Seahawks Insider

Training camp Day 10: WR competition heats up

Post by Eric Williams on Aug. 9, 2009 at 11:51 am with 29 Comments »
August 10, 2009 7:24 pm

The Seattle Seahawks just completed the Sunday morning’s practice. For the second day, the team worked out only in shells. The Hawks haven’t worked out in full gear since the Friday evening practice at UW, as head coach Jim Mora gives the team a blow from full contact practices.

The players also got another welcome break today – no evening practice. Mora decided to cancel the upcoming practice as a reward and added rest as the team heads into a game week with its first exhibition game this Saturday at San Diego. This is something Mike Holmgren would occasionally do during his tenure.

Rookie linebacker Aaron Curry was on the practice field again today and looked more comfortable working with the defense. Curry ran with the first team today during team drills, as the team tries to get him as many reps as possible to get him ready for Saturday.

Lofa Tatupu sat out this morning’s practice, but from we’ve been told the coaches were just giving the starting middle linebacker a blow and he’s not injured.

Also sitting out this morning’s practice were Walter Jones (back), Marcus Trufant (back), Ray Willis (knee), Chris Spencer (ankle), Will Herring (groin), D.D. Lewis (knee) and Grey Ruegamer (left elbow).

Cory Redding (fatigue) was back practicing, along with fellow defensive lineman Michael Bennett (shoulder).

As I noted in my story on the Aaron Curry signing today, Mora said Walter Jones will not play against San Diego on Saturday. Mora also said Trufant seems to be getting better, is continuing to rehabilitate his back and misses being out on the field with his teammates.

TNT’s Dave Boling also offers his thoughts on Curry’s first practice here.

Mora also said the team dodged a bullet with Spencer’s ankle injury, and he might be able to get back on the field sometime this week.

I thought the offense looked a little ragged this morning, with the defense tipping an intercepting a few balls, a false start, a fumbled snap and a few other missed assignments.

Jordan Kent made the biggest play of the day, fully extending and going up high to make a tough catch along the sideline on a fourth and long situation during two-minute team drills.

Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said the competition for the last, couple receiving spots is the most competitive he’s seen in his 15 years of coaching during training camps, and expects play during preseason games to be the deciding factor for which guys ultimately make the team.

Knapp also said whether or not they keep five or six receivers will depend on how the final, 53-man roster shakes out. He also said he expects to keep three tight ends because of the percentage of two-tight end sets the team runs.

“It’s an unbelievable competition,” Knapp said. “It’s probably been in my 15 years of training camps the best competition at receiving corps. Time after time you’re seeing Jordan Kent, Ben Obomanu, Logan Payne go up and snatch the ball out of the air in one-on-one and tight, zone coverages. I’m only naming three guys, but all of those guys have competed hard.

“I’m tickled how hard they work. It’s to the point where it’s going to make it very hard when it comes to cut down time on who to keep and who to let go because no one is lagging behind.”

I thought during the first week of practices that Obomanu and Courtney Taylor had separated themselves as the two guys competing for those last, two spots. But in the last, few practices, Kent, Payne, Michael Bumpus and Mike Hass all have made plays to put themselves back in the conversation.

The Seahawks ended things on a good note, at least offensively, with running back T.J. Duckett popping a big run on a zone play to the left side of the line.

Both kickers seemed to struggle during the special teams period. Both Olindo Mare and Brandon Coutu missed from 50 yards, with Mare’s kick bounding off the cross bar and landing short, while Coutu curved his wide left. Each also missed a kick from around 40 yards.

Na’Shan Goddard, who had been playing mostly offensive tackle with the second unit, got some work at guard today. Steve Vallos continues to work at center with the first unit, while Max Unger takes most of the snaps at center with the second unit.

Redding also saw some work at defensive tackle today when the defense went nickel, and David Hawthorne worked at middle backer with the first team with Tatupu out.

Mora also got some coaching work done after practice. Mora and Dan Quinn worked with his Mora’s son, 10-year-old Ryder, and the rest of his football team on tackling drills after practice

That’s all for now.

Notes from practice
Leave a comment Comments → 29
  1. chewy724 says:

    If Matt’s back holds up, our recieving corps will be scary good.

    If Deion’s knees hold up, our receiving corps will be sick.

    If Courtney keeps his mouth shut and catches balls, if Ben and Logon stay off IR, if Jordan and Bumpus get some confidence… our receiving corp will dominate.

    So many question marks… but so much potential…. PS- Billy, stay by phone, we may be calling.

  2. Copied and pasted from my last/late post in previous thread, which is now old news with he constant movement of this blog. Thought I’d reiterate thoughts on trufant after reading an article by Clare F.

    Red light: Of Marcus Trufant. It is not time to hit the panic button, but my hand is hovering. Mora states, “I can’t tell you how long it’s going to be. With the back you just don’t know”. Well Mora, you seem to have an idea with walt. Thinking about an extended period of time without trufant will cause any Seahawk fan to crumble with an anyeurism. There have been too many red flags. The immediate signing of T.Fisher, the change of story about the cause of the injury, the uncertainty. Josh Wilson is a capable corner but we still don’t have that eliteness to cover the left side of the field. Hovering….. Just hovering

  3. chuck_easton says:

    The doubters and worriers are out in full force early this camp.

    Trufant will be fine. Better to save him for the regular season.

    Walt is fine.

    Even Sando says Branch is looking good. But his knee will never be the same. He’ll go a few games or practices and be fine and then it will swell up. It is what it is.

  4. Dukeshire says:

    If they actually only keep 5 receivers, it seems pretty clear cut: Branch, Housh, Nate, Butler and Obo. I would be surprised however if they didn’t keep 6. And I have to agree withe Chewy (There’s something you rarely read. :) ) their receiving corp has the potential to be scary good.

    It’s an uneasy feeling to have Tru out with a back issue. But from what I’ve read it sounds muscular not structural, like Matt’s, or at least from how he hurt it, that’s what I’m reading into it. In that case I’m not too worried. Now if it were a disk issue or pinched nerve, I would probably be looking for that panic button as well. And not because of Wilson and Lucas but because of the uncertainty behind those two. ie. Jennings and Hobbs.

  5. Tompage says:

    Practice Report

    Reporters are jerks. I stationed myself in the south bleachers. This is the choice area as the 11 on 11 and 7 on 7 drills are run on the south field. When practice moved to this field, Dave ‘Softy’ Mahler, Clare Farnsworth, and a number of other media types decided they need to stand right in front of the bleachers. I can appreciate they have a job to do, but they do not need to stand right in front of the bleachers. They have access to the other side of the field where no one else is watching, or anywhere else on the side lines besides right in front of the bleachers. Show the fans a little consideration, and keep you buns out of the way.

    Walter Jones was on the field with his jersey on before practice, he seemed to be laughing and joking with his teammates. Chris Spencer was walking without a limp, looks like he is days away from being able to practice.

    Fire, Fire, Fire – That is the call when the QB tries to get the team to the line as fast as possible, simulating a hurry-up situation. Our execution during the Fire, Fire, Fire call was pretty poor. It looks like the team has a ways to go to master this offensive system.

    I thought Matt looked terrible today. His long passes looked like dying quails, and his short passes were late and off target. He has time to get it together, but today he did not look like one of the top QB’s in the league. I saw him talking to Greg Knapp after a number of the bad plays.

    The wide outs that caught my eye today were Logan Payne, and Jordan Kent. Kent caught a high pass over the middle that none of the other receivers would have been able to catch, 6’4” comes in handy. Payne looked fast for a possession guy. One observation on Kent is he still is letting the ball get into his body, he needs to catch the ball with his hands in front of his body. Housh is an exceptional hands catcher, maybe he can help the kid.

    TJ Duckett was walking around without a shirt after practice. You can say a lot of things about Duckett, but you can’t say that he is not in shape. He is a ripped 254lbs, I think he could break me in half.

  6. Dukeshire says:

    Another day, another report of Matt looking poor. I look forward to seeing for myself.

  7. Golfhack1396 says:

    @Tompage: As someone who has been out there as a media type, I can pass this along to you, reporters don’t have access to the other side of the field. They have to stay on the perimeter of the fields as well. They can’t be in between the two side-by-side fields or along that opposite sideline on the south field. In addition to that, the Seahawks staff makes the media stay even with, or behind the line of scrimmage at most times too. So it isn’t as if the media as free reign as to where they want to stand and chose to stand right in front of the fans. It’s just the protocol the Seahawks have out at VMAC. Hope that clears some things up for you.

  8. Tompage says:

    OK Golfhack1396, I can accept that. In fact, I think Clare did a pretty good job of keeping out the way of the fans. I was just disappointed I could not see more of the plays, I guess the pros get priority over a bunch of sports writer wannabes.

  9. thanks for the report.

    How do JJ and Forsett look? Other RBs?

  10. Dukeshire says:

    Forsett’s been tearing it up, from every camp report I’ve read.

  11. I hope Forsett actually gets a chance to play this year. It makes our team so versitle!!!

  12. CanuckFan says:

    JJ was okay, but I didn’t see anything special… Forsett looked good, hit the seam a few times and he certainly has an extra gear!

    I thought Josh Wilson also looked good today as well, but Hass having a sub-par performance played into that a bit. After watching Jordan Kent make the catch called the play of the day (and it was, by a mile), he should be known as “Hang Time” Kent… Wow, did ever get up there!!!

    Those D-lineman are scary creatures – watching them do the one-on-one’s is a sight!

  13. I’m not too worried about Matt yet. I’m more worried about his blockers.

  14. juliusvrooder says:

    I posted on this most intense of subjects awhile ago, and little has changed. I have some questions I would like to have you all answer. I think they will keep six, as a classic ‘close the barn door after the horse ran off’ response to last year. Housh, Burly, Branch, Butler, and…

    I think Obo is in. He is the complete package, and actually shows up on game day.

    Billy Mac has left the building (Only 7 months too late)

    Courtney “Mr. Thursday” Taylor: Man or myth? He can no longer bank on Holmgrens man crush, blackmail defense, or whatever it was, and now has to actually prove himself. Will he?

    Logan Payne: The second coming of Paul Skansi tan, rested, and ready to get his hat knocked off and his lip bloodied in the KC end-zone while retaining possession (sorry. A golden age flash back.)

    (Why is Skansi a fave? Try this: Only one team has ever knocked him out of a ball game: My Burlington-Edison Tigers in the ’78 state championship, which we won. It was his junior year, and he was MVP the next year. I love that)

    Back to the 21st century:

    Jordan Kent: Is he ready for prime-time? Is the project complete? Can we cut him just as he is showing signs of fulfilling his promise? That’s a lot of upside. Turner, Robinson, Hackett, all those years… Have we finally saddled a unicorn, only to turn him loose?

    Bumpus: Is he eligible for practice squad? If not, can we slot him as a return man, and give Moore a ride in the taxi until Ruski gives up on TJ or JJ?

    Hass: Whats the word on this guy? Is he a dark horse?

    And finally… Branch: We have a truly exciting batch of young receivers. Like, as in the offensive answer to our LB corps. To me, WR’s are either freak athletes (Kent,) Electrifying game breakers (Bumpus,) or scrappy over-the-middle barfighters (Payne.) How do you cut a young prototype to keep a guy who is clearly injury prone? Branch is like pork chop. Plays great when he’s in, but is rarely in. How hurt does he have to get to be sent down the road so we can invest in the future?

    Your thoughts?

  15. MadSweeney42 says:

    Surprised to see the sentiment about Mcmullen. I thought he played well for us last year, certainly better than Kent or Taylor. He has good size and knows how to use it and is proficient in the WCO.

    Kent and Taylor both had great camps last year and flopped when they got on the field. Do you cut an expensive SB MVP for guys that have shown they can’t handle the pressure of the regular season? He’s had a lot of time to rest and heal and rehab…

    Payne I don’t know about, but I am still angry that the 9ers defender wasn’t fined for the hit that took him out. He dove right where Payne’s knee would be when Payne landed. Complete cheap shot. How will his knee hold up compared to Branch’s?

    I think that no matter who is kept, it will be a talented WR corps, but nowhere near the talent in the middle of the D. An early season injury to Patrick Willis could see all 3 heading to Hawaii, er Miami, after, er before the SuperBowl.

  16. Mr Williams – When you write that someone is “getting a blow” do you mean something similar to someone getting a breather, or break, or rest?

  17. We all know the 4 locks at WR.

    IMO I think it’s a toss up for the #5 WR between Payne and Obo. If you put a gun to my head and told me you’d shoot if I got the #5 WR wrong, I would say Payne is going to be the one who is in (and it’s not b/c I want to die).

    One problem with Payne or Obo at #5 is that I don’t see either being very productive on special teams. Many teams who have guys buried on the depth charts like to keep players who can best help a team with special teams. These are the Larry Izzo, Steve Tasker, our own Alex Bannister players of the world. For those of us who can remember a guy like Michael Bates too (anyone remember the Lions game in the 80s when he forced the ST fumble near the goal line and then recovered it? One of the greatest single ST plays I have ever seen).

    Even though we’ve been going with 6 WRs, I can see us going with 5 this year mainly b/c of how Knapp has said he may use Carlson (and from the glowing Carlson reports this off-season). If Carlson is going to split out some in 3rd down situations or whatever, he’s essentially playing WR (which means a WR won’t be playing that spot, which further eliminates the need for a 6th WR. Take that with Knapp not being overly big on a lot of WR sets over the years and I think we’re only going with 5.

    I know Kent or Taylor haven’t gotten the job done on Sundays, but those two probably have the biggest upside on helping on ST. I know Bumpus can return punts, but Kent/Taylor seem to have more upside as gunners (and I’ve seen Kent whiff, especially).

    Obo probably had as good of command of the offense under Holmy as anyone. I remember some Nate comments from (I think) last years training camp and he changed WR position for a play and got instructions from Obo as what to do (I think he caught a TD on the play). However, with Knapp being in town, I would imagine this one strength of his may not exist anymore with the new OC. That’s why I give the edge to Payne for being our #5 WR.

  18. chuck_easton says:

    This is the fun time of year to be a fan. We all have our personal favorites. I remember a few years ago I was always an Urban fan and would check in very nervous on final cut day to see if he made it.

    I’m also a Payne fan. I think he has the hands to be a solid possession receiver in the Bobby Engram mold.

    I honestly think it’s going to come down to who might have PS eligibility remaining as to who makes the final roster. If you can stash a couple of the guys on the PS then all things being equal they go there. It may not be the most fair way to do things but it allows the team to keep as many of them as possible.

  19. Dukeshire says:

    Obomanu has returned kickoffs (2007) and has been working with the punt return unit this camp. I think it would be stunning if he wasn’t a lock at this point. Opinions differ of course, but the battle is for the 6th spot as I see it. Top 5 looks pretty well set.

  20. Does anyone know what Payne has been doing on ST this season? And, if so, how he has looked? I remember the opener at Buffalo last season and he looked pretty brutal on punt return coverage.

    A reason I think Payne will be the #5 is because he’s more of the Ruskell guy as far as being an overachiever (even though I just said he sucked on ST last year and in the previous post said ST play may be big in who the #5 WR is). I’ve been known to be wrong my fair share of times and probably am here but you never know.

    Since I was out of it for awhile, maybe this was discussed a few weeks ago? Kerney moving to RDE. Do any of you know if this switch had anything to do with his shoulder? Sometimes certain body parts can be better protected with certain angles. I don’t know, I am just wondering if anyone has heard anything.

  21. Dukeshire says:

    I think it has more to do with matching him up with fewer double teams so he can better rush the passer. Matching him up against LT should do that. Redding is much bulkier and should be able to handle doubles more effectively. I think it has more to do with matching players up to their strengths. Any ancillary benefits are a plus, as I understand it.

  22. If we are doing personal opinions I’m sure mine is to change after the first preseason game. I’m a bit of a lame duck and isolated on an island by myself in not thinking Butler is a lock. I don’t think simply because we traded up in the the third round to grab him means that he is a lock. I think the coaches are gonna choose the WRs that have the best chance to help our team right now. Butler doesn’t quite fit that description just yet.

    1. Burleson 2. Housh 3. Branch

    Based on pure performance I think the next 2 have better chances than the rest: Obomanu and Kent. There are your 5.

    The 6 spot, which I do believe will carry over to the season is going to be a very difficult selection. Taylor, Butler, and Payne closely nipping into that fold I believe is bumpus.

    Everything changes however, when the lights come on and the person on the other side of the LOS is in the game solely to stop you. There lies the extra confusion as Taylor and Kent have both proven to fall on their face in an embarrassing fashion. Payne, Bumpus, and Possibly Butler are all gamers. What a great battle this will be. I’m excited for whoever makes the team and it will be a travesty for those that we end up losing.

  23. random tidbit from peter king’s column this morning:

    “So the tireless Pete Fierle of the Hall’s staff has set up a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hall for us with one of the Hall’s archivists, Jason Aikens. It’s Nirvana. I held Johnny Unitas’ 1956 contract in my hands (he made $7,000 for the Colts before he was somebody, and his handwriting was exquisite). Hanging from one of the shelves is Pat Tillman’s garment bag (Samsonite, I believe). Aikens opens up one drawer and pulls out a game program from 1946, from Paul Brown’s first professional game — the Cleveland Browns against the Miami Seahawks, an All-America Football Conference game. Leather helmets. Jim Thorpe’s Carlisle Indians sweater. ”

    Miami Seahawks? Who here knew there was ever another pro football team called the Seahawks?

  24. MadSweeney42 says:

    According to Wiki, while the Miami Seahawks were pretty unspectacular in every way, they had a pretty decent effect on the AFL and eventually the NFL.

    “The franchise was folded after the 1946 AAFC season. A new franchise was granted to Baltimore, Maryland for the 1947 season to keep the number of teams at 8. That team was named the Baltimore Colts via a fan contest, in honor of Maryland’s rich history of racing and breeding horses.

    In 1960, Ralph Wilson approached the city of Miami about a replacement team in the American Football League. He was turned down, largely because of the city’s bad experience with the Seahawks, and instead put his team in Buffalo, New York, where it became the Buffalo Bills. Several years later, after the success of the AFL was assured, the city relented and allowed the Miami Dolphins to take root in the city.”

    So the Colts, Bills and Dolphins all were impacted by how bad those Seahawks were!

  25. twocolorcrayon says:

    haha MadSweeney I just read that and logged in to talk about it. Beat me to it. I did not know that!!

  26. Dukeshire says:

    MadSweeney42 – I don’t know if you saw Wilson’s exceptance speech on Saturday, but he referenced that story about the Seahawks being such a disaster there. lol.

  27. IMO Butler is more of a lock than Branch, although I do think both are locks.

    RDE does seem to suit Kerney better. My main knock on Kerney is that he isn’t very good in the running game and you’d really like to have a guy who is more stout at that position. I think the big man, Redding, will do a better job overall at LDE thanks to his ability to stuff the run and Kerney will be fine at RDE.

    I know a lot of people were hard on Wistrom when he was here and the money he was making for being a below average pass rusher, but that guy could stuff the run from the RDE position. I know 2 years ago was basically a trade off in signing Kerney and letting Grant go, and although I do think Kerney is better b/c of his pass rushing ability, we certainly did suffer when we lost Wistrom with respect to run defense. Tubbs was great and IMO our most valuable defensive player in ’05, but he certainly had some good help on the DL with respect to run stuffing ability. Fishcer was a solid run defender (better than his replacement, Kerney) too.

  28. “Fischer”

  29. Based on draft position, and how I observed him being used, I think Deon Butler is a lock, assuming he can make it through the preseason. Deon Butler is a little guy, I look huge standing next to the guy (I am 6’1” and 190lbs). He needs to prove to me he can take NFL hits. If he survives the preseason, he will make the team. I don’t necessarily agree with this, but it is based on what I have seen.

    I think Forsett is a lock, again based on what I have seen. It looks like the coaches like Devin Moore (as I predicted going into camp), but he does not look ready for the NFL. He can run, but he is not a good enough blocker. I see Forsett being used as often as Duckett in the drills I have watched. I have seen Forsett run behind the #1 line regularly during practice.

    I think Obomanu is close to a lock. It looks like he and Deon Butler are our primary punt returners. Nate goes back to snag a few punts but he does not look like a primary punt return guy, and I wouldn’t like it if he was. We need Nate as a receiver, and we will put him back there in key situation, but not to catch every punt. I have also seen Obomanu on the kickoff return in the past. So you have the most polished receiver, and is also valuable on special teams, he looks pretty strong right now.

    I think they keep six wide receivers because many of them play special teams. I think Kent, Payne, Taylor, Bumpus, Hass, etc. are all playing for one spot.

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