Clark and Lockett both stand out in debut for Seahawks
RENTON, Wash. (AP) For as good a wide receiver as Tyler Lockett was in college, and all the compliments he's received from his new teammates as a pass catcher in training camp, he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks because they needed a dynamic returner in the kicking game.
For all the off-field concerns about Frank Clark, the Seahawks remained steadfast he could bring a unique skill to the top defense in the NFL.
It may just be one preseason game, but the performances of Clark and Lockett in the Seahawks' exhibition opener did their best to overshadow the problems that popped up for Seattle.
''That's a beautiful first message they sent us that they're ready to do something to help this football team,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Lockett had a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, while Clark had nine tackles, one quarterback hit and one forced fumble, and played a variety of positions on the defensive line in Seattle's preseason opener. They stood out in a way that was the opposite of what happened with Seattle's offensive line, which struggled in pass protection and in establishing holes in the run game.
The worries about Seattle's offensive line are legit, to the point the shuffling continued Monday. The Seahawks moved right tackle Justin Britt to left guard - the most problematic position so far - and inserted backup tackle Garry Gilliam in Britt's former spot. The move may or may not become permanent, but is an attempt by offensive line coach Tom Cable to get his best five linemen on the field together.
''When you get down to nine guys or eight guys sometimes during the season, guys have to be flexible,'' Carroll said. ''So we're going to take this time. We can't wait too much longer to do this, so we need to do it now.''
Fortunately, what Clark and Lockett did muted some of those concerns.
Clark's ability to play multiple spots on the defensive line was one of the reasons Seattle selected him in the second round, despite off-field issues that included an arrest on a domestic violence charge last November. Ultimately, Seattle sees Clark as a defensive end in the same versatile mold as Michael Bennett, with the ability to be an interior rusher in passing situations but also play on the edge against the run. The Seahawks even believe Clark has the speed to be an outside linebacker if needed.
Carroll highlighted that versatility on Monday, while also pointing out the areas where he struggled.
''He had a little bit of trouble inside in the running game when playing three technique, but other than that he was very effective so a really good start for him,'' Carroll said.
Lockett has drawn raves in training camp for his skill as a wide receiver, in part because the Seahawks had yet to see his return skills in person, even though that was the impetus for Seattle trading up to grab the Kansas State star in the third round. Lockett had a 46-yard kickoff return the second time he touched the ball before breaking his 103-yarder early in the second quarter.
Seattle's longest kick return during the 2014 regular season was 47 yards. The goal for Lockett this week against Kansas City is showing up on more than just special teams.
''I think one of the things even going into the games was the players telling us to just rely on your instincts. Don't think too much,'' Lockett said. ''Because when you think is when you make mistakes and stuff like that. So I really just try to go out there and play off of instincts. The coaches know we're going to make mistakes and stuff like that and it's all about correcting and not making the same mistake again.''
NOTES: Backup QB Tarvaris Jackson suffered a high-ankle sprain in Friday's preseason opener against Denver. Converted wide receiver B.J. Daniels will likely serve as the No. 3 quarterback this week against Kansas City and the team is looking at possibly signing another QB. ... WR Chris Matthews has a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder and will be out around 10 days. ... Carroll had nothing new to report on the holdout of strong safety Kam Chancellor that has now stretched to 18 days. ''Knowing Kam and knowing how strong-minded he is, I think he's made that statement that he's really got a thought here that he's holding onto. We'll see how it goes.''
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL