Great article by Claire over at Seahawks.com
There have been meetings. Countless hours of them. There have been workouts during the offseason program. Four days a week for the past month.
But the Seattle Seahawks have yet to hold a practice under coach Pete Carroll.
That will change Tuesday, when the veterans open a three-day minicamp – the extra one teams with new coaches are allowed to hold. And change has been the operative word this offseason. There’s Carroll, and 18 new assistant coaches. There’s first-year general manager John Schneider. There’s the roster, which has seen eight players leave through trades, free agency or being released and another 10 replacing them.
Just ask cornerback Marcus Trufant, the team’s first-round draft in 2003. Only one player who was with the Seahawks when Trufant arrived will be on the field Tuesday afternoon – quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
The players are scheduled to practice for two hours each day, from 1:30-3:30. It’s a first chance for them to apply everything they’ve been taught in meetings and – as Carroll has stressed several times – the first opportunity for their new coach to get a firsthand look at his players in a practice environment.
Even for players as accomplished as Hasselbeck and Trufant, that means making good – and lasting – first impressions. Each battled injuries last season, when the Seahawks struggled to a 5-11 record. Trufant missed all of training camp and the first six regular-season games because of a back issue. Hasselbeck missed two games because of broken ribs, after sitting out nine games in 2008 with his own back problem.
“The challenge will be – the hardest thing will be – having the play-caller tell you the play, stepping into the huddle and calling the play like you mean it, like you own it, like you know it, like you believe in it all the way,” Hasselbeck said.
“We’ve been running. We’ve been lifting. We’ve been throwing. But this will be different.”
Consider different a synonym for change in that evaluation. After spending the first 11 seasons of his career in baSeatsically the same system – Mike Holmgren’s hybrid of the West Coast offense that Hasselbeck learned in Green Bay while he and Holmgren were with the Packers, and then mastered after his 2001 trade to the Seahawks – the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback is on his third offensive coordinator and third scheme in the past three years.
But the offense being implemented by new coordinator Jeremy Bates is closer to what Hasselbeck learned under Holmgren than the system the Seahawks ran last year under coordinator Greg Knapp.
“Last year was really, really hard,” Hasselbeck said. “Because it was the same words that meant different things.”
Hasselbeck reached down to pinch his blue workout shirt between his thumb and index finger before offering, “So this was red. Really? Oh, really.”
But new is good this time around.
“It’s exciting,” Hasselbeck said. “It would be harder to stomach if were coming off a great year and we all were together. But there has just been so much change and so much turnover in our locker room that wholesale change in terminology isn’t that big of deal because for the most part it’s all brand new people.
“So the quicker everybody embraces it and gets onboard, the quicker you have a chance to succeed.”
The scheme hasn’t changed as dramatically on defense, because coordinator Gus Bradley is one of three holdovers from the previous staff. But there is the turnover in personnel, including strong safety Deon Grant being released and end Darryl Tapp being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.
“It’s pretty much a fresh start,” Trufant said. “Last year was a rough season – personally and for the team. It was a rough season all the way around.
“It’s time to look forward now and just try to get better. I’m definitely looking forward to this. This is a chance for us to prove ourselves again.”