John Schneider and Pete Carroll are smart enough to agree with the rest of us: Their biggest need this offseason is the pass rush.
“We’re looking to improve in some really critical areas. Pass rush is something that we’re really focusing on,” Carroll said at the Combine. “We really like the way we turned the ball over last year. We got the ball a lot, made some nice plays and stuff that gave us a chance, but we need to do some things more consistently — and that’s rush the passer.”
Jadeveon Clowney is just one of many angles Schneider has been working since the Senior Bowl in late January. Schneider will meet with Clowney’s agent this week in Indy and figure out what it will take to keep him. It sounded like Schneider will ask Clowney to come back to them with any offer he gets in free agency — though it could be prohibitive for Schneider’s tastes.
“I hope we can get him back,” Schneider said, “but obviously, we’re going to have to go through a process here.”
Schneider said he and his staff started to get “the lay of the land” at the Senior Bowl, finding out which free agents might be available and which teams are looking to trade guys. The research will continue at the Combine this week, per usual.
“This is another step down here,” Schneider told 710 ESPN, “meeting with as many people as we can and trying to figure out where this thing is going to go.
“It’s really a daily or weekly process of figuring out how you’re going to put this thing together,’’ Schneider said. “We have some cap flexibility this year, which is great. But it’s not just about this year. It’s planning for next year and the following year as well. We have to be cognizant of where we’re going.”
Here’s what else Schneider and Carroll said about their roster:
The news: Russell Wilson was the key to Greg Olsen coming to Seattle. Schneider said the quarterback is a great recruiter and is always asking the GM about players and suggesting guys he would like to play with. … Schneider also said he agrees with Wilson’s earlier statement about adding superstars to the team. Schneider said, “We all want great players. I stay awake at night and my gut turns all the time thinking about how we can improve every aspect of our football operation.” … Carroll said he has talked with Wilson about using more up-tempo offense as well. We’ll see whether that translates into more urgency in the field in 2020.
Schneider on Wilson: “He’s got a lot of relationships and works out with a lot of different guys. He knows a lot of people. He’s a natural recruiter. Look at our games this year. Why wouldn’t you want to play with a guy like that, right? … He’s a pretty inspirational dude.”
The news: Injuries are the big story here. Chris Carson (hip) is expected back for the season, but Rashaad Penny (knee) most likely will start out on PUP, likely into the season. … Everyone wonders about Marshawn Lynch, 34, returning, but you have to think Carroll and Schneider will go younger, especially with Carson unlikely to see much preseason action.
Schneider: “We’ll be addressing that position, no doubt.”
The news: The draft is full of good receivers at the top, so everyone wanting them to add another to Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf probably can expect the Hawks to draft one with one of their four picks in the first two days.
Schneider: “It seems like every year the guys keep getting bigger and faster and more ready for the pro passing game. Last year, we thought it was a good group as well; that’s why we jumped back up to get John Ursua (in the seventh round). This group looks really good.”
The news: Carroll is stoked about Wilson and longtime nemesis Olsen playing together, and he said he has no concerns about the foot issue that plagued Olsen in 2017 and 2018. “He’s in pretty darn good shape right now for all of those years he’s played.” Olsen turns 35 on March 11. … Will Dissly is expected to be ready for the season, and Carroll likes the thought of Olsen, Dissly and Jacob Hollister. … As expected, Olsen made a deal with Dissly to wear No. 88 in 2020. And thanked him on Twitter. … Schneider also said he hopes to re-sign Luke Willson (likely as cheap veteran insurance against Dissly).
Carroll: “Really excited about Greg. Thought that was a really important get for us, to be solid at the tight end spot. I’m loving Will Dissly. I’m loving what Jacob Hollister did. But (adding Olsen) is another step in solidifying — a big, 6-5 target to get the ball, knows routes, understands the game, which really complements Russ’ mentality. It’s going to be a great duo, I think.”
The news: Justin Britt “looks real good” as he works to come back from his ACL injury, Carroll said, seeming to put to rest any thought of Seattle cutting the veteran center. “He is doing great. He is going to come roaring back from this surgery.” … Jamarco Jones had shoulder surgery but figures into the mix strongly in 2020. Carroll said, “We’re counting on him to be very versatile and very much a part of the competition for all the play time.” … George Fant and Germain Ifedi are both free agents, and Schneider is as unsure about their futures as anyone is: “We’ll work through that process with Ifedi and George and take it day by day.”
Schneider on Fant: “It’s hard, because he’s been playing that tackle-eligible position, playing the big tight end spot. That’s a difficult one to try to figure out, but I think we’ll have more clarity the closer we get to the three-day (negotiating) period (March 16).”
The news: Clowney is the big deal here, but Jarran Reed and Quinton Jefferson are also high on the GM’s list. Schneider said they “definitely” want Reed back — though it remains to be seen whether Schneider really wants to pay the team’s top defensive tackle. … The draft is better for ends than tackles, the GM said, though guys could emerge over the next two months.
Schneider: “We’d love to get Jarran back, Quinton Jefferson, Clowney. It’s a cool group of guys. We’d love to get all those guys back. Again, it’s just a matter of time. How do we do it? How do we compare our guys to other players around the league?”
The news: Schneider was noncommittal about re-signing Mychal Kendricks, who had a rough season before getting hurt late in the year.
Schneider on Kendricks: “We’ll see how that goes. We’ll see how the rest of the spring goes. I don’t have an answer for you right now.”
The news: Carroll and Schneider were disappointed in the performance of this group last year. But, if they are planning to add any corners to compete as starters, they aren’t saying it. Carroll said he expects Tre Flowers to take the same big jump from Year 2 to Year 3 that Shaquill Griffin did. … Meanwhile, the nickel spot is Ugo Amadi’s “job to lose right now, … but he’s going to be under siege now; he’s going to have to really work hard to keep it.”
Carroll on Flowers: “Tre is a hard-working kid. He wants to get it done. I thought he was pretty much the same one year, two years. Now this is a good chance for him to really make a jump. There’s no reason that he shouldn’t with the experience that he’s had. All the play time that he’s gathered in, he should be ready to make a good step forward.”