Seahawks Insider Blog

Seahawks scrimmage shows off Jimmy Graham’s physical dominance, Kasen Williams’ resurgence

VIDEO: Jimmy Graham on team chemistry

Star tight end Jimmy Graham answers questions after practice Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015.
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Star tight end Jimmy Graham answers questions after practice Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015.

The Seahawks’ first day in full pads featured the most complete scrimmage of the summer so far. The first-team units faced the second-team squads in work that was full-go except for no tackling.

The starting offense scored two touchdowns and a field goal: Turbin on a 1-yard pass from Russell Wilson, Luke Willson on a pass from Wilson. The first-team defense scored when third-string quarterback R.J. Archer continued to look bad, throwing a pass at the goal line too short. New nickel back Will Blackmon intercepted that and ran untouched the other way. Christine Michael had a short rushing touchdown with the second-string offense.

Wilson ended the first drive with a way-underthrown ball down the left side intended for open Jimmy Graham that new cornerback Mohammed Seisay easily intercepted just outside the goal line. Graham, the towering new tight end acquired from New Orleans in March, was impressed that after the practice Wilson pulled him aside to run that same route four more times, to get it and the throw right.

Later in the scrimmage Wilson threw a pass high over the middle that Graham effortlessly pulled down in front of flat-footed -- and probably awed -- rookie free-agent linebacker Tyrell Adams.

“The chemistry’s more than I could have ever expected,” Graham said of his connection with Wilson already.

Wilson said he’s never had a giant, dominant target like Graham at any level of football.

“Just trying to see what he can do,” Wilson said. “And he can do it all."

▪ Seisay is 6 feet 2 and 202. He looks the part of a Seahawks cornerback, with long arms and physical play.

Cary Williams, signed in the spring as a free agent from Philadelphia to replace Byron Maxwell as the starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman, made a nice peel-back move that Tarvaris Jackson never saw. Williams intercepted the sideline pass intended for Kasen Williams.

Carroll said after the scrimmage the starting right cornerback job remains open. But Williams leads Seisay and Tharold Simon. By plenty. Carroll said Simon is due back in “a couple weeks” after offseason shoulder surgery.

▪ Earl Thomas isn’t likely to be back practicing fully for another couple of weeks, Carroll said, “but it’s getting closer.”

The All-Pro free safety came off the physically-unable-to-perform list Wednesday so he could participate more in the team’s walk-through practices each afternoon that follow the morning practices in front of fans.

Steven Terrell, starting at free safety while Thomas watches because of his shoulder surgery Feb. 24, had an interception of Archer.

▪ Drew Nowak continued to get most of the first-team plays as the center. Carroll said this week if the team had to play a game now Lemuel Jeanpierre would be the center to replace Max Unger, whom Seattle traded for Graham. But Nowak, the 2014 practice-squad guard and college defensive tackle at Western Michigan four years ago, is getting a very long look.

My sense is line coach Tom Cable knows what he has in Jeanpierre, the five-year backup to Unger. He wants to see all he may have at center with Nowak.

Nowak had a shotgun snap go off Wilson’s hands for a ruined play. Jeanpierre and Jackson had a mishandled snap, too.

Nowak said after the scrimmage he still considers this a competition that will last throughout the four preseason games; the first one is Friday against Denver.

“It’s been going great. It’s an exciting change,” Nowak said of guard to center.

“I believe it is a competition. I love Lem. He’s a good guy. He’s teaching me so much. ... I think it will be tough battle to the end.”

Carroll said Nowak “is doing a really good job...indications (he’s giving) are very strong.”

▪ Undrafted rookie Kasen Williams got noticed -- in a great way. The former Washington Huskies wide receiver and Parade Magazine national player of the year at Skyline High School in the Seattle suburb of Sammamish had four catches against the first-team defense. The receptions tied Doug Baldwin for most in the scrimmage.

His first one was his most impressive: a 30-yard sprint past Cary Williams on a go route for the catch.

Carroll noted Kasen Williams’ senior season at UW got derailed by the broken leg and displaced foot bone he sustained midway through his junior season. But Carroll says Williams now looks like he did coming out of Skyline, when Carroll was recruiting him for USC.

The exhibition games are going to be huge for Williams.

▪ Cassius Marsh continues to speed past starting linemen. On consecutive plays the second-year defensive end zoomed around rookie left guard Mark Glowinski (who got some time there after Alvin Bailey did most of the first-team work) on a pass rush, then sped around left tackle Russell Okung to stop Michael for a 3-yard loss on a run. Marsh is coming off a broken foot that ended his season after five games last season; the fourth-round draft choice in 2014 told me a few days ago he’s faster than he’s ever been.

▪ As advertised, Graham and rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett were all over formations, inside and outside as slot and wide receievers. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is going to have options galore with those two. Lockett got targeted twice and had one catch.

▪ Linebacker Bruce Irvin, defensive end Cliff Avril and Irvin again had sacks on three consecutive plays against a mix of second- and third-string linemen. Or they would have had the officials blown those plays dead.

Carroll said Irvin is the best he’s looked since Seattle drafted him in the first round in 2012. That figures: Carroll and John Schneider chose to not pick up his $7.8 million contract option for 2016, and Irvin admits he’s ultra motivated in what is now a contract year.

▪ Jackson was 8 of 15 passing in five drives. Those drives ended in punts three times, one interception and Michael’s touchdown run.

▪ Archer was 4 for 9 with two interceptions. Expect the Seahawks to keep auditioning potential third-string QBs, or just be content to have converted-to-wide-receiver B.J. Daniels as the emergency No. 3 passer -- if Daniels makes the roster.