Brandon Stokley. The Seahawks were just waiting for the time when the veteran wide receiver was healthy enough to sign. Turns out, that was Tuesday, when Stokley was offered a contract after being given a tryout.
Today, he was on the practice field getting a refresher course in an offense that is familiar – because he played in Denver (2007-08) when Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates was an assistant coach with the Broncos.
“I remember a lot of it,” Stokley said. “It’s been a year and a half since I’ve been in the system, so I have some homework to do. But I can catch on to it a lot quicker than if it was a new system.”
That catching up continued after practice, when Stokley stayed on the field to get some extra work with receivers coach Kippy Brown and rookie wide-out Golden Tate – as coach Pete watched his every move.
“Brandon is a uniquely talented player,” Carroll said. “You’ve heard me say it a lot of times; we’re looking for guys that do special things. He’s a specialist. We happen to covet that kind of a player, and the background that he’s had in the system really just makes him a value addition.”
Stokley, 34, has played for three teams in the first 11 seasons of his NFL career, and been productive at each stop: 60 catches for 913 yards and seven TDs in four seasons in four seasons with the Ravens; 139 catches for 1,916 yards and 15 TDs in four seasons with the Colts – including career bests of 68 catches for 1,077 yards and 10 TDs in 2004; and 108 catches for 1,490 yards and 12 TDs the past three seasons with the Broncos.
He was released after missing three of the Broncos’ four preseason games with a groin injury.
“Feeling good,” Stokley said when asked about his health. “I got healthy. (The groin injury) finally healed up, so I feel healthy now and ready to go.”
Carroll pointed to Stokley’s ability to be a productive option from the slot, but where he fits with the Seahawks – and whether he’ll play in Sunday’s game against the Rams in St. Louis – will depend on how well he settles in this week.
Asked how long that might take, Stokley offered, “I’m not sure. I’m just going to work as hard as I can and really just let the coaches decide that.”
Offensive line. In addition to Stokley, left guard Allen Barbre and right tackle Breno Giacomini also practiced for the first time after being signed by the Seahawks on Tuesday.
Of the 10 lineman on the 53-man roster, eight have joined the team this year and five have been added since Aug. 31 – Tyler Polumbus, Stacy Andrews, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Barbre and Giacomini.
The unit also got a boost today as first-round draft choice Russell Okung practiced for the first time since getting a high ankle sprain Aug. 21 in the second preseason and left guard Chester Pitts went through his first full practice since having microfracture knee surgery last season while playing with the Houston Texans.
The No. 1 unit in practice included – from left tackle to right – Okung, Pitts, incumbent center Chris Spencer, Andrews and Polumbus, who was subbing for Sean Locklear. On the No. 2 unit were Polumbus, Barbre, Dietrich-Smith, practice-squad player Lemuel Jeanpierre and Giacomini.
ON THE FIELD
The players practiced for 100 minutes in full pads. As veteran strong safety Lawyer Milloy said as he emerged from the locker room, “I love full pads.” He then showed some love by breaking up a couple of passes during practice on what Carroll calls “Competition Wednesday.”
The official report, as released by the team:
LB Leroy Hill (ankle/calf)
Did not practice
CB Marcus Trufant (ankle)
DT Brandon Mebane (calf)
LB Aaron Curry (hamstring)
OL Ben Hamilton (knee)
DE E.J. Wilson (knee)
Limited in practice
RT Sean Locklear (knee)
LT Russell Okung (ankle)
LG Chester Pitts (knee)
WR Mike Williams (shoulder)
Rookie Walter Thurmond worked at left cornerback for Trufant, Will Herring was at strong-side linebacker for Curry and Junior Siavii and Kentwan Balmer got work at tackle for Mebane.
On the availability of Okung and Pitts for Sunday’s game, Carroll said, “Of course we would like them to look unencumbered by the ankle and knee and see them feel comfortable about their movement and things like that. And we won’t know tomorrow. I don’t think we’ll know Friday. We’ll have to go all the way to Saturday and see how the week wears on (them). So we’ll just wait it out.”
For the Rams, 11 players did not practice today: RB Steven Jackson (groin), S Oshiomogho Atogwe (thigh), TE Billy Bajema (knee), LB Chris Chamberlain (toe), S Craig Dahl (head), TE Michael Hoomanawanui (ankle), WR Laurent Robinson (foot), DT Clifton Ryan (migraines), DT Scott Stewart (hamstring) and RB Keith Toston (shoulder).
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said Jackson, the team’s leading rusher, “is truly day-to-day” after straining a groin in Sunday’s win over the Redskins.
Added Spagnuolo, “We’re going to tread lightly on this one. … He’s sore. You’re talking about a running back with a lower extremity injury. So you’re going to be careful with it. But I trust Steven. He knows his body better than anybody else. I know the type of person he is. He’s warrior. He’ll want to play. And we’ll be smart as we go. We really won’t know until we get to the end of the week.”
ROSTER ROULETTE, PRACTICE-SQUAD EDITION
The Seahawks added two players to their practice squad today – one returning, cornerback Marcus Brown; one new, linebacker Slade Norris.
To clear spots, cornerback Cord Parks and wide receiver Pat Williams were released.
STAT DU JOUR
There have been six kickoff returns for touchdowns this season and four have come on the opening kick of the first or second half. The Seahawks’ Leon Washington had one Sunday against the Chargers. The others have been turned in by the Patriots’ Brandon Tate (Week 1), Steelers’ Antonio Brown (Week 1) and Cardinals’ LaRod Stpehens-Howling (Week 3).
The non-opening kick returns for scores? Washington, of course, but also the Bills’ C.J. Spiller – and also on Sunday.
The players will practice Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, before the team travels to St. Louis on Saturday for Sunday’s game.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Some of their key guys are still there. I mean Matt Hasselbeck’s been there and he’s a good football player. I think any time you’ve got a quarterback that can run the show like he does, they’re a threat to score points.” – St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo, when asked about facing a team that has a new coach and 28 new players from the Seahawks team his Rams played twice last season