Seahawks Insider

Tuesday practice report: Quinn preaches versatility

Post by Eric Williams on Sep. 1, 2009 at 5:33 pm with 18 Comments »
September 1, 2009 5:36 pm

The Seahawks practiced outside in the rain for a little less than two hours this afternoon, working on the game plan for Oakland.

Players sitting out include Marcus Trufant (back), Walter Jones (knee), Chris Spencer (quad), C.J. Wallace (ribs), Travis Fisher (hamstring), T.J. Houshmandzadeh (soreness), Seneca Wallace (groin), Cory Withrow (unspecified) and Logan Payne (leg).

C.J. Wallace, Seneca Wallace, Fisher, Houshmandzadeh and Payne all were out on the practice field at the end of the team’s workout.

Head coach Jim Mora was not scheduled to talk with reporters today, so I’ve got nothing new to report on Walter Jones or Marcus Trufant.

Running back Edgerrin James continued to work more during team drills and seems like he’s picking up the zone running scheme quickly. James does a nice job of picking out the cutback lanes and bursting through the hole. I’m interested to see if he’ll play at all on Thursday.

I had an interesting conversation with defensive line/assistant head coach Dan Quinn about creating versatility across the defensive line. Quinn said it’s important both in terms of the players and the team to have guys plays as many positions across the line as possible.

That’s why you’ll see guys like Cory Redding and Michael Bennett play both inside and outside. Redding is a defensive end who can play some three-technique inside, and Bennett, who played defensive end at Texas A&M, is being groomed as a three-technique defensive tackle who can play some end.

Quinn pointed to Derek Walker and Craig Terrell as two other linemen who can play more than one position across the line.

“When you can create position flexibility for yourself you add more opportunities for yourself,” Quinn said. “So sometimes there’s three techniques who can move outside, or D-ends who can move inside.”

Quinn also said that Patrick Kerney, who the team moved over to right end with the addition of Cory Redding at left end, still will see some time at the left end spot.

“Absolutely, yeah,” Quinn said. “It might be by game. It might be against an individual player in a matchup, that kind of stuff. So even at that position there’s flexibility between left end and right end guys. And certainly Pat’s stout enough to play the run over on the left side, too.”

And Quinn said a point of emphasis during training camp has been for the defensive line to get off the ball quickly and get their hands on the offensive line in order to be a disruptive force.

“It’s kind of like a boxer beating a guy to the punch,” Quinn said. “If you can get your feet in the grass faster than the other guy and get your hands in the right spot, more times than not you’re going to play with better technique.”

I talked to kicker Olindo Mare for a story I’m working on about the kicking competition. The veteran kicker says he’s taking it all and stride, but if he had his druthers he would love to remain with the Seahawks for the rest of his NFL career. He’s moved his wife and three kids to the Seattle area and they’re enrolled in school, so he’s ready to be here for the long haul.

But Mare also understands this is a business and the organization will ultimately make the decision on which direction they will go.

Mare believes he has proven he can get the job done. Mare attributed the missed 27-yarder at Kansas City to the ball getting away from holder Jon Ryan, and said he had enough distance to make the 51-yarder, even though it was into the wind.

From talking to players after the game the balls were reportedly slick, which may have attributed to five of the six field goal attempts being missed last week.

“Every year is different,” Mare said. “And absolutely competition makes you better. By no means do I take anything for granted as far as any team, or playing or anything else. But I’m pretty confident in what I do, and I know preseason is preseason. And they have to make their decisions.

“But they’re going to make them regardless of what I think. It doesn’t matter. I’m not going to change how I feel or what I do as far as how I practice and prepare myself. They’re going to do what’s best for the team. And I’ve been around long enough to know that whatever decision they make, I’m not going to go in there and change their mind and tell them, ‘Remember what I did last year.’ So, I’m not really too concerned about it.”

Also, after much debate in the press room we figured out that wide receiver Mike Hass does have practice squad eligibility for this season.

That’s all for now.

Notes from practice
Leave a comment Comments → 18
  1. From what I’ve seen from most of the DL in pre-season, this versatility thing really doesn’t mean much if nobody is any good at the positions they are playing (with respect to the front 4 generating a good, consistent pass rush). Aside from Mebane, I don’t have a lot of faith in their pass rush abilities. In defense of Kerney, he also looked pretty sluggish two years ago (the year he finished a sack behind Jared Allen for the league lead). I’m hoping for the best though.

  2. Dukeshire says:

    Both sides of the line seem to require versatility. On the D line, it’s not just the ability to bounce up and down, inside and out, you see a lot of them, Kerney and Tapp especially, dropping back into zone coverage. This is the most athletic group I can ever remember Seattle having. Let’s hope all that flashiness translates into “relentless pressure” on opposing QBs.

  3. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. I think of Lawrence Jackson last year. He was versatile. He could play a bad RDE and in passing situations he could play a bad RDT (which made him versatile). He just wasn’t any good at the positions he played.

  4. Duke – I’m all for “relentless pressure!” as long as it’s not Matt who is getting it.

  5. Dukeshire says:

    Lol, yes I too am mediocre at many things giving me a special brand of versatility.

    Matt sure has looked good, to me. If they can keep him upright and give him just a modicum of time, he’s going to light it up this season.

  6. Yes. I think the trio of Carlson, TJ, and Burleson are going to be pretty special this season. And then add in Branch, who is special when healthy and when he’s not expected to be a main guy… And then add in the speed of Butler and Matt definitely has weapons in the passing game! If that damn OL can just give him time to throw this is going to be a Super season!

  7. seahawklovertoo says:

    My two cents : sorry I am not so much in love with JJ. Now that we got Edge
    I think we should try to get rid of J.Jones (via trade). Force should stay, Moore
    will be OK on PS as a insurance. I posted about the four good RBs Frisco has
    on their roster. Thay’ll keep three so, one can be scooped. Their rookie (out of Perdue) Kory Sheets was really good against Dallas. He did more in that (less than a) half than JJ did in all three games this year.

  8. CYRREEN says:

    I agree. Sheets looked really good. We need a running back for the future.

  9. Dukeshire says:

    I’m going to confuse Julius Jones with Adrian Peterson but I think I’m one of the few here who like him. Preseason game stats can be very misleading. Even within the same player’s game. Example: JJ was 15 for 57 against KC. In the 1st quarter when Schmitt was in he was 6 for 18. In the second quarter when Griffith replaced him, JJ went 9 for 39. That is a marked improvement (+1.3 yards per). Of course FBs weren’t in for all of his carries but you see my point. His overall ave was only 3.8, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

  10. Dukeshire says:

    I’m *NOT* going to confuse…. lol.

    And you can be sure, Ruskell will put “long range answer to RB” at the top of his off season to do list.

  11. AP is the best RB there is… but the guy is a fumbling machine and he’s a terrible blocker. It’s funny that a guy like him who can bulldoze LBs in the running game is absolutely terrible against them (and gets rocked) in pass protection. Either way, I’d take him in a heartbeat.

  12. freedom_X says:

    The versatility aspect comes into play if you think of it as getting pressure from “4 or 5″ players, as opposed to strictly the front four. If they drop Kerney in coverage and send Josh Wilson on a blitz, *and* they get pressure, that’s still pressure from 4 or 5 people.

    The benefit is the confusion and indecision it can put in the minds of the blockers and QB. Contrast this to last year. It seemed to me that Marshall would send up to 7 people on the rush, but it was getting picked up pretty regularly and there was little pressure.

    My belief was the predictabilty of Marshall’s packages and defense contributed to it. The offenses could read what he was doing and knew how to respond.

    Hopefully, the new defense will be harder to read, and create more unpredictable situations. The offense will be less likely to have a pat, practiced response to what they see. That’s what I hope will happen this year.

    So far, I think the pressure has been better and more consistent than last year, though it’s only pre-season. I don’t feel that Seattle’s been sending the house to get the pass rush they have gotten (which would mean they’ve got nothing for the regular season.)

  13. nighthawk2 says:

    I’m wondering if this is Kerney’s last season (age 33 in December and the shoulder trouble history), and another half season due to injury could possibly make it so, if the Seahawks would at least seriously entertain the idea of moving to a 3-4 defense. This would mean moving Darryl Tapp to an OLB spot, where I think he’d be outstanding.

    I suspect that if Julius Jones were moved in a trade, perhaps to a team looking for better pass blocking from the HB spot than they currently have, the team might look to pick up someone in a trade, hopefully Jerious Norwood from Atlanta, or as a temporary measure look at signing Justin Fargas if Oakland releases him as appears likely. At a listed 220 he’s bigger than Jones at a listed 208, and he knows this offense. Probably won’t happen but just a thought. Unless they traded for Norwood, the team would still need to address RB early in the draft.

  14. princeaden says:

    If Vargas becomes available I think we would be foolish not to try to sign him. He knows the system and is a Stud. And Lawrence Jackson should be ahead of John Carlson in natural progression based on their draft orders, but it’s not even close. LoJack’s a bum. Get him outa here.

  15. princeaden says:

    Sorry, make that Fargas.

  16. bleedshawkblue says:

    I, too, can be bad at more than one thing…seems a little early to tell if LoJack is a bust as it’s been ONE season and the foot injury he had kept him a step or two slow most of last year. Also, a very good point that Kerney stunk it up in the preseason the year he went All Pro. One of the ubergeeks at SehawkAddicts or Fieldgulls ran a spreadsheet of dominant DEs and 2 out of 15 or so had decent rookie seasons. Names like Umeniyora, Tuck, Peppers, Mario Williams etc. all were mediocre at best their first year, and some took longer than one year to develop their game. I would look for Atkins to take a hike long before LoJack.

    One of the observations I see missing from all the talk about the passing game is the passblocking/receiving skills of the RBs. Anyone else notice the 3rd RB on the depth chart average 9 yards a catch on the dumpoff screen against a Shawne ‘roidhead Merriman and Antonio Cromartie-led defense? JJ and Edge are both more polished as receivers and pass blockers than JForce, who has been lights out effective against high quality competition.
    Encouraging also to hear how well Edge is making good reads and hitting the hole.

    Another very underrated asset that Edge brings to the party is one of the many side benefits of having Ruskell guys in your system. They will help mentor teammates behind them on the depth chart, which is extremely rare in this league. Think about it: how much help do you really want to give some guy who makes less than you who wants to take your job? Especially when your job has a very short shelf life in the Not For Long league and it pays zillions more than you can ever get with your degree in Recreational Speech Communication Theory from SouthEast Footballfactory/Partylikearockstar State. When a player has made his pile and made his mark, ego and threat to livelihood can finally take a back seat to winning games.

    Seems like this offense is most similar to 2007, with a shook up line, good QB and receivers and a suspect running game. Anyone want to pull the 2007 roster for us with the numbers they put up and we can do head to head comparisons? I assert that this line is more athletic and talented (get well soon, Walt) all the way across, the receivers are much, much better and the RBs are WAAAAAYYY better than Alexander-the-used-to-be-Great and Mo “dropped in the backfield” Morris. And that was the year before Church Van learned how to be a competent blocker, so the FBs are better this year, too.

    Man, the KoolAid tastes good this time of year, don’t it?

  17. bleedshawkblue says:

    And JJ’s 3.8 average times 20 carries is 76 yards. Add the 30 and 50 or so from the other 2 guys you can expect, and suddenly you have a respectable (not dominant…) 150-175 yards per game. Enough to make the opposing D have to play the run and thus get burnt by Hasselbeck and co.

    The thing that has stood out to me when Hasselbeck is on has always been how many receivers he throws to in the course of a game. Pretty common to see a box score where as many as 8 or 9 guys have caught a ball. We have 8 or 9 guys on this roster who can do significant damage.

    MMMMMMMM, KoolAid….

  18. I was ready to give LoJack a break for year 1 too. However, when it’s year 2 and you are demonstrating nothing (he has no Pro Bowl pedigree that Kerney had) and your head coach basically says you’ll never be anything special (“dynamic” was the word), then there’s a good reason to question the guy.

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