A recap of the only session at Seahawks’ training camp on Sunday:
Leon Washington. A year ago, he was coming off surgery to repair a severely broken leg and “just surviving,” as coach Pete Carroll put it.
This afternoon, Washington was thriving while making plays by flashing his quickness and speed during the first padded practice of camp. His best effort came on a run where Washington made a nice read to get through the line and then exploded up the left sideline for a long gain. As Washington returned to the huddle, he gave a fist-bump to each of the offensive linemen – tackles Will Robinson and Breno Giacomini, guards Lemuel Jeanpierre and Paul Fanaika and center Mike Gibson – and Carroll then came over to slap hands with Washington.
“It’s not even the same guy,” Carroll said. “Last year at this time, he was limping around and we were cringing as he was running with the football. He is in full flow, full speed. He really is excited about it, as we are.”
But this wasn’t a one-run-and-done day for Washington. He also got behind linebacker Aaron Curry to catch a pass along the sideline from Charlie Whitehurst, showed quickness into and speed coming out of the hole on a couple more running plays and also added two more receptions.
“I’m a gifted athlete. I’m a blessed athlete,” Washington said. “So I just try to use my talents, and whatever I can do to help this team I’m trying to take advantage of it.
“I worked my tail off this offseason to get in better shape. Obviously, coming off the injury last year, I as a little slow at the start. So just having the opportunity to play football, I’m enjoying every bit of it.”
Malcolm Smith. The seventh-round draft choice from USC is getting an opportunity to work at weak-side linebacker with the No. 1 defense because David Hawthorne has moved into the middle to replace Lofa Tatupu, who was released today.
Carroll said the first option for replacing Hawthorne on the weak-side will be veteran Leroy Hill, but he just re-signed with the club Friday and won’t be able to start practicing until Thursday. And Smith isn’t letting his chance slip away.
“Malcolm is making the most of this,” Carroll said. “Malcolm has the benefit – as does (linebacker) Mike Morgan, who’s come with us, too – of knowing our system and the principles and terminology and knowing (LB coach) Ken Norton. All of that has shown up, in that it’s expedited their ability to look good out here.
“Both those guys are really fast kids, and athletic. So initially they’ve made very good impressions in taking advantage of the connections that they have from the past with us at SC.”
Offensive line. John Moffitt, this year’s third-round draft choice, has moved into the starting unit at right guard, where he is expected to start.
The leaves the No. 1 line with – from left tackle to right – Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan, Max Unger, Moffitt and James Carpenter, this year’s first-round draft pick.
McQuistan has stepped in for Gibson, who is now working at center with the No. 2 line. But the left guard spot will be filled by free-agent addition Robert Gallery, the ex-Raider, when he is allowed to start practicing on Thursday.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: Rookie free-agent wide receiver Ricardo Lockette getting behind the defense to make an over-the-shoulder grab of a deep pass from rookie QB Josh Portis. The play drew the largest ovation from the 1,270 fans who attended practice.
Defense: This a full-unit honor for the No. 1 defense, and especially cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Brandon Browner and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, as QB Charlie Whitehurst was forced to scramble from the pocket on three of the first five plays during a team period because none of his receivers were open.
Special teams: Wes Byrum hitting a 47-yard field goal. The rookie free agent made four of his five attempts, missing wide left from 43 yards.
ON THE MEND
Wide receiver Mike Williams (muscle strain) and cornerback Walter Thurmond (sprained ankle) did not practice, but Carroll said the injuries are not serious and their inactivity was more a precautionary move.
With Williams out, Golden Tate worked opposite Ben Obomanu with the No. 1 offense. Browner and Kennard Cox have been subbing for Thurmond, who also sat out the walk-thru Saturday afternoon.
Still sidelined while recovering from surgical procedures: wide receiver Deon Butler (leg), tight end Cameron Morrah (toe), defensive tackle Colin Cole (ankle) and cornerback Roy Lewis (knee).
The players will practice at 9 a.m. Monday and then have a walk-thru at 4 p.m. The morning practice is open to the public and you can register to attend here.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’ve known Lofa since he was a young kid, when Mosi (Tatupu, his father) brought him to SC years and years ago. And I’ve loved him ever since. He’s a great kid and a great guy and an unbelievable competitor.” – Carroll on Tatupu
The race to replace veteran kicker Olindo Mare just became a two-legged affair.
Brandon Coutu, a seventh-round draft choice by the Seahawks in 2008, has been signed to challenge rookie free agent Wes Byrum for the job that opened this week when Mare signed with the Carolina Panthers.
Coutu was seven of seven on field goals during his rookie preseason and made the 53-man roster, but he was inactive for every regular-season game as the team went with Mare’s experience and stronger leg. Coutu was released prior to the 2009 season and has been out of the league since then.