In Seattle Seahawks inaugural practice with head coach Jim Mora at the helm, the team only wore helmets. But you would have thought the Seahawks were padded up with some of the blows being delivered by the defense.
The Seahawks got a lot of work done in the 105-minute practice that was highlighted by physical play during team drills, with running back Julius Jones and receiver Logan Payne taking decent shots in supposed "no-contact" drills.
Noticeably absent was linebacker Leroy Hill, who the Seahawks designated with the franchise tag this offseason, but still has not signed the $8.3 million tender. Hill would have had to sign the tender or a waiver to practice this week, but instead did not show up on Tuesday.
Mora said he understood Hill's absence as a business decision, and that there's no animosity with Hill for not showing up.
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Eleven others players in attendance did not practice because of various injuries. They include Kelly Jennings, Deion Branch, Patrick Kerney, Walter Jones, Mike Wahle, Cory Redding, Brandon Miller, D.D. Lewis, Brandon Coutu, Michael Bumpus and DeMichael Dizer.
Mora said Branch recently had a cleanup on his surgically repaired knee and that there was no rush in getting him back on the field. The rest, like Jones, Wahle and Kerney, are being held out as more of a preventative measure with it still being early in the year.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was full go and seemed to move OK in his drops and footwork. Hasselbeck did look a little rusty throwing the ball, but he seemed to have pretty good command of new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's offense.
I'll post more on Hasselbeck's comments to reporters later.
Wide receiver Nate Burleson practiced with a brace on his left knee, but looked solid during individual and team drills against air. Burleson was held out of 7-on-7 passing drills and team drills against the defense.
Logan Payne (torn MCL) and Ben Obomanu (broken collarbone) also were full go, and both seemed to have recovered well from season-ending injuries in 2008.
With Jones and Wahle out, the offensive line working with the ones included Sean Locklear at left tackle, Manfield Wrotto at left guard, Chris Spencer at center, Rob Sims at right guard and Ray Willis at left tackle.
Hasselbeck was under center, John Carlson at tight end, T.J. Houshmandzadeh at flanker and Obomanu at split end. Julius Jones and Owen Schmitt were in the backfield.
Practice was intense, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see a fight or two in the next two days. In particular, it was interesting to see position coaches like defensive line coach Dan Quinn, receiver coach Robert Prince, offensive line coach Mike Solari and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley sprinting down field to motivate and coach players on the run at the end of a play.
Also, true to his word, defensive end Lawrence Jackson looked good during one-on-one passing drills and team drills. He seemed much more comfortable on the field, and much quicker off the ball.
That's all for now. I'll have more later, including some audio and video from practice after I go through some of my interviews.