The scrimmage starts the next stage for us. It gets everybody focused on playing games as we prepare to go to Minnesota for Friday's game. Like every scrimmage I've ever seen, there was good and bad, but I thought the positives far outweighed the negatives on Saturday.
The positive was in the performance of the players we were looking at and how they fit with what we're trying to do. As far as the scrimmage goes in terms of the guys that needed to step up and prove they could compete at this level, it was a good thing.
None of the receivers competing are backing down. Separation comes when someone falls by the wayside, and I have not seen that. This thing is going to go all the way through. These are all highly competitive guys with talent there. From my way of thinking, I saw everybody hanging in there - there was no separation. If this was "America's Got Talent," we're all going to Vegas.
In terms of the negative, we got a few more people dinged up ... and you hate that, especially with the numbers being high already. That is our real challenge right now as we got into the first game. Our numbers are way down, and trying to figure out who's going to play and for how long is going to be a super challenge. I think if we get past the game with the Vikings and don't have any further incidents that way, we'll be OK. This will be our toughest week of the preseason because of the injuries.
You could go all day trying to figure out why there are so many injuries. From what we are seeing, it's just a bad cycle. You can see all kinds of hard hitting and there are no injuries. Then you can watch a conditioning drill and see three guys get hurt who worked the entire offseason staying in shape. You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out why it is, and what the difference would be from the 70's and 80's when they hit all the time to now when we're careful not to overdo it.
There must be something in there somewhere. Are they so fine-tuned that anything awkward in terms of positioning can cause a strain or a pull? I have no answer.
Now we've lost Chris Gray (retired due to a spinal injury on July 26). What a professional - just a warrior his whole career. He exudes what you want from your players. He just loved the game and didn't want to give it up. The reality of this one set in and we all have to cope with it. But we want him to stay with us. We told him, "Chris, if you want to be around, you would be such a calming steadying influence for our young guys, we'd love to have you.' And we hope he takes us up on that. We'll miss his presence on the field and that's why we'd love to have him in the locker room. He's just been a Seahawk through and through.
The game Friday will be the same philosophy Mike (Holmgren) has always used. I think you'll see the starters play some to try to get a drive going, and we have not figured that out yet. I think you'll see the typical rotation, except some guys who played early may have to go back in because our numbers are so bad. That's the real challenge.
You have to trust and go by what your doctors tell you when deciding if a guy should go on the injured list (for the season). You have to lean on your training staff and doctors. We trust them and we have to go that way. If it's borderline, those are the tough ones. If we're told, 'He might be back in the middle of the season,' then it depends on who he is and what position he plays. Those are the tough calls. We have to make those calls and we have made those calls. You want to give a player every chance to come back during the season if he can.
So Friday night we'll be talking another look, and deal with the guys that are dinged up. Who is that player? What is his role? And how much time are we talking about? That's what we'll be dealing with the next couple of days before we leave.