Past meets future in Seahawks workout
First-round draft pick Earl Thomas made an athletic interception of veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, highlighting the final day of offseason workouts.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — The two ends of the Seahawks' roster intersected on the final day of offseason football workouts Wednesday.
The quarterback with more tenure than anyone on the roster threw a pass, and the youngest player on the team tracked it down. Veteran Matt Hasselbeck and rookie Earl Thomas were the cat and the mouse, respectively, as the quarterback tried to bait the safety with his eyes.
"I was looking way left at (tight end) John Carlson, trying to get Earl to move," Hasselbeck said.
Hasselbeck was betting the safety would follow his gaze. Hasselbeck's true target, receiver Deon Butler, was on the other side of the field.
The youngster didn't bite. He made a beeline toward Butler before Hasselbeck ever lofted the pass in his direction.
"He was going full speed right when I came back to the right side," Hasselbeck said of Thomas. "I'd like to see the play on film because he's supposed to be in the middle of the field, to my knowledge. But he's got great speed.
"He shouldn't be able to get there. He got there and made a heck of a diving catch."
That interception stood as a testament to the intuition and ability of Thomas, a 21-year-old first-round draft pick from Texas. Thomas has both speed and range, which makes him a leading character in the overhaul of this Seahawks roster.
"He's very fast," Hasselbeck said. "And he's a playmaker."
But Hasselbeck remains the benchmark in Seattle, the undisputed starter at quarterback. The retirement of guard Walter Jones left Hasselbeck as the player who has been on the roster the longest, nine seasons. The Seahawks have changed general managers three times since the quarterback was acquired in 2001, and even after Seattle turned over its roster this offseason, he remains atop the depth chart.
That wasn't necessarily a foregone conclusion, though. That was made clear when Seattle acquired Charlie Whitehurst from San Diego. The move didn't just bring in a player who could be a quarterback of the future. It sent a message. Everyone would be competing for a spot. Even Seattle's three-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
So, as the team concludes offseason training with a five-week break before training camp begins on July 31, where do things stand under center?
"I really am happy about the competitiveness at QB," first-year Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "I think it has helped Matt, and Charlie has made tremendous progress."
Hasselbeck has taken the vast majority of practice repetitions with the first-unit offense.
A lot has changed on this team. More than half of the 80 players on the current roster were acquired after last season ended. The turnover, however, isn't shocking.
"Any time there's change, they change everything," Hasselbeck said. "I think that's just the nature of how it is in the NFL."
The Seahawks have brought back former first-round picks such as receiver Mike Williams, and they've drafted what they hope will be impact players like Thomas, whose raw materials helped him intercept a pass as workouts concluded Wednesday.
One thing that hasn't changed, though, is the starting quarterback. Hasselbeck is not only under center, he's front and center when it comes to Seattle's hopes for the next season.
Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or email@example.com
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.