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Carroll: “[Kearse] is jacked up about this opportunity”

Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s 1:30 p.m. practice and preparations for their Week 9 home matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.

When asked about the team’s wide receiver situation heading into this weekend’s game, Carroll said they will take a “wait and see” approach with Braylon Edwards, who had a knee swell up prior to their Week 8 game in Detroit, and that he is expected to get work in practice this week.

On Doug Baldwin, Carroll said he is coming along “better than we thought” from a high ankle sprain and he is challenging the trainers and coaches every day to get back on the field.

Carroll said Ben Obomanu, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve yesterday, is expected to be in a cast for six to eight weeks with a wrist injury, and that the injury would have hampered him too much if he were to try and play through it.

Of Jermaine Kearse, the former University of Washington Husky wideout who was called up from the team’s practice squad to replace the injured Obomanu yesterday, Carroll said he has impressed everybody in everything he’s done and will contribute on special teams as well.

“He’s been solid the whole time and right in the middle of it,” Carroll said. “He’s jacked up about this opportunity.”

Also of note, Carroll said that it is possible that they go into this weekend’s game with just four active wide receivers, which would presumably be Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Charly Martin, and the recently-activated Kearse.

Carroll said he is not sure if defensive tackle Jason Jones will be available this week. Jones missed last week’s game against the Lions with an ankle injury.

No decision has been made on whether or not to activate cornerback Walter Thurmond to the active roster. Thurmond is still within the three-week practice window on the team’s PUP list and the Seahawks will have until Nov. 5 to make a decision on whether or not to activate the third-year corner. Carroll did say that Thurmond will get featured work in practice this week so that he and the coaching staff can obtain a better idea of where he is at.

Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. And in case you missed it, stay tuned to Seahawks.com for Carroll’s full video press conference.


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Obomanu to IR, Kearse called up; Mid-season grades and honors

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 31.

The Seahawks made a few roster moves yesterday, placing wide receiver Ben Obomanu on injured reserve, releasing cornerback Danny Gorrer, promoting wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and tackle Mike Person from the practice squad to the active roster, and signing wide receiver Phil Bates to the practice squad.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story on the former University of Washington standout Kearse being called up to the active roster, “Kearse might not only be active on Sunday when Seattle faces Minnesota, but he could see playing time. Doug Baldwin is a longshot to play, according to coach Pete Carroll, as Baldwin recovers from a high ankle sprain. Braylon Edwards’ status is a question mark after his knee swelled unexpectedly on Sunday morning, preventing him from playing against the Lions.”

O’Neil also has a brief look at the Seahawks’ second half of the season.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his story on the promotion of Kearse, “Kearse had been playing well against Seattle’s No. 1 defense during practices. The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Kearse has the versatility to play both inside as a slot receiver and on the perimeter.”

Williams also grades out the Seahawks position-by-position at the season’s midway point, “Lynch is on his way to a second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing campaign. He’s second in the league in rushing with 757 yards on 159 carries for a robust 4.8 yard-per-carry average. Lynch has three rushing touchdowns, including a career-long 77-yard rumble for a score Sunday against Detroit. Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards four times this season. Fourth-round pick Robert Turbin has been a nice addition as a complementary back to Lynch, rushing for 129 yards on 30 carries. And fullback Michael Robinson continues to block like a Pro Bowl player as a lead blocker for Lynch. Robinson also is among the league leaders in third-and-1 rushes for first downs. He’s 4-for-4 on the year. Grade: B-plus”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald rehashes the Seahawks’ first half of the season and has a look at what’s in store in the second half, “Offense – What’s worked so far: The running game picked up where it left off last year, and Marshawn Lynch is on pace for a 1,500-yard season. The pass protection, which was an issue early in the year, is getting better. The offense has been getting off to good starts in games, particularly of late, scoring on its first possession in four straight games. What has to improve: The passing game has made some big strides under Wilson as the season has gone on, culminating in Sunday’s loss with what Carroll said ‘was probably his best game. It was his most solid performance.’ But that progress needs to continue for this offense to be good enough for a playoff push. For starters, the Seahawks need to figure out how to build off of those aforementioned strong starts, rather than go quiet for long stretches of the game. After scoring on their first three possessions against Detroit, the Seahawks came up empty on five straight possessions until their fourth-quarter touchdown drive. The two biggest problems for Seattle’s offense have been third-down and red-zone conversions, and while there have been signs of improvement in both areas, there is still room for growth.”

Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” believe the Seahawks still need to explore more options at wide receiver, even with the promotion of Kearse to the active roster. They discuss possible options in this short video.

Brock Huard of 710Sports.com has his latest “Chalk Talk“, as he breaks down the Detroit Lions’ 3rd-and-10 play from the 12-yard-line heading toward the end zone late in the fourth quarter that helped set up the Lions’ game-winning 1-yard touchdown pass.

Pro Football Focus has their Mid-Season All NFC West team and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch, wide receiver Sidney Rice, defensive end Chris Clemons, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Richard Sherman, and return man Leon Washington make their cut.

NFL.com’s “The NFL Season” has a look at Wilson’s rookie year and his relationship with Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon in this video.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a look at Wilson’s first half in “Tuesday in Hawkville,” hands out his Seahawks “Midseason honor roll,”  details Lynch’s fiery leadership, and has his first look at the Minnesota Vikings – the Seahawks’ Week 9 opponent.


Tuesday in Hawkville: A look at Wilson’s ‘prosperous’ first half

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 30:

FOCUS ON

Russell Wison

Russell Wison

Russell Wilson. Looking for a reason to be optimistic about the second half of the Seahawks’ season? Look to the team’s rookie quarterback, and let coach Pete Carroll be your tour guide.

“One of the big focuses in looking at the quarterback position – you all ask those questions, ‘How’s he doing?’ and all – he’s had a very prosperous first half of his first year,” said Carroll, the team’s third-year coach. “In that he’s grown, he’s been attacked, he’s been under the gun in so many games.

“And Russell has shown his ways and his character and his athleticism. He’s done some great stuff first time around.”

At the top of Wilson’s great-stuff list was his performance in Week 6 against the Patriots and Tom Brady. It was Wilson, and not Brady, who threw two TD passes in the final 7½ minutes to rally the Seahawks to a 24-23 victory.

At the bottom of Wilson’s not-so-great-stuff list was his performance four days later, when he completed 9 of 23 passes in a 13-6 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco.

But Wilson bounced back from that effort to lead the Seahawks to a go-ahead TD with 5½ minutes to play in Detroit on Sunday. The Lions then drove 80 yards to a score that won the game, but it didn’t diminish Wilson’s play in the 12-play, 87-yard drive that ended with his 16-yard TD pass to tight end Zach Miller.

“But he needs to get better,” Carroll said. “Just like everybody does. He’d be the first to tell you that. We need to improve and keep getting things moving in a positive direction. We need to be better on third downs and continue to fight to be better in the red zone.”

Entering Sunday’s game against the Vikings at CenturyLink Field, Wilson is completing 61.4 percent of his passes (129 of 210) for 1,466 yards, with 10 touchdown passes and eight interceptions, for a passer rating of 82.4 that ranks second in the league among the rookie starters – Redskins’ Robert Griffin III (97.3); but well ahead of the  Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill (75.8), Colts’ Andrew Luck (74.6) and Browns’ Brandon Weeden (70.8).

OBOMANU TO IR

Ben Obomanu’s seventh season with the Seahawks has come to an unlucky end. The veteran wide receiver was placed on injured reserve today because of the wrist injury he got in Sunday’s loss to the Lions in Detroit.

Obomanu, a seventh-round draft choice in 2006, caught four passes for 58 yards and a team-high 14.5-yard average.

With Obomanu out for the remainder of the season, rookie wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was signed off the practice squad and rookie Phil Bates, who was with the team in training camp, was added to the practice squad.

The team also released cornerback Danny Gorrer and used his roster spot to sign tackle Mike Person off the practice squad.

STATS ’N STUFF

Leon Washington is second in the NFC and fifth in the NFL in kickoff return average (29.8), while Jon Ryan is second in the NFC and third in the NFC in punting average (50.2) and third in the NFC and seventh in the NFL in net average (41.9).

Marshawn Lynch is second in the conference and league in rushing yards (757) and total yards (841) to the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson (775 and 914).

Richard Sherman has three interceptions to tie for fifth in the league, while Chris Clemons has seven sacks to tie for seventh.

The Seahawks rank fifth in the league in total defense and rushing defense, and 13th in passing; while the offense is 30th overall, eighth in rushing and 31st in passing.

Linebacker K.J. Wright continues to lead the team with 63 tackles, one more than rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Heath Farwell (eight) and Chris Maragos (seven) lead the special teams in coverage tackles.

STAT DU JOUR

Lynch has surpassed 100 rushing yards 10 times for the Seahawks in the past 17 games. But his 77-yard touchdown run against the Lions on Sunday allowed him to reach triple digits in the fewest carries. He’s a look at his 100-yard games, ranked not by most yards but fewest carries – with the top two coming in the past two games:

Opponent (date)                              No.   Yards    Avg.

Lions (Oct. 29, 2012)                        12       105      8.8

49ers (Oct. 18, 2012)                       19       103      5.4

Rams (Sept. 30, 2012)                      20      118       5.9

49ers (Dec. 24, 2011)                       21      107       5.1

Eagles (Dec. 1, 2011)                        22      148       6.7

Cowboys (Nov. 6, 2011)                   23      135       5.9

Rams (Dec. 12, 2011)                        23      115       5.0

Redskins (Nov. 27, 2011)                  24      111       4.6

Cowboys (Sept. 16, 2012)                 26      122       4.7

Ravens (Nov. 13, 2011)                     32      109       3.4

UP NEXT

The players return from their off day to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Vikings on “Competition Wednesday.”

Wide receiver Braylon Edwards will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. today at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop.

YOU DON’T SAY

“For all of the young guys that are starting and playing a great deal right now, this is the end of their college season. So they’ve got to get the second wind and get back with it and make sure that we can continue to improve.” – Carroll


Obomanu goes on injured reserve

Ben Obomanu

Wide receiver Ben Obomanu

Veteran wide receiver Ben Obomanu was placed on injured reserve by the Seahawks today because of the wrist injury he got in Sunday’s loss to the Lions in Detroit.

With Obomanu out for the remainder of the season, rookie wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was signed off the practice squad and rookie Phil Bates, who was with the team in training camp, was added to the practice squad.

The team also released cornerback Danny Gorrer and used his roster spot to sign tackle Mike Person off the practice squad.

Obomanu caught four passes for 58 yards in the first eight games, and also had three coverage tackles on special teams.


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Tuesday cyber surfing: Third down defense needs to improve

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 30.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks defense needs to improve on third down – where they rank 27th in the League, “No team in the league has forced opponents into more third-and-long situations than Seattle. That fact is evidence of the Seahawks’ fortitude against the run and an ability to hold their ground on first and second downs. No team in the league has allowed opponents to convert more third-and-long plays than the Seahawks. That fact points to an underlying weakness of the defense, a persistent inability to get off the field that could endanger Seattle’s playoff hopes. ‘It’s disturbing,’ coach Pete Carroll said, ‘that we’re not able to be like we are in the rest of our game. We’ll try to take the turn here. We’ve had some deep discussions about it, and see if we can get it fixed right away.’ “

O’Neil notes that with Seahawks wide receivers Doug Baldwin, Braylon Edwards, and Ben Obomanu dealing with injuries, the team is looking at options at the position, “The league trading deadline has been extended until Thursday, and it’s no secret receiver Dwayne Bowe wants out of Kansas City, but he has only half a season remaining on his contract. Terrell Owens’ name will inevitably be mentioned, too. He played flanker for the Seahawks during his three weeks with the team in August, and the spot Seattle would be looking to fill is split end and perhaps slot. Kearse has played well on the practice squad and could be a consideration.”

O’Neil also breaks down what history tells us about the Seahawks finishing the first half of the season with a record of 4-4.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune discusses the team’s defensive struggles on third down, “According to STATS Inc., Seattle’s defense allows 43.2 percent (16 of 37) third-down plays from 10 yards and longer to be converted into first downs, worst in the league. No other team in the NFL has allowed more than nine such conversions. Carroll addressed his defense’s third-down struggles during his Monday press conference, saying the reason for the high success rate by opponents is a mixture of inexperience on defense and a need for a more consistent pass rush by the front four. ‘It’s just being comfortable with the situation,’ Carroll said. ‘And doing the same thing right again and again, and not changing a little bit. Maybe we try a little too much, or we try a little too hard to make a play or something. Those things you can wash out with experience sometimes. And sometimes guys are just trying to make things happen, and they make mistakes. But I think we’ve tried a little bit too hard to be perfect, or to catch a tendency or something like that, and then we miss our drops. … I know we can get a lot better, I just hope we can do it right away. We need to get this done soon.’ “

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune reflects upon the Seahawks’ first half of the season following Carroll’s press conference yesterday, “As expected, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sees the season as half-full, and reeled off a rapid-fire list of the team’s strengths heading into the final eight games: ‘We know we can run the football. We can play good defense. We’re becoming more efficient in the passing game. We’re protecting the quarterback well. Our special teams are really rock solid.’ All those are valid assessments. And if last season’s progression was an indicator, the Seahawks finish well. Last year’s second-half improvement (5-3 down the stretch) was the result of establishing an identity as a running team with an aggressive defense. No such makeover is necessary this season. ‘We’re going to continue to ride the defense and continue to ride the running game and continue to count on special teams and as we grow, hopefully, the way things are set up, we can make some noise here in the second half,’ Carroll said.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald comments on the club’s defensive struggles on third down, “Carroll is confident his defense will improve on third down in the second half of the season. ‘I know we can get a lot better, I just hope we can do it right away. We need to get this done soon,’ he said. But he also concedes that there is not a single easy-to-fix, reoccurring problem to address. ‘Unfortunately not,’ Carroll said. ‘It would be easy if it was, we got beat in man coverage the whole time, or it was all the zone stuff or the pressures. We made some mistakes that they took advantage of. Just little technical things like a guy dropping a bit out of his area, a guy not picking up the leverage side of his man-to-man the way we like it and things like that. We’ve miss-hit a couple of pressures that we had a great chance to get something done on, and timing wasn’t great for us. They just took advantage of every one of them and they were so efficient down the stretch. It just shows you that this was a really good quarterback that we played and he was able to carry it out through the game and get them a win.’ “

The NFL has moved the trade deadline back two days to Thursday Nov. 1 because of potential complications from Hurricane Sandy.

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com recaps a segment of “Brock and Salk” in which Carroll joined the show following Sunday’s loss to the Lions. Henderson details the improvements in the passing offense as one of the silver linings from the Week 8 road loss, “The Seahawks offense had come up short in the final minutes of close road losses earlier this season, but on Sunday Wilson led a 12-play drive that ended with a go-ahead touchdown with 5:27 remaining only to see the Lions respond with a touchdown of their own. Wilson was 6 of 8 on that drive, capping it with a 16-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Miller. ‘I thought he was really solid. I thought he was really good,’ coach Pete Carroll told ‘Brock and Salk’ on Monday. ‘I think we helped him again. We were able to get the ball on the perimeter a little more. We got the ball in guys’ hands where they were running with the football. Golden [Tate] looked good. We really wanted to get Sidney [Rice] and Golden the football and really emphasize that, to start to feel the continuity of where the ball is going. I think you saw that.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press says the Seahawks’ defensive issues are concerning for a unit that ranked No. 1 in the League just a couple weeks ago.

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday, and speculates as to what moves the team could make to shore up the receiver position, “There are a handful of receivers that were with Seattle in training camp that could be an option. WR Terrell Owens, WR Deon Butler, WR Lavasier Tuinei, and WR Phil Bates are all free agents without jobs. WR Ricardo Lockette (San Francisco) and WR Kris Durham(Detroit) are both on practice squads and could be signed to Seattle’s active roster. The most likely move would seem to be bringing Kearse up from the practice squad and bringing back a practice squad eligible receiver if the Seahawks need to find replacements for Obomanu and/or Edwards.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “NFC West Stock Watch“, pointing to the rise of quarterback Russell Wilson, “Wilson completed 25 of 35 passes (71.4 percent) for 236 yards and two touchdowns even though receiver Sidney Rice dropped what should have been a long scoring reception. Wilson graded out perfectly on his pre-snap checks and protection calls, Carroll said. The one pick Wilson threw resulted in a miscommunication with Rice, the sort of thing that happens when a quarterback and receiver haven’t played together long. Wilson led a 12-play, 87-yard drive to the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Tight end Zach Miller deserves special mention, too. He went above and beyond with a one-handed scoring catch.”

The staff at ESPN.com has their Week 9 NFL Power Rankings, where the Seahawks sit at No. 13.

NFL.com also has their Week 9 Power Poll, and the Seahawks come in at No. 11.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a look at what worked and what needs work after the team’s 28-24 defeat in Detroit in his “Monday Metatarsal Musings,” and recaps the activities surrounding “Monday in Hawkville.”

Tony Ventrella and Farnsworth rehash the Week 8 loss to the Lions in their video review.

Ventrella brings thoughts on the first half of the season in his “Seahawks Daily.”

And finally, we bring you coach Carroll’s full video press conference from Monday.


Kearse returns to practice squad

Jermaine Kearse was re-signed to the practice squad today; just four days after the former University of Washington wide receiver had been released.

Also added to the eight-man practice squad was defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo, a 6-foot, 319-pound rookie free agent who had been with the Texans. The 27-year-old Mormon served a two-year mission in the Philippines after high school and then attended Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) Junior College and USC before transferring to BYU for his final season in 2011.

Tackle Tommie Draheim and tight end Gabe Miller were released to clear spots for Kearse and Fangupo.


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McGrath back, Kearse gone

The Seahawks made a practice-squad move this morning, adding tight end Sean McGrath and releasing wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.

McGrath was with the team during training camp and the preseason, when he caught five passes for 64 yards. Kearse, who played at the University of Washington, also was with the team this summer and caught one pass for 37 yards during the preseason. Each of the rookie free agents had been released on last Friday’s roster cut to 53 players.

In a procedural move, linebacker Matt McCoy was released from the injured reserve list with an injury settlement.


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Coughman, Kearse added to practice squad

Edawn Coughman has been signed to the Seahawks’ practice squad.

Coughman was with the team in training camp and released last week on the roster cut to 75 players. He brings versatility, because Coughman was signed in June as an offensive tackle but then also worked at defensive tackle before his release.

He played last season in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts.

Coughman joins seven other players on the practice squad who were released on Friday’s roster cut to 53 players: linebacker Allen Bradford, guard Rishaw Johnson, wide receivers Jermaine Kearse and Ricardo Lockette, quarterback Josh Portis, safety DeShawn Shead and linebacker Korey Toomer.

Kearse, who played at the University of Washington, replaces tight end Sean McGrath, who was on the club’s original list of seven players who had been signed to the practice squad yesterday.


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Game at a glance: Irvin breaks the ice

A recap of the Seahawks’ 21-3 victory over the Raiders at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Bruce Irvin. There were plenty of candidates, but the nod goes to the first-round draft choice because he broke his oh-fer drought in the preseason.

After not producing a tackle, let alone a sack, in the first three preseason games, Irvin had 1.5 sacks against the Raiders and came tantalizingly close to collecting a couple more. He also forced a fumble on a punt return in the first quarter to set up Steven Hauschka’s first field goal to get things rolling.

“You can see the flair that he has,” coach Pete Carroll said. “It’s because of that marvelous speed that he has coming off the edge. He’s getting better, and he has so much talent.”

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: The obvious choice would be Vai Taua’s 2-yard run in the second quarter for the Seahawks’ first touchdown. But his 13-yarder to the 2-yard line that setup it up was even better.

“It’s easy when you offensive linemen are getting push like that,” Taua said. “It makes it a lot easier, so all the credit goes to them.”

Defense: Jaye Howard’s safety-producing tackle of Mike Goodson in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t just that the rookie defensive lineman got to the RB in the end zone; it’s how he did it. Howard manhandled 300-pound Colin Miller on his way to Goodson.

“I thought Jaye Howard made a huge play, obviously,” Carroll said. “A safety is always fun.”

Special teams: Irvin’s fumble-forcing hit on punt returner Roscoe Parrish. Second-round draft choice Bobby Wagner recovered at the Raiders’ 38-yard line.

“I just thank the football Gods to see that I’ve been busting tail in practice every day,” Irvin said. “Those Gods are always watching. They watch when you take a play off. I think it starts in practice.”

INJURY REPORT

Taua strained the posterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees. Carroll said the extent of the injury will be known after Taua has additional tests on Friday.

Wide receiver Golden Tate twisted a knee while returning a punt in the third quarter. “It’s not bad,” Carroll said. “We need to see how he bounces back.”

Tate was returning punts because Leon Washington got poked in the eye during practice on Tuesday.

“He wasn’t real comfortable trying to catch punts in the pregame (warm-ups),” Carroll said. “He couldn’t see the ball the way he wanted to.”

Carroll also reported that defensive end Red Bryant chipped a tooth during the sideline celebration after Howard’s safety.

DID YOU NOTICE?

Rookie wide receiver Jermaine Kearse lined up at running back after Taua had to leave the game.

“We ran out of running backs, that’s why Kearse played,” Carroll said. “The guys were having a blast on the sideline with him.”

YOU DON’T SAY

“You just hope that you did enough to impress somebody. If not here, then there are 31 other teams that hopefully you have impressed.” – Taua, on Friday’s roster cut from 75 players to 53


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Thursday in Hawkville: Maxwell making progress

With Clare Farnsworth in Canton, Ohio covering Cortez Kennedy’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I’ll be taking over the blog through the weekend. Getting to it, here’s a recap of the activities surrounding the Seahawks’ Bing Training Camp for August 2.

FOCUS ON

Byron Maxwell. The 6-1, 207-pound cornerback is working back into practice after returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for seven games during his rookie season. Maxwell, drafted with the eighth pick in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Clemson, impressed in training camp as a rookie last season and has the prototypical size and make-up of a Pete Carroll corner. He saw action in nine games a year ago, with most of that action coming on special teams, and prior to the NFL he was dubbed one of the hardest hitting defensive backs in the ACC.

Maxwell shined in the ‘gunner’ special teams drill to start Thursday’s practice. Lining up in punt formation against second-year receiver Doug Baldwin and rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane, Maxwell broke the jam put on him by Baldwin and Lane and out-ran the wide receiver-cornerback duo up the right sideline before cutting back inside down field to meet punt returner Leon Washington as he was fielding the football.

“Special teams is about going hard,” Maxwell said of the play. “That’s all I do is go hard. It’s all about who wants it the most. I pride myself in my special teams play. That’s just the purest form of football. If you go out there and you can play special teams, you can play football.”

Maxwell clearly wanted it the most on that play.

Later in Thursday’s practice, the Clemson product wanted more, breaking up a ball in the end zone from quarterback Matt Flynn that was intended for wide receiver Golden Tate.

“We’re very satisfied with his progress,” said Seahawks secondary coach Kris Richard. “Of course, his issue is going to be conditioning now. He hasn’t had a full offseason. We are well aware of it, but we’re very satisfied with his effort. He’s a ball player. He’s always had a knack to get around the ball.”

With Seattle’s secondary featuring the likes of Pro Bowlers Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Brandon Browner, as well as impressive second-year player Richard Sherman, Maxwell knows that special teams play is an area where he must have an impact in order to stand out, but he’s not stopping there.

“Right now, special teams are a place where I feel I need to make an impact, but obviously that’s not all I want in this League,” Maxwell said. “I’m always looking to get better, get to the top, and be the best. Special teams is a role that I’ve got to do right now and one that I’ve got to do well for the team.”

And Richard knows that Maxwell is capable of more than stand out special teams play, and the NFL is a League where you’re always one play away from potentially making an impact.

“A healthy Byron at corner, in the nickel, and on special teams – a healthy Byron is a very effective Byron,” said Richard. “He’s a really good football player. We’re praying that he’s able to maintain his health, and if he is, really, the sky is the limit for him.”

UNIT WATCH

Defensive backs, and specifically the unit’s red zone defense. What can be said about this unit that hasn’t been said already? Quarterbacks Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson, and Russell Wilson could not buy a bucket – or in this case, a touchdown pass – during the team’s red zone passing drill. The long, rangy defense dominated the drill, with cornerback Brandon Browner standing out in particular. On one play that saw Wilson under center Browner had coverage of wide receiver Charly Martin down the left sideline. Wilson fired a ball at Martin who cut toward the inside, but instead of extending his hands to receive the football, Martin was forced to bat the ball to the ground because Browner had beat him to the spot. Earlier in the drill Browner intercepted a ball from Flynn that was intended for Martin.

During the same drill, Maxwell made a nice read on a ball in the flat for wide receiver Kris Durham, exploding toward the football upon the quarterback’s release and pushing Durham to the sideline for no gain.

The only offensive conversions during the red zone passing drill that saw each of the three quarterbacks take multiple reps came on a pass from Flynn to rookie wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei, and on a toss from Jackson to rookie wide receiver Phil Bates, who made a nice grab on his back shoulder while falling to the ground.

PLAYS DU JOUR

Offense: A couple of offensive plays stood out in what was mainly a defense-dominated day. Ricardo Lockette made a nice stick on a ball from Wilson, elevating above safety Chris Maragos and cornerback Phillip Adams and tapping his toes down in the corner of the end zone for a score. During the team’s 11-on-11 session, Leon Washington had a nifty cut-back move to break free down the right sideline for a large gain. In the same session, rookie running back Robert Turbin had a similar move, as he slashed away from the scrum and scampered down the left sideline for a big gain.

Defense: In the team’s 9-on-7 drill, Earl Thomas penetrated the offensive line and found himself in the offensive backfield before running back Leon Washington, who had received the handoff, could even take a step. The speedy Thomas made the stop on Washington with an assist from defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, who had won his battle along the line and cleared a lane for Thomas to dart through. Also in the 9-on-7 drill, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane let out a Street Fighter-esque ‘Hadoken!’ battle cry prior to the snap, empowering Alan Branch through the line to make a crunching stop of Washington in the backfield.

IN ‘N OUT

Rookie wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, the former University of Washington standout and Lakewood, Wash. native, practiced for the first time today. Kearse had been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of camp.

Defensive tackle Jason Jones returned to practice after sitting out Monday and Tuesday. Tight end Kellen Winslow and linebacker Barrett Ruud also returned to practice after missing Tuesday because of knee situations.

Six players did not practice, as cornerback Ron Parker, tight end Anthony McCoy, linebacker Matt McCoy and linebacker Jameson Konz joined the two remaining players on the physically unable to perform list – offensive lineman James Carpenter and cornerback Walter Thurmond.

UP NEXT

The players have a walkthrough this afternoon and will practice at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow. Saturday’s practice will be the team’s final practice slotted for 10:15 a.m. Sunday’s practice, scheduled for 1:15 p.m., is set to feature a “mock game” between the squads.

JOIN THE CROWD

Today’s practice attracted 1,098 fans, as well as the Navy’s Blue Angels, who are in town for Seattle’s Sea Fair weekend. Fans along the berm at VMAC got an up-close-and-personal look at the Navy’s show group, whose impressive aerial acrobatics could be seen and heard – loudly – over the Seahawks three practice fields along the shores of Lake Washington.

Eight practices remain open to the public, including this weekend’s practices on Saturday and Sunday, which are the final weekend practices of camp. You can register to attend a practice session here.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Awesome. That was sick. They came in [to the VMAC] and visited us yesterday. Lieutenant David Tickle was in here yesterday and he visited with the coaching staff and I asked him, ‘Can you give us a little something-something at practice tomorrow?’ And he said, ‘OK, I’ll show you.’ So he gave us a little buzz and a little extra smoke and wiggle when he left here, so that was great.” – Head Coach Pete Carroll on the show the Blue Angels put on today over VMAC during practice.