A recap of the afternoon practice at Seattle Seahawks training camp on Tuesday:
Earl Thomas and Mark LeGree. When the Seahawks selected LeGree in the fifth round of the April NFL Draft, coach Pete Carroll talked about using the rookie from Appalachian State in the nickel so they could feature Thomas’ ample talents in other ways.
The talk has turned to action, as LeGree and Thomas continued to work in those roles during this afternoon’s 2½-hour practice.
“We want to put Earl in places where he can be really active because he’s such an incredible player,” Carroll said between practices. “So that’s part of the thinking, to get a ranging safety that can play back there.
“LeGree is a ball-hawk guy, that’s why he fits that role for us. There were other guys you could look at, but that was the guy we thought was the best fit.”
Thomas, the 14th pick overall in last year’s draft, intercepted five passes last season to tie the club rookie record and also contributed 71 tackles to rank fifth on the team. LeGree led the nation with 10 interceptions in 2008 and finished with 22 for his career.
Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks had big plans for the big strong safety from Virginia Tech when they selected the 6-foot-3, 232-pound Chancellor in the fifth round of the draft last year. After playing in situational roles as a rookie, Chancellor is making big strides now that he’s working with the No. 1 defense at the spot where veteran Lawyer Milloy started last season.
Today, the full complement of Chancellor’s talents was on display. First, he blitzed and got to running back Leon Washington in the backfield. Then, he intercepted a pass in the end zone that was intended for tight end John Carlson. Later, he lifted and dropped Golden Tate after the wide receiver had caught a pass.
Doug Baldwin. It’s not just that the rookie wide receiver made a half dozen catches in practice, it’s that Carroll came over to the free agent from Stanford after each one to give him a way-to-go pat.
If you’re going to catch people’s eye, it might as well be those in power. And it wasn’t just today.
Earlier in camp, GM John Schneider was asked about Ricardo Lockette, another rookie wide receiver, and included Baldwin in his response.
“We were able to sign some rookie free agents we’re real excited about in Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette,” Schneider said. “We’re really excited about that group.”
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Tempo-setting play: A new day, but the same results, as middle linebacker David Hawthorne stepped into the hole to put a big hit on running back Marshawn Lynch on the first play of the first team period. Hawthorne opened practice with a similar play Monday, but this one packed even more of a punch.
Offense: Charlie Whitehurst passing to a wide-open Carlson for a touchdown on the final play of practice, to the approval of the 859 fans who attended practice.
Defense: Strong-side linebacker Aaron Curry leaping to bat down a screen pass.
Special teams: Wes Byrum hitting a 43-yard field goal, which prompted Carroll to slap high-fives with the rookie kicker.
COMING, AND GOING
The big addition today was Raiders Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller agreeing to terms with the Seahawks, an acquisition that Carroll called “a fantastic move for us.”
Carroll also confirmed the signings of two other free agents: cornerback Kelly Jennings, a former first-round draft choice who started 14 games for the Seahawks last season; and defensive tackle Jimmy Wilkerson, who was with the Saints last season but also played for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and line coach Todd Wash in Tampa.
Running back Chris Henry has left camp. Henry spent time on the team’s practice squad last season and was on the 53-man roster for one game.
THIS ’N THAT
University of Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian and several members of his staff watched practice. Sarkisian coached for Carroll at USC, as did defensive coordinator Nick Holt … Also on hand for practice was former QB Dave Krieg, who is in the team’s Ring of Honor. … Among the VIP guests were cornerback Marcus Trufant’s family, including his youngest brother – Desmond, a cornerback for the Huskies. … Cornerback Walter Thurmond, defensive end Dexter Davis and defensive lineman Jarrett Crittenton sat out practice with minor injuries, while defensive end Chris Clemons was limited because he had ankle surgery during the offseason.
The players have Wednesday off before returning Thursday for a 9 a.m. practice and an afternoon walk-thru.
Thursday will be the first time the free agents the team has signed in the past week can practice, a group that includes six projected starters – QB Tarvaris Jackson, wide receiver Sidney Rice, guard Robert Gallery, defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Alan Branch and linebacker Leroy Hill.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I think he makes us a more versatile offense. We’ll be able to use he and John (Carlson) in so many different ways. They’ll be on the field at the same time a ton. Thrilled about that flexibility.” – Carroll on Miller