Saturday in Hawkville: Sherman follows his own suggestion

A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for July 28:

FOCUS ON

Richard Sherman. At one point during the initial practice of camp, the second-year cornerback turned to the somewhat docile crowd that was watching from the berm that is adjacent to the practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center and coaxed them to make some noise – especially for the defense.

A few minutes later, Sherman gave the fans something to cheer by picking off a Tarvaris Jackson pass and returning the interception up the sideline for a touchdown.

“That’s just how it is. If you don’t give them anything to cheer about what are they out here for?” a smiling Sherman said after the two-hour practice. “Everybody cheers for offense, because they think football is an offensive game.

“So if your defense doesn’t make any plays, then they have a great point.”

That, however, was not the point of today’s practice, when Sherman and his defensive mates made plenty of plays. And the fans, especially those bellied up to the fence that separates the fields from the berm, showed their appreciation.

“It’s incredible. It’s something you can’t describe,” Sherman said of the fan reaction. “It’s almost like game day. It kind of pushes you to another level, makes you strain a little harder. It’s not that you’re pushing for them necessarily; it’s just so exciting and fun to be out there. So your body does a little more, you go a little harder, you go a little faster.”

And sometimes you go all the way to the end zone with an interception, with the fans cheering your every stride.

“I study a lot of football,” Sherman said. “You get to the point where if you show me something once, the second time you show me I’m going to make the play. They showed it to me twice. That’s all that was.”

PLAYER WATCH

Ricardo Lockette. His rookie season was all about flash and dash, as evidenced by his 52.5-yard average on two receptions in the final two games. This season, Lockette wants to change the focus to consistency and precision – and he did just that today.

Sure, Lockette ran down a deep pass from Jackson – and ran over falling cornerback Ron Parker in the process. But he also caught everything else thrown his way.

Which was better: The acrobatic grab, or the fact that he did not drop a pass?

“The fact that I got every single route right, and I didn’t drop any passes,” Lockette said. “I expect myself to make big plays, and they come when they come. But the most important thing is being where I’m supposed to be making the catches when the ball is thrown to me.”

That definitely was the case on his big catch along the sideline of the big throw from Jackson.

“We’ve been training for a whole month straight, every single day,” Lockette said of his pre-camp routine with the Jackson. “So I expect that one. But my goal is to go through camp without dropping a single ball. I know that’s kind of unheard of. But I guess they say, ‘Shoot for the stars, forget the clouds.’ That’s what I’m aiming for.”

PLAYS DU JOUR

Offense: It would be easy – and perhaps correct – to go with Lockette’s eye-opener. But later in practice, wide receiver Golden Tate got behind Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Browner to take a long pass from Jackson for the touchdown.

Defense: Again, the obvious choice would be Sherman’s pick-six. But let’s go with the less obvious. In one of the first full-team plays of practice, rookie running back Robert Turbin bobbled a handoff from Jackson. Rather than give up on the seemingly “dead” play, defensive end Chris Clemons stripped the ball and Sherman recovered the fumble.

THREE ON PUP

Offensive lineman James Carpenter (knee), cornerback Walter Thurmond (ankle) and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (foot) have been placed on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from injuries.

Kearse is really close to returning, Carroll said, but there is no timeline for the returns of Carpenter and Thurmond in their recoveries from season-ending injuries last year.

Also, offensive lineman Allen Barbre was excused from practice because of what Carroll called “a family thing.”

UP NEXT

The players will have a walkthrough this afternoon, and tomorrow’s practice starts at 10:15 a.m.

JOIN THE CROWD

A crowd of 2,180 attended today’s practice. The remaining 12 practices of camp also are open to the public and you can register here to attend one.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I’ve kind of been reflecting on, we wait to start the season and to get to camp to get going. It’s a really big deal to us. And it’s not just us. Of course the guys that put their livelihood on it, it’s a big deal. But for our fans and for everybody around the country that loves the NFL, it’s great to get this thing rolling. I’m excited to be – and really honored to be – part of it. There’s a feeling of – whatever that is – a little sentimental about it. We work so hard to get here and sometimes we get focused in and we just can’t get to the big picture. The big picture is, the NFL is awesome and it’s great to be part of.” – Carroll


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Tuesday cyber surfing: Positional breakdowns

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 10.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times takes a look at the Seahawks wide receiver position, and the competition that will come with it come training camp. O’Neil considers three wide receivers to be “locks” for the Seahawks 53-man roster – Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate. Beyond those three, it gets a little complicated according to O’Neil, “There are veterans Ben Obomanu, [Deon] Butler and [Mike] Williams. There are promising second-year players like Kris Durham — a fourth-round pick in 2011 — and Ricardo Lockette, who flashed his big-play potential at the end of the season. And don’t forget the crew of undrafted free agents and offseason additions: Lavasier Tuinei, Charly Martin, Jermaine Kearse, Cameron Kenney and Phil Bates. So how many can you expect Seattle to keep? Well, 5.4 says history, and before you start wondering how to get 40 percent of one wide receiver, that’s simply the average number of receivers the Seahawks have kept when they reduced the roster to 53 players from 2002 through last season.”

Like O’Neil, here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a positional analysis of his own, as he takes a look at the Seahawks secondary heading into 2012. Farnsworth points to more experience and better depth as reasons to see improvement in the Seahawks secondary in 2012, as the unit hopes to build off the success they enjoyed a season ago, “No other team in the league had three defensive backs play in the Pro Bowl last season [Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor & Brandon Browner]. No other team in the league had three defensive backs ranked among the Top 10 cornerbacks and safeties in the league by the Sporting News this offseason.”

Over at NFL.com Gregg Rosenthal piggy-backs off of O’Neil’s wide receiver discussion and offers his own thoughts on Mike Williams, “Seattle Seahawks wideout Mike Williams could go from one of the best stories in the NFL to out of the league in the span of just two years. Somehow, that’s the most NFL story of all. Coach Pete Carroll resurrected his former USC star from the ashes in 2010. After being out of the NFL two years, Williams led the Seahawks with 65 catches and 751 yards. He was a legitimate Comeback Player of the Year candidate. He was the No. 1 receiver on a team that won a playoff game. But the NFL is an unforgiving place to work. Williams fell off the map during an injury-plagued 2011, putting up only 236 yards in 12 games. He’s coming off a broken leg and is no longer a lock to make the Seahawks’ roster.”

Also at NFL.com, Matt Smith gives us his fantasy dream team – the “perfect” draft – as he calls it, and lo and behold, there are a couple Seahawks mentions on his list. Smith hopes to pick up running back Marshawn Lynch in Round 3, offering this on Seattle’s bruising back, “I don’t buy last season being a fantasy miracle year for Lynch, Pete Carroll simply realized where his production was going to come from and kept it going, riding momentum of a great defense and running game to a solid close of the season. With the “dink and dunk” Matt Flynn, or the inconsistent Tavaris Jackson, or rookie Russell Wilson, the running game is going to have to be solid again for the Seahawks to succeed. And with their defense looking even better this season, they’re likely to lean on that run game even more.” Then, several rounds later, Smith has his eyes set on the Seahawks defense, “I love getting the defense right in Fantasy. It could be the difference between a win or a loss when you have one that’s dominant in point production. You need a defense that attacks, that goes after the quarterback and places a value on the ball above all else. The Bears have made a fantasy career of it, but these days they’re getting a little bit old to keep doing what they have been. Seattle closed strong, and all season long was solid. Seven weeks of double-digit production is just lunacy to leave on the board.”

Dan Arkush at ProFootballWeekly.com talked to a daily observer of Seahawks team activities, who told him Seahawks first round draft pick DE Bruce Irvin has impressed in the early-goings of Seahawks OTAs and minicamps, “One particularly striking example in a late-May OTA was the eye-popping countermove the sleek Irvin put on Breno Giacomini that literally floored the massive tackle. ‘It was really something to see; it made an instant impression,’ the observer said. But it was hardly enough to suddenly thrust Irvin into consideration for a starting role, with the game plan calling for him to hopefully wreak havoc along with [Chris] Clemons in specific nickel pass-rush situations the same way Aldon Smith did as a first-round rookie for the Niners last season. ‘Irvin has gotten all the starting reps up to now, but he has talked about how much he’d like to be learning from Clemons,’ the observer said.”


And then there were 10

The Seahawks’ offseason program is down to the last players standing: The rookie free agents.

The team’s 10 draft choices completed their offseason work today. Saturday, they head to Ohio for the four-day NFL Rookie Symposium, which starts on Sunday for the NFC players. Then they’re off until training camp start in late July. The veterans called it a wrap after the final practice in last week’s minicamp.

So Monday, the only group left for the final three days in the offseason program at Virginia Mason Athletic Center will be the rookies who have been added since the draft. Seven were signed just after the draft – wide receivers Phil Bates, Jermaine Kearse and Lavasier Tuinei; guard Rishaw Johnson, tight end Sean McGrath, safety DeShawn Shead and kicker Carson Wiggs. Two others were signed after tryouts in minicamps – cornerback Donny Lisowski and linebacker Kyle Knox. One – defensive end Cordarro Law – was signed between the draft in April and the rookie minicamp in May.

“It’s a learning experience in itself, just learning how to be a pro,” Bates said of watching the numbers diminish. “It’s pretty good, because I’ve learned a lot this week.”

And he has done it from the front of the line – rather than back, as was the case when the veterans were around.

“You take the stuff you learned while the vets were here and now you’re working it on by yourself and trying to master your craft,” Bates said. “I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying it a lot.”

Even with the vets gone, third-round draft choice Russell Wilson has been around to throw to Bates, Tuinei and McGrath (Kearse is sidelined with a foot injury). But Wilson is off to the symposium, so the rookie QB won’t be around next week.

“I’ve got the Jugs machine,” Bates said with a smile. “So that will help me out. I’m going to miss Russell, of course. But I’ve got the Jugs machine.”


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Saturday cyber surfing: Wilson comes out throwing

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 12:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his thoughts from the first practice of the three-day minicamp, including: “Coach Pete Carroll raved about running back Robert Turbin. He loved Turbin’s quickness and feel for the zone running game. Turbin has huge biceps, but his lower body looks like it belongs to a smaller man.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune has his impressions of the player who made the biggest impression: “The much-anticipated debut of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson in Seattle Seahawks gear took place on the team’s practice field Friday afternoon. Wilson passed with flying colors. The former University of Wisconsin player appeared in command leading Seattle’s offense during the first workout of the rookie minicamp, taking the majority of the snaps during the team portion of practice. Some might debate Wilson’s ability to effectively play the position in the NFL at 5-foot-11, but they can’t question his fastball. As advertised, Wilson showed a strong arm, played with great anticipation and was very accurate on most of his throws. ‘He was putting the ball on the money,’ former University of Washington receiver Jermaine Kearse said. ‘He was throwing great passes and putting the ball where it’s supposed to be, so how can you not catch it?’ ”

Tim Booth at the Associated Press also takes a look at Wilson’s pass-filled practice: “Russell Wilson stepped in behind center for the first minicamp of his professional career on Friday and never took a break. The Seahawks are making sure they get a long look at Wilson this weekend while the Seahawks’ veteran quarterbacks are not around. ‘It’s important for me to understand the offense and continue to grow. I’m trying to learn all the nuances of the quarterback position here,’ Wilson said on Friday. ‘I know the plays enough but I’m trying to learn the ins and outs and whys of football. That’s something that I have to do every day I wake up and in the meeting rooms — just try to learn as much as I can.’ ”

Art Thiel at sportspress northwest takes a look at first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin: “Searching for meaning on the first the first day of rookies’ padless football practice against air is barely more productive than looking for life on the moon from one’s porch. But one thing was plain Friday at Seahawks headquarters, even without a telescope — the scouts weren’t lying: Bruce Irvin is meteor-fast. It will be an object of much entertainment for Seahawks fans, and help quiet the debate over the most talked-about pick in the NFL draft’s first round last month. More impressive to coach Pete Carroll, who knew about the speed, was Irvin’s quick take on the more cerebral parts of the enterprise. ‘Bruce worked really hard,’ Carroll said. ‘His command of what we were doing was really good. He’s not going to have any trouble learning what’s happening. He’s been a pleasant surprise in that it comes easy to him – that’s a really good deal for us to be able to push him forward.’ ”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times says it’s going to be more difficult for this rookie class to make an immediate impact: “ ‘Our depth is so much better than a couple years ago,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘These guys are going to have to fight for their playing time.’ That reality stands in sharp contrast to the plug-and-play program Seattle followed in Carroll’s first two years in town when first-round picks were starters the first day on the job. That was true for left tackle Russell Okung and free safety Earl Thomas in 2010. It was true for offensive lineman James Carpenter a year ago when he was one of three rookies to start Week 1, along with guard John Moffitt and linebacker K.J. Wright. The path to playing time is not nearly so clear this year. Maybe first-round pick Bruce Irvin will force his way into the lineup, and perhaps linebacker Bobby Wagner is ready to step in immediately at middle linebacker, but neither of those is a foregone conclusion in Seattle. The Seahawks had a top-10 defense a year ago and lost only one starter in the offseason, middle linebacker David Hawthorne.”

PI.com has a photo blog from the practice.

Here at Seahawks.com, we also look at Wilson’s impressive first day: “It was only a rookie minicamp, and the first day at that. But make no mistake: It wasRussell Wilson’s minicamp. The Seahawks’ third-round draft choice took every rep in every team drill during Friday’s two-hour practice – the first of three in this weekend that is all about the rookies. And no rookie got a longer and more intensified looked than Russell. ‘Just knowing who he is and how he was going to approach this, I expected that he’d be really good and he was,’ coach Pete Carroll said after the up-tempo practice on a picture postcard of an afternoon at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. ‘He’s really smart. He’s very experienced. He’s as savvy as a guy could be. And he has a great work ethic. So you put all that together – and good communications with (QB coach) Carl Smith and Darrell (Bevell, the offensive coordinator – and he was ready to go.’ And go Wilson did. From start to finish. Carroll estimated that Wilson got in 70 throws, took ‘twice as many reps as everybody else’ and, he added, ‘I don’t think he had a missed assignment.’ ”

We’ve also got the return of Hawkville, with notes and news from Day One: “Not surprisingly, the speed and tempo of the two-hour practice caught some of the players by surprise. ‘They kind of warned us yesterday,’ first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin said. ‘But I still didn’t know what to expect. It still kind of caught me off guard. I probably lost like about seven, eight pounds today.’ ”

There’s also Tony Venterlla’s video recap, as well as the post-practice Q&As with Wilson, Irvin and Carroll.


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Friday cyber surfing: It’s all about the rookies

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 11:

The Seahawks’ rookies have reported and will practice today for the first of three times in their weekend minicamp. Eric Williams at the News Tribune takes a look at how coach Pete Carroll relishes this look at the rookies: “ ‘It’s going to be really cool to see these guys come together,’ Carroll said. ‘There are so many highlight players in this group of kids. We can’t wait to get them on the field with us.’ Most eyes will be on (Bruce) Irvin, a speed pass rusher, and quarterback (Russell) Wilson, two players who were considered surprise selections by national NFL observers – particularly where they were taken in the draft. For Irvin, the focus will be on how long it takes for him to develop into a consistent pass rusher and an every-down player in order to live up to his draft status. In Wilson’s case, his 5-foot-11 stature and ability to deliver accurate passes from inside the pocket will be a constant measuring stick of his success in the NFL.”

Chris Burke at SI.com takes a look at the undrafted free agents who could turn into finds for the teams that signed them, including the Seahawks: “Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington. We’re kind of on a run of guys catching on with their local teams. Seattle fans ought to be well-aware of Kearse after a strong career at Washington. He has good size and will go over the middle — valuable traits for a team searching for WR help. Others to watch: Rishaw Johnson, G, California (Pa.); DeShawn Shead, DE, Portland State”

During a chat at ESPN.com, NFC West blogger Mike Sando fielded a question about the Seahawks’ creativity in player acquisition: “The 49ers converted Bruce Miller from college defensive end to fullback and got good play from him last season. Miller had not played offense since high school. (J.R.) Sweezy, like Miller, was a later-round pick. Teams have greater freedom to experiment with later-round choices. The key is to be creative without over-thinking things. More broadly, the concern in building around specialized or somewhat unique players – think Red Bryant for Seattle – is that specialized players can be tough to replace if injured. However, that is where staff flexibility can make up the difference. The Seahawks seem to have a good defensive staff and approach. Another potential concern relative to Sweezy is what the move represents: a clear push by an assistant coach to get a player he liked. Tom Cable also drove the selection of James Carpenter a year ago. Drafting players to fit the staff is important, but we should also watch to see if assistants have too much sway.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the selection of linebacker Bobby Wagner in the second round, which follows a productive trend for the team: “There’s not just a precedent, it’s a productive precedent. In 2005, Lofa Tatupu – who played for Carroll at USC – was the Seahawks’ second-round draft choice. He not only started as a rookie, he was the leading tackler on the franchise’s first Super Bowl team – the first of a club-record four consecutive seasons that the too-small, too-slow Tatupu would lead the Seahawks in tackles. In 1977, Terry Beeson was a second-round draft choice, and he also led the team in tackles as a rookie – the first of three consecutive seasons Beeson would do it, including a still-franchise record 153 tackles in 1978. In 1978, Keith Butler was selected in the second round of the draft, and he became the franchise’s all-time leading tackler by the time he left after the 1987 season (a total since surpassed by Eugene Robinson). In 1987, Dave Wyman was the team’s second-round draft choice, and he finished second on the team in tackles in 1988 and 1989. In 1990, Terry Wooden was selected in the second round, and he led the team in tackles in 1991 and 1995 and finished second in 1993 and 1994 – although it was as an outside ’backer. But you get the picture; second-round linebackers have been very, very good for the Seahawks.”

We’ve also got an item on how coach Pete Carroll surprised the veterans on Thursday, as well as birthday wishes for Jim Zorn that includes a must-see NFL Films video.

Remember free agency? It’s still going on, and Jason La Canfora at NFL.com has a look at the best remaining players, and where they might fit best.


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Monday cyber surfing: Irvin ‘arguably hottest player in the whole draft’

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, April 30:

Len Pasquarelli at Pro Sports Xchange supports what general manager John Schneider had to say about the Seahawks’ surprising selection of Bruce Irvin with the 15th  pick in the first round – that other teams also were hot for the pass rusher from West Virginia: “ ‘He was,’ the general manager from one of those teams told The Sports Xchange late Friday night, ‘arguably the hottest player in the whole draft the past week.’ That sentiment was shared by several personnel chiefs on Friday and Saturday. There have been suggestions that Irvin, whose tale of personal redemption has become well-known over the last few days, might have even been available to the Seahawks in the second round. But given the interest from other franchises, as confirmed by The Sports Xchange, that is highly unlikely. Among the several teams that either planned to select Irvin or had him on a “short list” of first-round candidates for consideration: the New York Jets (No. 16), Chicago (19th), Green Bay (28th) and San Francisco (No. 30).”

Dave Boling at the News Tribune takes a closer look at Irvin’s troubled past through the eyes of his mother: “The calls in the night were the worst. Bessie Lee knew they brought bad news about her son, Bruce Irvin; she just never knew how bad. They also brought tears, and the weight of it all forced her to her knees. Ask her about those times, and Bessie Lee taps her heart, eyes growing moist. ‘You wear out your knees asking God to take care of him,’ Lee said of those painful moments when she feared for his life. ‘When the call comes through, it’s, ‘Is he shot?’ Sometimes your mind runs deeper than jail. I have watched other people’s kids get shot, even die. You worry about those things. Oh, my Lord, is this call for my child?’ ”

Gil Brant at NFL.com offers his Top 10 undrafted players, and the list includes Washington wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who signed as a free agent with the Seahawks: “Kearse has been a starter since his freshman year in 2008. His best season came in 2010, when he had 1,005 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. His production tailed off, however, in 2011 (699 yards, seven touchdowns). He brings strong leadership qualities. One thing he has to work on is concentrating better on making the catch – he has had some drops – but has playmaking ability once he has the ball.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his initial thoughts on the Seahawks’ 2012 draft class: “The Seahawks, after getting much bigger in their first two seasons under Pete Carroll, added welcome speed to their roster in this draft. Pass-rusher Bruce Irvin, chosen 15th overall, had the fastest 3-cone time for any player at the NFL scouting combine. ‘If you look at it, our slowest guy was an offensive lineman at 4.85 (seconds in the 40-yard dash),’ Carroll said. ‘There’s great speed in this draft for us, and that’s really exciting across the board, and it’s going to help our special teams enormously.’ ”

Sando also passes along this video report that includes praise for the selection of running back Robert Turbin from Eric Allen, the former cornerback for the Eagles who now an analyst for ESPN.

Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times would have liked to see the Seahawks draft a wide receiver: “I wish the Seahawks had more seriously addressed their passing game in this draft, wish they had picked at least one wide receiver. Last season, NFL scoreboards spun like dials on a slot machine. The Green Bay Packers had the worst defense in the league. They lost once. The New England Patriots were the second-worst defense. They went to the Super Bowl.”

John Czarnecki at FoxSports.com gave the Seahawks a grade of B for this past weekend’s NFL Draft: “Coach Pete Carroll is hoping Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson (75th overall pick) develops into Drew Brees. The knock on Wilson is his height; he’s only 5-foot-10, a tad shorter than the 6-foot Brees. But he can throw a deep ball, is very athletic and off-the-charts in the locker room. He can be a great leader. Obviously, he’s going to push Tarvaris Jackson because the Seahawks have put a lot of money in ex-Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn’s pocket. … Their entire draft was one shocker after another. In the first round, they took West Virginia’s Bruce Irvin, who was off a lot of boards because of his arrest last month on a vandalism charge. But Irvin does have tons of ability and, like Carroll said, might be the best pass rusher in this draft. … Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner could fill the void of leading tackler David Hawthorne. Wagner’s college teammate, running back Robert Turbin, is the ‘strong dude’ Carroll wanted for when Marshawn Lynch takes a breather. … They don’t need much help in the secondary, but took two sixth-round flyers on Jeremy Lane and Winston Guy. Grade: B


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