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Wednesday in Hawkville: Seahawks pick up the pace, and pick off passes

Posted Jun 18, 2014

During the second minicamp practice, cornerback Byron Maxwell earned style points with his one-handed sideline interception, while All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas prevented points with his pick at the goal line.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 18, when the Seahawks held the second practice in their three-day minicamp presented by Tiffany & Co.:

FOCUS ON: BYRON MAXWELL

It’s tempting to refer to Byron Maxwell as the junior member of the Legion of Boom.

Just don’t do it when Earl Thomas is around.

“I don’t think he’s a junior,” Thomas, the Seahawks’ All-Pro free safety, said Wednesday after the second practice in the team’s three-day minicamp. “I think he graduated. He’s right up there with us.”

That was certainly the case last season, when Maxwell stepped into the starting lineup at right cornerback and intercepted the first four passes of his three-season NFL career in his first five starts.

But Maxwell also has fewer honors and a lot less starts than the other members of the team’s talented secondary – Thomas, a two-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowl selection who has 64 regular-season starts; cornerback Richard Sherman, also a two-time All-Pro who was voted to his Pro Bowl last season and has 42 starts; and strong safety Kam Chancellor, who has played in one Pro Bowl and was voted to a second last season when he also was an All-Pro selection and has 47 starts.

YOU DON'T SAY

“All of us are competitors; all of us like to compete at a high level. After that, the tempo picked up in practice and there was more competition. Plays were made on both sides and it was good for all us.”

Rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson on the spirited give-and-take between the receivers and defensive backs during practice

Does Maxwell feel like a part of the Legion of Boom with his more-heralded secondary mates yet?

“I feel a part of the team,” he said. “And the Legion of Boom is part of the team. So it’s all good.”

Wednesday, Maxwell and Thomas had two of the better plays in a practice filled with them. Maxwell had an interception that came with style points, as he made a leaping, one-handed pick of a Russell Wilson pass along the sideline. But Thomas had an interception that prevented points, as he picked a Wilson pass at the goal line that was intended for tight end Zach Miller.

“I just went up and snagged it,” Maxwell said. “He threw it and I just went and got it.”

Offered Thomas, “Any time we talk, especially in the backend on defense, we always back it up. So we’re going to make it hard for whoever we play. You can even ask Russell that.”

UP TEMPO, AND THEN SOME

STAT DU JOUR: MARSHAWN LYNCH GETTING CARRIED AWAY

As Indiana Jones put it, “It’s not the years, it’s the miles.” With Marshawn Lynch, it’s the yardage – not to mention the carries. In the past three seasons, the Seahawks’ Beast Mode back has carried the ball 1,002 times for 4,514 yards, including playoff games. Here’s a look at how Lynch’s three-season run compares to the top three-season stretches for the other 1,000-yard rushers in franchise history:

Player (years) Att. Yards TD
Shaun Alexander (2003-05) 1,144 5,332 62
Marshawn Lynch (2011-13) 1,002 4,517 41
Curt Warner (1983, 1985-86) 1,008 4,262 36
Ricky Watters (1998-2000)  941 3,731 21
Chris Warren (1993-95)  916 3,963 31

1,000-yard seasons: Alexander 5; Warner 4; Warren 4; Lynch 3.   

Note: Warner got a season-ending knee injury in the first half of the 1984 opener; Warren is the only one who did not play in a postseason game.

The Seahawks practice at a pace that is startling to new players who join the team – like just-signed defensive tackle Kevin Williams, a six-time Pro Bowl selection during his 11-season career with the Minnesota Vikings.

“We went at it in a lot faster tempo than probably most other teams,” Williams said after his first practice with the Seahawks on Tuesday. “But all in all I think it was a good day.”

NUMBER, PLEASE

Williams wore No. 93 with the Vikings, but he’s wearing No. 94 with the Seahawks because linebacker O’Brien Schofield is No. 93.

“We talked about it briefly,” Williams said when asked about offering Schofield some monetary incentive to give up 93. “But we couldn’t negotiate anything. So I told him to keep it.”

Defensive tackle D’Anthony Smith had been No. 94, but he has switched to No. 75.

UP NEXT: ONE (MORE) AND DONE

The veterans will wrap up their offseason program with the third, and final, minicamp practice on Thursday. Then they’re off until training camp opens in late July.

“We’ve practiced so well up to this point that it’s just an extension of really the tempo and the style of practice,” Carroll said when asked about the players making the step from the OTA sessions to the minicamp practices. “Because it is the finish-up opportunity for us, we really want to execute really well and do things right.

“Everybody’s kind of pumped up. Everybody wants to finish. It’s the last chance for everybody to work together. As we break after this week, guys will be on their own working out. So we want to really max this out and make everything we can out of it.”