A recap of the Seahawks’ practice at Husky Stadium:
Real football. Or as close as it gets nine days into training camp.
Coach Pete Carroll took advantage of Bing Training Camp being shifted across Lake Washington for the afternoon to get his players, coaches and the rest of the staff ready for Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans at Qwest Field.
“It’s good just to get in a different setting,” Carroll said. “We had to get on the buses and go somewhere and it’s Sunday, so we had some fun with all that.
“It was a good event here.”
The best part, of course, was the 65-play “mock game” that was featured in the 95-minute full-pads practice – and staged before an enthusiastic crowd of 6,231 fans.
Charlie Whitehurst, running the No. 1 offense because Matt Hasselbeck was held out to rest a sore hamstring, directed a pair of touchdown drives against the No. 2 defense.
Whitehurst used a nice play-action fake to running back Justin Forsett in setting up his 1-yard TD pass to tight end Chris Baker. The six-play, 53-yard drive was highlighted by Deon Butler’s reaching grab of a Whitehurst pass for a 33-yard gain. The second score capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive and came on another 1-yard TD pass – this time on a quick slant to Mike Williams, who used his 6-foot-5, 235-pound body to shield cornerback Roy Lewis from the ball in the end zone. Whitehurst also completed a 19-yard pass to Deion Branch on the drive and Forsett carried on three of the final four plays for 25 yards.
With Hasselbeck sitting out, the coaches also good their longest look of camp at J.P. Losman, the former starting QB for the Buffalo Bills who was signed in May.
“Up to this time in camp, with a dozen practices or so under our belt, Charlie and J.P. have had a really good chance so far to jump into the offense and figure out where they fit,” Carroll said. “Now, hopefully, we’ll make a lot of progress here in the next month before the preseason is over with those guys.
“They should grow. They should feel pretty good about it. They know they’ve had a really good chance to show at this point. Both those guys are grateful for that and the format has worked out well there. We’ll just keep it going with it and keep it pretty much the same. So they’ll continue to get work, which just makes us stronger.”
Walter Thurmond. The fourth-round draft choice from Oregon is coming off reconstructive surgery on his right knee, but today he looked like a cornerback who has a future with this team.
On the fifth play of the “mock game,” Thurmond put a hit on Quinton Ganther that left the running back woozy. Later, he broke up Whitehurst’s deep pass that was intended for Williams – who has six inches on Thurmond.
“Walter is an exciting player,” said Carroll, who coached against Thurmond while at USC. “We’re seeing him come to life. We’ve given him more plays the last two days to give him a chance to get out there and feel like he’s back into playing football.”
The coaches brought Thurmond along slowly to start camp, understandably.
“But he’s starting to hang in there pretty good,” Carroll said. “He’s continues to be a very physical kid. He makes good hits, as well as using his speed and coverage ability.
“This could be a fantastic draft pick for us if we can get Walter to come to life here. He’s really looking like he’s going to and could really fit in nicely for us.”
Wide receiver Mike Hass is back. He was re-signed after wide receiver Isaiah Stanback tore his left Achilles tendon early in practice on Saturday afternoon. Hass had been released Thursday when defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock was signed.
“That was such an unfortunate thing,” Carroll said, standing in the middle of the stadium where Stanback played his college ball.
Stanback’s injury, which will require surgery, came when he planted his foot and pushed off in a non-contact drill.
“He was doing great. He was playing great football for us,” Carroll said. “His effort and his focus and competitiveness was so obvious. We were really excited about him making the team.”
Hasselbeck not participating in the “mock game” obviously wasn’t his decision. A couple of times, he put his helmet on and looked like he was going to take the field. But Carroll intervened.
“Matt wanted to go. He was dying to go today,” Carroll said. “He was pushing the whole time. He was getting mad at me there.”
Tight end John Carlson also was held out because of a sore oblique.
During practice, Ganther had to leave after taking the hit from Thurmond and center Chris Spencer was kicked in the leg. Neither injury was considered serious.
Six players who sat out Saturday’s afternoon practice returned this afternoon: defensive linemen Kevin Vickerson and E.J. Wilson, safety Kam Chancellor, offensive lineman Mansfield Wrotto, running back Leon Washington and Branch.
In addition to Hasselbeck and Carlson, eight other players did not participate: linebackers Lofa Tatupu, Aaron Curry and Joe Pawelek, defensive lineman Lawrence Jackson, wide receiver Marcus Maxwell, running back Louis Rankin, guard Chester Pitts and cornerback Josh Pinkard. Pitts and Pinkard remain on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
The players are off Monday, but will return Tuesday for one practice, starting at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday was originally scheduled to be the final session of two-a-day practices, but Carroll canceled the morning practice. Fans who registered to attend either practice will receive an email instructing them how to attend Tuesday’s practice or one of the other remaining three that are open – Wednesday, Thursday or Aug. 16.
YOU DON’T SAY
“He’s probably been the most improved receiver – the most improved guy maybe at his position, other than (defensive end) Red Bryant. He’s just made a lot of progress. He made another big play today. He’s got terrific speed. But to make tough catches like that, with guys going up, that’s the kind of stuff you like to see.” – Carroll, on Butler