Thursday afternoon in Hawkville

A recap of the Seahawks’ second practice at Bing Training Camp:

FOCUS ON

Tight ends. What does a coach do when his offense is backed up against its own goal line? Send in a couple of tight ends to help the running back gain some breathing-room yards.

That equation was half right in just such a drill this afternoon. The offense had the ball at its own 2-yard line and coordinator Jeremy Bates sent in John Carlson, Chris Baker, Cameron Morrah and Anthony McCoy – in a variety of two-tight end pairings.

But run the ball? They did some of that, with moderate success. The big plays, however, came on passes to the tight ends. Backup QB Charlie Whitehurst went to Morrah twice for first-down yardage, while starter Matt Hasselbeck threaded a pass between safeties Earl Thomas and Kevin Ellison to Carlson for a 13-yard gain.

“In backed-up situations like that, if we bring in a bunch of big blockers the defense is going to do the same thing and it gets congested,” Carlson said. “So occasionally we like to spread it out in those situations, because with eight-man boxes we’re going to have opportunities to throw the ball down the field.”

And, more importantly, complete those throws for first downs.

POSITION WATCH

Linebacker. This unit has turned into a make-do-with-what-we-have group, and this afternoon they didn’t have starters Lofa Tatupu and Aaron Curry, as well as Anthony Heygood and Joe Pawelek.

That left David Hawthorne, Leroy Hill, Will Herring, Matt McCoy and rookie Dexter Davis – which also left each to take a lot of reps on a hot, humid afternoon.

“We call ourselves ‘The Few and the Proud,’ ” Hawthorne said. “But we’re good. It’s a grind, but nobody said it was going to be easy. Every day, we go with what we’ve got.”

This afternoon, Hawthorne played middle linebacker, weak-side linebacker and in the nickel. McCoy also worked outside and in the middle, while Herring got reps outside in the base defense and also in the nickel.

“We’ve only got a few linebackers, but we’re going to hold it off until the rest of the troops get back,” Hawthorne said.

JUST FOR KICKS

When they got to the field-goal kicking portion of the morning practice, punter Jon Ryan handled the duties – not kicker Olindo Mare. And wide receiver Ruvell Martin replaced Ryan as the holder.

Ryan hit each of his four attempts.

It was a just-in-case drill. Rather than wonder what will happen if Mare is unable to kick in a game, special teams coach Brian Schneider knows that Ryan can step in.

ROLL CALL

Strong safety Lawyer Milloy, cornerback Marcus Trufant, offensive lineman Mansfield Wrotto and wide receiver Deion Branch were back after sitting out the morning practice.

With Wrotto back to work at left tackle, Ray Willis was given the afternoon off – as were wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, cornerback Walter Thurmond, guard Ben Hamilton, defensive lineman Lawrence Jackson, running back Louis Rankin and Tatupu.

Mike Gibson worked at left guard with the No. 1 offense for Hamilton. With Wrotto and Gibson elevated to the first unit, the left side on the No. 2 line had Joe Phillips at tackle and Steve Vallos at guard – with Jeff Byers stepping in for Vallos at center.

Still sidelined were defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson and safety Kam Chancellor, as well as two players who remain on the physically-unable-to-perform list – offensive lineman Chester Pitts and cornerback Josh Pinkard.

UP NEXT

The players will practice once Friday, starting at 1:30 p.m. There are two practices Saturday, at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

And don’t forget about Sunday’s practice, which will be held at the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium starting at 1:30. Admission and parking are free.

THE “IN” CROWD

Today’s practices attracted 2,083 fans – 1,163 this afternoon and 920 this morning. That brings the total for the seven practices that have open to the public to 12,517.

The Saturday afternoon practice is “sold out,” but there are openings for the other seven open practices at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Click here to register.

YOU DON’T SAY

“He’s really big on the little things. … But it’s been good. I love the way he coaches. He makes everybody excited around him, and I’m excited to learn from him.” – running back Justin Forsett, on offensive line coach Alex Gibbs


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