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Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Notebook: receivers still need to get grip on catching ball

By José Miguel Romero
Seattle Times staff reporter

Darrell Jackson can't hang on to a pass during the morning workout Tuesday. Dropped passes have been a point of emphasis for Seattle's receivers all offseason.
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CHENEY — The first training-camp practice with pads was bound to go off with at least a couple of glitches.

Prominent among those yesterday was another set of dropped passes. During team drills, wide receivers Bobby Engram and Darrell Jackson let passes slip from their hands, as did running back Shaun Alexander.

Players also dealt with unseasonably cool temperatures.

"It was a pretty good practice, though I don't know if it was the weather or what, but I thought we were just a tad flat," coach Mike Holmgren said. "They (players) did the right thing, but I just thought it was kind of quiet at times. It'll pick up."

Holmgren did not address yesterday's drops, but he acknowledged that it was a problem that was analyzed and addressed in the offseason. He also said the offense has to be more efficient running the football, and, to that end, some new running plays have been added.

"If players play like they've played before, and we make the corrections and improve upon the areas that we were unusually poor at last year, like dropped passes, we should be better," Holmgren said.

"It was good to get knocked down a little bit and see some guys using four-letter words," Alexander said of putting on the pads. "It kind of lets you know that we're back."

Camp highlights, Day 2

Practices: One full-pads practice in the morning and a shells-only practice in the afternoon.

Stars of the day: Ps Tom Rouen and Donnie Jones and QB Trent Dilfer. Rouen blasted three punts high into the air and near the goal line during the morning practice, and Jones shined in the afternoon. Dilfer zipped several nice passes to receivers and said he feels the strongest he has ever been.

Big plays: DE Chike Okeafor blew up a running play, coming up the middle to stop RB Shaun Alexander during the morning practice. ... The first and second offenses made good yardage on five consecutive plays in an afternoon drill.

Crowd: 400 in the morning, 200 in the afternoon.

Temperatures: 66 degrees with light rain in the morning, 73 degrees in the sun in the afternoon.

Snapshot: The weather has been strange. On Monday, bright sunshine gave way to a dust storm and, in the evening, brilliant lightning. Yesterday, measurable rain fell before the sun returned.

Alexander holds court

Alexander held his first media conference yesterday and addressed topics ranging from fatherhood to expectations on the Seahawks to the recent retirement of Miami running back Ricky Williams.

"I expected us to be in the playoffs last year, and I expect it this year," Alexander said. "It's an honor to have people looking at our team like we're one of the best."

Alexander said he is faster and stronger this season, even taking advice from former NFL running back Herschel Walker and doing plenty of push-ups.

Alexander's daughter, Heaven, is 10 months old and fully recognizes her father. He added that the baby is right at the stage where she is ready to start walking, and he hopes not to miss that moment.

On Williams, Alexander said he hopes the former Dolphin can come back to the game.

"I feel sorry for him because I know he's trying to discover life, and that's a deep thing and everybody needs to go soul-searching," Alexander said. "People make decisions."


• Cornerback Bobby Taylor was given the day off. He is coming back from a foot injury that sidelined him for most of last season with the Philadelphia Eagles.

• Receiver Jerheme Urban got several snaps with the No. 1 offense and LB Solomon Bates opened up with the first unit on defense.

• Cornerback Arnold Parker has a sore shoulder and is expected to miss a few days of practice.

• A local radio station held a contest in which listeners were asked to name which of the following three players are not on the Seahawks roster: Trent Dilfer, Seneca Wallace or Brock Huard. All are on the team, but the station mistakenly thought Huard was still with Indianapolis. Informed that he was the "answer" to the question, Huard threw up his hands in mock frustration as he walked off the field after practice.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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