They called him up at the end of the season as a reward for his hard work on the squad, and now they are giving him every chance to make the team for real this year — as a wide receiver instead of a quarterback.
“The thought was we love him as a football player (so) let’s see if we can find a place where he can make the team and play,” Pete Carroll said. “He wants to get on the 53, so lengthy discussion back and forth really allowed us to get to that thinking: Let’s give it a shot. So he went for it in the offseason, which he needed all of that time just to kind of get acclimated, and we’ve continued on with him. He’s doing a good job and playing well in the games.”
Seattle values versatility as much as any team in the NFL, and Daniels scores points there with his ability to play wide receiver, kick returner and quarterback.
“Yeah, it’s the more you can do,” Carroll said. “That’s a real motto in the league, and he’s an example of it. I love that he covers kickoffs so aggressively too.
“He’s shown a lot of good things, got a lot of natural ability. He’s a very, very competitive kid. We like the heck out of him, and the fact that he can play quarterback is huge. Who else can do that? It’s rare to have a guy like that.”
The Seahawks have to cut the roster from 90 to 75 by Tuesday and then to 53 four days later.
Here’s a look at the offense heading into today’s game in San Diego:
Depth chart: Russell Wilson, Tarvaris Jackson, R.J. Archer
Jackson is expected back from a high ankle sprain next week.
Jake Waters came and went in a week’s time. They don’t need him anymore — Wilson will play nearly three quarters in San Diego, and the Hawks know B.J. Daniels can step in at QB if needed.
Projected (2): Wilson, Jackson
Depth chart: Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael, Derrick Coleman (FB), Will Tukuafu (FB)
Rookies: Thomas Rawls, Rod Smith, Brandon Cottom (FB)
Carroll all but said Michael is safe from any challenge by Rawls or Smith.
“Well, they’re just kind of trying to make it,” Carroll said of the rookies. “They’re just trying to hang right now. I don’t know if they are pushing anybody but themselves right now to try to just figure it out.”
Michael has not had much running room this preseason, but in Kansas City he blasted pass rusher Dee Ford on a chip block.
“Yeah, he had a couple great blocks, and unfortunately a guy got hurt on one of them,” Carroll said, “but that’s an illustration that his game is rounding out and he’s doing a nice job. He ran the ball well when he had his chances. When he had an opportunity, he hit it really well.”
The only question with this group seems to be over whether the Hawks will keep two fullbacks — with Coleman a top special-teams player and Tukuafu capable of playing tight end and — in a pinch — defensive end.
Projected (5): Lynch, Turbin, Michael, Coleman, Tukuafu
Depth chart: Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson, Kevin Norwood, Ricardo Lockette, Chris Matthews, Kevin Smith, B.J. Daniels
Rookies: Tyler Lockett, Deshon Foxx, Kasen Williams, Deontay Greenberry
Lockette, Matthews and Daniels have the edge on the others due to their proven special-teams skills — something all of Seattle’s receivers need to have.
Norwood seems to be the odd man out — unless he can come on strong in the final two games and knock out one of the second three.
Meanwhile, one Husky is more than enough — so Smith and Williams seem unlikely to push any of the three veterans.
Projected (6): Baldwin, Lockett, Kearse, Lockette, Matthews, Daniels
Depth chart: Jimmy Graham, Luke Willson, Anthony McCoy, Cooper Helfet, RaShaun Allen
The only question here is: McCoy or Helfet? Both have injury concerns. But, if you toss those aside, Helfet is probably the more consistent player — McCoy is the better blocker, but he also still drops a lot of passes.
It probably will come down to which one is healthy when it comes time to make the final cut.
Projected (3): Graham, Willson, McCoy
Depth chart: LT Russell Okung, LG Justin Britt, RG J.R. Sweezy, RT Garry Gilliam, C Lemuel Jeanpierre, C Drew Nowak, OT Alvin Bailey, C Patrick Lewis, OG Will Pericak, OG Keavon Milton
Rookies: OT Terry Poole, OG Mark Glowinski, OG Kristjan Sokoli, OT Jesse Davis
The coaches like the Britt-Gilliam move and think it might stick. Today in San Diego should tell.
Bailey somehow failed to grasp the left guard spot and has moved back to swing tackle. If the Hawks had any experienced backups, he might be in danger of not making the team. But he’s lucky they don’t.
The Hawks still might bring in a veteran. It won’t be Evan Mathis, who signed with Denver. But they also checked out Samson Satele, who has played for Tom Cable before and could be signed as early as next week if Nowak does not play well in San Diego. Nowak has the edge over Jeanpierre; he needs to prove it.
Milton had made a charge up the depth chart a couple of weeks ago, but we haven’t heard much about him since Britt was moved to left guard.
Among the rookies, Glowinski seems the likeliest to stick as a reserve, with Sokoli a sure thing for the practice squad if he is not kept and Poole a strong possibility as well.
Projected (9): Okung, Sweezy, Britt, Gilliam, Bailey, Nowak, Jeanpierre, Glowinski, Sokoli