On To The Haircuts!

Seahawks Coach Mike Holmgren looks back at a successful minicamp, and talks about the team's next steps.

With the Seahawks’ first minicamp in the books, coach Mike Holmgren is happy with the excitement and enthusiasm he has seen from his players. “(I’m) very pleased. There’s a good attitude and they want to take the next step, I believe, and we had a lot of good hard work”.

Holmgren also commented on the break between now and the Seahawks’ next minicamp, which begins in early June and will be a warm-up for training camp, which begins the first week of August in Cheney. “The month of May for the coaching staff…first of all, I gave them every Friday off so they can get their hair cut and stuff, and they kind of like that. Monday through Thursday we’re fine-tuning what we are going to put in at training camp. We’re constantly evaluating what we did last year in what was good and what was bad. We narrow down what we would like to try this year. Gil (Haskell), Ray (Rhodes) and I set training camp and that takes some time. Those type of things.”

Holmgren's thoughts on defensive line coach Dwaine Board, and the steps forward the young but talented line (including first round pick Marcus Tubbs) will be taking this year - “Dwaine (Board) is a very demanding guy, as you know.”, said Holmgren. “The best example I can give you is Rashad Moore last year. In training camp, if there were any bridges in Cheney he was going to jump off of one. Dwaine just worked him hard, but it paid off. Boy did it pay off for that young man. We’re young inside, but they’re active and they know what we expect from them. Adding Marcus (Tubbs) to the mix there is a real positive thing, obviously. I’m kind of excited of having that youth, mobility and enthusiasm in there. Now they have to come in in good shape because it’s hard on big guys when it’s hot in the summer, and Dwaine’s not going to change what he does. They have to be ready to go.”

The team knows that the line must play better and more consistently to make the Super Bowl run that many seem to expect of the Seahawks. Another position currently in flux is the middle linebacker slot. With Orlando Huff currently rehabbing a shoulder injury, second-year LB Solomon Bates is trying to make his case that he’s ready for the Big Time. Also, 2004’s fourth-round pick Niko Koutouvides has apparently impressed LB coach John Marshall with his ability to read and react: “It’s a healthy competition.”, noted Holmgren. “As I said earlier, I’m still a little bit unsure, let me put it that way. We’ll see, because they’re young and inexperienced. They’re talented guys, but it’s a whole lot of responsibility. I like how they’re playing but we won’t know that until the preseason.”

Holmgren also talked about the fine minicamp performance of TE Jerramy Stevens - a disappointing player in the past who seems to want to take advantage of the additional reps afforded him by Itula Mili’s apparent contract-related absence. “He had a good camp, he really did. It’s time, and I’ve said this all along. Jerramy’s case is, people look at him a certain way due to the fact that we drafted him number one. I will always say, and I will stay with that: if he doesn’t get hurt, which is unfortunate it’s happened to him the last two years where he’s missed both of our training camps, he has a chance to be a very fine football player. You saw his abilities in a camp like this, but we’re not in pads. But my hope is he can stay healthy and play, and then we’ll see what kind of player he is.”

The Seahawks seem to know that they’re a team on the verge, and Holmgren saw palatable excitement during this camp: “I was pleased with the enthusiasm. I think once you get there and you have a taste of it you want to take the next step. There are not many guys who were here when I started. I can’t think of any guy we have in who hasn’t bought into what we’re trying to do. I’m not fighting that anymore, so it should be better. That by itself doesn’t mean we’re going to play well, but the attitude is real healthy.”

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