One-on-one matchups highlighted the Seahawks training camp practice at the VMAC headquarters on Wednesday.
Some were obvious and of high entertainment value: Percy Harvin and Earl Thomas, for instance, racing for a ball with such intensity that both nearly ran into Lake Washington to get it.
But other matchups during this camp were more subtle, amounting to something of a chess game. A chess game with very expensive pieces, that is.
Being teammates is a critical bond on game day, of course, but during camp these guys are trying to score wins on their own. And that’s true of the coaching staff as well as the players.
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Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said that his counterparts on the offense — Darrell Bevell and Tom Cable — like to toss in some unexpected plays to challenge the defense.
“There’s a lot of challenging schemes regarding this offense, both in the run game and passing game,” Quinn said. “So it’s a terrific matchup for us along with the players who get to go against each other.”
Told of Quinn’s comments, Bevell echoed them from the offensive perspective. “We’re trying to win, we’re trying to compete,” he said. “We have a very strong defense and our offense is installed, but we want to continue to improve and get better and put ourselves up against those guys. Whatever we can do to win, we’re going to do it.”
Bevell pointed out the obvious, that the Seahawks had the best defense in the NFL last season, making his job, in some ways, tougher on practice days than game days.
“We really have to be on our stuff,” he said. “Every position is really a strong position, and it makes our guys better each day we come out here, competing against the best players.”
The coaching staff, Quinn said, “really admires and appreciates how hard they’re going against each other. There’s a level of respect there, (thinking) how hard can I go against you for both of us to be our very best?”
The level of competition allows the staff to get good reads on the potential of guys lower on the depth chart.
“All of a sudden, you’ve got one of your rookies out there and he’s going up against Richard Sherman or (Byron) Maxwell or Earl (Thomas) and you’re going to get a really good feel about them early.”
Without comments from head coach Pete Carroll providing detail on Wednesday, Bevell was left to speak in general terms about the Achilles injury to tight end Anthony McCoy during Tuesday’s practice.
McCoy had worked his way back from last year’s Achilles injury. Carroll said Tuesday that the injury appeared serious. “It’s a big blow for him; we felt horrible for him,” Bevell said. “He’s done such a great job working his way back, to be able to get back out on the field. He worked harder than anyone to be able to do that.”
The big news Wednesday was the injury to defensive tackle Jesse Williams. Williams missed his rookie season because of knee issues, but returned to camp at full speed and fit. Wednesday, he was locked up with C.J. Davis when his knee appeared to hyperextend. He was taken off the field in a cart. His status was unclear immediately after practice.
A number of Seahawks watched from the sidelines on Wednesday, including linebacker Bobby Wagner (hamstring), guard James Carpenter (calf), tackle Michael Bowie (shoulder) and receivers Jermaine Kearse and Paul Richardson (for undisclosed reasons). Receiver Kevin Norwood (foot) returned to limited action. Linebacker O’Brien Schofield, who missed Tuesday’s practice for what was called “rest,” had another day of rest.
Receiver Bryan Walters had a big day, grabbing two touchdown passes. One, from Russell Wilson during a red zone team session, was a diving, toe-tapping touchdown. The official ruled it a legal catch, although replay might have overturned it in a game. The quality of the effort was excellent regardless.
Kicker Steven Hauschka booted through a 58-yard field goal on a windless day.