2012 Seahawks Training Camp: July 30th News & Notes
Seattle had its first padded practice of training camp today on a cold Monday morning. The quarterback race continued to take shape and some others trends have started to emerge.
OFF THE CUFF Ricardo Lockette is worth getting excited about
Receiver may be the most concerning aspect of the Seahawks 2012 roster. Doug Baldwin and Sidney Rice are good, and potentially great. Ben Obomanu is solid, with limited upside. Deon Butler is good, and could be a nice 4th or 5th receiver. Golden Tate is a playmaker, but not an every down starter. Ricardo Lockette is putting on a show at camp. He is tall (6’2″), fast, and is flashing impressive concentration on jump balls. He has made at least three highlight reel grabs that required him to go over Seattle’s big secondary. I have not seen him lose one of those plays so far. He may be rough around the edges running routes and making reads (it’s hard to tell without being in the huddle), but it will be hard for Seahawks coaches to leave him off the field if he continues to show big play ability that no other receiver outside of Rice has demonstrated. Kam Chancellor might disagree, but Lockette is possibly the best athlete on the roster. Tate had some remarkable practices in his first year, but failed to follow it up in games. My guess is Lockette makes at least one highlight play and possibly blows up in his first game.
Flynn out in front
Each practice has seen a different quarterback take reps with the first team. Today, it was Russell Wilson’s turn to take lead with Tarvaris Jackson getting 2nd string reps and Matt Flynn taking 3rd string snaps. A funny thing happened in the first set of team drills. Wilson came on and handed off twice before fumbling a snap on the third play. Jackson came on and ran three plays as well (nice pass to Cameron Morrah for 20, running play and a 15-yard gain to Butler). Then, the 3rd string quarterback came in, Flynn, and proceeded to run six plays. Flynn got one more snap than either Jackson or Wilson in 7v7 drills. Flynn, Wilson, and Jackson all got 13 snaps in the final team drills. In prior days, the starter got more reps than the other players. It is possible there is method to the way the drills are run that allows a QB to stay on, or come off, depending on how they perform. Either way, Flynn appears to be earning more snaps. He was responsible for the best throws of the day again. He threw a gorgeous 40-yard touchdown to Tate near the left hash in 7v7 drills. His anticipation is clearly superior to the other quarterbacks at this point. There was a defender five yards in front of Tate when Flynn released the ball, but Tate was five yards beyond the defender when the throw reached him. That’s called throwing your receiver open, and Flynn has done it two days in a row.
He also was responsible for another 40-yard touchdown to Lockette near the end of practice. Again, it was along the left side of the field, which appears to be his stronger side. Even when he is checking down to the running back, it is in rhythm with the offense. He was not flawless, as he was a day earlier, but he was impressive.
Bruce Irvin and Chris Clemons get to work
Pete Carroll said on Brock and Salk this morning that padded practices give you a better chance to create true pass rushing situations. Bruce Irvin and Chris Clemons regularly found their way into the backfield. Both had at least two sacks, and could have had a few more in a live contact game. People continue to ask if it is the result of poor protection or good pass rushing. That’s a hard question to answer until the team faces other opponents. I can say that not every player is getting pressure on the quarterback, so Irvin and Clemons deserve some credit.
STAND-OUT NEW FACES TE Kellen Winslow Jr.
Winslow was on the practice field again today, after taking yesterday off, and was a frequent target of all the quarterbacks. He was often lining up outside the hash marks, and making most of his catches 15-20 yards down field.
DE Cordarro Law
Law did not register any sacks that I saw, but he was creating pressure, and looks to be a unique athlete. He could be the sleeper undrafted free agent of 2012.
QB Russell Wilson
Wilson had his best practice to date. He started off shaky, but came on strong as practice wore on. He was letting go of the ball in rhythm instead of waiting for the line to wash by him. His height did not appear to be an issue at all, and it should be noted I have not seen one of his passes batted down yet (although I can’t say I see every play). The question has been less about batted balls and more about whether he could see down field and find open men with taller players surrounding him. I was skeptical after two practices, but today was encouraging in that regard. He was more decisive today, and completed 9 of his last 10 passes by my count.
Ron Parker, Jameson Konz, Jason Jones, Alan Branch, Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell was limited, Matt McCoy, Anthony McCoy
THINGS I NOW KNOW
Cameron Morrah is going to be a tough out. He is making the plays that come his way, and is a great target at tight end. Don’t be surprised of the team keeps four tight ends: Zach Miller, Winslow, McCoy and Morrah.
Kris Durham may be a good slot receiver for someone, but I’m not sure I see him sticking as an outside guy. He looks uncomfortable and out of position. His fate in Seattle may have been written when Doug Baldwin won the slot role last year.
Jackson is not playing poorly. Flynn and Wilson are just playing better. That’s exactly what Seahawks fans should hope for. I expected to see Flynn as a limited player who was just more ready than Wilson to take the helm. The last two days, Flynn has looked like a better quarterback than the other two. His throws are on time, his reads are quick and correct, his accuracy is good and his arm strength is more than adequate. He takes shots down the field, and will check down appropriately. Wilson is definitely more mobile and it will be interesting to see if that is factor once the games begin.
Robert Turbin had another strong practice. He is a clear upgrade over Justin Forsett.
Tate, Lockette, Butler and Obomanu are all playing well. Doug Baldwin is not being targeted as often as last year at this time, but that may be by design. Sidney Rice (who had his red jersey back on today) may not have caught a ball yet in team drills. Those are the odds-on favorites to be the receivers that come out of camp with the team. Lockette could be the starter opposite Rice, with Obomanu providing an option who coaches know they can rely on.
The overall intensity of practice was down today. There may be some tired legs out there, and there was a smaller crowd due to being on a weekday. Practice took place on the far field as well, which always stinks.
Irvin and Law were getting coached up on zone drops early in practice. Irvin needed a few reminders from the coaches before he seemed to get it. Dexter Davis made a nice tip and interception during that same zone drop drill. Davis continues to be a hard worker who has the potential to flash during the games.
I am scheduled to be back at practice tomorrow, but may choose to sleep instead. Find me on Twitter if you have any questions.