With Dontae Johnson now questionable or worse with a hip injury, it looks very possible that the Seahawks will end up starting two rookies in Denver — Tre Flowers joining Shaquem Griffin.
Flowers, a 6-3, fifth-round pick who converted from safety to corner for Seattle, played a ton in the preseason as he learned Pete Carroll’s very specific technique (kick-step, etc.). And he got a lot of up-close tutoring from the coach himself.
“When it comes to the new corners, I like to jump on those guys and make sure that I’m part of it because I love coaching those guys,” Carroll said, “so you see me more active with those guys. Once they’ve been around (for) years, then I have a different relationship with them, not so much chasing them around all over the place and holding them after practice and having meetings at my office. Once they get the lessons, we move on. The young guys really have always inspired me to get involved more to try to catch them up with the other guys that have already learned the lessons.”
Carroll said it’s a long process to create his style of corners.
“The process takes, really, a considerable amount of time spent watching and listening and learning with him so you can grow with him,” Carroll said. “We’re trying to get (Flowers) to be a fourth- or fifth-year starter in the course of five or six months, and it’s a lot to ask and you can’t really get there until you can start battling on the field and getting into games.
“To me, it’s my favorite thing in ball: Helping those guys and seeing the process and seeing what comes out of the process. Then, the tweaking begins. There’s just so many things that need to be adjusted as we go forward.
“We’re right in the middle of it. It’s been really exciting. He’s been a really fun kid to work with because he’s really been intent on trying to discover that level of focus that can allow you to separate from other players. We’re working at it.”
Flowers is working every angle he can find, too. Brandon Marshall, the veteran star receiver who has mentored him all summer, said Flowers is “a special guy.”
Flowers told Marshall he had downloaded “this thing called ‘NFL RedZone,’ where you can watch NFL replay, where you can watch all of the games, and I was watching the Chicago Bears in 2009, watching Peanut Tillman (Chicago’s longtime star corner who stood 6-2).”
“He’s a guy that’s shown that he really wants it,” Marshall said. “It’s one thing to have talent, to be tall and fast and smart, but are you willing to put in the work? That’s the guys I gravitate to and I really appreciate.”
The Seahawks also added another long corner, 6-3 Simeon Thomas, so Carroll has a couple of guys to coach up (assuming Thomas sticks around). Flowers might not be ready quite yet, as Carroll said, but if he keeps working as hard as he seems to be, it won’t be long.
As for this week, if Johnson is indeed out and Carroll is not comfortable with Flowers starting, Neiko Thorpe would be the guy. Of course, he missed the preseason with a broken wrist, so maybe Flowers trumps him either way.
Whichever guy it is, Denver QB Case Keenum would be smart to target the right side of Seattle’s defense. And Carroll would be smart to have newly arrived Earl Thomas keep an eye on that side.