Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Aug. 25:
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has the story on Mike Williams as the Seahawks’ leading receiver begins the second season of his return to the NFL. Just don’t call it a comeback. Offers O’Neil: “The story line isn’t nearly so simple for Williams’ second season as a Seahawk. The question is no longer whether he can reclaim his football career, but how far he can take it. He was the feel-good story of last season’s Seahawks. The former first-round pick who had spent two seasons unemployed only to rebound from that abyss to a starting job, 65 catches and a three-year extension. It was a tidy little tale of perseverance and determination that detailed the 30-some pounds he lost, mentioned his always impressive size at 6 feet 5 and praised his more professional approach to coaching. The result was a story that fit neatly into the traditional trilogy of an athlete’s rise, precipitous fall and ultimate redemption. Except the comeback wasn’t the conclusion to Williams’ story.”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune checks in with Doug Baldwin, the wide receiver from Stanford who has been the valedictorian of this year’s rookie free agent class by not only making the grade but exceeding expectations as receiver and kick retruner. Says Williams: “At 5-foot-10, 189 pounds, the Stanford graduate doesn’t have the prototypical size coach Pete Carroll looks for in a pass catcher. But what Baldwin does have is craftiness and the ability to get open in the middle of the field, similar to one of the best slot receivers ever to play for Seattle – Bobby Engram. ‘One (of) my strengths is my creativity in the slot,’ Baldwin said, ‘being able to be witty and creative matched up against a nickel corner or a (weakside) linebacker, so just being able to be creative in there, getting open and getting separation.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald profiles Jeron Johnson, another rookie free agent who has been impressive. Says Johnson, a safety from Boise State who admits to having a chip on his shoulder: “That chip has always been there, honestly. Coming out of high school I didn’t get recruited too much, and going to Boise State we had to play with a chip on our shoulder. So at Boise we played with a chip on our shoulder, and I’ve got to carry that over.”
Christian Caple of PI.com reviews what was one impressive practice on Wednesday by cornerback Walter Thurmond, who is returning from a high ankle sprain. Says Caple: “The extra sprints Walter Thurmond ran up the hill next to the Seahawks’ practice field on Wednesday were an indication of two things: That Thurmond needs the conditioning after missing most of training camp with a high ankle sprain. And that Thurmond’s ankle is finally healthy enough to run on.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com looks at the quarterbacks in the NFC West during the preseason, including the disparity between the numbers generated by Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst for the Seahawks. Says Sando: “Seattle has the closest thing to a quarterback competition in the division, but Jackson is the starter. Coming into camp, the team felt as though Jackson would benefit from stability and support. His career had hit bumps in Minnesota as the team continually courted Brett Favre. Jackson hadn’t shown much improvement. The Seahawks thought he had potential to grow as a quarterback in the right environment. They don’t want to jerk him around this early in the process even though Charlie Whitehurst has made strides. Jackson could use better pass protection as much as anything right now.”
Sando also has a rundown on the division’s first-round picks in the 2008 NFL Draft, and two have come through Seattle – Kentwan Balmer, who was released on Wednesday; and Lawrence Jackson, who was traded to the Lions last year.
At NFL.com, Bucky Brooks and Steve Wyche discuss the Seahawks’ chances of defending their title in the NFC West with Williams.
Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got the story on Maurice Fountain and how he was able to make plays in Saturday night’s preseason game after flying to Seattle from Atlanta on Friday and rejoining the team on Saturday morning. Says Fountain: “I had committed to the Locos (of the Arena League), and I was supposed to be there today,” the aptly named Fountain said after Tuesday’s two-hour practice in full pads, as sweat was pouring from every pore. “Fortunately, Seattle called me Thursday night. So, it’s a dream come true. It was good to have a backup plan, but my ultimate goal was to come to Seattle.”
We’ve also got Wednesday’s practice covered in words, with even more details on Thurmond’s impressive afternoon; and video, as Tony Ventrella takes a look at the defense. And if you missed this video report on the players going go-kart racing, you need to check it out.