We had an eventful day here at the Seattle Seahawks first day of minicamp, so let’s get too it.
Tight end Zach Miller did not practice today, wearing a boot on the sidelines. Pete Carroll said that Miller has a sore foot on the same leg that he suffered a torn plantar fascia after the Atlanta NFC divisional game.
However, Carroll said the injury to Miller is different.
“He has a sore foot, so we’re just resting it,” Carroll said. “I think we know exactly what’s going on, but it’s not going to be a serious problem. He just needs a little rest.”
With Miller out, Sean McGrath worked as the in-line tight end, and rookie Luke Willson came in as a the second tight end when the Seahawks worked with two, tight-end sets.
While Miller watched, a host a Seattle players returned from nagging injuries, including free agent addition defensive end Cliff Avril.
Avril worked through only individual drills, but said he felt better getting on the field instead of watching.
“It feels great to be back,” Avril said. “It’s lonely out there on the sidelines as a player. So to get back out here and move around and build that camaraderie on the defensive line, it felt great.”
A vote to bring back T-Jack
Second-year receiver Doug Baldwin did not mince words about wanting the Seahawks to bring back quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, recently cut by Buffalo.
Baldwin’s affinity for Jackson makes sense because of the success he had with the Alabama State product during his rookie season, leading the Seahawks in receptions in 2011.
“He’s loved in the locker room because of what he did for us in 2011,” Baldwin said. “He fought through injuries, and was able to put his best foot forward out on the field. And like I said, the guys in the locker room love him. And he’s got unbelievable knowledge about the game. So him just being able to be in the locker room and talk to the younger guys – I know he’s going to have a lot of insight for Russell (Wilson) because Russell is still growing.”
Baldwin believes there is a possibility that Jackson returns to Seattle. He talked with Jackson on Monday after he was released.
“He was a little distraught about the situation,” Baldwin said. “But he’s got his spirits up. He’s just looking for the next opportunity, and hopefully it’s with the Seattle Seahawks.”
McDaniel’s height is noticeable
Someone who continues to make plays is free agent acquisition defensive lineman Tony McDaniel. The former Miami Dolphin has batted down several passes with his 6-7, 320-pound frame, and also has been active on running downs.
Right now, McDaniel is being used as the team’s 3-tech defensive tackle on early downs with the first-unit defense, similar to the role Alan Branch filled for the Seahawks the past two seasons.
“We think he can be a first and second-down player for sure,” Carroll said. “And he looks like he can be a good accent rusher too. We’re pleased to have them.”
A Chris Clemons sighting
Defensive end Chris Clemons traveled from his Georgia home to attend this week’s mandatory minicamp. Clemons appeared in good shape while watching his position group go through individual drills at the beginning of practice. He did not wear a brace on his surgically repaired knee.
“Is he going to make it back for the first game? I don’t know,” Carroll said. “He has a chance. And if it can happen, we’ll make it happen. But like I’ve said the whole time, we will not rush that. We’re going to take our time on that and make sure he’s right.”
Carroll agreed that having Clemons around to work with some of the younger players learning his position is helpful.
“He’s a great leader on this team,” Carroll said. “He’s tough as nails, and he really stands for something in this locker room. And so to have him around is important.”
One of the standout players during Seattle’s offseason program continues to be Baldwin. The Stanford product made several flash plays during this afternoon’s practice, and appears like he’s back to being the quick, explosive, sure-handed receiver that wowed the league during his rookie season in 2011.
Baldwin said part of the reason for his success is a different approach to this offseason.
“I feel great,” Baldwin said. “I was a little smarter this offseason. I took more time off than I did the previous offseason, making sure my body was healthy coming into this offseason.”
Carroll has taken notice.
“Doug has done really well,” Carroll said. “At this time last year, Doug was pressing a little bit. And he was coming off a great first season, and I think he came in wanting to do so much. And you can just see how relaxed he is. He’s playing like a vet. He knows our system. He’s working great with the quarterback. And he does so many intricate things. It’s really good to see him out here working.
“He’s competing, too,” Carroll said. “He knows Percy’s coming in to play some snaps at the slot, and he’s showing his best. And he’s making every claim for why he’s been a good football player for us, and why we’re going to play him when we come to this fall.”
* Carroll said that linebacker Korey Toomer and tight end Sean McGrath have benefited from Seattle’s offseason program, which has given them an opportunity to earn a role on this year’s team. McGrath has gained 10 pounds and improved his quickness, while Toomer recovered from shoulder surgery and has a much better feel for Seattle’s defensive scheme. Toomer has been working at SAM with the second unit defense.
* Right tackle Breno Giacomini returned to practice today. Carroll said that tests Giacomini had on his knee back in New York came back negative, and his knee is fine. Giacomini returned to regular spot at right tackle with the first unit.
“All the reports came back really solid, and support that he’s okay,” Carroll said. “Which was good for his mindset and all of that – he needed to know that. So he’s ready to go.”
* As we’ve seen during the offseason work, Carroll reiterated that second-round choice Christine Michael has looked quick and explosive in practice. However, Carroll said the coaching staff will have to wait for the team to put pads on to get a true evaluation.
“He’s much like we felt about Robert Turbin about this time last year,” Carroll said. “And we need to get the pads on to find out what it all means. A lot of that will be how he breaks tackles and how he pass pros (blocks in pass protection) when he gets his chances. And also how he plays on special teams.”
* Carroll said that rookie defensive lineman Jesse Williams has a chance to earn significant playing time come September. Williams has been backing up Red Bryant at defensive end, and also playing inside at 3-tech defensive tackle.
“He could play nose also,” Carroll said. “That versatility is really crucial, and I’m excited. We won’t know about him until we get out of preseason probably. … He’s going to make a bid for playing, and he’s going to play a lot, I would think. He has a real chance to do that.”
* Rookie fifth-round draft choice Tharold Simon remains out. Carroll said that the LSU product has a foot injury that could develop into a stress fracture, and the team is taking a proactive approach to managing the injury.
Carroll’s hopeful Simon will be healthy for training camp.
“He should certainly make it back by camp,” Carroll said. “If it’s not by camp, then we’ve got a problem.”
* In the kicker competition, Carson Wiggs missed from 53 and 64 yards, while Steven Hauschka nailed two 53-yarders, but missed from 64 yards. Both players were kicking with the wind.
*Along with Avril and Giacomini, safety Winston Guy, tight end Cooper Helfet and receivers Stephen Williams, Brett Swain and Charly Martin returned to practice. Greg Scrugs, James Carpenter, Simon, Clemons, and Percy Harvin did not practice today.