Seahawks Insider Blog

Earl Thomas cuts his dreads; James Carpenter practices

Apparently, Earl Thomas’ strength is not in his hair.

Like Bruce Irvin did a couple months ago, Seattle’s star safety took the field for the beginning of training camp today with his dreadlocks shaved for the first time as a Seahawk.

Thomas was his usual, speedy, play-making self, which included an interception of a Russell Wilson offering over the middle of the field during team drills, along with a few pass deflections during Seattle’s two-hour practice session this morning.

“Earl looked fast today,” Carroll said. “I don’t know if it was that haircut, but he was all over the field today.”

Carpenter back on the field

Another promising development for Carroll and the rest of the offense was offensive lineman James Carpenter suiting up and taking reps with the second unit at left guard.

Carpenter did not practice at all during Seattle’s offseason program after having arthroscopic surgery to clean up his surgically repaired knee.

“Last training camp I wasn’t able to run very much,” Carpenter said. “And this one I can block 300-pound lineman. So it’s a lot better this time.”

Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable said the difference in conditioning from last season to the beginning of training camp this year is noticeable for Carpenter.

“It’s night and day,” Cable said. “Remember, we were just clearing him, and then ‘BOOM’, we’re playing him. He was really I would say as close as ready to go five or six weeks ago, so he has had this whole period to condition. And he’s in much better shape.

“Now, that’s just to come to camp. You’ve got to get into football shape, and he’s no different than anybody else now. It was pretty good the first day.”

“He has worked very hard, and had a very, very good offseason to get back,” added Carroll. “And he was out there competing today. So that’s a big, big positive for him.”

Cable said it's too soon to consider the possibility of Paul McQuistan moving over to compete at right guard should Carpenter continue on a path that leads him to seizing control of the left guard spot.

“I really haven’t thought that through yet,” Cable said. “There will always be versatility in my group, because they all have to play a couple spots. But right now it’s just getting him (Carpenter) back, and getting to him to where he can compete. So right now it’s just getting him back in the offense, because he’s really been out of it – other than a few weeks during last season – for a year and a half. So getting him back involved and getting his mind trained right, and then we’ll see where we can go with the football player.”

Miller, Turbin on the mend

Carroll said that Zach Miller continues to suffer from a sore foot that cropped up during the last day of OTAs, and kept him out of the team’s June minicamp.

Carroll maintains that Miller’s foot issue is a separate issue from the torn planter fascia he suffered against Atlanta in the NFC Divisional playoff game.

Carroll said Robert Turbin’s sore foot is something the team has been monitoring since the offseason program, and that the Seahawks want to make sure he’s 100 percent healthy.

“He feels fine, doesn’t feel it at all,” Carroll said about Turbin. “But again we’re just taking every precaution at this early time.”

Yep, there’s still a QB competition - for the backup job

Tarvaris Jackson stepped in and handled the two-minute offense on his first day back on the field with the Seahawks.

“That’s a tremendous bonus,” Carroll said. “He can come out here and start competing from Day I, as opposed to being behind and not understanding the system and all that.”

But Jackson won’t be handed the backup job, as Brady Quinn remains in the mix to compete for the No. 2 job.

Carroll remained coy when asked how he will handle reps for the backup job.

“Really well,” Carroll said, chuckling. “Thanks, I appreciate you saying that again.”

No rush for Clemons

Carroll said that the team won’t make a determination for a couple days on when defensive end Chris Clemons, who started training camp on the PUP list, will work his way on the field.

Clemons had ACL knee surgery in December. And free agent addition Cliff Avril worked at Leo with the first unit with Clemons out.

“We’ll know more in the next couple days when we have him with us,” Carroll said. “He’s in pretty good shape. He feels great about it. He doesn’t feel any pain at all. He can run and all that stuff. We’re trying to keep him off of full speed running off the ground yet.

“But he’s in good shape. Again, if you remember, I said this way back then that we’re going to really take our time with him. We’ve got a long haul. We know he’s a terrific football player for us. We know that he knows his stuff. We don’t need to rush him through camp. And so we’re going to do everything to make that process really be deliberate and slow, and right on the mark. Everything looks good. He looks like he has a chance to be back and play for us, When? We don’t know.”

McGrath the Mountain Man

If you haven’t noticed, Seahawks tight end Sean McGrath’s beard has reached epic proportions, with the 25-year-old barely able to buckle his chin strap over his massive new locks

“I’m just letting it ride,” said McGrath, who has been growing the beard since St. Patrick's Day. “Maybe it’s just falling off of my head and onto my face. So there’s a little compensation going on there.

“I look at it as girls wear short shorts because they want to flaunt their legs, so why not flaunt something as beautiful as my facial hair.”

So does McGrath plan to keep the mountain man beard for the regular season?

“I don’t know,” he said. “Well see how it goes.”

Some tidbits

* Golden Tate made one his trademark nice catches today, high-pointed the ball on a fade route over Brandon Browner from a pretty pass from Russell Wilson. However, Stephen Williams had the catch of the day, which you can see in my TNT colleague Lui Kit Wong’s photo above, catching a deep ball over Jeremy Lane on a deep ball from Brady Quinn. Williams made a couple nice plays today.

* The offensive line today left to right was Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan, Max Unger, J.R. Sweezy and Breno Giacomini with the first unit, and Mike Person, James Carpenter, Lemuel Jeanpierre and Michael Bowie with the second unit.

* Bruce Irvin owned Bowie on an outside pass rush during pass-rush drills, but Bowie came back the second time and redeemed himself.

* Cliff Avril does not appear slowed by the foot issue that kept him out of most of the offseason work, and had some nice battles with Russell Okung during pass-pro drills.

* Bryan Walters and Phil Bates both continue to make plays in 7-on-7 and team passing drills.

* Tony McDaniel worked with the first unit at defensive tackle, but Carroll said that rookies Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams, along with second-year pro Jaye Howard all will get a crack at the job. Carroll compared how the team will handle the battle at defensive tackle to how Seattle managed the quarterback competition last season.