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Thursday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, where it was actually Friday because the Seahawks play on Saturday night:

FOCUS ON

Josh Pinkard. With Kam Chancellor sidelined by a sore foot, Pinkard will start at strong safety in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos in Denver.

If his performance on the practice field this week – and especially today – is any indication, the second-year safety is ready for the challenge and the opportunity.

“This is a glorious opportunity for Josh,” coach Pete Carroll said after the team’s 95-minute padless practice. “It’s a huge opportunity for him to show he can hang with these guys.”

Today, Pinkard let it all hang out. He intercepted one pass and tipped away another. But his best play came a screen pass that he read before the ball was ever snapped, allowing him to close quickly and get to Doug Baldwin just as the rookie wide receiver was catching the ball behind the line of scrimmage.

“It’s just knowing the plays and knowing our pre-play keys and reads that we go through in our minds,” Pinkard said. “That’s why we’re sitting in those meetings all day. Once you get that tip or that tendency, you’ve just to react on it.”

Pinkard definitely did that today.

ROOKIE WATCH

K.J. Wright. The fourth-round draft choice will start at middle linebacker against the Broncos because David Hawthorne is out with a sore knee. Wright, who was drafted an outside linebacker, was moved inside after Lofa Tatupu was released on July 31. And the rookie has taken to his new role.

“This is an exciting opportunity for K.J., and for us to see him play with the first group,” Carroll said. “He had a terrific week of practice. I mean he really stepped it up and tried to play up with the fellas. It will be interesting to see how he does.”

Wright will be flanked by Aaron Curry and Leroy Hill, the starting outside linebackers, who participated in every phase of practice today after sitting out earlier in the week because of sore knees.

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Offense: Wide receiver Mike Williams going up between a pair of defenders to pull down a pass from Tarvaris Jackson for a 20-yard gain. The long play setup Jackson’s TD pass to a wide open Ben Obomanu in the two-minute drill that concluded practice. Williams also reached back to grab a Jackson pass in the end zone during the red zone drill.

Defense: Free safety Earl Thomas displaying his reactions, closing speed and leaping ability by flashing in to tip away a Josh Portis pass that was intended for rookie wide receiver Brandon Smith along the sideline.

Special teams: Linebacker/rush-end/tight end Jameson Konz sliding in to down a Jon Ryan punt by catching it at the 2-yard line.

IN AND OUT

Chris Clemons, the “Leo” defensive end, returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday to rest his surgically repaired ankle. He’ll also play against the Broncos after sitting out the first two preseason games.

“We’re figuring out how much to play him,” Carroll said. “We’d just like to get him out there and start him on his comeback. He looked fine in practice when he’s taken his turns. He won’t see an extended amount of time. We’ll get him in there two or three plays at time and then out.”

Running back Marshawn Lynch sat out for the second consecutive day to rest a sore ankle and Carroll said Lynch will not play against the Broncos.

“We’re going to rest him this week to make sure we get him well,” Carroll said. “But if we were playing a (regular season) game, I know he’d be chomping at the bit to play. But I think it’s a good decision to hold him back right now.”

Still sidelined, in addition to Hawthorne, Chancellor and Lynch: tight end John Carlson (shoulder), defensive end Dexter Davis (hip) and defensive lineman Pierre Allen (hamstring). Left tackle Russell Okung (ankle) did some work in individual drills but will not play against the Broncos.

Four players remain on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from offseason surgery: wide receiver Deon Butler (leg), tight end Cameron Morrah (toe), defensive tackle Colin Cole (ankle) and cornerback Roy Lewis (knee). They could remain on PUP when the cut to 53 players is made on Sept. 3, Carroll said.

“Right now we’re just being real patient with that and we don’t expect those guys to make it by the first game,” Carroll said of the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco. “They’re not going to make it. It’s going to be awhile.”

UP NEXT

The players will have a sort walk-thru Friday morning before the team flies to Denver for Saturday night’s game. The players will be off on Sunday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Well, he’s huge, for one. He’s huge. That starts there, but he runs well, too. He gets up and goes. He can chase the football. And he’s so long with his arms that he can deliver a blow on blockers and extend and hold the line of scrimmage in an unusual fashion.” – Carroll, when asked what it was about Red Bryant’s body type that makes the 6-foot-4, 323-pounder suited for the five-technique end spot


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