A recap of the Tuesday morning practice at Seahawks training camp:
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Jordan Babineaux. The versatile defensive back has started in the past – eight games at strong safety in 2006 and four games at cornerback in 2005 – and would like to become a starter again.
Two problems: Strong safety Deon Grant and free safety Brian Russell.
But with Grant sitting out this morning to rest a strained groin, Babineaux not only was at strong safety with the No. 1 defense, he was making plays.
“That’s one of the things this team has – some valuable backups at each position,” said Babineaux, who also was filling his usual role as the nickel back. “The big thing is, I want my coaches and my teammates to feel comfortable with me being a starter and let them know there’s no drop off.”
The player his teammates call “Big Play Babs” did just that by making things uncomfortable for the offense.
On back-to-back plays in a red-zone drill, Babineaux broke up a pass to Jordan Kent in the end zone and then intercepted another Seneca Wallace pass to Kent at the goal line. Earlier, Babineaux had a near interception of a Matt Hasselbeck pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh in the 7-on-7 drill.
“I felt good today,” Babineaux said. “I knew exactly the type of attitude and approach I had to have, simply because D-Grant is a great player and he’s a great leader and those are some big shoes to fill.”
PLAY OF THE DAY
In the final drill of the nearly two-hour practice, the No. 1 offense started near its own goal line. But that poor field position didn’t last long, as Nate Burleson made a leaping catch of a long pass from Hasselbeck.
Burleson has a 42½-inch vertical leap, and needed every fraction of it to go up and over cornerback Kelly Jennings to make the catch that set up Hasselbeck’s TD run.
“I didn’t realize how high I was until I hit the ground and landed on my back,” said Burleson, who continues to have an outstanding camp despite coming off surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee that was torn in last year’s season opener.
“I was like, ‘Whoa, that was a long way down.’ ”
Offensive line. And then there were 10. With four linemen sitting out, line coach Mike Solari was left to shuffle his units once again.
The No. 1 line was – from left tackle to right – Sean Locklear, Rob Sims, Steve Vallos, Mansfield Wrotto and Kyle Williams. Only Sims was in the spot where he is intended to play.
On the No. 2 unit were Will Robinson, Cory Withrow, Max Unger, Na’Shan Goddard and Andre Ramsey.
The No. 1 line is supposed to be Walter Jones, Rob Sims, Chris Spencer, either Wrotto or Unger and Locklear.
With Jones out, Locklear has worked almost exclusively at left tackle, when he is expected to be the right tackle.
“If you’re the optimist, you say, ‘That’s great, he’s learning all these positions. He’ll be much better if we have to plug him in,’ ” Mora said. “But by the same token, you want a guy to get comfortable playing the position you hope he plays during the season.
“That is just one of the issues we have along the offensive line right now. We’ve had it since Day One. We’ve talked about that puzzle, so it’s a little bit of hindrance. But we’re not going to let it slow us down.”
Mora moved practice into the team’s indoor practice facility because of the heavy rain this morning.
“I can promise you that we’ll absolutely make it up to those people who missed it, because it really has been a boost to our players to go out there and have people cheering.”
The list of players not practicing swelled to a camp-high 13 players, but Mora was not overly concerned.
“In think they’re all one-to-two day kind of fatigue injuries more than anything,” Mora said. “Nothing that I’m real concerned about right now.”
There were six starters among those sidelined: cornerback Marcus Trufant (back), defensive end Cory Redding (knee), middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (rest), Grant (groin), Jones (back) and Spencer (ankle).
Jennings was working at left corner with the No. 1 defense, because Wilson (groin) was sidelined in addition to Trufant. David Hawthorne was at middle linebacker with the No. 1 defense.
Also sidelined: wide receiver Deion Branch (knee), offensive linemen Ray Willis (knee) and Grey Ruegamer (elbow), linebackers D.D. Lewis (knee) and Will Herring (groin) and defensive end Lawrence Jackson (leg).
Defensive end Patrick Kerney took part in the early drills, but then watched the end of practice with a wrap on his calf.
“This is a time in camp where it’s pretty typical that you get light in numbers,” Mora said – which definitely is the case on the O-line and at linebacker.
Houshmandzadeh and fellow wide receiver Courtney Taylor returned after sitting out Monday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’m hoping that Norv sits him.” – Mora, referring to Chargers coach Norv Turner, when asked about San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson pushing to play in Saturday’s preseason opener against the Seahawks.