Year Two in the Brave New World of the NFL offseason begins this morning for the Seahawks.
As was the case last year, complements of the CBA that came out of the 136-day lockout in 2011, the Seahawks’ program is starting later and will be divided into three phases. Everything begins with a team meeting this morning, followed by the players taking a series of functional movement tests that were initiated last year by director of health and player performance Sam Ramsden to help determine just what it is individual players need to work on as the offseason progresses.
“I thought everything went well last year under the new guidelines,” said Chris Carlisle, the Seahawks’ head strength and conditioning coach. “We’re going to compete in everything we do, and we’re going to do it better than it’s ever been done.”
Carlisle then smiled before adding, “You’ve never heard those words come out of anyone’s mouth, have you?”
Well yes, because those are cornerstones phrases in the philosophy of coach Pete Carroll.
“We’re very excited to get started,” Carlisle said. “I look forward to seeing the guys come back and seeing where they’re at physically. And you gauge your program accordingly to where they’re at.”
During Phase 1, the players will work four times a week for two weeks with Carlisle and his staff – Jamie Yanchar and Mondray Gee. In Phase 2, which begins April 29 and runs through May 17, Carroll and his staff will get involved on a limited basis for on-field drills.
There also is a rookie minicamp May 10-12.
Phase 3, which begins May 20, will include 10 OTA workouts and conclude with a mandatory minicamp June 11-13.
“The first year, it was getting used to me – what my program was compared to what they’d done in the past,” said Carlisle, who came to the Seahawks from USC with Carroll in 2010. “The second year, we actually had nothing (during the lockout). Last year, it was getting used to the new CBA.
“This year, it should be a lot smoother.”
The offseason program might begin later than in the pre-lockout period, but the Seahawks were able to make the most of their reduced time last year – when they posted the third-best regular-season record in club history (11-5) and won the franchise’s first road playoff game since 1983.
“I kind of like the way it went,” strong safety Kam Chancellor said. “We started out with the whole team just working out together, pushing each other to get stronger, faster, quicker, smarter in the classroom. Then you just keep progressing to the minicamp. Being together in the voluntary workouts, we know how to push each other, we know our strengths and weaknesses.
“So the way it is now, with the progressive stages, it’s a better route.”
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for July 29:
Robert Turbin. The Seahawks have big plans for the rookie running back from Utah State, but first the team’s fourth-round draft choice has to show is that he can consistently run the way needed to excel in this offense.
That is, take one step and go. It took leading rusher Marshawn Lynch a while to adapt to the no-hesitation style that assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable demands. Now, it’s Lynch’s understudy that must learn the all-important adjustment.
Turbin broke two longs in one portion of today’s two-hour practice, and each was followed by a long run from Cable to stress the style issue and then give some style points.
“One step and go. One step and go. And trust your gut,” Cable said after practice when asked about the exchanges that followed the long runs by Turbin that prompted Cable’s long runs.
On the first run, Turbin, well, let Cable explain. “He kind of went in there and pity-pattered. Kind of stomping snakes, you know,” Cable said. “You can’t do that in this system – and in this league – because you’re going to get hit about 18 times.”
The next time Turbin got the ball, he made the one cut, ripped cleanly through the line and accelerated into the secondary.
If the teaching aspect was worth one long run by Cable, the reward aspect promoted a repeat run.
“You’ve got to tell them right then, ‘That’s it,’ ” Cable said. “When they get it, they’ve got to capture it.”
Now that the Seahawks have captured Turbin, it’s imperative that he “get it,” so he can spell Lynch to keep the Beast Mode-running back fresher longer.
“I don’t have any doubt,” Cable said when asked if Turbin can fill the role that was missing from the running game last season. “It’s a matter of him, like the other young guys, learning how to be a pro and then in this system gaining his confidence.
“He’s on track to do to that.”
Sidney Rice. The acrobatic wide receiver was more, but also less, visible today. Rice took the field without the red no-contact jersey he was wearing Saturday, and then took part in a lot more snaps.
“I snuck it on,” said the blue-jerseyed Rice. “They got on me when I came out here. Sam (Ramsden, director of player health and performance) came over to me and he was like, ‘Oh, so you’re just a diva. You’re going to switch on me now every day.’ ”
What’s the deal? “I wanted to be in blue with the rest of the (offensive) team,” Rice said with a smile. “I’m not a quarterback. So I don’t want to wear a red jersey.”
The real switch was in how much work Rice got. After taking part in seven percent of the snaps Saturday, he was up to 25-30 percent (his estimations) today. That included participating in the 9-on-7 run drills and other team drills.
“It was great for my conditioning,” he said. “I was complaining a little in the 9-on-7, because I had to run downfield, block and then run right back to the huddle. But it’s no problem. It’s getting in the best shape I can be in.”
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: Third-year wide receiver Golden Tate put together an impressive dossier of athletic catches. But none was better than one where Tate made a falling grab of a deep pass from Matt Flynn.
Defense: Cornerback Coye Francies disappeared into a sea of raised arms in the end zone on a Hail Mary heave from Tarvaris Jackson in a two-minute drill, but came down with the ball for the interception.
IN ‘N OUT
Defensive tackle Alan Branch and defensive end Jameson Konz did not practice. Also sitting out were the other three players who are the PUP list: wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, cornerback Walter Thurmond and offensive lineman James Carpenter.
The fans didn’t just flock to practice on the shores of Lake Washington today; they came decked out in the Seahawk Sunday best – including jerseys new, old and in between. There were some retro jerseys for Cortez Kennedy (96), Steve Largent (80) and John Randle (93). There were the newer jerseys for Earl Thomas (29), Kam Chancellor (31), Lynch (24) and even recently acquired QB Matt Flynn (15). There were the in-between jerseys – Matt Hasselbeck (8), Lofa Tatupu (51), Mack Strong (38) and Nate Burleson (81).
But the most-popular number, by far, was Thomas’ 29. James Beauchamp was wearing his, and exampled the process that goes into selecting a favorite-player jersey for your favorite team.
“For me, he plays the same position I played,” said Beauchamp, who was a free safety at Mount Tahoma High School. “He’s also an exciting player.”
Then there’s the Pete Carroll factor. Say what?
“With Pete Carroll,” Beauchamp said of the team’s third-year coach, “you never know who’s coming and who’s going. So you know with Earl, he’s staying for a long time. So that’s part of it – knowing that he’s a fixture here.”
The players will have a walkthrough this afternoon, and tomorrow’s practice starts at 10:15 a.m.
JOIN THE CROWD
A crowd of 2,258 fans attended today’s practice. You can register here to attend one of the 11 remaining practices that are scheduled to be open during camp.
YOU DON’T SAY
“They’re both explosive players, they make big plays. Golden made a couple of huge plays out there today. It’s nice to see him do that – get up, jog back to the huddle and get ready to go out there and do it again.” – Rice, when asked to compare Tate, his current teammate; and Percy Harvin, his former teammate with the Vikings
Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 29.
The NFL announced a scheduling change yesterday, pushing the start time of the second game of its Sunday doubleheaders on FOX and CBS back by 10 minutes to ensure fewer fans miss game-action. How might that affect the Seahawks schedule? Clare Farnsworth has that answer here at Seahawks.com, as he writes, “The move could affect four Seahawks games – their Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona; the Dec. 9 rematch with the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field; their Dec. 23 game against the 49ers at CenturyLink Field; and their Dec. 30 regular-season finale against the Rams at CenturyLink Field.”
Farnsworth also catches up with new Director of Football Health & Performance Sam Ramsden, as Ramsden and Seahawks General Manager John Schneider share their thoughts on the exciting responsibilities and challenges that come with this new role, “’Just like the coaches self-scout at all times, and we do it from a personnel standpoint, we feel like we need to be doing that in all areas of our football operation,’ Schneider said. ‘This was an area that stood out, so we probably could be a little further ahead or we could kind of be cutting edge. It’s a player-driven league, so why wouldn’t we do everything possible to be able to make sure that not only are we bringing the right people into the building, but that we’re treating them in the right manner particular to their needs?’”
Over at YahooSports.com, Les Carpenter shares his thoughts on Brian Banks, who received a mini-camp tryout with the Seahawks earlier this month. At that time Carpenter spoke with Seahawks General Manager John Schneider, who offered his thoughts on Banks, “‘He didn’t fall flat on his face,’ Seahawks general manager John Schneider said before adding that Banks ‘is a consideration for sure,’ for a training camp invite. Then Schneider was asked if he could see Banks working in a team’s front office, guiding players. ‘There’s no question,’ Schneider replied. ‘He’s a phenomenal kid and twice the man I was when I was that age.'”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com gives us four quick fantasy notes from KC Joyner’s newly published 2012 fantasy guide. Sando points to Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch posting impressive numbers late in the season, but Joyner see’s room for significant improvement along the offensive line, “‘The Seahawks posted terrible numbers in the good blocking rate (38.9 percent, tied for 30th) and offensive good blocking production metrics.'” According to Sando, Joyner’s guide spans 444 pages and includes multiple charts and text categories for potential fantasy contributors for each team.
Joyner, who on Tuesday included Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner on his list of the seven most overrated players in the NFC, prompted this discussion from Brock Huard and Mike Salk of mynorthwest.com, as they talk about whether or not that designation fits a Pro Bowler who intercepted six passes, returned two for touchdowns and finished first on the team, and NFL, with 23 passes defensed.
One is moving up, the other in, as the Seahawks announced a reshaping of their training staff and the addition of Todd Brunner to their college scouting staff today.
Moving up is Sam Ramsden, the team’s associate and then head trainer since 1999. Ramsden has been promoted to director of player health and performance. He will coordinate the operations of the training and strength and conditioning staffs.
With Ramsden’s new role, Donald Rich has been named associate head trainer, with David Stricklin moving into the No. 2 spot that Rich had held. Also, Michael Tankovich has been hired as a physical therapist.
Brunner will scout the northeast region, replacing Charlie Jackson on the staff of director of college scouting Scott Fitterer. Brunner brings 17 years of experience, as he previously scouted for the 49ers (2001-11), Browns (1999-2000) and Eagles (1994-97). His father, John, was a longtime coach in the NFL and college.