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Deep-on-the-roster players rising to the challenge

Posted Aug 11, 2013

Benson Mayowa, Michael Bowie, Alvin Bailey and Stephen Williams started training camp battling the longest of odds. But the more they play, the more they are impressing the Seahawks’ coaching staff.

As a group of boys walked past Benson Mayowa while he was doing a post-practice interview on Sunday, one of them wondered aloud, “Who’s Mayowa?”

No worries, the pass-rushing rookie free agent was just one of the who-are-these-guys contingent that made plays Thursday night to help the Seahawks cruise to a 31-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers in their preseason opener at Qualcomm Stadium.

Michael Bowie. Alvin Bailey. Stephen Williams.

They were three more players who made names for themselves against the Chargers, and each stood out during coach Pete Carroll’s video review of the opener.

“When you watch the whole film, I was real pleased that we looked like Seahawks,” Carroll said after Sunday’s 13th training camp practice, echoing an assessment he expressed after the game. “We played hard. We played good at the line of scrimmage. We wound up running the ball for a good amount of yards at the end (129, with 96 coming in the second half). Finished strong. A lot of those kind of general things.

“There’s a lot of stuff to clean up and fix up, a lot of information gained. But it was a good start for us.”

Sunday’s practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center was what Carroll calls a “Bonus Day” in this long week to prepare for Saturday night’s preseason home opener against the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field. While all eyes will be on the QB matchup between Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson – the QB who set the NFL rookie single-season record for touchdown passes in 1998 (26) and the QB who tied that mark last season – they won’t be the only players worth watching.

That was evident by the efforts of Mayowa, the rookie tackle tandem of Bowie and Bailey and the impossible to overlook catches Williams made in the opener.

Here’s Carroll’s take on each, after reviewing the video of the game:

Mayowa – He had one sack, shared another and came oh-so-close to getting a third while working as the Leo end.

“He sure has made a big impression on us,” Carroll said. “That was a really good first game. He’s an exciting player. Any time anybody can get some activity in the pass rush on the edge, boy, we get excited about that. And he’s done that so far.”

Carroll was interested in one of Mayowa’s Inglewood (Calif.) High School teammates while coaching at USC, but admits that the undersized D-end slipped though the recruiting cracks.

“Didn’t notice Benson,” Carroll said. “I don’t even know what he played in high school.”

The crack-slipping continued when Mayowa came out of Idaho. He wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February, but did participate in a regional combine at VMAC in March. That got the 252-pound Mayowa an invitation to the Seahawks rookie minicamp, on a tryout basis. He passed the test by getting signed. Now he’s trying to stay around by getting to the opposing quarterback.

Bowie and Bailey – Bowie was selected in the seventh round of April’s NFL Draft, the last of the Seahawks’ 11 picks and the 242nd player taken overall. Bailey was signed as a free agent after not being drafted.

But Carroll and line coach Tom Cable liked what they saw from the 6-foot-4, 332-pound Bowie and the 6-3, 320-pound Bailey. In large part because they were on the field as the Seahawks were rushing for most of their yards against the Chargers’ backups, and were part of an evening-long effort that yielded no sacks.

“They did a really good job,” Carroll said. “I know Tom was really excited about the way they played. To get through that game with no sacks and run the football well, and those guys played three-quarters of that game, it showed very well.

“They’ve done very well in practice. They’ve looked athletic and they’ve been on the scheme pretty well. But I think they made a little more progress than we might have thought, just judging by how excited Tom was about the way they played. It was a good start for those guys.”

Williams – The 6-5 receiver has played in the league, albeit sparingly while backing up All-World wide-out Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona the past two seasons. But he stepped from the shadows to the limelight on Thursday night by catching two long passes from Tarvaris Jackson – a 42-yarder for a touchdown and a 41-yarder to setup a rushing TD.

“It’s kind of exciting,” said Carroll, who concedes that he has a fondness for 6-5 receivers – especially at the split end position. “Because he did it here (on the practice field). He did it in the game. We’ll see in the next couple weeks if he can continue to create for us.

“He’s having a great camp. I’m really excited about him.”

as really excited about the way they played. To get through that game with no sacks and run the football well, and those guys played three-quarters of that game, it showed very well.

“They’ve done very well in practice. They’ve looked athletic and they’ve been on the scheme pretty well. But I think they made a little more progress than we might have thought, just judging by how excited Tom was about the way they played. It was a good start for those guys.”

Williams – The 6-5 receiver has played in the league, albeit sparingly while backing up All-World wide-out Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona the past two seasons. But he stepped from the shadows to the limelight on Thursday night by catching two long passes from Tarvaris Jackson – a 42-yarder for a touchdown and a 41-yarder to setup a rushing TD.

“It’s kind of exciting,” said Carroll, who concedes that he has a fondness for 6-5 receivers – especially at the split end position. “Because he did it here (on the practice field). He did it in the game. We’ll see in the next couple weeks if he can continue to create for us.

“He’s having a great camp. I’m really excited about him.”