After taking a day off on Monday, Seattle Seahawks players returne to the practice fields at the team's headquarters a little feisty.
Several minor scuffles broke out during the two-hour workout, including one involving quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
No one was seriously injured in any of the incidents, but head coach Pete Carroll did call all of the players together to address the issue at the end of practice, calling it a teachable moment.
“It’s not OK, but it’s understood that it’s going to happen sometimes,” Carroll said. “And we just have to learn how to manage it. And make sure we make good decisions when you do get riled up, and other guys make good decisions to keep guys from going too far and put themselves in situations where guys get penalties are even get into trouble.”
Hasselbeck got involved after defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, who’s been at the center of several scrapes so far in camp, tried to wrench offensive guard Mike Gibson’s helmet off after the whistle.
Gibson did not return to practice, and Carroll said he suffered a blow to the head.
Hasselbeck said he attempted to pull Gibson back to the huddle and appeared to get his hand scraped in the process.
“It was a bad place to be,” Hasselbeck said afterwards. “Wrong place, wrong time. … Rule No. 1, we say it all the time, protect the team. We had some Rule 1 violators today, and that’s not good.”
Other minor scrapes included Josh Wilson and Ruvell Martin getting into it after Wilson jumped an in route and appeared to have the pick, but Martin stepped on his leg trying to work his way back to the ball.
Wilson didn’t appreciate his leg getting stepped on, and said so to Martin as he made his way back to the huddle.
A couple plays later, safety Lawyer Milloy gave Martin an extra shove as he caught a ball along the sideline.
Milloy also gave fullback Owen Schmitt an extra pop and talked some smack to the West Virginia product, which led to Milloy and tight end John Carlson having words.
Things hit their climax when a scuffle broke out between the offensive and defensive lines that involved Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Vickerson, Russell Okung and Max Unger, among others, with both Mebane and Bryant taking some swing that connected with air.
A play later, Okung squared up Ali-style and got his guard up ready to take on safety Kevin Ellison, although it looked like both players were having a little fun.
The added intensity appeared to help the defense, as defensive end Ricky Foley, safety Jamar Adams and Ellison all had picks today.
Linebacker Aaron Curry said it’s easy to get caught up in the moment.
“When you do the same thing over and over you get tired of going against the same guys,” Curry said. “You have some pent-up frustration or pent-up competition that you want to release on someone else, but all you have in front of you are your teammates, and sometimes we get so competitive that we forget who we are going against. Or we forget we are going against Seahawks.
“We think we’re going against random strangers. So you just get so riled up and so excited about playing the game, you just kind of lose touch that you’re only at practice. But we emphasis so much that practice is so important, that you’re kind of always in game mode, and you lose touch as to who you’re going against.”
Curry back: Speaking of Curry, he was back at practice today after suffering a concussion more than a week ago during the second practice of the season on the first day of training camp.
Curry worked into some 7-on-7 drills but no team drills, as they continue to monitor his progress.
Curry said he hopes to get the go to play on Saturday, but for right now is just pleased to be back on the field with his teammates.
“Having to sit for a few days was rough, but sometimes you just have to be on the safe side and go with precautions,” he said. “I don’t feel set back in terms of preparation. I’ve actually been able to focus more on the mental part of the game vs. the physical part because I wasn’t in the film.”Right tackle up for grabs: Carroll said that Russell Okung is now the starting left tackle for Seattle. The rookie worked mostly with the first team today. And now that he's ready to go, Carroll said Ray Willis has asked to compete for the starting right tackle job with Sean Locklear, and will be granted his wish.
Willis started 16 games at right tackle last season and also served as one of the offensive captains. But he does not have as good as feet as current starting right tackle Locklear, and might not be as good of a fit for the zone blocking scheme.
Injury update: Along with Curry, tight end John Carlson (oblique) and center Chris Spencer (knee) returned to practice today.
LB Lofa Tatupu (hamstring), LB Mat McCoy, RB Louis Rankin, WR Kole Heckendorf, Olindo Mare, Quinton Ganther (headaches), DE Lawrence Jackson (hamstring), LB Joe Paweleck, WR Mike Williams and DT Jonathan Lewis all were on the sidelines during team drills.
Linebacker Leroy Hill got caught in a pile up and suffered what Carroll termed a sprained knee and is day-to-day.
Carroll said most are jut nagging injuries and he wants to make sure guys are fully healthy before they are ready to go, specifically after Isaiah Stanback suffered a torn Achilles tendon on Saturday.
“I think when Isaiah Stanback got hurt it was a real unfortunate thing,” Hasselbeck said. “He was a guy who was basically just sucking it up, just trying to get out there and compete. And he had an unfortunate injury. So I think for the days right after that, everyone got real conservative with injuries and stuff.”
Hasselbeck ‘over-trying’ last season: Carroll was asked what he saw in looking at film from the end of last season, where Hasselbeck struggled turning the ball over, and he said it was a classic case of a quarterback trying to do to much to will his team to win a ball game.
“It was clear that he was over-trying,” Carroll said. “Tremendously over-trying. He was trying to make things happen, in classic fashion to try and make a play and that caused him to make decisions where he would throw the ball into trouble.
“He wouldn’t read everything out. He wasn’t patient enough because he felt like there wasn’t room enough to be patient. And so those decision, it takes you to a whole another level of production that goes totally against you. And you have to play within the system and the concepts or you’re just making stuff up. And so he pressed too much.”
Hasselbeck agreed, and said he’s trying to learn from what happened at the end of last season. One way he is doing that is by watching a Kobe Bryant video that discusses trying to take on too much as one of the leaders on the team.
“I can see myself last year in a lot of the stuff Kobe was talking about,” Hasselbeck said. “And I would have been totally blind to it until it kind of came up the other night in a team meeting. And Gus Bradley had talked about it, and Pete (Carroll) talked about it). And then he showed this Kobe video and it all started to make sense a little bit.”
* I know it sounds like a recording, but rookie receiver Golden Tate made another highlight reel catch, jumping up in the middle of the field to snap a ball one-handed, then even more impressive coming down on both feet and not falling to the ground, taking off down field to gobble up more yardage.
* Not to be outdone, Deon Butler made a nice, diving catch on a corner route in the end zone.
* T.J. Houshmandzadeh had a nice practice today, making several plays on out route and square ins during 7-on-7 drills in the passing game. He also had a nice catch on a fade route from Charlie Whitehurst against Kennard Cox.
That’s all for now.