Justin Veltung, one of the three-dozen players who participated in the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, signed with the team this morning.
The 5-foot-10, 183-pound receiver/returner from the University of Idaho and Puyallup High School was singled out by coach Pete Carroll when he was asked if there had been any surprises during the May 10-12 minicamp.
“Veltung did a nice job,” Carroll said.
Nice enough to get another chance, but Veltung joins a crowded group of receivers that features incumbent starters Sidney Rice and Golden Tate and free-agent addition Percy Harvin; and also includes slot receiver Doug Baldwin and fourth-round draft choice Chris Harper.
But Veltung showed enough to get this second opportunity.
“He’s a smart guy,” receivers coach Kippy Brown said after the rookie camp. “He knows what to do. He doesn’t make very many mistakes, and so far he’s been real reliable catching the football.”
That continued today in the team’s third OTA session, when Veltung went down to get a low throw over the middle and displayed good separation – and got both feet in – while making a catch along the sideline.
Among Veltung’s pluses are his speed (4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day workout); athleticism (41½-inch vertical leap); and ability to return kicks (two punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns at Idaho).
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 11 during the second day of the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp:
Chris Harper. When it comes to a show of hands, the Seahawks’ fourth-round draft choice is showing great hands.
It was after Friday’s first practice that coach Pete Carroll offered, “Chris caught to ball beautifully. He really has great hands.”
Harper felt he played even better in the second practice.
“It went way better today than yesterday,” he said. “Yesterday, you just kind of didn’t know what to expect and just didn’t get into the flow and the pace because this is a lot different pace than what you’re used to in college.”
Better yet, receivers coach Kippy Brown agreed with the assessments made by Carroll and Harper.
“Chris has really strong hands and for a big guy he’s very athletic,” Brown said. “It’s just a matter of him learning. We’ve thrown a lot at these guys in two days’ time. I’m sure their heads are swimming. My head was swimming when I first got here.
“But he’s studying hard and he’s getting it. As he gets more comfortable with it, he’ll play faster and that’s what we’re looking for.”
For Harper, it continues to be an exercise in working on his transition game. He was, after all, originally a quarterback at the University of Oregon before switching positions and schools (to Kansas State).
“I’ve still got a long ways to go,” he said. “I’ve only been playing wide receiver for almost three years now, so I can learn from everybody.”
If today’s practice was any indication, things are progressing nicely. The highlight of Harper’s day was his over-the-shoulder catch of a pass from Jerrod Johnson after he had gotten behind cornerback O’Hara Fluellen. But Harper also worked himself free to make other catches, and when he wasn’t open he used his 234-pound body to make himself open.
“The fact that he’s 230-something pounds is what we liked,” Carroll said.
Asked about his bulk, Harper offered, “It helps me a lot, because DBs aren’t used to seeing guys that are like 230 playing receiver. So it gives me an advantage, as far as at the point of attack when the ball is in the air. When they want to get into pushing matches, I’ll usually come out on top of those.”
TRYING TO CATCH ON
Justin Veltung. The receiver/returner from the University of Idaho and Puyallup High School is one of the three dozen players at this camp on a tryout basis. And Veltung is making the most of the opportunity.
He was one of the players the Seahawks had in for a pre-draft visit. Veltung showed enough that they invited him back for this camp.
“He’s a smart guy and he knows what to do,” Brown said. “He doesn’t make very many mistakes and so far he’s been real reliable catching the football. So we’ll see.”
Veltung began his second practice by making a nice falling catching of a pass that looked to be beyond his reach. But before it was over he also had worked his way around a defender to catch a pass on the sideline; caught another pass in traffic over the middle; and reached back while in full stride to grab yet another.
As Veltung was making that last catch, The Heavy’s “How You Like Me Now?” was blaring from the speakers along the sideline. Talk about right on cue.
CALLING PETER NGUYEN
Peter Nguyen, a 5-foot-7, 179-pound running back from Bellevue High School and the University of Montana, was added to the list of tryout players today.
Another back was needed because Darrell Scott, another tryout player, injured himself in the first drill on Friday.
THE SKINNY ON SCRUGGS
Second-year defensive lineman Greg Scruggs had surgery Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his right knee. A seventh-round draft choice last year, Scruggs was injured during a workout in the veterans’ offseason program.
“He stumbled coming out of a bag drill … tried to catch himself and hyperextended his knee,” Carroll said. “It was just a drill by himself and it’s unfortunate that he hit just exactly wrong.”
Scruggs had two sacks among his six tackles as a rookie, when he played in 11 games.
“He’ll come back quickly from this, but it’s still a long haul for him,” Carroll said.
GIANTS ADD SOME CURRY TO THE MIX
Aaron Curry has found a new NFL home. Another new NFL home.
The former Seahawks’ linebacker and fourth pick overall in the 2009 NFL Draft has signed with the Giants, and ESPNNewYork.com has the details.
Curry started 12 games as a rookie and 16 in 2010 for the Seahawks. But he lost the starting job on the strong side to K.J. Wright in 2011 and was traded to the Raiders for a seventh-round draft choice in 2012 and a fifth-round pick in 2013 – which the Seahawks used to select guard J.R. Sweezy (last year) cornerback Tharold Simon (this year).
Curry played in 11 games for the Raiders in 2011 and two games last season before being waived in November.
“We think we have a good opportunity for him to see if he can re-invent himself a little bit and bring something to our linebacking corps,” Giants GM Jerry Reese said. “If he didn’t work out well for us, we wouldn’t be fooling around with this.
“He’s the fourth pick in the draft a few years ago. Obviously, we think he has some talent. We had him graded high back then. We will see what happens.”
MT. RUSHMORE UPDATE
This camp is all about the present, and hopefully future, for the rookies in attendance. But let’s take a moment to revisit the past.
Last week, we asked you to vote on who should be the fourth “head” on a Seahawks Mt. Rushmore, joining Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones. So far, Matt Hasselbeck is leading with 28 percent of the votes, followed by Shaun Alexander (20.9), Kenny Easley (20), Mike Holmgren (15.9), Jacob Green (8.7) and Chuck Knox (6.6).
It’s not too late to cast your vote.
The rookie minicamp will conclude Sunday with a morning practice. Monday, the veterans return to begin the final week in Phase 2 of their offseason program.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s pretty similar, minus the music. I don’t think coach (Nick) Saban would like that.” – defensive tackle Jesse Williams, when asked about the pace of these practices compared to those at Alabama
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 4:
1990: Dave Krieg completes 15 of 23 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown, but the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 27-21. Jerry Gray, a cornerback for the Rams who would go on to coach the Seahawks’ defensive backs in 2010, is named MVP after returning an interception 51 yards for a TD and also registering seven tackles. Rufus Porter (two tackles) and Brian Blades (one reception) also represent the Seahawks in the game.
1996: Chris Warren leads the NFC with 43 rushing yards, but the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 20-13.
1998: Jim Johnson is named linebackers coach on Dennis Erickson’s staff. Johnson remains for only one season before becoming the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, but his impact on the Seahawks’ defense is apparent even after he leaves.
2010: First-year coach Pete Carroll announces his staff: Jeremy Bates (offensive coordinator), Gus Bradley (defensive coordinator), Brian Schneider (special teams coordinator), Kippy Brown (wide receivers), Luke Butkus (quality control/offensive line), Dave Canales (quality control/offense), Chris Carlisle (head strength and conditioning), Jedd Fisch (quarterbacks), Mondray Gee (assistant strength and conditioning), Alex Gibbs (offensive line), Jerry Gray (defensive backs), Kris Richard (assistant defensive backs), Rocky Seto (quality control/defense), Sherman Smith (running backs), Jeff Ulbrich (assistant special teams), Art Valero (assistant offensive line) and Jamie Yancher (assistant strength and conditioning).
2012: Cortez Kennedy, in his seventh year of eligibility and fourth year as a finalist, is elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. An eight-time Pro Bowl selection and member of the NFL Team of the Decade for the 1990s as a defensive tackle, Kennedy joins Steve Largent as the only career-long Seahawks player in the Hall.
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 7:
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the latest changes on the offensive line after left tackle Russell was placed on injured reserve: “Paul McQuistan started at right guard the past three games. He’s now Seattle’s first-string left tackle. Lemuel Jeanpierre was Seattle’s backup center, and now he’ll be Seattle’s third starting right guard in five games. ‘Hopefully it’ll work out fine,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘Paul is not unfamiliar with playing tackle, so that helps, and Lem has played a little bit for us.’ ”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald also looks at the topic du jour, the ever-changing line: “McQuistan, who was signed in the offseason, played in this system under Tom Cable in Oakland. Cable is now the Seahawks’ offensive line coach. Jeanpierre, meanwhile, is well versed in the Seahawks offense despite limited game experience. Last year he was on Seattle’s practice squad as an undrafted rookie, and he made the 53-man roster this year as a backup guard and center.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com has his weekly NFC West “Stock Watch,” and one of the risers is Tarvaris Jackson: “Jackson appeared to be winding down for the season until he completed 13 of 16 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns during a 31-14 victory over Philadelphia. Marshawn Lynch certainly could have represented Seattle in this spot as well. He was phenomenal against the Eagles. Lynch’s stock was already quite high, however. Jackson’s enjoyed a higher percentage gain, for sure. This was probably his best game of the season even though the team lost Rice to injured reserve a few days before the game.”
Sando also has some thoughts on Rams QB Sam Bradford, who might or might not play against the Seahawks on Monday Night: “Bradford’s second season has been a disaster, by all accounts. His team ranks last in points per game. Bradford has taken far more sacks per pass play. The Rams are 2-10. An ankle injury has sidelined Bradford for three games.”
There’s also a look at wide receiver Golden Tate, and how the extra attention he gets from the coaches in practice is starting to translate into game-day production: “After one play, Pete Carroll confers with Golden Tate about the placement of his hands after the second-year receiver could not handle a low throw. After another, the Seahawks’ coach discusses with Tate the proper route adjustment on a hot read. After still another, Carroll approaches the receiver to give him a fist-bump because Tate had leaped over a cornerback to make a tough catch along the sideline. These practice-field exchanges between coach and player have been played out on a regular basis since the Seahawks selected Tate in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft, as Carroll tries to squeeze out every ounce of Tate’s potent potential and also smooth the rough edges from his ample game. Preaching, practice, potential and production converged in the south end zone at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night when Tate made a reaching grab of a pass from Tarvaris Jackson and then got his feet down for an 11-yard touchdown in the Seahawks’ 31-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. ‘I owe that to coach Carroll being on my butt, and Kip (receivers coach Kippy Brown) being on my butt,’ Tate said. ‘Even though in practice some people might think it doesn’t matter, but the small things like that create good habits. I remember one time in practice, I made the catch but I didn’t get my feet in. Kip and Pete were like, ‘Get your feet in. We know you can make this play.’ So just working hard all the time I think is going to help me succeed in this league.’ ”
This celebrity photo gallery from FoxSports.com features Warren Moon and Bill Russell attending NFL games.
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 7:
John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at the how the Seahawks team that will face the Giants on Sunday is nothing like the one that played them in Seattle last season. Says wide receiver Ben Obomanu: “It has no bearing. A lot of things are changed — personnel wise, and both teams are at different stages. … You never know what this game will bring. It’s different circumstances for both teams, and both teams are still trying to find themselves.”
Percy Allen at the Seattle Times looks at a situation that has coach Pete Carroll flummoxed: The Seahawks lack of turnovers through four games. Says Carroll: “It’s one of my most frustrating issues because we understand how important it is and how it works toward winning. We’re trying to do everything we can.”
Christian Caple at PI.com checks in with Marshawn Lynch, who believes the running game is about to start producing. Says Lynch: “What we’ve been — the running game — I don’t see it being like this for that much longer, with those guys getting the confidence that they’ve got and the running backs believing in them as well and them believing in themselves.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we look at Lynch’s spontaneous TD celebrations. Says Lynch: “It’s just like the moment just kind of takes over, and you go from there.” We’ve also got Thursday’s practice covered in words, pictures and video. And Tony Ventrella’s “Seahawks Insider” focuses on receivers coach Kippy Brown.
Peter King at SI.com has his picks for the weekend, and there’s no love for the Seahawks. Says King: “Eli Manning’s higher rated than Drew Brees (105.6 to 102.9), more accurate than Matt Ryan (64 to 62 percent), with more touchdown passes than Matt Schaub (eight to seven) and fewer picks than Tom Brady (two to five). Let’s not get too excited, but he’s on his way to his best regular season.”
Check out some images from Thursday’s practice, which was held in the team’s indoor practice facility.