After a day for physicals and a team meeting with coach Pete Carroll on Monday, the Seahawks’ offseason program got down to the conditioning aspects Tuesday.
And that means the players got down with head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle and his staff – Jamie Yanchar and Mondray Gee – in 105-minute sessions for the offense and defense that were split between the weight room and indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
“They were very good today,” said Carlisle, who came to Seattle from USC with Pete Carroll when he was named the Seahawks’ coach in 2010. “Coach Carroll set the flag when he talked about a championship offseason. And when coach Carroll asks, these guys know that’s what they need to give. They understand about competing. They know nobody is locked in and that everybody has to continue to work to not only secure themselves but to secure the team and the position we’re in.”
As with practice during the season, the emphasis in the offseason program is on tempo and accomplishing more in less time. The sessions are 60 minutes of movement drills and 30-45 minutes of lifting.
“We do a three-hour workout in an hour and 45 minutes, because we just keep our tempo burning and we keep them moving,” Carlisle said. “That’s the philosophy of the program – the game is based in movement.”
The facts that many of the players are in their fifth offseason with the team, and that the team is coming off a Super Bowl championship, are both pluses as the Seahawks prepare to defend the first NFL Championship in franchise history.
The players are familiar with Carlisle and his staff, and what they expect. And the proof of what they’re preaching played out in the 2013 season that ended with a 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.
“You’ve constantly got to recapture the work that they’ve done in the past,” Carlisle said. “So you don’t do more, you don’t let up; you just are consistent with the way that you approach the program. You’re consistent with what you ask from them.
“Is it easier? A little bit, because they know me now. So it’s easier on them because they know what to expect. As far as the program being easier, no, it’s the same program with modifications because we’re constantly evolving the program and changing and things are a little bit different. But nothing drastic, because I think we’ve found a way of preparing athletes to play at the highest level.”
The players will have Wednesday off and then return to complete Week 1 of Phase 1 in the offseason program Thursday and Friday. There also will be four non-OTA workouts next week before Phase 2 kicks in and the coaches are allowed to be on the field with the players for the first time. Phase 2 lasts for three weeks and gives way to the rookie minicamp May 16-18 and the 10 OTA sessions, which begin on May 27 and are spread over three weeks leading to the mandatory minicamp June 17-19.
Associate head athletic trainer Donald Rich and his staff – David Stricklin, Michael Tankovich, C.J. Neumann and Adam Barta – also are working with the players during their on-field activities. Carlisle chalks that up as another plus.
“To me, that’s just more unity within the building here of everybody contributing to the success of everybody,” he said. “It’s cool to see them out there and it was neat that they were able to hear us teach, so we use the same nomenclature.”
None of the players know what it’s like to defend a championship, what it entails. But Carroll does, and so do Carlisle and the other former USC assistants who were there from 2003-05 – linebackers coach Ken Norton, Jr., and defensive passing game coordinator Rocky Seto. They won National Championships with the Trojans in 2003 and 2004 and made it back to the title game in 2005.
“It’s not untraveled waters,” Carlisle said. “We’ve been on this path and we know where to go.”