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A training camp like no other has come to an end for the Seahawks.
Instead of the usual hurry-up-and-wait scenario, the Seahawks took a wait-and-then-hurry-up approach to their second summer session under coach Pete Carroll.
Clare Farnsworth passes out his training camp awards:
Best player: WR Sidney Rice
Best offensive player: RB Marshawn Lynch
Best defensive player: FS Earl Thomas
Best special teams player: P Jon Ryan
Best free-agent addition: CB Brandon Browner
For more awards, and the reasoning behind the selections, click here.
That will happen when a 136-day lockout erased the spring minicamps and OTAs; the new CBA limited teams to one practice a day during camp; and the free agents signed by the club were not allowed to join practice until Aug.4 – a group that included quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, wide receiver Sidney Rice, fullback Michael Robinson, left guard Robert Gallery, tight end Zach Miller, linebacker Leroy Hill and defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Alan Branch.
All are expected to be starters this season. All got off to a late start in the preparation process for not only Saturday night’s preseason home opener against Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field, but also the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the division rival 49ers in San Francisco.
What’s a coach to do? Make do with what was there.
“This happened way too fast,” Carroll said Thursday after one last two-hour practice. “Every day we spent here has been so important, and we just need more of them.
“It’s gone well. We’ve had great competitiveness, which is what we always hope for. The players rallied around the style of practice, the high tempo and energy we expect of them and competing every day. They did that. So I think we’ve done what we can.”
The condensed camp was especially tough on Darrell Bevell, the new offensive coordinator who is installing a new system.
“You have to cut back,” Bevell said. “You can’t do as much as you would if you had all those OTAs, because you like to go through your system a couple times and then once you get to training camp they’ve heard it all. Now they’re comfortable with it. So in training camp you put all of it back in again, and then you start adding wrinkles.
“Well, we’re still in that first stage.”
So we’ll have wrinkles to look forward to as the coaches and players press on?
“We will,” Bevell said. “But you’ve got to get the base system in first.”
For their part, the players also have been in adapt-mode.
“It’s still football, so as soon as you get out on the field everything kind of goes out the window and you’re still playing football and you’re still working hard and you’re still doing what you normally do,” said veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant – the longest-tenured Seahawk, one of only two players left from the Super Bowl team in 2005 and one of just 17 players remaining from the roster Carroll inherited 18 months ago.
“But as far as the offseason and all that stuff, it has been different. Everything is squeezed together. There’s just not as much time. But at the end of the day, it’s still about football so you still go out and get it.”
There just weren’t enough of those days to suit Carroll, and there were no two-a-day practices. Instead, the players would have a morning walk-thru and a longer-than-Carroll-would-like practice in the afternoon.
“We feel rushed,” Carroll said. “We do feel rushed.”
But he also senses some positives about his new-look team, and they have been obvious watching the practices.
“I feel that we’re faster, and we’re stronger, and we’re bigger,” Carroll said. “We just feel like that. Hopefully that has made us a more competitive roster.”
Carroll sensed the players were dragging this week, so he canceled the Monday practice to give them extra time off leading into their scheduled day off on Tuesday.
“We made a really good move a couple days ago to give these guys another half day off,” he said. “They came back really strong these last two days and we’re back ready to go again. We were beating them down pretty good and I think that was just the aftermath of an offseason that wasn’t as strong as it could have been, a rugged camp to start with and a work load that there’s no way they could be ready for.
“You could see them starting to wear down a little bit. So we tried to recapture them a bit.”
“Now, it’s just a race kind of to the finish line of the beginning,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how it goes.”