Reporting Bill Swartz
Can you cover punts? Can you block on kickoffs? If so, you just might win one of the coveted 53 spots on the 2013 Seattle Seahawks roster.
During tomorrow night’s pre-season home game against the Denver Broncos watch carefully which young players stand above the others on special teams. The Seahawks are so deep at several positions, special teams play will be the deciding factor in close competitions.
“Special teams in our program is the tie-breaker,” emphasized head coach Pete Carroll. “As much regard as you can place on it, I hope we do. Because we think it’s that important.”
Second team defensive back Jeremy Lane has increased his stock by his willingness to be Seattle’s kick returner. Seattle had expected Percy Harvin to return kickoffs, but he is out until November following hip surgery.
Lane told me after practice this week he took notes from one of the best in the business, Leon Washington. ”Last year I was checking out Leon, and doing what he did,” said Lane. ”He treated every practice like it was a game. “In this camp I did the same things he did and ended up getting the number one spot for now.”
Look for Lane and former Washington Husky Jermaine Kearse to return kickoffs according to coach Pete Carroll. Both men could be the first down the field covering punts. Watch closely for John Lotulelei, Spencer Ware, Derrick Coleman, and Byron Maxwell to sprint 50 yards and light up the Denver kick return guys.
Broncos coach John Fox told the Denver media this week he would like to have Peyton Manning and the first string offense play at least the first quarter against Seattle. Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell wants his first unit to execute long drives, something they were unable to achieve in two series at San Diego. Pete Carroll says Manning’s no-huddle up tempo style will be a good challenge for Seattle’s defense.
On the injury front, coach Carroll shared some good news after the Friday walk through practice. Tight end Zach Miller will come off the team’s PUP (physically unable to perform) list today. He’s been resting a planter fasciatis foot injury since training camp began July 25th. The plan is to have Miller do more work with the team next week.
Defensive end Chris Clemons is doing individual agility drills and progressing well in his ACL rehab. Carroll is not sure when the team might take him off the PUP list.
Defensive end Cliff Avril, (foot), and running back Christine Michael (tight back) will be game time decisions Saturday night according to the coach.
Carroll said receiver Phil Bates has been working in practice as a fullback, and will see some action at that position against the Broncos.
Kickoff for the pre-season game at CenturyLink Field is 7 p.m. Saturday night. Fans should arrive extra early due to traffic closures and Hemp Fest. The Seahawks and NFL are also implementing new security measures, including a new bag policy, which could delay your entry into the stadium.
Bill Swartz, 1090TheFan
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