A recap of the day’s activities:
Earl Thomas. The Seahawks’ rookie free safety is a player of interest this week – in San Diego, as well as Seattle.
That’s because the Chargers are coming to town for a game at Qwest Field on Sunday, and quarterback Philip Rivers likes to thrown the ball down the field. In the Chargers’ season-opening loss at Kansas City, Rivers hooked up with Legedu Naanee on a 59-yard touchdown, and also had a 34-yard pass play to tight end Antonio Gates. In Sunday’s win over the Jaguars, Rivers had a 54-yard TD pass to Malcolm Floyd, as well as a 26-yard pass play to Gates.
As the Seahawks’ last line of defense, it’s Thomas’ task to prevent those kinds of plays this week.
“Deep digs. Deep seven cuts. Seven-step drops,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said after practice, with heavy emphasis on the “deep” and “seven” – twice.
“They’re trying to challenge you down the field and try to get big plays. It will be a good game for Earl. I know he’s excited about it.”
It’s these types of situations that prompted the Seahawks to select Thomas with the 14th pick in the first round of April’s NFL draft. They wanted a free safety with the speed and range to cover a lot of ground and the ball skills to make plays once he gets where he’s going.
“I think I’ll have more action in his game,” said Thomas, who shares the team lead with 13 tackles after two games. “Rivers is going to throw it up to his big tight end, and he has a lot of faith in his receivers. But they make a lot of plays for him. So hopefully we can eliminate it.”
Thomas also is dealing with the death of Reggie Garrett, his childhood friend and the quarterback at his old high school in Texas – West Orange-Stark. Garrett collapsed on the sideline after throwing a touchdown pass last Friday night.
“Back home in Orange, everybody knows each other,” Thomas said before practice. “I look at anybody who went to West Orange as my brothers. We have a close bond down there.
“It was just a shocking experience when you hear something like that. It just took me off guard. It was on my mind a lot. I try not to talk about it as much, so will probably be one of my last times talking about it.”
Offensive line. For the first time this season, the unit that took the practice on Wednesday was the same one that finished the game Sunday – and will start against the Chargers.
Injuries to first-round draft choice Russell Okung, right guard Max Unger and left guards Ben Hamilton and Mike Gibson forced the Seahawks to use two different starting units in their first two games.
But the starters today remained – from left tackle to right – Tyler Polumbus, for Okung; Hamilton, Chris Spencer at center, Stacy Andres for Unger and Sean Locklear.
“Tyler has done a nice job at left tackle for us and showed we can play with him,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s continuing to get better in all aspects – communications and everything.”
That develop has allowed the coaches to start working Chester Pitts at left guard as he continues his return from the microfracture knee surgery that ended his 2009 season while playing with the Houston Texans.
ON THE FIELD
The players practiced for 1 hour, 40 minutes on a warm, sunny afternoon – and did it with 120 guests from the “Wounded Warriors” Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McCord watching from the sideline.
“These are the ones who are really are battling it and have done so many great things to protect us,” Carroll said. “So always we want to recognize them and give them the respect that they deserve – which is a tremendous amount. We talk so much in our team settings about respect, which means how much you regard somebody, and these guys are in the highest regard for us. So we’re thrilled to have them here.”
Tight end John Carlson made a falling, one-handed grab of a pass from Matt Hasselbeck to highlight the offensive efforts in practice, while cornerback Marcus Trufant had a leaping interception along the sideline to spark the defense.
The official report, as released by the team:
LB Leroy Hill (calf)
Did not practice
RB Quinton Ganther (knee)
LB Will Herring (non injury)
OT Russell Okung (ankle)
Limited in practice
LB Matt McCoy
OG Ben Hamilton (knee)
OT Chester Pitts (knee)
WR Mike Williams (thigh)
Hill’s injury, which was called a strained calf after the game on Sunday, is in the Achilles’ tendon area and “significant,” as Carroll labeled it.
“He’s going to be out for a while,” Carroll said. “I don’t know all the details on how long that’s going to be, but he’s going to be down for awhile.”
Okung did some running on Tuesday and “got through that OK,” Carroll said. “So we’re anxious to see how far he can take it. We’re just going to go day-by-day and see what happens and how he responds to the work. It’s encouraging that we’re finally getting him on the road to recovery.”
Okung has missed 4½ weeks with the high ankle sprain he got early in the second preseason game. Carroll said Monday that Okung has a chance to resume practicing next week.
For the Chargers, WR Malcolm Floyd (hamstring) and RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not practice and LB Stephen Cooper (knee) was limited.
ROSTER ROULETTE, PRACTICE SQUAD EDITION
Cornerback Cord Parks was re-signed to fill the spot on the practice that opened Tuesday when guard Brian De La Puente was released. Linebacker Joe Pawelek also was re-signed and cornerback Marcus Brown was released.
Pawelek was released Sept. 4 on the roster cut to 53 players, signed to the practice squad two days later and then released from the practice squad last Thursday.
The players will continue preparing for the Chargers when they practice Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
The club also has announced a news conference for Thursday morning, when a replacement for out-going CEO Tod Leiweke is expected to be announced.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The first thing that’s always stood out to me about their defense is they’re fast. They really fly around. Even more so, to go with that fast, this year’s team (there’s) the size inside. They’re big and obviously playing well against the run.” – Rivers, when asked about his impressions of the Seahawks’ defense