(photo credit: Sean Ryan)
by Sean Ryan
Renton, WA – Day 2 of training camp.
One thing stood out as I strolled around the practice field Sunday, these hawks continue to straddle that tightrope of playing focused while staying loose. Veterans Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin took quality reps and made plays throughout scrimmages; however, they also found time to have a little fun.
Kam Chancellor came out of the locker room right before the first whistle, but that didn’t slow his production. After a brief warm-up (I do mean brief) and some light stretching, Chancellor instantly made an impact. First, Russell checks down to his running back as Chancellor flies in about to deliver one of his enforcer type tackles. He promptly marches up to Wilson, clapping loudly right in his ear. A few plays later, he provides blanket coverage on Doug Baldwin, not falling for his trickery again. “Once, not twice boy!” Chancellor exclaimed. “One time, never two,” he continued to yell. Not on the dark knight’s watch.
Richard Sherman looked poised for some pre-practice reps as he sauntered out of the tunnel early wearing his helmet and gloves. Instead those ten minutes, plus the first twenty of warm-ups, were spent walking up and down the middle of both fields. Sherman dished out high fives, spoke with coaches and offered advice to younger players. It looked like Van Wilder touching base with his partygoers. I’m not sure if this qualifies as a “warm-up,” but Sherman wasted no time transitioning into the 7 v 7 game. On the second play from scrimmage, Sherman went step for step with WR and All-Pro return man Tyler Lockett to break up the potential TD pass. Minutes later, he’s impersonating Justin Timberlake while “My Love” blasts out of the speakers. Two thumbs up on his rendition.
Here’s Doug Baldwin’s warm up with the offensive unit. Seven yard out route, completion. Ten yard curl (quick feet I might add), completion. Trick play resulting in Baldwin slightly overthrowing rookie QB Treyvon Boykin. How does he respond? Lines up in front of the Tackle Dummy (simulating the Center) and begins to roll around like a young kid on Madden rapidly pushing the left and right triggers. Fellow players laugh as Baldwin returns to the receiver line. Next play, fifteen yard dynamic slant, completion.
While these veterans incorporated some fun into practice, offensive and defensive leaders Russell Wilson and Earl Thomas were all business.
Wilson milked every possible rep out of his warm-up with the offensive unit. As he worked with returners and hopeful rookies, Wilson remained the same, offering encouragement, giving countless hi-fives, and constantly speaking with Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell. Every time the whistle blew to start a different drill or scrimmage, Wilson ran over first. As the leader of the Seahawks, it became evident that he practices what he preaches.
Now for Earl Thomas, aka Area 29. The man looked on a mission. As if the voters who didn’t recognize him as an All-pro safety were scattered throughout the practice facility. He meticulously went through warm-ups, shouted out coverages/instructions during scrimmages and made plays. He rarely spoke when subbed out, but remained engaged as he knelt watching the 2’s and 3’s go at each other. Once practice ended, Thomas walked directly into the locker room, ignoring shouting fans hoping for autographs. Ten minutes later (probably less), he’s alternating between banging out reps on the incline press and pull-up bar. There’s no mediocrity in Area 29.
This may have only been the second day of training camp, but it remains clear these are the same old Seahawks.