There are some automatic circle-the-date events in the NFL. The draft. The start of training camp. The regular-season opener.
For Dan Quinn, this year also included April 29 – which just happens to be today, and the day Phase 2 of the Seahawks’ offseason program kicked off. It marked the first time since the final practice of the 2012 season that the coaches have been allowed on the field with the players. And for Quinn, it was his first time on an NFL practice field since the 2010 season, as he spent the past two years as the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida following a two-season stint as the Seahawks’ D-line coach.
“This is the day I’ve really been looking forward to,” Quinn said. “I’ve been looking forward to this Phase 2 starting. In fact, I even told that to the guys before hand – we’re all kind of getting back to our element, which is being out on the field.”
His anticipation over this day is understandable. It was Quinn’s first day on a practice field as a defensive coordinator in the NFL, a position he was hired to fill in January after former D-coordinator Gus Bradley left to become head coach of the Jaguars. It also was Quinn’s first on-field session with the free-agent additions to the unit he now coordinates – linemen Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel and cornerback Antoine Winfield.
“This is a chance for us to see some of the new players we’ve added on the field,” Quinn said. “The classroom work has been good. But this is the next step, the precursor to playing. The culmination has been good and the players, to their credit, worked.”
The players did that work in the indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center because of the rain that was falling in Renton this morning. But it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the players or coaches, even though their “against air” efforts focused primarily on technique.
“It’s always fun to get out there on the field,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “We still can’t do a whole heck of a lot, but at least we’re running routes, catching balls, calling plays.”
The limited on-field activity that is allowed in Phase 2 continues through May 17, with a rookie minicamp scheduled for May 10-12. Phase 3 begins on May 20 and will include 10 OTA sessions where the offense is allowed to work against the defense, and vice versa. The offseason program concludes for the veterans with a minicamp June 11-13.
The Seahawks concluded Phase 1 of their offseason program today, and it proved to be a win-win experience.
“The thing that I really believe is that they came in better prepared this offseason than they had in previous offseasons,” said head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle, who came to the Seahawks from USC with coach Pete Carroll in 2010.
“It goes to the type of guys coach Carroll and (GM) John Schneider are bringing in. They’re bringing in not only five-star athletes, but they’re bring in five-star people that understand what it takes and what they need to do to prepare at the highest level. Then the competition is so good on this team, they know they’ve got to come in ready to go because we’ll bring in 10 more guys with this rookie class that will be ready to go. That’s a big factor in the current players coming in ready to go.”
The players concurred with Carlisle’s assessment of the past two weeks, when Carlisle and his staff oversaw the conditioning aspects four days each week and the assistant coaches also had classroom time with the players to prepare for Phase 2 – which kicks off Monday and allows the players to be on the practice fields with the coaches.
“The first phase went really well,” linebacker K.J. Wright said. “As for the workouts with Coach C, I feel I got in better condition and more toned up. And it was also good to see all the guys back. So it went real well.”
Phase 1 was important for the defensive players because it gave them an introduction into the schemes that will be used by first-year coordinator Dan Quinn, the team’s D-line coach in 2009-10 who has returned after two years as the coordinator at the University of Florida.
“We had install sessions, and had to get all that taken care of,” Wright said. “Coach Quinn did a really good job of teaching us and we have a good grasp of it.”
Phase 2 will include four non-OTA (organized team activities) workouts for the next three weeks, as well as the rookie minicamp May 10-12. Phase 3 begins May 20 and will include 10 OTA workouts and conclude with the mandatory minicamp June 11-13.
A few more post-Combine mock drafts have surfaced, and the popular pick for the Seahawks with the 25th selection in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 25 continues to be a defensive lineman – although three of the following four mocks have them going for three different D-linemen.
Gil Brandt, the former Cowboys vice president of player personnel who now is an analyst at NFL.com, has the Seahawks selecting Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd: “The 6-2½, 297-pound Floyd, who has excellent quickness, can be a very good inside player. The Seahawks’ new defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, coached Floyd at Florida, so he should be pretty familiar with the prospect.”
In his latest mock, Don Banks at SI.com pairs LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery with the Seahawks: “The Seahawks need an upgrade for their pass rush, and are thought to be interested in UCLA defensive end Datone Jones, who we have going 19th overall to the Giants. Montgomery was the ‘other’ end at LSU, the one not named Barkevious Mingo. But he may be a safer, more consistent bet in the NFL. SMU defensive end Margus Hunt had a strong combine and is another name to track for Seattle’s neediest position.”
Doug Farrar of ShutdownCorner.com has the Seahawks going for UCLA defensive lineman Datone Jones in this mock at Yahoo.com: “The Seahawks need pass-rush help from the inside and outside, and Jones would fit Pete Carroll’s front concepts like a hand in glove. Carroll prefers linemen who can strike through multiple gaps, and Jones has clearly proved his ability to do so. He’d give the Seahawks a lot of positional versatility, because he’s equally adept when playing run-stopping end and pass-rushing tackle.”
Peter Schrager at FoxSports.com also has his latest mock, and he breaks ranks by not only giving the Seahawks an offensive player but the same one he did in his pre-Combine mock – West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Smith: “What a steal this would be at 25. Russell Wilson silenced all of his critics (including me) who thought he was too small, didn’t have a big enough arm and wasn’t worthy of a third-round pick in 2011 (me, me, me) last season. Austin would be an incredible addition to an already potent Seattle offense. With the new free-access receivers getting off the line, dynamic slot guys such as Austin become all the more dangerous. He’s a lightning rod. This is Percy Harvin Part II. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Austin would make for quite a trio.”
The Seahawks have named Dan Quinn as their defensive coordinator.
Quinn, the team’s defensive line coach in 2009-10, replaces Gus Bradley, who was named head coach of the Jaguars today. Quinn spent the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida.
Quinn was the defensive line coach with the 49ers (2003-04), Dolphins (2005-06) and Jets (2007-08) before joining the Seahawks in 2009, when he also held the title of assistant head coach on Jim Mora’s staff. Quinn was retained after Pete Carroll became the head coach in 2010, so he is familiar with the Seahawks’ defensive scheme.
Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 6.
Remember that “NFL’s Best Defense” poll over at ProFootballWeekly.com? Well, by way of fan voting the championship results are in and the Seahawks have come out on top over the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning a whopping 76 percent of the overall vote. The guys at PFW give credit to the 12th Man for their tremendous fan support, but they still aren’t ready to call the Seahawks the “Best Defense” in the NFL, calling Seattle a young, ascending defense, but noting the defenses of teams like the San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers might be a little farther ahead of the Seahawks right now.
Here at Seahawks.com we continue with our Rookie Spotlight segment, this time focusing on Seahawks 2012 fourth round draft picks RB Robert Turbin out of Utah State and DT Jaye Howard out of Florida. Seahawks General Manager John Schneider talks with Tony Ventrella about Turbin’s impressive combine interview and how their familiarity with Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn – the Seahawks 2010 defensive line coach – aided them in their selection of Howard.
Starting off the first-of-three quarterback-central articles this morning we have Brady Henderson of MyNorthwest.com, who recaps a segment from yesterday’s “Bob and Groz” show when four-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl MVP QB Kurt Warner joined the program. Naturally, Warner offered up his opinion on the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition, as Henderson writes, “Warner spoke from experience when he talked about the challenges of splitting reps between quarterbacks, which the Seahawks plan to do when they begin training camp later this month. In Flynn’s case, Warner thinks that will make it harder to master the offense, something Jackson shouldn’t have to worry about given all the time he’s spent in coordinator Darrell Bevell’s system. Warner said memorizing an offense isn’t the same as understanding it well enough to execute it efficiently. Warner: ‘It’s always one thing to study your playbook and draw plays on the board and be able to decipher stuff. It’s completely different when you have to actually call the play in a timely fashion, you have to get up there and be able to react and make it second nature to you. So you can get as many mental reps as you want; it’s never the same as a physical rep. The less of those you get, the less you’re going to be ready because that’s really where you learn and where you grow is under fire, whether it’s preseason games, whether it’s live scrimmages or just competitive situations in practice.’”
Next, over at NFL.com Gregg Rosenthal believes Matt Flynn has what it takes to be the Seahawks starting quarterback. On Flynn, Rosenthal offers, “In one of the final days of my former professional life, I watched every Matt Flynn snap possible. I won’t repeat myself here, but Flynn was accurate, composed and threw the ball well under pressure. That pocket presence gives him an edge over guys like [Kevin] Kolb, Matt Cassel and [Tarvaris] Jackson. In many ways, Flynn didn’t look like a young quarterback. He was very good before the snap. He moved safeties with his eyes. He responded to his bad plays. Flynn doesn’t have to carry the Seahawks. They have a solid running game and a stronger defense. He has a chance to be an average starter sooner than later. That’s a big upgrade for the Seahawks and that may be all they need to make the playoffs in 2012.”
Lastly, and again over at NFL.com, Ian Rapport catches up with former NFL QB Doug Flutie, who at 5-foot-10 bucked the NFL stereotype that quarterbacks must be tall to be successful. The conversation is relevant because Seahawks 2012 third round draft pick QB Russell Wilson stands just 5-foot-11, but finds himself right in the mix of the Seahawks quarterback competition. Rapport comments on Flutie’s relationship with Wilson, “Flutie is a college football analyst now, and he thoroughly studies the game that made him famous. He grew close with Wilson when the athletic passer was leaving North Carolina State and trying to decide between transferring to Auburn or Wisconsin for his senior season. He chose the Badgers and led them to a Big Ten title. ‘I was advising him,’ Flutie said. ‘Go somewhere where, No. 1, you know you’re going to play. No. 2, that you’re the guy they want. Coming up to the draft, he had some questions. He’s a great kid and I just wish him well.’”
A recap of the activities from Day One of wild-card playoff week:
Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst. Who starts at quarterback for the Seahawks in Saturday’s game against the New Orleans Saints at Qwest Field?
Pete Carroll isn’t saying. Not because he’s trying to be coy – at least not completely. It’s because the Seahawks’ first-year coach doesn’t have to name a starter today, and wants to get a look at both QBs in practice this week before making the decision.
“We’ll find out where we are in the next day or so and determine that,” Carroll said during his weekly day-after Q&A session when asked who would start this week. “Right now, it looks like we’ll split reps with those guys at practice tomorrow and we’ll just find out where we are.”
The Seahawks will get an early start this week, practicing on Tuesday – the players’ usual “off” day – because they play Saturday.