RENTON — Russell Wilson was on the run again, scrambling away from pressure and cutting out of bounds for a short gain.
Bobby Wagner, on cue, chirped up with some good-natured trash talk at the Seahawks quarterback.
“Hey Russ! You gotta pass the ball at some point,” yelled the veteran linebacker, who was back on the field after two days away to attend to a family matter.
It was that kind of day for the Seahawks offense. None of the QBs were particularly sharp, and none had much time in the pocket.
The flip side of that, of course, is it was a great day for the defense, which recovered four fumbles (two by running back Alex Collins) and had two interceptions (both by rookie safety Aashari Crosswell).
That, of course, made for a happy coach in Pete Carroll, who loves nothing more than an aggressive defense that can create turnovers.
“Right now everything’s about effort, all across the board and particularly on defense chasing the football,” Carroll said. “We’re trying to build the habits and embed those kinds of habits that will last through the season.”
Here are observations from Bob Condotta and Adam Jude from Wednesday’s practice at the VMAC.
Over the Moon
Even though this was the second practice in shoulder pads, players are still not supposed to tackle or hit each other with maximum ferocity.
But there are exceptions.
Perhaps the biggest hit of camp so far came from young safety Josh Moon, a second-year pro out of Georgia Southern.
Gerald Everett had made a catch along the left (defensive) sideline and then made a couple cuts for a nice after-the-catch run. At the end of the run, Moon greeted Everett with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit that sent the tight end flying out of bounds.
That hit prompted a raucous celebration from the defensive sideline, led by none other than Jamal Adams. Wearing his No. 33 jersey over a hoodie, Adams again watched practice from the sideline as his non-holdout holdout continues.
Taylor continues to impress
What has Carroll seen so far from Darrell Taylor, the 6-foot-4, 267-pound defensive end participating in his first camp?
“He continues to show the special speed and quickness and get-off that we’re counting on. He’s really rolling,” Carroll said. “Everything’s been going great for him. He’s learning a ton. He’s got a lot of stuff he’s got to pick up, but physically he looks like he’s the part to give you some special stuff on the edge and in the pass rush in particular.”
More depth at RB
Another backup running back who has made a strong early impression? That would be Josh Johnson, a 5-foot-9, 209-pound undrafted rookie out of Louisiana-Monroe. He had his most touches Wednesday, and figures to have a heavy workload in exhibition games — when coaches can get a true evaluation of running backs.
“He’s really been very solid,” Carroll said. “We don’t have any problems putting him in. He’s already gained a lot of confidence from the coaches.”
And here are three from Condotta:
Crosswell stating his case
Crosswell’s name has stood out on the roster from the minute he was signed for his birth year, if nothing else. Crosswell was born on Aug. 8, 2000, the first Seahawks player born in this millennium.
But it didn’t take long for the former ASU standout to begin standing out on the field, as well.
Crosswell, playing free safety, was one of the stars of the team’s rookie minicamp, picking off a Danny Etling pass for one of the only turnovers of those practices.
Earlier in training camp he had a notable pass breakup. And then Wednesday he had two interceptions — one on a Wilson pass intended for DK Metcalf that was tipped first by D.J. Reed, with Crosswell making the diving grab; and then stepping in front of a floated Geno Smith pass down the middle intended for Colby Parkinson.
“He’s really hawking the football so you can’t help but notice him,” Carroll raved afterward. “He’s got great feel back there and I’m real excited just to see him keep developing. Surprised a little bit that he would show up this obviously. But it’s clear he’s out there and he’s doing things, so he’s making a great statement here.’’
Crosswell was a highly-rated recruit for the Class of 2018 out of Long Beach (Calif.) Poly who had offers from the entire Pac-12 and became an immediate contributor at ASU with six interceptions in his first two seasons. He played just one game last season before it was announced he was opting out to prepare for the draft.
Depending somewhat on how the Seahawks classify Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi — both are listed as safeties but are mostly playing nickel corner in camp — Seattle is looking for some backup safety depth on the 53-man roster.
Quandre Diggs is the starting free safety and Adams, once he signs, will be the strong safety. But other than Blair and Amadi, the only other player on the roster with NFL game experience at safety is Ryan Neal. Seattle has just seven players listed as safeties on the roster.
So for now, Crosswell has a legit shot to make the roster.
Reed likely to handle some returns, but unclear where
One spot that still remains uncertain are the returners — at punt and kickoff.
Reed ended last season able to handle both.
But Reed said before practice Wednesday that he has talked with Carroll and the two are likely to decide that his likely duties as a starting corner means he will do only one or the other.
Reed has continued to work with the punt returners in practice in a group that also includes Freddie Swain, former Husky Aaron Fuller and John Ursua. And as Carroll noted, the Seahawks can also always go back to Tyler Lockett, who was the primary returner from 2015-19 before Seattle used other players last year.
“We’re in the middle of that now,’’ Carroll said. “It takes a while. We won’t rush that.’’
Forsythe showing he’s not just big
Tackle Stone Forsythe, a sixth-round pick out of Florida, stands 6-8 and weighs 307 pounds. So, he’s hard to miss on the field.
But the assumption has been that he’s a developmental player who might need a year or two before he would be a legitimate factor on the field, especially with some questions about how well he will be able to run block. He was regarded as further ahead in his pass blocking at Florida.
So maybe it makes sense that early on, he has impressed in pass blocking situations.
Tuesday, when the team did its first padded one-on-one blocking drills, Forsythe got matched up with Aldon Smith and on the first snap, appeared to get the win.
Wednesday, Forsythe got some significant reps with the starting offense at left tackle with Duane Brown still sitting out and Cedric Ogbuehi also out with a shoulder issue. Jamarco Jones, who has also been working at left tackle, sat out Tuesday with a sore knee, and while he was back on Wednesday, the various absences and injuries made it a good day to give Forsythe a lot of work.
Carroll said his initial impression is that it went well.
“His first pass-rush in one-on-ones and he’s got Aldon Smith coming after him and he held his own,’’ Carroll said. “Did a nice job. Yesterday was his best day since he’s been with us. And it looked like when he got in pads, he felt more comfortable. He kind of knew what the tempo was and did a nice job. So I’m really anxious to see what he did today.’’