By John Boyle
Thursday’s practiced marked the end of Seahawks training camp, a distinction that is a lot less significant with the holding camp at its headquarters rather than in Cheney.
Cliff Avril was in action for the second straight day, though again limited. The most notable new absence was that of WR Sidney Rice, but that is likely just to give him rest after two full days of participation (Pete Carroll wasn’t available today so we’ll get injury updates tomorrow).
One of the most interesting things from practice was receiver Phil Bates getting some work at fullback. Bates is battling for a job, and the former college quarterback turned receiver might be trying to increase his odds of making the team by showing some versatility.
“We’re trying to see what we have there,” said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. “We’ve put Phil in at fullback a little bit, we want to see how he takes hold of that, and just see what we have. We’ve had him here long enough, we know what we can expect from him outside, but he’s a big body so we want to see him in the backfield.”
Now this may seem like a long-shot idea, but it’s worth noting for two reasons. One, the Seahawks’ current fullback, Michael Robinson, is a former college quarterback with the smarts and physical tools to make a switch, and Bates is a player in a similar mold. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Bates is not as big as Robinson is currently (6-1, 240), but he’s not far off from where Robinson was before making the switch to fullback in Seattle. Secondly, Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable was the head coach in Oakland when former UW receiver Marcel Reece was converted to fullback, and Reece, whose versatility helps create mismatches, went on to have a Pro Bowl season in 2012.
Here’s some more of Bevell on a few other topics:
On What he saw out of the offense in San Diego last week, and what he wants to see in preseason game No. 2: “I thought there were some good things we did in the first week. Obviously I’d like our ones to do a little bit better. The problem is you don’t have them out there a long time—they’ll get to stay out there a little bit more this week—so we want to see the ones go down and score points, be consistent on that level.
“I’d like to see us be consistent. I obviously want to see us go down the field score points, obviously I’d like it to be a touchdown, but I want to see us be able to consistently move the ball, and hopefully since they’ll be out there longer we’ll get that chance.”
“I always want to start off fast and take it right down the field, because you know your ones aren’t going to be in there very long. Obviously we didn’t do that. We made a couple of plays, but we didn’t execute on some of the third downs that we needed to. But I liked a lot of what we did offensively—scoring as many points as we did, a couple of the deep balls we hit. Tarvaris looked really throwing those, Stephen Williams came through, protection up front, I think we handled some of the things they gave us, so those are some of the things.”
On rookie tackles Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey: “We like what we see. It’s a push up there, numbers wise on who’s going to be able to make it, but what we like what we’ve seen out of the. They’re athletic, they’ve really held their own. To be able to come out of a game in the preseason with no turnovers and no sacks, that speaks well.”
On the tight end position with Zach Miller sidelined: “We’ve gotten a good look at the other guys that we have. We miss Zach, he’s a stellar guy for us at that position, but it’s given us an opportunity to look at guys like Luke (Willson) and Sean McGrath and Cooper (Helfet), we finally got (Darren) Fells back out there. Just to see what those guys’ future is, to see what their skill level is and what we can expect from them”
On Willson and McGrath: “Really like what we’ve see out of those two. Really like Luke. Probably the thing that’s been most exciting is that he’s been able to do a nice job in the run game. We felt like he good receiver for us, but the area (of concern) was being able to take care of the line of scrimmage, whether it’s pass protection or the run game, and he’s been willing to do it, he holds his own up there, so that’s good for us.”
On the battle at right guard between JR Sweezy and John Moffitt: “There’s a battle going on there. Both guys are in different situations, Moffitt’s played the position a long time, Sweezy is a guy who’s bee learning. (JR) has done a really nice job in terms picking it up. What he learned from last year he’s been able to step forward. Still need to one of the two guys really take hold of the position. I wouldn’t that one of them really has jumped out ahead of the other. I’d still like to see a little bit more out of John though.”