Seahawks Insider Blog

Carroll: WR Branch shines at minicamp

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll wanted to put his stamp on how his team will be run moving forward during his first, veteran minicamp.

Carroll considers his mission accomplished. Overall he was pleased by the pace and tempo of practice this week.

“I think that maybe what was beyond expectations was the quarterbacks,” Carroll said. “The work that Matt (Hasselbeck) has done and Charlie (Whitehurst) has done and Mike Teel, to get ready for this so that we could function like this. They had so much under their command. And they were really sharp for the first time out with new guys and all of that.

“The work that has been done, the studying that has been done with Jeremy (Bates) and (quarterbacks coach) Jedd Fisch, those guys got a lot accomplished for us, and that allowed us to look like that. So it’s a good start. We put three days behind us. When we come back with the new kids they know what to expect from us in practice so they can set the tone for the rest of the kids. We’re off and running.”

Carroll did note that depth on the offensive line continues to be an issue, with three or four linemen populating the second unit that having never been with the team before.

Carroll was complimentary of veteran wide receiver Deion Branch, who made some plays this week and looked more comfortable in the offense. Branch played flanker (Z) with the first unit most of the week with T.J. Houshmandzadeh not participating in the voluntary practices.

“I thought Deion Branch had a very good three days,” Carroll said. “I thought he showed up and showed off a little bit today, making plays. And he had a good time playing with us. He’s going to have a big role in the offense. I think he recognizes that and really embraced it.”

Carroll also liked what he saw from both Mike and Reggie Williams. Mike Williams reportedly will sign with the team, along with fellow USC product fullback Ryan Powdrell.

“We’re seriously considering that,” Carroll said. “Both those guys did a nice job. Both were physically ready for this opportunity. They were in good shape. They could compete out here and battle. And they both showed the savvy to pick things up quickly so they could fit in quickly.”

As far as tryout players, Carroll also liked Kennard Cox, a 6-foot, 197-pounder cornerback out of Pittsburgh.

Others who made themselves known today include linebacker Anthony Heygood, a practice squad player last year who had a nice interception in zone coverage. And defensive end Chris Clemons, who Seattle picked up in the trade for Darryl Tapp, has been manning the “elephant” position and gives Seattle more speed from the outside.

Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said one thing they wanted to improve on from last season is speed off of the edge of the defense, and they believe guys like Clemons, Ricky Foley and Nick Reed can do that.

Another player feeling more comfortable out on the field is linebacker Aaron Curry, who has been returned to his strong side linebacker position he played at Wake Forest.

“As far as scheme, I’m allowed to return to my natural home on top of the tight end setting the edge like I did in school,” Curry said. “That’s just where I feel great at. It’s also a great confidence booster. I can really work on small techniques as far as hand placement, and just giving out power from my lower body.

“And it just helps me so that when I have to play off the ball, I got to remember to keep my hands inside and really transfer power from my lower body. And it just makes me more confident in playing football when I get a chance to dominate at the line of scrimmage, and then back up make more plays.”

Curry said the change should help him play much faster on the field.

As far as toning it down and not getting the personal fouls like he did early in the season, Curry said he's not concerned about that.

“My job is not to tone it down,” Curry said. “If I have to do anything I’ll put a little money aside. I have to be able to play through the whistle."

“The fines never slowed me down,” Curry went on. “I think I let the mental aspect of the game slow me down as far a physically. I was doing too much thinking. I was dreaming of big plays and then going on Sunday and chasing them, instead of just letting them come to me."