Sunny skies, green grass, temperatures in the low 70s. Must be a baseball game going on somewhere. Quite a few in fact, but not here, not at VMAC, home of the Seattle Seahawks. It’s football season here. The start of a new era with lots of new players and new coaches led by head coach Jim Mora.
“I told T.J. (Houshmandzadeh), it’s always like this here,” said a smiling Mora after practice.” It was a lot of fun out there today and certainly the weather made it better, it was great to get back out on the grass and coach ‘em up a little bit, it was a lot of fun for us.”
The NFL allows one extra “minicamp” for teams with new head coaches and Mora decided to schedule the Seahawks camp before the NFL draft to give the veterans a chance to learn the new system and become familiar with the new coaches.
Eleven players were held out of practice today including pro bowl tackle Walter Jones and newly acquired defensive tackle Cory Redding, along with defensive end Patrick Kerney. All of them should be ready for the upcoming camps later this summer.
The newly acquired Houshmandzadeh ran drills with the rest of the receivers. He’ll wear number 84 this season. He was impressed by the intensity of the coaching staff.
“It’s not just (Mora), it’s all the coaches, my coach (Robert Prince), he runs around like he’s playing so it was fun. Today was the first day everyone got out there and it was a competitive situation, guys were running around, guys were fired up so I hope it’s that way all three days.”
Seems like T.J. will get his wish considering what coach Mora said when asked whether he’d implement a set of “Mora’s Rules” at practice this season.
“I don’t know that I have “Mora’s Rules,” he said with a smile. “I do know some things I’m looking for in this camp, tempo, speed, a level of execution, I think we have to start to establish our standard for those things how fast we’re going to run practice, how detailed we’re going to be in the things that we do but there’s a long ways to go before we actually play a game and there’s a lot of messages these guys will receive but today was a good start for us.”
It was exactly five years ago today that Jim Mora walked onto the practice field as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. “Well it’s certainly different because most of these guys except for the guys we added through free agency, I’ve been on the field with, I’ve been in meetings with them so I know their personalities, I know how they move around out here, that’s different than Atlanta. But there’s always that anxiety, that anticipation of your first day on the grass with the team as a head coach so that wasn’t different, I had the butterflies I won’t deny that, but it was a great Seattle day, it was great to be out here coaching ball.”
And apparently great to be out there playing ball too, at least according to defensive tackle Colin Cole, who will wear number 90 in a Seahawks uniform. The free agent from Green Bay finally feels appreciated here. “Hardly anybody really knows who Colin Cole is before I got out there, you know those guys seeing what they saw on film and taking a chance on me and giving me the reign at the position and letting get out and play is exciting to me.”
Today’s first session went about an hour and 45 minutes and gave the players a chance to learn everything from new verbiage, to new drills including a new set of stretches before practice.
With six new coaches, several newly acquired free agents and three “tryout” players at this mini camp, nearly 100 players will be in and out of Seahawks headquarters over the next three days.
It may be the start of baseball season and the end of college basketball season but here at Seahawks headquarters, football is in the air once again.