INDIANAPOLIS – He opted to play his college ball at UCLA, but Datone Jones knows all about Pete Carroll. And the Seahawks’ coach knows all about the versatile pass-rusher who had six sacks and 17.5 tackles for losses last season.
Jones first met Carroll when he was a sophomore at Compton (Calif.) High School and Carroll was coaching at USC. Jones said he has talked to Carroll, as well as linebackers coach Ken Norton, here at the NFL Scouting Combine and that they also hooked up at the Senior Bowl last month.
“They recruited me out of high school,” Jones said on Saturday. “Coach Norton gave me a lot of (grief) that I didn’t come to USC. But he respects my game. I love Ken Norton. I’ve known him since I was in the 10th grade.”
In an ironic twist, Jones played last season for Jim Mora, the coach Carroll replaced with the Seahawks.
“It was unbelievable,” Jones said of playing for Mora. “He’s a great guy. He’s a players’ coach. He’s going to fire you up. He’s going to expect the best.
“One thing he told us when he came in, in his first team meeting, he said, ‘If you have aspirations of playing at the next level, then I’m your guy.’ He said, ‘I’m bringing an NFL staff in here, coaches that have never coached college football before.’ He said, ‘If this is your senior year, this is your rookie year.’ ”
Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 12.
At the Seattle Times, Jerry Brewer tells us Seattle is in dire need of a new sports superstar. Brewer points to years 1990-2010 as a time when Seattle experienced an unforgettable – and remarkable – run of sports superstars: Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Steve Emtman, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Walter Jones, Lou Piniella, George Karl and Mike Holmgren. As Seattle continues to search for it’s new sports identity, Brewer offered that the Seahawks have the potential to shape that mold, “With quality talent evaluators such as Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik and Seahawks GM John Schneider in town, you can already see the potential for a new generation of superstars. Seahawks safety Earl Thomas has a chance to be, at least, the best safety in the NFL. If [Marshawn] Lynch goes off, there’s a possibility he could be elite. [Felix] Hernandez is just 26, and with some help, it’s easy to see him taking that final step to becoming a superstar. Matt Flynn, who is expected to be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback this season, could become a star, but if rookie Russell Wilson eventually wins the job and performs at a star level, a small, 5-foot-11 quarterback would have a better chance of captivating a national audience.”
Also at the Seattle Times, Danny O’Neil continues to take a close look at the Seahawks wide receiver position, this time turning his attention to fourth-year pro Deon Butler. O’Neil admits that he has questioned whether or not Butler would land on the team’s 53-man rosters the past two seasons, as he notes Butler’s small stature in a system that favors bigger wide receivers, and points to a leg injury that landed Butler on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start the 2011 season . In 2012, O’Neil still finds himself questioning Butler’s status among the wide receiver group, but if history is any indication for Butler, O’Neil gives him a good shot at making the squad, “Go ahead, crunch the numbers, but come Sept. 1, I think it would be very hard for Seattle to pick its 53 best players for the roster and not have Butler among that group. That’s not to say it’s impossible. He’s not a special-teams mainstay like veteran Ben Obomanu has been, and he hasn’t shown that uncanny knack as a slot receiver like [Doug] Baldwin did. He doesn’t have the height of [Sidney] Rice, [Kris] Durham or Mike Williams — all of whom stand 6-4 or taller. But Butler is in the conversation for the fastest receiver on the roster, and he has shown a professionalism and ability to bounce back from both adversity and injury. And the past two years have shown that for all the questions of whether he’ll be back, the guy listed as the smallest player on Seattle’s roster has some staying power”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues with his 2012 positional breakdown, as he takes a look at the Seahawks linebacking corps heading into the new season. Farnsworth speaks to the group’s healthy mix of youth and experience, “On a team that has been in a constant change since coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider took over 30 months ago, the linebacking crew has undergone one of the most major transformations under [Seahawks linebackers coach Ken] Norton. The last linebacker standing from the team’s glory days of winning the NFC Championship in 2005 is [Leroy] Hill, who continues to be the starter on the weakside. David Hawthorne took over in the middle for Lofa Tatupu in 2010, but with the team’s leading tackler the past three seasons now with the New Orleans Saints, Hawthorne will be replaced by either the youthful enthusiasm of [Bobby] Wagner or the productive experience of [Barrett] Ruud. On the strong side, [K.J.] Wright played so well as a rookie last season that the club traded former first-round draft choice Aaron Curry to the Oakland Raiders. … This seemingly mismatched collection of linebackers creates an interesting blend of skills and talents that should allow Carroll and coordinator Gus Bradley to play the way they want to, and need to – fast, physical, aggressive and smart – in matching the efforts of the Pro Bowl-laced secondary and line.”
A recap of the activities on the third – and final – day of the Seahawks’ Bing minicamp:
Quarterbacks. After the team’s last practice before training camp opens in late July, reporters had one last chance to ask coach Pete Carroll about the three-armed race for the starting job at the pivotal position.
The best way to continue summing up the situation? To be continued.
“It’s going to take us until we start playing games to see something happen,” Carroll said, referring to the preseason schedule that begins Aug. 11 with a game against the Titans at CenturyLink Field.
“At this point, they’re doing everything they can do with the opportunity. And they look good. So I can’t tell you that there’s anything that’s happened, other than we’ll stay with the same format going into camp.”
That means a rotation involving incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson, free-agent addition Matt Flynn and rookie Russell Wilson – in that order, just as it has been since Wilson threw himself in the competition during the rookie minicamp last month.
Today, it was Wilson’s turn to run the No. 1 offense, after Jackson did it on Tuesday and Flynn had his turn on Wednesday.
Carroll wouldn’t say that he’ll stick with the daily rotation plan, but he did offer, “It’s worked out OK to give them an even shot. That’s the point, is to really make it as evenly competitive as we possibly can. We’ve done that to this point.”
DONNY ON THE SPOT
In a practice filled with impressive plays, none was better than the interception turned in by Donny Lisowski. The rookie cornerback from Montana and Seattle’s O’Dea High School tipped a Flynn pass that was intended for wide receiver Ricardo Lockette near the goal line and then controlled the carom as he was falling to the turf.
“It was press coverage and our No. 1 rule is to stay on top,” said Lisowski, who was signed after getting a tryout at the rookie minicamp. “I stayed on my man after 15 yards. I knew he wasn’t running a comeback, so I turned my head and just made a play on the ball.
“I was just going for the knockdown and I ended up tipping the ball straight up to myself.”
Lisowski’s heads-up play was greeted by hoots and hollers from the No. 1 defense.
Among the other notable efforts: on back-to-back plays, rookie defensive end Cordarro Law got to running back Vai Taua for a 2-yard loss and then produced a rush on third down that forced the play to be whistled dead as a sack; rookie kicker Carson Wiggs drilling a 47-yard field goal; tight end Kellen Winslow flashing open over the middle and then going up to make nice grab of a pass from Flynn; Wilson threading a pass between a pair of defenders to Winslow; Jackson and Winslow hooking up on a 23-yard completion; defensive lineman Pep Levingston tipping a pass incomplete; and cornerback Richard Sherman intercepting a Wilson pass that was intended for wide receiver Kris Durham.
WOOFIN’ ’N BARKIN’
After Winslow made the first of his trio of catches, the veteran tight end had a few choice words for the rest of the defense that was standing along the sideline as he made his way back to the huddle.
“It’s amazing. He’s definitely brought a different element out there,” Sherman said. “And I think we appreciate it on defense. He makes it real lively out there. When he makes a catch you can hear him. We finally have somebody to go back (and forth) with, because sometimes we’re kind of going back with ourselves – it’s kind of one-sided.
“They’ll make a catch, then there’ll be a little bit of talk. But it won’t be the kind like we’re doing. But Kellen, we’ll bring some of the trash. … He plays with a lot of swagger, and I like that. I like his style of play.”
Carroll said second-year offensive lineman James Carpenter is the only player among the 11 who didn’t practice during this minicamp who is likely to remain sidelined when training camp opens.
“I don’t think he’s going to make it for the start of camp,” Carroll said of Carpenter, who had season-ending knee surgery nine games into his rookie season. “We’re not going to push him for that. That’s not important to us. We want to get him back when he’s right. He’s making good progress at this time. But it will be somewhere down the road from there.”
Third-year cornerback Walter Thurmond “has a chance,” Carroll said, to be ready for the start of camp. Thurmond remains sidelined because of the leg he broke in late October.
THE NORTON AFFECT
Carroll might wield the whistle that controls practice, but the voice that often serves as the metronome for practice belongs to linebackers coach Ken Norton as he praises and also prods “his” players as well as those from other position groups.
Brian Banks, the story-unto-himself linebacker who’s at this camp on a tryout basis, is getting his first taste of the Norton Affect.
“I was waiting for that,” Banks said when asked how it felt to have his position coach, well, yelling at him. “I don’t want anybody to take it easy on me out here. I know I have a lot of work to do and if that’s what’s required, then definitely give it to me. I’m ready for it.”
Banks not only had heard of Norton, he arrived for his workout last week that led to this week’s tryout holding the former Pro Bowl linebacker in the highest regard.
“I’ve heard of his coaching style,” Banks said. “It wasn’t until that day of the tryout that I was on the way up here with one of the (scouts) and he was like, ‘I want to let you know, coach Norton, he’s no joke,’ ” said Banks, smiling. “But you know what? I like that intensity. I like that style of coaching.
“If it’s not right, tell me it’s not right. And if it needs fixing, tell me it needs fixing and let’s fit it together. We’ll get it done. I appreciate that.”
THIS ’N THAT
Former Seahawks and University of Washington safety Lawyer Milloy watched practice from the sideline. … Carroll said no decisions have been made on the six players who attended this camp on a tryout basis, including Banks and veteran wide receiver Antonio Bryant. … Former CFL offensive lineman Edawn Coughman was added to that group today. … Practice ended with two linemen attempting PAT-range field goals. Rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin made his; veteran offensive guard Deuce Lutui did not.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’m not scared to face anybody.” – Sherman, laughing, when asked which of the three QBs he was most “scared” to face
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 14:
Brian Banks returned to the Seahawks on Wednesday to begin his two-day tryout, and so did the national media. But there were other stories from the second day of the team’s three-day minicamp.
Eric Williams checks in with Sidney Rice, the wide receiver whose first season with the team was cut short because of a shoulder injury: “ ‘They thought it was just a little tear in the back when they read the first MRI, but once Dr. (James) Andrews got in there, he (saw) that it was an actual, 360 degree tear,’ he said. Rice had the torn labrum in his left shoulder repaired a month and a half later. ‘A lot of slipping out and popping out of place,’ Rice said. ‘Right now, they’re supposed to be brand new shoulders, and we’ll take it from here. Right now I’ve got to regain my strength in my shoulders and get ready for the season.’ Rice has gained 11 pounds of muscle, upping his weight to 209 pounds. Rice said he’d like to arrive at training camp at 215 pounds in order to better handle the pounding of a 16-game season.”
Williams also has the word on Banks’ return to a practice field: “ ‘The first day was amazing,’ Banks said. ‘This is just an amazing environment as well, to work out in this kind of weather, right off this water right here, with these coaches and these players. I’m just honored to be our here giving it my all.’ And Banks won over Seattle linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. ‘He made a great first impression,’ Norton said. ‘He’s really bright, really smart. He’s well spoken. And he has a great memory. He remembers everything you tell him. And that’s all a plus at this point.’ ”
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times also looks at Rice’s offseason of recovery: “Sidney Rice’s offseason sounds more like an anatomy lesson. Start with the right shoulder, where he had 11 anchors surgically installed to stabilize the joint. A month and a half later, he underwent a similar procedure on his left shoulder, another 11 anchors installed. Now, after an offseason of rehabilitation, the player signed to be Seattle’s top receiving threat is ready to start reaching for those heights once again. ‘They’re supposed to be brand-new shoulders,’ Rice said.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com looks at what’s at stake for Chris Clemons, who is not attending this week’s mandatory minicamp: “Seattle’s current leadership hasn’t gone through a similar situation since taking over before the 2010 season. The rest of the team will be watching to see how the Seahawks respond. Coach Pete Carroll has made it clear through his public comments that the team values Clemons’ contributions. These situations are usually personal from the player’s perspective. It’s easier to reach a solution when the team takes the high road.”
Jason LaCanfora at CBSSports.com takes a bigger-picture look at Banks’ quest: “Bruce and Ryan Tollner had pretty much seen it all, spending their entire lives around football, running an agency with over 65 years of combined experience guiding careers and placing players with NFL teams. But nothing could truly prepare them for the events of the past three weeks. They’re facing one of the more daunting and unprecedented challenges of their careers — unquestionably one of their more rewarding endeavors — and enjoying every minute of the task. You see, the Tollners have been charged with directing the football career of Brian Banks, an extraordinary young man who is jetting around the country for tryouts having recently been exonerated of a false rape charge. The story has international appeal, and the response to Banks — a once-promising college football prospect who was away from the game for nearly 10 years due to this tragedy of justice — from the NFL community has been overwhelming. The demands for media (Banks, 26, has appeared on The Jay Leno Show, among others) and the difficulty of juggling so many requests from NFL teams has kept the Tollners, who are cousins, quite busy during what is normally a mostly dormant time in the NFL business calendar.”
Tim Booth at the Associated Press has the details on Banks’ first day: “The tryout candidate wearing No. 43 in white got yelled at when he screwed up, praised when he did something correct and treated just like the rest of the 80 or so Seahawks players on the field Wednesday. Being exactly like the peers around him never felt so rewarding to Brian Banks. ‘’It was more overwhelming than I thought,’’ Banks said. ‘’I had high hopes and dreams of being out here today and just to finally be out here, to have this helmet on, to have this name on the back of this jersey, to be a part of this team for a day, it’s more than I could ever imagine.’ ”
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times also was on hand to see the first day of Banks’ tryout: “Brian Banks is living a childhood dream (and probably a Hollywood screenplay), but he faces long odds of garnering an invitation to training camp from the Seattle Seahawks. Banks, the former Long Beach Poly linebacker who spent five years in jail after being falsely accused of rape, participated in Seahawks minicamp Wednesday and plans to do so Thursday. If the team doesn’t sign him to a deal that assures him of a spot in training camp, he will fly to Minnesota later Thursday to work out for the Vikings. Already, he has made trips to San Diego and Kansas City to audition for those teams.”
Bob and Groz at 710 ESPN also have been impressed by the way Banks has handled himself – on and off the field – as you can hear in this report at mynorthwest.com.
Adam Rank at NFL.com selects his 1992 Dream Team, and of course Hall of Fame-bound Cortez Kennedy is featured in the photo gallery that also includes Reggie White, Jerome Brown and John Randle on the D-line: “Kennedy, who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012, had perhaps his finest season in 1992, when he recorded 14 sacks. Kennedy and Randle would clog the middle.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the Seahawks’ unusual-looking defense through the eyes of tackle Alan Branch: “ ‘The coaches definitely knew what they were doing when they put this defense together,’ Branch said Wednesday, after the second practice in the team’s three-day minicamp. ‘When they put us all together they had a good thought of what can happen, and they kind of got a glimpse of that last season.’ Did they ever. In addition to that No. 9 ranking – only the sixth time in franchise history that the Seahawks have fielded a Top 10 unit – the defense also ranked No. 7 in average points allowed. (Earl) Thomas was voted to the Pro Bowl and (Brandon) Brandon and (Kam) Chancellor joined him as injury-replacement alternates. Browner (two) and (Red) Bryant returned interceptions for touchdowns; while Browner (six), (Richard) Sherman (four) and Chancellor (four) combined for 14 of the team’s 22 picks. After years of talking about playing more aggressively, the Seahawks actually went out and did it.”
We also take a look at Wednesday’s practice in our Hawkville report, including one exchange between Flynn and Thomas that the free safety won: “Flynn got a taste of just how much closing speed Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas processes. It happened on a deep throw to wide receiver Deon Butler that instead ended up in the hands of Thomas. ‘I got first-hand experience to see how fast Earl was today,’ Flynn said. ‘I get a two-minute situation and I’ve Deon streaking down and I throw it. I’m thinking, ‘That might be a touchdown.’ Then all of a sudden I see this flash like come across. I don’t think I’ve had a DB back there, especially at safety, with that kind of speed.’ ”
A recap of the activities on the second day of the Seahawks’ three-day Bing minicamp:
Brian Banks. The latest stop on his exoneration tour was a return to Virginia Mason Athletic Center, where Banks began a two-day tryout with the Seahawks after he worked out for the team last Thursday.
“I didn’t even know if I was going to have a number or a jersey,” said Banks, who was wearing No. 43. “I didn’t know what to expect when I first got here. I got to my locker and saw that there was a jersey in it and I just wanted to take a picture of it just for myself.
“It was amazing just to see my name on the back of it. It’s just an honor. It’s an honor to be taken serious and to be given this opportunity.”
In between trips to Seattle, Banks worked out for the Chargers on Friday and the Chiefs on Tuesday. It’s all part of trying to regain his life – and his love for football – after spending 62 months in prison for being wrongly accused of rape.
Today, Banks worked at middle linebacker with the No. 3 defense, flanked by Mike Morgan and Kyle Knox – who, like Banks, is at this minicamp on a tryout basis.
“This is the NFL – the best of the best – so it’s going to be really tough for him,” linebackers coach Ken Norton said. “Just the fact that he came out here and gave it a shot and didn’t shy away from it, you’ve got to give him a plus for that.
“But again, this is the best of the best, the highest level of athlete, and he’s been out of it for 10 years. So it’s going to be really, really tough. … Right now, he has a chance. But it’s going to be really, really tough.”
That’s all Banks is asking: An opportunity to make up for lost time. So today was a huge step for him.
“It was more overwhelming than I thought,” Banks said. “I had high hopes and dreams of being out here today. And then just to finally be out here, to have this helmet on, to have my name on the back of this jersey, to be a part of this team for a day, it’s more than I could ever imagine.”
What’s next for Banks? Another practice, as the Seahawks conclude their minicamp on Thursday. After that?
“What I take from it all, the advice that I appreciate the most, is just enjoy the moment,” Banks said. “Enjoy the moment – if it’s for one day, if it’s for the whole season, if it’s for however long. Just enjoy the moment.
“I’ve already won. I have my freedom. That’s what’s most important to me. Making this team is just an additional blessing to this freedom.”
Quarterback. Today was Matt Flynn’s turn to run the No. 1 offense in the three-way competition for the starting job that also includes Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson.
Flynn admitted that while it is a competition, it’s not a cut-throat situation as he vies with Jackson, the incumbent starter; and Wilson, who was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft.
“I don’t think we look at it like we’re going against each other,” said Flynn, who was signed in free agency after serving as Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay the past four seasons. “We’re trying to help each other out. If they made a good throw, I’m the first one there telling them good job. So it’s not like any bad blood coming out here – where we’re on the field and I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m going against you.’
“It’s not like that. Everybody’s trying to compete. Everybody’s trying to get better. And everybody’s trying to make the team better. I think that’s really the overall goal.”
Flynn got a taste of just how much closing speed Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas processes. It happened on a deep throw to wide receiver Deon Butler that instead ended up in the hands of Thomas.
“I got first-hand experience to see how fast Earl was today,” Flynn said. “I get a two-minute situation and I’ve Deon streaking down and I throw it. I’m thinking, ‘That might be a touchdown.’ Then all of a sudden I see this flash like come across.
“I don’t think I’ve had a DB back there, especially at safety, with that kind of speed.”
In addition to Thomas’ out-of-nowhere interception, other practice highlights included nickel back Marcus Trufant slapping away a pass intended for wide receiver Doug Baldwin; wide receiver Charly Martin going up between cornerback Ron Parker and safety Winston Guy to pull down a touchdown pass from Wilson; Guy making a last-second tip of a pass just as it was settling into the hands of wide receiver Phil Bates; tight end Kellen Winslow grabbing a low pass from Jackson for an 18-yard gain; defensive lineman Pep Levingston getting to running back Robert Turbin for a 1-yard loss; and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner reaching around running back Marshawn Lynch to deflect a pass.
ON THE MEND
Eleven players are not practicing as they continue their rehabs from offseason surgeries or more recent injuries: wide receivers Golden Tate, Mike Williams and Jermaine Kearse; offensive lineman James Carpenter; defensive lineman Monte Taylor; linebackers Barrett Ruud, Malcolm Smith and Jameson Konz; and defensive backs Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell and Chris Maragos.
Tate has what coach Pete Carroll calls “a very slight, little crack” in a bone on his right hand, adding the left-handed Tate could play if there was a game this week. Williams is “close” to returning, Carroll said, and should be ready for the start of training camp at the end of July. Ruud is “very close,” in Carroll’s words, and he also should be ready for training camp.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I can’t even imagine. So I wouldn’t be doing justice if I talked about it because I can’t imagine what he’s been through and what he’s feeling just being out here now.” – Flynn, when asked his thoughts on Banks’ situation
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 19:
Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at Walter Thurmond, whose time has come as the second-year cornerback takes over for Marcus Trufant. Says coach Pete Carroll: “Walter will jump in right now and assume that starting role and we’ll expect him to play right through and live up to it. And Walter expects nothing less than that.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his thoughts on why the Seahawks should not have gotten involved in the trade discussions for Carson Palmer, who the Bengals was sent to the Raiders on Tuesday. Says Sando: “The Seahawks have put together one of the youngest rosters in the league. They have bucked conventional wisdom by drafting no quarterbacks since Pete Carroll took over the team in early 2010. Clearly, the Seahawks need to draft a bright quarterback prospect at some point, the sooner the better.”
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times examines the same situation, offering: “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a whole franchise to commit to a quarterback, and it appears that’s going to be the last piece Seattle cements in place on its offense. That player won’t be Palmer as the Raiders were the ones who put together “The Godfather” offer, the one the Bengals couldn’t refuse.”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald also says the Seahawks were wise to pass on Palmer. Says Boyle: “This is a team still building, and though improved, it’s roster still has holes. Giving up two firsts, or even a first and a second, for Palmer would not have been the smart move for the Seahawks. Neither was spending big money on a quarterback who won’t be the answer in the long term.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we also take a look at the special relationship between Thurmond, Trufant and defensive backs coach Kris Richard. Richard on Trufant’s efforts to help prepare Thurmond to step in: “When you can no longer play, or you’re out, wouldn’t you want the next man behind you to come right on in and not miss a beat? Again, that’s a testament to Marcus’ character, and Walter’s.”
We’ve also got a look at the progress being made by QB Tarvaris Jackson, as well as a look at the Seahawks’ upcoming opponent. Tony Ventrella also has a video feature on linebackers coach Ken Norton and three of his players visiting a local boxing club.
Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, writing for 710 ESPN, offers his take on 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and the handshake that shook the NFL. Says Wyman: “Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Jim Harbaugh is one heck of a coach and the rest of the NFL should be more concerned about his coaching ability than his lack of social grace. Just as Harbaugh did at Stanford, he has his 49ers team playing and playing well.”
No-huddle offense. The Seahawks have used it at times in their first three games, and never more successfully than during the 14-play, 72-yard drive to their only touchdown in last week’s 13-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Will we see more of it in Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field?
“I’d say there’s a chance you’ll see more of it, but it’s something that will be determined by game plan, by game, by opponent and seeing if it’s something that will help us,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “Then there’s also times when there may be something to it because you’re not doing much and you want to change the tempo. So there are a lot of different scenarios when you’d go to it.”
Whatever the situation, or scenario, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is all for it.
“It’s been good for us, so whatever works I’m down for it,” Jackson said. “It’s been useful for us. We’ve been able to move the ball a little bit with it. If we keep doing it, I’m fine with it.”
Jackson definitely was fine during the TD drive against the Cardinals, when he completed six of eight passes for 53 yards and then ran the final 11 yards for the score.
“You can kind of catch them off-guard,” Jackson said of the affect the no-huddle can have on the defense. “For whatever reason, defenses are more vanilla. They’re not doing as much when you go no-huddle because they’ve got to communicate as well.
“Our communicating is probably a little bit better, as far as the offense in no-huddle goes. So we can set the tempo.”
So what’s the drawback? “You can run three plays in 40 seconds and now you’ve put your defense back out there,” Bevell said. “So you need to be successful with it, as well.”
Walter Thurmond. It was impossible to not notice the second-year cornerback during practice today. Thurmond was making plays here, there and seemingly everywhere. He intercepted two passes on “Turnover Thursday” and broke up two others. He even had a “sack” during the two-minute drill that concluded the 110-minute session.
I’m in? Thurmond was all in, and all over the field.
“He was flying around,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “We compete in all our team sessions and we had a great third-down session. We keep track of it and how we’re doing. Those guys, I’m telling you, we try to get them to act like vets off the field and act like rookies on the field, where they’re flying around and having fun.”
Thurmond was doing both.
IN ’N OUT
Linebacker Matt McCoy returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday because of shoulder and head injuries he got against the Cardinals.
Strong safety Kam Chancellor, the team’s leading tackler, sat out for the second consecutive day to rest of quad contusion. Still sidelined: guard Robert Gallery (groin), who already has been ruled out for this game; and cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle), who Carroll said will not play against the Falcons either.
For the Falcons, tackle Sam Baker (ankle) returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday and linebacker Curtis Lofton (foot) participated fully after being limited on Wednesday. Five players did not practice: leading receiver Roddy White (thigh), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (knee), linebacker Stephen Nicholas (calf), running back Jason Snelling (concussion) and defensive end Cliff Matthews (knee).
KEN NORTON, SQUARED
There were two Ken Nortons on the practice field today – Ken Norton, Jr., who coaches the team’s linebacker; and Ken Norton, Sr., his father and a former heavyweight boxer who won the WBC title while compiling a 42-7-1 record with 33 knockouts from 1967-81.
STAT DU JOUR
Mike Williams was the comeback kid for the Seahawks last season, and not just because he led the team in receptions after being out the league the previous two seasons. The 6-foot-5 wide receiver also made a habit of coming back big in games after he had limited production. This is relevant because Williams went without a catch in last week’s game against the Cardinals. Here’s a look at his bounce-back performances last season:
Previous week: 4 for 32 against the Rams on Oct. 3
Productive week: 10 for 123 against the Bears on Oct. 17 (following the bye)
Previous week: 2 for 25 against the Giants on Nov. 7
Productive week: 11 for 145 against the Cardinals on Nov. 14
Previous week: 0 for 0 against the Panthers on Dec. 5
Productive week: 8 for 66 against the Falcons on Dec. 19 (after sitting out a game)
The players will practice at 11:30 a.m. on “No Repeat Friday.”
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the Seahawks will recognize it by going pink for Sunday’s game at CenturyLink Field. Several players practiced today in the pink-trimmed shoes they will wear during the game: defensive linemen Chris Clemons, Raheem Brock, Brandon Mebane and Clinton McDonald; linebackers David Hawthorne, Leroy Hill, K.J. Wright and McCoy; cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Brandon Browner; and wide receivers Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. Williams and Brock also were wearing pink-trimmed gloves.
JUST THE TICKET
YOU DON’T SAY
“I saw some holes up open. I saw the runners being able to hit it downhill; some decisiveness in runs. None better that Leon (Washington), who looked like he was shot out of a cannon when he put his foot down and ran up the field. Marshawn (Lynch), it’s nice to see him getting going, bursting through holes and once he gets through holes. He’s so tough to tackle in the second level. I see that.” – Bevell when asked what he saw from the team’s season-high 122-yard rushing performance last week
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 1:
Mike Sando of ESPN.com was at practice Wednesday and offers some observations. Says Sando: “(Leon) Washington has embraced the way assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable instructs running backs to read their keys, which includes making cuts properly in relation to defenders’ alignment. It’s pretty clear Washington will command additional touches on offense this season. He’s healthier and more confident.”
Also from ESPN.com, John Clayton rates the quarterbacks in the league. He puts Tarvaris Jackson at No. 30, in the hit-or-miss category, offering: “Jackson was beaten out by Gus Frerotte and Brett Favre during his five seasons with the Vikings. Unless Dave Krieg comes out of retirement, he should beat out Charlie Whitehurst for the starting job.”
Chris Burke at SI.com previews the four teams in the NFC West. He predicts a 7-9 record and second-place finish behind the Rams for the Seahawks, offering: “This felt like a really solid offseason for the Seahawks. They added some terrific pieces, like (Zach) Miller and (Sidney) Rice, that should have pushed a defending division champ over the top. Instead, Seattle will enter the regular season praying its offensive line can hold it together and banking on its defense to improve despite not making any real upgrades. It feels like this team will be better in 2012 than it will in 2011.”
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times writes that the starters will play more than usual in Friday’s preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field. Offers O’Neil: “The Seahawks, however, aren’t just sweating the final pieces of their 53-man roster this week. The offensive line remains very much a work in progress to the point that Seattle will deviate from standard-operating procedure of resting veterans for the exhibition finale. Seattle’s starters will play on Friday night against Oakland at CenturyLink Field. Coach Pete Carroll wouldn’t say how much, but he implied the first unit is going to play. In fact, he was already fairly certain of that after Saturday’s loss in Denver when he watched starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson get sacked five times.”
Dave Boling of the News Tribune has the story on one of the more entertaining aspects of practice: The chirping that goes on between wide receiver Mike Williams and free safety Earl Thomas. Says Boling: “This time of the NFL exhibition season, a common question arises from fans: Where are the best battles on the practice field? For the Seahawks, the best competition has nothing to do with the depth chart. Hands-down, the fiercest battle is the nonstop verbal jousting between receiver Mike Williams and safety Earl Thomas during practices. To clarify, nobody in the franchise wields a sharper needle than linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., whose comments between plays can buckle the knees of a strong man at 50 paces. Be they comical, constructive or critical, Norton is the all-time heavyweight champion of the spontaneous remark. But for intramural mockery, scorn and feigned contempt, Williams and Thomas may be the best tandem the Seahawks have had in a long time.”
Just in case you can’t get enough about Doug Baldwin, John Boyle of the Everett Herald has another story – and angle – on the rookie free agent wide receiver who has been the talk of the preseason. Says Boyle: “If not for a newspaper publisher in Pensacola, Fla., and a former head coach of the Buffalo Bills, there’s a good chance that Doug Baldwin wouldn’t be battling for a shot to make the Seahawks roster. And if that doesn’t make any sense, well just bear with us for a moment.”
At PI.com, Christian Caple has notes and news from another busy day for the Seahawks.
Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with Cable to see how he’s handling the growing pains of his offensive line. Of the No. 1 units, he says, “Probably playing that group more than you normally would. But we need to do it. And I think Saturday was a perfect example of how much they need to continue to play and continue to grow. We have to do it now. We’re all in it together. We know we’ll have some bumps in the road. But we what to minimize it. Saturday, we didn’t do a good job of it.”
There’s also the daily Hawkville report, which focuses on John Carlson and the decision to have season-ending surgery on his shoulder: “The decision was kind of made by my shoulder,” Carlson said. Talk about body language. But that was the case. Initially, Carlson was going to rehab the shoulder and try to play with it. “It kind of resolved itself by not coming along as far as we wanted it to,” he said. “That’s where my shoulder is. I need to get it fixed and start the rehab process.” We also have Tony Ventrella’s daily video recap, as well as written and video reports from the unveiling of a statue of Walter Jones at the new Seahawks 12 Club at Sea-Tac.
A recap of the afternoon practice at Seahawks training camp on Saturday:
Russell Okung. No crutches. No boot. Able to do toe-raises while watching practice.
All the signs today where more positive than it appeared after the team’s left tackle limped off the field on Thursday night during the first series of the Seahawks’ preseason opener against the Chargers in San Diego. Yes, Okung has a sprained left ankle. But it is not as severe as the high sprains of both ankles that forced him to miss six regular-season games last season.
“Russell’s not nearly as bad as it looked,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice. “It’s nothing like the ones he had.”
Carroll did not put a timetable on Okung’s possible return, but he said it is conceivable that last year’s top draft choice could be ready for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco.
“He’s way more active than he was any time early in those other ankle injuries that he had,” Carroll said. “So we’re feeling pretty positive that something’s going to come out and within a couple of weeks we’ll be in pretty good shape.”
While Okung is out, Tyler Polumbus is working at left tackle with the No. 1 line.
Tight end. After Thursday night’s game, backup QB Charlie Whitehurst glanced around the locker room and offered, “Look at the talent we have on this team at the tight end position.”
He’ll get no argument from Carroll.
“It really feels strong now,” Carroll said. “With Zach (Miller) coming in, John Carlson has really answered the call. I mean John is competing like crazy.
“It’s a very strong position for us and one we’re kind of growing with as we see them display the kind of things they can do.”
The addition of Miller from the Raiders in free agency to complement Carlson gives the team two starting-caliber tight ends, and a tandem that assistant head coach/line coach Tom Cable considers the best in the league.
But the contributions of free-agent addition Dominique Byrd and second-year man Anthony McCoy are making things interesting in the battle for the third roster spot. And Cameron Morrah, who filled that spot last season, has yet to practice because he’s recovering from offseason toe surgery.
“Dominique is a very good all-around athlete,” Carroll said of Byrd, who played for him at USC. “He was a point guard in high school. He’s got a lot of athleticism that make him unique to the tight end position.”
Byrd caught two passes for 52 yards against the Chargers and also was wide open in the end zone on the play where rookie QB Josh Portis went to McCoy for the TD that tied the score at 17.
The fans. Those along the fence, as well as those on the berm that is adjacent to the practice fields. Today’s practice drew the largest crowd of camp – 2,314 – and the fans were treated to the best practice of camp.
“I thought it was a really interesting day of practice for anybody watching,” Carroll said. “Just a lot of playmaking. A lot of really interesting plays. Guys making catches. Guys making throws. And a bunch of different positions, too.
“So it was just a great day of practice for us.”
And the fans cheered and applauded on a regular basis. They also showed their old-school 12th Man colors, as Steve Largent, Curt Warner, Jacob Green, Shawn Springs and Brian Bosworth jerseys were spotted in the crowd.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: Ben Obomanu somehow gathering in a pass from Tarvaris Jackson while sandwiched between cornerback Kelly Jennings and the back of the end zone. Obomanu not only came down with the ball, he got both feet in before falling out of the end zone.
Defense: Rookie cornerback Richard Sherman coming off wide receiver Golden Tate to intercept a flea-flicker pass from Whitehurst.
IN AND OUT
Seven players who did not play in Thursday night’s game participated in practice at least on a limited basis: wide receivers Sidney Rice, Mike Williams and Obomanu; running back Justin Forsett; and defensive linemen Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Kentwan Balmer.
“It was great to see those guys jump back out,” Carroll said. “It feels like a little boost, on the depth chart anyway.”
Three players joined the ranks for those sidelined: cornerback Byron Maxwell, wide receiver Chris Carter and Okung.
Still out: cornerback Walter Thurmond, offensive lineman Caz Piurowski, wide receiver Kris Durham, defensive linemen Jay Alford and Ryan Sims and the four players who have yet to practice in camp – wide receiver Deon Butler, defensive tackle Colin Cole, cornerback Roy Lewis and Morrah.
The players will have a walk-thru on Sunday morning and then practice starting at 1:45. The session is open to the public and another large turnout is expected.
YOU DON’T SAY
“No, I just think that’s a regular day for Kenny Norton. Kenny Norton had a big day today. But we had to remind Kenny, it isn’t how you start, it’s how you finish. Because he was all hot and going early on and had the whole defense and everybody riled up.” – Carroll on his linebackers coach, who was involved in a couple of very animated discussions with the local officials who work practice
The Seahawks entered the “fourth quarter” of their season hoping for a road victory to elevate their playoff hopes, but instead fell to the San Francisco 49ers on the road, 40-21.