A recap of the afternoon walk-thru at Seahawks’ training camp:
Sidney Rice. The team’s new big-play – and big – wide receiver admits he didn’t know a lot about the Seahawks when he signed with them in free agency this week.
But the former Pro Bowl wide-out for the Minnesota Vikings did know two very important individuals who played into his decision: offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who were with the Vikings the past five seasons.
“It’s great, it’s always good to be around familiar people – people you know well,” the 6-foot-4 Rice said after the 85-minute walk-thru that was held in the indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
“Tarvaris is one of my closest friends ever since I came into the league. I used to hang out at his place all the time; vice versa he’d come over to my place. I feel comfortable being around him. Also Bevell. Know the offense and didn’t have to learn anything knew.”
Now Rice and Jackson, as well as Bevell, are in the same place again – in large part because the Seahawks knew a lot more about Rice than he did about them.
“I think Sidney is an incredible player,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We looked at everything that he’s done; every catch that he’s made since he’s been in the league to evaluate him.
“He has an extraordinary sense for finding the football with people all over him. He’s tough. He’s physical. He’s creative and he’s got the special confidence that great catchers have.”
Where does that come from? “Just working,” Rice said. “Probably God-given ability, but you’ve also got to work at those things – the extra work after practice, staying out there doing the drills and things like that.”
Rice can’t start practicing until Aug. 4, but when he does he’ll be working opposite Mike Williams, the 6-5 split end who led the team in receptions last season.
“I know he’s got a great knack for the ball, coming down with it,” Rice said. “I’m looking forward to lining up on the opposite side of him. It’s going to be fun.”
Quarterback. Carroll’s announcement after the morning practice that Jackson would be the starter caught reporters by surprise, and left incumbent backup Charlie Whitehurst disappointed but determined.
“It’s not necessarily what I wanted to hear, but it’s something I’ve got to live with and go from here and just keep competing every day,” Whitehurst said. “I didn’t know what to expect coming into camp with the quarterback situation. I just wanted a chance, and I’m here. I’ve got a chance.
“Like I said, it’s not necessarily how I wanted it to start out, but I respect the fact that (Carroll) was direct with me and told me. I’m just going to try and make the decision tougher. Tarvaris is a heckuva football player and we’re just going to compete every day.”
Jackson won’t enter the on-field competition, however, until he is allowed to start practicing on Aug 4. So Whitehurst will continue to run the No. 1 offense.
“That will be good for me, to see how fast I can get this playbook learned and try to compete against him as hard as I can,” Whitehurst said.
JUST FOR KICKS
The search for a veteran kicker to compete with rookie free agent Wes Byrum has led the team to a former seventh-round draft choice: Brandon Coutu.
Coutu, who was with the team in 2008, was re-signed today. He never kicked in a regular-season game during his first stint with the club because then-coach Mike Holmgren went with the experience and stronger leg of Olindo Mare. But Mare signed this week with the Carolina Panthers.
Coutu converted each of his seven field-goal attempts during his rookie preseason, but was inactive for all 16 regular-season games. He returned in 2009, but was waived before the regular-season opener.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: Veteran guard Robert Gallery, who just signed with the team Friday and isn’t eligible to begin practicing until Aug. 4, coaching up rookie right tackle James Carpenter after a play.
Defense: Linebacker Aaron Curry flashing into the backfield to arrive at Ben Obomanu before he ever got going on an end-around.
The team will practice once Sunday, starting at 1:30 p.m. The session is open to the public and you can register to attend here.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I felt like in Minnesota he was never let loose, never allowed to play comfortably like I know he can play. I feel like he’ll get that opportunity out here to prove all those guys who think he’s not an NFL quarterback wrong.” – Rice on Jackson