I got the opportunity to attend Seahawks Training Camp on Thursday with friend of the blog Davis Hsu and we both took some notes and got to shoot the breeze all afternoon. I also got the chance to meet fellow blogger Chris Sullivan from 30AcreFortress and some 12s I talk to on Twitter too so it was a fun day. Again, it was super hot, the music was blaring, the Blue Angels were flying over -- any free agent that doesn't want to come to work everyday at the VMAC is a moron, frankly.
Anyway, on to my notes:
First, I'm sure you've already heard this from every beat writer and blogger already, but damn, Sidney Rice looked good. He made several leaping grabs that drew 'ooh's and 'ahh's from the crowd. He ran good routes and got open. He looks like the real deal. Naturally, you hope he can stay healthy, but past that he looks to have the potential to be a superstar for the Seahawks.
Zach Miller is the other name of note that got to practice for the first time as a Seahawk yesterday, but to be honest he didn't make much of a splash. From what I've heard, he had a good day, but I didn't personally see much either way from him.
I should note, before I go on any further, that the Hawks practiced almost exclusively on the far field, away from the berm, and when they were scrimmaging the backups and second teamers were all standing on the sideline in front of the action so it was really difficult to see anything with much detail. So take my notes with a big grain of salt because I wasn't one of the people that brought binoculars to the VMAC.
Kickoffs/Punt Returns -- Golden Tate, Leon Washington, and Justin Forsett were receiving the bulk of the punts and kickoffs at the beginning of practice. I'm pretty confident in each of these guys to get the job done in this area, but it will be interesting to see who gets the bulk of the work there.
Earl Thomas was lining up on the slot receivers in defensive drills. Kam Chancellor was playing deep at times, and Mark LeGree was in on the action as well, both deep and up on the slot guys. Overall, each player was moving around a lot so I don't think it makes much sense to predict where they'll be playing once the season starts, but the three of them all looked good.
Pete Carroll was playing scout team QB, and frankly, his arm isn't up to par to throw the deep outs and thread the needle to the tight ends in the middle of the zone. Earl Thomas picked him off on one play, and had it been a game situation, he'd have taken it to the house. LeGree had two good plays in a row - first tipping a ball out of bounds then making an interception. From what I can tell he looks smooth in his coverage and tracks the ball very well - something you'd expect from a guy that had 22 career interceptions in college.
Kam Chancellor also had a pick on an Aaron Curry tipped pass. More after the jump...
I thought that Charlie Whitehurst had his best day on Thursday (of the practices I've been to). He looked pretty good; stood tall in the pocket, threw on target, and during the two-minute drills he looked to have a good tempo and command of the huddle. I came away pretty impressed with him and it was a nice surprise to see him step up with the second team receivers and tight ends.
Tarvaris Jackson looked a little rusty but he was basically what I expected -- smooth throwing motion, apparent athleticism, and had a few nice throws to Sidney Rice. I wouldn't judge much from his first day back, but he didn't do anything that overly concerned me.
Doug Baldwin continued to impress me. I know there's an automatic and irrational excitement factor about new players making plays in training camp that doesn't usually translate to the regular season, but I can definitely see how he got offers from sixteen teams and why the Seahawks gave him a large portion of their signing bonus allotment. It seems apparent that he figures into the Seahawks plans, and he made play after play after play on Thursday. Everytime I looked up, Davis was nudging me and saying "heh, it's your guy again!" Anyway, consider me swooning for Doug Baldwin.
Anthony McCoy had a better day on Thursday. He had dropped a few passes and looked a little inconsistent on the prior few days I'd been to camp, but he looked confident and caught a lot of passes this time around. He's one guy that I know a lot of people are hoping will have a breakout season, and if he can put together a few days like that, I could see it happening.
John Carlson had a very good day as well, which was fun to see. He seemed to be both Tarvaris and Charlie's security blanket, catching passes in the two-minute drill and running strong after the catch. If the Seahawks really do plan to keep both Carlson and Miller,.... ooooooh boy.
One final thought -- this isn't a novel idea or anything, but I expect Seattle's running backs to be very involved in the passing game, much like we saw in Week 17 against the Rams. Swing passes, bubble screens, things like that have been used pretty heavily in camp, and Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett, and Leon Washington have all looked good in that role. Not many dropped passes. These types of plays are an extension of the running game and I expect will play a big part of the ball-control offense Pete Carroll, Darrell Bevell, and Tom Cable are fixin' to build.
Those are my notes. Davis Hsu put together some notes as well and emailed them to me but I'm going to do a separate post of those a little later today, because he provided me with a pretty lengthy treatise on his thoughts. (MUHAHAHAHA I love keeping you in suspense).
For those of you who don't know, Davis is a fan of the Hawks, and he's also probably more obsessed with them than I am, which is saying something. He's been a big help to me, behind the scenes mostly, as an editor and proofreader, and I bounce ideas off of him on a daily basis. He puts together spreadsheets and tables and I'm fairly certain he's got a Seahawks lab somewhere in his basement where he sits and laughs maniacally to himself while he pours over numbers and stats and bar graphs like a mad scientist. His contributions will be more visible in-season and he'll most likely become a household name for the regulars here moving forward. So stay tuned for that, and follow him at @DavisHsuSeattle.