Our Pro Bowl fullback and aspiring broadcaster Michael Robinson is back with another episode of “The Real Rob Report”.
In you’re unfamiliar with Robinson’s endeavors, he offers a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective of life in the NFL, catching up with fellow players and coaches in an informal setting compared to what you may be used to seeing in the mainstream media.
In this week’s installment quarterback Russell Wilson kicks things off with his best impersonation of Head Coach Pete Carroll, which is frighteningly close to the real thing.
Robinson catches up with wide receivers Ben Obomanu and Ricardo Lockette, and cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Brandon Browner, asking the guys who their favorite teams and players were when they were growing up.
Mike Rob also tries to get camera-shy running back Marshawn Lynch to open up to the lens, and catches an interaction between running back Robert Turbin and a Seahawks media relations staffer on film.
Defensive back Danny Gorrer has been signed by the Seahawks.
The 6-foot, 180-pound Gorrer entered the NFL in 2009 as a rookie free agent with the Saints. He also has spent time with the Rams, starting one game in 2009; the Saints again in 2010; and the Ravens in 2010 and 2011, when he played in 11 games.
To clear a roster spot, running back Kregg Lumpkin was released.
The club also made practice squad moves, re-signing linebacker Korey Toomer and guard Rishaw Johnson and releasing linebacker Allen Bradford and wide receiver Ricardo Lockette. Toomer, a fifth-round draft choice this year, was released on the roster cut to 53 players, signed to the practice squad the next day and then released last Thursday. Johnson, a rookie free agent, also was with the team during training camp.
Good morning, and happy Labor Day. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks after a busy weekend of roster transactions. You can take a look at the Seahawks’ up-to-date roster here.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times speaks to the roster’s continuity this season from a year ago, “This season, the subtraction of tight end Kellen Winslow was the only real surprise as Evan Moore will be added to take his place. The fact that things are so much more settled this year speaks to the quality of the roster that coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider believe they’ve assembled over the past two and a half years. There’s not nearly as much turnover on this year’s team. Of the 53 players currently on Seattle’s roster, 15 were acquired over the offseason. Compare that to last season, when 24 of Seattle’s 53 players were in their first year with the team. The year before that, the number was 27, more than half the team.”
O’Neil has a look at the somewhat unexpected release of tight end Kellen Winslow, “The release of Winslow came after he declined to take a pay cut from the $3.3 million he was scheduled to earn. That salary may have been a point of discussion for months now. Seattle is expected to replace him with Evan Moore, a tight end who played the past three years in Cleveland. Moore is 6 feet 6 and caught 34 passes in 2011, scoring four touchdowns.”
Lastly from O’Neil, we have his look at Seattle’s cut to 53 players, which occurred Friday afternoon, “Just as significant as who is not on the 53-man roster, though, is one player who is: offensive lineman James Carpenter. He did not practice at all during training camp as he continued his recovery from a knee injury he suffered in practice last October. Carpenter was last year’s first-round pick, and he was on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list since training camp began. Had he been placed on that list to begin the season, he would not have counted against the 53-man roster limit, but also would have been ineligible to begin practicing with the team until after its sixth game.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune comments on the Seahawks’ 53-man roster, noting that Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s roster-churning days appear to have slowed down, “Currently, 37 of Seattle’s 53 players on the roster were with the team last season. Only six players on the roster remain from when Carroll took over the team after the 2009 season. And Seattle still has one of the youngest teams in the league, with only six players age 30 or older. Cornerback Marcus Trufant is the oldest at 31 – he turns 32 on Christmas Day. Linebacker Leroy Hill turns 30 on Sept. 14.”
Williams has a feature on rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who moved into the starting role this season with the departure of veteran David Hawthorne in free agency and has been making quick progress, “Bradley said he knew Wagner arrived when the headsets on the sidelines went down during the team’s first preseason game against Tennessee, the defensive coordinator had to signal in the calls. Wagner told Bradley he could read his lips from the sideline and get the calls that way. ‘I think for him the big thing is just getting used to using his hands,’ Bradley said. ‘He’s going to have linemen out on him, and he’s getting better at that, and attacking the line of scrimmage.’ “
Williams also comments on the Seahawks’ highly-touted secondary, who has been given the nickname ‘The Legion of Boom‘, “Seattle boasts one of best young secondaries in the league, with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, and cornerback Brandon Browner all making the trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season. Seattle finished No. 9 in total defense last season, the first time since 1997 the Seahawks finished in the top 10. While Seattle’s defensive front seven anchors the unit with its stout play against the run, the Legion of Boom creates turnovers, and plays with a ferocity befitting the name. ‘We all got that boom,’ safety Kam Chancellor said. ‘Whether it’s getting interceptions, talking trash, being a ballhawk or just knocking somebody out – it’s everything.’ “
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune admires quarterback Russell Wilson’s attitude and drive to be “great”, but says that average will be just fine for Wilson in this offense, as he advises the rookie to not try to do too much, “Average will work on this offense. Good will be just fine. An average-to-good quarterback who avoids turnovers is a better fit for Pete Carroll’s system than a great quarterback prone to the occasional, inevitable mistake. Take last season’s road upset of the New York Giants. The Hawks beat the eventual Super Bowl champions because Charlie Whitehurst, relieving the injured Tarvaris Jackson in the third quarter, didn’t try to out-Eli Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Whitehurst completed only 11 passes in the second half, for 149 yards and a touchdown, but none of his 19 attempts ended up in the hands of the defense. Manning, meanwhile, finished the day with gaudy stats – 24-of-39 for 420 yards and three touchdowns – but undermined by three interceptions. On the best day of Whitehurst’s life – and helping the Seahawks to that 39-26 victory qualifies for the short list – he is not half the quarterback that Manning is. But again, sometimes less can be preferable to more.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald recaps the Seahawks’ roster reduction, and says wide receiver Braylon Edwards is out to prove critics wrong after a down season a year ago, “That guy you saw wearing Edwards’ jersey last year? That wasn’t him, he’ll tell you. But saying it is one thing, proving it while playing on your fourth team in the last five seasons? Well, let’s just say Edwards knows a strong training camp and a few nice catches in preseason games don’t mean he’s back to being the player who caught 53 passes for 904 yards as recently as two seasons ago. But just getting a chance to show what he can do is a pretty good start. ‘I feel great,’ Edwards said. ‘I feel like I’m full speed, I feel like I can jump however high I need to make plays and get around. I just feel like my athletic ability is there again. Last year I just wasn’t able really to jump, move, make certain cuts, so I’m a much different player this year than last year.’ “
Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network previews the Seahawks 2012 season, “Even before Wilson’s unexpected rise to the starting lineup and Carroll’s latest examples of unconventional wisdom, the Seahawks were being touted as a team potentially on the rise. Seattle went 5-3 over the second half of last year’s campaign, with the surge fueled by a string of productive games from running back Marshawn Lynch and a defense filled with relative unknowns gelling into one of the NFL’s better crews. And if preseason results can be used as an accurate measuring stick, the Seahawks may indeed be ready to take off in 2012. With Wilson leading the way, Seattle prevailed in all four of its warm-up contests and outscored the opposition by a convincing 122-44 margin.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his analysis of the Seahawks’ cut to 53 players, “Most significant move: The Seattle Seahawks emerged from last season with high hopes for Josh Portis as a developmental quarterback. The arrival of Matt Flynn in free agency and new starter Russell Wilson through the draft left Portis on the outside. The Seahawks released him, leaving Wilson and Flynn as the only quarterbacks on the initial 53-man roster. Some teams with rookie starters brace themselves for what they know will be a long season. The Seahawks think Wilson upgrades the position immediately. They appear unworried by rookie walls and all the other ominous metaphors that typically pop up with inexperienced players behind center. The team could always consider adding a third quarterback in the future, but the value wasn’t there given what Seattle thinks about its top two quarterbacks.”
Sando also has a breakdown of the Seahawks’ roster and practice available for download.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a position-by-position look at the newly-crafted 53-man roster.
Farnsworth also details what’s left at the tight end position after the release of Winslow, “Now what? The Seahawks still have Miller, and the coaches have been pleased with the more-consistent performance of third-year Anthony McCoy during training camp and the preseason. McCoy, a sixth-round draft choice in 2010, had six catches for a team-high 106 receiving yards during the just-concluded preseason. ‘Anthony has been a really good prospect,’ coach Pete Carroll said recently of the tight end he also coached at USC. ‘This was a great pick for us a couple years back. He’s really grown into a versatile tight end for us. He’s one of our best blockers. He’s not quite to Zach’s level, but he really does a great job on all the in-line blocking. He moves around well. He’s a great target to throw the ball to.’ “
And finally, to round things out this morning, Farnsworth looks at the seven familiar faces that make up the Seahawks practice squad, “The release-and-return move with [quarterback Josh] Portis is shrewd. Waiving him opened a roster spot for an extra position player, but he’ll still be around to continue developing his raw, but obvious, skills by getting some reps quarterbacking the scout team that works against the Seahawks’ defense in practice. Last year, Portis made the 53-man roster as a rookie free agent, but was inactive for 15 games.”
Portis heads practice squad signees
The Seahawks have signed the following seven players to their squad:
QB Josh Portis
WR Ricardo Lockette
LB Korey Toomer
TE Sean McGrath
OL Rishaw Johnson
LB Allen Bradford
S DeShawn Shead
Portis, Lockette, Toomer, McGrath, Johnson, Bradford and Shead were waived by the Seahawks on Friday’s roster cut to 53 players.
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for Aug. 15:
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.”
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.”
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.
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
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.
With Clare Farnsworth in Canton, Ohio covering Cortez Kennedy’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I’ll be taking over the blog through the weekend. Getting to it, here’s a recap of the activities surrounding the Seahawks’ Bing Training Camp for August 2.
Byron Maxwell. The 6-1, 207-pound cornerback is working back into practice after returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for seven games during his rookie season. Maxwell, drafted with the eighth pick in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Clemson, impressed in training camp as a rookie last season and has the prototypical size and make-up of a Pete Carroll corner. He saw action in nine games a year ago, with most of that action coming on special teams, and prior to the NFL he was dubbed one of the hardest hitting defensive backs in the ACC.
Maxwell shined in the ‘gunner’ special teams drill to start Thursday’s practice. Lining up in punt formation against second-year receiver Doug Baldwin and rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane, Maxwell broke the jam put on him by Baldwin and Lane and out-ran the wide receiver-cornerback duo up the right sideline before cutting back inside down field to meet punt returner Leon Washington as he was fielding the football.
“Special teams is about going hard,” Maxwell said of the play. “That’s all I do is go hard. It’s all about who wants it the most. I pride myself in my special teams play. That’s just the purest form of football. If you go out there and you can play special teams, you can play football.”
Maxwell clearly wanted it the most on that play.
Later in Thursday’s practice, the Clemson product wanted more, breaking up a ball in the end zone from quarterback Matt Flynn that was intended for wide receiver Golden Tate.
“We’re very satisfied with his progress,” said Seahawks secondary coach Kris Richard. “Of course, his issue is going to be conditioning now. He hasn’t had a full offseason. We are well aware of it, but we’re very satisfied with his effort. He’s a ball player. He’s always had a knack to get around the ball.”
With Seattle’s secondary featuring the likes of Pro Bowlers Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Brandon Browner, as well as impressive second-year player Richard Sherman, Maxwell knows that special teams play is an area where he must have an impact in order to stand out, but he’s not stopping there.
“Right now, special teams are a place where I feel I need to make an impact, but obviously that’s not all I want in this League,” Maxwell said. “I’m always looking to get better, get to the top, and be the best. Special teams is a role that I’ve got to do right now and one that I’ve got to do well for the team.”
And Richard knows that Maxwell is capable of more than stand out special teams play, and the NFL is a League where you’re always one play away from potentially making an impact.
“A healthy Byron at corner, in the nickel, and on special teams – a healthy Byron is a very effective Byron,” said Richard. “He’s a really good football player. We’re praying that he’s able to maintain his health, and if he is, really, the sky is the limit for him.”
Defensive backs, and specifically the unit’s red zone defense. What can be said about this unit that hasn’t been said already? Quarterbacks Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson, and Russell Wilson could not buy a bucket – or in this case, a touchdown pass – during the team’s red zone passing drill. The long, rangy defense dominated the drill, with cornerback Brandon Browner standing out in particular. On one play that saw Wilson under center Browner had coverage of wide receiver Charly Martin down the left sideline. Wilson fired a ball at Martin who cut toward the inside, but instead of extending his hands to receive the football, Martin was forced to bat the ball to the ground because Browner had beat him to the spot. Earlier in the drill Browner intercepted a ball from Flynn that was intended for Martin.
During the same drill, Maxwell made a nice read on a ball in the flat for wide receiver Kris Durham, exploding toward the football upon the quarterback’s release and pushing Durham to the sideline for no gain.
The only offensive conversions during the red zone passing drill that saw each of the three quarterbacks take multiple reps came on a pass from Flynn to rookie wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei, and on a toss from Jackson to rookie wide receiver Phil Bates, who made a nice grab on his back shoulder while falling to the ground.
PLAYS DU JOUR
Offense: A couple of offensive plays stood out in what was mainly a defense-dominated day. Ricardo Lockette made a nice stick on a ball from Wilson, elevating above safety Chris Maragos and cornerback Phillip Adams and tapping his toes down in the corner of the end zone for a score. During the team’s 11-on-11 session, Leon Washington had a nifty cut-back move to break free down the right sideline for a large gain. In the same session, rookie running back Robert Turbin had a similar move, as he slashed away from the scrum and scampered down the left sideline for a big gain.
Defense: In the team’s 9-on-7 drill, Earl Thomas penetrated the offensive line and found himself in the offensive backfield before running back Leon Washington, who had received the handoff, could even take a step. The speedy Thomas made the stop on Washington with an assist from defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, who had won his battle along the line and cleared a lane for Thomas to dart through. Also in the 9-on-7 drill, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane let out a Street Fighter-esque ‘Hadoken!’ battle cry prior to the snap, empowering Alan Branch through the line to make a crunching stop of Washington in the backfield.
IN ‘N OUT
Rookie wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, the former University of Washington standout and Lakewood, Wash. native, practiced for the first time today. Kearse had been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of camp.
Defensive tackle Jason Jones returned to practice after sitting out Monday and Tuesday. Tight end Kellen Winslow and linebacker Barrett Ruud also returned to practice after missing Tuesday because of knee situations.
Six players did not practice, as cornerback Ron Parker, tight end Anthony McCoy, linebacker Matt McCoy and linebacker Jameson Konz joined the two remaining players on the physically unable to perform list – offensive lineman James Carpenter and cornerback Walter Thurmond.
The players have a walkthrough this afternoon and will practice at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow. Saturday’s practice will be the team’s final practice slotted for 10:15 a.m. Sunday’s practice, scheduled for 1:15 p.m., is set to feature a “mock game” between the squads.
JOIN THE CROWD
Today’s practice attracted 1,098 fans, as well as the Navy’s Blue Angels, who are in town for Seattle’s Sea Fair weekend. Fans along the berm at VMAC got an up-close-and-personal look at the Navy’s show group, whose impressive aerial acrobatics could be seen and heard – loudly – over the Seahawks three practice fields along the shores of Lake Washington.
Eight practices remain open to the public, including this weekend’s practices on Saturday and Sunday, which are the final weekend practices of camp. You can register to attend a practice session here.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Awesome. That was sick. They came in [to the VMAC] and visited us yesterday. Lieutenant David Tickle was in here yesterday and he visited with the coaching staff and I asked him, ‘Can you give us a little something-something at practice tomorrow?’ And he said, ‘OK, I’ll show you.’ So he gave us a little buzz and a little extra smoke and wiggle when he left here, so that was great.” – Head Coach Pete Carroll on the show the Blue Angels put on today over VMAC during practice.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 31.
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times catches up with wide receiver Golden Tate, who’s expectations are high – just as they were in 2010 and 2011 – as he heads into his third season hoping to finally emerge as a key contributor on offense, “Saying something is not the same as doing it, though,” said O’Neil. “Tate knows that better than anyone, and after a strong finish last season, he might never get a better chance than this one. The release of Mike Williams created a receiving vacancy on the opposite side from Sidney Rice. With Doug Baldwin entrenched as the slot receiver, Tate is competing with teammates Ben Obomanu, Kris Durham and Ricardo Lockette at split end. So, here we go again — another Seahawks season begins with the question of whether the receiver who was such a talented playmaker at Notre Dame is ready to establish himself as an NFL starter.”
Eric Williams at the Tacoma News Tribune talks with 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin, who told Williams that with DE Chris Clemons now at practice, Irvin feels like he can finally start to make strides at the NFL level, ” ‘It’s a big help. I felt like when Clem wasn’t here, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Now that Clem is here and I get can a visual of what he’s doing, it really helps me out a lot.’ “
Dave Boling at the Tacoma News Tribune speaks with Red Bryant on the joys of fatherhood, and on how his family and his new baby-boy, Joseph Brooks Bryant, played a large role in his decision to re-sign with Seattle in the offseason, “Especially with the new addition to the family, Bryant wanted to stay in Seattle because it feels like home,” writes Boling. “His wife, Janelle, was born in Kirkland, and is the daughter of Seahawks Ring of Honor defensive end Jacob Green. ‘I didn’t really want to have to move to a new city and adapt and deal with all the things that go with that,’ Bryant said. ‘We’ve got a great fan base here and my father-in-law played here, so it’s a dream come true.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his notes from Monday’s practice session – the ‘Hawks first padded practice of the season. “Today was the first practice in pads, and apparently this fact excited linebacker K.J. Wright,” said Boyle. “Early in team drills, Wright found his way quickly into the backfield, then delivered a welcome-to-the-NFL pop on Robert Turbin that put the rookie running back on his rear. A little while later, Wright delivered another big hit, this one on veteran receiver Antonio Bryant, who is attempting to break back into the NFL after two years out of the league.”
Tim Booth of the Associated Press previews former Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy’s Hall of Fame induction, which is set to take place this Saturday, August 4. “What made Kennedy so difficult to stop was his low center of gravity, unexpected quickness and remarkable strength packaged in a 6-foot-1, 300-pound frame,” said Booth. “If he was asked to hold the line on a running play, he would regularly eat up two or three potential blockers. But he could also rush the passer up the middle, a rarity for an interior defensive lineman. While 1992 was his best individual season, Kennedy recorded at least six sacks in six of his 11 seasons.”
Liz Matthews of 710 ESPN Seattle has her practice report from Day Three of camp, where rookie QB Russell Wilson took the majority of the first-team reps, “Wilson took snaps with the first-team offense Monday, the first day the team was in pads. Still working on perfecting the timing and rhythm that comes with the speed of the NFL game, Wilson has made a number of big plays these last few days that haven’t gone unnoticed. He’s shown impressive footwork, the ability to scramble and the maturity to remain calm under pressure not often seen in rookies.”
Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps a segment of “Bob and Groz” in which ‘Hawks cornerback Marcus Trufant joined the show. Henderson details their conversation as the veteran CB begins his transition to the nickel cornerback role, “Trufant, a starting cornerback for nine seasons, is sliding inside to nickelback, a change he seems to be enjoying. ‘I think it’s a good move, man,’ Trufant said. ‘It’s fun. I get to do different stuff. I get to move around a little bit. I get to blitz a little bit. I get to do a little bit of everything. I just take it as a challenge. I’m excited and I’m having fun doing it.’ “
Also from mynorthwest.com Brock Huard gives us two thoughts on the Seahawks quarterback competition in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth brings us his Hawkville report, with his focus from Monday’s practice centering on defensive lineman Brandon Mebane. “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,” said Farnsworth. “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.”
Farnsworth feature story from Monday’s session centers on veteran linebacker Barrett Ruud and rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner, who are competing with each other for the middle linebacker spot.
Lastly from Farnsworth, he breaks down Day Three of the ‘Hawks QB competition, where Russell Wilson garnered the most first-team reps.
Our Seahawks Daily features a look at the veteran presence along the offensive line.
Wide receiver Rircardo Lockette participated in a Twitter video interview after Monday’s practice, where we took questions from the 12th Man on Twitter to ask the speed-demon Lockette.
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for July 30:
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.
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.
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
Nothing changed today as far as the three-man rotation in the competition for the Seahawks’ starting quarterback job in the first practice of training camp, and none of the QBs did anything to alter the situation.
As he did all spring, incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson took the first reps on this first day, followed by free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn and then rookie Russell Wilson. If coach Pete Carroll, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and QB coach Carl Smith follow the same schedule they used in the spring OTA and minicamp practices, Flynn will be up first in Sunday’s practice and Wilson will get his turn to run the No. 1 offense on Monday.
When will all this sort itself out? As soon as one of the quarterbacks makes an obvious move at securing the job. And as Flynn said after practice, that was not the case today.
“There were some good points and some low points,” Flynn said. “It was just the first day, just getting some of the kinks out trying to get on the same page.”
Flynn got no argument on that assessment from his head coach.
“There was a little bit of everything today,” Carroll said. “We’re started. We’re underway. We’ve got a big-time formula that we’re unveiling as we go with the reps and how we do it and the timing and the patience it’s going to take to make really good decisions here. This is just the first step of it.
“There’s no reason to evaluate today.”
Pushed for more info on the how, the why and especially the when, Carroll dated himself by using a line from Johnny Carson’s Karnak sketch on the old “Tonight Show.”
“It’s on Funk and Wagnall’s porch, hermitically sealed (in a mayonnaise jar),” Carroll cracked, cracking himself up with the time-machine reference. “None of you guys have heard of hermitically sealed even.”
Cracking the hermitic seal as far as the practice-field performances of the three QBs involved, Jackson hooked up with wide receivers Ricardo Lockette and Golden Tate for long touchdown passes, but also had a pass intercepted and returned for a TD by cornerback Richard Sherman and another dropped by Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas that would have been an interception; Flynn used play-action fakes to setup a couple of nice throws, but also had two passes batted incomplete at the line; and Wilson converted a third-and-15 situation with a pass to tight end Anthony McCoy, but also had another throw go off a receiver that was intercepted by linebacker Mike Morgan.