Camp Report, 8/11 - "Coachspeak"

As Seahawks Training Camp progresses through its second week, Coach Holmgren disusses curfew, quarterbacks, position battles, injury recoveries, the upcoming Green Bay game and Marcus Tubbs.

Halfway through Week Two of Seahawks Training Camp, coach Mike Holmgren sounded effusive and energized as he addressed the media.

Part of Holmgren’s enthusiasm had to do with the return of several players from nagging injuries. On the offensive line, Robbie Tobeck ad Pork Chop Womack were back at it: “It always makes me feel more secure when they're practicing. Robbie and 'Chop' are still not 100 percent, but they came out and it was good. There are a few guys that dressed today and came out that are not 100 percent."

CB Bobby Taylor, signed in the offseason, was taking baby steps on the field after recovering from a knee injury. “He worked a little bit and we’re easing him into it.”, Holmgren said. “Some of the guys that have played a while, we’re not worried about how they’re going to function in games; it’s more like we want them to be healthy and feeling good.”

Holmgren did mention that the offense looked a bit ragged at times today, but he suspected that tiredness might be a factor. “I thought we started off kind of sloppy and then I changed up practice a little bit without telling the coaches, trying to get the players thinking a little bit. In training camp you have your great practices, you have your good ones, and then you have some that aren’t so good. This is their first night off tonight and they’ve been going real hard, there’s no real excuse (for sloppiness). I expect consistency and effort, which they gave me the effort, it was just they struggled today. I think they were mentally tired.”

Holmgren had set up a kicking battle between incumbent Josh Brown and newbie Tyler Frederickson with an extra hour of curfew tonight as the prize. However, in truth, the players were going to get a little “time off for good behavior” anyway. “I haven’t had one fine come across my desk in this training camp, and last year we set the world record.”, Holmgren said to the media. “So I decided that they all get an extra hour tonight. They’re working real hard and the feeling is really good on the team, and the important thing about this evening is that I want them to go to a movie or go out to dinner and relax a little bit. They also have to be responsible, which is a speech that I’ll give them this afternoon.”

With Brock Huard and Trent Dilfer to see limited activity due to back spasms, Matt Hasselback and Seneca Wallace will see the lion’s share of the snaps. In addition, the Seahawks are reported to have brought in QB Bryson Spinner, who was recently released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. When asked if he was monitoring Matt Hasselback’s time behind center, Holmgren said, “I don’t monitor them, Coach Zorn does. We do watch him, and we’re holding him back. The problem is that we only have the two throwers. We’re still monitoring Matt’s throws. He’s feeling good, so I don’t think we’re over doing it. He’s the best judge of what we’re doing; we’re giving him certain numbers, we’re aware of it, and then he’ll tell us what’s going on.”
Holmgren had nothing but praise for second-year QB Seneca Wallace: “I couldn’t be more pleased with him. If I had to pick out one guy that I’m really pleased with in this camp, it’s Seneca. Honest to goodness. He has worked very hard in the off-season and he is doing very well. He’ll get a chance to play in a game and we’ll see how he does. He’s a great kid. We have a lot to learn on offense, and it’s difficult for a quarterback to get it all. He’s accelerated that pace by just working hard and studying in the off-season. He’s a good example for any of our players."

Holmgren also discussed the position depth battles at wide receiver: “It’s going to be a tough call. (Bobby) Engram, (Koren) Robinson, and (Darrell) Jackson, they’re in. They’re still working very hard, but they’re in. Now, we’ll probably keep five or six. The coaches and I have talked about it, but who plays in the game, who practices, who gets chances—we’ve got to find two more. It’s very competitive, as you can tell. Willis had a good scrimmage. Taco (Wallace) and (Jerheme) Urban have had the advantage of having been with us for a full year. We have good receivers and the pile is pretty good this year.”

Holmgren spoke specifically about Urban, who showed up strong to this year’s camp and has been making quite an impression. “He’s doing fine, making progress. He is very, very good in drills. The way we practice is, first, he’s practicing against nobody, and then he’s against one, then seven-on-seven, then T.E.A.M., so we kind of build up to how it is for the football game. He’s done all those things and done them very well. Now what he has to show me is that when he gets into a game, that all those things he does very well leading up to it show up in the game. Sometimes players don’t do that, they forget or become too excited. Whatever it is, sometimes it doesn’t transfer. Now we need to see it transfer, so that’s what I’ll be looking for from him."

He’s a wonderful young guy who works very hard at this.”, Holmgren told reporters. “It’s not an accident that he’s a much improved player. He and Taco Wallace came up during the week to look at film so they could give our guys an excellent picture, they were working real hard, and they worked very hard in the off-season. Usually when you see improvement, it’s not by accident—it’s through hard work. He knows how to do that.”

When asked what work through the next few days will be preparation for next Monday’s preseason game with Green Bay, Holmgren was succinct. “Very little is prep for Green Bay. We have a couple days here to go, and we’ll look at the defense they run and some of their plays. Really, this early in camp, we’re still installing some of our own offense and defense like that. Prior to the game we’ll look at a few things, but my philosophy on pre-season games isn’t going to change. You coach them a certain way, and this year will be no different.”

Holmgren also talked about the progress of Marcus Tubbs. “Today he’ll be working with (strength and conditioning coach) Mike Clark. He’ll dress, do some things in the beginning, and then he’ll go off with Mike. He won’t be involved in much team stuff until we feel he’s in a little bit better shape. His weight is good, but understandably, the last week he didn’t train very much, and really, the big guys have to go all the time or they’ll regress rather quickly. He’s not bad, but he doesn’t have a lot of stamina. I don’t want him getting in the game and getting tired and lazy, then get hurt."

Overall, Coach Holmgren seemed very positive when asked to assess his 2004 training camp. “We're having a good camp. Sometimes you can ask me that question after a so-so practice and I won’t feel quite so good. But if I’m being honest and looking at everything and where we are, including the off-season—I’m very pleased with how it’s going.”