Expect to see more of Tyler Lockett after an encouraging return

Tyler Lockett, who caught one pass on Sunday, is expected to play more at receiver in Week 2, according to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. Joe Robbins/Getty Images

RENTON, Wash. -- A day-after look at three encouraging signs and three things that need to improve from the Seattle Seahawks' season-opening 17-9 loss to the Green Bay Packers:

Encouraging signs

Lockett is healthy. Wide receiver Tyler Lockett and free safety Earl Thomas are both coming off of broken leg injuries that ended their 2016 seasons. Thomas looked like his All-Pro self on Sunday, as he did in the preseason. Lockett didn't play in the preseason, which made Sunday's game his first taste of live football since he suffered a compound leg fracture on Dec. 24, 2016. He returned the opening kickoff 43 yards and had minimal impact on offense, catching one of his three targets for 8 yards. But that Lockett was even playing was an encouraging sign for an offense that needs all of its playmakers at its disposal. He was on the field for 26 of Seattle's 49 offensive snaps, third-most among Seahawks receivers behind Doug Baldwin and Paul Richardson. Expect Lockett's playing time to increase -- and likely surpass that of Richardson -- as he gets more comfortable post-injury. "It was great to see Tyler back in action," coach Pete Carroll said. "Tyler will be full-go this week. He came out of the game fine, meaning he will get to play more at the receiver spot but we will continue to get him his returns. It's so obvious that he is such an impact player back there, so it was great to see him."

Carson's debut. The assumption all last week was that Eddie Lacy would be Seattle's primary ball carrier with Thomas Rawls nursing an ankle injury that would at the very least limit him on Sunday, if not keep him out entirely. Well, Rawls was inactive -- he's expected back this week, Carroll said -- but it was rookie Chris Carson who started and got the majority of the work. Carson made a nice cutback and showed good speed when he bounced a run to the outside for a 30-yard gain. His other five carries only produced 9 yards, though Carroll liked how he ran tough inbetween the tackles when there wasn't much room. Carson also had a 10-yard reception for one of Seattle's three conversions on third down. He played 26 offensive snaps compared to only seven for Lacy, who gained all of 3 yards on his five carries. It's a mystery as to how the Seahawks plan to employ their running backs, and it won't get any easier to figure out this week now that Rawls is coming back. But it's clear that they trust Carson.

Seahawks' special teams. Lockett's opening kickoff return was the start of a strong day for Seattle's special teams. Jon Ryan pinned four of his six punts inside the 20 and two inside the 5. Neiko Thorpe, Seattle's leading special-teams tackler last season, had a nice stop in the open field. And Blair Walsh made all three of his field goal attempts, hitting from 33, 21 and 41 yards out. That was a big reason why Seattle kept Green Bay off the scoreboard until the third quarter. The Seahawks felt their special teams would be better this season after adding free agents such as Bradley McDougald, Terence Garvin, D.J. Alexander and others. So far, so good. "I have very high expectations for our special-teams group," Carroll said. "I thought they jumped out."

Needs to improve

Graham's efficiency. At times during his Seahawks' tenure, tight end Jimmy Graham has seemed like a forgotten man. That was not the case Sunday. He was targeted seven times, tied for most on the team with Richardson, but he only caught three of those passes for 8 yards. He had a costly drop on a well-placed, back-shoulder throw from Russell Wilson on a third-down play in the fourth quarter. That would have gotten Seattle into Green Bay territory. It's hard to fault Graham on a few of those plays, however. One was a throw into the back of the end zone when officials opted not to call pass interference despite heavy contact; they deemed it an uncatchable pass even though they didn't signal it. "It was unfortunate, the back of the end zone, should have been our ball with a first [down] at the 1-yard line," Carroll said of the non-call. "He didn't get that chance to make that play, but it wasn't his best game. He'll do better. He was really disappointed in the ball that got away from him on the sidelines."

Getting off the field, Part 1: Seattle's defense did almost everything you could ask it to do under the circumstances -- playing against Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field and without a starting cornerback for much of the game following Jeremy Lane's first-quarter ejection. One thing it did not do well was get off the field on third down, allowing Green Bay to convert on 9 of 16 chances. Green Bay converted on third-and-11 twice and once on third-and-17.

Getting off the field, Part 2. The Seahawks fell victim to something Rodgers does better than any quarterback in the NFL -- take advantage of free plays. That's what he did on his 32-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson late in the third quarter, which gave the Packers a 14-6 lead. Rodgers caught the Seahawks in a substitution as Garvin was running off the field. He was a step away from the sideline when Rodgers quick-snapped the ball, drawing a penalty for 12 men on the field and giving Green Bay a free play. Carroll was especially disappointed by that given how much the Seahawks prepared for it, knowing Rodgers would be looking to pounce whenever he saw a chance. According to ESPN Stats & Information, that was Rodgers' 12th touchdown pass on a free play since 2008, his first season as a starter. Joe Flacco is next on that list with four.