I visited the Seahawks today for organized team activities, and it was the nicest day I’ve ever seen in Seattle. And I’ve been here almost 30 times. Mount Rainier looks like it’s in everyone’s back yards here. It was that nice today.
Two things about that. One, how is it that a mountain that big, that beautiful and that snow-covered can’t be seen? You only see it once every so often. Two, on a day when you actually can see Mount Rainier, the Seahawks practiced indoors because coach Jim Mora wanted to work out with noise and have a complete session with silent communication. So the Seahawks played NFL Films music the entire hour and a half. That will be in my head all day.
Regardless, here are a few observations from my time with the Seahawks:
- Mike Holmgren did things his way in Seattle, and Mora will do it his way. He has a younger staff — there’s a lot of bouncing around and a lot of energy and a new impression to the team. That starts with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who was highly recommended by Monte Kiffin to coach Mora. Bradley comes in along with Jim Quinn, the new defensive line coach. I think they’re doing a lot of things defensively that we’ve seen the Ravens and the Eagles do, where they’re not going to be in predictable positions. You’ll see it in the Seahawks’ blitz and pressure concepts. It was pretty eye-opening compared to what they’ve done in the past.
- The Seahawks have a lot of talent at linebacker. Rookie first-round pick Aaron Curry is a guy who can rush from the right end spot, and he can play weakside linebacker. He’s going to have a couple of different roles. The Seahawks rushed Curry today quite a bit. He’s a very bright guy and already has learned a great deal of defense. The Seahawks are extremely excited about the impact Curry can have. He upgrades the overall speed of the defense.
- Watching QB Matt Hasselbeck today — and I’ve seen him struggle with a bad back and a bad knee — I noticed that he’s healthy. He has no brace, no nothing. He threw the ball very, very well today. And all of a sudden, a receiving core that was depleted by injuries last season has been revived. There’s T.J. Houshmandzadeh. There’s Deion Branch. There’s Nate Burleson. There’s a rookie in Deon Butler. There’s John Carlson. All of a sudden, you think that Hasselbeck has some weapons now, and he has some guys to whom he can throw the ball. He has to learn a new offense — it’s the West Coast offense — and it’s not starting all over again, but the concepts and the plays are different than what he has run in the past. Talking to Hasselbeck, he was up front and honest in saying that he has to put his nose to the books and study it. The quarterback barometer always has been high under Holmgren, so that’s the standard that Hasselbeck wants to keep. He wants to make sure he knows what everyone is doing on every play, forwards and backwards. And he’ll have to learn. Entering his 11th NFL season, Hasselbeck has a lot of bounce in his step, and that’s part of what Mora has brought to this team.
– Brian Baldinger