A recap of the Wednesday morning practice at Seahawks training camp:
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Brandon Mebane. After sitting out Monday to rest a bruised knee, the third-year defensive tackle is not only back on the field but showing why the coaches decided to move him from nose tackle to the three-technique position.
Twice during the two-hour practice, the slimmed-down Mebane exploded through a gap to get to Justin Forsett before the elusive running back could get to the line of scrimmage. Nifty stuff for a guy who, despite dropping 29 pounds, still weighs 301.
“Part of what I’ve been working on is being a smarter player – knowing what’s coming at you and making reads off the offensive linemen,” Mebane said. “Just looking at different keys to help me.
“You can’t just go off God-given ability, even though it’s a blessing to have it. You’ve also got to use your brain sometimes.”
PLAY OF THE DAY
Tuesday, the players worked on their goal-line offense and defense. This morning, they flipped it around – with the offense starting at its own 1-yard line. Middle linebacker David Hawthorne took advantage of the situation to force a fumble in the end zone by getting to Devin Moore and slapping the ball from the hands of the rookie running back.
“He shows up,” coach Jim Mora said of Hawthorne, who made the team last year as a rookie free agent. “At this time last year, he was kind of an unknown quantity. He looks faster. He looks more instinctive, more decisive.”
MATCHUP OF THE DAY
Rookie defensive end Nick Reed vs. offensive tackle Will Robinson. At 6-1 and 247 pounds, Reed looks more like an oversized safety than an end. Until, that is, it’s time to rush the passer. Reed, a seventh-round draft choice from Oregon, again flashed his quickness, elusiveness and even power in the pass-rush drill. On his first go at Robinson, Reed simply blew past the second-year lineman. On the next one, Reed bull-rushed Robinson into a near somersault.
Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who went to USC, was presented with a Trojans jersey with his old No. 58 and name on it by a fan after practice Tuesday. It was actually a split jersey – half Trojan red, half white.
This morning, defensive end Patrick Kerney emerged from the locker room wearing the jersey. He quickly changed into his Seahawks jersey before the start of practice.
Tackle Walter Jones and cornerback Marcus Trufant continue to be sidelined with sore backs. Mora said each is progressing, but reiterated that he will be extremely cautious as to when they might practice.
Trufant remains on PUP (physically unable to perform) and there is no timetable for his return.
“As I’ve said before, we’re going to be probably as cautious as anybody when it comes to backs,” Mora said. “You want them all to practice everyday, but Marcus is a conscientious guy who knows the scheme, knows how to play football. So I’m not as concerned with him missing time as I maybe would be with a young guy.
“I want to make sure he’s healthy. We’re going to make sure that he’s healthy before we put him back on the field.”
Wide receiver Billy McMullen (ankle) and linebacker Tony Taylor (knee) also sat out, while tackle Ray Willis was given the morning off to rest his left knee. With Willis out, Kyle Williams worked at right tackle with the No. 1 offense.
The players will be back on the field this evening from 6:30-8:30. The lone Thursday practice (3:30-5:30 p.m.) will be open to the public, but is sold out.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It was probably a good time to have a day like this. Eighth practice. Guys are tired and a little worn down. So this spiced things up a little bit. We don’t want too many days like this, but it was OK for today.” – Mora, on the chilly temperatures and gray skies for the morning practice.