If it’s Friday, it’s time to dip into the mailbag again.
We’ve already handled a couple of questions in the Hawkville entries this week, but here’s an eclectic selection to wrap up the week …
Q: I have been wondering about the running back situation. Last year, Justin Forsett became a fan favorite and I would like to know if he has been working with the first string offense? And if so, has it been more or less than Julius Jones? I can’t wait for the players to get their pads on and see how training camp goes. – Chris, Washington
A: Actually, Chris, Forsett became a fan favorite during the preseason of his rookie year in 2008. Compiling 261 all-purpose yards (136 rushing, 8 receiving, 70 returning kickoffs, 47 returning punts) against the Chicago Bears will do that. What he accomplished last season – averaging 4.5 yards per carry and gaining more than 900 yards rushing and receiving – only made the Forsett faithful scream, “We told you so.”
Right now, Jones continues to run as “the starter,” with Forsett No. 2. Each gets carries with the No. 1 offense. But as coach Pete Carroll said this week, “We’re leaving this thing wide open. There is no reason to call it.”
That statement plays directly into your final comment, Chris. Once the pads come in, it will be easier to get a better read on which back might fit which role.
Q: Who do you think will be our starting running back this year? – Travis, undisclosed location (Rey in Parkland also asked about Forsett and the running back situation)
A: Hate to answer your question with a question, Travis, but does it matter? I guess for those who play Fantasy Football it does.
But Carroll prefers to use a job-sharing approach meant to bring out the best in all his backs. He wants them hungry, and therefore determined to make each run an indication that he deserves another. It’s how he dealt with having five Prep All-Americans on his roster at USC.
A more likely scenario this season is that each back will have a role. One might run “out of the tunnel” with the starters – as “the starter.” But don’t expect any of the backs to fill that “feature” role, as was the case when Shaun Alexander was getting 326 carries in 2003, 353 in 2004 and 370 in 2005.
Q: What is the status on Golden Tate? Will he be a No. 2 wide receiver? Or will he returning kickoffs and punts? I would really love to see him play wide receiver because watching him play at Notre Dame was really entertaining. He’s a beast! – Michael, Sacramento
A: You’re in luck, Michael, because you could see Tate in all three roles during his rookie season.
Carroll mentioned his ability as a returner after the Seahawks selected him in the second round of the April NFL draft. But he won’t be a “return specialist,” as Charlie Rogers was from 1999-2001. Tate will play wide receiver. Whether he is the No. 2 receiver remains to be seen. As with the running backs, there could be roles for the wide-outs. T.J. Houshmandzadeh will have a big one. So will Deion Branch.
But Tate is showing in the minicamp and OTA practices the same things he displayed for the Irish – the ability to make athletic catches and then provide the run after the catch. But he still needs to refine his route-running skills.
Q: I am wondering if you have any information on Anthony Heygood? I read that the linebackers coach said he thinks Heygood will surprise fans this year. Is that going to be just on special teams? Or does coach have some other role he thinks Heygood can fill? – Michael, Bozeman, Mont.
A: The comment from LB coach Ken Norton Jr. regarding Heygood is worth repeating, Michael.
“Anthony Heygood is young, fast, very athletic and he’s emulating everything that (Aaron) Curry does,” Norton told Seahawk.com’s Ben Malcolmson. “Sometimes when you see Heygood play, you think it’s Curry.”
Being compared to a first-round draft choice definitely is a good thing, especially for a player who spent last season on the practice squad. Told of Norton’s comments, Heywood offered, “Really? He said that? Wow.”
Despite the flattering comparison to Curry, Heygood’s primary contributions will come on special teams. As for playing a role on defense, he’s got at least four ‘backers in front of him – Curry, Lofa Tatupu and David Hawthorne; as well as Will Herring, who has been working in the nickel defense.
But Heygood has caught Norton’s eye, and that’s a definite plus when it comes to getting some snaps on defense.
Q: How do handicapped individuals attend training camp? I am talking about persons who have to use a wheelchair to get around and are unable to get on a bus. Can any arrangements be made for these fans? – Bill, Everett
A: Yes, Bill, there is a plan in place for individuals in wheelchairs. When registering online to attend one of the training camp practices that will be open to the public, indicate your situation.
You won’t have to take the shuttle bus from The Landing, because the club has parking spaces at Virginia Mason Athletic Center that are close to the practice fields – as well as an area where those in wheelchairs can watch practice.