Rookies, and rookies

INDIANAPOLIS – During an interview with Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times and me on Saturday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stressed how the team will be improved this season because of the progress made by the players the team drafted last year.

But in the discussion during a break at the NFL scouting combine, Carroll enlarged the group to include leading receiver Mike Williams, who was signed in April after being out of the league for two years; and leading rusher Marshawn Lynch, who was acquired in an October trade with the Buffalo Bills.

Carroll on Williams, who caught 65 passes for 751 yards: “Mike was like a freshman or a rookie to me. He started all over again. So we hope Mike will make a big jump.”

Carroll on Lynch, who ran for 573 yards on 165 carries: “He missed all the stuff and the principles and the foundation of how we put the thing together. He missed all of that missing camp. So there will be still a sense of newness for him. We’re excited about him coming back and we’re looking forward to it.”

Then there were the true rookies, especially left tackle Russell Okung and free safety Earl Thomas, the team’s first-round draft choices last year; and strong safety Kam Chancellor, who was added in the fifth round.

“Young guys played,” Carroll said. “We had Russell playing all year long and Earl playing all year long, and Kam Chancellor was in there contributing all year long. So many guys helped us, so that should just make us better. They’ll come back with different eyes and different approaches. We hope that the freshman-sophomore jump will really be significant for those guys.”

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