Defensive end Jason Jones has been one of the players head coach Pete Carroll has raved about so far during offseason work.
We had an opportunity to talk to Jones for the first time this afternoon. Jones said he was a basketball guy coming out of high school, and only started playing football his junior year.
But Jones switched over to football full-time when Eastern Michigan was the only school that offered a full scholarship for football.
Jones said he played tight end and defensive end in high school, but stayed with defense in college because he said of his tendency to fall down after he caught the ball.
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“My issue was staying on my feet,” he said. “I could catch the ball but I couldn’t get the yards afterward. No YAC (yards after catch).”
But the Seahawks are counting on his ability to use his speed as a pass rusher. Here’s how Jones explained his role.
“Just to bring an extra pass rush to the defense, playmaking ability, just everything all around,” Jones said. “Having a backup for Red, being an extra body out there. If they need to plug me in, I’m ready to go anywhere.”
Veteran defensive end Chris Clemons once again was not present for today’s OTA session open to the media. Clemons was not present last week as well, although I did see him at the beginning of Seattle’s offseason workouts open to the media earlier this month.
Clemons, who turns 31 on Oct. 30, is in the final year of his contract and scheduled to make $4 million in base salary this season. Clemons’ listed agent is Donal Henderson.
Seattle center Max Unger said the coaching staff has done a nice job of clustering the reps for each quarterback so each set of offensive linemen don’t have to worry about a guy rotating in for each rep of practice.
“One quarterback of the three kind of goes with one group at a time,” Unger said. “So you kind of get used to one guy at the beginning of practice and take snaps with that guy, and not switching every other play like we’ve done in the past.
“So you kind of get a feel for them as the practice goes on, which is nice because you’re not switching halfway through drives.”
Unger said he’s not buying the Deuce Lutui vegan diet.
“I’m not sure if that story is true or not,” Unger said. “He said it was for a period of time. I mean, what does that mean? I’m a vegan right now – I haven’t eaten in three hours.”
* Tight end Kellen Winslow looked fast and pretty much caught everything thrown his way. He was a frequent target of Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn.
Winslow did a particularly nice job catching the ball along the sideline and keeping his feet in bounds. There was a lot of good-natured woofing between Winslow and the first-unit defense, and that competition should only make both sides better.
* Jackson was the first man out today. He showed good poise in the pocket and arm strength in the two-minute drill in the team portion of practice, but still seemed to struggle through his progressions.
Flynn was efficient today, and appears to be developing a nice rapport with Winslow.
* Russell Wilson looked more comfortable today after struggling a little bit in the OTA session we watched last week.
* Carroll had been talking up unrestricted rookie free agent offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson the last few weeks, and now we know why. Johnson got an opportunity to work with the first unit at right guard today, with John Moffitt working at center with the second and third-unit offensive line.
At 6-3 and 313 pounds, Johnson is a big, physical guy who can move people in the run game.
* Russell Okung got some individual work done during practice, but gave way to Alex Barron at left tackle when the offense and defense scrimmaged.
* Receiver Kris Durham (shoulder) finally took the red jersey off and scrimmaged today. Rookie strong safety Winston Guy (shoulder) kept the red jersey on but got a few reps during team drills. Receiver Sidney Rice (shoulder) also kept the red jersey on and did not participate in the team scrimmage of 7-on-7 portion of practice.
* Bruce Irvin took advantage of his opportunities with Clemons out, wreaking havoc on offensive tackles Paul Fanaika, Frank Omiyale, Breno Giacomini and Barron. Irvin showed a variety of moves, and also did a nice job of staying home on backside pursuit in the run game.
* Rookie receiver Jermaine Kearse continues to make plays when he gets his chance, and has played fast when he’s out there.
* The Seahawks confirmed they are one of four teams that will workout Brian Banks, a heavily recruited linebacker out of Southern California who was wrongly convicted of rape and kidnapping and held in jail for 10 years. Banks was released this week after the victim recanted her story.
Carroll offered Banks a scholarship while at USC. Banks, 26, hasn’t played since high school. He’ll tryout with Seattle next week.
* Receiver Golden Tate had his right hand in a soft cast and did not practice today, but he’s expected to be healed in time for training camp. Others who did not practice include Charly Martin, Mike Williams, Byron Maxwell, Jeron Johnson, Malcolm Smith, Allen Bradford and Barrett Ruud.
Along with Clemons, rookies Lavasier Tuinei and Monte Taylor were not in attendance.
* About 100 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McCord watched practice today. The Cherokee Troop 2-1 Calvary/4th Styker Brigade will be deploying to Afghanistan in the coming months.