Seahawk Weekend Review – A New Era of Defense?

Aug 2, 2009, 10:35 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:51 pm

by Brock Huard

I really hope Mike Sullivan
(Aaron Curry’s agent) and Tim
Ruskell
can pressure Tyson
Jackson
(the #3 pick) and the Chiefs to hurry up
and get their deal done so Curry can get on the field. Now
that the team has put on the pads, every rep counts and if
Curry is to play to the expectations that come with his
4th pick, then he better get those pads on quickly.

Speaking of shoulder pads, mouthpieces, thigh pads and the
like, it was quite a Saturday Night eye opener for me. I
was really looking forward to evaluating the new faces and
seeing how many of the vets would take part in the first
contact drills of Camp ’09. It became very clear to me
that Jim Mora and his staff have already
tilted this team, ever so slightly, from Mike
Holmgren’s
offensive perspective to a mind-set
that is much more in line with the new head coach’s
defensive prowess. Here’s some evidence:

1. First and foremost, more and longer 11 on 11
scrimmaging. No, not the full contact, to the ground
scrimmaging, but the physical, competitive type of play
that is most often induced by 11 on 11 drills. Yes, there
were still plenty of 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 reps, but there
were three solid “team” periods and no shortage of
competition or plays for both the vets and the young
guys.

2. The blitz pickup drill with the running backs and
linebackers was led by the head coach as he simulated the
quarterback and cherished being in the middle of the
contact. There were some terrific collisions and the
highlight was Justin Forsett. He’s a
little guy, and if he is to have a role on this team he
must be versatile enough to pass block. The one rule
preached endlessly to those backs is to not give up inside
leverage, don’t get beat inside. Forsett’s first rep
he gave up that inside position, and he got an earful from
all the offensive coaches. Next rep, Forsett versus
David Hawthorn? Forsett exploded into
Hawthorn and hit him squarely in the mouth, and Mora loved
it, loved the contact and loved the tone it set for that
drill and practice.

3. During the team periods, both CJ
Wallace
and Deon Grant took a
couple of licks on Joe Newton and
TJ Houshmandzadeh. The Newton/Wallace
collision took the TE to the ground, while Grant got a
shot in the back of an extended Housh. Matt
Hasselbeck
didn’t care for either, and neither
did Nate Burleson. Some friendly and
heated banter followed, and if this were the previous
regime running camp, not only would Wallace and Grant have
had a talking to, the extended banter would have been cut
short. It was just one team period, but it was clear to me
that Mora doesn’t mind the guys mixing it up a little
more, and also doesn’t mind his defense delivering a
blow on occasion.

4. Lastly, the final play of the evening practice was a
play action pass gone awry. The timing was off, the fake
fooled no one, and the WR who was to sneak through the
line of scrimmage got caught up in the mix and the pass
was intercepted. Over the last ten years that would have
drawn the ire of the Head Coach. There would have been a
strong conversation, the offensive players and coaches
would have been glared at, and more than likely the play
would have been walked through and repeated. Not this
year.

I realize we are very early in camp, but when the pads
come on the evaluation really begins and a team’s
identity takes shape. This team will still be largely
about Walter Jones, Hasselbeck, TJ and
their Pro Bowl experience, but it won’t be all about
those guys; in fact, if this weekend was any indicator, a
defensive-minded head man is in charge who doesn’t mind
mixing it up a little.

Some bonus quick thoughts:

1. Walter Jones and the O-line already missing reps and
not building continuity. Also, when he is not in there,
as was the case today and Saturday night, this is a very
avg. O-line. People in Seattle and the NFL won’t know and
fully appreciate how good this guy is until he is gone.

2. WR’s, quite a weekend. Burleson, no brace and rather
fluid. Branch getting his work in. Obamamu, Taylor,
Bumpus, Payne, throw a blanket over them as they are all
very similar, who will emerge? Butler is small. Jordan
Kent is huge, and even though he had a great weekend he is
such an enigma. It’s too bad he is not a little more
physical as he would be a prototype Jay Novacek, where has
that position gone….

3. This scheme is much more creative in their play action
game, I will explain how. Need to improve on details of
that play action.

4. Hasselbeck is fit and lean, down to 234 lbs and moving
well.

5. Unger has a smile on his face, and that’s a good thing
as he in not overwhelmed.

6. All the DT’s have looked good: Cole, Mebane, Red
Bryant, and Nick Reed, the 7th round DE is undersized but
will make this team

7. Curry missing valuable reps and I don’t like Trufant on
the PUP list, not a good omen.

As for Mariners, I liked Snell and he sure did remind me
of Gil Meche in some weird kind of way. One of the scouts
or people we talked to had made that comparison and his
stuff looked a lot like Meche’s to me. What has happened
to the Moose?

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