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First Day of Seahawks Rookie Minicamp Features 'A Lot Of Cool Things' For Rookies & New Coaching Staff

Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald talks about the first day of rookie minicamp


The first day of rookie camp always comes with some learning and some growing pains, and Friday was no different as more than 50 players—a group comprised of Seahawks draft picks, undrafted rookies and tryout players—took the field together for the first time.

But what was unique to this year's rookie minicamp was that everything was new not just to the players, but to an entire coaching staff going through it for the first time since Mike Macdonald was named the team's head coach earlier this offseason.

Plenty of people on the new Seahawks coaching staff have significant NFL experience, including Macdonald, but this is his first time running the show as a head coach, and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, defensive coordinator Aden Durde and special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh are also coordinators at the NFL level for the first time.

"AD (Durde) was calling the plays on defense because I was like, 'I think I need to figure out how to run a practice first,''' Macdonald quipped. "So yeah, it was fine. There's definitely things that you're taking notes on what you want to fix and things that we felt like we could do a little better job of. But overall, it was a great effort. Coaches are into it, a lot of enthusiasm. Yeah, good first start."

For Macdonald, just like players, there will be learning and development throughout the offseason that helps him get ready for training camp and the regular season as he goes through his first offseason as a head coach. He has plenty of experience to lean on, most notably his nine years in Baltimore, but Macdonald will also want to work with his coaching staff to come up with their own way of doing things that isn't a direct replica of what John Harbaugh was doing with the Ravens.

"A lot of it's from a blueprint of things that we've done in our past that we've tweaked, things that some coaches have done," he said. "So just some meetings over the course of the time that we've been here and try to come up with a good flow, and then obviously the load and how you want to structure that or how you expect it. These are all things that we'll go back to the drawing board and see how it comes out as we design OTAs and training camp and try to get into a good flow there. I think you're trying to get group work, teamwork, individual sessions, so trying to find the right mix. And we ended it with a little bit of a walk through there just to get some cheap reps at the end. You won't see the exact same thing every time. We'll be mixing it up. We'll work through it, but it's a fun process to schedule the whole thing out.

"Those are conversations that we've been having and will have, and just like with all aspects of the program, we have a vision of the principles that we want to abide by, but the methods will be adjustable. We'll figure it out and make tweaks as we go. If you're not willing to shake and move and evaluate what you're doing and making sure that you're on the right track, then I don't think that's doing service, the right justice to the team. That's how we'll operate. That's how it'll always be."

Asked about his coaching style during practice, Macdonald said that too could evolve throughout the offseason and into camp.

"As we get going, I'll be more involved with the whole team and then when we get down to the nitty-gritty with the defense, then I'll probably spend more time with those guys when we're separate," he said. "Working through all that, it's adjustable and right now I just want to get a great feel for the team and the guys and what we're coaching and it's really cool to see how it all comes together from individual (drills) to team. I'm an observational guy, but that's the thought.

"My personality, right now, observational mode as we get going, you see things, you'll address them. We're coaching everybody all the time. But yeah, it's just fun to see football being done. But we want to do it the right way. We want to do it up to our standard, so we'll address those things. But when we're cooking, let's not get in the guys' way. Let them go play football."

While Macdonald may still be evolving as a head coach in his first months on the job, his new players like what they're seeing from him on Day 1.

"I love coach Macdonald," said first-round pick Byron Murphy II. "He's very demanding, I want to play for a coach like that, a coach that pushes me, a coach that wants me to be great. I love it."

Linebacker Tyrice Knight laughed when he said the first time he saw Macdonald smile "was when he told me to smile earlier this morning, and the fourth-round pick out of UTEP is excited about what Macdonald can do for his game and for the team.

"He's somebody who's straightforward, he'll get to the point," Knight said. "He's pretty straightforward. I know he expects the best of me, and I respect him for that, and I think we'll get along pretty well… He wants us to be organized from rep 1, step 1, so I'm pretty sure we did one thing like six times in a row because it wasn't correct."

As for what Macdonald observed Friday, there were plenty of things to like that he pointed out, even if there were the inevitable miscues that also come with the first day of rookie camp as players learn each other and a playbook in rapid succession.

"I thought our offensive operation was pretty dang good for the first day at rookie camp," Macdonald said. "There were some hiccups in there. But defensively I think they settled down once they realized, 'Hey, we're just practicing football.' I think you saw the execution go up and there's a lot of cool things, but really excited about the guys we brought in. And it was fun to see our coaches coach for real for the first time."

The Seahawks kicked off day one of rookie minicamp on Friday, May 3, 2024 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Check out the 12 best photos from the rookies' first day.

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