Saturday, July 28, 2012

2012 Seahawks Training Camp: July 28th News & Notes

Seahawks fans came out in droves to watch the unveiling of the 2012 squad. Pete Carroll and his staff put the team through a new battery of drills that involved more simultaneous activity (e.g., 4 or 5 drills at once instead of 2 or 3), more conditioning, and more mixing of offensive and defensive players. The result was a spirited practice that lasted around three hours.

OFF THE CUFF
Quarterbacks do not impress
Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson all struggled to make consistently good choices followed up by physically sound throws. Jackson appeared to have the most command of what was going on, which is expected, but still held onto the ball for achingly long periods of time, and made some bad throws into coverage, including a pick-six for Richard Sherman. Flynn showed more arm strength that I expected to see, especially on intermediate routes up the seam, but his accuracy was off on a number of throws. I'm eager to see him throw to the starters tomorrow. Wilson has a great arm, but the idea that his height is not an issue needs to go out the window. He consistently had to wait for the pass rush to wash by him before he threw the ball, indicating some trouble seeing down field. He was also a little quick to tuck and run. He flashed some talent on timing patterns like out routes. The defense was playing well, but the results would have been different if Matt Hasselbeck was out there throwing. That's not crying over spilled milk. It is just meant to indicate that the level of quarterback play is still lower than it was when Hasselbeck was on the roster.

Pass rush is much improved
Bruce Irvin, Dexter Davis, Jason Jones, Jaye Howard and Cordarro Law all demonstrated consistent pressure on the passer. A large number of offensive plays would have never happened in a real game where defenses are allowed to hit the quarterback. Irvin was not unblockable, but was in the lineman's heads, leading to at least one false start for Alex Barron. Some of this could be attributed to poor offensive line play, but I saw a line last year that was far worse protect the quarterback far better in practice. Pass rush could conceivably go from a weakness to a strength this season.

Expectations are high
The size of the crowd. The light heckling of Jackson and Wilson. The mass of fans staying late for the chance to get a single autograph. All of these things point to a team that is operating with expectations. It felt different today.

STAND-OUT NEW FACES
Rookie DE Cordarro Law
Law is an undrafted free agent out of Southern Miss. He is not big at only 6'1" and 254 lbs, but he is lightning-quick off the edge. He was in the backfield on three consecutive plays at one point. He should push Dexter Davis for a roster spot and playing time. He is an early practice squad candidate as well.

DT Jason Jones
This guy literally stands out. You don't see many 6'5" defensive tackles, but that's exactly what Jones is. Do yourself a favor and watch him the next practice you attend for at least a few snaps. He slices into the backfield with regularity.

Rookie DE Bruce Irvin
Irvin did a lot of linebacker drills, and was on an odd substitution pattern that had him playing with the first, second and third stringers. It almost seemed like they were protecting the 2nd string offensive tackles, and pitting Irvin against veteran Alex Barron--who was playing with the 3rd string--on purpose. Can't wait to see this guy play in a game.

SIDELINED PLAYERS
No surprises.

THINGS I NOW KNOW
  1. Bobby Wagner is #1 on the middle linebacker depth chart. He ran with the starters all day.
  2. Doug Baldwin is getting some reps on the outside.
  3. Byron Maxwell looks to be in trouble. He was running with the last group in drills, and did not get on the field for team drills from what I saw. There may be an injury issue, but he appeared fine and was not wearing a red jersey. 
  4. Ben Obomanu, Goldent Tate, Doug Baldwin, and Deon Butler all got some reps with the starters on the outside. Rotations will change once Rice is back full-time, but it looks to be between Tate and Obomanu at this point.
  5. Deuce Lutui likes to dance


GENERAL IMPRESSIONS
Matt Flynn did not have a great practice, but he had the most promising practice of the three competitors. His arm strength on seam routes is far better than I expected, even if his accuracy was not there. He showed an interest in making those back-shoulder throws that Aaron Rodgers makes a living off of, but his receivers did not appear to be on the same page. It is hard to get a read on a guy after just one practice, but he set my mind at ease about the things I worry most about like arm strength. Jackson left the door open with a subpar practice, and Flynn did not noticeably step up. He needs to shine at some point if he wants a real shot at Jackson's job.

There is no way you can watch Russell Wilson drop back and not have serious questions about his ability to consistently play in this league. Things are happening so fast, and the windows are so tight. I realize he has succeeded despite his height in other places, but I'll need to see it before I believe it at the NFL level.

Ricardo Lockette had the best practice of anyone on offense.He caught everything thrown his way, and demonstrated great concentration on a couple of deep balls. The players above him on the depth chart could be feeling some pressure if he piles up a few more practices like that.

The secondary is just filthy. Telling you more about Kam Chancellor, Sherman, Brandon Browner and Earl Thomas does not make a bunch of sense. These guys are great, and they know it. Roy Lewis and Marcus Trufant joined them a few times and played well.

Phil Bates made a few nice plays, and Golden Tate made the most of the few opportunities that got sent his way.

Robert Turbin did not stand out, but judging the run game is nearly impossible at these events. Marshawn Lynch looked to be in great shape, and was running hard.

Zach Miller dropped a couple of passes. Kellen Winslow Jr. was okay, but not great. Cameron Morrah looks to be Winslow Jr.'s backup and Anthony McCoy looks to be Miller's backup.

These are thoughts after a single practice. It will be easier to make more confident assessments after seeing them a few more times.

5 comments :

Kip Earlywine said...

I really wish I could have been there since I've read three different TC reports and they contain some conflicting opinions regarding QB play.

Regarding Wilson, his height something that will obviously have to be considered. Throwing windows require time and distance from the line to navigate, so it's very important the Seahawks offense makes adjustments to compensate for that.

Seattle's pass rush probably outpaces their pass protection by quite a bit, and from some of the other reports I read it sounded like the Seahawks were having the TEs run more routes as opposed to more max protect like they had been the last couple years. Really, it's a recipe which really favors quick throws, and that's not a part of Wilson's game- unless he's taking the snap from the shotgun, and how often does that happen?

Should be interesting to see how Wilson looks in the preseason under what I expect will be very different circumstances from today.

davidno88 said...

Great write-up, Hawkblogger. I had no clue who Corderro Law was until your blog. It's refreshing to hear something new. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to Sunday and Monday's posts to learn more about the QBs.

D said...

Following this closely from across the atlantic. Great work..

Anonymous said...

On the very first day of TC, Russell Wilson was playing with the third stringers, what he does when he gets his shot with the #1's will go a long way in showing all the nay-sayers what he's got.

Most people seem to think Flynn is the guy because of his 2-games of NFL experience, BS. Wilson started all 4 years (50 games)in college, Flynn started all of 10 games in his entire college career. Siting on the bench in GB is experience? BS.

Anonymous said...

Saw part of the practice, and yes there are different opinions on the QB play. If Flynn has the decent arm like all 3 said he will definately win this job, THANK GOD!I thought Flynn looked pretty good and it was the 2nd WR making the gaffes more so than him.
Wilson is not ready and TJax is at best a back up. I just hopoe the d3ecision is made sooner rather than later so MF gets all the needed reps with the starters. Hawkman