OFF THE CUFF
Matt Flynn got the most reps, but Russell Wilson was the best QB
Quarterbacks did not split reps evenly for the first time in training camp. It was Flynn’s turn to run with the starters, but that has not mattered until today. More details can be found here. Flynn did not take advantage of the opportunity he was given. The team spent much of the day focused on red zone situations. Windows are small. Decisions must be quick. Passes must be accurate. In Flynn’s first red zone duty in full team drills, he went: incomplete, sack, interception (Brandon Browner), drop by Golden Tate, incomplete. On his last rotation he went: short pass to Deon Butler, drop by Charly Martin that was picked off by Browner, incomplete, throw away, complete to Marshawn who beasted up the middle for a TD, incomplete. The defense was stellar today, which I will touch on shortly, but Flynn struggled. No sugar coating that.
Meanwhile, Wilson was not great, but he was the best quarterback on the field. His ability to create plays with his feet and his arm strength seemed to show up more. He seemed to have a little more of a knack for red zone football. Again, the defense dominated, but here’s a sample of Wilson’s last rotation: sack (Pierre Allen), uses his feet to buy time and makes a nice throw to Lavasier Tuinei for the TD, incomplete (should have been picked by Browner), scrambles for a TD (defensive players boo him), overthrow. Not exactly the things resumes are made of, but the ingenuity he showed to even score twice was impressive. Moreover, there was a play early in practice that caught my attention. It was in 7v7–still in the red zone–and Wilson immediately started to dump it over the middle to a RB, but he stopped his motion and scanned the field long enough to find Ricardo Lockette for a TD. I have been grading Wilson down because he was taking the underneath throws so often, and you can complete passes that way, but not win. If someone was tracking yards per attempt, Flynn has to be destroying Wilson and Tarvaris Jackson so far. Not today. That one play showed me Wilson is learning and growing with each practice. Nothing I saw today made me question my proclamation of Flynn starting, but if this happened for five straight practices, it might.
Blue Angels? Meet the Blue Devils
The Blue Angels streaked over practice, but it was the defense that covered the entire field. Nothing accentuates the length of this defense than being in the red zone. It felt like Browner, Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and K.J. Wright could reach their hands out and block the entire field. Browner was a monster today. He had a couple picks and could have had a few more. The whole secondary, including the backups, was exceptional. Great secondary play is often accompanied by great pressure on the passer. That was definitely the case today. Gus Bradley was dialing up blitzes from all over. Malcolm Smith zipped up the gut on one play, then Allen would swim around his man on the next. The quarterbacks were dodging pass rushers all day long. This defense was fired up. Flynn had the audacity to do a quarterback sneak on fourth down to get a first, and the whole defense started booing. Wilson faced a similar fourth down next and Clinton McDonald could be heard yelling, “Better not be another QB sneak! Better not be another QB sneak!!” It wasn’t. Wilson executed a play-action pass to Kregg Lumpkin. The defense booed Wilson later, though, when he scrambled for the touchdown mentioned above. I spoke to Roy Lewis briefly after practice telling him they looked impossible to score on, and he said they had a couple flaws from last year that they think they have patched. Seattle was 11th in red zone defense last year. They could easily slide into the Top 5 in 2012.
Man crush on Tom Cable
Cable comes to Seattle with a lot of reputation for being a bad-ass with a temper. All I’ve seen is a patient and talented teacher. I had the pleasure of seeing him coach up close today. The lineman were working on a cut drill where they dive at a pad before landing on a cushion. Cable pulled Breno Giacomini aside after he went through and could be heard saying, “You are such a big guy, you have to bend even more to get low.” It wasn’t humiliating or degrading. You hear the lineman talk about how good of coach he is, but to watch him walk the line of intensity and support made me jealous as a father of two. Can we use some cap space to lock him up for another couple years? Pretty please?
STAND-OUT NEW FACES
OL Rishaw Johnson
Johnson got some kudos from the coaches and front office after OTAs. This was my first chance to watch him up close, and he impressed. The guy is clearly a draft-worthy athlete. He movements are fluid, and nicely combines size, speed and strength. He’s going to challenge for a roster spot.
RB Robert Turbin
Turbin ran and caught well today, but he makes the list for his good nature as he was forced to carry off seemingly half the team’s pads and helmets. Just when he looked like he couldn’t carry another thing, Lewis called him over and stripped off his pads and helmet. Somehow, he found space underneath one of those pythons he calls arms to wedge his new assignment. He had a good laugh with Lewis before waddling off under a mountain of equipment.
S Winston Guy
This guy is a specimen. I had not really seen it before, but his torso is a V. He attacked the line of scrimmage with reckless abandon, and looks more and more like a player worth watching.
Jameson Konz, Walter Thurmond, Anthony McCoy, Doug Baldwin put ice on his hamstring early in practice and shut it down
THINGS I NOW KNOW
- Paul McQuistan is a goofball
- Cable has his lineman partner with the guy competing for their role during drills. John Moffitt vs. Deuce Lutui, McQuistan vs. Allen Barbre. They are not all direct competitors (Okung faces Giacomini), but I was still struck by how supportive the combatants were of each other. There was no hint trying to beat the guy across from them. At one point, I saw J.R. Sweezy get Johnson in the right position before Cable got to them in the drill.
It was a tough day to be Flynn. His day to run with starters came when Baldwin got hurt, the team was focusing on red zone, and the defense was as fired up as they’ve been thus far. Wilson was only good in the relative sense. We will see what happens tomorrow when Wilson is scheduled to take starter reps. Not only will he probably get extra snaps, but he may be facing different scenarios. If he comes out with the right approach, he could win another day and make this all that much harder on the coaches.
Anyone that thinks Lynch isn’t going to run as hard this year should come to a practice. Nobody seems to have told Lynch that this is just practice. He took on five defenders at the goal line today, and won.
LB Mike Morgan and DE Greg Scruggs got some run with the starters.
My youngest son’s birthday party is on Saturday, and I may not be able to get away on Sunday, so expect a break in coverage after tomorrow. Field Gulls is a great alternate source of information.