I like training camp, but I look forward to producing original content again. I've never been comfortable commenting on someone's commentary. The first step towards that starts tomorrow. I'm driving up to Seattle with my wife to watch the Seahawks intrasquad matchup. I'll come notebook in hand and will file a detailed report Saturday afternoon.
This was an interesting practice, which ended with a two-minute drill in which both the first team and second team offenses scored game-winning touchdowns. Both offenses were bailed out by nice catches by their tight ends right up the middle of the field, John Carlson for the first team and Joe Newton for the second team.
The first team was facing a third and 5 when Matt Hasselbeck made a perfect pass over Carlson shoulder for the first down. Three plays later, Hasselbeck found Leonard Weaver on the left side for an eight-yard TD.
Good to see a Joe Newton mention, especially positive, especially with the second team. I would guess he's quietly a good step above Jeb Putzier. Putz sounds like he's lost the fire and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends his NFL career after getting cut. I mean, if he gets cut.
This is a good fingernail portrait of Seattle's 2008 passing offense. At its best, it will efficiently drive down the field, at its worst it will be slow, inexplosive and uncoordinated. For those in very deep FF drafts, remember Weaver will see a lot of touches this season.
Ben Obomanu continues to work out as the third receiver, alongside Engram and Burleson. To me, Obomanu looks solid and like he is getting more comfortable each day. Obomanu beat Lofa Tatupu on one downfield route, but Hasselbeck underthrew him and 51 was able to knock away the ball.
Obomanu looked lousy last year, but the kid is hard working and a decent deep threat--if. If he can fight for the jump ball, get separation and show better poise under pressure. Don't buy into any nonsense about a third year receiver jump, but Obomanu could make modest improvements and become serviceable.
The center-QB exchange was a big issue this morning. No. 1 center Steve Vallos, who is there because Spencer and Gray are out, accidentally tripped QB Matt Hasselbeck on a play coming out from under center, which had Hasselbeck limping for several plays thereafter. No. 2 center Mansfield Wrotto, a true guard, struggled on the exchange with QB Seneca Wallace three times.
Vallos and Wrotto are not centers. And though we think of snapping the ball as one of the more fundamental skills in football, if you've never done it before, and now must opposite some of the fastest first-step defensive tackles in football, you're going to screw up. A lot. So, it's not ideal that Vallos and Wrotto are playing center, but detailing their daily struggles isn't adding much. Hopefully Vallos or Wrotto improve, the team needs a second string center not named Chris Gray, but there's just no way to improve without screwing up a bunch.
Hasselbeck was 4 of 6 in directing the No. 1 offense to its score – a pass into the left flat that fullback Leonard Weaver ran in for a 6-yard score. The key play was Hasselbeck laying a beautiful pass over linebacker Leroy Hill to rookie tight end John Carlson for a 27-yard gain on third-and-4.
Wallace was 5 of 7 in producing a score for the No. 2 offense – an 8-yard pass to wide receiver Joel Filani. The big play was almost a mirror image of the one turned in by the No. 1 offense, as Wallace displayed impressive touch on a pass that dropped over linebacker David Hawthorne to tight end Joe Newton for a 25-yard gain on fourth-and-8.
A nice detailed and dynamic description of the aforementioned 1st and 2nd team scoring drives.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Carlson. Again? Again. The second-round draft choice continues to stretch the field, and catch the ball.
The best example of this was his big third-down catch in the two-minute drill. But Carlson also worked the middle well while making a couple more receptions.
His best play, however, might have been burying linebacker Matt Castelo with a solid block in a red-zone drill. Carlson has shown from his first practice that he can get open and catch the ball. What he needs to continue to show is improvement in his blocking.
Poor Matt Castelo, huh? Carlson can block, but doesn't block consistently. Burying a guy is nice, but a flashy block doesn't make up for a missed block. Nevertheless, Carlson is good, real good, and each positive report is a big "+" to the Seahawks passing offense. Like I said, I expect Carlson to be the story of the preseason. He will get lots of snaps, lots of touches and playing against a mix of starters, backups and scrubs should have some very nice games.