A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 11 during the second day of the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp:
Chris Harper. When it comes to a show of hands, the Seahawks’ fourth-round draft choice is showing great hands.
It was after Friday’s first practice that coach Pete Carroll offered, “Chris caught to ball beautifully. He really has great hands.”
Harper felt he played even better in the second practice.
“It went way better today than yesterday,” he said. “Yesterday, you just kind of didn’t know what to expect and just didn’t get into the flow and the pace because this is a lot different pace than what you’re used to in college.”
Better yet, receivers coach Kippy Brown agreed with the assessments made by Carroll and Harper.
“Chris has really strong hands and for a big guy he’s very athletic,” Brown said. “It’s just a matter of him learning. We’ve thrown a lot at these guys in two days’ time. I’m sure their heads are swimming. My head was swimming when I first got here.
“But he’s studying hard and he’s getting it. As he gets more comfortable with it, he’ll play faster and that’s what we’re looking for.”
For Harper, it continues to be an exercise in working on his transition game. He was, after all, originally a quarterback at the University of Oregon before switching positions and schools (to Kansas State).
“I’ve still got a long ways to go,” he said. “I’ve only been playing wide receiver for almost three years now, so I can learn from everybody.”
If today’s practice was any indication, things are progressing nicely. The highlight of Harper’s day was his over-the-shoulder catch of a pass from Jerrod Johnson after he had gotten behind cornerback O’Hara Fluellen. But Harper also worked himself free to make other catches, and when he wasn’t open he used his 234-pound body to make himself open.
“The fact that he’s 230-something pounds is what we liked,” Carroll said.
Asked about his bulk, Harper offered, “It helps me a lot, because DBs aren’t used to seeing guys that are like 230 playing receiver. So it gives me an advantage, as far as at the point of attack when the ball is in the air. When they want to get into pushing matches, I’ll usually come out on top of those.”
TRYING TO CATCH ON
Justin Veltung. The receiver/returner from the University of Idaho and Puyallup High School is one of the three dozen players at this camp on a tryout basis. And Veltung is making the most of the opportunity.
He was one of the players the Seahawks had in for a pre-draft visit. Veltung showed enough that they invited him back for this camp.
“He’s a smart guy and he knows what to do,” Brown said. “He doesn’t make very many mistakes and so far he’s been real reliable catching the football. So we’ll see.”
Veltung began his second practice by making a nice falling catching of a pass that looked to be beyond his reach. But before it was over he also had worked his way around a defender to catch a pass on the sideline; caught another pass in traffic over the middle; and reached back while in full stride to grab yet another.
As Veltung was making that last catch, The Heavy’s “How You Like Me Now?” was blaring from the speakers along the sideline. Talk about right on cue.
CALLING PETER NGUYEN
Peter Nguyen, a 5-foot-7, 179-pound running back from Bellevue High School and the University of Montana, was added to the list of tryout players today.
Another back was needed because Darrell Scott, another tryout player, injured himself in the first drill on Friday.
THE SKINNY ON SCRUGGS
Second-year defensive lineman Greg Scruggs had surgery Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his right knee. A seventh-round draft choice last year, Scruggs was injured during a workout in the veterans’ offseason program.
“He stumbled coming out of a bag drill … tried to catch himself and hyperextended his knee,” Carroll said. “It was just a drill by himself and it’s unfortunate that he hit just exactly wrong.”
Scruggs had two sacks among his six tackles as a rookie, when he played in 11 games.
“He’ll come back quickly from this, but it’s still a long haul for him,” Carroll said.
GIANTS ADD SOME CURRY TO THE MIX
Aaron Curry has found a new NFL home. Another new NFL home.
The former Seahawks’ linebacker and fourth pick overall in the 2009 NFL Draft has signed with the Giants, and ESPNNewYork.com has the details.
Curry started 12 games as a rookie and 16 in 2010 for the Seahawks. But he lost the starting job on the strong side to K.J. Wright in 2011 and was traded to the Raiders for a seventh-round draft choice in 2012 and a fifth-round pick in 2013 – which the Seahawks used to select guard J.R. Sweezy (last year) cornerback Tharold Simon (this year).
Curry played in 11 games for the Raiders in 2011 and two games last season before being waived in November.
“We think we have a good opportunity for him to see if he can re-invent himself a little bit and bring something to our linebacking corps,” Giants GM Jerry Reese said. “If he didn’t work out well for us, we wouldn’t be fooling around with this.
“He’s the fourth pick in the draft a few years ago. Obviously, we think he has some talent. We had him graded high back then. We will see what happens.”
MT. RUSHMORE UPDATE
This camp is all about the present, and hopefully future, for the rookies in attendance. But let’s take a moment to revisit the past.
Last week, we asked you to vote on who should be the fourth “head” on a Seahawks Mt. Rushmore, joining Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones. So far, Matt Hasselbeck is leading with 28 percent of the votes, followed by Shaun Alexander (20.9), Kenny Easley (20), Mike Holmgren (15.9), Jacob Green (8.7) and Chuck Knox (6.6).
It’s not too late to cast your vote.
The rookie minicamp will conclude Sunday with a morning practice. Monday, the veterans return to begin the final week in Phase 2 of their offseason program.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s pretty similar, minus the music. I don’t think coach (Nick) Saban would like that.” – defensive tackle Jesse Williams, when asked about the pace of these practices compared to those at Alabama
The folks at Pro Football Talk will launch a 32-part series next month that features a Mt. Rushmore for each of the NFL teams, and they’ll eventually be asking for reader input on the Seahawks.
Why wait for them to get around to the Seahawks?
The first three faces for the Seahawks’ Mt. Rushmore are slam-dunk selections. As with most things Seahawks, the best place to start is with Steve Largent. He was not only the first career-long member of the team to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (in 1995), but when Largent retired after the 1989 season he held the NFL career records for receptions (819), receiving yards (13,089) and touchdown catches (100).
No other player in franchise history can come close to making such a claim. Then there is this trifecta of facts: He was the first player to have his uniform number (80) retired; the first inductee into the team’s Ring of Honor (1989); and each season since 1989 the Steve Largent Award has been presented to the person “who best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and integrity of the Seahawks.”
The other obvious Rushmore-worthy players are defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who joined Largent in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and is the most-decorated defensive player in franchise history; and left tackle Walter Jones, who was voted to a franchise-record nine Pro Bowls, selected the best player in the NFL in 2006 by The Sporting News and should be a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection in 2015.
But who should join this impressive trio as the fourth cornerstone in franchise history – and fourth face on the Seahawks’ Mt. Rushmore? You make the call (from this list that was compiled with a little help from a friend):
It is May 4th and as appropriate on this day, dare we say … May the 4th be with you! To spell it out for the percentage of us born after the rest of us discovered (for the second time) that Anakin Skywalker was, in fact (SPOILER ALERT), Darth Vader, this phrase is a play on words to the Jedi credo (not to be confused with Greedo – RIP): “May the force be with you” as made popular by the Star Wars films.
That all being said, Happy Star Wars Day, 12s!
Don’t believe that this is a galaxy-wide holiday for most of us (except for maybe the Empire as evidenced in this attack ad)? Find out more information at the official website of Star Wars Day: http://maythe4th.starwars.com
If it isn’t already obvious, we here at Seahawks.com are Red Bryant-sized fans of all five episodes (we’re still trying to erase the memory of that Binks character from Episode I). And we’re not alone in our nerdom…
And then there’s this photo essay from NFL.com likening NFL players to Star Wars characters …
So, in the spirit of this galactic holiday, we created the graphic at the top of this page to help 12s celebrate with us on Instagram. But like the elder Skywalker, (and apparently the NFL) once we started down this dark path we simply couldn’t help ourselves …
How many of these 12 references can you guess? Perfect 12 equals Jedi Master:
To end as all episodes end…
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on April 24:
1988: The Seahawks don’t have a first-round draft choice, but get a first-round talent when they select Brian Blades in the second round. Blades would finish his career ranked second to Steve Largent on the Seahawks’ all-time list in receptions (581) and receiving yards (7,620). He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1989 and also to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team.
1994: Sam Adams is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. He would start 66 games in his six seasons with the Seahawks.
The 16-game regular season in the NFL has been the norm so long that it’s hard to remember when teams played fewer games.
But there was that time, as the Pro Football Hall of Fame shows in this chart to commemorate today’s 36th anniversary of the owners voting to expand the regular season.
The Nordstrom family was the majority owner of the team, which played its home game in the Kingdome. Jack Patera was the coach. Jim Zorn was the quarterback. Steve Largent was the leading receiver. Sherman Smith was the leading rusher. Dave Brown (’76) and Terry Beeson (’77) were the leading tacklers.
That ’76 season was short on victories, but long on long-anticipated excitement.
“We only won two games that first year,” recalls Zorn, who is now a member of the team’s Ring of Honor along with Largent and Brown. “But you would have thought we almost went to the playoffs. That’s how enthusiastic not only we were, but the fans were. Everybody was excited.”
And what a difference that one season made to the expansion Seahawks. As Smith puts it, “As a team, we definitely felt more like a team in ’77. There was just more familiarity, with what the coaches wanted from us and with what the guy next to you would do on any given play. That first year, it was just getting ready to go and coming to training camp with more than 100 guys. So in ’77, it was a totally different feeling.”
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 7:
1988: Kenny Easley and Fredd Young provide half the AFC’s four interceptions, as well as eight and seven tackles, in a 15-6 victory in the Pro Bowl. Steve Largent (one reception) and Jacob Green (two tackles) also were on the AFC squad.
1993: Cortez Kennedy and Eugene Robinson combine for nine tackles to help the AFC win the Pro Bowl 23-20 in overtime.
1999: Cortez Kennedy and the “strong side, left side” trio of Michael Sinclair, Chad Brown and Shawn Springs combine for five tackles and three passes defensed to help the AFC claim a 23-10 Pro Bowl victory in what is John Elway’s final game.
2003: Teryl Austin is named defensive backs coach on Mike Holmgren’s staff.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 2:
1986: Steve Largent catches a game-high eight passes for 82 yards, but the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 28-24. Kenny Easley (two tackles) and Fredd Young (one tackle) also are on the AFC squad.
1992: John L. Williams (four carries for 8 yards, one reception) and Cortez Kennedy represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl, but the NFC wins 21-15.
1996: Owner Ken Behring announces he is relocating the franchise to Southern California, a move that is later blocked by the NFL.
1997: Cortez Kennedy has six tackles to help the AFC take a 26-23 overtime victory in the Pro Bowl. Michael Sinclair (one tackle) also is on the AFC squad.
1998: Jim Zorn, the club’s original quarterback who had been an offensive assistant on Dennis Erickson’s staff, leaves to become the QB coach with the Lions. Zorn would return to be the Seahawks’ QB coach from 2001-07.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 1:
1987: Fredd Young recovers a fumble to set up the only touchdown in the game as the AFC wins the Pro Bowl 10-6. Jacob Green also recovers a fumble and has a tackle for a loss, while Steve Largent and Bobby Joe Edmonds also are on the NFC squad.
1998: Warren Moon is named MVP in the Pro Bowl after leading the AFC to a 29-24 victory. Moon directs the AFC to points on each of his three series, including his 1-yard TD run with 1:49 left to play. Moon also passes to Tim Brown for a 57-yard gain that sets up Eddie George’s 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter and the Seahawks’ Michael Sinclair recovers a fumbled snap that leads to Moon’s decisive score. Darryl Williams also recovers a fumble in the game.
A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 31:
1982: Steve Largent catches a 35-yard pass as the AFC wins the Pro Bowl 16-13.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 29:
1979: Steve Largent, the Seahawks’ first representative to the Pro Bowl, ties a then-record by catching five passes but the NFC wins the game 13-7 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
1984: Chuck Knox coaches the AFC Pro Bowl team after the Seahawks lose the AFC Championship Game to the Raiders, and has Kenny Easley and Curt Warner on the squad. But the NFC wins 45-3. Rams safety Nolan Cromwell, who would later coach the Seahawks wide receivers, returns an interception 44 yards for a touchdown.
1989: Dave Krieg is 3 of 14 for 21 yards and the AFC manages only a field goal in a 34-3 loss in the Pro Bowl. Rufus Porter also was on the AFC squad.