On a rainy summer Monday afternoon, the Seahawks hit the practice field again after a canceled Sunday evening session. This was a two-hour stint that was, in all senses of the word, dominated by the defense and Aaron Curry's first full-pad session.
Here's a few observations from the day's practice.
Justin Forsett looked great catching passes out of the backfield. During one drill, he split wide in motion and made a great grab on an overthrown ball deep down the left sideline for a 30-yard completion that would easily go the distance in a game situation. His quickness and ability to produce a late burst was impressive.
Julius Jones looks hungry. He certainly has something to prove this year. Last year, Jones started the season looking like he was going to be 1,200-yard back, but for one reason or another, he fell out of favor with Mike Holmgren.
New staff, new story. Jones looks like he is meant for this zone-blocking, one-cut scheme set forth by Gregg Knapp. He did lose the ball on the first handoff he took, but it looked more like a mistake by the quarterback, not him.
T.J. Duckett is a beast, enough said. Big, huge really, and strong and should see a lot of goal line reps and will probably produce quite a few points as a result.
The fullback position looks unresolved, or could even be a committee situation. Owen Schmitt looks rusty and was blown up a few times in pass rush drills. Justin Griffith was better, but has cement blocks for hands, dropping two passes in a row in passing drills.
The receivers on the fringe got extra reps today. T.J. Houshmandzadeh only participated in the positional drills, then reappeared on the field sans pads for the rest of the afternoon.
Nate Burleson and Deion Branch took the first team reps, then it was up for grabs.
Jordan Kent made a great grab in coverage and turned on the jets. He has all the physical talents to be great. His speed is off the charts and his size will help him if he learns to use it correctly.
Tight end John Carlson looks better and better. In one-on-one pass rush drills, he successfully blocked out D.D. Lewis and in 11-on-11 drills he made a fantastic catch in coverage. Carlson should have an even better sophomore year.
After Carlson, the other two roster spots are up for grabs.
Cameron Morrah, the rookie seventh-rounder out of Cal looked quite good catching the ball.
The offensive line struggled immensely today. In fact they looked downright awful. Walter Jones sat out again as did Chris Spencer, so the team was missing two of the anchors of the usual starting lineup.
Hope today was just a bad day for them and a great day for the defense. If they block the way they did today, Matt Hasselbeck will be carted off in a casket.
On the brighter side, the real star of the day, the defense, was absolutely lights-out the whole session.
The linebackers were an awesome force of disruption on the field. In one-on-one pass-rush drills, both Aaron Curry and Leroy Hill blew up every would-be blocker. Send both of them on a blitz and you will see some rattled quarterbacks.
Curry's speed off the edge looks too good to be true. I know he ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at the combine, but his game speed is every bit as fast. That speed should allow him to push QBs out of the pocket or into his massive frame.
Lofa Tatupu sat out 11-on-11s, and it looked as though the wet conditions made head coach Jim Mora cautious with his stars after the recent controversy involving the Browns' Eric Mangini and his practice ethic.
Also sitting out full-team drills was Patrick Kerney, but he looks completely rehabilitated, in fact even bigger than he was last year.
The defensive line showed they are a more physical, bigger, and more dominant group than last year. The combination of Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane at the defensive tackle position was disruptive.
They filled the gaps repeatedly forcing runners outside. Cole looks like a steal in free agency, and should live up to his expectations to be a double-teamed nose tackle freeing up the three-headed beast of linebackers to diagnose and attack plays.
The defense really proved to be the star of the day when the full-speed 11-on-11 team drills began.
With the first-team players going against each other the first four plays resulted in this order: Hasselbeck pressured and throwing an interception to Josh Wilson downfield, Kelly Jennings on a corner blitz untouched for a would-be sack (Hasselbeck saved by his red jersey of course), front four blast the line, collapse the pocket for a would-be sack, and finally Leroy Hill on an edge rush for another would be sack.
One pick and three sacks in four plays.
This defense is living up to every bit of the hype of being fast, physical, and aggressive.