Good morning, and welcome to day one of the Seahawks’ three-day mandatory minicamp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Today’s team workout is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m., but before we get there, here’s a look at what’s “out there” as the club heads into the final week of their Offseason Program.
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times identifies four key issues the Seahawks face as they gather for camp this week, including the battle for the backup tight end spot between 2013 fifth-round draft pick Luke Willson and second-year player Sean McGrath.
Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com details five players to watch during the team’s three-day workout – offensive guard John Moffitt, wide receiver Chris Harper, cornerback Tharold Simon, defensive tackle Jesse Williams, and the competition for the backup offensive tackle spot between 2013 seventh-round draft pick Michael Bowie and third-year pro Michael Person.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has his observations from the team’s nine sessions of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) that finished up last week and has a look at what to expect from this week of camp.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune previewed this week’s minicamp in his Monday Morning QB chat. You can find the transcript of yesterday’s chat here.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look around the rest of the NFC West, as the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers also hold their mandatory minicamps this week, while the St. Louis Rams continue with OTAs.
Our Clare Farnsworth offers a recap of the club’s offseason to this point and highlights questions and concerns heading into the practice week.
Outside of minicamp news, former Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was released from the Buffalo Bills yesterday and John Boyle of the Everett Herald makes the case for bringing Jackson back to Seattle to backup entrenched starter Russell Wilson.
Lindsay Jones of USA Today has a feature on wide receiver Percy Harvin.
Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks of NFL.com breaks down who is the better cornerback – the Seahawks’ Richard Sherman or the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson – and Brooks offers the edge to Sherman, calling him “currently far superior.”
Check back later this afternoon for our coverage from day one of Seahawks minicamp.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 13:
Hebron Fangupo. The massive Mormon has followed the path less traveled to the Seahawks’ practice squad.
While his college career took Fangupo from Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) Junior College, to USC for two years, to BYU for his final season in 2011, the 6-foot, 319-pound defensive tackle took a different road long before that. Born in Orange County, Calif., he moved to Tonga when he was still an infant and spent much of his childhood there.
“I loved it, growing up in the islands,” he said of a childhood filled with sun and sand.
Fangupo eventually returned to the mainland, but did not start playing football until his sophomore year at Century (Calif.) High School. Then he took his two-year Mormon mission to the Philippines. That’s why he’s a 27-year-old rookie free agent.
As for his move from USC to BYU, he offered, “It was the safest thing for my family to move out of L.A.”
Then there’s his first name. The Tongan version is Hepeloni, a Biblical site in Jerusalem where the prophet Abraham was buried. That led to the nickname Loni, so why Hebron?
“My boss/wife prefers Hebron,” he said.
Fangupo, who had been with the Texans, was signed on Tuesday. In the first two practices with his new team, he has been a two-fer addition – playing nose tackle on defense and center on offense.
“Whatever they need me to do, I’ve got to do,” he said. “Just trying to feed my baby and wife.”
DeMarco Murray. After he ran for 139 yards against the Seahawks last season, coach Pete Carroll said the Cowboys’ rookie back surprised his defense. But don’t count defensive end Red Bryant among those who was caught off-guard by Murray’s combination of speed, power and ability to make tacklers miss.
“He didn’t surprise me, because I played against him when he was at Oklahoma,” Bryant said today, when the Seahawks continued to prepare for Sunday’s rematch with Murray and the Cowboys in their home opener. “So I knew what type of runner he was and what he brought to the table.”
Bryant, who played at Texas A&M, said the inability of a defense that entered that game allowing averages of 77.7 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry to contain Murray (6.3 yards per carry) was more about how the Cowboys blocked for him.
“They attacked us on the edges, so they had a real good scheme against us,” Bryant said. “It gave us a little bit of trouble.”
Now, no one is surprised by what Murray is able to do. In the Cowboys’ opener against the Giants, he rushed for a NFC-high 131 yards while averaging 6.6 yards per carry.
“We definitely know he’s a tough runner and we have to get his cleats off the ground,” Bryant said. “We’re looking forward to this opportunity. It’s a great opportunity for our defense.”
The official report, as released by the team:
WR Charly Martin (chest)
Did not practice
WR Sidney Rice (knee)
TE Zach Miller (foot)
Limited in practice
OT Russell Okung (knee)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
WR Golden Tate (knee)
DE Greg Scruggs (hamstring)
CB Byron Maxwell (shoulder)
Okung got his first work of the week after bruising his left knee on the final drive of Sunday’s opener against the Cardinals, but it was limited to individual drills and Frank Omiyale continued to work at left tackle. With Miller going from limited work on Wednesday to no work today, recently signed tight end Evan Moore got even more reps with the No. 1 offense. With Rice still sidelined, Ben Obomanu filled in at flanker.
For the Cowboys:
Did not practice
C Phil Costa (back)
S Matt Johnson (hamstring)
NT Jay Ratliff (ankle)
LB DeMarcus Ware (hamstring)
WR Miles Austin (hamstring)
WR Andre Holmes (knee)
CB Mike Jenkins (shoulder)
RB Felix Jones (ribs)
S Danny McCray (neck)
RB DeMarco Murray (wrist)
LB Kyle Wilber (thumb)
TE Jason Witten (abdomen)
S Gerald Sensabaugh (concussion)
PRACTICE SQUAD ROULETTE
The addition of Fangupo is just one move the club has made in turning over half its eight-man practice squad in the past three days.
Today, linebacker Allen Bradford was re-signed and tackle Mike Person also was added. Bradford was with the team during training camp, released on the roster cut to 53 players, signed to the practice squad the next day and then released Sept. 6. Person (6-4, 299) was a seventh-round pick out of Montana State by the 49ers in April’s NFL Draft. He also was released on the final roster cut.
To clear spots for Bradford and Person, linebacker and fifth-round draft choice Korey Toomer and rookie free-agent guard Rishaw Johnson were released.
Tuesday, former University of Washington wide receiver Jermaine Kearse also was re-signed. He had been released on the cut to 53, signed to practice squad two days later and released Sept. 8.
The players will have a midday practice on Friday, their final full session before Sunday’s home opener.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I can’t wait for the 12th Man. I know it’s going to be a wild atmosphere. I know there is going to be enthusiasm in the stadium. That is going to help us for sure, and I’m so fired up to get out there again and play at CenturyLink.” – rookie QB Russell Wilson on playing his first regular-season home game