Earl Thomas’ surgically repaired shoulder is fully healed. Between now and the Seahawks’ opener Sept. 13 at St. Louis, it’s a matter of him strengthening the shoulder enough so he can extend his consecutive games-played streak to begin his career to 91.
That was coach Pete Carroll’s description of where the All-Pro free safety stands after a couple non-contact practices three weeks before the games get real.
“He’s getting a lot more work than he had. It’s all in the process of getting him ready for the opener, in hopes that he will be ready to go that week,” Carroll said Thursday following a light, walk-through practice indoors before the team flew to Kansas City, Missouri, for Friday’s second exhibition game. “We’ll see. It’s worked out fine.
“He’s taken to it. Earl’s the kind of guy that you have to put the governor on, because he’s going to go full speed. And we are concerned about that. But he’s done a great job of handling that. We’ll increase his reps next week quite a bit.
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“He’s healed. We are just making sure he has all of the time to regain all of his strength. So he’s healed and he can do everything right now.”
Thomas talked on Tuesday, his first day practicing (in a red, no-contact jersey) since surgery on Feb. 24, about the pace of his rehabilitation. And he had a remark that Carroll seemed to be addressing today.
“I don’t think Coach Carroll-wise (it’s gone well); he’s constantly on me. But I think I’m doing a great job as far as rehabbing,” Thomas said.
“I’m just happy that they’ve taken the handcuffs off me and let me kind of do my job. That’s all I can control right now.”
Don’t expect Thomas to play in any of the three remaining exhibition games. No need.
GOAL FOR KANSAS CITY: PLAY “CLEANER”
Carroll coyly said “we might” play wide receiver and former 2014 third quarterback B.J. Daniels as the No. 3 QB against the Chiefs. Tarvaris Jackson, Russell Wilson’s primary backup, is going to be out a while with a high-ankle sprain. That means R.J. Archer is likely to play at least two quarters as the quarterback.
The third QB Seattle signed this week, Jake Waters, a rookie free agent out of Kansas State, only got to see the full playbook yesterday so he is unlikely to play much if at all in Kansas City. That will disappoint the many around K.C. that wanted to see Waters throwing to Seahawks rookie Tyler Lockett again. Those two connected numerous times the last two seasons for K-State.
Carroll mentioned how the offense’s starters got 10 plays and the starting defense got 13 plays in last week’s preseason opener against Denver -- and how they will be playing more tomorrow against the Chiefs.
Expect about a quarter of playing time for the first-teamers. That includes the debut of Seattle’s new offensive line, with Drew Nowak at center, Garry Gilliam at right tackle and Justin Britt at left guard. This late into the exhibition-game season it’s likely that will be the starting unit for next week’s third preseason game at San Diego, the usual final “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. Thus it’s looking more likely that will be starting line, with left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy for the opener in St. Louis.
Carroll said he wants to see the starters play more “cleanly” and to take care of the football better. Wilson lost a fumble while getting sacked by Denver’s Von Miller on the game’s second play last week, after Miller rushed around Britt off the right edge. That play, plus six other sacks by the Broncos last week, are why the Seahawks have 60 percent of its offensive line new this week.
“We’ve got to take care of the football better,” Carroll said.
A large reason why Seattle has played in two consecutive Super Bowls is how low its turnovers-committed number has been. The offense had 14 turnovers (seven lost fumbles, seven interceptions by Wilson) in 16 regular-season games last year.
EXTRA POINTS: Carroll said we will all have to “wait and see” if rookie DE Frank Clark plays at Kansas City. He hasn’t practiced all week because of a sore ankle. ... Richard Sherman may not play. He returned to practice Tuesday after missing three days plus last week’s exhibition game with a strained hip flexor. Why risk re-injuring an All-Pro on Aug. 21? ... Kam Chancellor holdout, day 21 update: “We just keep working at it ... working to keep the lines of communication open,” Carroll said. The maximum fines the Seahawks could put on their team leader is up $880,000 -- not that they will.