The Seahawks are done with a no-pads, helmet-only practice that went about two hours at the sunny, warm Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Bobby Wagner (above, talking after practice today) was back with the first-teamers at middle linebacker, after missing three-plus weeks with a hamstring injury.
Last week it was Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith coming back. Bruce Irvin could be back next week, coach Pete Carroll says. So the Seahawks’ starting defense is becoming whole at the right time. The opener against Green Bay is 10 days away.
Carroll says Tuesday is an important day to see if Wagner can string together consecutive, semi-full practices without pain or soreness. Wagner says he would like to play in Thursday’s exhibition finale at Oakland, to get a “game” in before they get real. If he does, it likely won’t be for but a cameo.
Asked if quarterback Russell Wilson will even take a snap against the Raiders — and I don’t see a reason he should; why not have Tarvaris Jackson, Terrelle Pryor and B.J. Daniels split the four quarters to settle whether Seattle keeps two (as usual) or three quarterbacks on the regular-season roster? — Carroll went coy as he usually does on questions about preseason playing time.
“We’ll see,” he said. “Everybody’s going.”
He didn’t specify to where every player is going Thursday. To Oakland? To a team viewing party for veteran starters back near the VMAC? More than a dozen veterans didn’t make the trip to Denver for the first exhibition on Aug. 7.
–Carroll said 32-year-old middle linebacker and special-teams player Heath Farwell has a major groin injury that likely needs surgery. That likely spells the end of his three seasons with the Seahawks — and all but cements that undrafted rookie Brock Coyle from Montana, the surprise of camp for how well he ran the starting defense in the exhibition games while Wagner was out, has won a job on the Super Bowl champions.
Farwell, a 10-year veteran who has played in 42 games for Seattle since signing as a free agent from the Minnesota Vikings in 2011, fell to the ground after appearing to injure himself on a leap while defending a pass into the end zone Friday night against Chicago.
–Nickel back Jeremy Lane watched the no-pads practice with what Carroll said is a groin injury from the Bears game. The team doesn’t know the severity of it yet, because Lane is still getting tests, but the coach didn’t make it sound very serious. Lane was been strong all month in practices and games.
–WR/PR Bryan Walters from Kirkland, out last week with sore ribs he got fearlessly returning punts through oncoming San Diego Chargers like a car going the wrong way down a busy freeway, told me he expects to play Thursday. He knows he has to. It could be his last chance to win a job as punt returner, though Earl Thomas’ 59-yard return of a Bears punt Friday didn’t help Walters’ bid.
–Carroll says TE Cooper Helfet, impressive early in camp, has a knee strain, not thought to be serious. The leader in the competition for the third tight-end job did not practice today.
–I asked Carroll what his philosophy was on keeping two versus three quarterbacks on the 53-man regular-season roster, as he has done for all but one of his four previous seasons leading the Seahawks. He said the team was “very fortunate” to get away with having only Wilson and Jackson all last season.
“Sometimes you just can’t afford to do it because guys are too good,” Carroll said of keeping only two QBs.
He again praised Pryor for his unique athleticism.
The former Raiders starter for parts of three seasons before his trade to Seattle this offseason today blamed himself for not being prepared to enter Friday’s blowout of the Bears for the final two series. He had a bad interception and then took two kneel downs to end the 34-6 victory.
“I didn’t think I was going to play at all,” Pryor said. “That’s my fault. I own up to that.”
By the way, Pryor made a point of saying he had asked Oakland for a trade for many, many months before the Raiders actually accommodated him.
–Left tackle Russell Okung was full-go at practice, after limping during the first half against Chicago and then leaving after the second series with starting center Max Unger because Carroll said both were “gassed” in their first games of this preseason. Carroll noted today how long of a slog this offseason was for Okung with the toe surgery and recovery, and that his conditioning is just not there yet.
–WR Kevin Norwood, rookie fourth-round draft pick from Alabama, has resumed running two weeks after surgery to remove a bone spur in his foot. Carroll said Norwood could be back at practice next week.
–Again, from earlier this morning, here is the list of the Seahawks’ eight roster cuts today. They need to make seven more to get to 75 players by the league deadline of 1 p.m. tomorrow:
Terminated veteran contracts
T Wade Smith
CB Terrell Thomas
T Cory Brandon
RB Demitrius Bronson
S Mike Dobson
DE Jackson Jeffcoat
WR Kevin Smith
CB Thomas Wolfe
And, back by popular demand, the transcript of what Wagner said today:
LB Bobby Wagner
August 25, 2014
(On what was he able to see and notice while he was out that he didn’t when he was in there) I got to watch everybody a little bit more so I got to pay more attention to all the linebackers. I felt like they did a great job, Brock [Coyle] did a great job stepping in. I really try to better my game as well. See if I can pick up something on the offensive side that I wouldn’t normally pick up because I was on the field trying to see a lot of stuff, just been trying to use this time to become a better player.
(On how nice it felt to be a player today) It was great. I got tired of watching everybody have fun. So it was good to have fun too.
(On him being involved in the warmups on Friday, does he feel like he can handle it) Yeah, I was supposed to run. They cleared me on Friday or the day before the game so I was like, if y’all are going to let me do that, then I might as well just go out there and warm up. Let me see how the warm up felt so I can get closer to getting back today.
(On how much does he need to get back into practice to where he feels like he is ready to go) I feel fine. I’ve been doing as much conditioning as I possibly can. When I got out there I didn’t feel tired at all and that’s why we do all the running in the off season and getting in shape, I feel like I’m still in pretty good shape.
(On him taking the time to help Brock Coyle learn the position) Definitely, I’ve talked to him a lot and I can relate to him small school guy. We have just been talking, try to teach him what I learned my rookie year and stuff I didn’t see my rookie year and stuff like that. I feel like he has done a great job learning the position and getting out there making plays and showing his value to the team.
(On what he sees as an observer of the offence) They just execute. They are consistent, doing a great job running the ball especially the last game. That first drive definitely looked pretty easy with Marshawn [Lynch] back. We are just getting everything back so once we get that first game we can get that ball rolling. I’m excited to see everybody on the team on the field at the same time.
(On how difficult the offense is to defend out here at practice every day) They are very difficult. You know you have Percy [Harvin], Marshawn [Lynch], you have Russell [Wilson], you’ve got Doug [Baldwin]. You know you have a lot of guys out there talented, fast — to go against an offense like that you definitely have to be on your A-game.
(On if it’s important for him to get any live game action before the regular season starts) Yeah, I would like to get out there before to get a feel for the game but at the same time it’s still the game we have been playing for a long time so I think I will be fine.
(On if they give Early Thomas a hard time for getting chased down by the punter) Of course, he talks about how fast he is and a punter caught him. The punter did run like a four-four forty or something like that so you have to give him a hard time when the punter catches you.
(On how Earl Thomas took it and if Wagner is okay with Thomas returning punts) He didn’t take it well, he’s Earl. I’m okay with him doing it. It’s what he wants to do, if that’s going to make him happy then let him do it.