.
"The biggest thing is I'm more healthy than I've ever been," Lockett said. "I'm out there running around, catching passes from all the quarterbacks and I'm excited about these six weeks and then after that get ready into the season."
Kicking battles may not be quite so straightforward:
Following the drafting of punter Michael Dickson in the fifth-round and the signing of kicker Sebastian Janikowski as a free agent, it seemed likely that those two players would be Seattle's two specialists on the roster this fall.
However, that presumption may be a bit premature.
Janikowski missed time during OTAs while dealing with a bit of a hip issue. That gave Jason Myers plenty of chances to show what he can do. While Janikowski has been back kicking during mini-camp, the battle is expected to continue well into the preseason.
"It's going to be real competitive," Carroll said.
Additionally, the battle between Dickson and Jon Ryan doesn't appear to be settled either. One aspect that could play into the veteran's favor is his experience and ability as a holder for the placekickers.
"It is a concern," Carroll said of the holding dilemma. "And Michael has not done a lot of it. He’s a very good athlete, got good hands and all that. But that’s just part of this job and Jon is great at it so he has a real leg up on him in that regard."
While Dickson has shown plenty of leg talent, Ryan may not be allowing himself to be pushed out the door at this stage either.
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 17: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks walks the field before the game against the Los Angeles Rams at CenturyLink Field on December 17, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images)