How successful was the Seahawks’ just-completed preseason?
Well, they went 4-0 for only the second time in franchise history. And there are other numbers that indicate they earned the rare distinction.
The Seahawks didn’t just lead the preseason in most points scored (122) and fewest points allowed (44), they tallied 14 more than the second-highest scoring team (the Ravens) and allowed nine fewer than the team that yielded the next-lowest total (the 49ers).
The offense averaged 178.3 rushing yards to lead the NFL, while the defense ranked No. 3 overall (allowing an average of 248 yards), second against the run (78.8) and fifth against the pass (169.3).
The Seahawks tied for the league lead in the all-important take-away/give-away category at plus-7. Only one team (the Steelers) committed fewer turnovers than the Seahawks (three); only two teams (the Titans and Chargers) forced more turnovers than the Seahawks (10).
Kicker Steven Hauschka was the leading scorer in the preseason (42 points) and also had more touchbacks on his kickoffs (13). Russell Wilson’s passer rating (110.3) ranked seventh in the league, and was tops among the rookie quarterbacks. Robert Turbin rushed for 165 yards to rank eighth in the league, third among the rookie running backs. Kregg Lumpkin produced 11 first downs, which tied for fifth in the league. Golden Tate (20.5) and Leon Washington (16.0) ranked 4-6 among the punt returners.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Aug. 28:
Matt Flynn. The backup quarterback was able to throw more in today’s practice than he has since an inflamed muscle in the right elbow started acting up last week. Flynn took part in all phases of practice, a good sign that he’ll be able to play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field.
It also was Flynn’s longest on-field stint since coach Pete Carroll announced on Sunday that rookie Russell Wilson had won the starting job. So Flynn needs to begin taking advantage of whatever opportunities come his way.
“Matt came through in all ways,” Carroll said of Flynn’s performance in the QB competition that began in May – when just-traded Tarvaris Jackson also was part of equation. “He’s done everything he’s needed to do to lead us and show us he could do that. To show us that he understands the system, can use all aspects of it, can throw all the balls we wanted him to throw. He did everything just fine.
“Russell’s performance was just so far off the charts that we had to recognize it.”
Flynn was unable to play in the preseason game against the Chiefs in Kansas City on Friday night, when Wilson led six consecutive scoring drives in his first NFL start to all but settle the situation.
“The games did kind of decided the issue, but the work these guys have done and put in has been well carried out, highly competitive, fought throughout and we had to get to a point where we had to make a decision and we feel really good about the decision,” Carroll said.
Now, Flynn has to maintain his edge while working in a backup role to insure he’s ready if needed.
“I’m expecting Russell to play really well,” Carroll said. “But Matt is not going to take a knee on this thing. He’s going to go for it and keep battling, and when the opportunity comes I know he’ll be ready.”
ON THE FIELD
The 95-miunte practice concluded with each quarterback throwing a touchdown pass during a red-zone drill.
Wilson’s came on his first play, as he passed to wide receiver Sidney Rice after he had gotten a step on cornerback Richard Sherman. Flynn threw his scoring pass to wide receiver Ricardo Lockette on third down, after rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin pressured Flynn into an incompletion on first down. Josh Portis also threw a third-down TD pass to rookie wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei.
Red Bryant has been listed among the blue-chip defensive ends in the league by Michael Lombardi at NFL.com. It’s overdue recognition for all the things – little and large – that Bryant has done, and continues to do.
Says Lombardi: “Those who are surprised that Bryant qualified as a blue-chipper should talk to any team that has tried to run the ball in his direction. He is a dominant player.”
He also lists Pro Bowl free safety as a “red-chipper,” adding, “Thomas is very close to joining the blue-chippers.”
On offense, running back Marshawn Lynch and center Max Unger were blue-chippers. “(Nick) Mangold might be the best, but (Alex) Mack and Unger are both close to his talent level,” Lombardi says.
IN ’N OUT
The number of players sidelined grew by two as tight ends Kellen Winslow (knee) and Cooper Helfet (unspecified) did not practice.
Still sidelined: wide receiver Doug Baldwin (hamstring), running back Marshawn Lynch (back), guard James Carpenter (knee), defensive linemen Jason Jones (knee) and Greg Scruggs (hamstring), linebacker Matt McCoy (knee) and defensive backs Chris Maragos (shoulder) and Walter Thurmond (leg).
Lynch was able to watch practice from the sideline today after spending Monday in the training room while the team was practicing.
The players will have a walkthrough on Wednesday morning, their final on-field preparation for Thursday night’s preseason finale.
The 75-man roster must be trimmed to 53 players on Friday and the team can start compiling its eight-man practice squad on Saturday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Coach Sherm always says, ‘The best ability is dependability.’ I just want to make sure when I’m on the field I’m dependable.” – rookie running back Robert Turbin on position coach Sherman Smith, the franchise’s original running back
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Aug. 27:
Earl Thomas. All the attention was on rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, and rightfully so. Coach Pete Carroll’s announcement on Sunday night that Wilson will start the regular-season opener against the Cardinals on Sept. 9 will make the third-round draft choice only the third rookie to start an opener for the Seahawks – joining Jim Zorn in 1976 and Rick Mirer in 1993.
But Thomas, the team’s Pro Bowl free safety, offered a couple not-so-subtle reminders during today’s practice that the Seahawks also have a pretty decent defense.
Thomas intercepted a Josh Portis pass that went off wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, added a second pick on a Wilson pass and then made a leaping deflection of a Wilson pass that was intended for wide receiver Ben Obomanu.
Thomas’ lead-by-example efforts were infectious, as cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Phillip Adams also had interceptions; and safeties Jeron Johnson and Winston Guy, cornerback Byron Maxwell, linebacker Mike Morgan and Browner broke up passes.
“We’re just trying to get better every day,” said Thomas, who returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown in Friday night’s preseason victory over the Chiefs in Kansas City. “It’s paying off. We’re having fun out there. And we’re going to be something to be reckoned with.”
Robert Turbin. The Seahawks selected the running back from Utah State in the fourth round of the draft to spell leading rusher Marshawn Lynch, but also for those occasions when Lynch can’t play. Like in Friday night’s game, today’s practice and Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field.
Lynch was absent from practice to get treatment on the back problem that prevented him from playing against the Chiefs. So Turbin picked up where he left off in rushing for 93 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs.
“Running backs have to get game tested. You can’t tell until they’re faced with the speed of the game and tackles they have to break and all of that stuff,” coach Pete Carroll said of Turbin. “Robert has done a fantastic job. We have no hesitation playing Robert.
“He played great last week. It was his best game, clearly. In terms of his pass protection, I think he was 100 percent and there were some difficult things he had to deal with. That’s a remarkable plus for a first-year guy. He’s really studied hard. There’s nothing he can’t do. And he looked great on the practice field today.”
IN ’N OUT
Matt Flynn threw early in practice to test the sore right elbow that prevented him from playing against the Chiefs. Carroll said Flynn might be able to play against Raiders.
John Moffitt returned to practice after missing more than two weeks following surgery to remove particles from his left elbow. Rookie J.R. Sweezy continued to work at right guard with the No. 1 line, while Moffitt got his snaps with the second unit.
Also sidelined, in addition to Lynch: wide receiver Doug Baldwin (hamstring), defensive linemen Jason Jones (knee) and Greg Scruggs (hamstring), linebacker Matt McCoy (knee), defensive backs Chris Maragos (shoulder) and Walter Thurmond (leg) and guard James Carpenter (knee).
The club reached the mandatory 75-man roster limit by trading quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to the Bills and releasing cornerback Coye Francies.
BY THE NUMBERS
Don’t look now, but Wilson leads the NFL in preseason passer rating at 119.4. The rookie QB has completed 35 of 52 passes (67.3 percent) for 464 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He’s also sixth in the league with 150 rushing yards – one less than Turbin.
Wilson also ranks ninth in third-down passer rating (111.3) and 11th in fourth-quarter passer rating (112.8).
Steven Hauschka leads the league with 35 points (eight field goals, 11 PATs) and is second with 10 touchbacks on his kickoffs. Leon Washington is tied for fifth in punt return average (16.0). Scruggs is tied for eighth with 2.5 sacks.
As a team, the Seahawks rank first in rushing offense, and seventh overall; and eighth in rushing defense, 13th overall. They’re also tied for second in turnover ratio (plus-5).
The players will practice tomorrow, which will be “Turnover Thursday” in this short week to prepare for the preseason finale. They’ll also have a walkthrough on Wednesday morning.
The roster must be trimmed to 53 players by Friday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“This competition thing is not just speak. It’s real.” – Carroll, while discussing the decision to go with Wilson as the starter over Flynn
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 17.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times calls Russell Okung one of the most important players to the Seahawks season, and also one that has gone largely unmentioned through training camp, “Left tackle Russell Okung is fine with that. After the way his past two seasons started, he would actually prefer it. He was injured during Seattle’s first exhibition game each of his first two seasons, so when he made it through the opener Saturday unscathed, it seemed like a good time to ask the big man how he was feeling. He wasn’t interested in answering that question. At least not on the record. It’s a pinch of the old-school approach Okung has taken, choosing to be seen as opposed to heard when it comes to the media. But take it from someone who knows, Okung is a reason to smile so far this year. ‘He has done a fine job,’ offensive line coach Tom Cable said. ‘I’m looking for him to just keep building on it now that he’s kind of accepted the responsibility of playing left tackle and what comes with it.’ ”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune relays information from head coach Pete Carroll that wide receiver Terrell Owens will play this weekend at Denver, “Carroll chose to keep Owens out of last week’s exhibition opener against Tennessee because he felt the veteran receiver was not in game condition after only a few practices. However, Owens is in much better shape this week, putting together several highlight plays over the past two days and showing his trademark running ability after the catch. Owens will play on an NFL field for the first time since the 2010 season, and little more than a year after having ACL knee surgery.”
Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network has a preseason preview of Saturday night’s matchup with the Denver Broncos.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald catches up with defensive back Roy Lewis, who he says wants to take on a bigger role with the defense, “In preparation for the 2012 season, however, Lewis has been a regular on defense as the team’s No. 1 nickel back, and is playing ahead of veteran Marcus Trufant, who was released in the offseason then re-signed specifically to play nickel. ‘Roy has been playing that position for some time,’ Carroll said. ‘He is ahead of everybody else in the learning and the understanding. If you notice, Roy won’t play very much this week in preparation. We know what he can do and we want to see what other guys can do. … That was a one of the major focuses (this week) — to give guys a chance in the competition to show what they can do.’ ”
Tim Booth of the Associated Press has his story on Terrell Owens’ debut in Denver, “Owens arrived in camp in excellent shape and has looked impressive at times during practice. But if he’s to make the Seahawks’ final roster, Owens will need to show in a game that he’s fully recovered from a knee injury that kept him out of the NFL for the entire 2011 season. Saturday against the Broncos will be his first NFL game action since Week 15 of the 2010 season with Cincinnati. Owens went without a catch in that final game against Cleveland. ‘He’s ready to go,’ Carroll said. ‘He had two good weeks of work, and he came in in great shape so he’s ready to go.’ ”
Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has his notes from the final day of Bing Training Camp yesterday, “Matt Flynn took snaps with the number one offense as he prepares to start the first half at Denver in Saturday night’s second pre-season game. Flynn and that unit had one tough series during 11 on 11 drills. Matt’s first pass intended for Kellen Winslow was swatted away by Richard Sherman. Marshawn Lynch was stuffed on a running play by Leroy Hill. Flynn was sacked on the third down pass play. And Steven Haushka missed a 40 yard field goal try.”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his practice notes from yesterday’s camp finale, including a thought on the receiving corps, “Owens, WR Braylon Edwards, WR Ricardo Lockette and WR Deon Butler appear to be in the thick of competition for the remaining spots with WR Kris Durham, WR Charly Martin, WR Phil Bates, WR Lavasier Tuniei and WR Jermaine Kearse appearing to be longer shots at this point. If the team elects to keep both Edwards and Owens, they could short themselves on special teams as neither will likely play on that unit. It creates an interesting situation from a roster perspective. The remaining three preseason games should help make the position somewhat clearer.”
The staff at SportsPressNW.com has their report from the final day of camp and says the Seahawks have a lot of questions to answer at the wide receiver position, “The Seahawks have considerable sorting to do at the receiving spots, with only Doug Baldwin, last year’s catch leader with 51, a healthy starter available so far for the season opener. Naturally, Carroll saw the glass half full. ‘We’re still in the midst of this thing,’ he said. ‘I like our group a lot. We’ve become even more competitive and more experienced with the guys that have come in. We don’t have to do anything right now, just keep giving these guys opportunities in practice and games and add it all up at the end. It’s a really good position group for us right now. To have a guy like Doug Baldwin is just a blessing.’ ”
Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com details young quarterbacks who are starting to emerge in QB battles around the League, including Russell Wilson, “Wilson’s improvement has been graphic through minicamps and into training camp, but as Seahawks quarterbacks coach Carl Smith recently told Shutdown Corner, it wasn’t always so. ‘Really, he’s working through a lot of things,’ Smith said. ‘Rookie minicamp, he threw eight picks, okay? But he’s whittling away at a huge mountain of little things, and he’s doing it at a terrific pace. Working in the classroom, working on the field, and he keeps chopping [the problems] off. I’m really happy with his work ethic.’ ”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com says there is much at stake for wide receiver Terrell Owens in his Seahawks debut at Denver, “Forget about 10 receptions for 220 yards. We should instead watch to see how aggressively Owens plays, whether he’s a willing blocker, whether he catches the ball well, and how much he plays. Owens has always been a competitor. He has responded well in practice after watching Braylon Edwards, his primary competition for a roster spot, score a touchdown and generally play well against Tennessee last week. Owens was not active for that game, but he knows the stakes. He was fortunate to get an opportunity from Seattle, and must capitalize on the chance.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his Camp Carroll wrap-up, ” ‘The camp work that we set out to do, the things that we hoped to accomplish, I think we’ve really knocked it all in,’ Carroll said. ‘We’ve seen a bunch of guys; we’ve gotten a lot of information on our young guys. These next few weeks of games will be very important. But as far as the camp process – understanding how these guys learn, do they fit, kind of starting the process of developing roles for them because you know what they can do – all of that is moving.’ ”
Farnsworth also passes out his camp honors, naming the best rookie of Bing Training Camp as Robert Turbin, “First-round draft choice Bruce Irvin, second-rounder Bobby Wagner and Wilson got – and deserve – mention. But Turbin, the fourth-round pick out of Utah State, was drafted to fill the need for a physical back to spell Lynch. Turbin looks, and runs, the part.”
Lastly from Farnsworth, he has his final ‘Hawkville‘ post of training camp.
Greg Scruggs sits down with Seahawks.com and recaps his camp experience, life in Seattle, and passion for playing the drums, “I didn’t want anything to do with football [in high school]. Drumming was my thing. I had been doing it since I was 10 years old, and I was good at it. I was more popular than the football players because of my drumming.”
Finally, Tony Ventrella wraps up camp in his Seahawks Daily as he catches up with safety Earl Thomas, wide receiver Golden Tate, and cornerback Richard Sherman.
Greetings from CenturyLink Field on a gorgeous night for the Seahawks’ nationally televised preseason opener against the Titans.
And this more than “only” a preseason game, for several reasons.
For starters, there are the starting quarterbacks – a couple of guys named Matt. For the Seahawks, Matt Flynn gets his chance to take charge in the three-man competition to be the starter in the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona. He got the starting reps all week, and if he plays as well tonight as he did in practice, well, he’ll be the leader in the club house at the very least. For the Titans, this is a return to Seattle for Matt Hasselbeck – the Seahawks’ QB during the most successful five-season run in franchise history, the franchise’s career and single-game record holder in most of the meaningful passing categories and the QB fans at Seahawks.com voted to the 35th Anniversary team. Hasselbeck has his own QB competition to worry about, as he’s vying with Jake Locker, the former University of Washington QB and the Titans’ first-round draft choice last year.
But the intrigue in this one goes beyond the QBs.
Fans also will get their first game-situation looks at this year’s draft class – including Bruce Irvin, a blur of a pass rusher who was the Seahawks’ first-round pick; Bobby Wagner, the second-round pick who will start at middle linebacker; Russell Wilson, the third-round pick who will take over for Flynn in the second half; and Robert Turbin, the fourth-round pick who will get a lot of carries because Marshawn Lynch is not expected to play much – if at all.
This also will be the first look at the free-agent additions – most noticeably Deuce Lutui, who will start at right guard because John Moffitt likely will have surgery to remove particles from his left elbow and be sidelined two to three weeks; and Jason Jones, who was signed to play the three-technique tackle spot in the nickel line but also will be at that spot in the base defense because Alan Branch is not expected to play. Terrell Owens, who practiced for the first time Wednesday, will not play. Barrett Ruud, who was signed to compete with Wagner for the starting middle linebacker job, likely won’t play.
One question: Will Flynn see a better defense tonight than the one he has been facing in practice?
One more thought: This isn’t just a “homecoming” for Hasselbeck. The Titans also have Steve Hutchinson, the left guard on the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team; and Jordan Babineaux, who earned the nickname “Big Play Babs” while with the Seahawks and now is starting at strong safety for Tennessee. The Titans defensive coordinator is Jerry Gray, who was the Seahawks’ defensive backs coach on Jim Mora’s staff in 2009. Then there’s Michael Roos, the Titans’ Pro Bowl left tackle who played at Eastern Washington University and is from Vancouver, Wash.
Enjoy the game, with kickoff set for 7:05 p.m.. In addition to the NFL Network, KCPQ/13 also will televise the action. Fans may also watch online by clicking here.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 3.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times previews Cortez Kennedy’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame tomorrow, “He was the most memorable player in what was otherwise a largely forgettable decade in the team’s history,” O’Neil writes. “Kennedy stood out — such a singular force of nature that he could be identified by only half his first name. He was ‘Tez. ‘There is no one more deserving of this than Cortez,’ said Mike Holmgren, who coached Kennedy his final two seasons. ‘I got him near the end of his career. He’s such a good man, such a pleasure. We maintained a friendship. He’s one of the good guys.’ ”
O’Neil also tells the story of how Facebook helped Seahawks safety Chris Maragos first get discovered.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune talks with rookie running back Robert Turbin, who is easing in to his new role as backup running back to Marshawn Lynch and Leon Washington, ” ‘There’s no pressure,’ Turbin said. ‘This is what I do. I’m a rookie, but I’m a professional football player right now, you know what I mean? So I’ve got to do my job. And my job is to right now back up Marshawn Lynch, or back up Leon (Washington). And so when my opportunity comes to get on the field, I have to just do my job and take advantage of the opportunity.’ Two days after getting knocked on his back by linebacker K.J. Wright during a running drill, Turbin heeded the second-year linebacker’s advice and got his pad level lower. The result at Thursday’s practice was a thundering collision where Turbin got the better of massive defensive end Red Bryant – although Turbin was the one looking around for his helmet afterward.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald asks Brandon Browner what his expectations are for 2012, after the towering cornerback had such a successful first season after coming over from the CFL, ” ‘It’s a lot different,’ Browner said of his second Seahawks training camp. ‘Last year, there was some uncertainty. Now, I’ve got a little bit of an understanding of the defense this year. But at the same time, we’ve got a standard that’s set and we’ve got to play to that standard that’s set.’ ” Boyle’s piece also contains an interesting anecdote on Browner from coach Carroll.
Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com says second-year linebacker K.J. Wright is hoping for a breakout season in 2012, as he recounts a segment of “Bob and Groz” in which Wright joined the show. ” ‘When I first got here, I’m telling you, I was real lost. I didn’t know how to make the strength calls and I was playing a new position,”‘ Wright, a fourth-round pick in 2011, told “Bob and Groz” after the team’s training camp practice on Thursday. ‘Coming in here and having OTAs and minicamps [this year], learning the insides of the defense, why we’re doing certain things, it really helped me out.’ For a guy who claims to have been lost, Wright seemed to figure it out quickly. He started the season opener at middle linebacker while David Hawthorne was out with a knee injury, and by the sixth week of the season the Seahawks were convinced enough in his ability to start at strongside linebacker that they gave him the job and shipped Aaron Curry out of town.”
Brock Huard of mynorthwest.com analyzes the ‘Hawks wide receiver position – a position he thought could emerge to be among the 10 best in the League – in this short video. Huard doesn’t necessarily share those same sentiments anymore after watching how Seattle’s defensive backs have had their way with the receivers thus far in camp, and calls for the group to step up their game as the preseason nears.
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his notes from Thursday’s practice session, “Whether it was the first- or second-team unit on the field, the defense showed the promise and potential they have. The pass rush was consistent. LB K.J. Wright and LB Bobby Wagner flashed frequently and the secondary was as strong as expected. The strength of the defense obviously played into how much the offense struggled, but the difficult question is just how good was the defense and just how poor was the offense? That’s a tough question to answer, but it’s safe to say the defense has some scary potential this season.”
Here at Seahawks.com we bring you a look at Thursday’s practice, including a look at second-year cornerback Byron Maxwell, who has been working back into training camp practice this summer after an ankle injury from last year slowed him during the offseason, ” ‘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. A healthy Byron at corner, in the nickel, and on special teams – a healthy Byron is a very effective Byron.’ ”
Clare Farnsworth has made it to Canton, Ohio for Cortez Kennedy’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and has his story previewing ‘Tez’s big day, as he talks with Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon on what ‘Tez can expect come Saturday, ” ‘It’s like you’re trying to plan a reunion and a wedding, at the same time,’ Moon said this week. ‘It’s a weekend filled with all these different people that have been involved in your life – whether it’s high school, whether it’s Pop Warner. I had so many different people from all the different phases of my career there that you want to try and spend time with them all. But you also know you have all these other obligations.’ ”
Farnsworth also brings us his final ‘Countdown to Canton’ piece, this one with the only Seahawk currently in the Hall of Fame – wide receiver Steve Largent, ” ‘I’m so happy for Cortez,’ Largent said. ‘He knows how cool it is right now, but he doesn’t realize yet that it gets better and better. Just the quality and caliber of guys that you’re associated with, and get to associate with a lot, it’s really fun and exciting. I still feel like a kid when I’m in the room with these guys. I’m a fan.’ ”
Here at Seahawks.com we also break down Day Five of the team’s quarterback competition, a day that saw Matt Flynn taking the majority of first-team reps, and a day that saw the defense – once again – dominate the practice session, ” ‘I talked to the defense today and told them to dial it up and make it hard as we can make it on these guys for getting comparisons and good information,’ said head coach Pete Carroll. “So we’re going to continue to do that and continue to make it hard. We’re not going to cater at all and make it easy for the quarterbacks.”
Tony Ventrella takes a look at the mix of veterans and youth in the ‘Hawks defensive backfield in our Thursday Seahawks Daily.
And finally, we have a little light-hearted competition between the team’s three quarterbacks, as Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn, and Russell Wilson took part in the first of three non-football competitions. First up – how many free throws can each QB make in a minute?
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
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks on this third day of training camp, July 30.
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times revisits the story of Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, and takes a look at how the Seattle secondary has come to be one of the team’s primary strengths after years of unreliability and uncertainty at the position, “This is the same secondary that had been a perennial problem in Seattle. The Seahawks allowed the most passing yards in the league in 2008, the third-most in 2009 and the sixth-most in 2010. That’s three consecutive years on skid row for NFL secondaries, which made last year’s breakthrough all the more unexpected, especially since Seattle began the season with Marcus Trufant as its only starter with more than two years of NFL experience. So just how did Seattle’s secondary make that kind of breakthrough? ‘They made some plays, and they built off that confidence,’ said defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. ‘More than anything, they had a clear understanding of what we were asking. It clicked for some of them.’
Also at the Seattle Times, wide receiver Golden Tate gives us his take on his own NFL development to this point in this short video.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his story on Tate, who flashed some big-play potential in Sunday’s practice, but also displayed some maturity and discipline that had been absent in years past, “Tate, who received the Biletnikoff Award as the best collegiate receiver in the country his final season at Notre Dame, was a consensus All-American first-team selection. But when Tate arrived in Seattle in 2010 as the team’s second-round draft choice, he struggled to consistently get on the field because his route running was raw. And Tate admitted to having an attitude problem once he was informed he would not be a mainstay of Seattle’s offense. ‘I never had to work for my position; it was always given to me,’ Tate said. ‘I was always more athletic, so for the first time ever I felt like I had to work. It wasn’t given to me. And then when I didn’t respond the correct way my rookie year, I was like, ‘If I’m not starting, whatever.’ But once I learned to prepare like I’m the starter, regardless if I’m third-string or sixth-string, I think it started to come.’ ”
Also at the Tacoma News Tribune, Dave Boling talks with wide receiver Sidney Rice, who is looking to bounce back from shoulder injuries this season and become a leader among the ‘Hawks wide receiver corps, “Being on the field, he said, is crucial as he feels the need to be more of a veteran presence in the young Seahawks receiving corps. ‘I’m being more vocal this year,’ Rice said. ‘In previous years I led by example, just doing what I’m supposed to do. But I’m taking it on myself now to tell these guys what we have to do to get this team better. … These guys know how to play football, we just have to bring the right attitude every day, and finish off everything.’ ”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald speaks with defensive tackle Jason Jones on the improvement that is expected this season with the team’s ability to rush the passer, “With the addition of [Bruce] Irvin, a lighting-quick end, and Jones, a versatile interior pass rusher, the Seahawks plan on turning their pass rush from a question mark to a team strength. ‘That could be deadly right there,’ Jones said of Seattle’s pass-rushing options. ‘… If all the attention is on Clem [Chris Clemons], because he got 11 sacks last year, that will open things up for Bruce and me. … There are endless possibilities, that’s why I’m so excited.’ ”
Liz Matthews of 710 ESPN Seattle has head coach Pete Carroll’s comments on the reasoning behind the team’s contract extension for 2010-11 sack leader Chris Clemons, and offers up some practice notes from Sunday.
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his practice report from day two of camp, with his focus on the Seahawks wide receiver group which has made many impressive plays over the first two days.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his Hawkville report from Sunday, with his focus on Seahawks fourth-round draft pick RB Robert Turbin, “Turbin broke two longs in one portion of today’s two-hour practice, and each was followed by a long run from Cable to stress the style issue and then give some style points. ‘One step and go. One step and go. And trust your gut,’ Cable said after practice when asked about the exchanges that followed the long runs by Turbin that prompted Cable’s long runs.”
Farnsworth’s feature story from Sunday fittingly center’s on center Max Unger, the Seahawks 2009 second-round draft choice who signed a contract extension with the team last week, “The Seahawks have been all about identifying players with unique skills since coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider took over in January 2010, and the next step is then securing those players for future years. Unger could be the poster player for this process. One of the first things Tom Cable did last year after Carroll hired the former head coach of the Oakland Raiders to be the assistant head coach/offensive line coach on his staff was move Unger to center. Fulltime, and from Day One. ‘I don’t think there’s any doubt, that’s what the situation with Max is all about,’ Cable said. ‘When you start to build a team like they did two years ago, they made the decision to kind of retool the whole thing. So you’re putting pieces together until you get it right.’ ”
Farnsworth also has a look at Day Two of the quarterback competition, which had Matt Flynn taking first-team reps.
And lastly here at Seahawks.com we have our offensively-focused Seahawks Daily with Tony Ventrella recapping the day’s events.
Peter King of SI.com brings us his Monday Morning Quarterback. King attended Seahawks practice yesterday and had praise for Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson, “I spent 20 minutes with [Wilson] Sunday, and I was ready to run extra routes for him after listening to him. ‘I refuse to be average,’ Wilson said on the field after practice. ‘I refuse to be good. All I want to do is work to excel every day.’ It’s very difficult to make any judgments on a player, or a team, watching a pad-less practice, with players in helmets and shorts. But Wilson’s arm looked every bit as strong, and maybe slightly stronger, than Flynn’s in this practice. On one snap, Wilson was flushed from the pocket, scrambled right (‘He scrambles to throw; he doesn’t scramble to run,” Carroll said) and launched a slightly wavering 32-yard strike down the right side to a covered Ben Obomanu, who came down with the ball. Good play, the kind of play he’s going to have to make in the NFL when the pocket breaks down.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com sifts through the recent contract extensions for several Seahawks players, “Deals for Red Bryant, Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger and Chris Clemons brought clarity to the roster for this season and beyond. Coach Pete Carroll highlighted those deals as evidence the team would take care of productive players. Carroll and general manager John Schneider inherited Bryant and Unger from the previous regime. Neither was an established player, but both have grown into important roles. Re-signing those players in particular showed Carroll and Schneider kept an open mind while turning over the roster during their first season-plus on the job. They weren’t set on rewarding only their own guys, in other words.”
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for July 29:
Robert Turbin. The Seahawks have big plans for the rookie running back from Utah State, but first the team’s fourth-round draft choice has to show is that he can consistently run the way needed to excel in this offense.
That is, take one step and go. It took leading rusher Marshawn Lynch a while to adapt to the no-hesitation style that assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable demands. Now, it’s Lynch’s understudy that must learn the all-important adjustment.
Turbin broke two longs in one portion of today’s two-hour practice, and each was followed by a long run from Cable to stress the style issue and then give some style points.
“One step and go. One step and go. And trust your gut,” Cable said after practice when asked about the exchanges that followed the long runs by Turbin that prompted Cable’s long runs.
On the first run, Turbin, well, let Cable explain. “He kind of went in there and pity-pattered. Kind of stomping snakes, you know,” Cable said. “You can’t do that in this system – and in this league – because you’re going to get hit about 18 times.”
The next time Turbin got the ball, he made the one cut, ripped cleanly through the line and accelerated into the secondary.
If the teaching aspect was worth one long run by Cable, the reward aspect promoted a repeat run.
“You’ve got to tell them right then, ‘That’s it,’ ” Cable said. “When they get it, they’ve got to capture it.”
Now that the Seahawks have captured Turbin, it’s imperative that he “get it,” so he can spell Lynch to keep the Beast Mode-running back fresher longer.
“I don’t have any doubt,” Cable said when asked if Turbin can fill the role that was missing from the running game last season. “It’s a matter of him, like the other young guys, learning how to be a pro and then in this system gaining his confidence.
“He’s on track to do to that.”
Sidney Rice. The acrobatic wide receiver was more, but also less, visible today. Rice took the field without the red no-contact jersey he was wearing Saturday, and then took part in a lot more snaps.
“I snuck it on,” said the blue-jerseyed Rice. “They got on me when I came out here. Sam (Ramsden, director of player health and performance) came over to me and he was like, ‘Oh, so you’re just a diva. You’re going to switch on me now every day.’ ”
What’s the deal? “I wanted to be in blue with the rest of the (offensive) team,” Rice said with a smile. “I’m not a quarterback. So I don’t want to wear a red jersey.”
The real switch was in how much work Rice got. After taking part in seven percent of the snaps Saturday, he was up to 25-30 percent (his estimations) today. That included participating in the 9-on-7 run drills and other team drills.
“It was great for my conditioning,” he said. “I was complaining a little in the 9-on-7, because I had to run downfield, block and then run right back to the huddle. But it’s no problem. It’s getting in the best shape I can be in.”
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: Third-year wide receiver Golden Tate put together an impressive dossier of athletic catches. But none was better than one where Tate made a falling grab of a deep pass from Matt Flynn.
Defense: Cornerback Coye Francies disappeared into a sea of raised arms in the end zone on a Hail Mary heave from Tarvaris Jackson in a two-minute drill, but came down with the ball for the interception.
IN ‘N OUT
Defensive tackle Alan Branch and defensive end Jameson Konz did not practice. Also sitting out were the other three players who are the PUP list: wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, cornerback Walter Thurmond and offensive lineman James Carpenter.
The fans didn’t just flock to practice on the shores of Lake Washington today; they came decked out in the Seahawk Sunday best – including jerseys new, old and in between. There were some retro jerseys for Cortez Kennedy (96), Steve Largent (80) and John Randle (93). There were the newer jerseys for Earl Thomas (29), Kam Chancellor (31), Lynch (24) and even recently acquired QB Matt Flynn (15). There were the in-between jerseys – Matt Hasselbeck (8), Lofa Tatupu (51), Mack Strong (38) and Nate Burleson (81).
But the most-popular number, by far, was Thomas’ 29. James Beauchamp was wearing his, and exampled the process that goes into selecting a favorite-player jersey for your favorite team.
“For me, he plays the same position I played,” said Beauchamp, who was a free safety at Mount Tahoma High School. “He’s also an exciting player.”
Then there’s the Pete Carroll factor. Say what?
“With Pete Carroll,” Beauchamp said of the team’s third-year coach, “you never know who’s coming and who’s going. So you know with Earl, he’s staying for a long time. So that’s part of it – knowing that he’s a fixture here.”
The players will have a walkthrough this afternoon, and tomorrow’s practice starts at 10:15 a.m.
JOIN THE CROWD
A crowd of 2,258 fans attended today’s practice. You can register here to attend one of the 11 remaining practices that are scheduled to be open during camp.
YOU DON’T SAY
“They’re both explosive players, they make big plays. Golden made a couple of huge plays out there today. It’s nice to see him do that – get up, jog back to the huddle and get ready to go out there and do it again.” – Rice, when asked to compare Tate, his current teammate; and Percy Harvin, his former teammate with the Vikings
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 24.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com reports defensive end Chris Clemons reached agreement Monday on a multi-year contract extension with the Seahawks. Clemons, 31, has led the Seahawks in sacks with 11 in each of the past two seasons – a total that is good for eighth in the NFL since 2010. An official announcement from the team is expected later today.
Sando also brings us his thoughts as Seahawks training camp approaches, including his take on Seahawks new DT Jason Jones, “Free-agent addition Jason Jones will fit much better at defensive tackle in Seattle than he did as a defensive end with Tennessee last season. The pass rush should improve as a result. Jones’ addition on a one-year contract holds promise because the Seahawks seem excited about him. The team’s leadership has been right on just about every defensive player Seattle has targeted by trade (Chris Clemons), the draft (see the secondary in particular), unrestricted free agency (Alan Branch), street free agency (Brandon Browner) and position changes (Red Bryant).”
Khaled Elsayed of ProFootballFocus.com gives us his take on NFC West training camp battles to watch, and it’s no surprise that the Seahawks camp is highlighted by the three-man quarterback competition between Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson. But Elsayed also offers some interesting thoughts on the division as a whole, “Before 2011 this was viewed as the weakest division in the NFL, but after the San Francisco 49ers compiled the second best record in the NFC and came agonizingly close to the Super Bowl, people have had to reconsider that opinion. Especially when you consider the development of the Seattle Seahawks and the aggressive moves the St Louis Rams have made this offseason. Heck, you even have to imagine the Arizona Cardinals quarterback situation will have improved, so it’s looking like a division on the up.”
Hub Arkush and Dan Arkush of ProFootballWeekly.com continue their training camp opening report video series by taking a look at the Seattle Seahawks. The two discuss the free agent and rookie additions that head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have put together this offseason, add their thoughts on the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition and wide receiver corps, and give their take on how the team’s strength – the defense – can improve in 2012.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth is back with his “Monday metatarsal musings,” as he re-hashes the Seahawks news from his time away on vacation, including remembering Grant Feasel, the former Seahawks center who passed away at age 52 on July 15, “He [Feasel] played on the franchise’s first division championship team in 1988, but also during that forgettable run from 1989-93 when the best the Seahawks could do was one winning record (9-7 in ’90),” writes Farnsworth. “But Feasel was a winner, on and off the field. A 16-game starter at center in 1989 and 1990, and 15-game starter in ’91, Feasel led with his chin and therefore lead by example. It was Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times, as I recall, who hung the moniker ‘Fightin’ Feasel’ on him, because whenever a tussle broke out during training camp Feasel almost always was involved.”
Farnsworth also wraps up his Seahawks 2012 positional preview with a look at the running backs. Farnsworth offers this outlook as the position group heads into 2012, “Despite all the handwringing over which of the three QBs will start this season, it’s [Marshawn] Lynch’s legs that will carry the Seahawks where they want to go – starting with posting the team’s first winning record since 2007, but not stopping until this team returns to the playoffs. It’s the running game that sets up the play-action passing game in coordinator Darrell Bevell’s offense. The Pro Bowl duo of Lynch and lead-blocking [Michael] Robinson will make sure this offense remains headed in that direction – the right direction. The addition of [Robert] Turbin is a plus, as is the versatility of [Leon] Washington.”