The loss of Jimmy Wilkerson to a season-ending knee injury in the preseason finale has led the Seahawks to Anthony Hargrove on the eve of their regular-season opener.
The former St. Louis Rams, Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints defensive linemen was signed this morning. Defensive tackle Landon Cohen was released to clear a spot on the 53-man roster. Cohen had been claimed off waivers last Sunday.
The 6-foot-2, 272-pound Hargrove was selected in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Rams and played three seasons in St. Louis, starting a career-high 15 games in 2005 – when he also produced career-bests in tackles (51) and sacks (6½).
Hargrove spent 2006 and 2007 with the Bills, but did not start a game and had 32 tackles. He played the past two seasons with the Saints, and had 42 tackles and five sacks while starting six games in 2009. Hargrove went to training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles this summer, but was released on the final roster cut.
With the Seahawks, Hargrove provides another option to use on the rotation at tackle and also backup Red Bryant at the five-technique end spot – something that was lost along with Wilkerson.
“We don’t have a guy like Jimmy,” coach Pete Carroll said this week. “Jimmy had an expertise of playing defensive end on early downs and going inside (on passing downs). We don’t have a guy like that, so we’re going to use a combination of guys to rush and see what we can find.”
What they found was Hargrove, who has 205 tackles and 16½ sacks in his seven-season career.
A recap of the Seahawks’ 20-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders in their preseason finale at CenturyLink Field on Friday night:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Golden Tate. The last time the second-year receiver played at CenturyLink Field, he dropped two passes – including one that went off his hands, was intercepted and returned for a touchdown in a 20-7 loss to the Vikings.
That was two weeks ago. But Friday night was a redemptive outing for Tate. He had a 43-yard reception to set up the Seahawks’ first field goal among his five catches and 79 yards. He returned a punt 43 yards and a kickoff for 34 yards.
Was this a springboard effort for last year’s little-used second-round draft choice?
“I don’t think there’s any question that it can be,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I think that he needed to have a good game where he had a chance to get going. That’s why I think whether this could be a turning point, it could be for him. It’s not in my mind. I already know what he can do.”
In this game, Tate showed everyone else, as well.
“He just has good stuff,” Carroll said. “The open field breaks that he made in the kicking game, and he made a couple of great catches tonight and stole a bunch yards away. The returns were great. That will also show up in the catch-and-run, too.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Carroll called it the “immaculate reception,” and what Leon Washington as able to do with a Charlie Whitehurst pass that was batted into the air as Tate and Raiders cornerback Joe Porter were battling for the ball was, well, pretty immaculate. Washington not only picked the ball out of the air, he ran for 32 yards to the Raiders’ 15-yard line. The Seahawks eventually scored their first touchdown, but it wouldn’t have happened without Washington’s heads-up play on third down.
Defense: There were a lot to choose from, especially considering that each of the Raiders’ final three possessions ended on downs. But let’s go with the last one, as rookie safety Mark LeGree tipped a Kyle Boller pass incomplete on fourth-and-10 from the Seahawks’ 35-yard line.
Special teams: Tate’s 43-yard punt return. It happened late in the first half and gave the Seahawks a shot at kicking a 53-yard field goal on the final play of the half. Except that the Raiders’ Porter blocked that kick.
Left guard Robert Gallery and defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson left the game with sprained knees, and each is scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging test on Saturday to determine the extent of the damage and how long they might be out.
The Seahawks also played without six starters: running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle), wide receivers Sidney Rice (shoulder) and Mike Williams (toe), left tackle Russell Okung (ankle), middle linebacker David Hawthorne (knee) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (foot). Carroll said Okung could have played, but it was decided to rest him for another game, and added that Rice’s injury is the only one that could be a problem for next week’s regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco.
THIS ’N THAT
Former Raiders Zach Miller and Gallery were appointed captains for the game.
Rookie middle linebacker K.J. Wright, who started for Hawthorne, had a team-high five tackles to finish the leading tackler in the preseason.
Defensive lineman David Howard had 1½ sacks.
Thomas Clayton rushed for 42 yards on 11 carries to finish as the Seahawks’ leading rusher in the preseason.
The Seahawks converted 7 of 13 third-down situations, but they also had nine penalties for 105 yards.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It felt amazing, man. But honestly, that just goes to the offensive line, you know what I mean? I don’t take any credit for that. That’s the offensive line all the way.” – Clayton, on scoring his second TD of the preseason
A recap of the afternoon practice at Seahawks training camp on Tuesday:
Earl Thomas and Mark LeGree. When the Seahawks selected LeGree in the fifth round of the April NFL Draft, coach Pete Carroll talked about using the rookie from Appalachian State in the nickel so they could feature Thomas’ ample talents in other ways.
The talk has turned to action, as LeGree and Thomas continued to work in those roles during this afternoon’s 2½-hour practice.
“We want to put Earl in places where he can be really active because he’s such an incredible player,” Carroll said between practices. “So that’s part of the thinking, to get a ranging safety that can play back there.
“LeGree is a ball-hawk guy, that’s why he fits that role for us. There were other guys you could look at, but that was the guy we thought was the best fit.”
Thomas, the 14th pick overall in last year’s draft, intercepted five passes last season to tie the club rookie record and also contributed 71 tackles to rank fifth on the team. LeGree led the nation with 10 interceptions in 2008 and finished with 22 for his career.
Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks had big plans for the big strong safety from Virginia Tech when they selected the 6-foot-3, 232-pound Chancellor in the fifth round of the draft last year. After playing in situational roles as a rookie, Chancellor is making big strides now that he’s working with the No. 1 defense at the spot where veteran Lawyer Milloy started last season.
Today, the full complement of Chancellor’s talents was on display. First, he blitzed and got to running back Leon Washington in the backfield. Then, he intercepted a pass in the end zone that was intended for tight end John Carlson. Later, he lifted and dropped Golden Tate after the wide receiver had caught a pass.
Doug Baldwin. It’s not just that the rookie wide receiver made a half dozen catches in practice, it’s that Carroll came over to the free agent from Stanford after each one to give him a way-to-go pat.
If you’re going to catch people’s eye, it might as well be those in power. And it wasn’t just today.
Earlier in camp, GM John Schneider was asked about Ricardo Lockette, another rookie wide receiver, and included Baldwin in his response.
“We were able to sign some rookie free agents we’re real excited about in Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette,” Schneider said. “We’re really excited about that group.”
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Tempo-setting play: A new day, but the same results, as middle linebacker David Hawthorne stepped into the hole to put a big hit on running back Marshawn Lynch on the first play of the first team period. Hawthorne opened practice with a similar play Monday, but this one packed even more of a punch.
Offense: Charlie Whitehurst passing to a wide-open Carlson for a touchdown on the final play of practice, to the approval of the 859 fans who attended practice.
Defense: Strong-side linebacker Aaron Curry leaping to bat down a screen pass.
Special teams: Wes Byrum hitting a 43-yard field goal, which prompted Carroll to slap high-fives with the rookie kicker.
COMING, AND GOING
The big addition today was Raiders Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller agreeing to terms with the Seahawks, an acquisition that Carroll called “a fantastic move for us.”
Carroll also confirmed the signings of two other free agents: cornerback Kelly Jennings, a former first-round draft choice who started 14 games for the Seahawks last season; and defensive tackle Jimmy Wilkerson, who was with the Saints last season but also played for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and line coach Todd Wash in Tampa.
Running back Chris Henry has left camp. Henry spent time on the team’s practice squad last season and was on the 53-man roster for one game.
THIS ’N THAT
University of Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian and several members of his staff watched practice. Sarkisian coached for Carroll at USC, as did defensive coordinator Nick Holt … Also on hand for practice was former QB Dave Krieg, who is in the team’s Ring of Honor. … Among the VIP guests were cornerback Marcus Trufant’s family, including his youngest brother – Desmond, a cornerback for the Huskies. … Cornerback Walter Thurmond, defensive end Dexter Davis and defensive lineman Jarrett Crittenton sat out practice with minor injuries, while defensive end Chris Clemons was limited because he had ankle surgery during the offseason.
The players have Wednesday off before returning Thursday for a 9 a.m. practice and an afternoon walk-thru.
Thursday will be the first time the free agents the team has signed in the past week can practice, a group that includes six projected starters – QB Tarvaris Jackson, wide receiver Sidney Rice, guard Robert Gallery, defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Alan Branch and linebacker Leroy Hill.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I think he makes us a more versatile offense. We’ll be able to use he and John (Carlson) in so many different ways. They’ll be on the field at the same time a ton. Thrilled about that flexibility.” – Carroll on Miller
Another day, another new player for the Seahawks, Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller, as announced by Pete Carroll.
“This is a fantastic move for us,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice at the team’s training camp. “Zach is a great football player. He’s a great person, and great competitor.
“I think he makes a more versatile offense. We’ll be able to use he and John (Carlson, the incumbent starter) in so many different ways. They’ll be on the field at the same time a ton. Thrilled about that flexibility.”
Miller, 25, caught 60 passes for 685 yards for the Oakland Raiders last season and had a career-high 66 catches in 2009. In four seasons with the Raiders, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Miller caught 226 passes for 2,712 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Carroll also confirmed the additions of two other free agents: cornerback Kelly Jennings, who started 14 games for the Seahawks last season; and defensive tackle Jimmy Wilkerson, who was with the Saints last season but also played for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and line coach Todd Wash in Tampa.