RENTON – After taking it for a spin around the block, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson finally will get to rev up his team’s offense out on the open road this Saturday, when he faces his former team, the Minnesota Vikings, at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said that Jackson, along with the rest of the starters, will play at least a half against the Vikings after playing just two series against San Diego last week in the team’s first exhibition game.
“Last week was just, ‘Get them out there, and then get them out of there,’” Carroll said. “There just wasn’t enough time for any extended duty. But now we need to go for it, and we have to jump ahead. We have to catch up a little bit here.”
Jackson’s more than happy to oblige. And joining him out on the field will be the rest of Seattle’s playmakers. Receivers Sidney Rice, Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu, along with running back Justin Forsett, are all expected to play this weekend.
“That’s going to be big for us because we’re trying to get on the same page,” Jackson said. “We have a game in less than a month now, so we’re trying to get on the same page so that when Game One comes, we roll.”
Jackson said he’s looking forward to facing some of his former teammates on the defensive side of the ball for the first time since joining Seattle in free agency.
“It’s going to be just like practice,” Jackson joked about facing the Vikings. “I saw them a lot. I practiced against them for five years straight, and that was always fun because the guys always competed.
“I’m pretty sure guys are going to try and get a hit on me – especially guys on defense because I always had that red jersey on in practice. I’m going to be in a different color jersey, so I’m pretty sure they’ll try and get a couple licks on me.”
Jackson has looked better throwing the ball in practice since the San Diego game last week. And Carroll has been impressed with the steady progress his starting quarterback has made since taking the practice field less than two weeks ago.
“He has tremendous skills,” Carroll said. “He has great release. He has a great arm. He throws the ball well on the move. He throws the ball down the field well.
“He’s particularly good at sticking the ball in seams and creases. He’s creative. And he’s real competitive, too. And he has total command of what we’re doing.
“He’s really well-situated for us. Now we need to put him into situations where he will excel.”
BIGBY JOINS HAWKS
Recently signed safety Atari Bigby practiced with Seattle for the first time Wednesday.
The 29-year-old told reporters that he has been brought in as a backup, which means Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor remain the starting safeties for the Seahawks.
Bigby, who appeared to be in good shape, got repetitions at strong safety with the second unit, while Josh Pinkard was at free safety. Bigby also worked as the nickel outside linebacker for some reps with the first unit.
“Right now we’re just trying to get him going,” Carroll said. “He’s catching up now. We’ll see how it all fits. I’d like him to be able to work his way into the nickel thing, and keep going.”
Rookie safeties Jeron Johnson and Mark LeGree are both working with the third unit with Bigby in the fold.
Bigby also said he’s healthy. The Miami native, who spent 2005-10 with Green Bay, has not played a full season since 2007.
“I’m feeling great,” he said. “That’s the one plus. I had a long offseason, and I got time to recoup.”
Bigby expects to get into shape in time to play against Minnesota on Saturday.
Tight end John Carlson missed his third straight day with a shoulder injury. “He has a little labrum issue that we’re working through,” Carroll said. Cornerback Kelly Jennings got hit in the head a couple days ago and will not practice until he’s cleared, according to Carroll. Receiver Kris Durham (hamstring) returned to practice on Wednesday, as did fellow rookie receiver Doug Baldwin (knee). Receiver Isaiah Stanback (unspecified) and defensive linemen Jimmy Wilkerson (unspecified) did not practice. Mike Williams returned fully from a toe injury and had a good practice, making several catches over the middle of the defense. Carroll said Forsett, who missed the San Diego game with a neck sprain, will play Saturday.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437
Exhibition: Minnesota at Seattle, 7 p.m., Ch. 5, 710-AM A FEW MINUTES WITH
PATRICK WILLIAMS, WIDE RECEIVER
The highlight catch
A native of DeSoto, Texas, Patrick Williams is battling for a roster spot in a crowded receiver group.
But he helped himself stand out with a solid performance against San Diego last week, including a memorable, one-handed catch along the sideline in the second half on a pass from reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst.
The play served as a momentum-builder for the University of Colorado product, and he has been a standout in practices so far this week.
“Basically it was a 10-yard stop route,” Williams said. “We had been anticipating all week that maybe the corners were going to be jumping on us and pressing on us a lot.
“And to be honest with you, the ball was really out before I was out of my break. And so it was kind of on me really fast, and he kind of had my arm hooked. And so I was just able to get my arm up, had great concentration and was able to pull it in. I was happy to make a play for my team.”
Williams originally was signed by Green Bay as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009 when Seahawks general manager John Schneider was with the Packers. Seattle added Williams, 6-1, 204 pounds, to the team’s practice squad late last year.
“I’m a confident player,” said Williams, who was an option quarterback in high school. “I’ve been doing this since I was a little kid, and I feel like the coaches are maybe gaining a little more confidence in me, and that’s always good to have somebody backing you. I’m just grateful and blessed to be out here trying to make this squad.
“I think my personal strengths are I can stretch the field,” Williams said. “And I’m very quick in and out of my breaks. I’m a bigger guy. I would like to get the ball into my hands quicker so I can make a play. But I’ll do whatever the coach asks me to. Whatever I can do to help this team win, I’ll do.”
Knowing Carroll’s culture
Because Williams spent some time with the Seahawks last season under Pete Carroll, he understands the kind of culture and philosophy that the head coach is trying to build in training camp.
“It’s like Carroll says, ‘Everything is about competition,’” Williams said. “Every day we come out here we’re competing – we’re going 100 mph. It’s like a game almost, so when we get to game time it’s almost slow. So it’s second nature to go out and compete with your teammates every day.”
Learning from Sidney
Williams, 25, said he’s studying teammate Sidney Rice’s every move, both on the practice field and in the film room.
“I look up to Sidney, man,” Williams said. “I sit next to him in meetings every day and try and pick his brain, try to soak up as much of it as I can. He’s been there. He’s been around. He’s been to the Pro Bowl, and he’s been on very successful teams. So I aspire to do that one day, and I want to follow in his footsteps.”
Eric D. Williams, staff writer