OFF THE CUFF
Russell Wilson plays well again, Flynn recovers from a sub-par Thursday
The biggest question I had heading into today was whether we would see any pattern develop in how reps were doled out among the quarterbacks. As you might remember, yesterday was the first day there was any appreciable difference in the amount of reps each quarterback got. Today, it was Wilson’s turn to run with the starters, Tarvaris Jackson was second string and Flynn third.
|Yellow indicates the player who was the starter that day|
The new trend of giving the QB playing with the starters extra reps continued today. There were many differences worth calling out between today’s practice and yesterdays that had a direct impact on the reps. The drills today more closely resembled what we saw the first four days of camp. The rotation from Wilson to Jackson to Flynn was repeated throughout the day. There was no skipping of players going on. There were also “drive” drills where the number of snaps had nothing to do with the coaches. Quarterbacks could score in one play, be stopped on 3rd or 4th down by the defense, or take their unit on a nine-play touchdown drive like Flynn did. The number of reps becomes less indicative of coaches intentions in situations like that. Even so, coaches did leave Wilson in for a long stretch at the end of practice that accounted for 14 reps. They could have rotated Jackson or Flynn in, but chose not to. That at least tells me that they wanted to get a longer look at Wilson.
Wilson played well today. His height does not seem to be an issue at all. It was Jackson, not Wilson that got his pass swatted down by DT Jason Jones. Wilson is looking more and more comfortable running the offense and make throws on time. He is also throwing from the pocket more, although some of his more impressive plays come when he creates time with his feet and then spots and open man. He had a good play in the two minute where he looked like he was going to take off running up the middle before seeing Leon Washington out of the corner of his eye and lofting a quick swing pass to him in space, which Washington gobbled up and ran for a good 15-20 yards. He had a great hole throw over the linebackers and in front of the safeties to Kellen Winslow Jr., who made a nice catch. There was also a few pretty throws to Golden Tate deep. The kid is improving. No doubt about it.
Flynn rebounded from a poor showing yesterday with a decent practice. It was not to the level he had reached a few practices ago, but it was good to see him battle. He drew the defense offside again on his very first snap and found TE Sean McGrath for a throw down the seam. He led his unit to the only three touchdowns of the day for the offense. It is funny, Wilson seemed to throw the ball better in practice, but looking over their results really favors Flynn. On one possession, Flynn actually beat the defense for two touchdowns. The first one was another offsides by the defense that officials blew dead, but Flynn had already released a beautiful pass to Kris Durham in the corner of the end zone. Two plays later, he found Lavasier Tuinei at the goal line. Remember, Flynn was doing this with the third stringers as well. He was playing against the lower level defenses more often as well, but playing with the third string offensive players has noticeably effected Jackson when he has been in that spot.
Jackson, it should be noted, had a good practice. He had a few nice passes to Cameron Morrah. It was one of his better practices of late.
I spent the first half of practice half watching the position drills and half talking with some of the friends and family of the players. Their stories are almost as interesting to me as the players, but most of them prefer to stay out of the spotlight. The people a player surrounds himself with can tell you as much about who he is as what they tell you in an interview or how they conduct themselves on the field. I was trying to convince a few of the newcomers to the area, who are bored during the days when practice ends, to take a drive to Alki Beach or jump on a ferry ride. I think they are more interested in the rumored mimosas that get served in the VIP area during weekend practices…
STAND-OUT NEW FACES
TE Sean McGrath
McGrath has been solid throughout camp. He is not flashy, but seems to be in the right place at the right time and has a reliable set of hands. He had five catches, by my count, today. He may be a practice squad candidate.
DT Jason Jones
Jones opened up some whoop ass again. He spiked a Jackson pass down so hard it was a surprise to see the ball had not stuck in the grass. He also sacked Wilson.
DE Bruce Irvin
Irvin had a sack on the first play of team drills, and continues to apply consistent pressure each practice. I can’t wait to see what he looks like under the lights against an opposing team. Being able to practice against him every day in practice has to reduce his effectiveness a bit as the lineman have acclimated to the speed of his get-off.
WR Phil Bates
Bates had a monster reverse for 30-40 yards late in practice that led to Flynn’s last TD pass to Tuinei. There is no room on the 53-man roster for Bates, but he is becoming a near-lock for the practice squad. He has a nice combination of speed and is fluid coming out of his breaks. He beat Brandon Browner early in 1v1 drills and Browner was pissed enough to push Bates and draw a pass interference flag.
Jameson Konz, Walter Thurmond, Anthony McCoy, Doug Baldwin (precautionary), Bobby Wagner (Curtis Crabtree reported it was a quad issue, and he looked fine on the sidelines), Matt McCoy (this is starting to hurt his chances), Winslow slipped on the grass and then twisted his knee reaching back trying to make a catch. He was sidelined the rest of practice with ice on his knee, but had a smile on his face.
THINGS I NOW KNOW
- Heath Farwell is a back-up MLB behind Wagner and Barrett Ruud. McCoy plays that position as well, and it could come down to Farwell or McCoy being kept around to back-up Wagner since both are special teams aces.
Add me to the list of people that think the coaching staff needs to stop splitting reps within the next day or two. It made sense early, but there have been enough snaps to get a pretty good feel for who each of these quarterbacks are. Yes, Wilson is improving, and should continue to improve. Even so, his trajectory is not hard to map out. Giving Flynn first team reps and Wilson second team reps will not keep Wilson from continuing to grow. If the coaches see undeniable evidence of Wilson overtaking Flynn, they can give him the starter reps and move Flynn to back-up. In other words, there has been enough repetition to pick a leader of the pack. Do it.
Braylon Edwards had a nice start to practice in 1v1 drills, and Ben Obomanu matched him. On on back-to-back set of plays, Edwards made a leaping grab for a touchdown and then Obomanu immediately made an even more impressive bobbling, leaping grab for a touchdown. These two are probably battling for one spot.
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.