Today marked the first Seattle Organized Team Activity of the off-season — and the only one this week that will be open to the media.
Much of the focus afterward was on the team’s recent off-field issues.
But the larger story from a strict on-field standpoint may be the sudden worry over its pass rush.
Bruce Irvin will be out the first four games, Chris Clemons is rehabbing an ACL in the Atlanta area and Cliff Avril — as revealed today — is battling a plantar fascia issue.
Of Irvin’s suspension, here’s what coach Pete Carroll said today: “It’s going to impact, he’s a really good football player. He had a tremendous football season. Fortunately we have guys that can step up, and really there is no way that as a team you can look at it in my mind, it calls for the next guy to step up and take full advantage of his opportunity to help the team out. And meanwhile he is hurt, he’s hurt. He’s injured. And the month that he misses is going to be a month of opportunity for somebody else. So we’ll see. We expect our guys will step in to play well. We are fortunate to have Cliff Avril here, we are fortunate to have Clem (Chris Clemons) coming back, we are fortunate to have (linebacker) Malcolm (Smith) get his chance to step up, as well. We’ll figure that out when the time comes, but it will be like he’s injured and he’s not there and what are you going to do about it.’’
Asked if he’s worried about the depth at the spot, Carroll said: “Well, we will always be concerned, sure, and I don’t mind telling you that. But we are fortunate in that we also are working our roster in that regard, too. We have some young guys that we are excited about. But it’s going to call on Cliff Avril, first and Cliff will be back in a couple of weeks and he is in good shape to make it back. Clem’s going to make it back, we won’t know about him for a while, we will have to figure that out when the time comes. I liked the fact that Cliff was here because it gave us a cushion for Clem. That changed a little bit for the first month of the season, for sure.’’
Carroll indicated Avril’s condition won’t be long-term, saying: “It hurts. Ask him about it. The plantar fascia thing is a real uncomfortable thing, you juist have to wait it out. It’s something that you can come back from. It’s not a problem, you just have to wait it out and he’s real anxioius to go and he is doing very wellin his rehab and he runs some this week for the first time. It just takes another couple weeks.’’
The other off-field issue of the day was the news of the recent arrest of backup QB Josh Portis on suspicion for driving under the influence.
Intriguingly, Portis had a solid day throwing the ball as he split reps with Brady Quinn behind Russell Wilson.
And the other notable absentee was RB Marshawn Lynch, who has simply chosen not to participate for now, as is his right under the NFL guidelines as these are technically voluntary workouts. Carroll said that Lynch “may” participate before the OTAs end June 6. “This is voluntary. That’s the rules and the guidelines are all set up to be. Clem is rehabbing and he is not here, and Marshawn is not here. We miss them. We’d like them to be here. This is a lot of fun. .. He’s in very good shape. He came in 10 days ago and he’s in very good shape. He’s working an intense program in his area and he is benefitting from it. We’d love to see everybody here.’’
In a few other notes. …
— Tight end Anthony McCoy suffered an ankle injury of undetermined severity late in the practice.
— Also out or limited were rookie RB Christine Michael (hamstring) and CB Tharold Simon (foot).
— Asked his first impressions of the rookies who participated, Carroll said: “That they came out of the work that we have done understanding what is going on long enough to go out and compete a little bit today. (WR) Chris Harper was out there catching balls and (TE) Luke (Willson) did a real nice job today — you could see some things that he did. (C) Jared Smith, he had his troubles jumping into a two-minute drill during his first day of OTAs, but he made it through it. So we are benefitting from the mini-camp and the time they have spent with us so far and we are ready to let these guys compete and continue to throw them in there and see what they can do.’’
— Here are Carroll’s first impressions of Percy Harvin: “Percy did great. The benefit is that the fact he has been with (offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell) in Minnesota and that background, he has jumped right into the system of things. He already knows quite a few of the nuances and things. We’ve adjusted some things but he’s already begun to take control of that. Very explosive. He took the ball and turned it up a couple of times today and he’s just lightning fast. You can see why he’s such a factor catching it and running it and in the kicking game.’’