Surgery for Carlson

Tight end John Carlson has had the scheduled surgery to repair the labrum he tore in practice last month, an injury that forced the club to put him on injured reserve when the roster was cut to 53 players on Saturday.

The successful procedure was performed on Monday by team doctor Ed Khalfayan at Seattle Surgery Center. Carlson will miss the season while recovering from the surgery.


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Cyber surfing: Thursday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 1:

Mike Sando of ESPN.com was at practice Wednesday and offers some observations. Says Sando: “(Leon) Washington has embraced the way assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable instructs running backs to read their keys, which includes making cuts properly in relation to defenders’ alignment. It’s pretty clear Washington will command additional touches on offense this season. He’s healthier and more confident.”

Also from ESPN.com, John Clayton rates the quarterbacks in the league. He puts Tarvaris Jackson at No. 30, in the hit-or-miss category, offering: “Jackson was beaten out by Gus Frerotte and Brett Favre during his five seasons with the Vikings. Unless Dave Krieg comes out of retirement, he should beat out Charlie Whitehurst for the starting job.”

Chris Burke at SI.com previews the four teams in the NFC West. He predicts a 7-9 record and second-place finish behind the Rams for the Seahawks, offering: “This felt like a really solid offseason for the Seahawks. They added some terrific pieces, like (Zach) Miller and (Sidney) Rice, that should have pushed a defending division champ over the top. Instead, Seattle will enter the regular season praying its offensive line can hold it together and banking on its defense to improve despite not making any real upgrades. It feels like this team will be better in 2012 than it will in 2011.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times writes that the starters will play more than usual in Friday’s preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field. Offers O’Neil: “The Seahawks, however, aren’t just sweating the final pieces of their 53-man roster this week. The offensive line remains very much a work in progress to the point that Seattle will deviate from standard-operating procedure of resting veterans for the exhibition finale. Seattle’s starters will play on Friday night against Oakland at CenturyLink Field. Coach Pete Carroll wouldn’t say how much, but he implied the first unit is going to play. In fact, he was already fairly certain of that after Saturday’s loss in Denver when he watched starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson get sacked five times.”

Dave Boling of the News Tribune has the story on one of the more entertaining aspects of practice: The chirping that goes on between wide receiver Mike Williams and free safety Earl Thomas. Says Boling: “This time of the NFL exhibition season, a common question arises from fans: Where are the best battles on the practice field? For the Seahawks, the best competition has nothing to do with the depth chart. Hands-down, the fiercest battle is the nonstop verbal jousting between receiver Mike Williams and safety Earl Thomas during practices. To clarify, nobody in the franchise wields a sharper needle than linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr., whose comments between plays can buckle the knees of a strong man at 50 paces. Be they comical, constructive or critical, Norton is the all-time heavyweight champion of the spontaneous remark. But for intramural mockery, scorn and feigned contempt, Williams and Thomas may be the best tandem the Seahawks have had in a long time.”

Just in case you can’t get enough about Doug Baldwin, John Boyle of the Everett Herald has another story – and angle – on the rookie free agent wide receiver who has been the talk of the preseason. Says Boyle: “If not for a newspaper publisher in Pensacola, Fla., and a former head coach of the Buffalo Bills, there’s a good chance that Doug Baldwin wouldn’t be battling for a shot to make the Seahawks roster. And if that doesn’t make any sense, well just bear with us for a moment.”

At PI.com, Christian Caple has notes and news from another busy day for the Seahawks.

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with Cable to see how he’s handling the growing pains of his offensive line. Of the No. 1 units, he says, “Probably playing that group more than you normally would. But we need to do it. And I think Saturday was a perfect example of how much they need to continue to play and continue to grow. We have to do it now. We’re all in it together. We know we’ll have some bumps in the road. But we what to minimize it. Saturday, we didn’t do a good job of it.” 

There’s also the daily Hawkville report, which focuses on John Carlson and the decision to have season-ending surgery on his shoulder: “The decision was kind of made by my shoulder,” Carlson said. Talk about body language. But that was the case. Initially, Carlson was going to rehab the shoulder and try to play with it. “It kind of resolved itself by not coming along as far as we wanted it to,” he said. “That’s where my shoulder is. I need to get it fixed and start the rehab process.” We also have Tony Ventrella’s daily video recap, as well as written and video reports from the unveiling of a statue of Walter Jones at the new Seahawks 12 Club at Sea-Tac.


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Wednesday in Hawkville


A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:

FOCUS ON

John Carlson. Tuesday, it was announced that the team’s incumbent starter at tight end would need season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum. Today, Carlson talked about the injury and the decision to have surgery.

“The decision was kind of made by my shoulder,” Carlson said.

Talk about body language. But that was the case. Initially, Carlson was going to rehab the shoulder and try to play with it.

“It kind of resolved itself by not coming along as far as we wanted it to,” he said. “That’s where my shoulder is. I need to get it fixed and start the rehab process.”

Carlson injured the shoulder diving for a pass in practice on Aug. 13. He then aggravated it later in practice while blocking.

“I’m disappointed, obviously,” Carlson said. “I felt like I had a great offseason of training. Our offseasons are normally devoted to OTAs and minicamps, and those things are great for developing offenses. But the individual training sometimes is lacking and I felt like I had a great offseason in that respect.

“So it’s really disappointing to have to miss this year.”

ROOKIE WATCH

Kris Durham. The wide receiver, and fourth-round draft choice, has had back-to-back impressive practices. And right on cue, with the preseason finale on Friday night and the roster cut to 53 players on Saturday.

Tuesday, the 6-foot-6 Durham went up and over cornerback Kennard Cox along the sideline to catch a pass from Tarvaris Jackson; made a nice catch of a pass from Charlie Whitehurst despite being held by the defensive back; and adjusted his route on a roll out by Whitehurst to get open, and get a hand slap from coach Pete Carroll for the effort.

Today, Durham caught a half dozen balls, including one where he went over Cox to grab a TD pass from Whitehurst on the final play of the two-hour practice.

“I’m working back into it,” said Durham, who missed the preseason opener because of a sore hamstring but has six receptions in the past two games. “It’s a grind. Some of the guys got banged up, unfortunately, so we were a little shorthanded. But a lot of guys came in and stepped up – (Ricardo) Lockette, Doug (Baldwin), Golden (Tate).

“Everybody was just out there making plays.”

Including the one he didn’t mention: Durham.

“I’m just trying to compete and get better,” he said.

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Both involved Lockette, the ridiculously fast rookie free agent. On the first – the offensive play of the day – Lockette somehow made a reaching, one-handed grab of a pass from rookie QB Josh Portis in the end zone despite free safety Earl Thomas being all over him.

“Actually, I didn’t even see him coming,” Thomas said. “I’m looking at the ball and all of sudden he was just there. Boom. It was a great catch.”

When Portis went to Lockette again a few plays later, it produced the defensive play of the day as rookie cornerback Richard Sherman matched the speedy receiver step for step as he locked in on the ball. Sherman then went up in front of Lockette to intercept the pass.

IN AND OUT

Wide receivers Patrick Williams and Chris Carter, who were released Monday, were re-signed today. The club needed their hands because Sidney Rice (shoulder), Ben Obomanu (head) and Isaiah Stanback (hamstring) did not practice, Mike Williams (foot) was limited to individual drills and Deon Butler (leg) remains on the physically unable to perform list.

Each receiver celebrated his return with a nice catch. Williams turned and jumped in one smooth motion to catch a Portis pass along the sideline against cornerback Brandon Browner. Carter ran a nice route and made an even better catch of a pass from Jackson while running toward the opposite sideline, an effort that earned a hand slap from Carroll as Carter returned to the huddle.

Defensive ends Chris Clemons and Dexter Davis and Leroy Hill returned after sitting out Tuesday, while strong safety Kam Chancellor was limited.

But eight others sat out, including running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle) and middle linebacker David Hawthorne (knee). Leon Washington got the first reps with the No. 1 offense for Lynch, while rookie K.J. Wright continued to fill in for Hawthorne. Atari Bigby worked for Chancellor with the No. 1 defense.

Also out: safety Josh Pinkard (knee), defensive end Pierre Allen (hamstring) and Carlson, in addition to the other three players who are PUP – tight end Cameron Morrah (foot), defensive tackle Colin Cole (ankle) and cornerback Roy Lewis (knee).

RETURN REPLAY

Just how good was Baldwin’s 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Saturday night’s game against the Broncos in Denver? We decided to ask Washington, who had scoring returns of 101, 99 and 92 last year in his first season with the Seahawks.

“Doug does a good job of practicing it, he hits it hard in practice,” Washington said. “So I wasn’t surprised in the game for him to finish the way he did. That was impressive.”

Washington saw the same thing that Baldwin mentioned after the game: Great blocking that allowed Baldwin to run untouched until he eluded one would-be tackle at the 20-yard line.

“We had a bounce set up, where he’s going to sell it to the middle of the field and then bounce it to the left,” Washington said. “The wedge did a good job, and Doug did a good job of selling it. Once he broke it to the left, there was nobody over there. So he did a good job.”

UP NEXT

The players have a morning practice on Thursday, their final full session before Friday night’s preseason finale against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field. They will then have Saturday and Sunday off.

The 80-man roster must be trimmed to 53 players on Saturday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It’ll be fun to see those guys, I know them so well. So it will definitely be fun to go out there and play against my old team.” – tight end Zach Miller, who played the last four seasons for the Raiders


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Cyber surfing: Wednesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Aug. 31:

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times offers his thoughts on the story of the day – John Carlson needing shoulder surgery, which will sideline the tight end for the season. Says O’Neil: “John Carlson caught more passes in his first two years as a Seahawk than any other tight end in franchise history. Now he can’t catch a break. Carlson is out for the year because of a shoulder injury, coach Pete Carroll said after Seattle’s practice Tuesday. He must undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum and is likely headed to injured reserve.”

Steve Kelley of the Times checks in with line coach Tom Cable, who calls this “ultimatum week” as his unit prepares for Friday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field. Says Kelley: “Seahawks practice has a sense of urgency this week, a feeling that the offensive line is leaking, the pass protection is broken and the problem has to be fixed quickly. Friday night’s game against the Oakland Raiders feels more important than just a final audition before opening day. This game is a call for help.”

Eric Williams of the News Tribune has the same double coverage, with a notebook lead on Carlson and a story on the line problems. Says Williams, and Cable: “ ‘Excuse’ is not a part of Tom Cable’s vocabulary. So when the offensive line’s inexperience was cited as a reason for his group’s struggles in the Seattle Seahawks first three exhibition games, Cable wasn’t buying it. ‘We can all see where they’re at – they’re not there yet,’ Cable said about the offensive line’s youth, including two rookies in John Moffitt and James Carpenter starting on the right side of the line. ‘So how you handle the time crunch, we talked about it from day one. We didn’t have OTAs (organized team activities), minicamp – all those sorts of things. It can’t be an excuse. If you notice, we try to give them as many reps as we can. We’re probably playing that group more than you normally would. But we need to. And I think Saturday was a perfect example of how much they need to continue to play, and continue to grow.’ ”

 Mike Sando at ESPN.com has a few things to consider on Golden Tate, prompted by a reader’s question about what has been obvious: rookie free agent Doug Baldwin has outplayed last year’s second-round draft choice in the preseason games. What would Sando do? “Keep Tate and put him on notice. It’s early to give up on a second-round pick who has flashed potential (52-yard catch at Denver last season). Tate has barely had one month in a new offense. Situations at quarterback and along the offensive line haven’t been ideal, either. A year ago, the Arizona Cardinals weren’t sure what to make of third-round rookie receiver Andre Roberts. Now, Roberts starts opposite Larry Fitzgerald.”

 The Seahawks will face the four teams from the NFC North this season, and Don Banks at SI.com previews the division. Says Banks: “In the eight-division NFL alignment, no one matches the AFC North’s record of featuring two heavyweight teams that have remained dominant for the division’s entire existence. In the nine seasons since the AFC North started play in 2002, it has been the big bruisers from Pittsburgh and Baltimore staying far ahead of the struggling Ohio contingent (otherwise known as the Bengals and Browns).” The Seahawks play at Pittsburgh in Week 2, then host the Ravens on Nov. 13.

Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve also got coverage of Carlson’s season-ending injury and a recap of Tuesday’s practice that focuses on Breno Giacomini splitting time at right tackle with first-round draft choice James Carpenter. There’s also Tony Ventrella’s video recap from practice and Ben Malcolmson’s “From the Sidelines” report from the Denver game.


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Tuesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:

FOCUS ON

The offensive line, and especially rookie right tackle James Carpenter. This is no surprise after the Seahawks allowed QB Tarvaris Jackson to be sacked five times in Saturday night’s loss to the Broncos in Denver, and Carpenter yielded two of them.

During today’s full-pads practice, Breno Giacomini was rotating with Carpenter – with the first unit as well as the second.

“It’s a competition that we’re just continuing,” coach Pete Carroll said when asked about the situation. “ ‘Giac’ has done a nice job. He’s put together a really good preseason. He’s very solid. He hasn’t played against the same (level of competition as Carpenter) all the time, but he has had a very solid preseason.

“He’s a been around a little bit more. So we want to make sure that he has the opportunity to show and see if he can help. So we’ve decided to give him some opportunities with the first group.”

Carpenter has only been around since July 29, when the team’s first-round draft choice signed his contract. He would have benefited greatly from the offseason minicamps and OTA sessions that were erased by the 136-day lockout.

“Our guy has done a marvelous job in a bunch of areas now at right tackle,” Carroll said of Carpenter. “I’m fired up about him. But there’s still a lot to learn, and there’s a short time to learn it.

“His feet are in the fire, right from the first game in San Diego.”

Carpenter wasn’t the Seahawks’ only problem against the Broncos.

As line coach Tom Cable put it, pointing out that miscommunication was the culprit on three of the five sacks, “We don’t feel good about Saturday at all. Very disappointed. But we also can see what it is and have a chance to now go fix it and improve from here. And it will be like that for a little while, but not too much longer.”

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Offense: Rookie wide receiver Ricardo Lockette reaching out to snag a Josh Portis pass with one hand and then spinning around cornerback Brandon Browner in almost the same motion to head up the sideline.

Defense: Linebacker David Vobora starting to his right but then diving back to his left to tip a Portis pass incomplete.

JUST VISITING

Andre Gurode, the five-time Pro Bowl center released by the Dallas Cowboys this week, visited the Seahawks today. But it was just that, Carroll said.

“He’s kind of taking a tour right now and looking at some places,” Carroll said. “We were fortunate to get in on it and visit with him. He’s had a great career and it ended kind of abruptly for him. So he’s going to take a look around and see what’s out there.”

IN AND OUT

The big news, of course, was Carroll’s announcement that tight end John Carlson will need season-ending shoulder surgery to repair the labrum he tore while diving for a pass in practice 2½ weeks ago.

Thirteen other players also did not practice, including five starters – running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle), defensive end Chris Clemons (ankle), middle linebacker David Hawthorne (knee), outside linebacker Aaron Curry (knee) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (foot). Lynch and Hawthorne will not play against the Oakland Raiders in Friday night’s preseason finale at CenturyLink Field, Carroll said.

Justin Forsett and Leon Washington filled in for Lynch, while Raheem Brock worked at Clemons’ spot, K.J. Wright and David Vobora stepped in for Hawthorne and Curry and Atari Bigby replaced Chancellor.

Also out: wide receiver Isaiah Stanback (hamstring), defensive end Dexter Davis (hip), defensive lineman Pierre Allen (hamstring) and safety Josh Pinkard (knee), as well as 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).

Wide receivers Sidney Rice (shoulder) and Ben Obomanu (head) started practice but did not finish.

Left tackle Russell Okung was limited to individual drills because of the ankle he sprained in the opener against the Chargers.

The club also completed the league-mandated roster trim to 80 players by releasing defensive Jay Alvord and safety Rickey Thenarse.

STAT DU JOUR

After making an unprecedented 284 transactions in their first year together, Carroll and general manager John Schneider have been making up for lost time following the lockout. From July 26 through today, they have made 95 roster moves – or an average of 2.6 per day.

UP NEXT

The players will practice Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning before playing their preseason finale on Friday night.

The 80-man roster must be reduced to 53 players on Saturday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Obviously you never want to look like that. It was an embarrassment to all of us, especially as a group. But that’s life. And you’ve got to learn, and how everybody responds will be the key.” – left guard Robert Gallery, looking back at the performance against the Broncos with an eye to Friday night’s game against the Raiders


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Tuesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:

FOCUS ON

Charlie Whitehurst. The team’s backup quarterback is on a roll, but coach Pete Carroll remains committed to Tarvaris Jackson as the starter as the Seahawks prepare for Saturday night’s third preseason game against the Broncos in Denver as well as the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco.

“I’m really pleased with his progress. Charlie has taken advantage of everything we’ve done out here,” Carroll said following this afternoon’s two-hour practice in full pads.

Whitehurst also has taken advantage of what the opposing defenses have given him in the first two preseason games. He was 14 of 20 for 115 yards in the opener against the Chargers in San Diego and 14 of 19 for 97 yards in Saturday night’s home opener against the Minnesota Vikings – although Carroll said it could have been a 17-of-19 outing if his receivers had not dropped some passes.

“You can see it, Charlie is functioning beautifully,” Carroll said. “You can’t ask him to do a whole lot more than that. I’m really, really fired up that he’s playing at the level he is right now.”

Even with that said, Carroll explained that it does not change his mind about Jackson continuing to be the starter – in part because the offensive line has not provided him with adequate protection.

“Tarvaris can function out there. He made good decisions. He moved well,” Carroll said. “The rush was much closer to him. He had guys around him. We weren’t as stout with the pass-pro as we would like.

“But he was very comfortable in the game (and had) a really good mentality to work with during the game – a very clear thinker, good communicator and all of that.”

And, Carroll added, it goes beyond statistics.

“We’re looking very subjectively at this,” he said. “You don’t just look at the numbers. You’ve got to look at what’s happening up front, and how the protection is holding up, and did we run the right route.”

POSITION WATCH

Linebacker. The defense practiced without its starters, as Aaron Curry, David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill sat out because of sore knees they got against the Vikings.

Carroll said he expects Curry and Hill to be ready for Saturday night’s game against the Broncos.

But this afternoon, the “starting” unit included rookie K.J. Wright in the middle for Hawthorne, rookie Malcolm Smith on the weakside for Hill and rookie Mike Morgan and just-signed David Vobora splitting time on the strongside for Curry.

“David is a savvy football player, a really good special teams guy, with flexibility and experience,” Carroll said of Vobora. “I think it’s a real nice add to us right now. He had a very good first day. I was anxious to see how he looked with our guys and he fit in very well.”

ROOKIE WATCH

K.J. Wright. With Hawthorne not expected to play against the Broncos, the fourth-round draft choice is being prepped to start.

“That’s what we’d do right now. We’d go head and go with K.J.,” Carroll said. “Which would be awesome. It would be great to see him in there playing with those guys (the starters). It will be a great experience for him and we’ll learn a lot about him.”

So far, the coaches have liked just about everything they’ve seen from the 6-foot-4 Wright, who was moved to middle linebacker after the release of incumbent starter Lofa Tatupu on July 31. Wright had a team-high eight tackles in the preseason opener against the Chargers and added two tackles plus a quarterback hit against the Vikings.

“He looks solid and he’s tackling well and he’s learning,” Carroll said. “But there are a million things for this Mike linebacker to learn. There’s so much going on, with all the responsibilities at that position. But he’s handling it admirably and this will be a great test.”

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Offense: Rookie wide receiver Kris Durham jostling with and then getting behind cornerback Kelly Jennings to catch a touchdown pass from Jackson in a 7-on-7 drill.

Defense: Let’s go with two, because they were similar and equally effective. On the first, linebacker Jameson Konz played off a lead block by fullback Michael Robinson to stop a running play before it could get started. On the second, cornerback Marcus Trufant turned fullback Dorson Boyce around with a solid jam to blow up the attempted block as well as the play.

Special teams: Pick one of the five field goals Jeff Reed hit during the special teams portion of practice, and make it the 38-yarder.

IN AND OUT

In addition to the starting linebackers, seven other players also sat out practice: tight end John Carlson (shoulder), left tackle Russell Okung (ankle), strong safety Kam Chancellor (foot), backup center Mike Gibson (undisclosed) and defensive linemen Dexter Davis, Pierre Allen and A.J. Schable (also undisclosed).

With Chancellor out, Josh Pinkard worked at strong safety with the No. 1 defense.

Cornerback Walter Thurmond practiced for the first time since early in training camp, and for the first time in full pads this summer. Carroll said he’s hopeful that Thurmond can play this week. Also back after sitting out the game against the Vikings were defensive end Chris Clemons and wide receiver Ben Obomanu.

Carroll said Carlson is “improving” after injuring his labrum while diving for a pass in practice last weekend. Carlson is aiming to play in the Sept. 2 preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field. Okung also could play against the Raiders, Carroll said, although his targeted return is the opener against the 49ers.

UP NEXT

The players will practice Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning before flying to Denver on Friday for Saturday night’s game.

Carroll said the starters are expected to play into the third quarter against the Broncos, in what will be their longest stint of the preseason.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I hit it 2½ feet (from the pin), but I think his shot was better.” – Jay Don Blake, a member of the Senior PGA tour, on Whitehurst hitting the flag with his second shot in the now-annual close-to-the-pin competition after practice but still finishing second to Blake


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Cyber surfing: Thursday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Aug. 18:

Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times checks in with Leon Washington to get his thoughts about the new rule change that has teams kicking off from the 35-yard line, rather than the 30. Says Washington: “Honestly, not to be bragging, but we work hard at it, so we feel like if we bring it out 5 or 6 yards deep (in the end zone), we’re going to at least get by the 20-yard line. … We’re not worried about that. We’re going to do our thing.” Washington certainly did that in his first season with the Seahawks, returning three kickoffs for touchdowns.

Eric Williams of the New Tribune has the word from coach Pete Carroll that Tarvaris Jackson will play the first half in Saturday night’s preseason home opener against his old team – the Vikings – after getting only two series in the opener at San Diego last week. And also Jackson’s reaction: “It’s going to be just like practice,” Jackson joked about facing the Vikings. “I saw them a lot. I practiced against them for five years straight, and that was always fun because the guys always competed. I’m pretty sure guys are going to try and get a hit on me – especially guys on defense because I always had that red jersey on in practice. I’m going to be in a different color jersey, so I’m pretty sure they’ll try and get a couple licks on me.”

Christian Caple of PI.com looks at Atari Bigby’s first day as a Seahawk. The former Packers safety was signed on Tuesday. And he already knows his role: “From what I get from it, is special teams,” Bigby said. “Come in a little bit on defense, but they told me that they have their starters.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald has a recap of the day’s activities, including an update on tight end John Carlson: “Pete Carroll said Carlson has ‘a shoulder that’s bothering him. He’s got a labrum issue that we’re working through.’ What exactly a ‘Labrum issue’ is remains to be seen, but it will certainly be something to monitor as training camp progresses.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we talk with linebacker Leroy Hill about his return – and almost rebirth – as the team’s weakside linebacker. Says Hill: “It’s definitely sweeter to be back after what I’ve been through. There was so much uncertainty. But when the uncertainty clears up, now I can just get back to focusing on what I love to do.”

We’ve also got a look at Wednesday’s practice in words, pictures and video. There’s also video of Jackson’s post-practice interview session.


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Camp Carroll: Day 21

A recap of the afternoon practice at Seahawks training camp on Wednesday:

FOCUS ON

Atari Bigby. Signed by the team on Tuesday, the former Packers safety practiced with the Seahawks for the first time today.

“It felt good to be back playing football and be back with a team,” Bigby said.

Bigby’s period of “unemployment” lasted longer than he anticipated.

“No player wants to really go through camp, because it’s the most grueling time of the football season,” he said. “But I didn’t expect to be out so long. I thought as soon as the lockout was over I was going to be one of the first guys picked. So that was hard. That was hard, swallowing that.”

The Seahawks “picked” Bigby to give them some experience on the last line of defense, and also to play special teams. The starting safeties are second-year players – Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Also in the mix for spots on the 53-man roster are rookies Mark LeGree and Jeron Johnson, as well as second-year man Josh Pinkard.

Today, Bigby was working at strong safety with the No. 2 unit.

“We see Atari as a guy who has had extended experience,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s been a nickel guy. He’s started some. He’s been all over special teams. A very well versed guy. Bright kid.

“Now we need to see him fit in and compete and see how he matches up with our guys.”

UNIT WATCH

Special teams. The Seahawks have their punter in Jon Ryan and snapper in Clint Gresham. The kicker will be either veteran Jeff Reed or the less experienced Brandon Coutu.

As for the rest of the units, “That’s a work in progress,” as Carroll put it. “And it’s not anywhere near where we need it to be right now.”

But the addition of bigger, faster, stronger players in free agency and the draft should help special teams coach Brian Schneider cobbled together his units.

“It’s going to take us a few weeks before we get everybody a shot,” Carroll said. “The rookies that are here, they had one shot last week and some of them had a play or two. You just can’t learn enough in that amount of time.

“So we have to be patient and just wait it out and use all four games to figure out the young people.”

ROOKIE WATCH

K.J. Wright. The fourth-round draft choice was moved to middle linebacker to backup David Hawthorne after veteran starter Lofa Tatupu was released. After an understandably slow start, Wright is taking to his new spot – as evidenced by his team-high eight tackles in the preseason opener against the Chargers in San Diego.

He also stands out for another obvious reason: Wright is 6-4.

“He’s a big kid. He’s different from most Mike linebackers,” Carroll said. “So he’s got a different look to him as he moves around. He’s very instinctive. He’s got a real quick knack to find the football. And when he gets there, he’s 250 pounds.

“He’s got some dimensions that make him unique in our group.”

As Wright’s efforts against the Chargers, Carroll offered, “He played better than I thought he would first time out. As the game sped up, so did he. And he made some nice hits.”

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Defense: The players practice in full pads and the D-linemen helped set the tempo in the first team drill. On the first snap, tackle Alan Branch laid a big hit on the running back as he reached the hole. A few players later, rookie tackle Pep Levingston popped the back to force a fumble.

Offense: Left guard Paul McQuistan sliding over to not only pickup a blitzing Wright, but stop the rookie linebacker in his tracks.

Special teams: Reed drilling a 52-yard field goal on the final play of practice. You could tell it was going to be good from the moment it left his foot because of the solid thump.

IN AND OUT

Tight end John Carlson continues to be sidelined with a shoulder injury. He damaged his labrum while diving for a pass in practice on Saturday.

Also sitting out: left tackle Russell Okung, cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Kelly Jennings, defensive end Chris Clemons, wide receiver Isaiah Stanback, safety Rickey Thenarse and defensive linemen Jimmy Wilkerson Pierre Allen and Ryan Sims, as well as the four players who are on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list – wide receiver Deon Butler, tight end Cameron Morrah, defensive tackle Colin Cole and cornerback Roy Lewis.

Tyler Polumbus continued to work for Okung with the No. 1 line, while Raheem Brock subbed for Clemons. With Jennings and Thurmond out, Brandon Browner continues to work at right corner with the No. 1 defense.

Returning after missing time with minor injuries: Reed, wide receiver Doug Baldwin and Kris Durham, defensive end Jameson Konz, cornerback Byron Maxwell and defensive lineman Jay Alford.

UP NEXT

Believe it or not, the training camp that seemed like it would never arrive in this oddest of offseasons breaks after practice on Thursday afternoon. The schedule for the remainder of the preseason won’t be all that different, however, because teams were allowed to practice only once a day during camp under the rules of the new CBA.

Today’s practice was the final one open to the public and 1,653 were on hand.

After practice, players presented selected fans with autographed jerseys.

“We’re just telling them how grateful we are – that this is such a great place to play and how fortunte we are to be playing with a following like this,” Carroll said. “The 12th Man has been extraordinary in our first year, and I’m hoping we can fuel them up and get them all jacked up again for this season coming up.”

YOU DON’T SAY

“My intention is to go on Saturday. Most definitely. I want to see what I’ve got.” – Bigby, when asked about playing against the Vikings in the home opener


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Cyber surfing: Wednesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Aug. 17:

The Seahawks used to travel to Eastern Washington University for training camp. This summer they’ve brought a slice of Cheney to their camp in Renton: Jesse Hoffman. Eric Williams at the News Tribune profiles Hoffman. Says Williams: “A running back at heart, Jesse Hoffman has made a smooth transition to the physically demanding position of cornerback. And the rookie out of Eastern Washington University is in a fierce competition to earn a spot on the 53-man final roster or the practice squad on his home-state team, the Seattle Seahawks. Hoffman impressed Seahawks’ brass enough during his college pro day in April that they signed him to their 90-man roster as an undrafted free agent.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times examines the sprained ankles that have sidelined left tackle Russell Okung, including the one he got last Thursday in the preseason opener. Offers O’Neil: “Let us interrupt the hand-wringing over Okung’s health to interject some actual expertise on the injury. ‘No one’s prone to this,’ said Dr. Erik C. Nilssen of The Andrews Institute of Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Florida.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com takes a look at why the Seahawks would opt for ex-Packer Atari Bigby over Lawyer Milloy to add some needed experience to their young secondary. Says Sando: “Why not just bring back Milloy, one of the toughest players of his generation? There’s a tradeoff in re-signing such a durable, competitive player amid a youth movement. Milloy returned to the Seahawks last season only after coach Pete Carroll promised to restore him as the starter. Milloy had not been happy as a backup in 2009. Any leadership he might have provided would have been muted from the bench in 2011.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the need-meets-desire scenario that is Brandon Browner getting a second shot at playing in the NFL because the Seahawks are looking to get bigger at cornerback. Browner not only is big (6-4), he can cover. Says DB coach Kris Richard: “Yes, he can cover,” said Kris Richard, the former Seahawks cornerback who is now coaching the defensive backs. “He has attributes that are uncommon. Typically a guy that size, you would think he’d have trouble getting in and out of breaks. But Brandon has shown the ability to get in and out of breaks. So the attributes that you look for in a corner, you’re finding. He’s been a pleasant surprise.”

We also check in with some of the fans who have been attending the training camp practices, with the last one that will be open to the public this afternoon.

At NFL.com, Elliott Harrison examines whether this could be the year of the tight end. It’s pertinent in Seattle, because the Seahawks acquired Zach Miller, a Pro Bowl tight end with the Raiders last season, to pair with John Carlson. Says Harrison: “Is it OK to call 2011 the ‘Year of the Tight End’? Sounds cheesy, but I’m afraid it might be true. Take a look around the league. If there is one position that’s loaded with young and old talent, it’s tight end.”

At FoxSports.com, Peter Schrager offers reasons why each of the 32 teams can win the Super Bowl. Here’s what he says about the Seahawks: “More than a few folks scratched their heads over some of the Seahawks’ offseason free-agent acquisitions this season, most notably — one Tarvaris Jackson. But Jackson’s in Seattle for a reason: Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, his coordinator in Minnesota, still has confidence in the sixth-year quarterback. Sidney Rice, Bevell’s No. 1 wideout in Minny, has come along for the ride. Meanwhile, Tom Cable — the new offensive line coach — got old Raiders Zach Miller and Robert Gallery to make the trip to the Pacific Northwest, too. There’s a lot of familiarity and positivity in that Seattle locker room this season. Who cares what everyone is saying outside of it?”


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Camp Carroll: Day 17

A recap of the afternoon practice at Seahawks training camp on Saturday:

FOCUS ON

Russell Okung. No crutches. No boot. Able to do toe-raises while watching practice.

All the signs today where more positive than it appeared after the team’s left tackle limped off the field on Thursday night during the first series of the Seahawks’ preseason opener against the Chargers in San Diego. Yes, Okung has a sprained left ankle. But it is not as severe as the high sprains of both ankles that forced him to miss six regular-season games last season.

“Russell’s not nearly as bad as it looked,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice. “It’s nothing like the ones he had.”

Carroll did not put a timetable on Okung’s possible return, but he said it is conceivable that last year’s top draft choice could be ready for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco.

“He’s way more active than he was any time early in those other ankle injuries that he had,” Carroll said. “So we’re feeling pretty positive that something’s going to come out and within a couple of weeks we’ll be in pretty good shape.”

While Okung is out, Tyler Polumbus is working at left tackle with the No. 1 line.

POSITION WATCH

Tight end. After Thursday night’s game, backup QB Charlie Whitehurst glanced around the locker room and offered, “Look at the talent we have on this team at the tight end position.”

He’ll get no argument from Carroll.

“It really feels strong now,” Carroll said. “With Zach (Miller) coming in, John Carlson has really answered the call. I mean John is competing like crazy.

“It’s a very strong position for us and one we’re kind of growing with as we see them display the kind of things they can do.”

The addition of Miller from the Raiders in free agency to complement Carlson gives the team two starting-caliber tight ends, and a tandem that assistant head coach/line coach Tom Cable considers the best in the league.

But the contributions of free-agent addition Dominique Byrd and second-year man Anthony McCoy are making things interesting in the battle for the third roster spot. And Cameron Morrah, who filled that spot last season, has yet to practice because he’s recovering from offseason toe surgery.

“Dominique is a very good all-around athlete,” Carroll said of Byrd, who played for him at USC. “He was a point guard in high school. He’s got a lot of athleticism that make him unique to the tight end position.”

Byrd caught two passes for 52 yards against the Chargers and also was wide open in the end zone on the play where rookie QB Josh Portis went to McCoy for the TD that tied the score at 17.

UNIT WATCH

The fans. Those along the fence, as well as those on the berm that is adjacent to the practice fields. Today’s practice drew the largest crowd of camp – 2,314 – and the fans were treated to the best practice of camp.

“I thought it was a really interesting day of practice for anybody watching,” Carroll said. “Just a lot of playmaking. A lot of really interesting plays. Guys making catches. Guys making throws. And a bunch of different positions, too.

“So it was just a great day of practice for us.”

And the fans cheered and applauded on a regular basis. They also showed their old-school 12th Man colors, as Steve Largent, Curt Warner, Jacob Green, Shawn Springs and Brian Bosworth jerseys were spotted in the crowd.

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Offense: Ben Obomanu somehow gathering in a pass from Tarvaris Jackson while sandwiched between cornerback Kelly Jennings and the back of the end zone. Obomanu not only came down with the ball, he got both feet in before falling out of the end zone.

Defense: Rookie cornerback Richard Sherman coming off wide receiver Golden Tate to intercept a flea-flicker pass from Whitehurst.

IN AND OUT

Seven players who did not play in Thursday night’s game participated in practice at least on a limited basis: wide receivers Sidney Rice, Mike Williams and Obomanu; running back Justin Forsett; and defensive linemen Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Kentwan Balmer.

“It was great to see those guys jump back out,” Carroll said. “It feels like a little boost, on the depth chart anyway.”

Three players joined the ranks for those sidelined: cornerback Byron Maxwell, wide receiver Chris Carter and Okung.

Still out: cornerback Walter Thurmond, offensive lineman Caz Piurowski, wide receiver Kris Durham, defensive linemen Jay Alford and Ryan Sims and the four players who have yet to practice in camp – wide receiver Deon Butler, defensive tackle Colin Cole, cornerback Roy Lewis and Morrah.

UP NEXT

The players will have a walk-thru on Sunday morning and then practice starting at 1:45. The session is open to the public and another large turnout is expected.

YOU DON’T SAY

“No, I just think that’s a regular day for Kenny Norton. Kenny Norton had a big day today. But we had to remind Kenny, it isn’t how you start, it’s how you finish. Because he was all hot and going early on and had the whole defense and everybody riled up.” – Carroll on his linebackers coach, who was involved in a couple of very animated discussions with the local officials who work practice


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