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Special Guests & Other Observations From Day 12 Of Seahawks Training Camp

Monday’s practice again featured a big crowd of fans taking in the action at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, but on this day, a lot of those guests were members of the U.S. armed services and their families. That and five other observations from Day 12 of Seahawks camp:

1. Some special guests visited the VMAC Monday.

As mentioned above, the crowd packing the berm on Monday included a large contingent of service men and women and their families, and also in attendance were 100 members representing the U.S. Air Force, 62nd Airlift Wing from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. That group, hosted by the Seahawks and USAA, watched from the sideline, with several players making their way over before and even during practice to shake hands and thank them for their service. Prior to offensive players going through bag drills early in practice, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll went over to the sideline and had the 62nd Airlift Wing help get his players fired up before running bags.

Appropriately, it was former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds providing one of the best plays of the day, securing a juggling catch on the sideline after a throw intended for him was tipped by a defender.

Following practice, five planes from the Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum provided a flyover, with the World War II-era planes making four passes over the practice fields just after practice had wrapped up. The Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, which is owned by Seahawks owner Paul Allen, is located at Paine Field in Everett. The flyover featured a B-25, a de Havilland DH 98 Mosquito, a Supermarine Spitfire, a P-40 Tomahawk and a P-47 Thunderbolt.

The day also featured the raising of a well-traveled American Flag outside the VMAC. Two members of the Navy, ABE 2 Moss and MMA 2 Moua, raised a flag that has previously been flown at various base locations in Iraq and Afghanistan, from the Freedom Tower in New York, and from the USS McFaul, a U.S. Navy Destroyer.

The flag belongs to Command Master Chief Ross B. Monroe, an Aberdeen, Washington native who served 31 years of active duty in the Navy before retiring in 2014.

2. Frank Clark seems to be full-go.

Defensive end Frank Clark was limited during the first couple of weeks of camp, and did not play in last week’s preseason opener, the result of offseason wrist surgery. This week, however, Clark has been a part of team drills for the first time and looked to be a full participant, or very close to it, during Monday’s practice.

The Seahawks liked what they saw out of their pass rush Thursday night, with three newcomers, free-agent signing Barkevious Mingo and rookies Rasheem Green and Jacob Martin contributing three sacks, but having a fully healthy Clark will be big for the depth and strength of that group.

3. The competition is on at right cornerback.

With Byron Maxwell and Neiko Thorpe both still out, a pretty interesting competition is brewing at right cornerback. Rookie Tre Flowers started at that spot in the preseason opener and played a lot, and he again was first up with the starting defense on Monday. But two other cornerbacks also saw some time with the No. 1 defense Monday, Jeremy Boykins, who the Seahawks signed earlier this month, and Dontae Johnson, an offseason free-agent signing who last week came off the physically unable to perform list.

Asked to assess what they’ve seen from Flowers so far, defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said, “He’s very talented. He’s got some really good length, he’s really fast, he’s really smart, extremely humble, and he’s getting better every day. So, we’re very excited with his improvement play after play. I think every play he learns more, and he takes that learning that he has, and he applies it to his play every day. So, we’re all very happy with the progress he’s made so far.”

4. Nazair Jones is really quick for a big man.

In what can only be a very encouraging sign for Seattle’s defense, different members of the defensive line rotation, and the interior line in particular, seem to show up with big plays on a daily basis. On Monday, it was second-year defensive tackle Nazair Jones shooting into the backfield to tackle a running back nearly as soon as the back took the handoff. Jones didn’t play in last week’s preseason game because of a hip flexor injury, but plays like the one he made Monday show why he could be poised to build off of a promising rookie campaign that was cut short by an ankle injury.

5. Kicker/holder watch.

Normally, there isn’t a lot of interest in who is holding on place kicks, but the Seahawks having competition at both kicker and punter has created an interesting dynamic when it comes to holding, a job done by the punter. Jon Ryan has been a great holder for nearly a decade in the NFL, an important but underrated part of his game, while rookie Michael Dickson has less experience holding. Adding to the intrigue is that one of Seattle’s kickers is left footed while the other is right footed, meaning holders have to work from both sides. In last week’s preseason game, Ryan held for the left-footed Sebastian Janikowski, while Dickson held for the right-footed Jason Myers. This week, however, Ryan is holding for Myers while Dickson has held for Janikowski.

“The issue with those guys is they’re having to work on the right side and the left side, so they’re getting half the work that they would normally get,” Carroll said Sunday. “That’s just made it a little more difficult.”

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6. Always compete… even for calls in practice.

If you ask a member of the offense, receiver Brandon Marshall made a great play to secure a touchdown pass, hauling in a fade from Russell Wilson in the back corner of the end zone. The defense, not to mention the official nearest the play, saw it differently, however, ruling that Marshall bobbled the ball on his way out of bounds. Marshall seemed to be contending as he argued with an official—with a grin on his face, mind you—that he regained control before being out of bounds, but he wasn’t able to get the call changed. Well after the play had ended, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and Marshall were still playfully arguing about whether or not it was a catch.

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