The Seahawks had a six-week break between their mandatory minicamp in June andThursday's opening practice of training camp, but as has been the case in past offseasons, Russell Wilson made sure he and his pass-catchers reported to camp feeling like they're already on the same page.
During the team's down time in in July, Wilson hosted a series of workouts with Seahawks receivers, tight ends and running backs in San Diego, a "summer camp" thatmixed on-field work with fun activities such as beach volleyball, basketball shooting contests, a trip to a Padres game, and tight end Will Dissly pulling off a pretty solid Ron Burgundy impersonation.
"It was great, just being with the guys in California and just training with them, the bonding time, obviously that's always important," Wilson said. "That's one of the best parts about it all. I think the work ethic is everything, and how much knowledge they had and how much they gained and how much we gained together. That's why we looked so sharp out there, in my opinion. From the number one, Tyler (Lockett), all the way down to the guys who are just trying to make the team, maybe just joined the team or whatever it may be, that's exciting. There's great competition in the receiver room. There's great competition at tight ends and running backs. It's a special thing for us to have so many talented guys, but also guys who really care about one another. Guys who are dedicated to one another. Guys who want to compete whether it's beach volleyball, or if it's jog-ball (slow-paced beach football), or it's real football, or a shoot around. We have some fun. It's been a great time."
It's hardly unusual for quarterbacks and receivers to work together in the offseason, but the workouts Wilson has organized in recent years take it to another level compared to what a lot of players do in July.
"It helps," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. "I think it's just the communication and the details that show up. We all need a break, we all want to get away, but you can see that they have spent some time together down in San Diego, because some of the details were there. Just the timing, whether the back foot of the quarterback times up with the back foot or the outside foot of the receiver, it definitely makes a difference. Everybody does it, but I don't know if everybody does it to the level that they did it this year from what I saw on the YouTubes or whatever that was."
While the extra on-field work can help with things like timing and chemistry between quarterback and pass-catcher, what was also important during Wilson's summer camp is the bonding that took place between a young group of offensive skill players and their quarterback.
"We had some fun there," Wilson said. "I'm sure you guys saw the videos and everything that we made, West2East or whatever. That was fun. [John] Ursua was great. There's a lot of great guys. I really love Keenan [Reynolds], Keenan's ability to lead as well. His work ethic was great. Everybody stands out and that's the challenging part about this process of preseason is figuring out, you know, you can make a great bond and maybe that guy plays with you for a long time, maybe he doesn't, maybe he goes to a different team. It's really about relationships, it's about building those. We had a great time. I think the cannon ball thing, I think Will Dissly's cannon ball scene, Anchorman,Ron Burgundy, was spot on. I don't know if it gets any better."