|National Football League|
Seattle rookies Wilson, Irvin get 1st day of work
By TIM BOOTH
RENTON, Wash. (AP) Russell Wilson stepped in behind center for the first minicamp of his professional career on Friday and never took a break.
The Seattle Seahawks are making sure they get a long look at Wilson this weekend while the Seahawks' veteran quarterbacks are not around.
"It's important for me to understand the offense and continue to grow. I'm trying to learn all the nuances of the quarterback position here," Wilson said on Friday. "I know the plays enough but I'm trying to learn the ins and outs and whys of football. That's something that I have to do every day I wake up and in the meeting rooms - just try to learn as much as I can."
Most of the attention during the first day of Seattle's rookie minicamp was on Wilson, the talented, but undersized quarterback the Seahawks took in the third round of the NFL draft last month.
And Wilson got plenty of focus as he took all the snaps during the team portions of Friday's session leaving Chris Hart and Josh McGregor - the two other quarterback participating this weekend - just standing around as spectators.
The amount of snaps being given to Wilson is on purpose. When OTAs begin later this month and when Seattle has its only full-squad minicamp next month, most of the QB snaps will be split between Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson as those two battle for the starting job in a competition likely to carry into training camp and possibly into September. It'll be then that Wilson is in a similar spot to Hart and McGregor, standing around and watching.
"You can see the emphasis is to make sure that he gets a ton of plays because he can right now. They're valuable to him and really for us as well to evaluate him," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "When the varsity gets here and steps up a little bit it'll start to be a little bit different, but this is really important for him to get comfortable and understand the terminology and communicate with the coaches, and also as players talking about the routes and the concepts that we're dealing with."
If there was an area of concern with Wilson it had nothing to do with his height, which was the target of criticism by some when Seattle took the 5-foot-11 QB in the third-round. Wilson struggled some throwing deep with consistency, but Carroll still came away impressed with his first look at Wilson up close.
"We wore him out. He went all day long and he probably had like 70-something plays today and he threw the ball a bunch," Carroll said. "I thought he handled it really well - not beyond expectations in terms of handling the terminology at the line of scrimmage and the huddle and all of that, that's no big deal to him. He seems like a vet in that regard. But he threw a lot of really good balls in a lot of tight windows today and did some good stuff."
Seattle brought in 54 players for this weekend's three-day camp, a group mostly made up of rookies and players with limited experience, but also a few veterans sprinkled in trying to catch on with another team. Included in that mix is former first-round pick Alex Barron, who has 75 career starts in the NFL, but hasn't played since the 2010 season with Dallas.
Along with Wilson, another standout on Friday was first-round pick Bruce Irvin, who showed flashes of the speed that allowed him to climb draft boards into the middle of the first round. On one play in particular during the team session, Irvin had already sprinted past Wilson before he had completed his play-action fake and started to look downfield for an open receiver.
"I just like to run. If a play is 20, 30 yards downfield, being that I love to run so much, I'm going to chase it down," Irvin said. "I might not have a chance of getting it, but I love to run. That's what I do."
Seattle envisions Irvin taking the role Raheem Brock held the past two seasons of a pass rushing specialist in third-down situations to bring speed and pressure off the edge and be a complement to Chris Clemmons rushing from the opposite side.
"His command of what we were doing was really good. He's not going to have any trouble learning what's happening," Carroll said. "He's been a pleasant surprise that it comes easy to him - that's a really good deal for us to be able to push him forward."
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Updated May 12, 2012