A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for Aug. 15:
The fans. They came by the bus loads. Day after day. Practice after practice. Weekends. Week days. It didn’t seem to matter. They packed the berm adjacent to the practices field at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. They lined the fence that separates the berm from the fields. They cheered the big plays, and even the not so big. They coaxed players into autographing everything from footballs, to jerseys, to body parts.
After today’s practice, the berm fell silent.
The last of the 13 training-camp practices open to the public attracted a crowd of 1,325 fans, pushing the total for camp to 20,841.
And the players appreciated you being here. It’s one thing to run out of the tunnel at CenturyLink Field to the roar of 66,000-plus on game day. But to get a rousing reception from a thousand or more die-hards on a Wednesday morning, that’s special, too.
“The fans help,” right tackle Breno Giacomini said. “If you don’t get excited for that, then something’s wrong with you. You should probably be playing golf somewhere.
“I like having the fans at practice. It’s a good environment, a game-like environment for practice.”
After practice, Giacomini was one of the players who “worked the fence” – signing autographs, chatting with fans, posing for picture.
“It’s good, man. The 12th Man is really good, and we use it to our advantage. So whenever we can give back, we do,” he said. “These kids love it, just as much as I did when I was growing up.”
Giacomini has grown into a 6-foot-7, 318-pound beast of a blocker. But he still knows his place.
Asked how it felt to have the fans yelling and cheering for him, he said, “Well, they’re not screaming for me. They’re screaming for us.”
Right on cue, quarterback Matt Flynn also stepped away from the fence so he could fulfill his post-practice interview duties. The fans erupted with shouts of, “Matt. Matt. Matt.”
Giacomini smiled and shrugged before offering, “See what I mean. But it’s all good.”
Quarterback. How did Flynn learn that will be the starting quarterback in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos in Denver?
“I’m finding out along with you guys,” Flynn told reporters after practice, adding that he heard the news on the radio. “I found out from you guys before I found out from anybody else yesterday. So I’m just going where they tell me to go and doing the best I can.”
Flynn starting for the second consecutive week is part of coach Pete Carroll’s grand plan to determine which of three QBs will start the Sept. 9 regular-season opener. In addition to Flynn, there’s also incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson and rookie Russell Wilson. But Flynn is not privy to the details of that plan.
He’s more concerned with the game plan for the Broncos. Flynn completed 11 of 13 passes in the preseason opener against the Titans, producing 71 passing yards and three points as “we took what the defense gave us,” he said.
What does he hope to improve on against the Broncos?
“Everything. That’s what preseason is for, that’s what this (practice) is for. We have to improve on everything,” said Flynn, who then rattled through a mental to-do improvement list that included the running game, passing game, protection, route running and accuracy throwing.
“Just everything as an offense, everything that makes an offense go we’ve got to improve on.”
Third down. The Seahawks converted six of 12 third-down situations against the Titans on Saturday night – two of five in the first half under Flynn; four of seven in the second half under Wilson.
But in the final full-team segment of practice today, Wilson had his third-down mojo working on a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended with his 6-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens. Wilson passed to Kris Durham for 16 yards on third-and-10, and then hooked up with Charly Martin for 17 yards on a third-and-8 play. The TD pass? It came on third-and-goal.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Defense: You had to be an early bird to catch this one, as cornerback Phillip Adams continued his impressive week of practice by taking the ball from the hands of Braylon Edwards in the end zone for another interception (Adams had two on Tuesday).
Offense: Another early highlight that stood the test of the rest of practice, as rookie wide receiver Phil Bates grabbed and controlled a pass that had been tipped by cornerback Bryon Maxwell – and did it while falling out of bounds, but making sure his feet were inbounds.
Special teams: Rookie Carson Wiggs kicked a 49-yard field goal on the final play of practice.
IN ’N OUT
The number of players watching practice grew to 14, as offensive lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre, wide receiver Golden Tate, tight ends Anthony McCoy and Cameron Morrah and linebacker Mike Morgan joined those already sidelined – linebackers Matt McCoy and Malcolm Smith, defensive ends Cordarro Law and Pierre Allen, cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Ron Parker, tight end Zach Miller and offensive linemen James Carpenter and John Moffitt.
But Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson and safety Jeron Johnson returned after sitting out Tuesday.
PASSING THE BATON
In honor of the scorch marks doled out by Usain Bolt and the other members of Jamaican 4×100 relay team at the London Olympics, we asked wide receiver Ricardo Lockette to compile a 400-meter relay team for the Seahawks.
Lockette’s credentials: He was the NCAA Division II 200-meter champion in 2008 in a time of 20.6 seconds, but has a PR of 20.3; has run the 100-meter dash in 10.0 seconds; and tied for the third-fastest 40-yard dash (4.37 seconds) at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, but has a PR of 4.26.
“If he had stuck with track, he would have been at the (U.S. Olympic) Trials this year,” said Tyree Price, Lockette’s track coach at Fort Valley State.
Lockette’s selections for the Seahawks’ 4×100, in order of how they would run: Leon Washington, to Jeremy Lane, to Deon Butler, to Lockette.
Camp will break following a morning practice tomorrow. The team will fly to Denver after practice on Friday for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos.
YOU DON’T SAY
“You’ve all seen him out here. He’s fast. It looks like he hasn’t lost a step; it looks like he’s gained a step.” – Flynn on the 38-year-old Owens, who is beginning his week with the team