Opportunity hails Seahawks' Losman
ERIC D. WILLIAMS; Staff writer
RENTON – J.P. Losman, the Seattle Seahawks’ new quarterback who hopes to hit the reset button in his NFL career, has been thrown into the deep end by coach Pete Carroll in his first week of practice.
Having barely had time to crack the playbook, Losman took his first reps during team drills Monday. His first throw was deflected at the line of scrimmage by defensive tackle Robert Henderson. But after that Losman managed a couple short completions, quickly recognizing the blitz and dumping off the ball.
Losman also showed a strong, accurate arm during one-on-one drills. He stayed late and worked on his footwork after practice.
Losman is expected to push second string quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and starter Matt Hasselbeck to help improve overall depth at the position.
A first-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2004, Losman said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“My focus basically, to be honest, is just with myself and how good I can possibly get,” Losman said. “The main theme here is to make this the best offseason of your life. And that’s what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to come in here and study harder than I’ve ever studied”
Carroll and the rest of the Seahawks’ staff were impressed with Losman’s arm strength, and they see him as a good fit in offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates’ system.
“He has fantastic strength in his arm,” Carroll said. “Our guys had evaluated him coming out (of college) and really liked him. We know that he has had a lot of playing time that gives him some background. We think he gives us a chance to be more competitive. I already talked to Charlie (Whitehurst) about feeling the push from J.P. and that’s kind of how this goes.
“I think we have strengthened our quarterback position in potential, for sure. Now we have to get our guys playing well and we’ll see what happens. It’s going to take us a long time before we really know how this works out.”
Losman, 29, washed out of the league in 2008 after five seasons in Buffalo. The 22nd overall pick out of Tulane in 2004, the confident Losman admitted to making his share of mistakes when Buffalo anointed him the quarterback of the future in his second season by releasing veteran Drew Bledsoe. But after two roller-coaster seasons in which injuries and poor play has Losman in and out of the lineup, Buffalo drafted Trent Edwards in 2007 and handed him the job a year later.
That signaled the end of Losman’s tenure. Losman demanded a trade at the end of 2007 after Edwards took over as the starter.
He finished his stay in Buffalo with a 10-23 record as a starter, throwing for over 6,200 yards with 33 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.
“You wish you had that opportunity back to maybe handle the situation a little bit differently than you did,” Losman said. “But here you are. This is my fresh start. This is my new team, my new coaches. And right now honestly I’m trying to put that in the past.
“Yes, I’ve learned from my mistakes. Trust me, I remember every negative thing, I remember every positive thing. I take it with me. And you just move on to the next year and try to make it work.”
With no NFL team interested in bringing him in to compete for a starting job, Losman decided to attempt to revive his career in the upstart United Football League, joining the Las Vegas Locomotives.
Losman was coached there by quarterback guru Jim Fassel, who coached in the NFL from 1991 to 2006. Losman found the comfort zone he was looking for in the UFL, completing 62 percent of his passes for 1,193 yards and nine touchdowns with only two interceptions. Losman helped the Locomotives win the first UFL title.
His performance led to a signing with Oakland at the end of 2009, and ultimately a full-time opportunity to return to the league.
Losman said his season in the UFL was a humbling experience, and he never doubted he’d get another chance to prove his worth.
“I am very fortunate of this opportunity,” he said. “I’m very excited. There’s a lot of other teams I could have went to and I ended up here. … It’s going to be a great organization to play for. The coaching staff is very enthusiastic. They’re young. They’re fresh. Everything is new. The bullets will start flying here shortly, as the season gets closer and things get started. But right now everything is fresh.”
Carroll talked about his team’s revolving-door roster this offseason. Since general manager John Schneider took over, the Seahawks have made 55 roster transactions, including five trades.
Half of the current roster was not on the team at this time a year ago.
Carroll said the constant roster movement is part of his overall philosophy of creating competition, and he does not think it takes away from the team developing cohesion as the regular season approaches.
“We think we have to remain open minded to the competitive aspect of bringing guys in here – for one, to keep the message strong, and two, to keep looking to see if we can find somebody,” he said.
“I think in a new program it’s really important to do this, and so we’re going to keep doing it. And there’s no deadline when we’re going to try and get everybody comfortable and settled. I don’t think that’s necessary here. Everybody here knows that this is a very competitive environment, and they’re going to have to battle day in, day out. And that’s the whole idea.”
T.J. Houshmandzadeh did not practice again, as he recovers from surgery for sports hernia. And Deion Branch remains out after having a clean-up knee surgery. But Carroll said both wide receivers are expected to be ready for training camp in July. Running back Leon Washington also continues to watch from the sideline as he rehabs from a broken leg suffered last season against Oakland. And defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson has a sore groin that has kept him out. Rookie defensive end E.J. Wilson was sidelined with a sore shoulder. … Running back LenDale White returned to action after attending to personal matters in Tennessee. … Right tackle Sean Locklear did not practice Monday because he was participating in a charity golf event. … Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian watched practice from the sideline Monday. Gig Harbor High head coach Darren McKay also was in attendance.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks