Day 3 of Seahawks training camp meant the first day of practicing in pads, so it was a little bit louder at the VMAC on Sunday. As Pete Carroll noted, getting in pads is an important step, especially for players in the trenches. That and more in today's three observations from training camp.
1. Ahtyba Rubin is the next man up
The Seahawks released defensive tackle Tony McDaniel Sunday, which means they now have another starting position up for grabs. As always, there will be a competition for that spot, but in the first practice without McDaniel, Ahtyba Rubin was the starting 3-technique tackle next to Brandon Mebane.
"We're really excited about him,' Carroll said. "This is a very physical guy at the point of attack, he moves right up into that role of the big guy who can stop the line of scrimmage. He's an unusual player in pursuit for a big man—he chases the ball like crazy. So we have a really good alternative now."
Rubin, who signed with Seattle as a free agent in March, played multiple positions along the defensive line during his seven years in Cleveland, and says he's comfortable wherever the Seahawks ask him to play.
"It's been awesome man," Rubin said of his first few days of camp. "It's a different level I'm trying to reach; these guys are definitely Super Bowl champs and I'm just trying to fit in and put a good foot forward and make sure I belong here."
2. Pads were popping
Practice gets a bit more physical when players put on shoulder pads, which means what's happening on the field is just a bit closer to real football. That's especially important when it comes to line play, which is almost impossible to simulate in a practice environment without pads. The Seahawks drafted three offensive linemen and two defensive linemen, so for those players, and for the coaches trying to evaluate them, this was a big day.
"Today was a good day for us," Carroll said. "First day to get shoulder pads on and get to banging a little bit. It's a really important start for the young guys to start to show us who they are and what they're all about… The young guys keep showing good with their effort. They're excited about it. They're raw as can be, but they're ready to battle and this is when the time really begins for them. From this point forward in camp, every day is really crucial for all the young players, particularly the young offensive linemen. We're really looking forward to see what they do."
3. Kevin Norwood on special teams?
One of the better catches of the day came courtesy of Kevin Norwood, who made a nice leaping grab in traffic, but it was something more mundane that might have been the most important part of Norwood's day—the early-practice reps Norwood was taking during special teams drills.
Norwood looked like a very promising rookie heading into camp last season, but a foot injury set him back, then when he did get healthy, he had a hard time catching up and carving out a role for himself. Norwood was frequently inactive on game day, less because of his ability to play receiver, but because unlike many of Seattle's receivers, he didn't have a role on special teams. So if Norwood is making that a focus this year and can create a role for himself on teams, that would go a long way toward helping him get on the field on Sundays.
Emptying the notebook:
Tight end Anthony McCoy limped off the field Saturday, but was back in action Sunday, indicating that whatever happened a day earlier wasn't serious. That's good news for any player, but especially for McCoy, who has missed the past two seasons with Achilles injuries. Fullback Derrick Coleman, however, remained sidelined with a hamstring injury that occurred on the first day of Camp. Carroll said they'll give Coleman "at least a week" to make sure he is fully healed before coming back.
Receiver Jermaine Kearse got what might have been the loudest cheer of the day, making a leaping grab over Cary Williams down the sideline.
Running back Robert Turbin, who is coming back from offseason hip surgery, continues to increase his workload, and showed good speed and hands catching a long touchdown pass.
If you ever wondered how much Earl Thomas loves football and misses being on the practice field, consider this: Thomas, who is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform List, was wearing football pants while observing practice. The majority of his teammates who were practicing chose shorts over football pants.