Something you don’t see every day: An All-Pro going to school.
Richard Sherman didn’t practice today; the Seahawks’ 11th practice of training camp was the star cornerback’s veterans’ day off. But that didn’t mean Sherman wasn’t working.
While the defense scrimmaged a few yards in front of him, Sherman was on the side talking with – and largely listening to – longtime and renowned NFL and college defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. It was obvious they were discussing techniques of defensive-back play.
The 75-year-old Kiffin is retired after finishing last season as the assistant head coach for defense with the Dallas Cowboys. Dressed in a gray Seahawks team pull-over and white team camp, he was in the first of a two days visiting camp at the invitation of long-time protege and friend Pete Carroll. The two were on the same staff when Carroll was a graduate assistant at the University of Arkansas in 1977. When Kiffin was North Carolina State’s head coach from 1980-82 Carroll was his defensive coordinator. They also worked on the same NFL staffs with the Bills, Vikings and Jets from 1984-90.
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At one point Sherman placed his outstretch right hand on Kiffin’s chest to demonstrate his way of jamming at the line of scrimmage. Kiffin and Sherman then talked aligments, with Sherman lining up in different places pantomiming coverage off the ball.
Sherman takes pride in continually learning and evolving. It was interesting to see him, while at the top of his game and his league, using a supposed “off” day to learn from a guru.
▪ Kam Chancellor’s holdout reached its 13th day, with still no end in sight. I wrote about that earlier today.
DeShawn Shead was back at the primary fill-in at strong safety for Chancellor. Dion Bailey, who was the No. 1 strong safety the previous two days, got some first-team snaps after Shead today.
▪ For the first time anyone around the team can remember practice outside was cut short about 30 minutes early by repeated lightning strikes across Lake Washington from the field. Fans were advised to leave the Virginia Mason Athletic Center immediately just after 11:30 a.m. The Seahawks went to finish practice on their indoor field.
Before they did, defensive end Michael Bennett took a field microphone at the end of the evacuation announcement and told the 2,600 or so fans anyone over 6 feet tall was in danger but “all you small people are safe.”
Doug Baldwin led a mini-conga line containing two other teammates in slapping high-fives down the front row of fans disappointed they wouldn’t be getting the daily autograph time with the players immediately following practice. A sympathetic Bobby Wagner made even more fans by running over and signing a few autographs before he joined the rest of his teammates inside.
▪ Marcus Burley was the outside cornerback and rookie fifth-round draft choice Tye Smith was the inside, nickel back while Sherman and usual veteran nickel Will Blackmon watched.
▪ Today was Drew Nowak’s turn as the coaches continued to alternating starting centers. Lemuel Jeanpierre did it Tuesday. Keavon Milton, a former tight end with the Cleveland Browns, was again the first left guard instead of Alvin Bailey. Line coach Tom Cable said a few days ago the orginial intent was to create competition for Bailey, but it’s apparent Milton is becoming a true contender to start in departed free agent James Carpenter’s old job in the Sept. 13 opener at St. Louis.
▪ Further evidence of what Carroll has been talking about, that Russell Wilson and Jimmy Graham still have some ways to go in meshing completely on quick routes: Wilson fired a pass down the hashmark to just outside the goal line. Graham turned his head just in time to catch the ball past converting-from-wide-receiver cornerback Douglas McNeil for the catch the tight end nearly missed.
▪ Kevin Smith, the former University of Washington receiver who missed a few days with an upper-leg injury through Monday, had a touchdown catch on a flag route.
▪ Struggling No. 3 quarterback R.J. Archer threw two more interceptions during team scrimmaging, one to McNeil. Newly acquired CB Mohammed Seisay had a goal-line interception of Tarvaris Jackson after the practice moved inside.
▪ The most eye-popping play was former track man Ricardo Lockette sprinting into an extra gear and blowing past Tye Smith to catch Wilson’s long throw into the end zone.
▪ The Seahawks will have an even lighter practice tomorrow, on the eve of Friday’s exhibition opener against Denver at CenturyLink Field. No coach has defined how long the starters will play, but expect a series or two at most from most starters not named Marshawn Lynch.