<
>

With Seahawks' backfield thinned out, Christine Michael and Alex Collins carry the load

RENTON, Wash. -- After their first off-day of camp, the Seattle Seahawks returned to practice Thursday. Below is a rundown of observations.

10 a.m. PT: The Seahawks are banged up at running back. Thomas Rawls is on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from ankle surgery, although coach Pete Carroll said Rawls and tight end Jimmy Graham are "getting really close." C.J. Prosise has been out since the first day of camp with a hamstring injury. Fellow rookie Zac Brooks has a sore hamstring as well. That meant a lot of Christine Michael and Alex Collins at running back Thursday.

"Christine Michael is doing a great job," Carroll said. "We have to be careful not overworking him. He's just been on the money throughout."

And Collins?

"He's very tough, he's really responded," Carroll said. "The defense has come to the offense to really work with the football, make sure those guys are really secure. They're getting banged around a lot, which we intended to do that. He's taken to the physical stuff, and he's dishing it back out, so I'm really proud of the way he's handling."

In other injury news, a teammate stepped on the back of receiver Doug Baldwin's leg so he didn't practice. Defensive end Frank Clark was out because of a calf issue. Safety Kam Chancellor is dealing with a groin injury. And tight end Luke Willson turned his ankle. Carroll said none of those injuries are major.

10:22 a.m. PT: Justin Bieber's "What Do You Mean?" blares from the speakers. In the crowd of 2,591, about half the fans move to the music, and the other half lie to themselves, pretending they don't like what they're hearing.

10:54 a.m. PT: One-on-one drills pit tight ends and running backs against linebackers. Rookie Nick Vannett looks very polished, avoiding Cassius Marsh's jam at the line of scrimmage and making a grab in the middle of the field. Carroll gushed about Vannett afterward.

"Nick has really lit us up with the passing game and catching the football, surprises us how natural he is," he said. "Sense for getting open, and feeling the routes for stuff like that, really good."

A couple of tough-looking injuries in a short amount of time to fullback Brandon Cottom and tight end Ronnie Shields. Carroll said afterward he thought both had suffered Achilles injuries.

11:01 a.m. PT: Rookie Jarran Reed rotated in with the first team at nose tackle.

"I've loved what we have seen from him," Carroll said afterward.

Defensively, cornerback Tharold Simon has had a very good start to camp and rotates in with the starters on the right side.

11:17 a.m. PT: During one-on-one drills between the offensive and defensive lines, Germain Ifedi does a good job against Ahtyba Rubin, and Terry Poole has a nice rep against Ryan Robinson. Reed's power is impressive, as he drives center Joey Hunt backward.

Then some extracurricular activity. Rookie Rees Odhiambo and defensive tackle Brandin Bryant get into it, grabbing each other by the face mask. They tumble to the ground as teammates join in to break it up. The Seahawks seem to have a tough time getting through this drill without incident.

11:32 a.m. PT: More fireworks during a team drill in the red zone. It looks as though left guard Mark Glowinski gives defensive end Cliff Avril a shove between reps. Michael Bennett takes exception with the offensive linemen, and he has to be physically restrained from going after them. Sometimes, there is a "hold me back" routine where guys want to look tough but don't plan on doing anything. That's not what this is. If Avril and Jordan Hill didn't keep their hands on Bennett, it looked as if he was ready to do damage.

Bennett is escorted behind the line of scrimmage and to the sideline, where he spends the remainder of practice. More on that here.

11:41 a.m. PT: One name to keep an eye on: Brandon Williams. The tight end has caught a lot of balls at practice, including a couple of touchdowns from Russell Wilson. Williams was a very good special-teams player with the Carolina Panthers, and Carroll called him "a really special pickup for us." He's got a shot to make the roster.

11:43 a.m. PT: Wilson scrambles before finding Tyler Lockett for a touchdown in the red zone.

12 p.m. PT: Practice concludes, but Bennett is still fired up. He gets into a shouting match with the offensive linemen, who are huddling on the field with coach Tom Cable, before Avril escorts Bennett into the locker room.

The Seahawks are back on the field for another practice Friday morning.