The Seahawks recently completed their mandatory three-day minicamp – the team’s last “real” work before having a roughly six-week break prior to training camp – and have only three days of pass-game camp left in their offseason program.
Unfortunately, a handful of players were unable to participate in last week’s festivities due to injury, including rookie receivers Bo Melton and Dareke Young. Both wideouts were able to participate in rookie minicamp in early May, but have since been held out of parts of OTAs as well as the mandatory minicamp for precautionary reasons.
Speaking with reporters at the conclusion of Thursday’s final minicamp session, coach Pete Carroll didn’t seemed worried about Melton or Young being ready for camp and he remains “jacked” about the potential of the draft class. But in a message that was sent to all of Seattle’s rookies, he did give a subtle nudge to both players to ramp up their training over the next month to ensure they don’t have similar issues in August.
“Those guys should both be fine. They had some tightness that we had to keep from being hamstring pulls, but both of them from the workload and that really, to me, that tells us they weren’t in good enough shape because they came out flying and did really well when they had their chance,” Carroll commented. “Then by the second week, it seemed like it started to catch up and they just got susceptible to what happens. It’s just that soreness that is the onset of a pull coming, so we were really careful with them to not let that happen.”
That conditioning jab may seem trifling, but that’s about as critical as it gets from the overly positive Carroll. Second-round pick running back Ken Walker III was also thrown into the same category as Melton and Young after being unable to go aside from walkthrough work last week with a soft tissue injury of his own.
“Yeah, a hammy thing, same kind of deal,” Carroll said of Walker, who was active throughout OTAs. “Really, it’s the same category where he felt some tightness, we slowed him down, and he just couldn’t get through it, so we just had to hold him out.”
Training camp is still over a month away and Carroll thinks that all three players will be ready to participate fully, so there’s no need to panic. Pushing players at this point in the offseason and risking further injury would be unnecessary and counterproductive, even if reps this time of year are far more valuable for young players acclimating to the league.
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Nevertheless, Carroll’s comments could serve the purpose of motivating those players over the break, and he had additional advice for the whole rookie class on what they should focus on before training camp.
“Right now, it’s about conditioning. They’ve got to get in great shape,” Carroll bluntly said, making sure the message was loud and clear for all to hear.
Melton and Young, both seventh-round draft picks, would all do well to take that advice to heart and come back ready to compete at the highest level since they will be fighting for perhaps the final receiver spot with a handful of other players. Recently added veteran Marquise Goodwin and fourth-year receiver Cody Thompson have been impressive in practice and Penny Hart has been on the active roster for 30 games over the past two seasons, so it’s not a given both or either rookie will make this football team.
Walker III, who won the Doak Walker Award at Michigan State last season, has a huge opportunity to form a “one, two punch” with Rashaad Penny. Unless Chris Carson gets cleared coming off of neck surgery – which is looking less likely as this offseason continues – carries will be there to be earned in the backfield for a run-heavy offense.
Considering Penny has also only played in 37 of a possible 65 regular season games in his career and battled numerous injuries, the Seahawks could be leaning heavily on Walker to lead the rushing attack at some point this season. For that reason, the team and player can ill-afford to have him watching from the sidelines when the team reconvenes at the end of July.
To best capitalize on their opportunities in training camp – and avoid irking Carroll again by missing more time with avoidable soft tissue injuries – Walker, Young, Melton, and the entire rookie class better shape up… literally.
“Hopefully all of that adds up to where they come in here and they’re ready to fly, and we can’t wear them out so we can take off and not look back as we go through camp, and they can have the best chance to show what they’re capable of doing by not sitting on a bench.”