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Thursday in Hawkville: Getting an early start on early starts

Posted Sep 5, 2013

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 5, when the Seahawks continued to prepare for Sunday’s season opener against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 5, when the Seahawks continued to prepare for Sunday’s season opener against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte:

WORD OF THE DAY: EARLY

Sunday’s game kicks off at 1 p.m. in Charlotte, which makes it a 10 a.m. start in Seattle. And the Seahawks had better get used to playing early – body time, at least – because they’re also scheduled for early kickoffs against the Texans in Houston (Week 4), Colts in Indianapolis (Week 5), Falcons in Atlanta (Week 10) and Giants in New Jersey (Week 15).

These early kickoffs have haunted the Seahawks through their first 37 seasons, but this season coach Pete Carroll took steps to prepare the team by practicing at 10 a.m. during training camp.

“I think it’s going to be a great thing for us, just because we’ve been practicing at 10 o’clock,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “I think that is something that’s real.”

In their first three seasons under Carroll, the Seahawks have won in Chicago (three times) and also at the Giants in 10 a.m. starts. But they’ve also lost seven times – at St. Louis, Detroit and Miami last season; at Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Dallas in 2011; and at St. Louis in 2010.

But this team is better than those teams, and should be better prepared for the early starts.

“You have to make sure you’re getting your sleep and getting your rest,” Wilson said. “Coach Carroll and Sam (Ramsden, the team’s director of health and player performance) have done a tremendous job of talking to us about that – getting our hydration, getting our sleep. Making sure that we’re prepared, because we’re going to have a lot of those games.

“At the end of the day, though, if we’re ready mentally, it doesn’t really matter when we play or what time we play. We’ll be ready to play and make sure that we try to bring our ‘A’ game.”

INJURY REPORT: BRANDON BROWNER SITS OUT

The official report, as issued by the team:

STAT DU JOUR: BEST, AND NOT-SO-BEST, ON OPENING DAY

The Seahawks are 13-24 in previous season openers, but the Panthers are 6-12. Here’s a look at the four teams in the NFL with an opening-weekend winning percentage of less than .400 and the four who are .600-plus:

Lowest winning percentage
Rank Team W-L Pct.
32 Panthers 6-12 .333
31 Saints 16-30 .348
30 Seahawks 13-24 .351
29 Bills 21-32 .396

Highest winning percentage
Rank Team W-L Pct.
1 Cowboys 35-17-1 .673
2 Broncos 33-19-1 .635
3 Jaguars 11-7 .611
4 Bears 53-35-5 .602

Did not practice
CB Brandon Browner (hamstring)
DE Chris Clemons (knee)
OT Michael Bowie (shoulder)
DT Jordan Hill (biceps)

Full participation in practice
DE Cliff Avril (hamstring)
DT Tony McDaniel (groin)
DT Brandon Mebane (groin)
WR Sidney Rice (knee)
WR Stephen Williams (head)

Browner watched practice after being limited on Wednesday because of a sore hamstring. Carroll will provide a status update after practice on Friday. But Avril, Mebane and McDonald took part in all phases of practice after being limited on Wednesday.

For the Panthers:
Did not practice
RB Kenjon Barner (foot)
DT Dwan Edwards (thigh)
S Mike Mitchell (calf)

Limited in practice
LB Jon Beason (knee)
CB James Dockery (thumb)
WR Domenik Hixon (hamstring)
OG Amini Silatolu (hamstring)

Full participation in practice
TE Ben Hartsock (foot)
FB Mike Tolbert (hamstring)

PLAYER WATCH: WALTER THURMOND

At the start of training camp, the oft-injured, fourth-year cornerback was wondering what his role might be this season. All-Pro Richard Sherman and Browner were entrenched as the starters and Antoine Winfield, a three-time Pro Bowl corner while with the Minnesota Vikings, had been signed in free agency to fill the nickel back role.

YOU DON'T SAY

“We came in the first day and (offensive line) coach (Tom) Cable put up all those preseason rankings and then took them down and tore them up and threw them in the trash.”

Sidney Rice on one way to handle the heightened expectations for this season

Then Winfield “ran up against Walter Thurmond,” as Carroll put it, and decided to retire after being released on the roster cut to 53 players. So Thurmond has won the nickel job. Thursday, he also was working on the right side with the No. 1 defense in Browner’s absence, with Byron Maxwell taking over in the nickel when Thurmond slid inside.

“Walter is probably one of our best corners, and I think he’s one of the best corners out there once he gets out there and shows what he can do,” Sherman said. “I think we’re very excited that he’s healthy and that he gets a chance to come out here and compete because he’s a great asset to our defense.”

PRACTICE-SQUAD SHUFFLE: JAMESON KONZ RETURNS

Jameson Konz, a seventh-round draft choice in 2010, has been signed to the practice squad. Konz was with the club this summer, but was released on the roster cut to 53 players.

To clear a spot on the eight-man squad, rookie guard Ryan Seymour, a seventh-round draft choice this year, was released.

Konz is listed as a defensive end, but he also played some tight end in practice.

UP NEXT: NO REPEAT FRIDAY

The team will fly to Charlotte after its “No Repeat Friday” practice for Sunday’s opener.

Safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor set the tone during the “Turnover Thursday” session by making interceptions. Thomas tipped a pass and then making a falling grab of the deflection.