A recap of the Seahawks’ practice at Bing Training Camp:
Rule One. Coach Pete Carroll has three simple rules: One, always protect the team; two, no whining, no complaining, no excuses; three, be early.
As quarterback Matt Hasselbeck put it while raising his hand after the, well, spirited full-pads practice, “We had some Rule One violators today.”
To put it another way, things got a little too chippie on several occasions as offensive and defensive players had to be separated by teammates.
“The defensive line and O-line were battling it out,” rookie free safety Earl Thomas said. “That’s what we’ve got to have in practice. It felt good. It just gave me chills in my body.”
At one point, Hasselbeck found himself too close for comfort with Kevin Vickerson, a defensive tackle who is listed at 321 pounds but looks – and looms – even bigger.
“I really had nothing to do with that. I was pulling my guy back and a fight broke out,” Hasselbeck said. “Bad place to be. Wrong place, wrong time.”
The timing, however, was just right for Carroll to use the extra-curricular activity as a teaching tool.
“Guys came out with a lot of energy and we took it a little bit over the top and had some opportunity to teach from that,” said Carroll, who emphasized Rule One in his post-practice talk with the players – who had Monday off.
“We expect this football team to practice at a really high pitch, just as we expect them to play at a really high pitch. We have to learn how to manage that and not get over the top and make mistakes and make errors in our judgment. It was a great opportunity to get after them and talk about that today.”
Despite the lecture, Carroll also said, “It’s not OK, but it’s understood that it’s going to happen sometimes. We just have to learn to manage it – make sure that we make good decisions when you do get riled up and other guys make good decisions to keep guys from going too far.
“But I don’t mind one bit walking that fine line.”
His message was received.
“We’ve got to play with great passion and energy and all that stuff, and we’ve got to play tough and physical – you know, blah-blah-blah,” Hasselbeck said. “But you’ve got to play smart and you’ve got to have poise. Taking hits after the whistle just is not what we’re going to be all about. It’s not playing smart football.”
Or following Rule One.
Aaron Curry. Last year’s first-round draft choice returned after sitting out nine practices because of lingering headaches – the result of a collision with running back Justin Forsett in the second practice of camp. The team’s strong-side linebacker was limited to the 7-on-7 drill, but he also was in full pads for the first time since last season.
“He’s a little rusty. He had some problems in his drops today,” Carroll said. “He has not had as much practice time as he needs to really feel comfortable.”
If there has been a plus to Curry missing so much time, it’s that those reps went to Will Herring.
“Will has had a great came and done a bunch of playing at the Sam (strong-side) position,” Carroll said. “He can play first-class football for us there.”
Curry had this to say about Forsett, who weighs 57 pounds less than Curry: “You can just tell by his game play that he’s one of the toughest guys on the field. He has a chip on his shoulder because everybody has said that he’s too small. But he’s going to take a hit; he’s going to give a hit. One man is not going to take him down and he’s willing to stand against anybody. That’s what makes Forsett Forsett.”
Right tackle. First-round draft choice Russell Okung got his most extensive work with the No. 1 line at left tackle since reporting to camp Friday, which allowed Ray Willis to get some reps on the right side. Willis had been subbing for Okung.
Now, he’ll get an opportunity to challenge Sean Locklear for the starting job at right tackle.
“Ray wanted to battle for that starting spot at the right side, but we made a plea to him that we needed his services on the other side until we could get the young kid in camp,” Carroll said. “Ray did just that. So now he’ll be swinging and playing both sides. It’s going to help him in the long run.
“But he’s going to battle at that right spot and see how far he can take it.”
Willis started all 16 games at right tackle last season when Locklear was starting on the left side because since-retired Walter Jones was out while recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee.
Carroll lauded the job line coach Alex Gibbs did in getting Okung up to speed so quickly.
“He’s ready to be with the first group and he’ll take more snaps than anybody probably from this time on,” Carroll said. “But just to throw him in there and hope that he could hang in there because we’re so anxious about it would have been a mistake.
“We showed some real wisdom there hoping that it will help him benefit. Now he’s in, he’s feeling good, he’s confident enough to start taking all the snaps with the first group. And he won’t come out of there for a long time now.”
Linebacker Leroy Hill sprained a knee in practice, while guard Mike Gibson took a shot to the head during one of the flare-ups between the linemen.
“Leroy got caught up in a pile. It doesn’t seem to be bad,” Carroll said. “He’s had something like it before. He was just rock solid about it. He said it wasn’t a big deal.”
Carroll said Hill could miss a couple days of practice.
On Gibson, Carroll said, “He got a little woozy out there. So we’ve got to see what happens with that.”
Tight end John Carlson returned after sitting out Sunday’s practice at Husky Stadium, as did Curry and Hasselbeck.
Running back Quinton Ganther, wide receivers Mike Williams and Kole Heckendorf, linebacker Matt McCoy, defensive lineman Jonathan Lewis and kicker Olindo Mare joined the list of those not practicing – a group that already included linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Joe Pawelek, defensive lineman Lawrence Jackson and running back Louis Rankin.
The players will practice at 1:30 on Wednesday, as well as Thursday. Both sessions at Virginia Mason Athletic Center are open to the public and you can register to attend here.
THE “IN” CROWD
Today’s practice attracted 1,258 fans, bringing the total for the first 11 practices at VMAC to 17,518.
NOW HEAR THIS
The playlist of songs that runs throughout practice was expanded today to include “Indiana Boy,” a song from CT, defensive tackle Craig Terrill’s CD. Click here to hear the song, and even buy the CD.
YOU DON’T SAY
“This is the best I’ve felt, too. Usually you come to camp, you feel great. You’ve been working so hard all offseason. You feel great the first day of camp and the first week of the season you’re sort of broken down a little bit. So I think the mindset is to be in great shape, feeling good for the first regular-season game. Which makes a whole lot of sense.” – Hasselbeck, when asked about this camp having on four two-a-day practices