A little Q&A

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You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers, or at least opinions.

Including a link to ask questions on the mailbag that was posted late last week really spiked your interest, not to mention the numbers of inquiries.

So, let’s get started with the first batch …

Q: I read that Red Bryant was working out a little at defensive end. I didn’t think he had enough speed for that position. What do you think – if you have watched him? – Michael, Monticello, Miss.

A: I did watch Red in the last minicamp, Michael. A lot. The first “tip” I had that the third-year defensive tackle was lining up at end came when he was all over a running play to the outside so quickly I couldn’t believe he’d gotten from the middle of the line to the ball carrier that suddenly. Upon further review, Bryant had been lined up at left end.

It was line coach Dan Quinn who came up with the idea of giving the 323-pound Bryant some work at end – to get him on the field more and to give the defensive a bigger body on that side of the line. With Bryant, it’s not a question of having enough speed, it’s quickness that counts. He displayed it in the minicamp practices, but will have to continue showing he has a possible home on the outside – even if it’s in a situational role – once training camp practices start and especially in the preseason games.

Expect the coaches to continue shuffling the linemen, especially the ends, as they look for ways to replace the departed duo of Patrick Kerney (retired) and Darryl Tapp (traded) and also generate more of a pass rush.

Q: Is there a chance the ‘Hawks could play a game in Europe at some point during the next few years?
If yes, could we raise a 12 flag at the stadium where the game is played? – Fernando, Mainz, Germany

A: There is a chance, Fernando. But winning is the surest way to insure getting consideration for any of the international games the NFL might play in the next five years.

As for raising the 12 flag, that pre-kickoff tradition was started at Qwest Field. The Seahawks would have to get permission from the league but as far as showing up at the stadium with a 12 flag, that’s up to the fans.

But, at this point, we’re putting the flag ahead of the game.

Q: I know he’s had some injury issues, but in your estimation does the rookie cornerback from Oregon have what it takes to be the starting corner opposite Marcus Trufant, which would allow Josh Wilson to slide to the nickel corner where he is one the best in the league at that position? – Nathan, Renton

A: That rookie corner from Oregon is Walter Thurmond, Nathan. And yes, he does have the potential to start opposite Trufant. That’s not just my opinion; it’s shared by GM John Schneider and the coaches. They considered Thurmond a low-first or high-second round talent who slid to the fourth round because of the injury that ended his 2009 season.

That injury, of course, involved Thurmond needing surgery to repair three ligaments he tore in his right knee last September in a game against California. He isn’t expected to begin practicing until training camp, at the earliest. But he does possess the coverage skills to be a starter in the league – and can help in the return game, as well. He’s also got good size (5-11, 190).

I couldn’t agree more about Wilson being at his best when covering the slot receiver in the nickel. It takes special skills to do that, and Wilson has them. That’s why he would move inside last year when Kelly Jennings came in to play the right side in the nickel.

But Wilson’s strongest attribute is his competitiveness, so he is not about to just give up the starting spot on the right side. We saw that last year when the club signed Ken Lucas. Rather than accept his fate, the determined Wilson had a strong training camp and eventually recaptured the starting job.

Q: Could it have been any more perfect and haunting from the draft? We pick up Russell Okung, who I believe no one thought would logically fall to us at No. 6. Just so happens we got Big Walt at the same number when at the time no one really thought for sure he would fall that far, as well. I know that no one wants to jump on the bandwagon and say this kid is another Hall of Fame left tackle, but judging by his stature and intangibles – along with Alex Gibbs coaching him in his first year as well as Ben Hamilton right beside him helping him with all the calls, not to mention his humbleness and work ethic – could you give me an honest belief on Okung’s chance at being at least a Pro Bowler this season and a possible Hall of Famer in 15 years? – Zach, Port Orchard

A: Sorry, Zach, but I’m not going to be the first to anoint Okung a Pro Bowl player as a rookie and future Hall of Famer before he plays his first snap.

As good as he is, and can be with the coaching of Gibbs and tutoring from Hamilton, to say that Okung – or anyone, for that matter – is the next Walter Jones is too much of a stretch. We’ve all been spoiled watching Jones man that pivotal spot for 12 dominating seasons.

But what I like about Okung – and it’s an opinion shared by the coaches and scouts – is that he made himself into the player he is through hard work and dedication. He arrived at Oklahoma State as a lightly recruited 225-pounder, and developed into a tackle good enough to be selected sixth overall in the NFL draft.

So I’m not saying Okung can’t become a Pro Bowl-caliber tackle, it’s just too early to put those expectations on him.

Q: Where can I find the schedule (dates & times) for the Seahawks OTAs, and are the OTAs open to the public? – Frank, Gig Harbor

A: Good timing, Frank, because the Seahawks’ OTAs (that’s organized team activities) start Tuesday. But the sessions are not open to the public.

Fans won’t be able to attend practices until training camp opens in late July. Watch the website for which practices will be open, and how fans can get on the list to attend them – space is limited, so you must register.


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