Cancel the civil-defense alarms. Bring back the search parties. Percy Harvin is back with the Seahawks.
I can hear your sighs of relief from here. They effectively erase the angst over Harvin being granted three days last week — including missing the exhibition finale last Thursday at Oakland — to deal with what coach Pete Carroll and the team said were “personal matters.”
I’m told those matters were indeed innocuous. That plus the fact he was zooming around the fields at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center again this morning during the team’s first practice of a regular-season game week indicate the star wide receiver will be fully ready for Thursday’s NFL opener at home against Green Bay.
“That type of explosiveness on the field is great to have. We are excited to have him back,” fellow wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said.
–We are still awaiting confirmation of the Seahawks’ practice squad. Eight players not on the regular-season roster were at practice today. I can tell you they are semi-familiar names to those of you who read this regularly. I’ll get you the names when I can release them.
–It had been awhile since I’d been on the weekly teleconference calls with opposing coaches; I’d forgotten how over-the-top guarded those coaches are on these calls, which for them usually sound about as enjoyable as eating nails.
But Packers coach Mike McCarthy did have a couple of usable tidbits. I asked him about what News Tribune intern Evan Thompson researched, that the Packers’ 11 linebackers and five defensive linemen currently on their roster are the most linebackers and fewest down lineman among NFL teams that primarily employ 3-4 defensive schemes.
McCarthy said his team went to that arrangement because of lessons learned the last few seasons, when Green Bay’s defense generally got shredded. In short, the coach said his defense is far faster this year than last.
I asked him the question remembering what some of you picked up on last week, talk out of Green Bay that the Packers might use an “elephant” package of two defensive linemen and five or even six linebackers as their base set for Thursday’s game. If they Packers do indeed do that, they want to be faster outside. And if they do, we may see Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell dial up more inside runs with Marshawn Lynch than he otherwise might, to get Seahawks’ offensive linemen mismatched on Green Bay’s additional, lighter linebackers with power-run blocking.
Sure, that’s all innuendo and guessing at that point. But that’s what makes the return of these game weeks fun, no?
–McCarthy was asked about his relationship with Seahawks general manager John Schneider, who was Green Bay’s director of football operations in 2009 when McCarthy was in his third year as the Packers’ coach; Schneider became Seattle’s GM affter that ’09 season. McCarthy said with a hint of humor of Schneider winning Super Bowl with the Seahawks: “I’m very happy for John — but that was last year.”
By the way, McCarthy sounds confident about his team heading into Thursday’s game. He said this coming out of the Packers’ final preseason game, which like the Seahawks’ was exactly one week before the opener in Seattle: “I don’t know if I’ve felt this good coming out of the preseason as I do tonight.”
–The quote above from Kearse on Harvin being back was the only one I could attribute directly to him while he and fellow wide receiver Doug Baldwin talked following practice. That’s because they did a sort of two-man stand-up act, with one speaking for the other to answer each question.
Judge for yourself: