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Wednesday in Hawkville: A fan-tastic finale

A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for Aug. 15:

FOCUS ON

The fans. They came by the bus loads. Day after day. Practice after practice. Weekends. Week days. It didn’t seem to matter. They packed the berm adjacent to the practices field at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. They lined the fence that separates the berm from the fields. They cheered the big plays, and even the not so big. They coaxed players into autographing everything from footballs, to jerseys, to body parts.

After today’s practice, the berm fell silent.

The last of the 13 training-camp practices open to the public attracted a crowd of 1,325 fans, pushing the total for camp to 20,841.

And the players appreciated you being here. It’s one thing to run out of the tunnel at CenturyLink Field to the roar of 66,000-plus on game day. But to get a rousing reception from a thousand or more die-hards on a Wednesday morning, that’s special, too.

“The fans help,” right tackle Breno Giacomini said. “If you don’t get excited for that, then something’s wrong with you. You should probably be playing golf somewhere.

“I like having the fans at practice. It’s a good environment, a game-like environment for practice.”

After practice, Giacomini was one of the players who “worked the fence” – signing autographs, chatting with fans, posing for picture.

“It’s good, man. The 12th Man is really good, and we use it to our advantage. So whenever we can give back, we do,” he said. “These kids love it, just as much as I did when I was growing up.”

Giacomini has grown into a 6-foot-7, 318-pound beast of a blocker. But he still knows his place.

Asked how it felt to have the fans yelling and cheering for him, he said, “Well, they’re not screaming for me. They’re screaming for us.”

Right on cue, quarterback Matt Flynn also stepped away from the fence so he could fulfill his post-practice interview duties. The fans erupted with shouts of, “Matt. Matt. Matt.”

Giacomini smiled and shrugged before offering, “See what I mean. But it’s all good.”

POSITION WATCH

Quarterback. How did Flynn learn that will be the starting quarterback in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos in Denver?

“I’m finding out along with you guys,” Flynn told reporters after practice, adding that he heard the news on the radio. “I found out from you guys before I found out from anybody else yesterday. So I’m just going where they tell me to go and doing the best I can.”

Flynn starting for the second consecutive week is part of coach Pete Carroll’s grand plan to determine which of three QBs will start the Sept. 9 regular-season opener. In addition to Flynn, there’s also incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson and rookie Russell Wilson. But Flynn is not privy to the details of that plan.

He’s more concerned with the game plan for the Broncos. Flynn completed 11 of 13 passes in the preseason opener against the Titans, producing 71 passing yards and three points as “we took what the defense gave us,” he said.

What does he hope to improve on against the Broncos?

“Everything. That’s what preseason is for, that’s what this (practice) is for. We have to improve on everything,” said Flynn, who then rattled through a mental to-do improvement list that included the running game, passing game, protection, route running and accuracy throwing.

“Just everything as an offense, everything that makes an offense go we’ve got to improve on.”

SITUATION WATCH

Third down. The Seahawks converted six of 12 third-down situations against the Titans on Saturday night – two of five in the first half under Flynn; four of seven in the second half under Wilson.

But in the final full-team segment of practice today, Wilson had his third-down mojo working on a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended with his 6-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens. Wilson passed to Kris Durham for 16 yards on third-and-10, and then hooked up with Charly Martin for 17 yards on a third-and-8 play. The TD pass? It came on third-and-goal.

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Defense: You had to be an early bird to catch this one, as cornerback Phillip Adams continued his impressive week of practice by taking the ball from the hands of Braylon Edwards in the end zone for another interception (Adams had two on Tuesday).

Offense: Another early highlight that stood the test of the rest of practice, as rookie wide receiver Phil Bates grabbed and controlled a pass that had been tipped by cornerback Bryon Maxwell – and did it while falling out of bounds, but making sure his feet were inbounds.

Special teams: Rookie Carson Wiggs kicked a 49-yard field goal on the final play of practice.

IN ’N OUT

The number of players watching practice grew to 14, as offensive lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre, wide receiver Golden Tate, tight ends Anthony McCoy and Cameron Morrah and linebacker Mike Morgan joined those already sidelined – linebackers Matt McCoy and Malcolm Smith, defensive ends Cordarro Law and Pierre Allen, cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Ron Parker, tight end Zach Miller and offensive linemen James Carpenter and John Moffitt.

But Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson and safety Jeron Johnson returned after sitting out Tuesday.

PASSING THE BATON

In honor of the scorch marks doled out by Usain Bolt and the other members of Jamaican 4×100 relay team at the London Olympics, we asked wide receiver Ricardo Lockette to compile a 400-meter relay team for the Seahawks.

Lockette’s credentials: He was the NCAA Division II 200-meter champion in 2008 in a time of 20.6 seconds, but has a PR of 20.3; has run the 100-meter dash in 10.0 seconds; and tied for the third-fastest 40-yard dash (4.37 seconds) at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, but has a PR of 4.26.

“If he had stuck with track, he would have been at the (U.S. Olympic) Trials this year,” said Tyree Price, Lockette’s track coach at Fort Valley State.

Lockette’s selections for the Seahawks’ 4×100, in order of how they would run: Leon Washington, to Jeremy Lane, to Deon Butler, to Lockette.

UP NEXT

Camp will break following a morning practice tomorrow. The team will fly to Denver after practice on Friday for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos.

YOU DON’T SAY

“You’ve all seen him out here. He’s fast. It looks like he hasn’t lost a step; it looks like he’s gained a step.” – Flynn on the 38-year-old Owens, who is beginning his week with the team


Wednesday cyber surfing: Flynn back in as starter at Denver

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 15.

The big news coming out of camp yesterday was that Seahawks free agent acquisition Matt Flynn will be given the start at quarterback in Saturday’s second preseason game against the Denver Broncos. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson will see playing time as well, as coach Pete Carroll announced a quarterback plan similar to the team’s preseason opener against Tennessee. Incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson may not play this weekend, but still remains in the quarterback competition according to Carroll.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story on the quarterback situation, including comments from Carroll on the differences between Flynn and Wilson, “Carroll said he considered starting Wilson at Denver to give the rookie the same kind of opportunity Flynn got a week ago against Tennessee. Flynn getting another start shows how the coaches have evaluated the pair so far. ‘Matt has done a really good job of commanding all of this stuff,’ Carroll said. ‘He understands the game in great depth, he gives us a veteran presence, even though he hasn’t had a lot of starting time. He recognizes the defense … It’s still a challenge for Russell to catch up with that stuff. He’s battling to get that done, and there’s a difference right now.’ “

O’Neil also has a look at wide receiver Sidney Rice, who was no longer wearing a red practice jersey Tuesday, but instead a white one – a sign that he is ready for some contact, “The green grass stain on the front of his uniform was an even more obvious sign he’s ready for some contact. ‘I had to try to simulate some gamelike situations,’ Rice said. Rice won’t play in Saturday’s exhibition game at Denver, but his practice regimen is a sign of progress and that he may be ready when the regular season begins. ‘This is his first week back getting banged around, so we’ll give him some time,’ coach Pete Carroll said.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune, who asks if Seattle’s latest QB-plan means Tarvaris Jackson is on his way out of Seattle, “In what some people might consider a cruel twist, Jackson worked with the starters Tuesday, just as he did the previous Tuesday. Carroll said his team will not begin game preparation for the Broncos until today’s practice. So is Jackson’s time in Seattle coming to a close? Carroll says no – for now. ‘He’s still in the competition,’ Carroll said. ‘He absolutely is. This is the way I’ve just chosen to do it, that I’m banking on the 18 games I’ve seen him. He knows the offense. He knows what’s going on. And I watched him play last year, practicing one day a week for five weeks, and he could function. So I’m using all that information to allow us the opportunity to see these other guys.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald discusses where Tarvaris Jackson fits in the Seahawks’ latest plans at quarterback.

Tim Booth of the Associated Press has his story on the ‘Hawks quarterback situation, “Apparently left out of the rotation is incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson, who took all the reps with the No. 1 offense as Seattle (No. 22 in the AP Pro32) returned to practice on Tuesday, but will be shuffled to the end of the line and may see extremely limited action, if any, against the Broncos. Carroll again repeated that the Seahawks need to learn more about Flynn and Wilson, having seen Jackson for all of last season. But when asked why not start the rookie third-round pick out of Wisconsin against the Broncos, Carroll made clear that Flynn has the lead. “I think this is the right way to do it. I think this is where they sit right now,” Carroll said.”

The staff at SportsPressNW.com have their report from Tuesday’s practice.

Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has his notes from Tuesday’s practice, including a thought on the wide receiver corps, “Carroll was pleased to see a full receiving core on the field today. Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette were both in contact drills after missing Saturday night’s game. Sidney Rice was not wearing the red jersey, which means he is cleared for full practice. Rice will not play in this weekend’s Denver game. The coach says there’s a chance Terrell Owens will play against the Broncos. T.O. displayed his work ethic today when he ran pass routes on the sideline even when he wasn’t supposed to be on the field.”

Michael Simeona of mynorthwest.com recaps a segment of “Bob and Groz” in which quarterback Matt Flynn joined the show and found out he had just been named the starting quarterback Saturday against Denver, ” ‘I think all three of us are doing a very good job of not letting [the competition] effect the way we play on the field and the way we prepare,’ Flynn said Tuesday. ‘It’s been a good competition so far and I think all three of us are getting a lot out of it.’ “

Mike Sando of ESPN.com says it’s still Matt Flynn’s job to lose at quarterback, “The early signs on Flynn and Wilson have been encouraging. Flynn was generally efficient working with the first-team offense against the Titans. He got rid of the ball quickly most of the time and appeared comfortable. Wilson played with greater flair, dazzling with a 32-yard touchdown run. He moved with purpose, threw with velocity and also appeared comfortable.”

NFL.com released an updated power rankings Tuesday afternoon, and the Seahawks have climbed two spots to No. 17 on the list, “The secondary looked good against Tennessee in Week 1 of the preseason. Former Titan Jason Jones helps shape a solid front four for Seattle. Ah, but the linebackers are the question mark, especially in a division with the run-focused 49ers and Rams. Second-round pick Bobby Wagner could start alongside Leroy Hill and K.J. Wright. Those guys are going to have to play ball for the Seahawks to have any hope in the NFC West.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth details Matt Flynn earning the starting role for the second straight week, and offers his thoughts on Tarvaris Jackson, “Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and quarterbacks coach Carl Smith already have a read on Jackson. He started 14 games last season, after being signed in free agency, and played much of the season with a damaged pectoral in his throwing shoulder. Flynn and Russell joined the team in March and April, respectively. ‘Tarvaris has played a lot of football for us,’ Carroll said. ‘We have to give somewhere here, so we’re giving that. We understand what kind of player Tarvaris is. He’s in great shape. He’s studied hard. He’s ready to go. We’re just banking that he’ll be able to hold on to his level of play without two weeks of playing time and playing in the game. The emphasis right now is to get Matt and Russell their playtime again so we can really get another big body of knowledge and information from them.’ “

The focus of Tuesday’s ‘Hawkville’ is cornerback Phillip Adams, the third-year cornerback from South Carolina State, “Hard work pays off…All he did in today’s two-hour, 15-minute practice was intercept not just one but two passes. On the first, rookie linebacker Korey Toomer tipped a Russell Wilson pass near the goal line and Adams controlled the carom as he was falling to the turf. On the second, Adams locked in on a pass shortly after it left Matt Flynn’s hand and was able to get to the ball before wide receiver Kris Durham. ‘We go out here and we practice hard every day,’ Adams said. ‘We just continue to work at it every day. You have to be confident as a player, and this whole defense is confident.’ “

Rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner tells us all about his first NFL game day experience.

Lastly, Tony Ventrella has a recap of Tuesday’s Bing Training Camp activities in his Seahawks Daily video feature.


Tuesday in Hawkville: Adams’ plays prove contagious

A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for Aug. 14:

FOCUS ON

Phillip Adams. Hard work pays off. Just look at Adams, the third-year cornerback from South Carolina State.

All he did in today’s two-hour, 15-minute practice was intercept not just one but two passes. On the first, rookie linebacker Korey Toomer tipped a Russell Wilson pass near the goal line and Adams controlled the carom as he was falling to the turf. On the second, Adams locked in on a pass shortly after it left Matt Flynn’s hand and was able to get to the ball before wide receiver Kris Durham.

“We go out here and we practice hard every day,” Adams said. “We just continue to work at it every day.”

Last week, Adams got a chance to work with in the starting secondary, as Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Browner was given a day off. Did that help Adam’s confidence?

“You have to be confident as a player, and this whole defense is confident,” Adams said.

Now that is an understatement. Practice can take on a feeding-frenzy feel as one defender tries to outdo the play that was just made by another defender. Today, that included a long-armed reach by cornerback Richard Sherman to swat away a deep pass by Flynn that was intended for Sidney Rice. And a near interception of a screen pass by defensive tackle Jason Jones. And another near interception by Sherman. And an end-zone interception by Pro Bowl strong safety Kam Chancellor. And rookie safety DeShawn Shead shielding Terrell Owens from an underthrown pass in the end zone.

“It’s like a domino effect,” Adams said. “We feed off each other. One person makes a play; it makes the other person want to make a play. So it becomes a feeding frenzy after awhile.”

ROOKIE WATCH

Bobby Wagner. After progressing even faster than the coaches had expected during the spring OTA practices and the first two weeks of training camp, the next question regarding the second-round draft from Utah State was: How would Wagner handle the duties that go with playing middle linebacker in Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Titans?

The simple answer: Better than expected. Again.

“He was very comfortable in the game; was easy to talk to during the game. He wasn’t overhyped or anything,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He handled it very well. Did a great job at the line of scrimmage making his calls and will continue to grow as he just recognizes his plays more quickly.

“He’s on track, and we all feel he has a chance to be the starter. We went in with that hope. Now we see that it’s possible and we clearly are supporting the fact that that might happen.”

POSITION WATCH

Center. John Moffitt, the right guard who has been getting work as the backup center, is out because of a sore left elbow. Lemuel Jeanpierre, the incumbent back to starter Max Unger, strained a groin during practice.

So how did the coaches handle the snapping chores? Unger got some double duty, while left guard Paul McQuistan and rookie guard Rishaw Johnson also filled the center spot – without snapping the ball. When either McQuistan or Johnson was at center, he would turn and hand the ball to the quarterback before the snap would have been made.

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Offense: Braylon Edwards making a falling grab of a Flynn pass in the back corner of the end zone behind Browner.

Defense: Despite all the above mentioned plays by the defense, the one that really stood out was 330-pound end Red Bryant breaking free on a pass play. But rather than rush the QB, Bryant mirrored Tarvaris Jackson’s movement and then went up to deflect the pass. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley saluted the effort by yelling, “Hey Red, helluva play.”

IN ’N OUT

Today’s practice was typical for the first one after a preseason game, as some players who sat out against the Titans returned and other were sidelined with injuries they got in the game.

“We had a number of guys come back,” Carroll said. “It felt good to have those guys back out and kind of give us a boost in the numbers and all.”

Back were wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette, defensive lineman Alan Branch and linebackers Barrett Ruud and Allen Bradford. Also, wide receiver Sidney Rice practiced without a red no-contact jersey for the first time.

Sitting out were Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson, defensive backs Jeron Johnson and Ron Parker, defensive linemen Pierre Allen and Cordarro Law, linebacker Malcolm Smith and tight end Zach Miller. Carroll said that Robinson and Johnson should return by the end of the week, but that Law has a high ankle sprain and will be sidelined longer.

Miller got a concussion against the Titans.

“(Miller) responded immediately the next day, and the day after he looked clear,” Carroll said. “But it’s the process we have to go through, and we’re going to take great care in doing that properly.”

Still sidelined: Moffitt and James Carpenter, linebacker Matt McCoy and cornerback Walter Thurmond.

SURGERY FOR MOFFITT

As expected, Moffitt had surgery today to remove particles from his left elbow that were causing him pain. He is expected to miss two to three weeks, so veteran Deuce Lutui and rookie J.R. Sweezy will continue to work at Moffitt’s spot with the No. 1 line.

“This should be a real positive thing for John,” Carroll said. “It was something that needed to be done, so we did it as fast as possible.”

UP NEXT

The last practice of camp open to the public takes place Wednesday starting at 10 a.m. You can register here to attend. A crowd of 1,421 fans attended today’s practice.

Camp breaks after a morning practice on Thursday, and the team will fly to Denver on Friday for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I’m always impressed when I see a rookie have poise and look like he’s in control. It’s almost like he’s back in college. I don’t know what’s going through his mind, so maybe there were some things out there that kind of threw him off, but it certainly didn’t look like it. Bobby Wagner looked like he fit right in with that defense. Really fast, he had a really nice tackle, took on some blocks really well, made some little mistakes that you see rookies do, but other than that, I thought he showed really well.” – Dave Wyman, former Seahawks linebacker and now an analyst for 710 ESPN, on the team’s rookie middle linebacker


Comments Off

Thursday in Hawkville: Going deep on the depth chart

A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for Aug. 9:

FOCUS ON

Depth. Three starters did not participate in today’s two-hour practice, but it was difficult to tell because the backups who stepped in also stepped up.

Veteran guard Deuce Lutui, who was signed in free agency, took over at right guard for John Moffitt. Third-year cornerback Phillip Adams was at right cornerback for Brandon Browner. Veteran defensive lineman Jason Jones, another free agent addition, was the three-technique tackle spot for Alan Branch.

“That’s one of our key things in training camp, to develop depth,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “Look what happened last year at corner, we lose a couple guys so some younger guys have to step up. So we know those things are going to happen.”

Last year, after veteran cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond were lost to season-ending injuries, rookie Richard Sherman took over on the left side and played well enough that he remains the starter. When since-departed leading tackler David Hawthorne couldn’t play in the opener, rookie K.J. Wright started and played so well that the coaches decided he had to play more – so former first-round draft choice Aaron Curry was traded to the Raiders to open the strong-side spot for Wright.

“That’s great when younger guys can do that, and that was the case today,” Bradley said.

Bradley has been waiting to see more of Adams – and from Adams – and today it was with the starters.

“We’re putting a lot on his plate,” Bradley said. “And so far he’s handling it. We always tell the guys, ‘The more that you can do. It just makes your value go up.’ ”

ROOKIE WATCH

Korey Toomer. The fifth-round draft choice from Idaho has been toiling in the shadows of first-round pick Bruce Irvin, a blur of a pass-rusher; and second-round pick Bobby Wagner, who is pushing to be the starting middle linebacker.

But Toomer is beginning to show that he also is worth keeping an eye on in Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Titans at CenturyLink Field. Today, he flashed as a pass rusher, forcing Matt Flynn to scramble, flushing Josh Portis from the pocket and also getting to Portis for what would have been a sack. Toomer stopped rookie running back Robert Turbin after a 2-yard gain. He was all over a short completion to running back Kregg Lumpkin. He basically was a wrench in the rhythm the offense was trying to establish.

“He’s a guy that’s just learning,” Bradley said of Toomer. “He’s playing multiple positions. We’re stretching him, just to see what he can handle. You’re seeing flashes from him. Some things he does really well, some things he’s a ways away.

“But he’ll keep getting better.”

PLAYS DU JOUR

Offense: We went into practice determined to not write anything more about Terrell Owens, who has dominated camp coverage since being signed on Monday. But the future Hall of Fame wide receiver canned that plan on the final play of only his second practice with the team.

Owens went over Trufant to tip a pass from rookie QB Russell Wilson in the end zone and then controlled the ball as he was falling out of bounds against tight coverage. Touché, Terrell.

“Terrell made a great catch,” Wilson said. “He came down with the football, and that’s the main thing.”

But with Owens, it’s obviously not the only thing.

“It is kind of surreal that I get to play with Terrell Owens,” Wilson said. “Obviously he’s a very, very talented receiver and I grew up watching a lot of his games. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He comes in to work every single day and he’s doing a great job.”

Defense: Let’s go with the first two plays of practice, as Brandon Mebane – yes, 311-pound nose tackle Brandon Mebane – was all over Flynn’s screen pass to Marshawn Lynch and then veteran linebacker Leroy Hill got to Turbin several yards behind the line of scrimmage.

Bradley saluted the double-whammy by yelling, “Two-for-two, men. That’s two-for-two.”

IN ’N OUT

Tight end Kellen Winslow and linebacker Jameson Konz returned to practice. Winslow’s practice time is being monitored because of a chronic knee situation, while Konz was back after missing several days to rest a sore knee.

Sitting out, in addition to Browner, Moffitt and Branch: wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette; tight end Cameron Morrah; linebackers Matt McCoy and Allen Bradford; and offensive lineman James Carpenter and Thurmond, who remain on the physically unable to perform list.

LANE’S OLYMPIC MOMENT

Rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane, a sixth-round draft choice from Northwestern (La.) State, has a signature move when the players move from pre-practice stretching to their first drill. He pops a flip, in shoulder pads and a helmet.

“I just like to do it to checkout my legs,” he said. “If I get real high, I feel my legs are fresh and it just starts my day.”

He started flipping out during practice last season, after a friend did it and encouraged Lane to give it a shot.

“He said, ‘You’ve got a high vertical. Just try it,” Lane said. “I trusted him. I stood there and I just flipped. I’ve been doing it ever since.”

But there’s nothing like that first time.

“It was very scary the first time,” he said, smiling. “My football career could have been over. But after I did it once I wasn’t scared anymore. I just got better and better at it.”

UP NEXT

The players will practice on Friday, their final tune-up before Saturday night’s preseason opener. After the game, they will get their third off day of camp on Sunday.

JOIN THE CROWD

A crowd of 1,812 fans watched today’s practice. Only two more practices are open to the public before camp breaks next Thursday – those next Tuesday and Wednesday. You can register here to attend.

JOHN MOFFITT, TRAFFIC REPORTER

You may have heard that state routes 520 and 167 will be closed this weekend, but you haven’t really heard until you watch this advisory from Moffitt.

Because of the closures, traffic will be heavier than usual on I-5 and I-90, so the club is asking fans heading to the game to plan accordingly.

STUFF THE BUS

Fans attending Saturday’s game are asked to bring backpacks stuffed with school supplies for the team’s annual Stuff the Bus drive to benefit Communities In Schools of Seattle. Your donations will be distributed to students at 32 schools.

EYE HAWKS

“Seahawks All Access” returns tonight on Root Sports. The weekly show that features player interviews and analysis from Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon airs at 10:30 tonight and will be replayed Saturday at 5 p.m. The first show spotlights defensive end Red Bryant and wide receiver Golden Tate.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing it. I hear so much negative stuff about me it’s kind of good to hear some positive stuff sometimes. I think that’s what separates me from a normal defensive end; I’m real fast and explosive.” – Irvin, when asked if he ever tires of hearing people gush about his speed off the edge as a pass rusher


Monday in Hawkville: Mebane struts his ample stuff

A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for July 30:

FOCUS ON

Brandon Mebane. The pads came on for the first time in camp, and the team’s nose tackle came out smokin’.

The 311-pound Mebane was dominating in the 9-on-7 run drill, starting with the first play when he put some extra “ex” in explosive by blowing through a gap between the center and guard to get to the running back well behind the line. Mebane then provided replays of his disruptive quickness on back-to-back plays and also recovered a muffed exchange between the center and quarterback.

In another drill, when rookie quarterback Russell Wilson dropped an unexpected shotgun snap – after a defensive player had jumped offside – Mebane was there again to fall on the loose ball.

Despite his obvious physical prowess in the first padded practice, Mebane said the impressive performance was more about the improved mental aspects of his ample game.

“The older I get the more knowledge I gain,” he said. “It’s about experience, playing with the guys and learning other things from (defensive line coach Todd) Wash. I learned things from pretty much all my position coaches I’ve had in the past.”

It’s strange to hear the 27-year-old Mebane talk about his age and experience, but on this defense only linebacker Leroy Hill has played more games for the Seahawks among the current starters. Since being a third-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Mebane has played for three head coaches and three position coaches – Mike Holmgren and Dwaine Board (2007-08), Jim Mora and Dan Quinn (2009) and now Pete Carroll and Wash.

“I’ve taken something from each of them,” Mebane said of his position coaches. “Knowledge is power and just picking up little things from each of them has helped me. I’m trying to just keep going to the next step, next step.”

Mebane definitely stepped up last season, when he was moved to the nose fulltime, by posting a career-high 56 tackles to lead all interior linemen in the NFC.

If today’s performance was any indication, Mebane is ready to pick up not only where he left off but take his game that is as much as about disruptive quickness as it is power to an even higher level.

UNIT WATCH

The defense. Mebane’s early efforts proved to be the metronome for two hours of big plays – and even bigger pops.

Second-year linebacker K.J. Wright dropped rookie running back Robert Turbin with a solid shot. Rookie safety Winston Guy put a lick on Turbin after he caught a pass that forced a fumble. Wright put veteran wide receiver Antonio Bryant on his derriere with another shot on one of the last plays of practice.

“It was good,” rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said when asked about putting on the pads for the first time. “Now we get to hit, and I enjoy it.”

The session even included a matchup that Wagner used to get asked about when he and Turbin were at Utah State.

“It’s funny, because I never really got a chance to hit Turbin – ever,” Wagner said with a smile. “It was kind of funny when I tackled him to see who it was.

“At school, everybody always used to ask what would happen. I guess they’re finding out now.”

PLAYS DU JOUR

Offense: Ricardo Lockette had one catch that produced the wow-factor, as he tipped a pass from Matt Flynn and then controlled the carom as he was falling into the end zone. But the better effort for a second-year receiver who is working on honing his route-running and pass-catching skills came when Lockette made a fingertip grab – in stride and between cornerback Phillip Adams and safety DeShawn Shead – of another Flynn pass for another touchdown.

Defense: Safety Jeron Johnson’s interception of a Josh Portis pass that was tipped first by safety Chris Maragos and Adams.

Special teams: Steven Hauschka using that smooth stroke of his to convert a 55-yard field goal. He also hit a 53-yarder.

IN ‘N OUT

Ten players did not practice, as tight end Anthony McCoy, defensive linemen Jason Jones, defensive backs Ron Parker and Donny Lisowski and linebacker Matt McCoy joined the five players who also sat out Sunday – defensive tackle Alan Branch and defensive end Jameson Konz; and offensive lineman James Carpenter, cornerback Walter Thurmond and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who are on the physically unable to perform list.

Offensive lineman Allen Barbre returned after missing the first two days of camp because of a family situation.

UP NEXT

The players have a walkthrough this afternoon and will practice at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow. They will have their first off day on Wednesday.

JOIN THE CROWD

It’s tempting to say that “only” 915 fans attended practice, until you consider that it was a cloudy and unseasonably cool Monday morning following a weekend when more than 4,400 packed the berm adjacent to the fields for two practices. Ten more practices are open to the public and you can register here to attend – including the final weekend practices of camp this Saturday and Sunday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Nobody knows who I am. No coaches. No fans. They draft guys, so they have an idea who you are and they have an idea of what you can become. With Marshawn, his whole thing is, ‘Man, you’ve got to show people who you are.’ And that’s kind of how he plays. He doesn’t like to talk, and I don’t really like to talk much, either. But he’s a guy that just likes to show who he is by how he plays. That’s what he tells me.” – Turbin, when asked what advice he has gotten from leading rusher Marshawn Lynch


Tuesday in Hawkville

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 20:

FOCUS ON

Ben Obomanu. With Mike Williams undergoing season-ending surgery today to repair the left ankle he broke in Sunday’s game against the Bears in Chicago, Obomanu steps into the starting lineup. Again.

Obomanu, remember, started five games earlier this season when first Sidney Rice was out and then Williams. Now, the Seahawks have neither of their intended starting wide receivers, so it will be up to Obomanu and Golden Tate to get the job done in Saturday’s game against the NFC West champion 49ers at CenturyLink Field.

“Ben is a different-style receiver,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said after today’s 90-minute practice. “He’s got good speed. He’s got good quickness. He knows what we’re doing. He can play multiple positions – he’s been our Z, he’s been out X, he’s kind of been all over the place.

“So he does a lot for us.”

Obomanu and Tate showed what they can combine to do on the opening drive of the second half against the Bears, as Tarvaris Jackson went to Tate for a 33-yard pass play on third-and-9 and then found Obomanu for a 43-yard gain on a drive that ended with Marshawn Lynch scoring on a 3-yard run.

Because Obomanu already has started at split end (three games for Williams) and flanker (two games for Rice), his flexibility and experience will help the passing game compensate for its latest loss.

In 14 games, nine players have led, or shared the lead, in receptions for the Seahawks: leading receiver Doug Baldwin (seven times), Rice (four), Williams (two), Tate (two), Obomanu (one), running back Leon Washington (one), Lynch (one), fullback Michael Robinson (one) and tight end Zach Miller (one).

“A new guy has kind of stepped up every week,” Bevell said. “Doug has made big plays. Golden has made big plays the last couple of weeks. You saw Ben catch a couple. So there are guys making plays. We just have to use the skills that they have and try to get them open.”

Obomanu is tied for second on the team with 32 receptions for 379 yards, and led the team with four catches in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers. Tate is third with 27 catches for 320 yards, including four against the Bears to share team-high honors with Miller.

Baldwin (46 for 731) will continue to get ample work in the slot. Deon Butler and Ricardo Lockette, who was signed off the practice squad last week, get bumped up to the fourth and fifth spots.

“We’ve been able to mix those guys in enough that where we really had five guys that at any point could really play all those positions,” Bevell said. “So we kind of, I don’t want to say don’t miss a beat, but the next guy up has been able to do a nice job.”

PLAYOFF PATTER

Winning five of their six games to begin the second half of the season has the once 2-6 Seahawks at .500 and on the cusp of the NFC playoff picture. The easier scenario to comprehend, if not accomplish, for the Seahawks to advance to the playoffs for a second consecutive season is to have them beat the 49ers and Cardinals and have the 9-5 Lions lose their games against the Chargers and Packers. The Seahawks would advance based on a better conference record.

But the players are not spending their time worrying about scenarios. They’re focused on the 49ers.

“It feels good,” Robinson said of having the Seahawks and playoffs used in the same sentence. “But at the same time, we’re just looking at it one game at a time. We can’t go to the playoffs if we don’t win this game. We couldn’t go to the playoffs if we didn’t win the last game. So you win the next game. Just win the game you have in front of you and let everything else take care of itself.

“Even if we don’t make the playoffs, the fact that if we can finish on a strong note, it’s a great stepping stone, a great building block for years to come.”

IN ’N OUT

Cornerback Phillip Adams was signed to fill Williams’ spot on the 53-man roster, as last year’s leading receiver had his surgery performed by team doctors Ed Khalfayan and Mike McAdam at the Seattle Surgery Center.

Adams, a seventh-round draft choice by the 49ers in 2010, was with the Patriots this season until being released Nov. 29. The 5-foot-11, 192-pound Adams played his college ball at South Carolina State.

The player practiced without pads or helmets in the indoor practice facility, but the team does not have to release an injury report until tomorrow.

STAT DU JOUR

Just how good has Jackson been in the Seahawks’ three-game winning streak? In a word: very. In a number: 104.5. That’s Jackson’s passer rating in the wins over the Eagles, Rams and Bears. He’s not only feeling better, more than two months after spraining the pectoral in his throwing shoulder during the Week 5 upset of the Giants; he’s managing the game better, as evidenced by the fact that he has not thrown an interception since his final pass in the Week 12 loss to the Redskins. Here’s a closer look at Jackson’s performances in the past three games:

Opponent           Att. Comp.  Yds.   Pct.   TD   Int.  Rating

Eagles                   16    13       190    .813    1       0    137.0

Rams                     32    21       224    .656    1      0      96.4

Bears                     31    19       227    .613    1      0      94.4

Totals                    79    53       641     .671   3      0    104.5

UP NEXT

The players will be back on the practice field Wednesday, which will be Thursday in his short week to prepare for Saturday’s game against the 49ers.

Tickets are available for the Christmas Eve game and can be purchased here.

YOU DON’T SAY

“That game seems like, I mean I didn’t even remember it was this year it’s so long ago. We’ve been through so much. We’ve changed so much. We’ve transitioned. We’re a much different team, and they’re a much different team. They’re a strong defense, it was evident last night. But we’re a much better offense than we were when we faced them at that point.” – Bevell on the season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco


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Surgery for Williams

Mike Williams, the Seahawks’ leading receiver last season, had surgery today to repair the left ankle he broke in Sunday’s win over the Bears in Chicago.

With Williams being placed on injured reserve, cornerback Phillip Adams was signed to fill his spot on the 53-man roster. Adams, a seventh-round draft choice by the 49ers in 2010, was with the Patriots this season until being released Nov. 29.

The 5-foot-11, 192-pound Adams played his college ball at South Carolina State.


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