Easy to target a focus for Friday at Seahawks camp. After all the drama of Marshawn Lynch’s holdout, we’ll see if he’s actually on the field and involved in practice. Will he have more of the issues with an ankle that sidelined him for the minicamp? Will he show any residual displeasure from the contract dealings with the front office?
If we can go by how he responded to landing his contract two years ago, the money made no difference at all in the intensity with which he ran the ball. According to reports, he got some more money now but the shifting around didn’t cost the Seahawks any “new” money, or set a precedent of buckling in the face of any future holdouts.
What was learned by the experience? The Seahawks appreciate his play, but were willing to go on without him if it got crazy. And Marshawn really wants to keep playing football -- at the right price.
Whatever Lynch had been doing, he wasn't watching weather reports, as he showed up at VMAC expecting a cold spell. He was wearing a thick “Beast Mode” hoodie and a knit stocking cap bearing the word “YES.”
Sources report Lynch receiving about a million more this season, although it seems unclear yet whether the team is wiling to waive fines that built up to roughly half a million during his absence.
From a practical, day-to-day perspective, I don’t think much will change with Lynch’s return. He hasn’t been used much during training camp and preseason as it is. We’ll still get a heavy diet of Robert Turbin and Christine Michael during team sessions. Over the past week, Michael has missed a little work with a shoulder injury, but both have responded well to the greater exposure allowed by Lynch’s absence. I think it’s easy to say that Michael is the faster but Turbin a better and more reliable blocker.But I think that Turbin has shown better burst into the open field than I might have expected, and Michael has been more solid in the other running back responsibilities than expected. Both have been sound catching the ball, too.
--Thursday was a tough day if you wanted to watch top-end receivers, as Harvin and Baldwin were rested while rookies Richardson and Norwood missed because of injury. Richardson has a shoulder injury that doesn’t sound like a long-term issue. But when you look at the slender receiver, and consider the questions about his durability, any injury can be seen as a concern.
Norwood’s foot problem seems to have the potential to develop into more of an issue. “His foot has not responded the way we had hoped,” Carroll said. “It’s okay today, but he’s not better. We’re just going to try to quiet him down and see what to do next. He’s had MRIs and all that stuff, and there’s nothing we can do at this point. But we’re trying to find the right solution: the footwear, the orthotics and all the different things we can do to try to help his foot.”
That doesn’t sound promising. The “up” side, though, has been the emergence of Phil Bates, a former quarterback at Ohio U who has been learning the receiver position the past two seasons.
"He's really been productive," Carroll said. "He's been active. He's made a bunch of big plays. This is a culmination of a couple years of work to get him to this point. Remember, he adapted from the quarterback spot and he has really shaped and sculpted his body. He looks like a receiver. He has all the movements now. He's a very tough competitor. We love what he's doing."
Russell Wilson was asked about Bates after practice, too, and touted him as a possible breakout receiver this season. “He's got great speed, huge hands," Wilson said. "He just catches the ball extremely well; he works extremely hard. He loves the game. He's one of the first guys [in], he's one of the last guys to leave. He's dedicated to his craft."
--Another player getting more attention on Thursday because of injuries was tight end Cooper Helfet. With Anthony McCoy going on IR with the new Achilles injury, and Zach Miller getting the day off from practice, Helfet saw more action. "He's done everything we've asked him for a couple years around here," Carroll said of Helfet. "He's been a terrific guy working his way through it. He's been better every season he's been with us. He's stronger and faster. He knows everything. He's a special teams guy for us as well. He's got great hands. So this is a tremendous opportunity for him."
--John Boyle at Heraldnet.com has a feature on Greg Scruggs. Scruggs is a guy I watch closely, as I admire those who come from such esteemed institutes of higher learning and character-building as Louisville. Scruggs is listed at 310, significantly bigger than his 284 out of college. The bulk doesn’t appear to have affected his speed, but allows him to play the 5 technique end, and also come inside in the nickel package. He showed he could finish with a couple sacks as a rookie, but lost last season to a knee injury. I thought it was interesting that Carroll, when talking of Scruggs, touted his excellent conditioning, which allows him to be so unrelenting despite his size, and also to be an every-down D-lineman.
--Q13 Fox has some video of the Marines dropping in on practice yesterday, jumping into Lake Washington from helicopters and swimming to shore. The players lined that side of the field and appeared to enjoy the show.
--Tony Drovetto’s notebook on Seahawks.com features a 2-minute drill with Phil Bates interviewed by Tony Ventrella. Bates has played hockey and has seven brothers and sisters.
There’s also video on NFL Network from Marshall Faulk talking about return of Lynch. “If you win a championship, the last thing you want is a distraction.”