Monday metatarsal musings

Posted May 14, 2012

Or footnotes: A rookie minicamp that included more than 30 players who were in on a tryout basis is a recipe for disaster, right? Think again. The Seahawks pulled it off over the weekend, and then some.

When the Seahawks said they were bringing in 30-something players on a tryout basis to flush out the roster for their three-day rookie minicamp, my initial thought was good luck with that.

And that was followed quickly by visions of offensive linemen running into one another while trying to block for a running play; cornerbacks colliding with receivers, and vice versa, on pass plays; and just a mish-mash of mangled assignments.

It didn’t happen. None of it. The players – a group that also included the team’s 10 draft choices and 10 other rookie free agents who had been signed after the draft – went through two-hour practices on Friday and Saturday and a final 100-minute session on Sunday.

While it wasn’t exclusively an exercise in precision, it was closer to that than the maddening mayhem it could have been.

“That’s always a concern,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said Monday when asked about how things could have gone over the weekend.

“But it started with that first team meeting. They were pretty serious and they were into it. Then we went to our defensive unit meeting and their eyes were wide open and books were open ready to take notes. So it was really impressive what they got done.”

This canopy of congratulations also needs to cover the rest of the coaching staff, and head coach Pete Carroll made sure it did in his minicamp-wrap assessment on Sunday afternoon.

“The coaches did a good job of getting them here,” Carroll said. “The guys were ready for camp. They could execute the offense and the defense. It’s a lot of studying that was done in these last two weeks before they got here and everybody applied themselves very well.”

Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson stole the show, and in some instances was the show. But there were other players who stood out – even if the “varsity,” as Carroll referred to the veterans, weren’t around.

And as linebackers coach Ken Norton, Jr., put it, “You only get one chance at a first impression.”

With that said, here’s a look at a few players who made quite an impression:

Robert Turbin – There’s more to the fourth-round draft choice from Utah State than those bulging biceps. After running out of the shotgun formation in the Aggies’ spread offense, Turbin displayed the one-step-and-go style that is needed for the zone-blocking scheme that was installed last year by assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable.

Turbin also showed he can catch the ball out of the backfield. If he’s able to pick up the blitz as a blocker, Turbin could be the third-down back, in addition to complementing leading rusher Marshawn Lynch.

“Too early to tell,” Carroll said when asked about Turbin replacing Justin Forsett as the third-down back. “That’s stuff that has to be determined. He has not had to block a lot in pass protection, but I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t. He’s perfectly suited to do that and he didn’t look far off, technique-wise. So he’s just got to get guys roaring downhill at him and we’ll see.”

Bruce Irvin – Perhaps the best thing that happened to the team’s first-round draft choice is that the pass-rushing end from West Virginia spent the weekend going against left tackle Alex Barron, the former first-round draft choice by the St. Louis Rams who was one of the tryout players. Barron often got the best of Irvin when he tried an inside or power move. But when it came to displaying his speed off the edge, the 248-pound Irvin was impressive working against the 6-7, 320-pound Barron.

“He’s just what we thought he was,” Carroll said of Irvin – which was a pass-rusher good enough to select with the 15th pick overall. “He’s very, very fast. He’s very instinctive. … He’s definitely going to be a guy that we’re going to find ways to use him and it’s really going to fit in the pattern that we had thought.”

Bobby Wagner – About the best thing that can be said for the second-round draft choice from Utah State is that he impressed Norton. Not an easy thing to do. But Wagner stepped in at middle linebacker with the rookies and will compete for the starting job.

“It’s very early. But we’re happy with what we see so far,” Norton said. “But when it comes down to can he run, can he hit, can he fit into the profile and what we do best here? That’s absolutely. He certainly looks the part, he acts the part and he works the part.”

Jeremy Lane and Donny Lisowski – Lane, a cornerback from Northwestern State (La.), was selected in the sixth round of the draft. Lisowski, who’s from Seattle’s O’Dea High School and Montana, was one of the tryout players. Each made plays. Lane tipped a couple of passes on Friday and almost intercepted one. Lisowski did make a pick on Friday, on a deep pass from Wilson to rookie wide-out Phil Bates; and added another on Saturday.

“I like Donny Lisowski,” Carroll said. “He was all over the place out there and made a bunch of plays. So I’m really fired up about him. I think he’ll surprise you.”

Too late. The entire three-day rookie minicamp was a surprise, because of the plays that were made and the mistakes that weren’t.