As states begin to reopen, the NFL and players association are discussing ways to safely bring teams back together and eventually stage games — and, while we doubt there will be minicamps in June, it seems like training camps might be able to begin on time in July.
With teams limited to virtual meetings (see the Seahawks’ tight ends) this offseason, coaches are missing out on key on-field prep time. The lack of physical work is putting everyone behind their usual timelines, and those adding new elements (e.g, coaches, quarterbacks and receivers) will find themselves even further behind once camps begin.
So, teams that have few major changes should have a jump on the rest — which could help in the first few weeks of the season.
This spring, the NFL allows two hours of classroom work virtually for veteran players four days per week. The Seahawks as a team meet from 10 a.m. to noon PT four days a week, usually starting with a short team meeting and breaking down into smaller groups—the offense for some play installations, then maybe just the quarterback, tight ends and receivers, and then the tight ends, via video conference. The two-hour session is tightly controlled by director of team operations Matt Capurro, who flashes “time remaining” alerts on the screen as the last half-hour of the session winds down.
The scene: Seattle’s tight-end room, with two coaches and five veterans, stretches over three time zones and five states, connected by Zoom videoconference.
“Let Russ cook” has become an annoying mantra repeated by some fans the last couple of years.
It’s a nebulous decree. For some, it is a call for Seattle to just throw the ball 40 times a game. For the smarter ones, it is a more nuanced request for the Seahawks to let Russell Wilson stir the pot in his own special way, especially earlier in games.
At the Pro Bowl in February, Wilson said he was all in favor of the latter. He talked about going up-tempo more — something we have constantly called for in the first half, especially. He also apparently has discussed this with Pete Carroll.
Don’t get too excited, cooking fans, but it sounds like the coach might have listened, based on staff moves he made and a report that Seattle is indeed talking about letting Wilson work up some two-minute meals.
John Schneider and Pete Carroll are smart enough to agree with the rest of us: Their biggest need this offseason is the pass rush.
“We’re looking to improve in some really critical areas. Pass rush is something that we’re really focusing on,” Carroll said at the Combine. “We really like the way we turned the ball over last year. We got the ball a lot, made some nice plays and stuff that gave us a chance, but we need to do some things more consistently — and that’s rush the passer.”
“Yo @gregolsen88 welcome to the PNW!! TE room is going to be dangerous this year!!” — Will Dissly, welcoming Greg Olsen to the Seahawks
If Will Dissly and Greg Olsen are both healthy, the Seahawks will indeed be dangerous at tight end in 2020.
Imagine the matchup nightmares Dissly, Greg Olsen and Jacob Hollister could create for Russell Wilson. Forget a third receiver — these guys could help Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf take the top off defenses even more easily.
Almost a year ago, the Seahawks were in the exact position they are in now — struggling to find themselves as they prepared to face the Carolina Panthers.
The Seahawks have many of the same problems they had last year at this time: Their defense has had trouble against tight ends as Greg Olsen comes to town; their interception total is uncommonly low; Bobby Wagner is hurt; Marshawn Lynch is a story; the offense is in transition; and Derrick Coleman won’t play again.
The Seahawks and Panthers, who were a combined 25-7 last season, are just 6-6-1 this year. Said Carolina coach Ron Rivera: “We’re two good football teams that have lost their footing a little bit.”
Who is more beat up? The Seahawks are without their starting center, fullback, tight end, cornerback, middle linebacker and kick returner. The Panthers are without their two starting guards, two or three running backs, a starting linebacker and their kick returner.
The Seahawks face another good tight end this week in Greg Olsen, who is off to the best start of his career. The Hawks already have given up seven TD passes to tight ends.