NFL Nation: Seattle Seahawks
The NFC West had three teams that won at least 10 games last season, two teams in the NFC Championship Game and a team that won the Super Bowl by 35 points.
Consequently, there is no lack of confidence about the 2014 season for the teams in this division. Three of them -- the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals -- can make a legitimate argument for winning the division title.
But until the 49ers or the Cardinals prove otherwise, the Seahawks are the clear favorites, not only to win the division crown but to return to the Super Bowl.
The Seahawks, however, realize the biggest obstacle to repeating as Super Bowl winners lies within their own division. The NFC West is widely regarded as the best division in the NFL. It's also the most physical division in the league, which means the division rivals tend to beat up on each other.
Here's how Seahawks reporter Terry Blount, St. Louis Rams reporter Nick Wagoner, Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss and 49ers reporter Bill Williamson see each team finishing in 2014:
What will the 49ers' record be and why?
Terry Blount: 12-4. The 49ers have a shiny new stadium, which I see them taking full advantage of and probably going unbeaten at home. Their home game against the Seahawks comes on Thanksgiving night, which likely will be a frenzied holiday crowd in front of a national TV audience. However, I don't see things going quite as smoothly on the road. I have the 49ers losing at Arizona, Denver, New Orleans and Seattle. The key for San Francisco is how the team performs in a five-game midseason stretch that includes four road games -- St. Louis, Denver, New Orleans and the New York Giants. The 49ers do have a bye week in that stretch, but how they get through the middle part of the schedule will determine their fate.
Josh Weinfuss: 10-6. This may be a bit on the nice side, considering the run of injuries to running backs since training camp started, but I think the 49ers' passing game and Colin Kaepernick's feet will make up for at least one game they'll lose because of a depleted running game. San Francisco plays a brutal schedule, facing the Cowboys, Bears, Cardinals, Eagles and Chiefs in its first five games. I don't think the road will be kind to the Niners this year, especially in the NFC West. The magic is running out for Jim Harbaugh one injury at a time.
Bill Williamson: I'm going to say the 49ers will be 12-4. They are a top team. But it's difficult to predict any team finishing higher than 12-4, although it wouldn't shock me if San Francisco finished with a better record. As long as quarterback Colin Kaepernick stays healthy, and there are no more big injuries on defense, San Francisco will win its share of games. It is a very deep and well-coached team. It knows how to win consistently. I fully expect San Francisco to start hot and stay hot.
@BWilliamsonESPN 13-3. most loaded O since glory days. Great D. Very friendly final 6 weeks of schedule.— Corey Mayne (@CDM49er) July 22, 2014
What will the Cardinals' record be and why?
Blount: 11-5. Yes, by picking the Cardinals to win 11 games, it means I'm picking the highly unusual occurrence of three teams in one division winning 11 or more games. But I believe the NFC West is that good. Arizona won 10 games last season. The offense should be better this season with quarterback Carson Palmer having a full year in the system and an improved offensive line. I actually thought this team could move ahead of the 49ers this year, but losing inside linebackers Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington is a huge blow to the defense. The biggest problem for Arizona is ending the regular season with back-to-back games against Seattle and at San Francisco. The Cardinals also have to play Seattle twice in their last six games. They will need to split those two games, and probably win on the road at Atlanta and St. Louis down the stretch, to reach the 11-win plateau.
Weinfuss: 10-6. There's a lot that can go right for Arizona this year, but there's a lot that can go wrong. I think the Cardinals will start hot -- building on last season's success -- and win five of their first six. I wouldn't be surprised if they continue to tear through, but their schedule is backloaded. By midseason, offenses will figure out how to exploit the middle of the defense, which was decimated by the losses of Karlos Dansby and Daryl Washington. But Arizona's offense should be potent enough to make up for any issues on defense, which will be few and far between, and simply outscore opponents.
Williamson: I'm going with 10-6. The Cardinals had 10 wins last season and may be better in their second season under coach Bruce Arians. But I still don't think Arizona is an elite team. Saying this team will take the next step and get to 12-4 is a bit of a stretch for me, although I love the Cardinals' defense. I think Carson Palmer is a solid fit for this team. But he's still Carson Palmer. He will still ruin a few games with some untimely interceptions. Arizona is good, not great, and a 10-6 record is a solid showing by a good team.
What will the Rams' record be and why?
Blount: 6-10. This is my real shocker pick of the bunch because I'm sure most people see the Rams as a much better team than 6-10. St. Louis has an outstanding young defense, but the problem for the Rams is they play in the NFC West. Going through the division games, I don't see St. Louis doing better than 1-5. If the Rams can go 3-3 in the division, 8-8 or better is a possibility. But St. Louis just isn't on the same tier as the other three teams in the NFC West, not yet anyway. Maybe once the Rams move back to Los Angeles that will change. OK, I'm having a little futuristic fun there.
Wagoner: 8-8. This is the season the Rams have targeted for a breakthrough since coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead took over in 2012. They've gone through a massive roster makeover in that time and have built this team into one that is bursting with potential, but still lacking in production. This is the season the Rams hope upside makes the transition to something more tangible, namely more wins. But it's still hard to see this team making the leap this particular year against an imposing schedule and the league's toughest division. Quarterback Sam Bradford returns from a knee injury, which should help but to what extent remains to be seen. The defensive line is probably the best and deepest in the NFL, and with Gregg Williams at coordinator, the defense should be able to keep the Rams in games. Once again, the onus to get the Rams to the next level falls on the offense. Beyond Bradford, the Rams have a talented offensive line but one that is dotted with injury questions at nearly every position. They should be able to run the ball effectively, but at some point the passing game will have to do its part. The receivers and tight ends won't be asked to carry too much freight, but that mostly young group has to be better and more consistent for the Rams to have success. Fisher has a history of getting teams to right at or around the .500 mark, as he's done his first two seasons in St. Louis. There is enough talent in place for this team to take the next step, but until we see it actually coalesce, it's hard to predict more than mediocrity.
Williamson: I'm saying 7-9. Look, the Rams' defense -- especially the defensive line -- is nasty good. St. Louis will win games on defense. But I worry about the offense. Yes, the Rams went 7-9 in 2013 with quarterback Sam Bradford hurt for much of the season. So, a healthy Bradford could make a difference. But I just don't see Bradford as a major difference-maker, anyway. Plus, the truth is, the Rams are the worst team in a very strong division. It is going to be tough piling up wins in the NFC West, and the Rams could suffer.
@nwagoner My heart wants to say 10-6.. But my brain tells me 8-8. Those games after the early bye week are going to be brutal.— John (@The_Tiki_Garden) July 21, 2014
What will the Seahawks' record be and why?
Blount: 13-3. It's been a while since any NFL team was coming off a Super Bowl and could realistically say it might be in better position to win it all now than they were a season ago, but that's the case for the Seahawks. This still is a young and deeply talented team that probably hasn't peaked yet. The receiving corps will be better this season with a healthy Percy Harvin, and the sky is the limit for quarterback Russell Wilson, who is starting only his third NFL season. The final seven games are as difficult as I've ever seen for a defending Super Bowl champ. Seattle closes with five NFC West games in the final seven, including two against the 49ers and two with the Cardinals. The Seahawks also have road games at Kansas City and Philadelphia in that stretch. How they close it out will determine whether they win the division title, and it's almost mandatory if they hope to get back to the Super Bowl.
Wagoner: 12-4. On paper, the defending champions remain the class of the division. They handled their business in the offseason, prioritizing their own and keeping the ones they deemed most important. The defense should be dominant again with most of the key pieces returning and the Legion of Boom largely intact. Offensively, it's probably safe to assume quarterback Russell Wilson will continue to get better and the passing game to expand. Marshawn Lynch still has plenty in the tank and the Seahawks have some good young alternatives behind him. Seattle was able to get it done without Percy Harvin for almost all of last season, but with Golden Tate gone to Detroit, the Seahawks will need Harvin to be available and contribute consistently. The team's biggest weakness, the offensive line, will need to be better and could be with some improved health, but the Seahawks got it done behind a similar line in 2013. As with any team, injuries could severely hamper Seattle's run, especially after it lost some of its better depth players in the offseason. But all things considered, this was one of the youngest teams in the league a year ago and went on to win the Super Bowl. There's little reason to think that talent will regress with the experience and confidence that comes from the run it made in 2013.
Williamson: I'm going with 12-4. Would I be surprised if the Seahawks went 14-2? No, but a 12-4 season is a great effort and I will start there, much like the 49ers. The Seahawks could easily go 8-0, or stumble once, at most, in the first half of the season. But Seattle isn't a great road team. It can be beaten on the road, especially by teams such as the 49ers, Panthers, Chargers, Chiefs, Panthers, Eagles and Cardinals. My guess is the Seahawks go 7-1 at home and 5-3 on the road.
@TerryBlountESPN 12-4. Tough schedule and early bye, but this team wont cave to pressure or think of last year. All in...again.— Vaughn Kness (@metalvx5) July 22, 2014
- Kicker Steven Hauschka was rewarded with a three-year, $9.1 million contract in the offseason and he’s worth every penny of it. When Hauschka misses a field goal in practice it’s almost a headline because it’s so rare. He made all three attempts Tuesday and was 4-for-4 Wednesday, including a 58-yarder.
- Receiver Bryan Walters made the catch of the day with a leaping grab in the back corner of the end zone, however, it was questionable whether the play actually would have happened. Russell Wilson was running around in the backfield for a quite a while, under tons of pressure, before making the throw. Some of the defensive players were upset that a whistle didn’t blow, signaling Wilson would have been sacked.
- Receiver Percy Harvin showed his ability to get to the edge quickly, no surprise, when he beat Richard Sherman to the front corner of the end zone after catching a quick out from Wilson at the 5-yard-line.
- Spencer Ware is listed as a fullback, but continues to get work as a running back. Ware had an impressive 5-yard touchdown run Wednesday. He is the one back on the roster who can play both spots.
- Outside linebacker K.J. Wright continues to shine each day at camp, including a sack Wednesday. Wright is in the final year of his rookie contract. “I’m hoping something gets done, but if it doesn’t, I’ll be fine,” Wright said Wednesday. “If they want me here, they’ll find a way to keep me.” The thought of working something out to give Wright a new deal could impact how the Seahawks approach Lynch’s holdout demands.
- Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn can’t say enough good things about linebacker Brock Coyle, a rookie from Montana. “He’s a really a good finisher,” Quinn said. “The guy’s in terrific shape to play football. He’s got good instincts and the versatility to play both Mike [middle linebacker] and Will [weak-side linebacker]. He came here ready to compete right from the get go and didn’t back down from any of the challenges in front of him.”
NFL.com revealed the news Wednesday.
Sherman is one of only three players who received a 99 overall rating in the EA Sports rankings, along with Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Houston defensive lineman J.J. Watt.
Sherman leads the NFL over the last three seasons with 20 interceptions and 60 passes defensed.
Winston (6-foot-6, 310 pounds) is insurance for the Seahawks at the right tackle spot. They have rookie Justin Britt taking the first-team snaps. The man who was expected to compete with Britt (second-year player Michael Bowie) has been out with shoulder injury.
With Winston’s presence, the Seahawks know they have a quality veteran they can use if they need him.
"We were just looking for depth and a competitive guy to come in and fill the spot," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We’re very young in the backup guys. Michael has been slowed down a little bit. Eric’s done a lot of playing in his time, so we’ll see how that works out. We’re glad to have him out here battling."
Winston started all 16 games last season for Arizona. He played for Kansas City in 2012, but spent the first six seasons of his career in Houston, where he makes his home.
"I’ve been sweating it out down there working out," Winston said. "I’ve never been around Seattle. What a gorgeous place. What great scenery. The lunch room [at the VMAC], you walk in and see the lake. It doesn’t get too much better than that, so yeah, it’s exciting to be here."
Winston also said he will do all he can to help Britt learn the position.
"I think anytime you become a vet in this league, you’ve got an obligation to the young guys to help them and teach them," Winston said. "If Britt wants me to do that, then I’ll do it. I’ll be here for him to help him, that’s for sure."
RENTON, Wash. -- There has been a lot of confusion over the fines Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is incurring, so here a few of the main points:
As of Tuesday, Lynch was subject to losing 15 percent of his $6 million signing bonus, however, that's on a pro-rated basis per year. So Lynch incurred a $225,000 fine on Tuesday. He can be fined another 1 percent of his bonus per each day he misses going forward, up to 25 percent of the bonus.
Lynch also is subject to a $30,000 fine for each day of camp he misses, which was up to $180,000 as of Tuesday. That’s a total of $405,000 in fines, so far.
Lynch will not lose a regular-season game check for each preseason game he misses, which is the rule now under the collective bargaining agreement. But Lynch signed his contract before that CBA rule went into effect.
The fines add up quickly now, however, all these fines could become a moot point. The fines are at the team's discretion. So if Lynch said he would return to the team as long as all his fines were waived, the Seahawks could agree and he would owe them nothing.
- The national TV audience watching ESPN's live telecast from training camp Tuesday got to see exactly why the Seahawks drafted wide receiver Paul Richardson. The second-round pick from Colorado was the star of the day, once again displaying his blazing speed on two long touchdown receptions. The first one also proved that quarterback Terrelle Pryor has a big arm. He stepped up in the pocket and let it fly it 65 yards down the sideline to Richardson, who had cornerback Tharold Simon beat by six yards. The second one also was from Pryor in the back corner of the north end zone. The throw was a little late, but Richardson had beaten cornerback Phillip Adams so easily that Richardson had time to turn around and face the ball, waiting for it to arrive before Adams could get back to him.
- Richardson wasn't the only receiver making big catches. Percy Harvin made several spectacular grabs that wowed the crowd, one of which was a leap backward over safety Earl Thomas. Harvin also made a tough catch on the sideline after a ball was tipped by cornerback Jeremy Lane.
- Tuesday was a day of big plays on both sides of the ball. Defensive ends Cliff Avril and Jackson Jeffcoat, defensive tackle Jordan Hill, middle linebacker Brock Coyle and linebacker Mike Morgan all had sacks. Coyle had his best day of training camp by far, getting to play some with the first-team defense after Bobby Wagner got a cramp in a hamstring.
- Veteran offensive tackle Eric Winston, whom the Seahawks signed Tuesday morning, got in the mix of things immediately. He played right tackle with the second-team offense and looked great for a guy who hasn't been on the field in months. Winston is used to playing the same zone-blocking scheme that the Seahawks use under offensive line coach Tom Cable, so he was ready to go.
- Marshawn Lynch's holdout continues and the Seattle running backs continue to shine. Robert Turbin was the standout with a 35-yard TD run off right tackle.
- Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was on KJR radio and noted four players who have impressed him so far in camp -- defensive tackle Jordan Hill, safety Jeron Johnson, defensive end Greg Scruggs and outside linebacker Mike Morgan.
"If it is what we think it is, it's just a real heartbreaker," said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. "Anthony has worked so hard to get back. If it was the same Achilles you might understand it, but it's the other one."
McCoy was expected to make the team as the third tight end behind Zach Miller and Luke Willson, but his injury opens an opportunity for Cooper Helfet and rookie RaShaun Allen.
Left guard James Carpenter and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner left practice early, but Carroll said both are OK.
"His calf just got tightened up a little bit so we pulled him out early," Carroll said of Carpenter. "It was the same type of thing on Bobby with the hamstring."
Rookie outside linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis missed practice Tuesday with a stomach injury.
"He's got a little oblique thing that has bothered him," Carroll said of Pierre-Louis. "We're hoping it's not a serious deal, but we want to make sure we don't push him too hard or two fast."
Outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield did not practice Tuesday, but he was getting a rest day.
RENTON, Wash. -- Back-end roster moves are typical during training camp, but the Seattle Seahawks made a major move Tuesday by signing offensive tackle Eric Winston.
Winston, 30, is an eight-year veteran who has started 119 of the 124 games he has played, including all 16 games last season for the Arizona Cardinals. He also is the president of the NFL Players Association.
Winston played six seasons for the Houston Texans before signing with Kansas City in 2012. He has been working out this summer in Houston with Texans receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster.
Winston (6-foot-7, 300 pounds) has played most of his NFL career at right tackle, so this could be an indication that the Seahawks aren't comfortable with where things stand at that spot.
Rookie Justin Britt, a second-round draft choice from Missouri, has gotten all the first-team snaps at camp so far. Second-year tackle Michael Bowie, who was expected to compete for the starting job, is out with a shoulder injury.
Britt has looked good in run blocking but has struggled at times on pass blocking. Bringing in Winston gives the Seahawks a proven veteran if they aren’t comfortable starting a rookie right tackle in the NFC West, which is loaded with talented defensive linemen.
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks needed Marshawn Lynch to reach the pinnacle of the NFL. The Seahawks do not need Lynch to stay there.
Lynch has been the heart and soul of the Seahawks' success for four seasons. Other than Mount Rainier, the two best-known words in the Pacific Northwest are Beast Mode.
It’s an iconic term used to describe Lynch’s relentless running style, a symbol of the physical presence he brings to a team that takes pride in its aggressive style of play.
But as good as he is and as much as Lynch has meant to this organization, the Seahawks do not need him for the team to continue to play at a championship level.
Want a little statistical proof?
- The Seahawks won the 2014 Super Bowl by 35 points over Denver on a night when Lynch rushed for 39 yards on 13 carries.
- The Seahawks played seven games last season when Lynch rushed for fewer than 70 yards. They were 7-0 in those games.
That’s not to downplay his contribution. Lynch has led Seattle to many important victories. He is a unique player and one of the best running backs in the NFL. But because of this team's depth and talent, they can keep winning without him.
The Seahawks, however, have talented running backs waiting in the wings -- second-year player Christine Michael and third-year back Robert Turbin are more than capable of carrying the load for a team that emphasizes a run-first philosophy.
“Both of those guys are going to be tremendous backs for us,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “Obviously, we want Marshawn to come back. We love the guy to death and all the things that he does. We have tons of respect for how Marshawn plays. But at the same time, Robert and Christine will be ready to go, that’s for sure.”
Exactly how good Michael and Turbin can be is a bit of an unknown, but neither of them can be what Lynch has been. Lynch is a throwback to a bygone era, a relentless power runner who sacrifices his body to do whatever it takes to move forward. Former Houston Oilers running back Earl Campbell might be the best comparison to Lynch.
That style of running also takes a huge toll on a player’s body. Lynch has rushed for 4,051 yards over the past three seasons while carrying the ball 901 times. No man can take that many hits and continue to play at a high level over the long haul.
That has been proved and is one reason the Seattle hierarchy is not inclined to give Lynch more money. General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll made it clear last week that they expect Lynch to honor his four-year, $30 million deal, which has two years to go.
Neither side is all right or all wrong in NFL contract issues. For example, it’s easy to say Lynch should honor his deal, but the team could release him after the 2014 season (a good possibility for salary-cap reasons) and owe him nothing on the final year of his contract.
So it’s not unreasonable for Lynch to want more money or some type of guarantee on his 2015 salary. But his leverage isn’t nearly as strong as he thinks. The Seahawks would move on without him if they had to without much concern.
“I feel good about it,” cornerback Richard Sherman said Sunday. “I think [Lynch] will be fine. I think whichever decision he makes, I will be fine with. I’m sure he is in shape and can take his 300 carries and be our workhorse. But if it’s his time [to quit], then other guys will step up.”
Sherman was speaking about the idea that Lynch might retire, which isn't likely because it would cost him $6.5 million in salary and bonuses this season.
Wilson has spoken to Lynch on the phone and texted with him the past few days.
“He wants to play,” Wilson said. “He loves playing. I hope that he comes back. He’s a great football player, and he can do so many great things for us. We love him in the locker room. We love him on game day. So we definitely want him back.”
Of course they do. But this team has a quarterback who is starting his third NFL season and is well on his way to becoming one the league’s top players. It has a receiving corps with a healthy Percy Harvin, one of the NFL’s most explosive players. And it has young running backs capable of becoming 1,000-yard rushers.
Everyone on the team wants Lynch to carry the load again this season, but the Seahawks don’t need him to carry it.
The two-hour "SportsCenter" special starts at 1:30 p.m. ET (10:30 a.m. PT) right as practice begins. "Monday Night Football’s" Jon Gruden, studio analyst Darren Woodson, "SportsCenter" anchor Kenny Mayne and ESPN senior writer John Clayton will take part of the telecast.
All four men were watching practice on Sunday in preparation for the show.
“I’ve never seen this type of energy on a football field in training camp,” Gruden said Monday on 710 ESPN Seattle. “The energy level is amazing. If you want to see enthusiasm, watch the first three minutes on this show. It will be an eye-opener for people to see how the Seahawks conduct practice.”
Gruden also said he differs from his ESPN colleague Ron Jaworski on how they view Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. Jaworski said he would take Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles over Wilson.
“I just saw Russell walk away with the Lombardi trophy,” Gruden said. “I like mobility and players who create offense when nothing is there. Just watch [Wilson] play. I’ve never seen intangibles like Russ has – dedication, leadership, work ethic, everything.”
RENTON, Wash. -- If Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is looking at his holdout from a standpoint of financial losses, he might want to show up on Tuesday when the players return to the field after an off day Monday.
With the help of ESPN colleague John Clayton’s expertise of the collective bargaining agreement, here are the actual dollars Lynch stands to lose if his holdout continues into the middle of this week.
Starting with the sixth day, the Seahawks can ask Lynch to return 15 percent of his prorated signing bonus, which would be $225,000. He was paid a $6 million bonus when he signed his four-year contract in 2012.
For each day he continues to hold out going forward, he can lose another 1 percent of his signing bonus ($60,000) for up to 25 percent of the total bonus.
Lynch would not be fined for missing preseason games. But if his holdout stretched to the regular season, he would be fined one week’s game check for each game missed or$312,500 per game.
Starting to get the picture here? This is a very costly stand if Lynch decides to continue holding out.
In a July 28 article posted on ESPN.com, it was incorrectly reported that Marshawn Lynch would be asked to return $900,000 from his signing bonus after the sixth day of his holdout and would be fined for missing preseason games.
- Wide receiver Phil Bates probably is a longshot to make the team, but he certainly hasn’t hurt his chances the last two days. Bates had two touchdowns catches Sunday. He made a circus-like sideline catch on a 30-yard throw to the goal line, grabbing the ball over cornerback Chandler Fenner. Bates later made a juggling catch in the back corner of the end zone, beating cornerback Akeem Auguste on a pass from Tarvaris Jackson. Bates went back to his high school quarterbacking roots Saturday, completing a pass to Russell Wilson on a trick play off a reverse.
- It’s easy to take for granted just how good Wilson is when you see him at practice every day, but he was really on his game Sunday. His passes were sharp and on the money. His decisions come quickly as he consistently finds he open man, and he ran the ball well several times when his receivers were well covered. When you watch all the Seattle quarterbacks work, there’s Wilson and then there’s everyone else.
- The Willson on this team with two Ls in his last name also is putting on a show at camp. Tight end Luke Willson was the team’s top rookie last season, but he looks like a seasoned pro now. Starter Zach Miller may be slightly better as a blocker, but not much better. And Willson is much better as a receiver. He consistently gets separation on pass routes and has great hands. Expect big things from Wilson to Willson this season.
- It’s rare to see the offense way ahead of the defense at any Seattle practice, but the offense dominated the first day in full pads. All three running backs had big runs -- Robert Turbin, Spencer Ware and Demitrius Bronson. Christine Michael was out with a bruised shoulder. Big receiver Morrell Presley, who was signed two days ago, had a touchdown catch, as did tight end Cooper Helfet.
- It wasn’t all bad for the defense. Richard Sherman made one of his signature tip deflections on a deep sideline pass intended for Arceto Clark. And defensive tackle Brandon Mebane had been a disrupted force inside the last two days by making several plays in the backfield.
- Speaking of Sherman, Sunday was the first time he has spoken to the local media in six weeks. Sherman has been upset that the address of his new home was published by a few media outlets, causing some fans to camp out in front of this home.
“He just banged his shoulder a little bit,” Carroll said of Michael. “The trainers think he’ll be back on Tuesday.”
The players have the day off Monday after practicing in pads for the first time at training camp on Sunday.
Receiver Percy Harvin was back full speed Sunday after staying out of team drills Saturday. Carroll said it’s part of a plan to allow Harvin to take a break every few days and not overdo it in camp.
Rookie receiver Kevin Norwood missed practice for the second consecutive day because of a sore foot, but he is expected back Tuesday.
Starting left tackle Russell Okung, who had offseason toe surgery, was in pads Sunday, but did not take part in any drills.
“We talked last night about Okung,” Carroll said. “He probably is about two weeks away so we’re really sure he’s ready to roll.”
Defensive tackle Jesse Williams went full speed Sunday after missing most of Saturday’s practice, but Carroll said they also were resting Williams Saturday.
Rookie defensive tackle Jimmy Staten is out with a hyper-extended knee and a pulled hamstring, which Carroll said could sideline Staten for a while.
Outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (ankle) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (hip) still are recovering from offseason surgery, but both players are expected back soon.
The Seattle Seahawks secondary is known for its aggressive play with tight, press coverage at the line of scrimmage. Opponents often accuse them of grabbing and holding downfield.
The NFL hierarchy, however, made a point in the offseason to say it plans to crack down on overly physical play by defensive backs, which some have said borders on defensive holding or interference. NFL officials have said they plan to throw more flags to limit that contact.
Physical play in the secondary is such a big part of what the Seahawks do that this decision seems deliberately directed at Seattle, so much so that some people are calling it the “the LoB rule.”
“That’s a beautiful thing,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “That’s respect, to me. If that’s the conversation, then it’s a sign of respect and people trying to figure it out. I think we’ve contributed to that.
“The rules that have been emphasized going into this year, there is some attention to the fact of aggressive play at the line of scrimmage. There was some talk of that at league meetings. The adjustments that we’ve made are palatable. We can handle it.”
The Seahawks secondary is an athletically gifted group, so doing whatever is necessary (depending on how tightly the officials call it) probably isn’t a problem.
But Seattle free safety Earl Thomas said the Legion of Boom won’t alter its way of doing things.
“We are who we are,” Thomas said. “People understand that we’re very aggressive. The corners like to do their thing and [strong safety] Kam [Chancellor] and me, we do the same thing. So we can’t worry about that. We’ve got to stay true to who we are. At the end of the day, defense is dictating the pace of what’s going on. We proved that.”
Thomas said he isn’t concerned about officials singling out the Seahawks secondary.
“If they call it, they call it,” Thomas said. “But we’re not playing timid. We’re going to stay on the attack. If you wait to get hit, you’re going to get knocked out.”
- The play of the day came when quarterback Russell Wilson caught a pass. The trick play started with a fake handoff before Wilson gave the ball to wide receiver Phil Bates on a reverse to the right. Wilson kept running into the left flat when Bates stopped in the backfield, turned and threw a nice pass to Wilson, who made the catch near the sideline past linebacker Mike Morgan.
- It’s only the second day, but it appears the starting job at right offensive tackle is Justin Britt’s to lose. The rookie from Missouri is expected to battle Michael Bowie for the starting spot, but Bowie isn’t practicing because of a shoulder injury. Britt is taking all the first-team snaps and coach Pete Carroll praised him on Friday. Carroll even mentioned Wally Pipp in reference to Bowie. Pipp is the former New York Yankees first baseman who left a game because of a headache and was replaced by Lou Gehrig, who went on to play in 2,130 consecutive games.
- Receiver Jermaine Kearse got a second chance at a great play Saturday. Early in practice, Kearse made an outstanding catch diving backwards on a deep sideline throw, but was flagged for offensive interference when the official said he pushed off. Near the end of practice, he got behind cornerback A.J. Jefferson on another deep sideline throw from Wilson and made a similar catch, but that one counted.
- Left guard James Carpenter doesn’t look like the same player as one year ago, and that’s a good thing. Carpenter is slimmer, faster and healthier than he ever has been since coming to the Seahawks as a first-round draft choice in 2011. During Saturday’s practice, Carroll and offensive line coach Tom Cable made a point to come up and praise Carpenter for a pulling block he threw that enabled running back Christine Michael to get around the end on a sweep.
- Safety Jeron Johnson, who missed most of last season with hamstring injuries in both legs, is healthy again and it shows. He had an interception Saturday when he pulled a short pass over the middle away from running back Robert Turbin. Johnson is playing strong safety with the first-team defense until Kam Chancellor returns from offseason hip surgery.