Good news on the injury front for second-year pro Robert Turbin, who began the year on the physically unable to perform list with a foot issue. Pete Carroll said that Turbin passed his physical, and will practice with the team today during Seattle’s afternoon walk-through.
Turbin will jump into what Carroll described is an intense competition for the backup job at tailback, with second-round draft choice Christine Michael, sixth round draft choice Spencer Ware and second-year pro Derrick Coleman all making plays at different times during training camp.
“The young running backs have been really impressive,” Carroll said. “They’re versatility, and just the style that they bring. They really add to the style. It’s going to be are deepest running group by far that we’ve had.”
Competition for punt/kick return spots
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The Seahawks have an ongoing competition for both the starting punt and kick return jobs.
Right now, Golden Tate is penciled in as the team’s starting punt return man, replacing a pretty good one with Leon Washington now in New England. But Tate will have some competition. Walter Thurmond, Richard Sherman, Will Blackmon and Earl Thomas all caught balls during the team’s punt return period.
With Percy Harvin out for a significant period time because of hip surgery, that job is wide open as well. Tate, Blackman, Jeremy Lane, Bryan Walters and Michael all worked as the return specialist during the team’s kick return period.
“It is important, particularly to find a backup and all that kind of stuff,” Carroll said. “So you’ll see a number of guys get some turns if the opportunity presents. Golden will get a couple shots to catch some footballs in games, so I’m looking forward to it, because we have to figure this one out. We don’t know what’s going to happen at that spot yet.”
Carroll specifically mentioned Tate, Lane, Michael and Walters as names to look for in the battle for the starting kick return spot with Harvin out.
Thurmond on the rise
University of Oregon product Walter Thurmond received the majority of the first-team reps at nickel cornerback instead of Antoine Winfield, and continues to perform well during training camp.
The Seahawks were clear with Winfield when they signed him to a one-year, $3 million maximum deal that included $1 million in guaranteed money, that he would have to compete for the slot defender job.
“Right now, he’s trying to win that nickel spot,” Carroll said about Thurmond. “That’s the first thing. And then he wants to play at corner, too. “And he can do both. He has shown up most at the nickel spot, a place we’ve always wanted to get him into because of his great quickness and play-making style.
“This is going to be a real battle between he and Antoine at that spot, and we’ll see how that works out. Antoine’s a gifted football player. And Walter being as healthy as he’s been, it’s really been a great boost – for us to see him, and for his confidence. It’s really up and he’s playing well.”
And how has Winfield played?
“He’s been terrific,” Carroll said. “He knows what’s going on, just like you would think. He makes the most of his plays. He’s been in great position, and takes away a lot of routes so you can’t even throw it. What he is, is a extremely productive player making tackles in the run game, and running plays down.
“He’s one of the most productive corners in the NFL over the last, few years – you can’t believe his numbers. So it’s something we’re anxious to see, and you really can’t tell that until you get into games. Both those guys will play a lot.”
Defensive end Bruce Irvin, fullback Michael Robinson and receiver Stephen Williams were new players who did not practice today. Carroll said Irvin has a groin issue the team is trying to manage, but still is expected to play on Thursday at San Diego.
Robinson received treatment for a nagging ankle issue.
“He could go,” Carroll said about Robinson. “He could play if we were playing.”
And Williams is still dinged up from the hard fall he took after being flipped by Winston Guy.
“His head got knocked a little bit, and his neck is a little sore,” Carroll said about Williams. “So we’re going to rest him for a couple days.”
Carroll also said Cliff Avril, who missed last six days with a hamstring issue, likely will not play against San Diego because he’s missed too much practice time.
“He’s getting close, but he’s not quite ready to come back yet,” Carroll said about Avril. “They’re going to run him today, and find out where he is for tomorrow. So it’s kind of day-to-day now.”
Tight end Zach Miller (foot) still has not been cleared by trainers. Carroll’s targeting having his tight end back by the team’s third preseason game, which gives players like Luke Willson and Sean McGrath an opportunity to get extra reps with the first unit.
Along with Miller, Chris Clemons (knee), Tharold Simon (foot), Percy Harvin (hip) and Greg Scruggs (knee) remain on the PUP list. Linebacker Korey Toomer (hip) remains on the non-football injury list. Other players not practicing include Avril, Williams, Irvin, Robinson, Ron Parker (hamstring), Darren Fells (hamstring) and Michael Palmer (groin).
Players returning to practice include Jeremy Lane, Michael Brooks, Doug Baldwin, Kam Chancellor, Carson Wiggs, Kyle Knox, Bobby Wagner and Sidney Rice.
* Carroll highlighted defensive tackle Jesse Williams, cornerback Byron Maxwell and Thurmond as players who stood out during Friday’s scrimmage.
“He had a really good day in the mock game,” Carroll said about Williams. “He really looked good. That was the best he’s looked by far. He played physical football, and controlled the line of scrimmage well. He’s a real smart kid, real smart football player. You can see the savvy he has; he sense a lot of stuff.”
* While we haven’t talked much about him, Marshawn Lynch has been in regular-season form through the first week of camp.
“He’s been right on the money,” Carroll said. “He’s done everything extremely well. He’s really fit – mentality, attitude, everything has been great. He’s done everything that we’ve asked of him. He’s had a great offseason in the work that he did, and he’s come back just rock hard and ready to go.”
* Former University of Washington head coach and defensive guru Jim Lambright was at training camp today.
* New additions, receivers Early Doucet and Perez Ashford practiced today. Doucet worked mainly from the slot, and made a nice catch on an intermediate out route. Perez had a touchdown catch on a seam route from Tarvaris Jackson. Ashford worked mostly at split end. Doucet is wearing No. 87, and Ashford is wearing No. 6. Jameson Konz switched from No. 87 back to No. 46.
* K.J. Wright laid the wood to tight end Luke Willson on an arrow route, but he popped back up and returned to the huddle.
* Washington State University product Andrei Lintz had a couple nice grabs today, but he also dropped one and fumbled on another play.
* Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell used the wireless speaker system to call plays in today.
* Defensive end Red Bryant was the most active I’ve seen him today, making several plays behind the line of scrimmage in the run game.