As fresh as training camp feels for the Seahawks, the team’s first exhibition game is only a couple of days away.
In fact, only one practice remains before a 5 p.m. road game against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday — exactly one week after free agents were allowed to start practicing with their new teams.
“It’s going to be hard,” said defensive tackle Alan Branch, “but it’s not like we’re the only team that’s doing it. Everybody’s going through the same situation as us. We’re not a step behind anybody.”
That doesn’t mean there isn’t much to be learned and refined.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, despite having a familiarity with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell from shared time in Minnesota, has only completed four days’ worth of practice in Seattle. And the defense is adjusting to the departure of two veteran leaders, linebacker Lofa Tatupu and safety Lawyer Milloy.
But coach Pete Carroll doesn’t think motivation will be hard to come by Thursday, especially as kickoff nears.
“I know what’s going to happen — these guys are going to be clamoring to play,” Carroll said last week. “They want to play football.”
That experience could be particularly welcome to a young offensive line that features two rookies, guard John Moffitt and tackle James Carpenter.
Center Max Unger, who in his third year is the group’s second-most seasoned starter, said things are coming along sluggishly up front.
“We’re thinking a lot and it’s slowing us down,” said Unger, who previously played guard. “(Offensive line coach Tom) Cable has just put an emphasis on getting up to the ball, short cadence, don’t think, get off the ball. That’s kind of where we are right now.
“The mental stuff will come and we’re starting to figure it out, but it’s frustrating.”
Unger, who has been on the end of a couple of mishandled snaps, said repetitions are the only way to hone that final sharpness, especially after a late start to camp.
“There’s no catching that time up,” Unger said.