Wednesday in Hawkville

Marshawn Lynch

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Brandon Stokley. How does a player join a new team three weeks into the regular season, practice for three days and then go out and catch four passes for 62 yards to provide a bright spot in a gloomy loss?

That’s exactly what Stokley did in the Seahawks’ 20-3 loss to the Rams in St. Louis last Sunday.

“He did a great job – he really did a great job,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said after today’s bye-week practice. “But it’s still hard. It’s not ideal.”

The bye week practices should help Stokley become more comfortable in the passing game. Not that he looked like the new guy in the offense against the Rams.

Stokley caught a 36-yard pass from Hasselbeck in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks’ longest gain of the afternoon. Before that, Stokley had a 12-yard catch on third-and-10, a 6-yard catch on third-and-6 and an 8-yard catch on third-and-10.

That would be impressive stuff for a receiver who had been with the team throughout training camp, the preseason and the first three regular-season games. In fact, Stokley’s catches tied for second most by a Seahawks’ receiver this season and his yards also were second highest.

“What he did was very impressive, and that just speaks to why he’s been in the league so long,” second-year receiver Deon Butler said.

For Stokley, who is 34, that would be 12 seasons.

“He’s a quick learner. He’s a savvy route runner,” said Butler, who had a five-catch, 50-yard outing in the Week 2 loss to the Broncos in Denver.

“He kind of knew the system a little bit, but you give him a few pointers and the rest he can do by himself. He knew his role – third down, in the slot – and he did it tremendously well.”

POSITION WATCH

Running back. All eyes, of course, were on No. 24 – Marshawn Lynch, who was acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday and today practiced with the Seahawks for the first time.

Justin Forsett remained first in the rotation, but Lynch was up second – and often. He showed his power in running up the gut. He showed his speed in getting outside. He displayed his versatility by catching the ball out of the backfield.

All things that will help a work-in-progress running game, and also take some of the pressure off Hasselbeck to make plays.

“The play-action (passes) and the naked bootlegs, those are the two things that immediately improve if we can improve our run game,” Hasselbeck said. “I think our run game is close, I really do. It hasn’t shown up always, but I think our run game can be close.”

ON THE FIELD

The players were on the field for 80 minutes during the second of their two bye-week practices, and today’s session stressed getting back to basics.

“It’s been a good week to kind of go back to fundamentals and have similar to an OTA practice where you just focus on the basics of our offense,” Hasselbeck said.

Rookie wide receiver Golden Tate had an impressive practice, turning in four outstanding catches. On the first, he went up between cornerback Nate Ness and free safety Jordan Babineaux to make a nice reaching catch of a pass from Charlie Whitehurst in the 7-on-7 drill. A few plays later, Tate needed only half-a-blink to find and catch a pass that was tipped by Ness. In the final full-team drill, Tate went over rookie cornerback Walter Thurmond to catch a pass from Hasselbeck and then made an almost 360-degree turn to grab a pass from Whitehurst.

STAT DU JOUR

There already have been 11 kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns in the first four weeks of the season – eight kickoff returns, including two by the Seahawks’ Leon Washington in the Week 3 upset of the San Diego Chargers; and three punt returns.

The league record for the most in the first five weeks of a season is 16, set in 1998. Standing between that mark and this year’s talented group of returners are 12 in 2000; 13 in 2002; and 15 in 2007.

UP NEXT

The players are off until Monday, and that’s also when then next edition of Hawkville will appear.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It’s just part of the deal. You’ve got to do it. If you allow it to affect you you’re not going to play well. And if you lose your confidence, even just a little bit, you’re not going to be yourself; you’re not going to look like yourself. It’s a real thing. But it’s the difference between guys that make it and don’t make it in this league. Everyone’s watching you when things are tough – your teammates, your coaches, everybody. It’s important how you handle it.” – Hasselbeck, on how he deals with the negative press that comes with playing quarterback


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