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Are some guidelines counterproductive?
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With the Seahawks final preseason game on Thursday night, the team combined Competition Wednesday and Turnover Thursday into one day, hopefully preparing themselves for later in the year when they play on Thursday night in the regular season.
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The silence was almost deafening at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Monday.
Sure, the rookies were in to continue their offseason program. And the coaches were getting in some 11th-hour meeting time before their vacation period begins this week. But after last week’s spirited minicamp practices, and the departure of the veterans for their extended break before training camp starts in late July, it wasn’t quite the same atmosphere – or noise level.
The new guidelines in the CBA that ended last year’s 136-day lockout prohibit the players from working on football fundamentals during their down time – even if they want to. So second-year receivers Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette can’t be on the field at VMAC running routes and catching passes from free-agent addition Matt Flynn, rookie QB Russell Wilson or last year’s starter Tarvaris Jackson.
They can do it elsewhere, just not here. And it’s a stipulation that coach Pete Carroll is having a difficult time wrapping his head around.
Asked last week if he could foresee a push by the coaches in the league to tweak the format, Carroll offered, “I think this is going to come from the players. I think if a movement is going to be made at all, the players are going to have to decide what they think is best and what they would like to have.
“I would be surprised if they think that this is a good thing that they can’t throw the football and play catch out here as quarterbacks and receivers. I don’t think that they’re going to like that because it’s not convenient for them at all. But we’ll find out. It’s up to them.”
During the break between the end of the 2011 season and the start of the offseason program in April, Lockette went to Alabama to work with Jackson, the incumbent starter at QB. During this break, Flynn will return to Baton Rouge, where he can work out with other NFL players who also went to LSU.
“That’s kind of my home base in the offseason,” said Flynn, who also has moved into a home near VMAC since being signed in March. “There’s a bunch of NFL guys that are from LSU, so I get together with the Early Doucets, Brandon LaFells – guys that I played with in college that are in the NFL. We all get together and we work out in the mornings.”
Doucet plays for the Arizona Cardinals and LaFell is with the Carolina Panthers.
But wouldn’t it be more beneficial for Flynn, in his first few months with the team, to be throwing to Sidney Rice, Baldwin, Lockette and the rest of the Seahawks’ receivers? Of course it would. It’s just not allowed – at least not at VMAC.
Carroll isn’t alone in his concerns. Some of the vets used “silly” and “ridiculous” when asked about the stipulation, and one said, “It’s definitely something worth revisiting.”
They’re not talking about full-scale practices and coach-included and -instructed workouts. It’s the ability of teammates to use the team facility for pitch-and-catch sessions during this downtime.
“That’s up to the players,” Carroll reiterated when asked if he had an opinion on the subject. “We have an opinion, yeah. We have lots of opinions. We just don’t have any say in it.
“So what we’ll do is make the best of whatever it is. I hope there will be some evaluations done by the players so that they get it right. It doesn’t matter to me. We can’t do anything about it, and it’s equal across the board. So there’s no reason to spend any more energy on it, really.”