Toomer shows he belongs in deep linebacker corps

With Irvin and Smith recovering from surgery, backups have chance to compete for playing time

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comJune 10, 2014 

Seahawks linebacker Korey Toomer (59) and defensive end Greg Scruggs, left, pursue tight end Luke Willson during a drill Monday at their Renton practice field. Coach Pete Carroll said Toomer was probably the camp’s “brightest guy.”

TED S. WARREN/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

RENTON — Bruce Irvin was expected to be flying back across the country Monday from New York.

Meanwhile, Korey Toomer was zooming around the practice field at Seattle Seahawks headquarters in Renton.

Irvin had hip surgery last week on the East Coast. That has provided Toomer, who spent the last two seasons on injured reserve since being drafted in the fifth round in 2012, a chance to excel.

According to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, he has.

“He probably has been the brightest guy of the whole camp,” Carroll said. “Jumped up the most. His speed is obvious. He no longer is a rook; not understanding. He’s studied really hard, he’s worked hard. In the offseasons he’s watched so much, he practices just like the guys that are playing all the time. He looks like he can compete with all those guys.”

Toomer missed two seasons because of shoulder and knee injuries. The Seahawks have liked his length and speed, but he just hasn’t been around enough for them to get a good look.

Irvin’s absence — and that of Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith because of ankle surgery — has given Toomer a chance to work at strongside linebacker throughout organized team activities (OTAs), which conclude Thursday.

It appears Toomer, 6-foot-2 and 234 pounds out of the University of Idaho, will have an ongoing chance.

Though Carroll said Irvin’s surgery went well, he hedged a bit in his timetable for a return.

“We have a chance to get him back by the start of the season, which is a possibility,” Carroll said. “So we’ll see what happens.”

Carroll said Irvin’s hip had been bothering him for some time, eventually reaching a point that surgery needed to be performed. Strong safety Kam Chancellor went through a similar situation this offseason, though he had his surgery well prior to Irvin.

NORWOOD HAS BIG DAY

Rookie wide receiver Kevin Norwood had a strong afternoon Monday. He caught two touchdowns during red-zone drills, slid to make a catch over the middle, caught a pass up the seam and came down with a Hail Mary throw in the middle of a pack. Richard Sherman was right behind Norwood on the play.

The fourth-round pick out of Alabama has caught the eye of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in what is a crowded position group.

“I think one of the things I liked the best when he was coming out was his contested catches, ability to catch the ball in a crowd,” Bevell said. “If you were standing out here today you saw that a couple of times. He’s doing a really nice job. He’s picked it up. There are some missed assignments every now and then, which you expect from young guys. But, he’s really worked hard to pick it up. The stage is not too big for him. He’s jumped right in there with our first group at times and he’s performed.”

BEVELL CLARIFIES ‘RB BY COMMITTEE’

Bevell was also backtracking Monday.

Last week, during a Seahawks “Town Hall” with fans, Bevell was asked about backup running back Christine Michael.

At the time, Bevell said the Seahawks would be “running back by committee,” which produced furled brows because Marshawn Lynch, who was again not at voluntary OTAs Monday, appears to still be the clear workhorse back.

Monday, Bevell clarified what he meant.

“I was referring to a question at that thing and I was thinking more out here (at OTAs),” Bevell said. “We’re rolling all those guys and liking what we see from them. Just kind of moving them around. That’s not our policy. That’s not something that we talk about or do that way. Just something I threw out there, really was thinking about the OTAs.”

EXTRA POINTS

Rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson (shoulder) was again held out. He injured his shoulder in rookie minicamp and again fell on it over the weekend. Carroll said Richardson would be able to play were there a game Monday. ... Several players did not participate Monday: Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (personal), linebacker Heath Farwell (not disclosed), wide receiver Chris Matthews (not disclosed) and running back Spencer Ware (not disclosed) were all out. In addition, Smith, Chancellor, and OL Russell Okung (foot), who have been ruled out for the OTAs, did not participate.

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @Todd_Dybas

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