A recap of the Seahawks’ first practice of the day at Bing Training Camp:
Leon Washington. The next step in his rehab from a severely broken right leg that ended his 2009 season turned out to be a quantum leap.
Washington, a former Pro Bowl kick returner and running back for the New York Jets, got his first rep in team drills this morning and came away smiling. After catching a pass in a 7-on-7 passing drill, Washington made the most of his one touch in the final period – going in motion to take a pass from Charlie Whitehurst, planting on his repaired leg and exploding up the field.
“Got my first touch in team,” said Washington, who was obtained in a draft day trade. “That’s the next step in the strategic planning behind my return. The coaches are doing a really good job and the training staff is doing a really good job of being smart and taking their time with me.”
Even on those days when Washington is wondering if he hasn’t already had enough down time.
“When do I get to run? That will come soon enough,” he said. “I’m just happy to be out there in team drills.”
Before today, Washington had been limited to individual drills and a few kickoff returns – where he displayed the speed and quickness that will benefit the running game as well as return game when he’s fully recovered.
The Seahawks’ switch to the zone-blocking scheme under new line coach Alex Gibbs is nothing new to Washington. The Jets used it last season because assistant head coach/offense Bill Callahan learned it from Gibbs.
“So I’m familiar with that,” Washington said. “Some of the pass plays, some of the concepts are kind of the same. So everything is working out perfect. I’m going to continue to work hard, continue to grind.”
Cornerback. The Seahawks have had problems with the taller receivers in the league and especially the NFC West the past few seasons because they never matched up against anyone like the Arizona Cardinals’ 6-foot-3, 217-pound Larry Fitzgerald in practice.
That has changed with the signing this offseason of 6-5, 235-pound Mike Williams, a former first-round draft choice by the Detroit Lions.
“That is the best thing for me, to go against big receivers,” said Kelly Jennings, a 5-11 cornerback who is competing for the starting job opposite Marcus Trufant. “We have Fitzgerald and a lot of big receivers in our league, so it’s always good to go against Mike.”
Jennings and Williams went at it this morning. Jennings slapped away a couple of Whitehurst passes intended for Williams, before Williams stopped and came back to catch a pass over Jennings. Williams also made a falling grab along the sideline of a pass that was tipped by strong safety Jordan Babineaux.
“That’s something Tru, Josh (Wilson) and me were talking about on the sideline – we realize now with Mike, we can’t just run deep if we’re playing the deep ball because they’re throwing the ball up,” Jennings said. “So we’ve got to play it a different way. That’s something we got to watch film on and be cautious on.”
A crew of four NFL officials worked practice: referee Bill Levy, umpire Darrell Jenkins, line judge Mike Spanier and field judge Jim Quirk.
They also will meet with the players and coaches to discuss the rule changes for this season.
THE BARK IS BACK
The team had its first goal-line drill of camp, which means defensive tackle Brandon Mebane was at his barking best.
The veterans made Mebane bark before each snap in goal-line drills as a rookie 2007. It’s a tradition that has continued.
“It’s just like a habit now. It’s just routine now,” Mebane said.
It’s also a tempo-setting gesture as the D-line hunkers down to try and stop the offense from getting into the end zone.
“It’s to let them know, ‘Hey, we’ve got to tighten up down here,’ ” Mebane said.
Mebane also has a barking buddy now, as defensive end Red Bryant has joined in.
“I bark. He barks,” Mebane said. “I feed off him. He feeds off me.”
LOOK, UP IN THE SKY
In addition to the eagles that frequent practice, this morning’s session also included a couple of flyovers by the Blue Angels as they practiced for Sunday’s performance as part of the Seafair activities.
The club has signed defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock, a former third-round draft choice by the Indianapolis Colts who sat out the past two seasons while dealing with personal issues. Check back later for more on his interesting story.
The clear a roster spot for Pitcock, wide receiver Mike Hass was released. Hass, a former Biletnikoff Award winner from Oregon State, spent most of last season on the practice squad before being injured in the Dec. 27 game against the Packers in Green Bay.
Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu returned to practice after sitting out a couple of sessions to rest a sore leg. Also back was defensive lineman Lawrence Jackson.
Linebacker Aaron Curry missed his fifth practice because of lingering headaches from a collision in the Saturday afternoon practice. But he was on the sideline for the first time.
Also sitting out this morning: strong safeties Lawyer Milloy and Kam Chancellor, wide receiver Deion Branch, defensive lineman Kevin Vickerson, offensive lineman Mansfield Wrotto and linebacker Joe Pawelek.
Linebacker Ricky Heygood, who was re-signed Wednesday, left practice early after twisting an ankle.
The players return to the practice field at 4 p.m. today. They will practice once Friday, starting at 1:30 p.m. The next session of two-a-days is Saturday, with the practices starting at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’m all about second chances and giving guys opportunities.” – defensive line coach Dan Quinn, on the team signing Pitcock