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.
Bevell 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.
“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.
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 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
Good morning, Seahawks fans, and welcome to day two of the 2013 NFL Draft. After not selecting in yesterday’s first round, the Seahawks hold two picks today (Round 2, No. 56 overall and Round 3, No. 87 overall). The action revs back up at 3:30 p.m. PT.
In the meantime, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks and around the League for Friday, April 26.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks trading their first-round draft pick to acquire wide receiver Percy Harvin was the right move.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps the Seahawks’ quiet first day and offers up some second-round targets for Seattle.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald details the moves made around the active NFC West on the draft’s first day.
ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando was hard at work while the rest of us in the Seahawks media room were spectating yesterday’s first round (kidding, kind of), and he shares his thoughts on the Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals first-round selections.
Grantland.com’s Bill Barnwell tries to make sense of the draft’s first day, noting surprises, trade winners and losers, and what to watch for on day two.
Former University of Washington Husky standout cornerback Desmond Trufant – the younger brother of longtime Seahawk Marcus Trufant – went to the Atlanta Falcons, who traded up with the Rams to grab him at No. 22.
A 49-year-old NFL Draft streak was snapped yesterday when a running back was not taken in the first round for the first time since 1963.
NFL.com has a round-by-round look at the 2013 NFL Draft order after last night’s picks and draft-day trades.
NFL.com Around the League editor Gregg Rosenthal breaks down what he believes to be the draft’s top 20 remaining players.
Stay plugged in to our draft central for all the latest news surrounding your Seahawks and the rest of today’s draft.
We leave you with the reactions from several Seahawks players via Twitter as they followed last night’s first round:
…. And with the Seahawks First pick in the NFL draft they select @Percy_Harvin
I'm excited about all the new competition that's coming to the NFC WEST!!!—
Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) April 26, 2013
Still say we had the best first round pick of the draft……—
Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) April 26, 2013
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
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 6.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times recaps Sunday’s practice, which featured a mock game between the ‘Hawks offense and defense, “Tarvaris Jackson began Sunday’s scrimmage the same way he started training camp: Taking snaps with the first-unit offense. The scrimmage consisted of 80 plays, and while players were in pads and uniform pants, there was no tackling as plays stopped at first contact with the ball carrier.”
O’Neil also has a mention of wide receiver Terrell Owens making a visit to Seattle for a try-out today, a story which was first reported by Dave “Softy” Mahler of 950 KJR AM, and later confirmed by the team, “Owens did not play in the NFL last season as he recovered from a left knee injury that required surgery. He caught 72 passes for the Bengals in 2010. Cincinnati was his third team in three years. He played for the Cowboys in 2008 and Buffalo in 2009 before joining Cincinnati. Owens, 38, last topped 1,000 yards receiving in 2008.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his notes after Sunday’s mock game, and comments from head coach Pete Carroll on the quarterback competition, “Carroll said he’d like the starter for the team’s first preseason game in place by Wednesday, when the Seahawks begin preparation for the Titans. ‘I’m really anxious to see the film and see what it tells me,’ Carroll said. ‘The plan that we set in motion is right on course right now. It’s going just right. I would like to figure this out as soon as possible. I have thought that the whole time, but I felt like it was going to take awhile. And so we have a big day today and tomorrow evaluating it. And then we’ll come back on Tuesday and set it in motion. We start the game week on Wednesday. And we’ll let you know how that goes when we get there.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald gives his take on the Seahawks hosting T.O. for a tryout today, “Owens is the highest profile past-his-prime receiver to get a look from the Seahawks, but not the first. Prior to the start of training camp, the Seahawks worked out Antonio Bryant, who had been out of the NFL for two seasons, as well as Braylon Edwards, and eventually signed both. The Seahawks released Bryant Sunday, but the fact that they are kicking the tires, so to speak, on Owens means they still have questions at receiver. Seattle released Mike Williams, a starter for the past two seasons, prior to training camp, leaving the door open for someone like Golden Tate to earn the starting job opposite Sidney Rice. Tate has had a strong first week of training camp, but the Seahawks still appear to be interested in finding a veteran presence who can help the team.”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has a very detailed look at Sunday’s mock game, including the game’s unofficial stats, “All three quarterbacks led scoring drives for the offense. Flynn connected with TE Cooper Helfet for a 17-yard touchdown. Jackson ran in for a score from five yards out and Wilson set up a field goal with just seconds remaining in the practice as Wiggs connected from 45 yards out. Flynn led another drive down to the 1-yard line before having a pass intended for TE Sean McGrath deflected by DE Cordarro Law into the hands of LB Mike Morgan for a touchback. It was the only turnover by the offense all day. Flynn finished the scrimmage 9-for-20 for 118 yards, a touchdown, an interception and was sacked twice. Wilson was efficient as well in his opportunities going 9-for-15 (with two spikes to stop the clock) for 116 yards.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his thoughts on T.O.’s tryout with the Seahawks, “The Seahawks don’t have the quarterbacks to handle a player with Owens’ reputation. For that reason, I’d be skeptical of any move to add Owens at this time. The three quarterbacks on the roster are having a tough enough time establishing themselves without adding a wild card such as Owens to the equation. Coach Pete Carroll’s handling of quarterbacks has already come under question.”
NFL.com’s Around the League discusses T.O.’s tryout in Seattle in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth is back from covering Cortez Kennedy’s enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and gives us a look at Sunday in Hawkville, with a focus on recently re-signed kicker Carson Wiggs, “The strong-legged Wiggs kicked field goals of 45, 37 and 19 yards and added a pair of PATs during the mock-game portion of today’s two-hour, 15-minute practice. Not bad for a guy who had not kicked since being released last week to clear a roster spot for tight end Cooper Helfet. ‘Good day today,’ a smiling Wiggs said. ‘I didn’t kick while I was gone. It was kind of a vacation, maybe a blessing from the sky. So I came back with a fresh leg.’ “
Farnsworth also calls attention to the actions of Richard Sherman during Sunday’s mock game, “Sunday, the second-year cornerback who became a sudden and successful starter last season also displayed maturity and leadership beyond his years during a mock game that highlighted the team’s sun-drenched training camp practice. When Jeremy Lane put too much extra in the extracurricular activity after a play and was banished from the practice field by coach Pete Carroll, it was Sherman who put his arm around the rookie cornerback on the sideline to explain why Lane’s actions were a lane violation. Later, after tight end Kellen Winslow caught a sideline pass and tossed the ball at the defender, it again was Sherman who was the voice of reason for his more-experienced teammate.”
Lastly from Farnsworth we have a look at day eight of the quarterback competition, “To this point in camp, the QBs had rotated running the No. 1 offense on a daily basis – first incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson, then free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn and finally rookie Russell Wilson. But today, it was Jackson for the second consecutive day as the team held a mock game. ‘It was important for him to have this first day,’ Carroll said. ‘That was the plan, and we planned it exactly right today.’ “
For video highlights, player interviews, and commentary on yesterday’s mock game, Tony Ventrella has you covered in our Seahawks Daily.
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for Aug. 5:
Carson Wiggs. The rookie kicker was gone last Tuesday, but back today. And just in time.
The strong-legged Wiggs kicked field goals of 45, 37 and 19 yards and added a pair of PATs during the mock-game portion of today’s two-hour, 15-minute practice. Not bad for a guy who had not kicked since being released last week to clear a roster spot for tight end Cooper Helfet.
“Good day today,” a smiling Wiggs said. “I didn’t kick while I was gone. It was kind of a vacation, maybe a blessing from the sky. So I came back with a fresh leg.”
Rather than kick, Wiggs returned to Purdue, where he needs to finish two classes to complete his degree.
“So I was making sure I’m all set up for that,” he said. “I was hoping to get a call, but I would never have thought it would be right back here in about three days.”
The Seahawks called Wiggs at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and asked if he could catch a 7 o’clock flight back to Seattle.
“I was rushing, but I made the flight, got here and had a great day today,” he said. “I was hitting them really well today.”
Coach Pete Carroll said the club was planning to bring Wiggs back, and the decision was hastened because incumbent kicker Steve Hauschka is being rested.
“I thought that was by far the decision of the day,” Carroll cracked. “John (Schneider, the GM) had this middle-of-the-night (thought), ‘If we can get Carson he might hit the game-winner.’ ”
A more serious Carroll then added, “We’re still resting Steven, so it worked out just right. Carson had a fantastic day for us and hit a big game-winner, and hit it well. So that’s cool.”
He’ll get no argument from Wiggs, whose 45-yarder came on the final play of practice.
“I love it here,” Wiggs said. “I can’t ask for a better place. The people are great, the staff is great, the players are very welcoming – even to the rookies. I couldn’t ask for a better place.”
And the coaches couldn’t have asked for a better just-got-here performance.
The entire draft class. Top to bottom – from first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin to seventh-rounder J.R. Sweezy.
“This draft class has answered the call as far as fitting into the spots we hoped they would fit into,” Carroll said. “We’re really up on those guys right now and positive about where they fit in. Now they have to show it in the games when they’ll be competing for real.”
Let’s start at the bottom, because Sweezy worked at right guard with No. 1 line – again – and the defensive tackle from North Carolina State continues to be impressive.
“He’s been doing some really exciting stuff,” Carroll said. “This is a remarkable accomplishment to get to this point. We’re all kind of blown away that he’s handling it as well as he is.”
What does Carroll like? Sweezy’s toughness. Sweezy’s quickness. Sweezy’s speed. Sweezy’s strength.
“He’s by far the quickest lineman we have,” Carroll said. “And he ran 4.8 (seconds for 40 yards) coming out, and it shows up. Now it’s just a matter of how far he can go with it and how much we can count on him.”
Carroll also warns not to read too much into the situation. Sweezy worked at right guard because incumbent starter John Moffitt was working at center with the No. 2 line.
As for Irvin, he’s doing exactly what the coaches expected when they selected him with the 15th overall pick. On back-to-back plays today, Irvin used a nice burst to pressure and then “sack” Tarvaris Jackson and followed that by tipping a third-down pass incomplete.
But Carroll liked the play where Irvin ran down Marshawn Lynch after a 70-yard run.
“That’s not a surprise. He can fly,” Carroll said.
IN ’N OUT
Defensive linemen Red Bryant and Jason Jones sat out the mock game to rest sore knees. Carroll said each player is fine and the move was both precautionary and aimed at giving them two consecutive days off. Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner did not practice for the second day because of a thigh bruise. Barrett Ruud replaced Wagner and rookie Greg Scruggs worked for Bryant at end in the No. 1 defense.
Also sidelined: wide receivers Doug Baldwin, tight end Anthony McCoy, linebackers Allen Bradford and Matt McCoy, defensive end Jameson Konz and the two players who remain on the physically unable to perform list – offensive lineman James Carpenter and cornerback Walter Thurmond.
The players will get their second off day of camp Monday, before returning on Tuesday to begin preparing for Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Titans at CenturyLink Field.
JOIN THE CROWD
Today’s sun-drenched practice attracted a crowd of 2,385 fans, and another 250 VIP and ADA fans also were on hand. Only five more practices are open to the public, including Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week as well as Aug. 14 and 15. You can register here to attend.
State routes 520 and 167 will be closed this weekend, limiting fans’ options to reach CenturyLink Field for the 7 p.m. game against the Titans on Saturday. The club is urging those attending the game to plan accordingly.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s a game situation. Everything is pretty much scripted during practice, everything is already planned out. But during a game it’s totally different. We just went over today random situations and tried to see how we handle it.” – Jackson, on the mock-game aspect of practice
The Seahawks’ offseason program is down to the last players standing: The rookie free agents.
The team’s 10 draft choices completed their offseason work today. Saturday, they head to Ohio for the four-day NFL Rookie Symposium, which starts on Sunday for the NFC players. Then they’re off until training camp start in late July. The veterans called it a wrap after the final practice in last week’s minicamp.
So Monday, the only group left for the final three days in the offseason program at Virginia Mason Athletic Center will be the rookies who have been added since the draft. Seven were signed just after the draft – wide receivers Phil Bates, Jermaine Kearse and Lavasier Tuinei; guard Rishaw Johnson, tight end Sean McGrath, safety DeShawn Shead and kicker Carson Wiggs. Two others were signed after tryouts in minicamps – cornerback Donny Lisowski and linebacker Kyle Knox. One – defensive end Cordarro Law – was signed between the draft in April and the rookie minicamp in May.
“It’s a learning experience in itself, just learning how to be a pro,” Bates said of watching the numbers diminish. “It’s pretty good, because I’ve learned a lot this week.”
And he has done it from the front of the line – rather than back, as was the case when the veterans were around.
“You take the stuff you learned while the vets were here and now you’re working it on by yourself and trying to master your craft,” Bates said. “I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying it a lot.”
Even with the vets gone, third-round draft choice Russell Wilson has been around to throw to Bates, Tuinei and McGrath (Kearse is sidelined with a foot injury). But Wilson is off to the symposium, so the rookie QB won’t be around next week.
“I’ve got the Jugs machine,” Bates said with a smile. “So that will help me out. I’m going to miss Russell, of course. But I’ve got the Jugs machine.”
A recap of the activities on the third – and final – day of the Seahawks’ Bing minicamp:
Quarterbacks. After the team’s last practice before training camp opens in late July, reporters had one last chance to ask coach Pete Carroll about the three-armed race for the starting job at the pivotal position.
The best way to continue summing up the situation? To be continued.
“It’s going to take us until we start playing games to see something happen,” Carroll said, referring to the preseason schedule that begins Aug. 11 with a game against the Titans at CenturyLink Field.
“At this point, they’re doing everything they can do with the opportunity. And they look good. So I can’t tell you that there’s anything that’s happened, other than we’ll stay with the same format going into camp.”
That means a rotation involving incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson, free-agent addition Matt Flynn and rookie Russell Wilson – in that order, just as it has been since Wilson threw himself in the competition during the rookie minicamp last month.
Today, it was Wilson’s turn to run the No. 1 offense, after Jackson did it on Tuesday and Flynn had his turn on Wednesday.
Carroll wouldn’t say that he’ll stick with the daily rotation plan, but he did offer, “It’s worked out OK to give them an even shot. That’s the point, is to really make it as evenly competitive as we possibly can. We’ve done that to this point.”
DONNY ON THE SPOT
In a practice filled with impressive plays, none was better than the interception turned in by Donny Lisowski. The rookie cornerback from Montana and Seattle’s O’Dea High School tipped a Flynn pass that was intended for wide receiver Ricardo Lockette near the goal line and then controlled the carom as he was falling to the turf.
“It was press coverage and our No. 1 rule is to stay on top,” said Lisowski, who was signed after getting a tryout at the rookie minicamp. “I stayed on my man after 15 yards. I knew he wasn’t running a comeback, so I turned my head and just made a play on the ball.
“I was just going for the knockdown and I ended up tipping the ball straight up to myself.”
Lisowski’s heads-up play was greeted by hoots and hollers from the No. 1 defense.
Among the other notable efforts: on back-to-back plays, rookie defensive end Cordarro Law got to running back Vai Taua for a 2-yard loss and then produced a rush on third down that forced the play to be whistled dead as a sack; rookie kicker Carson Wiggs drilling a 47-yard field goal; tight end Kellen Winslow flashing open over the middle and then going up to make nice grab of a pass from Flynn; Wilson threading a pass between a pair of defenders to Winslow; Jackson and Winslow hooking up on a 23-yard completion; defensive lineman Pep Levingston tipping a pass incomplete; and cornerback Richard Sherman intercepting a Wilson pass that was intended for wide receiver Kris Durham.
WOOFIN’ ’N BARKIN’
After Winslow made the first of his trio of catches, the veteran tight end had a few choice words for the rest of the defense that was standing along the sideline as he made his way back to the huddle.
“It’s amazing. He’s definitely brought a different element out there,” Sherman said. “And I think we appreciate it on defense. He makes it real lively out there. When he makes a catch you can hear him. We finally have somebody to go back (and forth) with, because sometimes we’re kind of going back with ourselves – it’s kind of one-sided.
“They’ll make a catch, then there’ll be a little bit of talk. But it won’t be the kind like we’re doing. But Kellen, we’ll bring some of the trash. … He plays with a lot of swagger, and I like that. I like his style of play.”
Carroll said second-year offensive lineman James Carpenter is the only player among the 11 who didn’t practice during this minicamp who is likely to remain sidelined when training camp opens.
“I don’t think he’s going to make it for the start of camp,” Carroll said of Carpenter, who had season-ending knee surgery nine games into his rookie season. “We’re not going to push him for that. That’s not important to us. We want to get him back when he’s right. He’s making good progress at this time. But it will be somewhere down the road from there.”
Third-year cornerback Walter Thurmond “has a chance,” Carroll said, to be ready for the start of camp. Thurmond remains sidelined because of the leg he broke in late October.
THE NORTON AFFECT
Carroll might wield the whistle that controls practice, but the voice that often serves as the metronome for practice belongs to linebackers coach Ken Norton as he praises and also prods “his” players as well as those from other position groups.
Brian Banks, the story-unto-himself linebacker who’s at this camp on a tryout basis, is getting his first taste of the Norton Affect.
“I was waiting for that,” Banks said when asked how it felt to have his position coach, well, yelling at him. “I don’t want anybody to take it easy on me out here. I know I have a lot of work to do and if that’s what’s required, then definitely give it to me. I’m ready for it.”
Banks not only had heard of Norton, he arrived for his workout last week that led to this week’s tryout holding the former Pro Bowl linebacker in the highest regard.
“I’ve heard of his coaching style,” Banks said. “It wasn’t until that day of the tryout that I was on the way up here with one of the (scouts) and he was like, ‘I want to let you know, coach Norton, he’s no joke,’ ” said Banks, smiling. “But you know what? I like that intensity. I like that style of coaching.
“If it’s not right, tell me it’s not right. And if it needs fixing, tell me it needs fixing and let’s fit it together. We’ll get it done. I appreciate that.”
THIS ’N THAT
Former Seahawks and University of Washington safety Lawyer Milloy watched practice from the sideline. … Carroll said no decisions have been made on the six players who attended this camp on a tryout basis, including Banks and veteran wide receiver Antonio Bryant. … Former CFL offensive lineman Edawn Coughman was added to that group today. … Practice ended with two linemen attempting PAT-range field goals. Rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin made his; veteran offensive guard Deuce Lutui did not.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’m not scared to face anybody.” – Sherman, laughing, when asked which of the three QBs he was most “scared” to face
A recap of the activities on the first day of the Seahawks’ three-day Bing minicamp:
The one and only full-squad minicamp. It has been a long time coming, and won’t last all that long. So coach Pete Carroll plans to make the best of every rep.
“It’s good to get back to practice and great to be out here again and see these guys,” Carroll said. “They know this is the last shot they have before (training) camp. So this is very important.”
The emphasis of today’s almost two-hour practice was on reviewing everything that has been installed this offseason.
“So it’s kind of like a test each day,” Carroll said. “We’ll give them a lot situational work and try to make them have to think about where they are on the field, and the time on the clock, and all those kinds of things; as well as their assignments and their techniques.
“So it’s a big camp for communications. It’s a big camp for us to see how we can execute at this time. And really, it’s our last shot to take a look at these guys before we take our big break and get a sense for where the players are and where we are as far as teaching our offense and defense.”
Among the honor campers today: safeties Earl Thomas and DeShawn Shead, who had interceptions; rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin, who used his speed for what would have been a sack on a third-and-15 play; quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who threaded a pass to tight end Zach Miller; fullback Michael Robinson, who turned a short pass into a 13-yard gain; and kickers Steven Hauschka and Carson Wiggs, who were a combined 6-for-6 on field goal attempts.
Winston Guy. The safety from Kentucky continues to wear a red jersey, but the sixth-round draft choice would stand out even without the non-contact apparel.
“He’s doing a really cool job. I really like this player,” Carroll said. “He brings more than we had hoped, maybe, at this early time.”
The plan when the Seahawks drafted Guy was to use him as a third safety in the “big nickel” defense, which would allow either Thomas or strong safety Kam Chancellor to play closer to the line.
“His speed is very good. His instincts are excellent,” Carroll said of Guy. “He’s got a lot to learn. But he’s going to play for us and be a part of what we’re doing.”
Quarterback, of course. The three-man competition for the starting job continues. Jackson, the incumbent starter, was up first today, followed by free-agent addition Matt Flynn and rookie Russell Wilson.
“We’ll just keep that rotation alive. It’s worked well so far,” Carroll said. “Tarvaris is doing very well. He looks really healthy and strong and very confident in what we’re doing. He’s making it hard on these guys, and he’s going to make it real hard on them.
“Which is great, because Matt’s going to be chasing it and Russell as well. But we will even out the snaps, if we can do it right. And today we hit it again.”
How is Jackson handling the competitive situation?
“You take it day by day, as far as coming out and trying to get better,” he said. “But I also look at the big picture. I’ve been in this league long enough to know how things go. So I’m just coming out here competing every day, just trying to do my best and let coach make a decision on what they feel is best for the team.”
In the team drill that concluded practice, Flynn completed five of six passes in leading a drive that ended with a 50-yard field goal by Hauschka, while Jackson was five of five on a drive that led to a 31-yard field goal by Wiggs.
THE BUCS STOP HERE
First, the Seahawks signed former Buccaneers middle linebacker Barrett Ruud in free agency. Then, they traded for former Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. Now, former Bucs wide receiver Antonio Bryant is being given a tryout during this minicamp.
“It’s the first time we’ve seen him and it’s been a while since he’s played,” Carroll said. “He has not had a chance to work with anybody much. So we’re going to give it a few days and see what we can see. We know that he was a fantastic athlete at one time and there was a lot of potential. So we’ll see where he fits.”
Bryant, 31, has not played in the league since 2009. But the 6-foot-1, 211-pound Bryant caught 83 passes for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns in 2008. A second-round draft choice by the Cowboys in 2002, Bryant also has played for the Browns (2004-05) and caught 69 passes for 1,009 yards in 2005. He signed with the Bengals last year, but a knee injury prevented him from playing during the 2011 season. In eight NFL seasons, Bryant has 372 receptions for 5,685 yards (15.3-yard average) and 30 TDs.
Also in for a tryout is former Texans wide receiver David Anderson, a seventh-round draft choice in 2006 who was released during the season last year and signed with the Redskins. The 5-10, 193-pound Anderson has caught 88 passes for 965 yards in seven NFL seasons.
The tryout list also includes tight end Cooper Helfet, who was the rookie minicamp last month; and linebackers Brian Banks and Kyle Knox. Banks who had a tryout last Thursday was working out for the Chiefs today but is scheduled to join the Seahawks’ minicamp tomorrow.
CARROLL ON CLEMONS
Chris Clemons, who has led the team with 11 sacks in each of his first two seasons with the Seahawks, was not at practice and is not expected to attend the mandatory minicamp. The situation involving the veteran defensive end caught Carroll by surprise.
“I thought he was coming, so this is kind of a late development,” Carroll said.
The club continues to work on an extension for Clemons, who is in the final year of his contract.
“We’ve had open communications with the agent and with Chris and feel like everything is on the up-and-up and very amicable,” Carroll said. “It continues to be one of our priorities and we’d love to get him back.
“It’s something we’ve had our eye on for something with him. He’s done a very good job for us in the first couple years and we’re real pleased with his play and work habits.”
In Clemons’ absence, Irvin, this year’s first-round draft choice, continues to get all the reps with the No. 1 defense at the “Leo” end spot.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I don’t know. The farthest I’ve ever thrown it is 80 yards. But I was a baby then. I was 18-, 19-years old. I’ve still got at least about 75. I still probably can get it out about 80. I don’t know. (The 80) was when I was a freshman in college. I haven’t tried it since. I don’t really like to do it. But one of the other quarterbacks actually wanted to see if he could throw longer than me. He forced me to do it. I smashed him. I killed him.” – Jackson, when asked how far he could throw a football
Good morning, and Happy May Day. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for May 1:
Mike Sando at ESPN.com says you have to use more than height to measure Russell Wilson, the quarterback the Seahawks selected in the third round of the NFL Draft: “His height, measured by NFL scouting combine officials at 5-foot-10 and five-eighths of an inch, doesn’t measure up to long-established league standards. That is why the Seahawks were able to draft the Wisconsin quarterback with only the 75th overall choice even though Wilson appears dynamic by other measures, including his arm, athleticism and leadership.”
Jerry Brewer at the Seattle Times deciphers what the Seahawks just accomplished in the draft: “There is a method to the Seahawks’ whimsical behavior, however. When you examine them closely, you realize they’ve made the right move more times than not. And so far, even their mistakes haven’t been of the franchise-killing variety. Despite all the confusion and debate they inspire, this has been a trustworthy front office. True to form, (coach Pete) Carroll and (GM John) Schneider are testing that theory again. In the aftermath of the NFL draft, you’re left to wonder what the heck they were thinking after they made a surprise pick in the first round, selected a 5-foot-11 quarterback in the third round and spent the weekend shocking the arrogance out of draftniks. …The Seahawks don’t employ the classic approach. But because they’re so thorough and believe so fully in themselves, it’s wise to couch skepticism or at least delay unleashing it until you see the plan in action. They’re eccentric, not stupid. Recognize the difference.”
Art Thiel at sportspress northwest digs a little deeper in the meandering journey that led first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin to the Seahawks: “The riskiest part of the selection of Irvin is that there is no way to measure how he will handle success, which is notorious for devastating pro athletes who’ve never known it. Irvin has had plenty of football success, but he’s barely known two days in a row that weren’t full of travail and headache. Just three years ago, he was living in a two-bedroom, one-bath rental home with another eight or nine players from the Mt. Sac football team, all Samoans. ‘They didn’t know me, but they were good-hearted people,’ he said. ‘They accepted me. But you better find a nice spot before everyone else went to sleep. In that situation, it’s every man for himself.’ ”
Pat Kirwan at CBSSports.com takes a look at the possible gems in those undrafted players who signed with teams as free agents, including kicker Carson Wiggs, who has agreed to terms with the Seahawks: “Wiggs is a big kicker that also kicks off. He has field goals of 59, 53, 53 and 52. I liked him at the Senior Bowl.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the start of Phase 2 of the offseason program, which looked a lot like Phase 1 until you took a closer look: “At first glance, Phase 2 of the Seahawks’ offseason program looked an awful lot like Phase 1. The players ran through drills in the indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Monday and then shifted to the weight room – just as they had the past two weeks. But the sly grin that washed across Kam Chancellor’s face suggests that a closer look was needed. ‘It was very different,’ the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl strong safety said. ‘The tempo was up and it was more competitive.’ That’s because, unlike the eight sessions that comprised Phase 1, the coaches are allowed to work with the players during the three-week Phase 2 portion of the offseason program. ‘This is Phase 2 right here,’ Chancellor said. ’It’s building blocks, and we’re building up.’ ”
We also heat up some draft leftovers in a rare offseason “Monday metatarsal musings,” including: “Why didn’t the Seahawks take a wide receiver in one of the rounds, with one of those 10 picks? – General manager John Schneider was pretty blunt when asked this question on Saturday. ‘Quite honestly, I thought it was a pretty average group compared to the last couple years,’ he said. ‘It was just a little frayed all the way through.’ So average, that Schneider said wide-outs Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette – who led the team in receptions and averaged 52.5 yards on two receptions last season, respectively, after being signed as free agents following the draft – would have been rated at the top of the fifth round this year. Also, there are three wide receivers among the 10 rookie free agents the club got agreements with right after the draft – Washington’s Jermaine Kearse, Oregon’s Lavasier and Ohio University’s Phil Bates.”
Peter King at SI.com revisits the Seahawks’ selection of Irvin in the first round of the NFL Draft in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” (which had not been posted when we went surfing yesterday): “The Bruce Irvin pick at 15 in the first round wasn’t that odd – at least not to two GMs I spoke with. ‘He was going in the first round, guaranteed,’ one said. ‘He’s got rare pass-rush skills.’ Now, Russell Wilson at 75? Well, believe me or don’t, but one coach within 20 picks of the Seahawks said to me Sunday he’d have pushed hard for Wilson with that pick in the third round. Clearly, though, the second-guessing with Seattle was hot and heavy through the weekend. ‘They just value players differently than almost every other team,’ one personnel director told me. ‘They get a feeling on a guy and it doesn’t matter if they’re the lone wolves – they’re going to take the guy no matter what anyone else thinks.’ ”
So much for the 2012 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks at NFL.com already has his list of the Top 30 prospects for the 2013 draft, which is topped a quarterback that Pete Carroll knows a little about: “After bypassing an opportunity to enter the draft as a likely top-10 pick a season ago, (USC’s Matt) Barkley is listed atop most draft boards as the No. 1 senior prospect. He has shown the ability to masterfully orchestrate a pro-style offense that puts a lot of responsibility on the quarterback at the line, but he needs to continue honing his throwing mechanics and arm strength to solidify his status as the potential No.1 pick.”