A recap of the day’s activities at the Seahawks’ minicamp:
Deion Branch. Pete Carroll had said several times since being hired as the Seahawks coach in January how much he likes Branch’s talents and how well the veteran wide receiver would fit in the new offense being installed by coordinator Jeremy Bates.
Branch turned in a that’s-exactly-what-I-was-talking-about performance in today’s practice to cap a strong three-day minicamp.
“Deion Branch had a very, very good three days,” Carroll said. “He showed up, and showed off a little bit today.”
That he did. Early in practice, Branch reached back to make a one-handed grab of a pass from Matt Hasselbeck. Later, in the 7-on-7 drill, Branch made a nice falling grab along the sideline of a pass from Charlie Whitehurst. In the same drill, Branch caught a pass over the middle and another in the flat.
“That’s what I’m here for,” Branch said. “They give me the opportunity; I’m going to make plays. That’s all I ask for.”
And Branch has asked, after a couple of season where he felt he was underused.
“I asked the coaches, and they told me, ‘We’re going to get you the ball,’ ” Branch said. “So I’m going to try and make the best of it. If I don’t have the opportunities, I can’t make the plays.”
Carroll definitely has plans for Branch to get those opportunities.
“He’s going to have a big role in the offense,” Carroll said. “I think he recognizes that and really embraced that and really is excited about what’s going on.
“We have to go to him. He’s just too well equipped. He’s in great shape. He’s worked out hard. He performed beautifully in this camp. And showed that all those thoughts we had about him coming in are legit.”
A major hurdle in Branch delivering consistent production since being obtained in a 2006 trade with the New England Patriots is that he has been unable to stay healthy.
“It’s really hard to evaluate a guy when he’s been banged up,” Carroll said. “You can have these expectations; he just can’t meet them because he’s not right. He’s right now, and hopefully we’ll have him healthy during the season and away we go.”
Tryout players. They weren’t really a “unit,” but the 17 players the team had in for tryouts this week outnumbered the bodies at any of the traditional units – by far.
The number of players caught even GM John Schneider by surprise.
“That was phenomenal,” Schneider said. “I thought they did a great job. I was shocked at the way the guys jumped in.”
Schneider singled out Shawn Bayes, who was a receiver at Kent State but came to camp as a cornerback.
“This is his first time playing corner, but the coaches were excited about him in terms of being able to function in a minicamp,” Schneider said.
The wide receiver tandem of Reggie and Mike Williams drew the most attention, because they are former first-round draft choices and the kind of big targets the Seahawks’ passing game has been lacking. But no one got more work than Ryan Powdrell, a fullback from USC. Owen Schmitt was the only other fullback in camp, so Powdrell got ample opportunity to show his stuff.
“Ryan Powdrell did a nice job at the fullback position for us,” Carroll said. “I thought he looked good.”
The team will spend the next or so deciding which of the tryout players it might sign, Carroll said, and he mentioned Powdrell, cornerback Kennard Cox and Reggie and Mike Williams as the players that caught his eye.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s interesting. When you meet with coach Norton, you get the coach sometimes and sometimes you get the player from coach Norton. He can tell you the X’s and O’s from the playbook, but he can also tell you how it happens from instinct and from playing the position.” – second-year linebacker Aaron Curry, on being coached by former Pro Bowl linebacker Ken Norton