- Terry Blount, ESPN Staff Writer
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A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Seattle Seahawks training camp:
One of the biggest surprises in camp so far has to be wide receiver Phil Bates. A long shot to make the team when camp started, Bates' chances are rapidly improving. "He's a tough competitor and we love what he's doing," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Thursday. "He's really been productive and active. He's made a bunch of big plays. This is the culmination of a couple of years of work to get to this spot. Remember, he moved from the quarterback spot [in college] and he has all the moves now as receiver."
The Seahawks have been using rookie defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat (6-3, 255) at the strongside linebacker spot the last few days. "He's got the versatility to do it," Carroll said of Jeffcoat. "He's a Leo [rush end] at times and a Sam backer other times. We wanted to see what he can do at linebacker and he's doing well."
The NFL officials were in camp Thursday to go over the rules changes for the season and to call the practice session like it was game conditions. They threw a lot of flags. "I asked them to be active and they certainly answered the call," Carroll said of the officials. "It's good to see their interpretations and an important indication that we need some work in those areas." One big change that could affect the Seahawks secondary is the emphasis on defensive holding. Anytime a defensive back grabs a receiver's jersey, even within the first 5 yards, it will be flagged for holding. Last season, some jersey grabs were considered incidental contact.
A couple of defensive backs fighting for a roster spot had a good day Thursday. Cornerback Akeem Auguste had a diving interception in the end zone. Rookie Dion Bailey tipped away a Tarvaris Jackson pass attempt on a safety blitz.
The Seahawks will practice Friday from 10:15 a.m. PT to 12:15 p.m. The practice is open to the public, but all tickets are sold out. The team has a mock-game scrimmage on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. PT.