The talk after practice was level of hitting for a first practice, as the team donned shoulder pads to open things up, which is unusual. Usually coaches go jerseys and shorts and kind of ease players into the contact.
“We practiced pretty hard this offseason,” Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “The OTAs and those practices were pretty intense, no pads. This is the first chance to get some kind of pads on. Up front it’s pretty much live anyway. The difference really is for the runners, the tight ends and the receivers. And Alex Gibbs was probably the happiest person to finally see those guys hit and get tackled.”
As expected, play was intense but a little sloppy. There were several dropped balls by receivers, and the running backs put the ball on the ground a couple times. We saw some fumbled handoffs and Charlie Whitehurst stumbled and fell during his back peddle on a passing play during team drills
But overall the effort was good and guys appeared excited to finally be out on the field, with the public watching practice and 60s Oldies blaring from the speakers on the berm.
Head coach Pete Carroll came out early to get fans excited for training camp.
“This is new to me with the music and everything,” wide receiver Mike Williams said. “He told me last night he’s trying to create the atmosphere to perform, with the music and the fans and everything. So guys are just kind of coming along with it, getting warmed up to the music. But this camp is going to be very competitive and everybody’s excited about getting started.”
Offensive tackle Russell Okung and safety Earl Thomas were nowhere to be found. Ray Willis played left tackle with the first unit today, and Jordan Babineaux and Lawyer Milloy manned the safety positions.
“We’ve got Ray Willis right now,” Hasselbeck said. “Ray is a proven guy. So whatever happens there, happens there. I’m sure they will work something out.”
Linebacker Aaron Curry went through the same thing last season, missing eight days of training camp before signing a five-year deal worth $34 million. So Curry understands what Okung and Thomas are going through.
“I would tell them to be patient and understand there’s a business part of the game,” Curry said. “And that what they’re doing is their right as a player. They have to protect themselves, and they deserve every dollar they get, and that’s what it’s about. When it comes to the business part of the game it’s all numbers. And when it comes to numbers you have to protect yourself because you never know when you’re last play is.”
Running back Leon Washington said he was pleased to meet his goal of making it back on the field for training camp. Washington did not participate in contact drills during training camp, but is itching to get involved.
“Today was a day to just my legs back under me and get used to pads on,” Washington said. “It’s been since last October since I had the pads on, since I got injured. So more than anything else, it just felt great to accomplish one of my goals, and that’s to get back to training camp. And no my ultimate goal is to come in and help this team when a bunch of football games by making some plays.”
* Ruvell Martin has not been mentioned much, but he appeared to take Sean Morey’s retirement to heart by catching everything today. The only ball he dropped was deep ball on the sideline where he had Marcus Trufant beat. Martin is certainly someone to watch in the competition at receiver.
* The offensive starters were John Carlson at tight end, Willis at left tackle, Ben Hamilton at left guard, Chris Spencer at center, Max Unger at right guard, Sean Locklear at right tackle, T.J. Houshmandzadeh at split end, Deion Branch at flanker, Julius Jones at running back, Ryan Powdrell at fullback and Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback.
* The defensive starters were Red Bryant and Chris Clemons at defensive end, Brandon Mebane and Colin Cole at defensive tackle, Aaron Curry, Lofa Tatupu and David Hawthorne at linebacker, Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings at corner, and Jordan Babineaux and Lawyer Milloy at safety.
* The Seahawks focused on getting the ball to Carlson in a lot of different ways. They even lined him up at fullback and ran a running play.
* Golden Tate showed up again, making the play of the day by leaping up to stab a ball out of the air of Trufant down the sideline, drawing cheers from the crowd. “Give him a donut,” yelled one of the onlookers.
* Curry was very active today, giving Willis problems coming off the edge and getting in the backfield on run plays.
* Mike Williams continues to show up as well. He made a nice catch on a square in across the middle of the field. Housh did the same thing on a similar route, and appears healthy after coming back from the sports hernia surgery.