Well, its done for this year. Things being loaded and the fields are already bare of Seahawks equipment. Wow, is this different.
Here's the place I stood so many times and took pictures and talked with the players on their way out to the field. I wonder did anyone else notice the beautiful scene above the exit where the players come out. The buildings and the tree grown up there?
What did I learn and see here in the last 4 weeks?
First up, the players:
My favorites? It would have to be a tie between Doug Nienhuis and Marcus Trufant. Doug because I got a chance to meet him and his Aunt Karen in California. So when you talk to a particular player every time you're out there, its hard to not get to know him. A class act. Marcus Trufant, but not because he talked to me. About all he said was, "good morning". But he always said he would sign autographs after practice and would do it. He treated the fans well. He is a big star to the fans but doesn't act like it.
Oh there were others. Chris Kluwe, almost always the first one out the door with a smile on his face. Shaun Alexander, always with a pleasant word to say to the fans. Josh Brown, another one with a ready smile. Lofa Tatupu, always ready with a comment and a smile. Jeb Huckeba, Kaz and many others would always speak if you said "good morning".
My personal least favorites? Leo Araguz, not because of anything other than he never gave the fans any sign he knew they existed. David Greene seldom acknowledged anyone or anything. I just figured this was their way of getting their game faces on.
Hutch and Tobeck walking together most mornings never seemed to have a smile or a frown. I wasn't too sure about them until one of the hottest mornings when they stood in the sun and signed lots of autographs. I've still yet to see Hutch smile but he knows his fans.
You could really tell the difference after a while between the position groups. The receivers are a bunch of free spirits. They seem happy-go-lucky, but I think it's because if they miss one they have to leave it behind and go get the next one. The receiving corps overall is the most talented I have ever seen while being a Seahawks fan. And to me, Joe Jurevicius is the best of the bunch. Not a burner, but he catches the damn ball almost every time.
Offensive linemen...folks, if you're looking for happy-go-lucky here you're in the wrong place. These guys all are very focused. Even Doug who I got to know well was always in "learning" mode. You could gab across the fence with some of the players during practice but never the offensive line.
Running backs...a pretty happy bunch for the most part. And after the New Orleans game a lot more interest in seeing Leonard Weaver run.
The defense? A cross between focused and happy-go-lucky. The defensive linemen worked their asses off all the time. The guy that made sure of that was Grant Wistrom. First up for drills, always ready and always prepared. He kept the defensive line going - leading by example. An injury-free year with him would be a dream come true for us.
The other defenders? Well they spent all the time rocking back and forth between great highs and great lows. You could always tell how upset they were with themselves if they missed an assignment. Marcus Trufant, of course - a leader by example. Just a 3rd year kid, but he is the real deal. A rotation of him, Herndon, & Dyson will be worth the price of a ticket.
Again, I think that Tubbs will make someone on the defensive line famous because he's going to draw double team virtually all the time, leaving others to come free. When you see a healthy Grant Wistrom in his first 2 steps you realize that he was worth every penny.
I learned more about plays offensively and defensively than I had ever learned before. Even watching the punts and kickoffs and finally understanding that there is a plan in place here. Our new Special Teams Coach is going to put that word Special back in force.
Kickers? Well there was Josh Brown and there was Josh Brown. He is the question and the answer. Good location and distance.
Punters? Well I watched the punters every time I was there. For distance, accuracy, and control Chris Kluwe was head and shoulders above Leo Araguz. But Leo has the experience and was holding on field goals. So who will it be? Maybe we will find out the 30th.
And last but best...the fans.
All the people who came out were just great and very supportive. And the Seahawks.NET people that I met just show how great this site is. Some just wandered over and said, "Are you Les?" , or "Are you the Radish?" and shook hands and went on their way. Others stayed and talked a bit. I was very busy taking pictures this year so wasn't able to gab as much as in the past. But to all of you that came by to say hello, thanks a lot, it was my pleasure.
And a special word about the Geezer. Ken showed up almost everytime I was there and helped me keep track of what was going on around the place. Thanks Ken, lets keep in touch more than one time a year from now on.
Well that about covers my thoughts about training camp 2005. I took more than 700 pictures of which I have more than 400 in a seperate file. So if there is a picture of a player you are looking for, I will be glad to email it to you if I have it.
And thanks to you all for the kind words about my small part in this site's great coverage of training camp.