Seahawks hit the practice field competing

Posted May 27, 2014

It was only an OTA practice, and the first of 10 at that. But the competitive nature and intensity of the session showed coach Pete Carroll that his message is being embraced by his Super Bowl championship team.

If you thought the Seahawks’ first OTA practice was competitive, you should have been in the locker room before the session.

“To get the full thing of it, you had to come in the locker room,” wide receiver Percy Harvin said Tuesday after a crisp and, yes, competitive session along the shores of Lake Washington. “As soon as we stepped in the building today, a couple of the defensive backs walked up to Russ (Wilson, the quarterback) telling him they weren’t going to have it today.

“We hadn’t been in the building for more than 20 minutes and as we came out of the meeting Russ started chirping back at them.”

Harvin then smiled before adding, “That’s what makes this place fun. Everybody is always relaxed, always in game mode. So we just have fun here.”

And let the chirping commence.

Asked about the intimidation aspect, All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas offered, “I don’t think it was intimidation. That’s just who we are. I think we always attack first. We really don’t wait. I think we just try to keep the pressure on people.”

And that’s exactly how a defense that led the NFL in average points and yards allowed, as well as interceptions and takeaways, during the Seahawks’ run to its Super Bowl championship last season looked when it took to the practice field for the first time in full-squad drills this offseason.

The first time the No. 1 defense faced the No. 1 offense, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner intercepted a Russell Wilson pass. That led to the second units taking the field, but that didn’t last long either, as defensive end Greg Scruggs intercepted a Terrelle Pryor pass that was tipped by defensive tackle Jordan Hill.

“It was just fun to see us getting takeaways like we never lost anything from the Super Bowl,” Thomas said.

Ah, the Super Bowl. In the Seahawks’ 43-8 romp over the Denver Broncos and the most-productive offense in NFL history, linebacker and eventual Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith returned an interception for the touchdown; All-Pro strong safety Kam Chancellor intercepted another Peyton Manning pass to set up a TD; Smith recovered a fumble that was forced by cornerback Byron Maxwell to set up another TD; and the Seahawks also stopped the Broncos twice on fourth downs in the fourth quarter.

It was only an OTA practice in May – the first of 10 over the next three weeks – but the Seahawks brought the intensity, tempo and competitive nature that was stamped all over all the good things that happened last season. That was apparent by the way the offense bounced back from the defense-dictated start of the practice.

And Pete Carroll loved every snap, slap and chirp as the Seahawks moved into Phase 3 of their offseason program.

“That was just a blast to be out on the practice field today,” the Seahawks’ fifth-year coach said. “They had a great time. Guys practiced like crazy. They’re worked really hard to be in good shape that they could practice at that kind of tempo.”

And with the level of competitiveness that has become the Seahawks’ calling card.

“We’re demonstrating how you can practice at this kind of tempo and totally take care of one another,” Carroll said. “The whole thing is about cooperating – O-line, D-line, nobody on the ground all day long. The receivers and DBs took care of each other and they know that there are some plays they won’t be able to contest.

“But we’re working to give the other side a good look. To do that, you have to cooperate. So we’re trying to do this really, really well and I thought it was a great look for the first time out.”

And the competitive aspect?

“Always,” Carroll said. “That’s how this place is. I was thrilled to see we were right back on track.”

With that right-back-on-track approach comes not getting caught looking back at what has happened – be it the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history on Feb. 2; the parade through the streets of Seattle that followed three days later; or last week’s trip to the White House to be honored by President Barack Obama.

“What’s happened before, it’s obviously significant,” Carroll said. “But it doesn’t mean anything unless we go out and keep working.”

Not to mention competing.

“We’ll just do this one day at a time,” Carroll said. “We did exactly that today and so that’s a good indication that guys are onboard with what we’re talking about and how we want to go about it. This takes discipline and commitment to doing it the right way.”