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Thursday in Hawkville: Even without his locks, Earl Thomas remains a cut above

Posted Jul 25, 2013

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for July 25, the opening day of Seahawks Training Camp presented by Bing.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for July 25, the opening day of Seahawks training camp presented by Bing:

PLAYS OF THE DAY: EARL THOMAS, GOLDEN TATE SHINE

Defense: Earl Thomas might have lopped off his locks, but it hasn’t cut into his ample game. Cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Ron Parker made nice plays to deflect passes, but the team’s All-Pro free safety got the day’s only interception.

Thomas read Russell Wilson’s pass to tight end Sean McGrath almost from the snap and then went down to get the overthrown ball.

“I read it the whole way. I think Russell kind of locked in on his target,” Thomas said. “I’m in the middle of the field and that’s my zone. Boom, there it goes.”

Offense: In a show of hands, the strong hands of Golden Tate got the nod as he made a nice grab of a Wilson pass along the sideline despite tight coverage from 6-4 cornerback Brandon Browner.

“Golden is spectacular,” Wilson said. “He’s got the strongest hands. Just how he goes up and gets the football, as you saw today on that back shoulder throw against B.B. Just two really good players going after it, and Golden makes a great, great catch and holds onto it.”

YOU DON'T SAY

“Hair doesn’t define me. I’m just excited to be out here.” – Thomas, on making an impact during his first practice without his trademark locks flowing from his helmet

Heads-up: Thomas, again. When the nickel defense found itself without a third cornerback to cover the slot receiver, Thomas not only darted onto the field to fill the open spot, he then made a lunging deflection of a Wilson pass.

Thomas considered the impressive play just his latest message to coach Pete Carroll.

“I’ve told coach he needs to quit putting me in a box as far as me playing just the middle of the field,” Thomas said. “I was at the nickel position there, and it was just exciting to get a rep at nickel.”

As for his read of the nickel back-less situation from the sideline, Thomas offered, “I’m always going to try and steal a rep. Just to put something on film where they can say, ‘OK, we can use this guy if needed.’ But it was a great rep. I was able to read the quarterback well and just get a great bust.”

JERSEY SHORES

The fans not only flocked to the first of 14 training camp practices that are open to the public – and already sold out – they came to the shores of Lake Washington in the Seahawks’ Sunday best.

There were plenty of jerseys for the players on this team – Marshawn Lynch (24), Bruce Irvin (51), Michael Robinson (26), Russell Okung (76), Sidney Rice (18), Kam Chancellor (31) and Richard Sherman (25), as well as Wilson (3), Thomas (29), Harvin (11), Clemons (91), Miller (86) and Tate (81).

The Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team also was well represented – Steve Largent (80), Marcus Trufant (23), Lofa Tatupu (51), Chad Brown (94), Kenny Easley (45), Walter Jones (71), Shaun Alexander (37), Matt Hasselbeck (8), Jacob Green (79), Mack Strong (38) and Shawn Springs (24).

There also were some more-obscure jerseys – Ricky Watters (32), Julius Jones (22), Leroy Hill (56), Mike Williams (17), Ken Hamlin (26) and Joe Jurevicius (87). One fan was wearing a No. 12 Harvin jersey from his days as a Viking.

INJURY REPORT: PERCY HARVIN, ZACH MILLER PLACED ON PUP
The team placed six players on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list because they have yet to pass their training camp physicals:
DE Chris Clemons (knee)
WR Percy Harvin (hip)
TE Zach Miller (foot)
DE Greg Scruggs (knee)
CB Tharold Simon (foot)
RB Robert Turbin (foot)

“Percy’s got a hip issue that we’re dealing with that came up as he was working out over the summer,” Carroll said. “We’re trying to figure it out. We’re going to do everything we can to make the right decision to help him and take care of him in every way.

“He was working out about a week ago, going full speed, but it was bothering him enough. We took some looks at it and we’re going to try and figure out what the right procedure is, take care of him and get him back on the field. … It’s really early in camp and we’ve got plenty of time to get this thing worked out.”  

Also, linebacker Korey Toomer was placed on the non-football injury list with a knee problem.

POSITION WATCH: THREE-TECHNIQUE DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Free-agent addition Tony McDaniel – all 6 feet 7, 305 pounds of him – got the first-team reps at the spot that opened after incumbent starter Alan Branch was allowed to sign elsewhere in free agency. But the coaches have only just begun to look at potential replacements.

“You’ll see a rotation through there inside,” Carroll said. “Because (Tony) has been around the most, he’s the most experienced; we gave him first shot today. But you’re going to see Jordan Hill in there, and Jesse (Williams) in there and Jaye Howard, as well.

“We’re going to work that and see how the competition plays out. It’s not going to be a competition that we’re going to decide quickly, because it’s going to take a while to show those guys. So we have a rotation in mind … to see over a long period of time which guy elevates. And they’re different, too. All those guys are kind of different players, so we’ve got to see which one fits and how it works.”

PLAYER WATCH: TARVARIS JACKSON
The Seahawks’ starting quarterback in 2011 has returned after a season with the Bills and Jackson practiced with his old team for the first time today. He was running the No. 3 offense, working behind Wilson and Brady Quinn, who also was signed as a free agent during the offseason.

“He did fine,” Carroll said when asked about Jackson. “He jumped right back into the system and didn’t have any problems. That’s a tremendous bonus. He ran two-minute drill the first day. You can’t get a guy in this situation that can do that very often.”

In his only season with the Seahawks, Jackson was voted offensive captain and passed for 3,091 yards despite playing most of the year with a damaged pectoral on his throwing arm. 

“He’s a real favorite. Our guys really like him,” Carroll said. “They have a tremendous respect for what he did when he was here, so to have him back in our locker room is a real positive for really the whole club.”

UP NEXT: ANOTHER FAN-TASTIC PRACTICE
The players will have a walkthrough this afternoon, then hit the practice field again on Friday morning.

Today’s practice was attended by 2,800 fans – including those who registered for the open session and the VIP and ADA guests.