Marcus Trufant. The veteran cornerback obviously wasn’t one of the new players among the 101 on hand for this minicamp. It just looked that way and, more importantly, felt that way.
The team’s first-round draft choice from 2003 spent the past three days making the kinds of plays he simply couldn’t last season, when he was sidelined from the start of training camp until the seventh regular-season game by a back issue. Even once he was back on the field, Trufant was not back – at least not anywhere close to the Pro Bowl form he displayed while intercepting a career-best seven passes in 2007.
“I’m just feeling good,” Trufant said after practice. “It feels good to be back out on the field, to be at full strength, to be able to lift weights and to be able to run and do everything full speed and have no restrictions.
“I’m still trying to get better, but I’m feeling a lot better.”
It showed during this minicamp.
Friday, he intercepted a pair of passes and tipped away a third on a deep throw to rookie wide receiver Golden Tate. Saturday, Trufant went up to bat away a pass intended for 6-foot-5 wide receiver Mike Williams. Today, well, the quarterbacks didn’t throw his way much because Trufant was on his man.
It was around this time a year ago when Trufant was last at full strength.
“Just having an offseason workout, I think that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “Feeling strong and being up to speed with the rest of the guys – not missing the offseason workout and camp and all that stuff. I’m a guy I feel like I need to be out on the field and doing stuff.”
Right defensive end. Or, to be more exact, the five-technique spot on the defensive line. We touched on defensive tackle Red Bryant getting reps at the position Saturday, but it deserves additional mention because Bryant’s play has been drawing attention.
After making several impressive plays against the run during Saturday’s practice, Bryant went up to forcefully reject a Charlie Whitehurst pass today.
The idea of moving Bryant outside came from line coach Dan Quinn. But it’s Bryant who is making it look like a good idea.
“Obviously it gives a big guy playing over there,” coach Pete Carroll said of the 318-pound Bryant. “With what we’re trying to do in the run game, he made a good showing. It’s going to take all the way until we get into (training) camp in pads to get a good assessment, but this I would say is by far the best condition he’s been in for years.
“He’s worked diligently in the offseason program. His feet are quick. He’s still a big man, and he’s always going to be a big guy. But he’s moving well enough and he plays technique in a style that gives us a chance to play him there.”
Bryant, a fourth-round draft choice in 2008, is willing to try anything after being active for only four games as a rookie and six games last season.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Bryant said. “I’m going on my third year. I feel it’s time for Seattle to get something. So anywhere I can help the team, anyway I can get on the field, I’m going to take advantage of it.
“Coach believes I can play it. I believe I can play it. My teammates believe I can play it. So we’ll see what happens.”
Mike Williams. OK, he’s not really a rookie. But the former wide-out from USC might as well be. Williams left college after his sophomore season, but had to sit out the 2004 season when he was declared ineligible for the NFL draft.
He was the 10th pick overall in the 2005 draft, by the Detroit Lions, but caught only 44 passes in three seasons with the Lions, Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans. He was out of the game in 2008 and 2009.
“He’s had a poor career. I don’t think he’s done anything so far,” Carroll said when asked about Williams’ “weird” career.
But Carroll provided him with another shot by giving Williams a tryout at the minicamp two weeks ago. Williams showed enough that he was signed to a one-year contract. Williams continued to impress in this camp.
“One of the guys who popped out was Mike Williams,” said Carroll, who coached the wide receiver during his short college career – when Williams caught 81 passes for 1,265 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman and 95 for 1,314 and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore.
“To see Mike come out here and be effective again in a second camp, it’s a really a good sign for him.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“We recruited Joe, and he kind of broke my heart. I told him I’m not going to hold it against him.” – Carroll, on former University of Washington tight end Joe Toledo who was given a tryout in this camp as a tackle