Seahawks react to official end of Offseason Program

Thursday’s final minicamp session marked the end of the club’s official Offseason Program. Break for team veterans begins tomorrow, but the rookies will report for workouts next week, with the coaches break beginning shortly after that.

At the end of today’s camp, several Seahawks players took to Twitter to voice the success they’ve enjoyed throughout spring workouts:


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


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


A sixth Seahawk in NFL Network’s Top 100

NFL Network Top 100

After a two-week hiatus, the Seahawks get another name in NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2013.

When players No. 30-21 are unveiled at 5 p.m. PT on Thursday on NFL Network, a sixth Seattleite will join the likes of center Max Unger (No. 95), wide receiver Percy Harvin (No. 90), free safety Earl Thomas (No. 66), quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 51), and cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 50).

Unfortunately, we can’t tell you who that player is just yet. But with the field shrinking by the week, it makes it a little bit easier to pinpoint the remaining Seahawks on the list. All-Pro/Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch is the first that comes to mind, but I could also see Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung earning a mention.

Tune in to NFL Network tomorrow to find out who it is and we’ll have the announcement for you here as soon as it drops.


Minicamp round-up: Day two

Good morning, and welcome to day two of the Seahawks’ three-day minicamp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Like yesterday, today’s workout is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., but before we get there, here’s a look at what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for June 12, 2013:

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has his notes from day one of minicamp, including injury updates, practice observations and post-practice reaction from head coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune dissects Wilson’s approach to the 2013 season and has his practice notes from day one.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune analyzes ESPN.com’s 20 Greatest Coaches in NFL History feature, looking at where past and present Seahawks coaches fall in relation to the list.

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com catches up with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who has impressed coaches and media alike so far this offseason. O’Neil also has notes from day one of minicamp, keying in on versatile defensive end Michael Bennett.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald also has a feature on Bennett, one of the club’s top offseason acquisitions.

ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando has his thoughts after Wilson’s Tuesday morning appearance on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” – the podcast of which can be found below:

Audio File – Russell Wilson on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike”:

Our Clare Farnsworth looks at Wilson’s approach to avoiding a “sophomore slump” and his “Hawkville” blog focuses on rookie defensive tackle Michael Brooks.

Insider Tony Ventrella talks with Carroll, Wilson and Baldwin following the first day of minicamp in his Seahawks Daily.

Team photographer Rod Mar has a look at day one of camp in photos.

And we’ll be back with plenty more following this afternoon’s practice.


Tuesday in Hawkville: Michael Brooks showing he’s a fast learner

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 11, as the Seahawks kicked off a mandatory three-day minicamp that will conclude their offseason program:

FOCUS ON: MICHAEL BROOKS

After the rookie defensive tackle was claimed off waivers on May 29 and practiced with the Seahawks for the first time a few days later, Brooks admitted, “I’m just trying to learn my way around right now and get with this new system.”

The 6-foot-3, 299-pound Brooks apparently is a fast learner. In today’s practice, he tipped a pass incomplete and then penetrated to get a “sack” – on back-to-back plays. It was that talent and versatility that first attracted the Seahawks, who tried to sign Brooks after the NFL Draft in April. He opted for the Lions, but the Seahawks got another chance to acquire Brooks after he was waived.

“We saw some things we liked about him on tape and Michael certainly has come in here and tried to learn the system quickly,” first-year defensive line coach Travis Jones said after practice – which was held under sunny skies but also in a brisk breeze along the shores of Lake Washington.

And, like most of the linemen, Brooks is learning more than one position. He’s playing the three-technique tackle spot as well as the five-technique end position.

“Everybody’s got different positions to learn,” Jones said. “You’ve got to try to find a way to get on this team, and the best way to do that is to learn a couple of different positions.”

And it doesn’t hurt when you’re making multiple plays from those multiple positions.

PLAYER WATCH: CHRIS CLEMONS

Bruce Irvin, Chris ClemonsThe team’s sack leader the past three seasons was on hand for the start of the mandatory minicamp, but Clemons is continuing his rehab from surgery after tearing a ligament and meniscus in his left knee during the wild-card playoff victory over the Redskins in January.

“It’s good to get Clem back in, even though he can’t work,” Carroll said.

Clemons, who was acquired in a 2010 trade with the Eagles, has posted 11, 11 and 11.5 sacks in his first three seasons with the Seahawks.

“The doctors say he’s in great shape,” Carroll said. “He’s ahead (of schedule). He’s worked diligently to get there. Is he going to make it back by the first game? I don’t know. He has a chance. And if it can happen, he’ll make it happen.

“But like I said the whole time, we will not rush that. We’re going to take our time on that and make sure he’s right. The doctors are greatly confident. He is also.”

Even if he’s not practicing, Clemons provides a plus.

“Clem, he’s a great leader on this team. He’s tough as nails and really stands for something in this locker room,” Carroll said. “So to have him around is important.”

POSITION WATCH: TIGHT END

With starter Zach Miller sitting out to rest a sore left foot, it allowed second-year tight end Sean McGrath and rookie Luke Willson to work with the No. 1 offense – snaps that will prove invaluable as they continue to develop in the offense.

“It does give the other guys a chance to step up and get some good focus work,” Carroll said. “It’s really good for Luke and Sean McGrath is getting extra turns. So it’s a good deal.”

While Willson was selected in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft, McGrath spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad after being signed as a rookie free agent last year.

“Sean is stronger. He’s quicker,” said Carroll, pointing out that McGrath has added almost 10 pounds. “He just looks great. He always could catch the football really well. Now he knows what he’s doing and he’s become just a regular part of it. He’s in the rotation right now.”

ANOTHER TOP 100 PLAYER

A sixth Seahawk will be included among the players ranked 21-30 in the NFL Network’s continuing countdown of the Top 100 Players for 2013. The latest group will be unveiled starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

As usual, we can’t tell you who it is. But All-Pro center Max Unger (No. 95), receiver/returner/running Percy Harvin (No. 90), All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas (No. 66), Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 51) and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 50) are the Seahawks previously included. That leaves a very-prominent name still out there – All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch.

A WISH COME TRUE, AND THEN SOME

Kevin LeeThe club hosted Make-A-Wish recipient Kevin Lee today. Needless to say, it was an over-the-top experience for the 12-year old from Farmington Hills, Mich., who has had four open-heart surgeries.

We can’t share more details at this time because the event was videotaped by a crew from ESPN and will be included in the network’s Eighth Annual My Wish series that is scheduled to air the week of Aug. 18.

UP NEXT

The players will practice again on Wednesday afternoon and then wrap up the three-day minicamp with a morning practice on Thursday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“You saw him. He was killing it today in practice. He’s just a very, very talented football player – very fast; very, very quick. He’s a very smart football player. He has the mind of quarterback. He thinks all the time. He’s thinking about what’s going on. What the coverage looks like and how he’s matched up with certain guys. So that helps.” – quarterback Russell Wilson on third-year slot receiver Doug Baldwin, who was played through injuries most of last season after leading the team in receptions as a rookie free agent in 2011


Is it football season yet?

Is it football season yet?

One-hundred days from today – on Sunday, September 8 – the Seahawks will kickoff the 2013 regular season against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

As our Insider Clare Farnsworth outlined earlier, 2013 is a season of heightened expectations for this Seattle ball club. The overwhelming message we gathered from Farnsworth’s feature is that the Seahawks players and coaching staff are handling each of these final 100 days to kickoff just like they’ve handled the previous 100 – one at a time.

So, we’re going to take it one day at a time along with them.

RM3_1232Every Friday, from now until the regular season begins, we’ll outline all the happenings of the week to come. And not just what’s happening with the team (though that will take priority), but we’ll use this space to keep you up to date on what’s going on around the Seahawks community as well. From player appearances to charity events and from fan activities to friendly holiday reminders (Fathers Day is rapidly approaching – June 16, to be exact – you’re welcome) we’ll have it for you here.

Hopefully, this will help us all cope with life without football, as together we inch closer and closer to answer the often-uttered question: Is it football season yet?

Without further ado, here’s a look at the what’s going on next week, June 3-7, with your Seattle Seahawks:

Monday, June 3:

  • After taking the weekend off, the team continues with Phase 3 of their Offseason Program, moving forward with the seventh of 10 Organized Team Activities (OTAs). This OTA session is open to the media, so expect plenty of coverage from us and the rest of our colleagues around the Pacific Northwest.

Tuesday, June 4:

  • The eighth of 10 OTAs takes place at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. This session is closed to the media, but our staff will be around to deliver plenty of offseason goodness your way here on Seahawks.com.

Wednesday, June 5:

  • The ninth of 10 OTAs takes place at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. This session is closed to the media as well, but once again we’ll be on hand to bring you a look at what’s going on from the team’s second to last day of OTAs.

Thursday, June 6:

  • The final day of OTAs takes place at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Like Monday’s go-around, this workout is also open to the media. We’ll have a full OTA-wrap-up for you here on Seahawks.com and blanketed across our social media channels.

Friday, June 7:

  • No team activities are scheduled, but it’s Seahawks Blue Friday. Wear your Seahawks-themed gear to school, work, or wherever you may be.
  • Don’t have any gear, or need something new? Friday also marks the grand re-opening of the expanded Seahawks Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field, which may feature a player appearance, or two (look for specifics next week here on Seahawks.com). All in all, it sounds like a great day to head down to the field and grab yourself some fresh garb.

Richard Sherman highlighted at No. 50 in NFL’s Top 100 of 2013

Richard Sherman

All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, who recently ranked as one of the League’s nine most indispensable defensive players, joined center Max Unger (No. 95), wide receiver Percy Harvin (No. 90), free safety Earl Thomas (No. 66), and quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 51) as the fifth Seahawk to be represented on NFL Network’s list of the Top 100 players of 2013, appearing at No. 50 on tonight’s unveil of players ranked 41-50.

Not only is Sherman the fifth Seahawk, but he’s also the fifth player at his position to make the network’s list. Sherman ranks ahead of the Denver Broncos’ Champ Bailey (No. 53), Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Darrelle Revis (No. 67), Chicago Bears’ Tim Jennings (No. 69), and Kansas City Chiefs’ Brandon Flowers (No. 75).

When Sherman was drafted with the 23rd pick in the fifth-round (154th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft, he took close notice of every cornerback that was drafted ahead of him, saying he could rally off each of their names if asked. Two years later, Sherman has established himself as one of the game’s top players, tallying 115 tackles, 12 interceptions (eight last season, T-2nd in NFL), 41 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and 1.0 sack in just 26 starts with the Seahawks.

You can bet the overtly-ambitious Sherman will maintain that 2011 draft mentality toward any other cornerbacks that may be ranked ahead of him on this list (fellow All-Pro corner Charles Tillman of the Bears has yet to be unveiled) when the countdown picks up again next Thursday with players ranked No. 31-40.


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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).


A fifth Seahawk in NFL Network’s Top 100

Another week, another Seahawk in the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2013.

When the players ranked No. 41-50 are unveiled on Thursday starting at 5 p.m. PT, the quartet of All-Pro center Max Unger (No. 95), wide receiver Percy Harvin (No. 90), All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas (No. 66) and Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 51) will have company.

As usual, we can’t say who the latest Seahawks player is. But the field is growing smaller by the week. Possible candidates include Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman.

You’ll have to tune in to find out who it is.


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