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Wednesday in Hawkville

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

FOCUS ON

Leon Washington. Another day, another huge step on his road back from the severely broken right leg that ended his 2009 season while playing with the New York Jets.

This afternoon, Washington was up first in a running back rotation that also included Julius Jones and Justin Forsett – in that order, and one play at a time for each. Tuesday, Washington was ramming his 5-foot-8, 203-pound body between the tackles in goal-line and 9-on-7 drills. Today, he was flaunting his speed and explosiveness by getting outside and catching passes out of the backfield.

If you didn’t know he was coming off a serious injury, you wouldn’t know it by watching him practice.

 

“People ask me all the time, ‘Will you feel apprehensive about going out there and playing?’ ” said Washington, who was obtained in a draft day trade but had to complete his rehab before being able to practice fully with his new team.

“You know what? My life is on the line when we go out there. This is a dangerous sport, and I don’t really have time to be thinking about my legs. I’m just going to go out there and give it my all, and whatever happens happens.”

But what about going out there first? “We’re just doing a good job of rotating the backs and giving each back an opportunity to start a period off,” Washington said.

That goes back to something running backs coach Sherman Smith has been preaching to his players.

“The strength of our group is the group,” Smith said. “It’s not about one guy, it about all of them.  They’re all important.”

But Washington does possess skills that definitely enhance the group.

“It’s just another tool in the tool box – and a good tool,” Smith said. “Leon is getting after it and he looks great. I think he’s gotten the confidence in his leg. He’s excited about it now. You see him each and every day doing different things – showing explosiveness, and speed.

“We’re fortunate to have him.”   

ROOKIE WATCH

Golden Tate. Yes, the second-round draft choice has been “watched” before. But he keeps making catches that are worth at least a second look.

There was the leaping one-hander of a Matt Hasselbeck pass during the 7-on-7 drill Tuesday. There was another up-and-over grab between safety Kam Chancellor and since-released cornerback Chris Richards during the “mock game” at Husky Stadium on Sunday – but he used both hands on that one. Today, however, Tate had another one-handed early in practice.

As Hasselbeck said last week, “He’s kind of electric once he gets the ball in his hands.”

Some of the stuff Tate does to get his hands on the ball is pretty electrifying, too.

“I think it’s being competitive,” Tate said after practice, when asked the secret to his one-handed grabs. “Right now, it’s hard earning the quarterback’s trust. You’ve got guys like T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) and (Deion) Branch. So you’ve got to take everything that’s thrown your way – high ball, low ball, right ball, left ball. I’ve got to do whatever I can to catch that ball.”

And what was Tate’s take when he saw the video review of Tuesday’s catch that was the talk of practice?

“I believe any ball that touches my hands should be caught,” he said. “So that’s kind of how I approach it. I will say it was a good catch, and maybe even a little lucky. But I still expect myself to make those plays.”

UNIT WATCH

Goal-line defense. Heavy emphasis on the line. With Kevin Vickerson back from the ailments that sidelined earlier in camp, check this XXXL-line – from left end to right: Red Bryant (323 pounds), Colin Cole (328), Vickerson (321), Brandon Mebane (311), E.J. Wilson (289).

“It can be nice, it can be good, it can be whatever,” Mebane said. “But we’ve all got to do our assignments. It’s what we’re looking for. But everybody’s got to do their assignments, including me.

“Because we’ve all got to be one.”

Make that a really big one – more than three-quarters of ton, in fact.

ROLL CALL

Linebacker Leroy Hill and guard Mike Gibson  did not practice after being injured on Tuesday. But running back Quinton Ganther, linebacker Matt McCoy and defensive lineman Jonathan Lewis were back after sitting out Tuesday.

Still sidelined: wide receivers Mike Williams and Kole Heckendorf, running back Louis Rankin, defensive lineman Lawrence Jackson, linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Joe Pawelek and kicker Olindo Mare.

With Mare out, punter Jon Ryan handled the field-goal kicking duties. On the final play of practice, he had plenty of distance on a 49-yard attempt, but it was wide left.  

UP NEXT

The players will be back at it on Thursday, again starting at 1:30 p.m. Friday, there will be a final walkthrough in preparation for Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans at Qwest Field.

THE “IN” CROWD

Today’s attendance on a picture-postcard afternoon was 1,296. That brings the total for the 12 practices that have been open at Virginia Mason Athletic Center to 18,510.

Only two more practices are open to the public – Thursday and Monday – before camp breaks next Thursday. To register to attend either practice, click here.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I hear about the fan base here and the 12th Man. For these people to take time out of their busy day, and I’m sure some of them took off work; you’ve got to appreciate it. So I see it as a blessing that they want me to sign their stuff and they want be around me. So it’s kind of my honor, my pleasure.” – Tate, after “working the fence” long after practice was over to sign autographs for fans


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