Monday round-up: Russell Wilson in Wisconsin; ESPN lays out bright future

Russell Wilson’s Passing Academy made it’s stop in Madison, Wis. over the weekend, as the Seahawks Pro Bowl quarterback instructed hundreds of youth players looking to improve both on and off the field

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Monday, July 1, about your Seattle Seahawks, as well as a look back at what you may have missed last week, June 25-28, when I was a little under the weather:

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune notes offensive guard James Carpenter’s health is a key component for the ‘Hawks in 2013, and offers a detailed look at the competition along the O-line.

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com delves into the uncertainty – and upside – present along the interior of the Seahawks’ offensive line.

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com highlights rookie defensive tackle Jesse Williams in his Finding the Fits series, which identifies one unheralded player per team who appears to be a good fit schematically, and in turn could be a surprise contributor early on.

We have the podcast from Dave “Softy” Mahler’s Friday conversation with cornerback Richard Sherman, who spent the weekend down in Orange, Texas at free safety Earl Thomas’ football camp for youth. Sherman previews his Celebrity Softball Game next weekend at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium:

Avi Zaleon of the Beaumont Enterprise recaps Thomas’ aforementioned weekend youth camp.

Matt Williamson of ESPN.com says Thomas is the player the Seahawks can least afford to lose.

Tom Mulhern of SportsMadison.com recaps quarterback Russell Wilson’s Passing Academy in Madison, Wis.

Adam Rank of NFL.com has his list of 12 must-see stadiums throughout the League, and Seattle’s CenturyLink Field pops up at No.2.

In a bit of obscure off-the-field news, wide receiver Sidney Rice has signed on with Wingstop to open five new franchises in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

In case you missed it last week over at ESPN.com, a slew of their NFL Insiders projected the Top 10 players at each position group for the 2016 season. We already told you where Russell Wilson projects among 2016 quarterbacks last week, courtesy of NFC West blogger Mike Sando. As a refresher, the site’s positional projections were exercises that followed their Future Power Rankings, which evaluated the core of each franchise as they project in 2016 -  the Seahawks ranked at No. 3.

Each positional piece is an ESPN Insider feature, but I’ve pulled the Seahawks mentions and what ESPN’s panel of experts had to say about each player in several snippets below:

Top 10 running backs in 2016No. 5, Christine Michael – ESPN’s Matt Williamson writes: “The selection of Michael seemed like an odd one, but Marshawn Lynch, with his extremely violent running style, probably isn’t going to last long in this league. Michael is a first-round caliber talent, but has a lot of questions off the field. Expect Pete Carroll and company to harness Michael’s great talent by bringing him along slowly. By 2016, he will be a total stud and a true every-down running back. Ignoring their extenuating circumstances, Lattimore and Michael are the most talented all-around running backs from this latest draft class.”

Top 10 wide receivers in 2016 - No. 6, Percy Harvin – ESPN’s Field Yates writes: “There have been some injury and attitude concerns for Harvin during his first four seasons in Minnesota, but a change of scenery has him ready to explode in Seattle in 2013. His rare open-field elusiveness, coupled with great strength for a player of his stature, makes him a rare breed. He can take carries from the backfield, too, and he’ll now play with a quarterback who can deliver the ball on a rope; that will only help the electric Harvin.”

Top 10 safeties in 2016No. 1, Earl Thomas – Williamson writes: “Thomas is an essential member of the league’s best secondary and what I expect to be an elite defense overall. He has outstanding range and is best as a center fielder, but he truly excels in all facets of safety play. Thomas will only be 27 years old when the 2016 season begins, which could be the peak of an outstanding career.”

Top 10 safeties in 2016 – No. 9, Kam Chancellor - Williamson writes: “Chancellor recently turned 25 and his best football should be ahead of him. A punishing hitter, his career might not be as long as some of the others on this list. But Chancellor already has established himself as one of the best safeties in the league, and he paired with Thomas to be a foundational unit for the Seahawks to build around.”

Top 10 cornerbacks in 2016No. 2, Richard Sherman – ESPN’s Herm Edwards writes: “Another corner with very good length, it’s really hard to beat Sherman deep. Seattle’s system is perfect for him, because he can press receivers and disrupt them at the line of scrimmage — which plays right into his confidence. With eight interceptions last season, he’s only going to improve moving forward.” (And because I know you’re dying to know, the Arizona Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson is the only player that ranks ahead of Sherman on this list).

Top 10 linebackers in 2016No. 3, Bobby Wagner – Yates writes: “Kuechly took home NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors last year, but you wouldn’t have heard any complaints from me if Wagner was the recipient instead. Relatively unknown out of Utah State, all Wagner did was lead one of the NFL’s best defenses in tackles with 147, while also recording a pair of sacks and picking off three passes. The 22-year old has already shown he can do it all.”


On this date: Scott Fitterer hired as scout

Scott Fitterer

A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on June 28:

2001: Scott Fitterer is named an area scout. He was promoted to director of college scouting in 2010. In his current role, Fitterer has been involved in the NFL Drafts that have reshaped the Seahawks’ roster — beginning with the selections of All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas, Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, split end Golden Tate and strong safety Kam Chancellor in 2010; All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and linebackers K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith in 2011; and quarterback Russell Wilson, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, defensive end Bruce Irvin and guard J.R. Sweezy in 2012.


A Happy Bobby Birthday

Bobby Wagner

The way Bobby Wagner played last season, it was hard to believe the Seahawks’ middle linebacker was only a rookie.

He not only led the team with 140 tackles, Wagner’s total was the fifth-highest in franchise history behind Terry Beeson (153 in 1978), Chad Brown (150 in 1998), Anthony Simmons (147 in 2000) and Michael Jackson (141 in 1981). Wagner also finished second in voting for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The way Wagner approached this offseason – with a lead-by-example commitment to getting better – it’s hard to believe he’s only 23. And just barely, as today is Wagner’s 23rd birthday.

“Bobby has put the work in,” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. “He’s doing the things when no one is watching – studying video, putting in the extra work in the weight room and the meeting room.”

So on Wagner’s birthday it turns out that he might be the gift of a second-round draft choice who just keeps on giving.

Speaking of gifts …

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Is it football season yet?

Red Bryant

Happy Summer Solstice, Seahawks fans.

But wait, hold on. Did you know that while your calendars mark today – Friday, June 21 – as the first official day of summer, those of us on the West Coast actually made the jump from spring to summer late Thursday night? The change of season occurred at 1:04 a.m. ET – that’s 10:04 p.m. PT. So technically, those of us here on the left side of the states were finally able to experience something before our east coast friends. Take that little tidbit to whatever weekend gathering you’ve got on deck.

Now, let’s get to some football – sort of. As defensive end Red Bryant lets you know in our graphic above, there are just 79 days until the Seahawks kickoff the 2013 regular season against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. And to help us cope with life without football, here’s a detailed look at what’s going on next week, June 23-28, with your Seattle Seahawks:

Sunday, June 23:

Monday, June 24:

  • The 16th annual Rookie Symposium starts up in Aurora, Ohio, where all 254 members of the 2013 NFL Draft class will report to learn about life in the NFL prior to training camp starting up in late July. AFC rookies are scheduled to report June 23-26 with NFC rookies following suit June 26-29.
  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled to workout at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
  • Our resident reporter Clare Farnsworth will start up a well-deserved and hard-earned three-week vacation. But the football-content-starved fear not, as Farnsworth has graciously left us with a slew of stories previewing the upcoming season to run in his absence. First up is part one of his nine-part positional series with a look at the club’s quarterbacks – namely, second-year signal caller Russell Wilson.

Tuesday, June 25:

  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled to workout at VMAC.
  • Farnsworth’s positional series continues with a look at the running back group.
  • Wilson’s Passing Academy changes venues, as he hosts day one of his two-day camp in Raleigh, N.C.

Wednesday, June 26:

  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled for their final workout at VMAC before training camp – their pre-training-camp break begins shortly thereafter.
  • Farnsworth will highlight the club’s wide receivers in his positional series.
  • Wilson’s Passing Academy continues in Raleigh, N.C.

Thursday, June 27:

  • Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner celebrates his 23rd birthday. Be sure to wish last year’s AP Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up a happy birthday on Twitter @Bwagz54.
  • The first of nine Gatorade Junior Training Camps takes place at Cedar River Park in Renton, Wash.
  • Farnsworth will take a break from the positional series on this “Throwback Thursday” – chronicling cornerback Richard Sherman’s time as a track star at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif.

Friday, June 28:

  • Free safety Earl Thomas kicks off his football camp for kids in Orange, Texas.
  • Second-year cornerback DeShawn Shead salutes his 25th birthday – you can wish Shead happy-quarter-of-a-century on Twitter @dshead24.
  • Farnsworth’s positional series kicks back up with a look at the team’s tight ends.

Saturday, June 29:

  • Thomas’ camp continues in Texas, Wilson’s Passing Academy makes it way to Madison, Wis. and defensive end Cliff Avril hosts his inaugural youth football camp in Green Cove Springs, Fla.
  • Kicker Steven Hauschka celebrates his 28th birthday.

Minicamp round-up: Camp wrap

Good morning, and happy Seahawks Blue Friday. Here’s a look at what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 14 – one day after the team wrapped up the final day of their three-day minicamp that officially brought an end to their Offseason Program.

Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson has agreed to terms with the club and will come in to compete with Brady Quinn for the backup spot behind entrenched starter Russell Wilson. Jackson was with the Seahawks during the 2011 season when he led the team to a 7-7 record as a starter. He threw for 3,091 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions while playing most of the year with a torn pectoral muscle. On Jackson’s addition, head coach Pete Carroll said, “I think it’s a great boost for us in a competitive sense. We thought of Tarvaris as a tremendously tough football player and competitive kid that battled for us.”

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has his notes following the team’s final day of camp.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune passes along some observations as the club closes out camp, noting the depth the team has at running back behind All-Pro/Pro Bowl back Marshawn Lynch.

Speaking of Lynch, he joined five of his teammates on the NFL Network’s list of the Top 100 Players of 2013 when he was highlighted at No. 24 last night.

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com catches up with cornerback Brandon Browner and has the transcript from his latest “Hawk Talk” chat here.

ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando has a look at the news around the rest of the division and reiterates League guidelines as they pertain to training camp scheduling.

NFL.com Around the League writer Chris Wesserling has his list of 10 things we learned on Day 3 of NFL minicamps.

Our Clare Farnsworth has his minicamp wrap feature and talks with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in his “Hawkville” blog on which players stood out the most throughout the team’s Offseason Program.

Insider Tony Ventrella chats with running backs coach Sherman Smith in his “Seahawks Daily” on the different personalities and talents present in the Seahawks backfield.

Team photographer Rod Mar has compiled 96 photos from the team’s three-day camp.

And we leave you with a pair of Seahawks-themed podcasts from 710Sports.com:

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin with “Bob and Groz”

Linebacker Bobby Wagner with Danny O’Neil & Tom Wassell


Thursday in Hawkville: That’s a wrap on the offseason program

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Club for June 13, when the Seahawks wrapped up their offseason program by concluding their mandatory three-day minicamp:

FOCUS ON: SPRINGING FORWARD  

Three minicamp practices. Nine OTA sessions. Almost two dozen non-OTA workouts. And five players who excelled, from almost start to almost finish.

In honor of the offseason program ending today for the veterans, and taking a huge step in that direction for the rookies, we decided to check in with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to get their informed-plus opinions on which players had outstanding springs.

Darrell Bevell, Percy HarvinBevell opted for two new players, who bring elements an already good offense didn’t have – Percy Harvin, who was acquired in a March trade with the Vikings; and Luke Willson, who was selected in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft.

Harvin is a receiver, but also a runner, and that versatility – not to mention the productivity he provided the past four seasons in Minnesota – will complement the contributions of All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch, Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson and wide-outs Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. Willson is a 6-foot-5, 252-pound tight end who has more speed than anyone that size should. That speed allows him to exploit matchups with linebacker and strong safeties, and his arrival also softens the loss of incumbent backup Anthony McCoy, who tore an Achilles tendon in the first OTA session.

“With the other guys, we know what you have,” Bevell said. “And they’ve all done a great job. But Luke and Percy are new and it’s been good to see how their talents are going to blend in.”

Harvin missed some time because of injuries, but as Bevell put it, “You could see what he brings whenever he was on the field.”

Quinn, in his first year as the D-coordinator, went with a proven commodity – All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas; and a couple of young linebackers – Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.Earl Thomas

“With Earl, it’s the focus he has and his mindset,” Quinn said. “He has completely captured what we’re trying to do. It just leaps out at you and I’ve been totally impressed.”

Right on cue, Thomas forced and recovered a fumble during the scrimmage-like session that ended today’s final minicamp practice.

“Bobby has put the work in,” Quinn said of Wagner, the middle linebacker who led the team in tackles as a rookie last season. “He’s doing the things when no one is watching – studying video, putting in the extra work in the weight room and the meeting room.”

Wright finished second to Wagner in tackles last season while playing on the strong side. This spring, he has been working on the weak strong, and continuing to make strong contributions.

“K.J. just continues to jump out,” Quinn said.

ALMOST LIVE

Coach Pete Carroll ended practice with a scrimmage-like drill, and the players appreciated the opportunity to show what they’ve accomplished this spring.

“It’s fun,” Wilson said. “It was a nice way to finish it.”

The second-year QB led the only touchdown drive, capping it with a 3-yard scoring pass to second-year tight end Sean McGrath. They also set up the TD, as McGrath made a falling grab of a 24-yard pass from Wilson against tight coverage from linebacker Korey Toomer. Wilson also directed a nine-play, 42-yard drive, but Steven Hauschka’s 51-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright. Backup QB Brady Quinn led a drive that ended with a 44-yard field goal by Carson Wiggs.

But the defense also had its moments, as cornerback Will Blackmon intercepted a Quinn pass that was intended for rookie wide receiver Chris Harper to go with Thomas’ bang-bang play where he forced and then recovered a fumble.

ROOKIE WATCH: JORDAN HILL AND JESSE WILLIAMSJordan Hill, Dan Quinn, Jesse Williams

The coaches keep asking more from the defensive linemen that were selected in the third (Hill) and fifth (Williams) rounds of April’s draft, and the rookies just keep on delivering.

“They’re real different,” Carroll said. “Jesse is a 329-pound kid and strong as an ox. We see Jordan as much quicker and shiftier, and a very, very good technique player. He has really good leverage and hand placement. He’s exciting.”

Since joining the team for the rookie minicamp in May, Jordan has worked at both the three-technique and nose tackle spots in the both the base defense and nickel defense; while Williams has played both tackle spots as well as the five-technique end position in the base defense.

Today, Jordan got extensive work with the No. 1 line, while Williams got his turn to work with the starters on Wednesday.

“We have moved them around,” Carroll said. “That versatility helps. Both kids are really smart and they get it, and they have really good work ethic. … It’s very exciting that those guys have come in and we think they can add unique dimensions for each one of them.”

PAUL ALLEN TAKES IN PRACTICE

Owner Paul Allen watched part of today’s practice from the sideline.

“It was good to see the owner out here,” Carroll said. “Mr. Allen came out and saw us work on the last day, and it looked like he was having a good time, too.”

Also on hand were former quarterbacks Jim Zorn, the team’s original QB (1979-84) who also coached the position (2001-07); and Hall of Famer Warren Moon, who played two seasons with the Seahawks (1997-98) and is now the analyst for the team’s radio broadcasts.

MARSHAWN LYNCH HIGHLIGHTED IN TOP 100 OF 2013

NFL Network’s countdown of the Top 100 Players of 2013 continued this evening with the unveiling of players ranked No. 30-21. The Seahawks’ Beast Mode back earned a mention at No. 24 on the list.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I think the biggest thing is just to be consistent. Be clutch. And try to dominate. When the game’s on the line, just help our football team win. I think that’s the biggest thing as a quarterback, be a great leader, have attention to detail and have that relentless competitive nature every day. I think that’s the biggest thing I can bring to the table, in terms of practicing and in games.” – Wilson when asked about his goals for the 2013 season


Minicamp round-up: Day three

Minicamp

Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane (left), free safety Earl Thomas (middle) & cornerback Richard Sherman (right)

Good morning, and welcome to the final day of the Seahawks’ three-day minicamp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Today’s workout is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. – two hours earlier than the sessions that were held on Tuesday and Wednesday. But before we get there, here’s a look at what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for June 13, 2013:

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune passes along his notes and observations from day two of camp, including comments from cornerback Richard Sherman on the close-knit chemistry of the team’s secondary. Williams also profiles the 6-foot-7, 305-pound defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, who has been working throughout the offseason in the spot vacated by defensive tackle Alan Branch, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has a few post-practice video interviews from yesterday with wide receiver Sidney Rice, linebacker Bobby Wagner and Sherman.

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM also details the impressive play of the Seahawks secondary and has his notes from day two of camp.

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com has a look at quarterback Russell Wilson’s rapid rate of improvement.

NFL.com’s Around the League writer Marc Sessler caught wind of Wilson’s unwillingness to acknowledge a “sophomore slump” when Wilson was asked about the term during his Tuesday press conference. Sessler puts Wilson ahead of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden as the surest-bet quarterback who’s heading into their second season.

With 23 of the League’s 32 teams in minicamps this week, NFL.com’s Chris Wesserling has compiled a quick-hit-list of 15 things we learned from Day 2 of NFL minicamps.

Our Clare Farnsworth’s “Hawkville” blog focuses on Sherman and wide receiver Doug Baldwin – the pair of Stanford graduates who have stood out above the rest with their play this offseason. Farnsworth also has a feature on the versatility of the team’s defensive line, catching up with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, defensive line coach Travis Jones, defensive end Red Bryant and McDaniel on the line’s look.

Team photographer Rod Mar has the snaps from days one and two of camp here.

We’ll be back with more following today’s practice and media availabilities, as we wrap-up this final day of the Seahawks’ official Offseason Program. In the meantime, we leave you with four Seahawks-themed podcasts from yesterday via 710Sports.com:

Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach Tom Cable on “Brock and Danny”

Center Max Unger on “Bob and Groz”

Fullback Michael Robinson on “Bob and Groz”

Left tackle Russell Okung on “Wyman, Mike and Moore”


Wednesday in Hawkville: The continuing evolution of Richard Sherman

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 12, when the Seahawks held the second practice in the mandatory three-day minicamp that concludes the offseason program:

FOCUS ON: RICHARD SHERMAN

Richard ShermanWelcome to the continuing evolution of an on-his-game cornerback who was forced into the Seahawks’ starting lineup in 2011 because of injuries to two other players and last season developed into an All-Pro performer.

Sherman is the first cornerback in franchise history to be voted first team All-Pro, as the late Dave Brown was a second-team selection in 1984. But this offseason, Sherman has looked even better and is playing with even more confidence – if that’s possible – than the corner who intercepted eight passes and led the NFL with 24 passes defensed last season.

No one can remember Sherman giving up a completion during the team’s OTA sessions or first two practices of this week’s three-day minicamp. At least not in man-to-man coverage.

What gives? Certainly not Sherman.

“It’s just a part of the evolution,” defensive backs coach Kris Richard said after today’s practice, when Sherman had near interceptions on back-to-back plays and then recovered on another play to break up a pass.

“He’s growing and continuing to learn what he’s going to be able to get away with when he’s out there. Just trying to figure out what his limitations are, if there are any. Really, that’s what this time is for. So it’s really good to see him continue to grow and develop.”

Sherman, a fifth-round draft choice in 2011 after playing cornerback for only one season at Stanford, credits this evolutionary improvement to studying video and the fact that he’s entering his third season as a member of the Legion of Boom – which also includes All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas and strong safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Brandon Browner, who played in the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season.

“It’s just confidence and a lot of film study,” Sherman said. “You go down to the nitty-gritty. If you watch film enough, if you see things enough, it’s ‘You fool me once, shame on me. If you fool me twice, you can’t fool me twice.’ ”

As for that still-developing rapport and chemistry with the other defensive backs, Sherman offered, “Sometimes we’ll be out there mid-play and Kam will tell me to jump this. I’ll jump it, because it’s just trust. I know he’s going to where he’s supposed to be if he tells me to jump this.

“We’ll call plays out halfway through the play and be moving pieces. If you saw it on film you wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell what coverage we were in because it’s probably not the most technical way to run it. But it works. We’re effective and the chemistry is there.”

Whatever works, and things obviously are working extremely well for Sherman.

In addition to Sherman’s plays, the defense-dominated practice also included cornerback Jeremy Lane’s leaping deflection of Brady Quinn a pass that was intended for Stephen Williams at the goal line; rookie defensive tackle Jesse Williams deflecting a third-down pass by Jerrod Johnson; Thomas recovering a fumble; another breakup by Browner and a tipped pass by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner; and an interception by cornerback Will Blackmon.

Doug Baldwin

PLAYER WATCH: DOUG BALDWIN

The day was tinted Cardinal, as Baldwin had almost as good a day on offense as Sherman had on defense. They played together at Stanford and came to the Seahawks in the same year – Baldwin as a rookie free agent.

Today, when quarterback Russell Wilson found himself running out of time he looked for Baldwin. They hooked up for a 20-yard completion on a third-and-10 play and a 12-yard gain on second-and-10.

Like Sherman, Baldwin’s efforts today mirrored the type of spring he has had.

“Doug has done really well,” coach Pete Carroll said after Tuesday’s practice. “At this time last year, Doug was pressing a little bit. And he was coming off his great first season (when Baldwin was the team’s leading receiver). I think he came in just wanting to do so much.”

Instead, injuries limited Baldwin’s reps during training camp, he had his front teeth knocked out in the season opener and then played through a shoulder injury for much of the regular season.

Now? “You can just see how relaxed he is,” Carroll said. “He’s playing like a vet. He knows our system. He’s working great with the quarterback. And he does so many intricate things.”

RUGBY INVASION

USA Rugby SevensTeam USA’s Sevens National Team watched today’s practice. The players are in town to prepare for the World Cup in Moscow in two weeks.

The connection to the Seahawks? It’s Carroll and Waisale Serevi, the former Fijian rugby union footballer who did for his sport what Pele was able to do for soccer. Serevi is based in Seattle and Carroll has gotten to know him.

UP NEXT

The final practice in the three-day minicamp starts at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday. Friday, the veterans begin their break until reporting for training camp on July 24. The rookies will continue to work out through June 26.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I’ve learned that he’s probably one of the most tenacious players in the NFL. He’s a rugged, hardworking, hardnosed football player.” – Sherman on Browner


Wednesday in Hawkville: Brandon Mebane reverts to baseball-playing days to make one big interception

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 5, when the Seahawks put the wraps on the on-field activities in the OTA portion of their offseason program:

Brandon MebaneFOCUS ON: BRANDON MEBANE

Pete Carroll stopped short of announcing the move of 311-pound nose tackle to extra-strong strong safety, but the Seahawks’ coach was duly impressed with the interception Mebane made during today’s OTA.

“The return was not that good,” Carroll cracked. “But the pick was nice.”

For Mebane, it was his second interception this week as he also had one on Monday. But today’s pick – which came off a pass that was tipped by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner – allowed him to display the full array of his athletic skills.

“I just saw the ball go up and my eyes got real big,” Mebane said. “I was like, ‘Just like baseball. Just catch it.’ ”

Baseball? Mebane played third base, catcher, second base and centerfield while growing up. That was before he grew into a nose tackle.

“That was just like a pop fly,” he said of the batted Brady Quinn pass he intercepted.

But Mebane’s second pick also was a testament to the work he has been putting in. The D-lineman began today’s OTA with a drill where coordinator Dan Quinn had them drop, turn and catch the ball as he threw it. Mebane displayed cat-like quickness in grabbing his.

Marshawn Lynch

PLAYER WATCH: MARSHAWN LYNCH

The All-Pro running back participated in today’s session, Lynch’s first OTA appearance this week. He looked quick and explosive while getting carries with the No. 1 and even No. 3 units.

“He had a nice day today. He got a little running room,” Carroll said. “He’s in really good shape. We’re trying to get him all the way through this offseason and get him ready for the real season. We know what Marshawn can do as long as he’s in good shape, and he’s in fantastic shape. He’s hard as a rock and he’s worked really hard to this point.

“It’s really just take the next step, the next step. Get him through minicamp. Then get him through the summertime. Then show up for camp and get him through the preseason. So that he’s right and ready to go. There’s so much (tread) on the tire and we don’t want to wear down that.”

The Seahawks ran the ball a league-high 536 times last season, and Lynch used his career-high 315 carries to produce 1,590 rushing yards and average 5.0 yards – also a career-bests.

POSITION WATCH: RIGHT TACKLE

Rookie Michael Bowie continued to work with the No. 1 line because, as Carroll explained, starter Breno Giacomini has been in New York to have a knee that’s been bothering him checked out.

The news is good on both fronts: Giacomini will not need surgery, and the reps Bowie got with the first unit in his absence were invaluable for the seventh-round draft choice.

“He could have practice this week, but we wanted to take this time to make sure that we were doing the right thing,” Carroll said of Giacomini. “So he’s in good shape and that’s a really positive report for us.”

On Bowie, he added, “Michael got a great chance to show and it was cool to have him with the first group out there. He handled himself well. It’s a good initial statement that he’s made that he looks like he can fit in. He’s got a lot of ground to make up, but we’re very pleased with him.”

ALUMNI WATCH: CURT WARNER

Three generations of Seahawks running backs were on the field before the start of practice, as Warner had a sideline conversation with Lynch and Sherman Smith, the team’s original running back who now coaches the position.

Smith led the team in rushing from 1976-79 and again in 1982. Warner, the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 1983, ran for 6,705 yards in six seasons, including 1,481 in 1986 and 1,449 as a rookie. Lynch has been the team’s leading rusher the past three seasons.

Lt. Colonel Edward DrummondPULLING RANK

Also at practice was Edward Drummond, a retired Lt. Col. and the youngest of the Tuskegee Airman. He had his picture taken with Carroll and several players after practice.

Drummond, 86, was accompanied by his wife and eight students from Pacific West Aerospace Academy.

UP NEXT

The players will work out on Thursday, but they won’t have their scheduled on-field session.

Friday, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman will sign autographs from noon to 1 p.m. as part of the weekend-long grand re-opening of the Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field. Quarterback Russell Wilson and team president Peter McLoughlin will handle the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

Next week, the team’s mandatory minicamp will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with an afternoon practice each day.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Walter is physically capable of showing off. He is a tremendous athlete. He has been in a situation where he’s kind of had to hold back a little bit for a long time. He’s really able to just go for it now.” – Carroll on oft-injured cornerback Walter Thurmond, who we profiled in this story on Monday


Kam Chancellor ready to wing it

Kam Chancellor passed for more than 2,000 yards as a senior at Maury High School in Norfolk, Va. He also worked at quarterback as a freshman at Virginia Tech before being moved to cornerback, then rover and eventually safety.

Now, the Pro Bowl-caliber strong safety is lobbying to air out his right arm for the Seahawks.

“I think I’m fourth string right now. I’m just trying to work my way up the depth chart,” Chancellor said through a smile on Tuesday after the team kicked off the second week of its OTA sessions.

That would be fourth string behind the three players wearing the red QB jerseys – starter Russell Wilson, backup Brady Quinn and Jerrod Johnson. But Chancellor also might have to get past fullback Michael Robinson if it ever came to that, because Robinson not only played quarterback at Penn State he was Big 10 offensive player of the year as a senior.

But Chancellor just wants it known that he’s available, if needed.

“I had like five plays last year in the playbook,” he said. “So I’m trying to get up to six or seven this year. I’ve still got the arm.”

For now, the Seahawks need Chancellor to continue using both arms – and his 6-foot-4½ wingspan – to break up passes and wrap up ball carriers in his physical and intimidating style.

In the past two seasons, since he moved into the starting lineup, no one on the defense has more tackles than Chancellor (185). Rounding out the Top 5 are linebacker K.J. Wright (157), All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas (153), middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (140, all last season) and linebacker Leroy Hill (136). When it comes to defending passes, Chancellor has 17 to rank third behind All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman (41) and cornerback Brandon Browner (19), and just ahead of Thomas (15).