A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:
The end of training camp and the preseason. Camp officially ended Aug. 18, but coach Pete Carroll continued with a training camp approach and mentality the past two weeks because the team had no spring minicamps or OTA sessions due to the 136-day lockout.
“This is it. This is the end of camp,” Carroll said after today’s hour-long practice. “And it seems crucial to us, to see a lot of stuff and make the evaluations we need to make in a number of areas – not just the ones you’re going to put on the roster and not put on the roster, but also schematically we’ve got things that we’re still growing and learning about.”
Then there’s Friday night’s final preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field – which also is the last preseason game in the league, with the other 30 teams playing tonight.
“It’s a really important event for us, and hopefully we’ll find out a bunch of stuff that will help us going into next week,” Carroll said.
Next week, of course, is the lead up to the Sept. 11 regular-season opener in San Francisco against the 49ers.
Matt McCoy. Last season, the veteran linebacker who was signed in free agency led the team with 19 special teams tackles, but played exactly zero snaps on defense. Friday night, McCoy will be the middle linebacker in the No. 1 nickel package.
It’s a role that David Hawthorne is expected to fill, but he likely won’t play against the Raiders to rest a sore knee he got in the second preseason game. It’s also a role that could be played by rookie K.J. Wright, who is subbing for Hawthorne in the base defense.
But the coaches want to see what McCoy can do, given the opportunity.
“With David Hawthorne going down, we’ve decided to give Matt a chance to play that spot,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “He’s always been very vocal and a strong leader in there, so we thought we’d give him a chance to run the show.”
McCoy has the experience and ability to play any of the three linebacking positions, which is a needed commodity now that Will Herring has jumped the New Orleans Saints in free agency after filling that role last season.
“Matt has to be ready to play all of them, so we see this as an opportunity to get him some reps in there,” Bradley said. “He has a pretty good understanding of things, so we’ll give him a chance with the first group and see how he does.”
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: This one came on the final play of the pad-less session, as just re-signed wide receiver Chris Carter went up between a trio of defenders in the end zone to catch a pass from rookie QB Josh Portis.
Defense: Cornerback Brandon Browner making a falling, one-handed deflection of a Charlie Whitehurst pass that was intended for rookie wide receiver Kris Durham in the back corner of the end zone.
IN AND OUT
The club added another wide receiver today – rookie free agent Owen Spencer, who had been in camp with the Titans before being released on this week’s roster cut to 80 players.
Safety Josh Pinkard practiced today after sitting out Wednesday to rest a sore knee.
Still sidelined: wide receivers Mike Williams (toe), Sidney Rice (shoulder), Ben Obomanu (head) and Isaiah Stanback (hamstring); running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle), tight end John Carlson (who is scheduled to have season-ending shoulder surgery), defensive lineman Pierre Allen (hamstring), strong safety Kam Chancellor (foot), Hawthorne and the four players who remain on the physically unable to perform list – wide receiver Deon Butler (leg), tight end Cameron Morrah (toe), defensive tackle Colin Cole (ankle) and cornerback Roy Lewis (knee).
Carroll stopped short of ruling anyone else out for Friday night’s game, but earlier in the week he said it is unlikely that Lynch and Hawthorne will play against the Raiders.
The players will have a short walk-thru on Friday morning and then play their preseason finale that night at CenturyLink Field.
The 80-man roster must be trimmed to 53 players on Saturday and the team can sign players to its eight-man practice squad on Sunday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“There will be a lot of guys that don’t get to stay with us that deserve to play in the league.” – Carroll, looking to the roster cut on Saturday