Focus on: The end of training camp

Posted Aug 14, 2013

The Seahawks will break camp after a Thursday morning practice, but what transpires on Friday won’t be a drastic change from what the players and coaches have been doing for the past three weeks.

The Seahawks will break camp after a morning practice on Thursday.

The initial reaction on Wednesday to the team holding the final practice of its training camp was a shrug and a smile.

“Mentally you say, ‘OK, we’re changing gears,’ ” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said after practice, which was the last of 14 that were open to the public. “But a lot of it really is the same. The practice format is the same. The reps are the same.

“So it’s not a dramatic change, like it was in past years.”

The initial reaction to that reaction also has a lot to do with initials.

First, there’s CBA, as in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that ended the 136-day lockout just in time for training camp in 2011. Under the new guidelines, teams can practice only once a day. So the grind of two-a-day practices in training camp has joined leather helmets and two-way players as things now extinct in the NFL.

Then, there’s A.M., as in coach Pete Carroll opting for a full slate of morning practices during this camp, with the walkthroughs in the late afternoon.

But there’s also VMAC, as in Virginia Mason Athletic Center, where the team has held training camp at its year-round headquarters on the shores of Lake Washington since 2009 after what seemed like endless summers of camping at Eastern Washington University in Cheney from 1976-85 and 1997-2006.

“That’s one of the different things about when you have camp at your place. It’s like, ‘OK, we’re breaking camp, I’ll see you tomorrow,’ ” said Quinn, who’s wrapping up his 11th NFL training camp and third with the Seahawks. “So training camp isn’t the same as you and I knew training camp from years back where you went away and then when camp was over it was time to pack up your dorm room and drive back.”

There will be slight differences once camp breaks – mental, as well as physical. Players with homes in the area can move out of the hotel they have called home since camp opened July 24. No more evening meetings or curfew. And the players know this is the next step in the process as they continue to prepare not only for Saturday night’s preseason home opener against the Denver Broncos at CenturyLink Field but also the Sept. 8 regular-season opener in Carolina against the Panthers.

“Practices and everything are going to be the same,” cornerback Walter Thurmond said. “But you need to be more focused, because you know the season is getting close at that point. Everyone is really fired up and looking forward to it.

“But what we do on Thursday in camp and what we do the next day after camp breaks won’t be all that different.”