I took my friend James to the Seahawks game on Saturday night. Early on he leaned over and asked me what I thought of our special teams. I replied that I had not focused much of my attention on special teams in practice and that we would just have to wait and see during the game. With 5:31 left in the third quarter, the Titans Darius Reynaud returned a Jon Ryan punt 85 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 17. I looked over at James and said “well, I guess that answers your question about our special teams!”
I’ll take our special teams play with a grain of salt, as it was the back-ups fighting for roster spots that were playing on punt and kick coverage in the second half. It has to be a goal of our coaching staff to tighten up special teams play in the next couple weeks, including proper tackling techniques which seemed to be a weakness of our back-ups on Saturday night.
In practice over the last couple weeks I noticed that Golden Tate was the only player other than Leon Washington taking reps returning punts. I thought that Tate and Washington would return punts and kicks in the first half but it was a mystery who would also be returning kicks. In the second half, cornerback Coye Francies was the man back returning kickoffs and he did a good job. It will be tough to tell what our special teams unit will look like come September but there is a significant amount of fundamental work to do.
A Few Notes: Today’s practice was conducted in full pads. There is only one more practice open to the public and training camp will officially break on Thursday… Coach Carroll announced today that Matt Flynn will start against Denver on Saturday night and Russell Wilson will play the second half.