This past weekend, 20 coaches from various backgrounds and levels of experience gathered at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for the seventh annual Seahawks High School Coaches Academy.
North Kitsap High School assistant football coach Jerry Parrish – father of current Seahawks college scouting coordinator Kirk Parrish – was one of the conference’s attendees. For the elder Parrish, it was his seventh stint participating in the program.
“I’ve been there all seven years,” Parrish said. “It’s been better every year.”
That’s quite the endorsement for the academy, especially coming from a man who will enter his 40th season in coaching this fall. Parrish was the longtime head coach at North Kitsap and retired for just one year before returning to the school as an assistant.
“It’s been very refreshing to go around the table and listen to some of the topics we’ve assigned and also how different coaches handle problems or concerns in different manners,” Parrish said. “Part of the criteria when we set it up was to have at least two first-year coaches, and then probably 10 or 12 coaches that have been around for 6-10 years, and then about five or six of us who have been around for more than that. So we can kind of get a different view of the concerns that we each have.”
Parrish acted as a pseudo-moderator for this year’s conference, as the group discussed topics ranging from how technology can improve their approach to coaching, equipment and safety issues, practice structure, team building exercises, the role social media plays in the current era of athletes, and ways to work with an athlete’s parents.
Taking part in this year’s conference from the Seahawks coaching staff was assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable, who himself was a 1982 graduate of nearby Snohomish High School. Cable joined head coach Pete Carroll, former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and secondary coach Rocky Seto as the club’s coaches who have appeared at the event since Carroll and general manager John Schneider took the reins in 2010.
“The thing that really came through to all of us was that competition really seems to be the guideline that coach Carroll and the coaching staff, and everybody on the Seahawks team, has really benefited from,” Parrish said of Cable’s talk to the group. “They used the term ‘attitude’ that the coaches brought and inserted it in a very positive manner.”
On top of the group discussion and Cable’s words of wisdom, the event offered coaches the opportunity to share information, tactics, and approaches to their own coaching styles all within a comfortable setting.
“I think sometimes coaches share pretty well when there’s no one there competing against them,” said Parrish. “We don’t like to have coaches from the same league come to the conference – sometimes that can get a little bit hairy, so to speak. But it’s really been beneficial.”
Marcus Trufant played the past four seasons under Gus Bradley when Bradley was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator. Today, Trufant, an unrestricted free agent, is visiting Bradley in his new role and location – head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Trufant’s visit was reported by the Jaguars’ website.
The Jaguars rebuilt their secondary during the NFL Draft by selecting strong safety Jonathan Cyprien with the first pick in the second round and then adding cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz (third round) and Demetrius McCray (seventh) and safety Josh Evans (sixth). But Trufant, the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 2003, could mentor the young secondary – just as he did for the Seahawks the past few seasons with the All-Pro tandem of free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman as well as Pro Bowl-caliber strong safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Brandon Browner.
The Seahawks released Trufant last offseason, only to re-sign him for a 10th season. But this year, a similar move is unlikely because the team signed nickel back Antoine Winfield in free agency, drafted cornerback Tharold Simon and also has incumbent backups Walter Thurmond, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell.
UPDATE – At 11:54 a.m. the Jaguars officially announced they had signed Trufant:
The NFL schedule for the 2013 season will be unveiled at 5 p.m. PT on Thursday, it was announced this morning.
The original release date was today, but the league postponed it. The schedule will be announced on the NFL Network as well as NFL.com.
So you’ll only have to wait a couple more days to find out how many nationally televised games the Seahawks will get. And when they will play the NFC West rival 49ers at CenturyLink Field and Candlestick Park. And when they will host the Saints in a rematch of that memorable wild-card playoff game after the 2010 season. And when they will play the Falcons in Atlanta in a rematch of last season’s divisional round playoff game. And when recently acquired receiver/runner/returner Percy Harvin will face his former team, the Vikings, at CenturyLink Field. And when former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will bring his Jaguars to Seattle.
In case you’ve forgotten, here are the Seahawks’ home and away opponents:
Marc Sessler at NFL.com has more details on the schedule release.
INDIANAPOLIS – Gus Bradley is attending his eighth NFL Scouting Combine, but this one is unlike the previous seven.
That will happen when you go from being a position coach, as he was with the Buccaneers from 2006-08; to a defensive coordinator, as he was with the Seahawks the past four years; to a head coach, the position he was hired to fill with the Jaguars last month.
Asked on Saturday for an example of the change, Bradley smiled and said, “The other day, it’s the first time that I saw punters and kickers do heights and weights. I’m sitting there kind of shaking my head thinking, ‘I’ve never done this before.’ ”
As a position coach, Bradley attended the Combine only to see the players at that position. As a coordinator, he would hang around long enough to see all the defensive players. Now, he’s here from start to finish.
“But it’s been great,” he said. “It’s been a great opportunity. Everyday I’ve been learning.”
And it was obvious during his Q&A session at Lucas Oil Stadium that Bradley learned a lot from Seahawks coach Pete Carroll the past three years. Bradley repeatedly made Seattle and Seahawks references when asked how he planned to approach things in Jacksonville during his first stint as a head coach in the league.
“Pete’s a tremendous coach – offensively, defensively special teams,” Bradley said. “I think he had tremendous impact offensively. He was in there in those meetings. He was in our defensive meetings. He was in the special teams meetings.
“Every day he was the same person. And he had great vision, great conviction. I think I’ve always had some vision. And if I was in this opportunity, that I have even stronger convictions now that I’ve been with Pete. He’s obviously someone who’s had a great impact on me.”
But some things with Bradley have not changed, despite his relocation and rapid ascension up the coaching ladder. He remains as energetic and passionate as he was the past four seasons in Seattle.
“All this right now is great, but I can’t wait for April. That’s when we get our players in-house,” he said. “And really, the communication, the vision, the language that we want to use in our building and how we coach as a staff … I’m excited to see that.
“I’m ecstatic. I can’t wait.”
When Monte Kiffin talks, people not only listen they usually follow his sage advice.
It happened in 2009, when the then-defensive coordinator for the Buccaneers persuaded then-Seahawks coach Jim Mora to interview Gus Bradley to be his defensive coordinator. Mora listened – first to Kiffin, then to Bradley – and guess who ended up being the Seahawks’ DC?
It happened again in 2010, after Pete Carroll replaced Mora as Seahawks coach. This time it was Carroll who got the Kiffin call on Bradley’s behalf, and Bradley was retained to coordinator Carroll’s defense.
Things have changed, with Bradley now the head coach of the Jaguars and Kiffin in Dallas as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator after three seasons as assistant head coach at USC on the staff of his son, Lane. But Kiffin continues to watch the Seahawks’ defense, and he’s obviously impressed by a group that allowed a league-low average of 15.3 points and ranked fourth in the NFL in average yards allowed during the 2012 season.
When Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr inquired about what type of scheme the Dallas defenders can expect, Kiffin told him to watch video of the Seahawks’ fast, physical and aggressive unit.
“I kind of asked him what our philosophy and what the look of our defense was going to be, and as a prime example he said, ‘Go see Seattle film and you’ll probably learn a lot from those guys and just watch how they move on the field.’ ” Carr said during a radio interview in Dallas. “That’s some homework for me to do for the next couple of weeks.”
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 4:
1990: Dave Krieg completes 15 of 23 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown, but the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 27-21. Jerry Gray, a cornerback for the Rams who would go on to coach the Seahawks’ defensive backs in 2010, is named MVP after returning an interception 51 yards for a TD and also registering seven tackles. Rufus Porter (two tackles) and Brian Blades (one reception) also represent the Seahawks in the game.
1996: Chris Warren leads the NFC with 43 rushing yards, but the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 20-13.
1998: Jim Johnson is named linebackers coach on Dennis Erickson’s staff. Johnson remains for only one season before becoming the Eagles’ defensive coordinator, but his impact on the Seahawks’ defense is apparent even after he leaves.
2010: First-year coach Pete Carroll announces his staff: Jeremy Bates (offensive coordinator), Gus Bradley (defensive coordinator), Brian Schneider (special teams coordinator), Kippy Brown (wide receivers), Luke Butkus (quality control/offensive line), Dave Canales (quality control/offense), Chris Carlisle (head strength and conditioning), Jedd Fisch (quarterbacks), Mondray Gee (assistant strength and conditioning), Alex Gibbs (offensive line), Jerry Gray (defensive backs), Kris Richard (assistant defensive backs), Rocky Seto (quality control/defense), Sherman Smith (running backs), Jeff Ulbrich (assistant special teams), Art Valero (assistant offensive line) and Jamie Yancher (assistant strength and conditioning).
2012: Cortez Kennedy, in his seventh year of eligibility and fourth year as a finalist, is elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. An eight-time Pro Bowl selection and member of the NFL Team of the Decade for the 1990s as a defensive tackle, Kennedy joins Steve Largent as the only career-long Seahawks player in the Hall.
Todd Wash and Gus Bradley go way back. Now, they’re back together.
Wash, the Seahawks’ defensive line coach the past two seasons, was hired today to fill the same position on Bradley’s staff in Jacksonville, the Jaguars announced. Bradley, the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator since 2009, was named the Jaguars’ head coach 12 days ago.
“I know where he’s coming from at all times, and he also knows I have his back,” Wash told Jaguars.com. “I think that’s very important. Coming here from Seattle, it wasn’t a situation where I had to come. I was asked to come. I owe to him any way I can possibly help him and help the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was just an easy decision for me.”
Wash and Bradley played together at North Dakota State and later coached there on the staff of Bob Babich, who has been hired by Bradley to be his defensive coordinator with the Jaguars.
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.
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 12:
1995: Dennis Erickson, who grew up in Everett, is named head coach of the Seahawks. It is his first NFL job, and Erickson comes to his hometown team after compiling a 63-9 record in six seasons at the University of Miami. Erickson also brings six members of the Hurricanes staff with him: Gregg Smith, assistant head coach/tight ends; Greg McMackin, defensive coordinator; Dave Arnold, special teams; Dana LeDuc, strength and conditioning coach; Rich Olson, quarterbacks; and Willy Robinson, defensive backs.
2000: Steve Sidwell is named defensive coordinator on Mike Holmgren’s staff – replacing Jim Lind, who stepped in for the 1999 season after longtime Holmgren assistant Fritz Shurmur died of cancer.
2008: The Seahawks jump to a 14-0 lead in their divisional playoff game against the Packers at Lambeau Field, as Ryan Grant fumbles twice in Green Bay’s first three plays to set up a touchdown run by Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck’s TD pass to Bobby Engram. But then the Packers, and the snow, bury the Seahawks in a 42-20 loss during what is Brett Favre’s final victory with Green Bay. Grant bounces back to run for 201 yards and three TDs, while Favre completes 18 of 23 passes and throws for three TDs.
2009: Gus Bradley is named defensive coordinator on Jim Mora’s staff. Bradley’s unit has ranked among the Top 10 in the league the past two seasons, after the Seahawks accomplished that five times in their first 35 seasons.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 11:
Marcus Trufant. No one on the Seahawks’ 53-man roster has played in more postseason games (10) than the veteran nickel back. And no one grew up watching this team longer than the Tacoma-born Trufant, either.
So, as the team puts in its final preparations for Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta, who better to lead us through a trip down Postseasons Past?
We asked Trufant for his favorite team memory from the six playoff teams he has been on, and his selection was the obvious.
“The (NFC) Championship game we played during our Super Bowl run (in 2005) was pretty big,” he said of the 34-14 victory over the Panthers. “To be able to do it at home, be able to do it in front of the fans, it was a pretty good feeling.”
Especially for a player who followed the team as a kid growing up.
“It does kind of hit you like that,” Trufant said when asked if there was a moment in that game where it hit home that he had just helped his hometown team get to the Super Bowl. “But it’s just one of those things. It is football. And if you do right and your team is hitting on all cylinders, then the opportunity is there.”
Just as it for this season’s playoff team, which is one victory from a return to the NFC Championship game.
“For us now, that’s what we’ve got to do,” Trufant said. “We’ve just got to fight to be right. Try to do everything well and just try to practice hard and get better every day.”
We also asked Trufant for his favorite individual postseason memory, and his response was very telling for a player who has been a team-first, individual-accolades-a-distant-second warrior since the Seahawks selected the cornerback from Washington State University if the first round the 2003 NFL Draft.
“You know what? After a while a lot stuff just seems to run together,” said Trufant, who had a 78-yard interception return for a touchdown to ice a wild-card win over the Redskins in 2007.
“So I’m about being in the present. I’m just trying to help out the team to get another victory. We want to take it one step at a time and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
LONGWELL, CHUKWURAH READY
Kicker Ryan Longwell and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah just joined the team this week to replace the injured duo of Steven Hauschka and Chris Clemons. Coach Pete Carroll said after practice that both are ready for Sunday’s game.
“I thought Longwell did a good job,” Carroll said. “He hit his kicks and fit together nicely with (holder) Jon Ryan to get the timing down. … He’s a seasoned vet. He’s been through it. If anybody can handle it, he will be able to handle all the buildup to it.”
As for Chukwurah, who last played in an NFL game in 2007, Carroll said, “Pat did fine. He’s in a backup role for us. But he showed enough that he’s going to be dressing for the game.”
The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:
CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)
S Jeron Johnson (hamstring)
RB Marshawn Lynch (foot)
WR Sidney Rice (knee)
Lynch practiced on a limited basis today after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday to rest a sprained foot. “He’s fine. He’ll be alright,” Carroll said. Johnson also got his first work of the week, on a limited basis. Maxwell and Rice did not practice, but Rice is expected to be ready of the game after practicing fully on Wednesday and Thursday.
For the Falcons:
CB Christopher Owens (hamstring)
DE John Abraham (ankle)
S Charles Mitchell (calf)
S William Moore (hamstring)
CB Dunta Robinson (head)
Abraham, who leads the Falcons with 10 sacks, has been limited all week.
STAT DU JOUR
Last week, the Seahawks allowed the Redskins to drive 80 yards to a touchdown on their first possession, but managed to come back and win the game. That’s not advisable this week, because the Falcons have been almost unstoppable when they score a TD on their opening drive. Here’s a look at what the Falcons did on their opening drives during the regular season, and how that worked out for them:
Opponent, outcome First drive
Chiefs, W, 40-24 Touchdown
Broncos, W, 27-21 Touchdown
Chargers, W, 27-3 Touchdown
Panthers, W, 30-28 Punt
Redskins, W, 24-17 Punt
Raiders, W, 23-20 Interception
Eagles, W, 30-17 Touchdown
Cowboys, W, 19-13 Punt
Saints, L, 31-27 Touchdown
Cardinals, W, 23-19 Interception
Buccaneers, W, 24-23 Field goal
Saints, W, 23-13 Touchdown
Panthers, L, 30-20 Punt
Giants, W, 34-0 Touchdown
Lions, W, 31-18 Punt
Buccaneers, L, 22-17 Punt
In the games where they’ve scored TDs on their first possession, the Falcons are 6-1 and the wins came by an average of 17 points. In their other two losses, they opened with punts. In their other seven wins, when they opened with five punts, a field goal and an interception, the average margin of victory was five points.
“We just don’t want to get too caught up in that,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “We want to play the whole game fast and explosive, regardless of what happens the first series. So we know we’re going to have to make some adjustments as this game goes on. But the biggest thing is to keep our poise with the crowd noise and things like that – nothing that our guys haven’t come across before.”
The team flew to Atlanta following today’s practice and will hold its Saturday walkthrough there.
The winner of Sunday’s game will meet either the 49ers or Packers in the NFC Championship game next Sunday. The Packers and 49ers play in San Francisco on Saturday night.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The big thing is having the corners that allow us to be aggressive. But the other thing is having a guy that can play the middle third that cover from redline to redline. You really need those three components.” – Bradley in discussing the virtues of cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner and Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas in matching up against the Falcons’ trio of Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez