A recap of the day’s activities at the Seahawks’ OTA practice:
Aaron Curry. During his first day on the job back in January, one of the first things coach Pete Carroll told Curry was that he wanted to see more of the team’s first-round draft choice from last year. Not socially, but schematically.
Carroll wants Curry become more disruptive as a pass-rusher, and more impactful while carrying out his more-traditional duties as the Seahawks’ strong-side linebacker. Today, during the team’s third OTA practice, Curry provided a review of what Carroll was talking about – and a preview of what can be expected once the season begins.
“My confidence this year is much higher than last year – confidence in my preparation, confidence in the coaching staff, confidence in my teammates,” Curry said after turning in a number of impressive plays during the practice.
“I’m really able to focus on what I need to do to become the complete player – the best player that the Seahawks want me to be.”
Curry’s prep as a more-forceful player when he’s moving forward took a giant step last week, when he got some work with the defensive lineman in pass-rush drills to hone his skills. Today, he used his speed on one play to get past left tackle Russell Okung – this year’s first-round draft choice – and pressure Matt Hasselbeck into an incompletion. On another play, when Okung slammed the door on his intended route to the QB, Curry spun to the middle of the line and forced Hasselbeck to throw the ball away.
“I’m having so much more fun this year rushing the passer than I did last year, because this year I had a whole two or three months of pass-rush preparation,” said Curry, who rarely was asked to rush the passer at Wake Forrest. “So I actually have a plan when I go into the rush and I actually know what I’m doing.”
But Curry still remembers how to play going in reverse, as well as from sideline to sideline. That was most apparent when he dropped into cover to tip a Charlie Whitehurst pass that was intercepted by safety Jamar Adams.
“The coaches have done a really good job of putting the playbook pretty much in the players’ hands,” Curry said. “There’s putting everybody in positions where they feel like they can make plays. It’s less about out-thinking our opponents, but more about just physically manhandling our opponents.
“I feel like I finally fit in and I can finally just get back to having fun and playing fast. Anytime a defensive player is thinking less, he’s playing faster.”
The number of players participating in this OTA practice was spiked significantly from last week, because most of the team’s rookies have returned for the first time since the post-draft minicamp April 30-May 2.
And while Carroll understands that the rookies need some time to get reinitiated, he’s taking a baptismal-by-blowtorch approach.
“It’s great to get the young guys back with us,” Carroll said. “This is a really important time for the young guys. They’re certainly behind. They can’t do anything about that. They just have to work to catch up.
“We pushed the young guys to the front (of the position lines). They’re getting a lot of turns, to just try and stuff them with plays. We know they’re going to make mistakes. But we need to get them out there. One, so we can see where they are, what they know. But also just to get them active.”
In addition to Okung, wide receiver Golden Tate, the team’s second-round draft choice, also picked up where he left off by making some nice plays. Still missing, however, was free safety Earl Thomas. The second of the team’s first-round draft choices is scheduled to be at the next OTA practice on Wednesday.
Offensive line. The return of Okung allowed the offense to practice with its No. 1 line. That would be, from left tackle to right, Okung, Ben Hamilton, Chris Spencer, Max Unger and Sean Locklear.
But there was a veteran body at a new spot on the No. 2 line at left tackle – 313-pound Mansfield Wrotto, who has played guard in his first three seasons with the club. Joining Wrotto were Mike Gibson and Mitch Erickson at the guards, Steve Vallos at center and Ray Willis at right tackle.
TIGHT END RELEASED
Jason Pociask, a fourth-year tight end who was signed to the practice squad in December, has been released.
The Seahawks still have six tight ends on the roster: John Carlson, who has 106 receptions the past two seasons; Chris Baker, who was signed in free agency to complement Carlson; Cameron Morrah, a seventh-round draft choice last year; Anthony McCoy, a sixth-round pick this year; Jameson Konz, a seventh-round pick this year as a wide receiver who was moved to tight end at the post-draft minicamp; and Patrick Devenny, a rookie free agent.
After practice, a contingent from Enumclaw High School was presented one of those mega-checks for $200,000. The money will be used to put Field Turf on the field the team uses at Enumclaw Expo Center.
The Enumclaw School District is receiving the grant from the Seahawks as part of the NFL Grassroots Program. The grant also is awarded by the NFL Youth Football Fund and Local Initiatives Support Corporation and is part of $2.5 million in field refurbishment awards that will be made this year.
“It’s just awesome,” said Andy Holdener, a junior running back and kicker for the Hornets. “No words can really explain it. To come to a Seahawks practice and see all the players and then to get the money to get the new field, it’s unbelievable.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“To have Lofa on that side and Matt on the other side of the ball brings a great benefit for us. I think it can facilitate this transition that is taking place.” – Carroll, on the importance of Hasselbeck and middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu