In their first game-like action of training camp, the Seahawks defense gave their offensive teammates the kind of respect previously reserved for the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.
Defenders allowed offensive units a total of just three field goals in 80 plays of a “mock” game Saturday at the VMAC headquarters.
Plagued by procedural penalties, turnovers and some manpower issues on the offensive line, the Russell Wilson-led first unit ended up scoring six points, while the second offense, led by Terrelle Pryor and Tarvaris Jackson, managed just three points.
“There was really good defense today,” coach Pete Carroll said. “The guys played really tough. The effort across the board was really solid. We wanted to play hard today, run hard and get in good work in preparation for Thursday’s game (at Denver).”
Carroll particularly noticed the pressure the defenders placed on all the quarterbacks, which kept the offenses from clicking consistently.
“I thought the pressure up front was really good,” Carroll said. “They had trouble blocking Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. They were a big problem.”
Bennett made a profound statement about what is driving the defensive units.
“There’s no complacency with us because we want to be the best defense ever,” Bennett said. “And we play like that. We demand that from our young guys and everybody all the way around. We’re trying to get everybody over there playing at the same high level.”
By unofficial count, Bennett had two sacks and a tackle for loss.
“I’m ready to take it to the next level,” he said. “I’ve got goals I want to reach, and I’m working to get a step closer every day, one step at a time.”
Or maybe he means one sack a time.
Quarterback Russell Wilson had a couple nice gains, including one to Percy Harvin, but he also was intercepted in the end zone when safety Terrance Parks pulled in a tipped pass. Wilson rushed up and tried to dive for the ball — to catch a touchdown pass to himself — but Parks pulled it in.
Wilson wasn’t as eager to give the defense so much credit for the offensive troubles.
“I thought it was more of the offense stopping ourselves,” Wilson said, citing occasional spotty execution.
Regular NFL officials called the scrimmage, and Carroll said it was important for the Hawks to learn their interpretations, especially with new focuses on pass interference, cut blocks and hands to the face.
Speaking of the dominating defense, Carroll said they’re ready for the preseason to start.
“The guys are very, very prideful about their work,” he said. “We’re working hard at being really disciplined with what we’re doing. It will be great to see them tackling. They’re ready to go hit somebody. They’re looking forward to this game.”
Several injury situations came into focus. Right tackle Michael Bowie will need shoulder surgery and was waived/injured. He will need four to six months of recovery. If he passes waivers, the Seahawks can then put him on injured-reserve.
Rookie right tackle Justin Britt, meanwhile, injured his left shoulder during the scrimmage. Carroll did not think it was a serious injury. However, it illuminated the importance of the Hawks’ having signed veteran free agent right tackle Eric Winston last week. Also, on Saturday, they signed free agent tackle Cory Brandon, recently released by Arizona.
Carroll said the knee injury to defensive tackle Jesse Williams was serious enough to need surgery to the “good” knee — not the one that cost him his rookie season.
Rookie safety Dion Bailey sprained an ankle during the scrimmage. Early results were negative for a break.
He also suggested that post-operative players Kam Chancellor and Malcolm Smith should be ready to return soon, while tackle Russell Okung is expected to return during roughly the same time frame.
The Hawks have Sunday off and will leave for Denver after Wednesday’s practice.