Bennett, Carroll bring great news as Hawks open training camp

Training camp logo2Seahawks fans breathed two sighs of relief after the first day of training camp: Michael Bennett showed up and Pete Carroll said he sees no end to his coaching days.

That’s the kind of positive news everyone wanted to hear as the Hawks prepare to make a run at their second NFL title in four years — and keep it going beyond that.

There was some doubt about whether Bennett would report, based on his recent comments over his contract and a report that his agent was in Seattle last week. But he stayed true to what he has said all offseason: He wants to be a great teammate and help the Seahawks win a Super Bowl.

“I just want to get back to Houston, Texas, and play in the Super Bowl in my hometown, and play against my brother (Martellus of the Patriots),” Bennett said. “That’s all I think about, so I’m here to make that happen.

“I just wanted to show up and be a great teammate. No distractions for the team,” he added. “I just want to be a Seahawk for the rest of my life, and that’s just the most important thing.”

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CHAWK LINES -- Training camp new

Jimmy Graham and Thomas Rawls are expected to start on PUP.

A few storylines to watch, from the P-I.

Players and positions to watch, from The Seattle Times.

This is Russell Wilson’s offense now.

A quick look at the entire offense entering camp.

John Schneider explains why the offensive line has no marquee players.

Moving Garry Gilliam to left tackle is a big leap of faith.

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Worried about the O-line? Remember 2013?

Training camp logo2The Seahawks are expecting to compete for a second Super Bowl title this year, and they’re planning to do it with a completely revamped offensive line.

That scares a lot of fans who view the line as the one thing that could keep this team from winning it all — kind of like it did last year.

But, anyone who thinks they can’t overcome that concern probably forgot what happened in 2013.

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With Schneider’s help, Carroll will finish forging his legacy

Draft -- Schneider and CarrollIt’s no surprise that John Schneider and Pete Carroll are going to be running the Seahawks for at least the next four seasons together. Where else are they going to find a better situation than the one they have built in Seattle?

As Schneider told John Clayton on Tuesday, “You look at all the really good organizations: They have great ownership and they have stability. And I think that’s probably what is most attractive here.’’

Schneider and Carroll have put together a team that is poised to contend for Super Bowl titles for at least the next three seasons (see the projected lineup) — and probably well beyond that. Schneider and Carroll have built an organization with similar staying power to Bill Belichick’s crew in New England.

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Will Bennett take the Lynch deferment plan?

Bennett and LynchIt sure looks like Michael Bennett is considering holding out, after all. Why else would his agent come to Seattle on the eve of training camp?

Bennett apparently wants at least $14 million a year, but will he settle for the Marshawn Lynch deferment plan — the deal his new agent, Doug Hendrickson, worked out in 2014?

Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Hendrickson and the Seahawks will discuss the Pro Bowl defensive lineman’s “desires” for a new deal this week.

Bennett wants a two- or three-year extension that pays him among the top six or seven defensive linemen in the NFL, Anderson reported. That means at least $14 million per year — double what he is making now.

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Record-setting defense plans to get better

Earl Thomas and Pete Carroll (The Seattle Times via Twitter)The Seahawks’ defense has put together an unprecedented run — becoming the first modern NFL team to go four straight years as the No. 1 scoring unit.

After Seattle shut down Arizona 36-6 in the 2015 season finale to clinch the top spot again, a beaming Pete Carroll said, “I don’t know if there is a record that I could be more proud of than to see our guys go for four straight years and lead the league in scoring defense. I think that is a remarkable accomplishment by a bunch of guys dedicated to the program and what we are doing.”

Carroll’s defense also has given up the fewest yards over the last three years, ranking first in the 2013 and 2014 Super Bowl years and second last season.

That’s a pretty darn good run of defense — and yet the Seahawks know they can become more consistent if they can cover their Achilles’ heel.

Because they have so many veterans on the unit now, the coaches apparently are finally planning to address the soft underbelly of their defense, which has been prone to giving up big chunks of yards and too many touchdowns to tight ends, running backs and slot receivers.

Their plan to fix that issue figures to be one of the big stories of training camp, which begins Saturday.

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Not a ‘knucklehead’ anymore, but is it too late for Michael?

Michael to CowboysIt took Christine Michael a long time to figure out how not to be a “knucklehead.” But is it too late now?

The 2013 second-round pick never cared enough to try to unseat Robert Turbin as Marshawn Lynch’s backup. And then, last year, he lost his roster spot to undrafted Thomas Rawls, who was such a revelation that he is expected to replace Lynch permanently as Seattle’s No. 1 back.

It took injuries to Lynch, Turbin (waived injured last summer) and Rawls for Michael to finally get some playing time in Seattle. And that happened only after he was traded to the Cowboys, released, picked up by the Redskins and released again.

Michael did well in his return to Seattle, averaging 4.9 yards per carry in the final three games of the season and rushing for 70 yards in the playoff win over Minnesota (Lynch returned for the loss to Carolina, so Michael did not get a carry in that game).

Michael recently told USA Today that he started taking the game more seriously.

Continue reading Not a ‘knucklehead’ anymore, but is it too late for Michael?

CHAWK LINES -- Training camp new

With training camp starting in one week, let’s look at some pre-camp player reports:

Michael Bennett is griping about his contract yet again. But don’t believe him when he says, “Just get rid of me.”

Russell Wilson, who now looks almost as hulked up as Robert Turbin, told Q13 Fox: “We’ll try to bring back Super Bowl 51 if we can. We’ll do everything we can, every day. That’s a promise.”

Justin Britt’s switch to center is one of the major camp stories to watch.

Pete Carroll reminds us why the Seahawks think J’Marcus Webb will succeed with them.

Can Thomas Rawls take over for Marshawn Lynch — even if he doesn’t play in the preseason?

John Clayton projects Rawls to get 16-17 carries a game, with the other backs getting six or seven.

Christine Michael — among those trying to replace Lynch — admits, “I was just being a young guy, just being a knucklehead.”

Like last year, all eyes will be on Jimmy Graham — from camp through the season.

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‘Just get rid of me’? Bennett doesn’t mean it

“If you don’t think I’m valuable, then just get rid of me.” — Michael Bennett

Bennett thanks the football gods

For over a year, Michael Bennett has made clear his dissatisfaction with his contract, which has steadily been overtaken by bigger deals — often to lesser players.

In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, Bennett said, “I just want to be fairly compensated with the top guys in the league. I’m definitely one of the top five defensive ends.”

It’s the same stuff he has said all offseason. But he has grown more frustrated as he has watched a host of defensive linemen get big deals — capped by Von Miller’s recent $114.5 million contract. He also surely took note of the $11 million-per-year deal Doug Baldwin signed with the Hawks.

“It is never-ending, especially when people are getting new contracts every day,” said Bennett, in the third year of a four-year, $28.5 million deal. “You sit there and you’re like, ‘Damn, really?’ I’m just to the point where it’s kind of like, ‘If you don’t think I’m valuable, then just get rid of me.’”

Some will take that as him asking for a trade. But don’t believe it. Bennett was just blowing off some steam.

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Odds against Graham? Not on this team

Jimmy Graham catches a pass on Day 4 (Seahawks via Twitter)The future of Jimmy Graham is a hot topic — not just his future with the Seahawks, but the mere prospect of him playing in the NFL for much longer.

Pete Carroll does not seem concerned, but a recent report by reiterated the severity of a torn patellar tendon — the injury Graham suffered in late November — and questioned whether the tight end will be able to make it back.

ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell cited a recent study saying players with TPTs “fared the worst when it comes to rate of return to play and performance metrics like yards gained and touchdowns scored. And their careers were shortened overall significantly. It’s not to say that one individual can’t come back and be phenomenal, but it’s telling you that the odds are against them in terms of returning to form.”

Of course, the Seahawks are all about bucking the odds, and there are reasons to believe Graham will overcome the injury better than previous players.

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