Pete Carroll prides himself on conducing competitive, up-tempo practices. But the NFL Management Council and the NFL Players Association have determined that the Seahawks have been a little too competitive this offseason, so the team has been penalized two of its OTA sessions.
As a result of the ruling, which was announced Tuesday, the players will not practice Wednesday or Thursday, when the team was scheduled to conduct its final two OTA sessions. Those sessions cannot be rescheduled, and the next on-field activity for the Seahawks will come during next week’s mandatory minicamp.
“In the new day that we’re in with the NFL, we have a new system of rules and guidelines,” Carroll said Tuesday after the team worked out in the indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. “As we practiced through our OTA session here, we’ve been trying to find the right tempo to matchup with the rules.
“We’ve pushed it. We are as competitive as you can be in our program, and everything about our program is about competing. We’re trying to find out what the limit is and do the right thing. That’s what we’ve been trying to find out.”
The league and NFLPA reviewed practice and, as Carroll put it, “They saw a practice they didn’t like. They’ve docked us two practices because of the level of work that we’ve been getting done.”
Losing practice time obviously is not ideal, especially after there was no offseason last year because of the 136-day lockout. But Carroll remains confident that his team has gotten the optimum from its first eight OTA sessions.
“We’ve had great practices,” he said. “Our guys have met every expectation. They have worked like crazy to get the job done. We have talked all of the talk throughout the time about taking care of one another, working to make it safe, play within the guidelines.
“And we probably have stretched this limit, obviously, by this indication. I’m not surprised at that. We’re as competitive as you can be. And we have a very young football team. Most of these guys have never been in an OTA practice. So this is the first for them to get a smell of it.”
Thirty-nine of the players on the 90-man roster are indeed participating in their first OTA sessions, and another 21 are doing it with the Seahawks for the first time.
“As we go through this, we’ve had to learn,” Carroll said. “I think our best practice was maybe our last one. But we still practiced really hard and really fast and did it in a teaching mode, which is what we’re asked to do.
“Our guys are going to miss these two days and we’ll come back with minicamp starting next week, and it will be really important for us to do well there. We’ll be that much smarter about how we can do things right. And we’ll continue to work with our young guys to make sure they understand.
“Because it’s always about one play here or one play there. It wasn’t play after play after play. It was a few plays that stood out where guys made mistakes trying too hard and competing too much. So we’ll find that level. I think if nothing else, the league will understand maybe a standard better.”
That is Carroll’s hope as the Seahawks, as well as the league and the NFLPA, move forward under the new guidelines of the CBA that ended last year’s lockout.
“We have not had any film to look at. We haven’t had the opportunity to see how it’s supposed to be done,” he said. “But maybe that’s what we’re creating. We’ll try to look at that as a positive and help everybody understand how this thing goes.
“It’s a learning process and I’m just thrilled that we’ve got such good work up to this point that our guys get a couple days off here and we’ll come back next week and get working again.”