In his radio interviews Tuesday, Pete Carroll stated what already has become very clear in the first week of free agency: The Seahawks are going to get back to their ground-and-pound ways.
The signings of Luke Joeckel and Eddie Lacy, along with the hot pursuit of T.J. Lang, were clear signs the Hawks want to get their running game in gear again, and Carroll has made that his No. 1 offseason priority.
“I want to be physical,” he told KJR’s Ian Furness. “I want to make sure that everybody that plays us has to get ready for a hard-nosed football game at the line of scrimmage.
“When our running game is right and we’re balanced out, we’re the most dangerous team,” he added. “I’m going to do everything I can to keep it that way.”
Carroll called Lacy “a real hammer. He’s big. We want him to play big. We want to be physical.”
“He’s so physical in his style. It’s going to look a lot like we’ve been in the past, and we’re fortunate to get him.”
He said Lacy is very similar to Marshawn Lynch with his ability to break tackles, make people miss and catch the ball.
Lacy’s weight was a concern in Green Bay, but Carroll said they have addressed that. Interestingly, Carroll said they worked with “the people from Alabama” on a process for getting the former Alabama star to the ideal playing condition. Said Carroll: “We have a real plan for this or we wouldn’t have done it.”
As for how Lacy, recovering from ankle surgery, fits into the running game, Carroll said, “The ability to go back and forth with Eddie and Thomas (Rawls) really gives us a physical attack. We’ll see how that works out. I expect both those guys to be in every game plan. We know that C.J. (Prosise) has all kinds of stuff he can do, and he can break the big one, too, on early downs.
“I think it’s a great group for us to battle with; we’ll figure that out in time. … We’re just happy to have another physical, big guy who can be a big factor for us.”
Carroll also hopes Joeckel will come back from his ACL injury and step into a starting role. Carroll sees Joeckel as a left tackle who can play left guard — which sounds like Joeckel will be expected to unseat incumbent George Fant. (For $8 million, he had better.)
Carroll also hopes Joeckel plays well enough to merit an extension: “We’d like to keep him around for a long time and keep building and growing with this offensive line.”
The Hawks think they have some major pieces to build with: Joeckel, Mark Glowinski, Justin Britt, Germain Ifedi, Garry Gilliam and Rees Odhiambo.
“Now that we have a good young bunch of guys, we’re going to try to keep this thing together,” Carroll said. “Luke is a great addition to that — a young guy (26) that is just getting going in his career, too. He is the most experienced player we have, if you can believe that. … Justin Britt is an old guy here, and he’s just entering his fourth season. So we’re as young as it can get, but it’s exciting for the future. As long as we can continue to run the ball, everything fits together really well, so we’re going to make sure to do that.”
FREE AGENCY NOTES
Lacy’s contract reportedly includes a $1.5 million signing bonus and a $1.365 million guaranteed salary, plus $1 million in per-game roster bonuses, a $385,000 workout bonus with a weight clause and $1.3 million in incentives.
Carroll said Seattle did not get outbid for T.J. Lang, who signed with Detroit for $28.5 million over three years. That means Seattle apparently did offer $9.5 million a year — and lost out only because Lang wanted to return to Michigan.
Bradley McDougald, the top remaining free-agent safety, will come to visit Seattle. The 26-year-old started the past two seasons in Tampa Bay and was recently ousted by free-agent arrival J.J. Wilcox, another safety the Hawks were interested in.
Jared Cook, pursued by four teams, seems unlikely to come to Seattle. And it is looking more and more likely that Luke Willson could return — he has had no visible market so far.
Some think tackle King Dunlap, recently released by the Chargers, would be an option for the Hawks, but he was a dud in San Diego and does not seem to be a fit in Seattle. The top remaining O-linemen are Ryan Clady, Austin Pasztor, Will Beatty, Breno Giacomini and Nick Mangold. With the left side of Seattle’s line covered by the Joeckel signing, Pasztor might be the top option — he has started at right tackle for most of his five NFL seasons. He could compete with Gilliam and allow the Hawks to keep Ifedi at right guard.
Expect extensions at some point for Britt, Jimmy Graham and Kam Chancellor. “We’re always trying to take care of our guys,” Carroll said. “We’re going to continue to do that.”
Earl Thomas is “way ahead of schedule” in his comeback from a broken leg, Carroll said. Thomas posted video of himself working out on a treadmill Tuesday.