Seahawks notebook: Backfield timeshare? Not so fast

Jun 10, 2014, 9:48 AM | Updated: Jul 14, 2014, 10:07 am
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The Seahawks say Christine Michael has made significant progress since his underwhelming rookie season. (AP)

RENTON – Not so fast.

It’s a pretty inaccurate description of Christine Michael, but it’s what offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell tried to express Monday regarding the notion that Seattle’s second-year running back will be splitting carries with starter Marshawn Lynch this season.

Bevell indicated last week that would be the case – or so it seemed – when he said in response to a question about Michael’s role that Seattle will use a “running back by committee” approach. He offered clarification following Monday’s organized team activity (OTA).

“I was thinking more out here,” Bevell said in reference to what Seattle has done during OTAs with Lynch deciding to not attend the voluntary sessions. “We’re kind of (using) all those guys. Really like what we’re seeing from them and just kind of moving them around.”

Lynch’s absence has pushed Seattle’s other running backs up the depth chart. That group also includes last year’s backup, Robert Turbin, who according to Carroll has benefited from a cleanup procedure in his knee. Fullback Derrick Coleman has even seen some action as a ballcarrier with Lynch not in attendance.

“This has been great for them,” coach Pete Carroll said.

Especially for Michael, who has had the most to gain after a rookie season that included almost as many appearances on the inactive list (15, including playoffs) as carries (18).

There’s never been a question about Michael’s athleticism. It was one of the reasons Seattle drafted him in the second round a year ago, and it’s been on full display during OTAs.

So which area of his game has he needed to improve the most?

“I think attention to detail and becoming a professional football player and taking it like it’s his job,” Bevell said. “I think there were some distractions going on for him a little bit and he just really needed to focus in on the details of things – footwork, reads, assignments and all those kind of things that he’s really doing right now. He’s really turned the page on last year and we like what we’re seeing right now.”

Encouraging signs from Williams, Simon

The Seahawks traded up in the fifth round of last year’s draft to select defensive tackle Jesse Williams and then took cornerback Tharold Simon one pick later.

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A knee injury sidelined defensive tackle Jesse Williams during his rookie season with the Seahawks. (AP)

The two had something else in common after their first season in Seattle: neither played a regular-season snap as a rookie because of injuries, Simon’s to both feet and Williams’ to his problematic knee. But both are now practicing, and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn likes what he sees.

“When you stand next to him you see how tall Tharold is,” he said of the 6-foot-3 Simon, who was recently cleared. “I wasn’t quite sure what his speed was until we got the chance to see him out here and run with some of the guys on offense who can really go. To see him staying on top and playing, you can feel his speed.”

Williams has shed some weight and has shown an ability to play both defensive-tackle spots – the nose and three-technique.

“The awesome thing for him is that there have been no setbacks,” Quinn said. “I’ve seen the quickness there and the strength all the way back dating to his Alabama days. I’m really encouraged with what we’ve seen from Jesse.”

Norwood catching on

General manager John Schneider described fourth-round pick Kevin Norwood as a jack of all trades, a receiver who is solid in every aspect of the position but not necessarily off the charts in one. Among the areas of Norwood’s game that Schneider lauded following the draft was one that the receiver showed off Monday.

“I think one of the things I liked the best when he was coming out was his contested catches, ability to catch the ball in a crowd,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “If you were standing out here today you saw that a couple of times.”

Indeed, Norwood made one leaping catch in the end zone on what looked like a Hail Mary as well as others despite tight coverage from defenders.

“He’s doing a really nice job. He’s picked it up,” Bevell said. “There are some missed assignments every now and then, which you expect from young guys. But he’s really worked hard to pick it up. The stage is not too big for him. He’s jumped right in there with our first group at times and he’s performed. Their job is to catch the ball and he’s really catching the ball well.”

Notes

• Rookie WR Paul Richardson (shoulder) was among the Seahawks who did not practice Monday, a decision that Carroll described as precautionary.

“He fell down and hit the ground the other day, just banged it a little bit,” Carroll said. “We wanted to see if we could make sure and have him next week. He would have played today, but because it’s this time of year we’re taking care of him.”

• Carroll said LB Bruce Irvin is “doing great” after having surgery last week to repair a lingering hip issue. Irvin indicated following the procedure that he won’t miss any games, but Carroll offered a less certain prognosis on when he might be available.

“He’s dealt with it for a long time and it just got to a point where he just thought it was better we have a chance to get him back by the start of the season, which it’s a possibility,” Carroll said. “So we’ll see what happens.”

Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.

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Seahawks notebook: Backfield timeshare? Not so fast