A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for July 29:
Robert Turbin. The Seahawks have big plans for the rookie running back from Utah State, but first the team’s fourth-round draft choice has to show is that he can consistently run the way needed to excel in this offense.
That is, take one step and go. It took leading rusher Marshawn Lynch a while to adapt to the no-hesitation style that assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable demands. Now, it’s Lynch’s understudy that must learn the all-important adjustment.
Turbin broke two longs in one portion of today’s two-hour practice, and each was followed by a long run from Cable to stress the style issue and then give some style points.
“One step and go. One step and go. And trust your gut,” Cable said after practice when asked about the exchanges that followed the long runs by Turbin that prompted Cable’s long runs.
On the first run, Turbin, well, let Cable explain. “He kind of went in there and pity-pattered. Kind of stomping snakes, you know,” Cable said. “You can’t do that in this system – and in this league – because you’re going to get hit about 18 times.”
The next time Turbin got the ball, he made the one cut, ripped cleanly through the line and accelerated into the secondary.
If the teaching aspect was worth one long run by Cable, the reward aspect promoted a repeat run.
“You’ve got to tell them right then, ‘That’s it,’ ” Cable said. “When they get it, they’ve got to capture it.”
Now that the Seahawks have captured Turbin, it’s imperative that he “get it,” so he can spell Lynch to keep the Beast Mode-running back fresher longer.
“I don’t have any doubt,” Cable said when asked if Turbin can fill the role that was missing from the running game last season. “It’s a matter of him, like the other young guys, learning how to be a pro and then in this system gaining his confidence.
“He’s on track to do to that.”
Sidney Rice. The acrobatic wide receiver was more, but also less, visible today. Rice took the field without the red no-contact jersey he was wearing Saturday, and then took part in a lot more snaps.
“I snuck it on,” said the blue-jerseyed Rice. “They got on me when I came out here. Sam (Ramsden, director of player health and performance) came over to me and he was like, ‘Oh, so you’re just a diva. You’re going to switch on me now every day.’ ”
What’s the deal? “I wanted to be in blue with the rest of the (offensive) team,” Rice said with a smile. “I’m not a quarterback. So I don’t want to wear a red jersey.”
The real switch was in how much work Rice got. After taking part in seven percent of the snaps Saturday, he was up to 25-30 percent (his estimations) today. That included participating in the 9-on-7 run drills and other team drills.
“It was great for my conditioning,” he said. “I was complaining a little in the 9-on-7, because I had to run downfield, block and then run right back to the huddle. But it’s no problem. It’s getting in the best shape I can be in.”
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: Third-year wide receiver Golden Tate put together an impressive dossier of athletic catches. But none was better than one where Tate made a falling grab of a deep pass from Matt Flynn.
Defense: Cornerback Coye Francies disappeared into a sea of raised arms in the end zone on a Hail Mary heave from Tarvaris Jackson in a two-minute drill, but came down with the ball for the interception.
IN ‘N OUT
Defensive tackle Alan Branch and defensive end Jameson Konz did not practice. Also sitting out were the other three players who are the PUP list: wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, cornerback Walter Thurmond and offensive lineman James Carpenter.
The fans didn’t just flock to practice on the shores of Lake Washington today; they came decked out in the Seahawk Sunday best – including jerseys new, old and in between. There were some retro jerseys for Cortez Kennedy (96), Steve Largent (80) and John Randle (93). There were the newer jerseys for Earl Thomas (29), Kam Chancellor (31), Lynch (24) and even recently acquired QB Matt Flynn (15). There were the in-between jerseys – Matt Hasselbeck (8), Lofa Tatupu (51), Mack Strong (38) and Nate Burleson (81).
But the most-popular number, by far, was Thomas’ 29. James Beauchamp was wearing his, and exampled the process that goes into selecting a favorite-player jersey for your favorite team.
“For me, he plays the same position I played,” said Beauchamp, who was a free safety at Mount Tahoma High School. “He’s also an exciting player.”
Then there’s the Pete Carroll factor. Say what?
“With Pete Carroll,” Beauchamp said of the team’s third-year coach, “you never know who’s coming and who’s going. So you know with Earl, he’s staying for a long time. So that’s part of it – knowing that he’s a fixture here.”
The players will have a walkthrough this afternoon, and tomorrow’s practice starts at 10:15 a.m.
JOIN THE CROWD
A crowd of 2,258 fans attended today’s practice. You can register here to attend one of the 11 remaining practices that are scheduled to be open during camp.
YOU DON’T SAY
“They’re both explosive players, they make big plays. Golden made a couple of huge plays out there today. It’s nice to see him do that – get up, jog back to the huddle and get ready to go out there and do it again.” – Rice, when asked to compare Tate, his current teammate; and Percy Harvin, his former teammate with the Vikings
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Feb. 8:
Mike Sando at ESPN.com takes a look at the Seahawks who are scheduled to become free agents: “The Seahawks’ top priorities in free agency appear clear, at least when it comes to their own players. Re-sign running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant.”
Sando also has a NFC West “Draft Primer,” and has this to say about the Seahawks: “Finding a long-term quarterback remains the top priority for the Seahawks, but once again the planets appear reluctant to align for them. Parting with Matt Hasselbeck and passing over Andy Dalton have left Seattle with Tarvaris Jackson and developmental quarterback Josh Portis. Chasing after Peyton Manning could make sense for the Seahawks. They have good young players. Adding a front-line quarterback could put them over the top in the division. Linebacker has replaced the offensive line as a primary need for the Seahawks. That should not be the case, in theory, because the team had so much invested in a couple of relatively young linebackers. Aaron Curry and Lofa Tatupu are gone, however, and David Hawthorne is a free agent. The team could move K.J. Wright into the middle.”
Former NFL executive Jeff Diamond at SI.com takes a look at both in this offseason assessment of the Seahawks: “Team Needs: QB, T, DE. The Seahawks want to find a potential elite QB to replace Tarvaris Jackson, but they’re in a tough spot. Picking at 11 or 12 in the first round, it’s too far to trade up for one of the top two. Perhaps they can get a shot at Ryan Tannehill, the third-ranked QB. In free agency, they would have interest in Matt Flynn, but Miami (with Joe Philbin) has a leg up unless the Dolphins can sign Peyton. The Seahawks also must improve their pass protection after giving up 50 sacks, so they will draft offensive linemen in the early rounds. A better possibility in the first round is a pass-rushing DE to play opposite Chris Clemons (such as Melvin Ingram of South Carolina or perhaps a trade up for Quinton Coples). The Seahawks also should seek a vet WR from the strong free agent class. And they may have to franchise Marshawn Lynch after his strong season (1,204 rushing yards, 12 TDs).”
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com has a new mock draft at CBSSports.com, but a familiar pick for the Seahawks: “Devon Still, DT, Penn State. Many expect the Seahawks to consider a quarterback to compete with incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson with this selection but in beating the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens last year, and matching up well with division champion San Francisco, the club may not be willing to reach to fill a perceived need. Don’t be surprised if Seattle instead turns its attention to a bounty of talented defensive linemen likely to be selected in the top 15. Still, a 6-4, 310-pound defensive tackle, showed his talent and despite all of the distractions in Happy Valley last year, was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year. Still could help inside at defensive tackle as well as provide the Seahawks with some flexibility at the five technique defensive end position should incumbent starter Red Bryant be heavily pursued in free agency.”
Whatever happened to Randall Morris? We catch up with the former running back here at Seahawks.com: “Morris, 49, owns Final Clean, a company that prepares just-constructed buildings so the tenants can move in. ‘I never left the Seattle area,’ he said. ‘I’m from Long Beach, Calif., and I didn’t want to raise my family down there. This is a much nicer place.’ ”
We also have a look in photos of the Top 10 moments from the 2011 season, as well as a video report of Walter Thurmond, Kris Durham, John Moffitt, Matt McCoy, Jameson Konz and Brandon Mebane delivering “baskets of hope” at Children’s Hospital.
Take a nice Saturday afternoon at the “farm” in Snohomish, add some enthusiastic young members of the Seahawks kid’s club and a pumpkin patch the size of a football field and you have enough fun to last all day.
Seahawks linebacker Jameson Konz turned out to greet the kids along with Sea Gals Alexa, Kelly and Tamaria, seven members of Blue Thunder and Blitz.
There was plenty of other entertainment for the kids as well including picking pumpkins, a duck race and the Three Little Pigs, who by the way were played by real pigs.
The back injury that caused Marcus Trufant to sit out the Seahawks’ pre-bye game against the Giants will force the veteran cornerback to miss the rest of the season.
Trufant was placed on injured reserve today, ending his ninth season with the team. Second-year cornerback Walter Thurmond is expected to start for Trufant on the left side, as he did in the 36-25 win over the Giants.
Trufant injured his back in the Week 4 loss to the Falcons, but it did not stiffen until the following Wednesday. By Sunday of that week he could not tie his shoes.
“It was a very unusual lower back situation,” coach Pete Carroll said last week, adding that this injury is different from the one that forced Trufant to miss the first six games of the 2009 season. “He sustained a bruised sacrum, which is kind of hard to even get to. … He was just all cramped up and couldn’t move at all.”
The Seahawks also signed two players: defensive tackle Jason Shirley (6-5, 345), who was waived from the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad on Sept. 3; and linebacker Stephen Franklin (6-foot, 235), a rookie who also had been with the Bengals.
To clear roster spots, rush-end Jameson Konz also was placed on IR after damaging a knee ligament against the Giants.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 10:
No-huddle. The Seahawks’ up-tempo approach on offense remains a focus because they used it so much in Sunday’s 36-25 upset of the New York Giants at the Meadowlands, and it was even more productive than it had been in the second halves of their previous two games.
“We started fast and we felt it,” coach Pete Carroll said during his day-after news conference. “Up-tempoing the offense, it fit us well – as we had hoped. We felt very comfortable in it.”
Comfortable enough to produce season-high totals in yards (424), rushing yards (145) and plays (76). The Seahawks also hit a season high for points, but of the 36 the offense scored 27 – one fewer than in last week’s win over the Atlanta Falcons.
“We ran the football, to create the balance we need,” Carroll said. “Of all of the things, in terms of the offense, the fact that we ran it was something I was really fired up about.”
The big one, of course, is the condition of Tarvaris Jackson’s right shoulder after he strained his pectoral in Sunday’s game. That was covered here.
Jameson Konz, who was signed off the practice squad last Tuesday, has ligament damage in a knee and will need season-ending surgery.
Tight end Zach Miller will have a MRI on the neck injury he got on a hit from Giants safety Kenny Phillips – which drew a 15-yard penalty.
Linebacker Leroy Hill got a mild hamstring strain in the game.
Running back Marshawn Lynch got a sprained ankle on the first play of the game when a player fell on his leg, but he returned to run for a season-high 98 yards and score on a 1-yard run.
Cornerback Marcus Trufant, who did not play against the Giants, also is schedule for a MRI. Carroll said Trufant’s back was so tight that he could not tie his shoes Sunday.
Wide receiver Mike Williams, who sat out against the Giants because of the concussion he got the previous week, has been cleared to return to practice.
STAT DU JOUR
It took Brandon Browner all of five games to run himself into the Seahawks’ record book. His 94-yard interception return for a touchdown to ice Sunday’s upset of the Giants was the longest in franchise history, breaking a record that was set in 1979. Here’s the Top 5 (all went for touchdowns):
Player (year) Yards
Brandon Browner (2011) 94
Sammy Green (1979) 91
Dave Brown (1984) 90
Jay Bellamy (2000) 84
Marcus Trufant (2007) 84
Tuesday is usually the players’ off day, but this is an unusual week because the Seahawks have their bye. So they will practice, starting at 11:45 a.m. There’s also a practice scheduled for Wednesday at 10:45 a.m. The players will then be off Thursday through Sunday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“There’s no controversy here in this building.” Carroll when asked the inevitable question after Charlie Whitehurst played well after replacing Jackson against the Giants
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 5:
No-huddle. While the Seahawks were working on the offensive strategy that has spiked their offensive output the past two weeks, the New York Giants were working against it during their practice.
“Obviously we practice it a great deal and did utilize it some of today’s practice for a great deal of that,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said during a conference-call interview. “The communication thing – we are at home, we should be able to communicate the idea that we’re in the proper alignment positions relating to and making sure everyone knows what the huddle call was. So we’re working on those kinds of things as well.”
How much the Seahawks use the no-huddle in Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium remains to be seen. But Coughlin already has seen enough that he knows his defense has to be ready for it.
The Seahawks’ two most impressive scoring drives of the season have come from the no-huddle – a 10-play, 61-yarder against the Falcons last week that ended with Tarvaris Jackson’s 6-yard TD pass to Mike Williams; and a 14-play, 72-yarder against the Cardinals the week before that resulted in Jackson’s 11-yard TD run.
After the Seahawks’ 105-minute practice, which was conducted in the indoor practice facility for the first time this season, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell was asked why he thinks the no-huddle has been so effective.
“There’s a number of reasons why you think,” he said. “Can you really put a finger on exactly which one? Probably not. But I do know it gives us rhythm. I do know our guys play fast. I do know that our guys have less to think about. It’s moving so fast that their focus is really dialed in.
“So there’s a bunch of reasons. But probably a little bit of all of those.”
Bevell also knows that it forces the opposition to spend extra time preparing for it.
“Sometimes it’s an up-tempo, which Seattle likes,” Coughlin said. “But sometimes also it can be a no-huddle that is really trying to identify what the defense is doing, and reacting accordingly. So we have to prepare for both.”
Jameson Konz. The second-year rush-end/linebacker/tight end/fullback is the Seahawks’ poster player for perseverance. A seventh-round draft choice last year, he spent his rookie season on injured reserve. This season, he spent the first four games on the practice squad.
But Konz was signed to the 53-man roster on Tuesday to help fill the void on special teams that was created when Matt McCoy was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury that will require a surgical procedure.
“That’s kind of where my niche is right now, and I’m going to try to work my way onto the defense,” Konz said.
Playing multiple positions at this level is not that common, but then Konz always has been a player of uncommon versatility.
“That’s kind of the player I’ve always been,” said Konz, who also played on both sides of the ball at Kent State and Lake High School in Uniontown, Ohio. “Wherever the coaches need me, wherever I can go to help the team, that’s just kind of the rule I live by.”
Now, he’s doing it on the active roster – thanks to his perseverance.
“It gets tough some times,” he said. “But you’ve just got to stick it out and keep working hard and eventually it will pay off at the end of the day.”
Or, four games into the season.
IN ’N OUT
Six players did not practice for the Seahawks, including four starters: wide receiver Mike Williams (concussion), tight end Zach Miller (knee), left guard Robert Gallery (groin) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (quadriceps). Ben Obomanu worked for Williams, Anthony McCoy subbed for Miller and Paul McQuistan and Atari Bigby continued to fill-in for Gallery and Chancellor. Gallery already has been ruled out for this week’s game.
Also out, with hamstring injuries: defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove and linebacker Malcolm Smith.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell returned after missing the past three weeks with an ankle injury, but he was limited to individual drills.
Coach Pete Carroll upgraded the status of assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable, who had back surgery last week. Cable missed two days of practice, but was back on Friday and was in the coaches’ box for Sunday’s game.
“Today he is definitely elevated to probable. He looked good today,” Carroll said. “It took a toll on him. He was hurting on Monday and he sucked it up, but he was an active part of (the Atlanta game) upstairs.”
Carroll said the plan is that Cable will accompany the team Friday when it flies to New Jersey for Sunday’s game.
For the Giants, cornerback Prince Amukamara (foot), center David Baas (neck), linebacker Michael Boley (knee), running back Brandon Jacobs (knee), defensive end Justin Tuck (groin, neck) and cornerback Corey Webster (not injury related) did not practice, while defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (ribs) and defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee) were limited.
STAT DU JOUR
They’re called “explosive plays” – passes of 20-plus yards and double-digit runs. The Seahawks had three in their first two games, but have had 13 in the past two – including a season-high seven in last week’s two-point loss to the Falcons. Here’s a look at their Top 5 plays in each category:
Yards (opponent) Play
55 (49ers) Jackson to Doug Baldwin
52 (Falcons) Jackson to Sidney Rice
32 (Cardinals) Jackson to Rice
30 (Falcons) Jackson to Baldwin
26 (Falcons) Jackson to Marshawn Lynch
Yards (opponent) Play
23 (Cardinals) Lynch
21 (Cardinals) Leon Washington
13 (Falcons) Jackson
13 (49ers) Ben Obomanu
12 (49ers) Lynch
“Turnover Thursday,” and the emphasis on forcing them will be even greater in Thursday’s practice because the Seahawks have only two in their first four games – both interceptions.
“It’s one of my most frustrating issues because we understand how important it is and how it works toward winning,” Carroll said. “We’re trying to do everything we can, but when you don’t affect the quarterback and you’re not getting to him – we didn’t have any sacks last week – that’s where most of it starts.
“We have to address it and make sure that we can cause some problems and get the ball thrown so we can make some plays and all that. That’s the primary issue.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“I mentioned to the guys that no matter what sport you’re in, when you play in New York it’s a cool thing. It just always has been, because of the great history and the tradition of those teams. I asked how many of our guys have played in New York and a few guys raised their hand. And I said, ‘Well, we’re playing in New Jersey.’ But still, it’s a special opportunity in that regard. It’s a cool place to play.” – Carroll, who coached for the Jets from 1990-94
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 4:
First-quarter honors. After an offseason of uncertainty when it seemed the regular season would never get here, the Seahawks already are a quarter of the way through it.
With the players off today and the coaches working on the game plan for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants in the Meadowlands, we figured it was a good time to pass out some awards:
Best player – Earl Thomas. This has been apparent to anyone who’s watched the Seahawks during their 1-3 start. The second-year free safety is good, and only getting better by the game. Thomas leads the team in tackles (26) and also has been forcing plays by forcing the issue.
“Earl, he’s a flash,” John Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowl safety during his career with the Buccaneers and Broncos, said last Friday when he was in town to handle the analyst duties for Fox’s telecast of the Seahawks-Falcons game on Sunday.
“Every time I’ve got the film on, I think I’m in fast forward. Then I realize that’s just him. He’s got tremendous instincts. I met with him with the first week of the season and he realized there were a lot of things he needed to get better at. He’s worked hard at them. I think he’s got a very, very bright future. He’s got as much range as any safety I’ve seen. (Former Redskins safety) Sean Taylor is the last guy with that kind of range and the ability to get from centerfield over to the sideline.”
Best free-agent addition – Sidney Rice. He got off to a slow start because of a damaged labrum, but the Pro Bowl wide receiver from the Minnesota Vikings has been a playmaker in the past two games. Rice led the team with eight receptions for 109 yards against the Cardinals – in his first regular-season game with the Seahawks, and their only win. Sunday, he hooked up with Tarvaris Jackson for a 52-yard touchdown.
“Sidney is the kind of guy you can throw the ball to knowing that he’s going to make something happen with it,” coach Pete Carroll said.
Best rookie free agent addition – Doug Baldwin. Ricardo Lockette got most of the attention early, because of his ridiculous speed. But the best receiver – and player – of the 18 undrafted rookies the Seahawks signed on July 26 was the made-to-order slot receiver from Stanford. Baldwin has been making plays from the first day he stepped on the practice field in training camp, and he’s still doing it. He leads the team in receptions (12) and receiving yards (194), and it was his 48-yard run after the catch that produced the team’s longest play of the season – a 55-yard TD in the opener against the 49ers.
“He’s a really natural football player,” Carroll said on Monday. “Things come easy to him. He’s a really good special teams player as well, which tells you something. He has a real feel for the game in general.
“So he’s able to make sense of what we’re asking him to do and then he naturally kind of makes the right decisions, too. So he’s got a savvy that has helped him.”
Best free-agent “find” – Brandon Browner. From the day he walked into the building, Carroll has wanted a bigger cornerback to match up against what seems like the steady diet of bigger receivers the Seahawks have been force-fed the past two seasons. The coach found one in the 6-foot-4 Browner, who spent the past four seasons covering the much-larger field in the CFL. Browner has had his moments – good and not so good. But he has not backed down from any challenge, whether it’s the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald, the Falcons’ Julio Jones or the Steelers’ Mike Wallace.
“As his confidence grows and his sense for the game here in the league grows, he’s going to be a big factor,” Carroll said. “I like to see the hard, dirty work that he had to do in making those tough tackles and stuff. … He’s ready to go nose-to-nose with everybody and he’s going to get better. He’s going to keep improving.”
Best draft choice – James Carpenter. Another slow starter who would have benefitted from the offseason that wasn’t, the team’s first-round draft choice has only gotten better at right tackle with each game. He’s now blocking his man and then getting to the second level to block another.
“James Carpenter played a really good football game, and I’ve been saying that now for three weeks,” Carroll said on Monday. “So he’s really getting on it.”
Best third-day draft choice – K.J. Wright. They simply haven’t been able to keep this guy off the field. Selected in the fourth round with the idea that he could backup Aaron Curry on the strongside, linebacker coach Ken Norton Jr. decided to take a look at Wright in the middle after the release of incumbent starter Lofa Tatupu prompted the move of David Hawthorne from the weakside to the middle. Wright started the opener in the middle because Hawthorne was out, and has started the past two games on the strongside.
“K.J. is very instinctive. He plays very smart situation football,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “He’s just a real good football player.”
VOBORA BACK, KONZ UP
Linebacker and special teams standout Matt McCoy was placed on injured reserve today because of the sprained knee he suffered in Sunday’s game. Linebacker David Vobora was re-signed to fill McCoy’s roster spot, because he can help on special teams and also in a situational role on defense if needed.
Also, linebacker Jameson Konz was signed off the practice squad. To clear a roster spot, fullback Eddie Williams was released. Williams had been signed when fullback Michael Robinson was out with a knee injury, but Robinson returned last week. In another practice squad move, tight end John Nalbone was signed and tight end Fendi Onobun reached an injury settlement and was released.
Vobora, who was raised in Eugene, Ore., and went to the University of Idaho, has an interesting story – which we covered after he was signed on Aug. 22. Vobora made the 53-man roster when the cuts were made on Sept. 3, but he was released the next day when the team claimed four players off waivers.
Konz, a seventh-round draft choice last year, is a versatile athletic who has played a number of positions on the practice squad – on both sides of the ball. We examined his versatility in this story.
STAT DU JOUR
Third downs have become the barometer by which to gauge the Seahawks’ defensive performances. When they play well on third downs, they “win.” When they don’t, they “lose.” Here’s a closer look at the “winning” and “losing” efforts:
Opponent (half) Third downs Score
49ers (second) 1 of 6 17-3, Seahawks*
Cardinals (second) 1 of 9 7-0, Seahawks
Falcons (second) 3 of 8 21-7, Seahawks
* — offensive points only
Opponent (half) Third downs Score
Steelers (first) 4 of 6 17-0, Steelers
Falcons (first) 6 of 8 24-7, Falcons
The players return from their “off” day to begin preparing for the Giants on Wednesday. Practice is at 1:30 p.m.
The team will travel to New Jersey on Friday and hold a walk-thru on Saturday afternoon.
YOU DON’T SAY
“That was an extraordinary emotional surge that happened in the stadium for our players. The fact that he lost his mind for a moment there; I’ve never seen him practice that, I don’t like us doing things that we don’t practice.” – a smiling Carroll when asked about Marshawn Lynch’s leaping somersault into the end zone as he was scoring on an 11-yard run against the Falcons
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 14:
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times revisits a training camp discussion with Tom Cable, when the Seahawks’ first-year assistant head coach/offensive line coach said there would be growing pains for his unit: “I keep saying, if you hear me, the system has to kind of start in infancy and grow just like we all do as humans,” he said. Offers O’Neil: “Crawl before you walk, walk before you run and expect some scrapes along the way. Not everyone was listening, though. It was easier to talk yourself into the possibility that things were going to be OK even as evidence piled up in August indicating otherwise.”
Eric Williams of the News Tribune takes a look at the roster moves made by the team on Tuesday, as well as the next opponent – the Steelers. Says Williams: “With fullback Michael Robinson unavailable for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh because of a second-degree ankle sprain, (Eddie) Williams likely will see some playing time. Williams was on Cleveland’s practice squad to begin this season.”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald examines how Tarvaris Jackson’s survival skills make the QB a good fit for the Seahawks’ still-growing offense. Says Boyle: “Something became evident over the course of the preseason and Sunday’s regular-season opener. Tarvaris Jackson is the right man for the Seahawks quarterback job. And that’s not necessarily because Jackson is a good quarterback — though despite some people’s shouts for backup Charlie Whitehurst, it’s way too early to know if Jackson will succeed in Seattle. No, Jackson is the right man for the job because, well, he has a chance to survive the job.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got one last look back at the loss to the 49ers in Sunday’s opener in Ben Malcolmson’s weekly view “From the Sidelines.” There’s also a feature on Jameson Konz, who is becoming the epitome of a practice-squad player; an “Up Next” look at the Steelers; and a Tuesday in Hawkville recap.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, where it was actually Friday because the Seahawks play on Saturday night:
Josh Pinkard. With Kam Chancellor sidelined by a sore foot, Pinkard will start at strong safety in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos in Denver.
If his performance on the practice field this week – and especially today – is any indication, the second-year safety is ready for the challenge and the opportunity.
“This is a glorious opportunity for Josh,” coach Pete Carroll said after the team’s 95-minute padless practice. “It’s a huge opportunity for him to show he can hang with these guys.”
Today, Pinkard let it all hang out. He intercepted one pass and tipped away another. But his best play came a screen pass that he read before the ball was ever snapped, allowing him to close quickly and get to Doug Baldwin just as the rookie wide receiver was catching the ball behind the line of scrimmage.
“It’s just knowing the plays and knowing our pre-play keys and reads that we go through in our minds,” Pinkard said. “That’s why we’re sitting in those meetings all day. Once you get that tip or that tendency, you’ve just to react on it.”
Pinkard definitely did that today.
K.J. Wright. The fourth-round draft choice will start at middle linebacker against the Broncos because David Hawthorne is out with a sore knee. Wright, who was drafted an outside linebacker, was moved inside after Lofa Tatupu was released on July 31. And the rookie has taken to his new role.
“This is an exciting opportunity for K.J., and for us to see him play with the first group,” Carroll said. “He had a terrific week of practice. I mean he really stepped it up and tried to play up with the fellas. It will be interesting to see how he does.”
Wright will be flanked by Aaron Curry and Leroy Hill, the starting outside linebackers, who participated in every phase of practice today after sitting out earlier in the week because of sore knees.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: Wide receiver Mike Williams going up between a pair of defenders to pull down a pass from Tarvaris Jackson for a 20-yard gain. The long play setup Jackson’s TD pass to a wide open Ben Obomanu in the two-minute drill that concluded practice. Williams also reached back to grab a Jackson pass in the end zone during the red zone drill.
Defense: Free safety Earl Thomas displaying his reactions, closing speed and leaping ability by flashing in to tip away a Josh Portis pass that was intended for rookie wide receiver Brandon Smith along the sideline.
Special teams: Linebacker/rush-end/tight end Jameson Konz sliding in to down a Jon Ryan punt by catching it at the 2-yard line.
IN AND OUT
Chris Clemons, the “Leo” defensive end, returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday to rest his surgically repaired ankle. He’ll also play against the Broncos after sitting out the first two preseason games.
“We’re figuring out how much to play him,” Carroll said. “We’d just like to get him out there and start him on his comeback. He looked fine in practice when he’s taken his turns. He won’t see an extended amount of time. We’ll get him in there two or three plays at time and then out.”
Running back Marshawn Lynch sat out for the second consecutive day to rest a sore ankle and Carroll said Lynch will not play against the Broncos.
“We’re going to rest him this week to make sure we get him well,” Carroll said. “But if we were playing a (regular season) game, I know he’d be chomping at the bit to play. But I think it’s a good decision to hold him back right now.”
Still sidelined, in addition to Hawthorne, Chancellor and Lynch: tight end John Carlson (shoulder), defensive end Dexter Davis (hip) and defensive lineman Pierre Allen (hamstring). Left tackle Russell Okung (ankle) did some work in individual drills but will not play against the Broncos.
Four players remain on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from offseason surgery: wide receiver Deon Butler (leg), tight end Cameron Morrah (toe), defensive tackle Colin Cole (ankle) and cornerback Roy Lewis (knee). They could remain on PUP when the cut to 53 players is made on Sept. 3, Carroll said.
“Right now we’re just being real patient with that and we don’t expect those guys to make it by the first game,” Carroll said of the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco. “They’re not going to make it. It’s going to be awhile.”
The players will have a sort walk-thru Friday morning before the team flies to Denver for Saturday night’s game. The players will be off on Sunday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Well, he’s huge, for one. He’s huge. That starts there, but he runs well, too. He gets up and goes. He can chase the football. And he’s so long with his arms that he can deliver a blow on blockers and extend and hold the line of scrimmage in an unusual fashion.” – Carroll, when asked what it was about Red Bryant’s body type that makes the 6-foot-4, 323-pounder suited for the five-technique end spot
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:
Charlie Whitehurst. The team’s backup quarterback is on a roll, but coach Pete Carroll remains committed to Tarvaris Jackson as the starter as the Seahawks prepare for Saturday night’s third preseason game against the Broncos in Denver as well as the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco.
“I’m really pleased with his progress. Charlie has taken advantage of everything we’ve done out here,” Carroll said following this afternoon’s two-hour practice in full pads.
Whitehurst also has taken advantage of what the opposing defenses have given him in the first two preseason games. He was 14 of 20 for 115 yards in the opener against the Chargers in San Diego and 14 of 19 for 97 yards in Saturday night’s home opener against the Minnesota Vikings – although Carroll said it could have been a 17-of-19 outing if his receivers had not dropped some passes.
“You can see it, Charlie is functioning beautifully,” Carroll said. “You can’t ask him to do a whole lot more than that. I’m really, really fired up that he’s playing at the level he is right now.”
Even with that said, Carroll explained that it does not change his mind about Jackson continuing to be the starter – in part because the offensive line has not provided him with adequate protection.
“Tarvaris can function out there. He made good decisions. He moved well,” Carroll said. “The rush was much closer to him. He had guys around him. We weren’t as stout with the pass-pro as we would like.
“But he was very comfortable in the game (and had) a really good mentality to work with during the game – a very clear thinker, good communicator and all of that.”
And, Carroll added, it goes beyond statistics.
“We’re looking very subjectively at this,” he said. “You don’t just look at the numbers. You’ve got to look at what’s happening up front, and how the protection is holding up, and did we run the right route.”
Linebacker. The defense practiced without its starters, as Aaron Curry, David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill sat out because of sore knees they got against the Vikings.
Carroll said he expects Curry and Hill to be ready for Saturday night’s game against the Broncos.
But this afternoon, the “starting” unit included rookie K.J. Wright in the middle for Hawthorne, rookie Malcolm Smith on the weakside for Hill and rookie Mike Morgan and just-signed David Vobora splitting time on the strongside for Curry.
“David is a savvy football player, a really good special teams guy, with flexibility and experience,” Carroll said of Vobora. “I think it’s a real nice add to us right now. He had a very good first day. I was anxious to see how he looked with our guys and he fit in very well.”
K.J. Wright. With Hawthorne not expected to play against the Broncos, the fourth-round draft choice is being prepped to start.
“That’s what we’d do right now. We’d go head and go with K.J.,” Carroll said. “Which would be awesome. It would be great to see him in there playing with those guys (the starters). It will be a great experience for him and we’ll learn a lot about him.”
So far, the coaches have liked just about everything they’ve seen from the 6-foot-4 Wright, who was moved to middle linebacker after the release of incumbent starter Lofa Tatupu on July 31. Wright had a team-high eight tackles in the preseason opener against the Chargers and added two tackles plus a quarterback hit against the Vikings.
“He looks solid and he’s tackling well and he’s learning,” Carroll said. “But there are a million things for this Mike linebacker to learn. There’s so much going on, with all the responsibilities at that position. But he’s handling it admirably and this will be a great test.”
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: Rookie wide receiver Kris Durham jostling with and then getting behind cornerback Kelly Jennings to catch a touchdown pass from Jackson in a 7-on-7 drill.
Defense: Let’s go with two, because they were similar and equally effective. On the first, linebacker Jameson Konz played off a lead block by fullback Michael Robinson to stop a running play before it could get started. On the second, cornerback Marcus Trufant turned fullback Dorson Boyce around with a solid jam to blow up the attempted block as well as the play.
Special teams: Pick one of the five field goals Jeff Reed hit during the special teams portion of practice, and make it the 38-yarder.
IN AND OUT
In addition to the starting linebackers, seven other players also sat out practice: tight end John Carlson (shoulder), left tackle Russell Okung (ankle), strong safety Kam Chancellor (foot), backup center Mike Gibson (undisclosed) and defensive linemen Dexter Davis, Pierre Allen and A.J. Schable (also undisclosed).
With Chancellor out, Josh Pinkard worked at strong safety with the No. 1 defense.
Cornerback Walter Thurmond practiced for the first time since early in training camp, and for the first time in full pads this summer. Carroll said he’s hopeful that Thurmond can play this week. Also back after sitting out the game against the Vikings were defensive end Chris Clemons and wide receiver Ben Obomanu.
Carroll said Carlson is “improving” after injuring his labrum while diving for a pass in practice last weekend. Carlson is aiming to play in the Sept. 2 preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field. Okung also could play against the Raiders, Carroll said, although his targeted return is the opener against the 49ers.
The players will practice Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning before flying to Denver on Friday for Saturday night’s game.
Carroll said the starters are expected to play into the third quarter against the Broncos, in what will be their longest stint of the preseason.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I hit it 2½ feet (from the pin), but I think his shot was better.” – Jay Don Blake, a member of the Senior PGA tour, on Whitehurst hitting the flag with his second shot in the now-annual close-to-the-pin competition after practice but still finishing second to Blake