Huard: Conditioning will be more player-specific under new staff

Seahawks bandagesAs hip injuries mounted for the Seahawks last season — it seemed like half the team had the same problem at one time or another — we figured they would review the issue after the season and see where they needed to adjust their offseason conditioning.

As it turned out, Pete Carroll was no longer hip to his strength staff at all, so he replaced it. Ivan Lewis, Carroll’s former USC assistant, has replaced longtime conditioning coach Chris Carlisle (at USC and Seattle) and apparently will be tasked with tailoring conditioning to the players in a way Carlisle apparently did not.

Per 710 ESPN’s Brock Huard: “This is going to be … much more catered to position-specific, even player-specific, needs, because they cannot have the number of injuries they’ve had. They just cannot have the number of pulls and strains and soft-tissue injuries. So this was, I think, really in response to that. It was a move to get very player- and positional-specific to enhance those guys and try to keep them injury-free as much as they possibly can.”

The Seahawks had the third-fewest games lost to injury in the NFL from 2013 to 2016, according to Football Outsiders. But the Hawks have taken a beating the past two years. They had the 11th-most games lost to injury in 2017, losing Chris Carson and three major stars among them.

Then came this season’s epidemic of hip injuries, which affected everyone from Carson and Doug Baldwin to Delano Hill (a broken hip landed him on IR at the end). On top of those ailments, the Hawks lost several key guys for long stretches — K.J. Wright (knee), Earl Thomas (leg), Will Dissly (ACL), D.J. Fluker (hamstring), et al.

If the Seahawks are going to compete, they have to find a way to be healthier, especially in training camp, when they barely are allowed to touch each other anyway.

You also have to wonder whether Carroll thinks his linemen are not strong enough. The defensive line did not hold up at the point of attack in many games this season, and Ethan Pocic lost his starting guard spot because he was still getting pushed around in Year 2 (despite adding 20 pounds in the offseason).

Carroll will never throw coaches under the bus, but it will be interesting to see what he might say about this coaching change the next time he speaks publicly — probably at the Combine in February.

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