By John Boyle
So much focus in training camp has been on the Seahawks’ quarterback battle—and for good reason, that is only the most important singular position on the field—that at times it’s been easy to ignore what Seattle is doing on defense.
Well on Thursday, Seattle’s defense, and its secondary in particular, made sure no one is forgetting what was last year, and figures to again be this year, the strength of the team. Last season Seattle’s back four consisted of only one proven player, free safety Earl Thomas, and three unknowns—safety Kam Chancellor in his first year as a starter, rookie cornerback Richard Sherman, who took over after injuries to Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond, and first-year corner Brandon Browner, who had spent his previous four seasons in Canada. By the end of the year, people were taking notices, and three Seahawks defensive backs, Thomas, Chancellor and Browner, played in the Pro Bowl.
With all the accolades, of course, comes expectations, and that sits just fine with Seattle’s defensive backs.
“We’ve got a bar that we set, there’s a standard in that backfield, so we’ve got to play for that,” said Browner.
Granted it was only the fifth practice of training camp, and not a regular season game, but the defense, and the back four in particular, lived up to the hype on Thursday, particularly when the team practiced red-zone situations.
Matt Flynn, who was taking his turn with the first-team offense, struggled to get much done against his team’s defense, and Browner in particular stood out with a pair of interceptions. While the defense may make things tough on the offense in practice, that figures to be good for the offense in the long run.
“I think our offense going against our defense is a challenge,” Pete Carroll said… “
“We’re experienced, we’re versatile, (defensive coordinator Gus Bradley) dials it up pretty good in practice. It’s not easy for them at all. We’re not making it easy on the quarterbacks, we’re making it as hard as we can for them, so if they can move the ball on us and make plays on us, then I think that’s a good sign.
“I told the defense today to dial up and make it as hard as we can make it on those guys for just those very reasons, for comparisons and getting some good information. So we’re going to continue to do that, and continue to make it hard. We’re not going to cater at all to making it easy for the quarterbacks We’re going to stress them as much as possible.”
—Tarvaris Jackson took noticeably fewer reps Thursday, as it was his turn to work with the No. 3 offense while Russell Wilson worked with the backups. Carroll said that had nothing to do with new developments in the quarterback competition, but rather it was just because Jackson was with the threes.
—WR Jermaine Kearse, a University of Washington product, practiced for the first time since opening training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a foot injury.