Camp Report, 8/12 - "Crazy From The Heat?"

Tempers flare in the blistering heat of Cheney, and it isn't just just the sun doing the roasting! Thursday's camps provided some "alternative language" from the coaching staff, and further proof that the Seahawks are intensely seeking the next level.

Thursday’s camp provided some real heat, and it wasn’t just from the 95-degree weather in Cheney – coach Mike Holmgren was reported to have thrown a few “F-Bombs” around after Heath Evans and Walter Bernard apparently tangled. The secondary was kept out a little long after what observers said were some underwhelming performances, and there were wind sprints called by Holmgren which took quite a few people by surprise. Meanwhile, Marcus Tubbs continued his work with strength and conditioning coach Mike Clark.

With the Green Bay preseason opener approaching, both Holmgren and QB Matt Hasselbeck were asked if there was extra pressure on everyone to fly to Lambeau Field lean and mean.

Hasselbeck, a former Packer and the victim of the Al Harris interception that abruptly ended the team’s season in last year’s wild-card playoff game, said he was aware of, but relatively unaffected by, the "Packer Factor". “It’s one of those in-between games. It’s not one of those games where you have the date up on your bulletin board in your bedroom. It is a preseason game, but I think it’s a little more special anytime you play against friends and people that you really respect.”, Hasselbeck said. “There are a lot of players and coaches that I respect that will be on the opposite sidelines, and you obviously want to play well in front of those guys.”

Holmgren, Green Bay’s former Super Bowl-winning coach and a man with a street named after him in his former stomping grounds, was a bit more talkative about his history with the Pack as well as that of his new team. When asked if he thought there would be some residual emotion from the playoff loss, Holmgren said, “They might have some. I don’t know though, because we haven’t talked about that very much. There is a long way between our first preseason game and the playoff game we played back there, and the intensity as well as the time. I think it will bring back memories to the guys that played in that game, certainly. The young guys are just trying to survive and impress and give themselves a chance to make the team.”

Holmgren did mention that the loss was a bit harder for him to take: “I think so. It took me a little longer than normal. It was a heck of a game. We battled and I was proud of the football team and how they played. It was a heck of a game that could have gone either way. They made the good play and we made the bad one, and that was it. Those are very difficult games to lose, but if we hadn’t battled them I would have felt a lot worse."

There seems to be an increased focus on total preparation this year, as evidenced by Holmgren’s take on small mistakes. “In certain situations we were trying real hard, but we were really not practicing very smart. That's a tough one for me to swallow. I can put up with a mental or physical error, but we knew we didn’t do that drill very well, and they needed to know I didn’t like it."

When asked if he attributed Thursday’s mental errors to Wednesday night’s late curfew, Holmgren was adamant: "No. Actually there were no fines and everyone got in on time, everyone was in bed asleep. It was good; I even complimented them on that. I just think we were working a new situation, but still, no excuses. I want to impress upon them that we need to be a smart football team this year. We have a chance to be pretty good; we just have to be smart.”

One new variable was the addition of quarterback Bryson Spinner, who was recently released by the Jaguars. Picked up by the Seahawks to give Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace breaks in the action while Brock Huard and Trent Dilfer recover from back injuries, Spinner made a bit of an impression on QB guru Holmgren: “He throws the ball pretty well. He doesn’t know any of the plays, so he’s getting the crash course, so we’ll see what he can do."

Hasselbeck also liked what he saw from Spinner, especially his athleticism. “I thought he did a really good job.”, said Hasselbeck. “He’s got a little bit of a background with some of our terminology, but it’s a hard deal to come in and really show what you can do. He did a good job with the cadence, he throws a really strong ball, he’s quick, and at one point this morning Jim Zorn kind of got on me about going full speed. I told him, ‘Hey, I just look slower because Trent and Brock aren’t out here right now, I got these young kids next to me, and I’m looking old.’ (laughs) It’s competitive out there. You get two real athletic guys like that out there and we’re doing our movement drills and our individuals, and I’ve got to pick up my game a little bit. They’re good athletes and he throws the ball really hard, and throws a good ball.”

Hasselbeck also talked about cornerback Ken Lucas, who has unquestionably been one of the stars of this camp. “What he’s really improved on is that he’s really become a student of the game. He’s been a challenge for the quarterbacks all camp. I can’t say enough good things about how he’s approached this camp, how he’s approached this off-season, and how it’s paying off for him right now.”

Hasselbeck also talked about Lucas’ off-season preparation. “He’s a guy that was also around this whole off-season and there would be times where we would be short at wide receiver and heavy at DB and he would run wide receiver routes. Just a real athletic guy, and did a great job with that kind of stuff. I think he played both ways in college, or something like that, and he’s just a really good athlete, very talented guy—and very smart. This morning he heard the route in practice and he asked the receivers coach to change the route because he wanted to play an honest down. So I signaled the route, the same exact route, but he’s been studying our signals—which is kind of an impressive thing because he’s got his own stuff to worry about. He ended up stuffing the receiver and making the play and kind of got on me, ‘How dare you disrespect me, like I don’t know your signals yet. They’re easy—I know them!’ You can just tell that he’s really taking pride in his job, and doing a good job with it.”

Holmgren closed out his time with the media today be discussing two-team scrimmages, and why Seahawks fans shouldn’t make any plans to see them in the near future. “I don’t like to do (those)”, said Holmgren. “I’ve haven’t done that for a long time, so I don’t imagine I’ll change my spots now. A lot of guys really swear by it and believe in it and get a lot out of it, but I’d just as soon not let a team get that close to us - reading how we do things.”


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