RENTON, Wash. -- Thoughts and observations following the Seattle Seahawks' first minicamp practice under new coach Pete Carroll:
Offensive line coach Alex Gibbs is more, uh, aggressively vocal than past line coaches in Seattle. He had a lot of barking to do while players tried to meet his standards in a new scheme.
This team needs a left tackle badly. We knew that, but seeing Ray Willis with the first team at left tackle drove home the point. Don't read too much into this first-team line, but the group consisted of the following players, left to right: Willis, Mike Gibson, Chris Spencer, Max Unger and Sean Locklear. The backup line I saw most frequently featured Anthony Davis (not the draft prospect from Rutgers, but a free agent participating on a tryout basis), Mitch Erickson (another tryout player), Steve Vallos, Mansfield Wrotto and free agent Terrence Metcalf. I also saw Wrotto at center.
Carroll has preached competition throughout the roster and he's getting it at this camp. The team had 17 players participating on a tryout basis. That's more than I can remember seeing in any Seahawks camp.
Receiver Mike Williams said he weighs 235 pounds and I believe him. He was pretty trim. His abs weren't sculpted, but they weren't flabby, either. He was winded while conducting an interview immediately following practice. Williams said the standard is higher for him because he played for Carroll at USC. He also blamed past problems in part on a bad attitude he had toward coaches. Williams looked decent to me, but the Seahawks don't have much to offer for comparison at the position. T.J. Houshmandzadeh was there, but he did not participate. No immediate word why.
Recently arrested linebacker Leroy Hill did not attend. I'd take that as a sign of him keeping a low profile during a voluntary camp.
Carroll plays hoops after hours on a regulation basket installed on the concrete outside the weight room.
Carroll shakes hands with players after plays. I saw him do that with Matt Hasselbeck after a completed pass. I would expect Hasselbeck to practice with added purpose now that Charlie Whitehurst is onboard as competition and signed through 2011.
Whitehurst appears quite lean and quick. His physique reminds me a little bit of Hasselbeck before he became more serious in the weight room. That could just be a body-type thing. These are first impressions, not lasting judgments.
Linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. took special interest in second-year linebacker Aaron Curry. They walked off the field together, moving slowing and communicating the whole way. Norton could be a valuable resource for Curry and the other linebackers.
Defensive linemen nearly trampled assistant secondary coach Kris Richard early in practice. Players were moving quickly between stations and Richard went to the grass. An alert lineman caught him and removed him from danger.
Vallos and defensive lineman Lawrence Jackson tangled at one point.
Those were some initial thoughts. This camp runs through Thursday.