RENTON – The Seahawks coaching staff has been bolstered during the offseason program by three coaches who are part of the NFL’s Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship program.
Among them is the first woman to have ever worked with the Seahawks as part of the program – Amanda Ruller. Also working with the Seahawks during OTAs and minicamp as part of the program are Akeem Dent and Jonathan Saxon.
Ruller is the running backs and special teams coach at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, as well as the running backs and special teams coach at Team Ontario, a U18 women’s tackle football team. Ruller, who also played running back in the Legends Football League for Los Angeles and Atlanta and has been a competitive weightlifter holding the Saskatchewan provincial clean and jerk record at 215 pounds, will assist with Seattle’s running backs for the rest of the offseason program.
Dent, who was a third-round pick of the Falcons in 2011 and made 32 NFL starts with Atlanta and Houston from 2011-16, is working as a special teams assistant.
Saxon, who is currently the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at South Carolina State, is assisting with the defense.
The Diversity Coaching Fellowship was established in 1987 and is aimed at allowing minority coaches to get exposure in the NFL. It was named after Walsh after he started a similar program while head coach with the 49ers.
In 2021, more than 120 coaches took part in the program throughout all 32 NFL teams, either during the offseason or training camp.
Rashaad Penny back as Chris Carson remains absent
Given his injury history, it was notable when OTAs began last Monday and running back Rashaad Penny was not on the field because of a slight hamstring issue.
But the injury may indeed be as minor as coach Pete Carroll portrayed it as Penny was back on the field Tuesday, working throughout with the first team.
However, Chris Carson was again nowhere to be seen as he continues to rehab from neck surgery.
Carroll did not speak to the media Tuesday.
However, last Monday Carroll said Carson was due back in town later in the week and that the team might have more information on his status. But there has been nothing new reported or revealed on Carson since then.
With Carson out, rookie Ken Walker III often worked with the second team with the base offense while Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas also got significant work in the backfield, often with third-down / two-minute grouping.
Veteran DLs to return next week
OTAs are voluntary, and the Seahawks have a few veterans who are sitting out right now to reduce their wear and tear on their bodies in the offseason.
That includes a few of the team’s key defensive line players such as Al Woods, Quinton Jefferson, Shelby Harris and Poona Ford, none of whom were on the field Tuesday (although Ford was in attendance). Edge rusher Alton Robinson has also not been seen during the OTAs open to the media.
Defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt, though, said everyone would be on hand for the team’s mandatory minicamp next week.
“They’re taking care of things to take care of their bodies and whatnot,” Hurtt said. “But we’ll have them back next week. And they’ve been part of the Zoom meetings. “
Guard Gabe Jackson has also not been seen.
And along with Carson, a handful of other players who are rehabbing injuries also have not been on the field, including receiver DK Metcalf, safeties Quandre Diggs and Jamal Adams, defensive back Marquise Blair, cornerback Tre Brown and linebackers Jon Rhattigan and Ben Burr- Kirven.
- Geno Smith continues to work with the first-team offense at quarterback with Drew Lock operating the second team with Jacob Eason getting limited team reps. But that is expected as the Seahawks have said Smith is atop the depth chart for now because of his three years of prior experience with the team and knowledge of the offense.
- With Jackson out, the No. 1 offensive line consisted of left tackle Charles Cross, left guard Damien Lewis, center Austin Blythe, right guard Phil Haynes and right guard Take Jake Curhan, with Haynes in Jackson’s spot. The number two OL looked like this, left to right: Stone Forsythe, Greg Eiland, Kyle Fuller, Dakoda Shepley and Abraham Lucas.
- Rookie WRs Bo Melton and Dareke Young sat out with apparent, but undisclosed, injuries.
- Cornerback Coby Bryant was back after missing last week’s OTA open to the media to deal with a personal issue and worked with the second-team defense at the left corner. Fellow rookie Tariq Woolen was on the right side with the second team. With Brown out, the starting corners were Sidney Jones on the left side and veteran free agent signee Artie Burns on the right with Justin Coleman as the nickel.
- Also back was tight end Noah Fant, who also was absent for last week’s OTA open to the media for a personal reason. Fant and Will Dissly shared reps with the first-team offense, often working in two tight end sets. Fant had one of the day’s highlight plays with a TD reception in a 7-on-7 period from Smith.