The Seahawks held their second padded practice of training camp on Wednesday, a day that saw the defense feast off of turnovers, some of which were the result of good plays by the defense, and some of which were the result of sloppy ball-handling by the offense. Players will enjoy a day off on Thursday, then return to practice Friday as they continue to prepare for Sunday's mock game at Lumen Field, tickets for which are still available.
Here are five observations from Wednesday's practice:
1. It's all about the ball.
The Seahawks offense didn't do well heeding Pete Carroll's "it's all about the ball philosophy," losing two or three fumbles, depending on who you ask, while also throwing two interceptions, but on the other hand, that meant the defense was doing some things well on Wednesday.
"It was a big day for the defense today," Carroll said after practice. "The defense got all over the football today."
The offense fumbled four times, with the defense making clear recoveries on two of them, while Tre Flowers and Alex Collins both stayed on the ground long after the play on another fumble, neither willing to concede possession. Rookie safety Aashari Crosswell also had a pair of interceptions, the first of which was the result of a D.J. Reed pass breakup.
"Today was a hard day for the offense, we didn't handle the ball very well," Carroll said… "We've got to come back and bounce back from this day."
2. Darrell Taylor was in the backfield quite a bit.
Ask just about any defensive player or coach about Darrell Taylor, and the first word they mention is "explosive." On Wednesday, the second-year pass-rusher/strongside linebacker showed that explosiveness off again, bursting into the backfield on a few occasions, including on consecutive plays that resulted in one sack and one pressure that, were tackling allowed, might have been another sack.
"He continues to show the special speed and quickness and get off that we're counting on. He's really rolling, everything's been going great for him. He's learning a ton. He's got a lot of stuff he's got to pick up and go with, but physically he looks like he's the part to give you some special stuff on the edge, and in pass rush in particular."
3. Don't sleep on Tre Flowers.
There has been a lot of buzz around new cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who has looked very good early in camp, and D.J. Reed is coming off of a great second-half to last season, but while those two might be the slight favorites to win starting jobs, Carroll is leaving things open, rotating starters, with Witherspoon and Reed working with the No. 1 defense one day, and Tre Flowers and Damarious Randall—or on Wednesday with Randall out, Pierre Desir—working with the starters the next day. And as good as players like Witherspoon and Reed have looked, people shouldn't sleep on Flowers, a starter for two-plus seasons who has made a number of nice plays in camp, including a perfectly timed move to rip the ball away on an end zone fade to Cody Thompson. Flowers was playing arguably the best football of his career last season before going down with an injury, and he won't give up a starting job without a fight.
4. The more you can do.
Nick Bellore is listed as a fullback on Seattle's roster, but the main reason why he has been in the NFL for a decade is that he is one of the league's best special teams players, and one reason he thrives in that role is that he was a linebacker for his first six seasons. And with the Seahawks missing a couple of linebackers due to injury on Wednesday, Bellore found himself in a white jersey, playing his old position.
"The more you can do," Carroll said. "He's the epitome of the NFL motto."
6. Bobby's back & other personnel updates.
After missing two days of practice while tending to a family issue, All-Pro middle linebacker was back in action and back to being one of the best players on the field, not to mention back to engaging in some playful trash talk directed at quarterback Russell Wilson.
"He did a nice job today, he did a really nice job," Carroll said. "A little bit of fresh legs always helps… He seemed to squared away and ready to work. He did a nice job today."
Also returning to action after being out yesterday were defensive end Carlos Dunlap, tight end Gerald Everett and tackle Jamarco Jones.
As for those sitting out, Carroll said DT Robert Nkemdiche, "He had a little bit of a groin deal" that led to him getting a day off.
Linebacker Cody Barton, who had been filling in for Wagner at middle linebacker the previous two days was out with what Carroll called "a quad thing that's bothered him enough that we've got to hold him back a couple of days."
Tackle Cedric Ogbuehi was out with "a little bit of a shoulder thing he felt yesterday," Carroll said. "It's not serious, but we're really being cautious with guys when they first feel something so it doesn't develop."
Photos from Seahawks Training Camp practice, held on Wednesday, August 4 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Seahawks Training Camp is presented by Safeway.