Mini-camp: Day Eight

Mini-camp: Day Eight

Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren has been through this before. In 1997 Holmgren led his Green Bay Packers team to the Super Bowl only to lose to the John Elway-led Denver Broncos and he did what he could in 1998 to guide his team back to the pinnacle of the football world again but fell short going 11-5 and losing in the first round of the playoffs.

While that Packers team had a lot in common with what happened to the 2005 Seahawks squad that lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL this past February, Holmgren said he sees on difference.

"We won the Super Bowl (in 1996) and we came back in, I had a much more veteran team," Holmgren told the assembled media following the teams eighth and final workout of mini-camp. "I talked to (the Packers) about different things. I think if you win a Super Bowl with a veteran team everyone's writing a book and everyone wants to be a televisions star and you have to battle that, you really do.

"Our guys, we're still hungry. We're very disappointed that we couldn't win the game and so you talk to them differently. The feeling is different. While we had a great year last year and we're happy for the fans and the stadium's full and all those good things happened last year, there's still some unfinished business and the approach is different."

After eight workouts, in what Holmgren described as a very productive camp, it's time to focus on what lies ahead for a team many "experts" doubt can make it back to where they ended up last season.

"First of all we have a good football team and they've practiced very, very well for a couple of weeks, but it's mini camp and we don't have pads on so the key now for this team is to, one, be safe while we're gone on vacation for about a month until we start and then to stay in shape and come into camp with a great attitude," Holmgren said.

"They have a great attitude, they are a very together group, but like I just told them, wanting it and talking about it doesn't get it done.

"I think you'll see a very spirited and very competitive training camp and you could probably name most of our starters, but for the rest of the roster it's going to be a real interesting camp. We have some position like receiver, like the running backs and fullbacks. We have more players in those areas than we can keep. The guys know it. We've talked about it and now they have to come in and battle like crazy."

Even though Seattle has a lot of talent and depth, Holmgren and GM Tim Ruskell are scouring the waiver wires and free agent lists for a veteran quarterback and some other positions Holmgren said the team would like to "shore up" before they head to camp.

One area not in need of shoring up is out wide where at least 12 players are vying for six roster spots.

"It's a very competitive situation at wide receiver," Holmgren noted. "We try to be as fair as we can with them and make sure they get as many reps as they can to show what they can do, but it will come down to who really shows best during the preseason games.

"I always tell them ‘Don't count how many guys are there'. ‘Just come in and do the best you can'. If you come in and do the best you can that's all I can ask of them as a coach and you have no regrets if it doesn't work out so that's what I want them to focus on."

Missing from the Seahawks' offseason workouts have been 12 players who are nursing injuries or recovering from surgeries and most are expected to play significant roles this coming fall. Holmgren expressed how the process works and why he was a bit frustrated that two big-time players on defense – tackles Rocky Bernard and Marcus Tubbs – didn't get surgeries done until very late this spring.

"That's always a thing, when I deal with the medical staff, that's a thing I always yell at them about that," Holmgren admitted. "In an ideal world you'd like on the exit-physical they find something and within a week or ten days they operate and fix it. Some injuries don't react that way.

"We exit the guys and they're feeling pretty good after the Super Bowl and then they come to the first mini-camp or when they start our offseason program they start doing stuff and they start to get an ache or something starts to bother them. It's no one's fault really. It just happens later.

"That's what happened both in Rocky's case and in Marcus' case. The surgeries from what I can tell were successful and they're working very hard to get into shape and they'll come back and they'll feel better than they did before."

To finish off his long session with the media, the Seahawks head man was asked to assess some of his players and how they are progressing.

"He's a talented young guy and playing corner in the league is hard," Holmgren said about first round draft choice Kelly Jennings. "There's nothing easy about that when you're a rookie, but he's battling and every practice he gets a little bit better and I like to see his progress. He's going against some pretty good receivers here so it's good for him."

Holmgren mentioned that Rob Simms, even though he's missed most of camp due to the death of his father, has a good chance to make his presence felt in the depth along the offensive line

As for the veterans, two players garnered Holmgren's thoughts and praise.

"Julian Peterson is a special player," Holmgren said almost glad to have the seventh-year veteran linebacker on his side for once. "I said that playing against him and he'll be a special player playing for us.

"Getting (Ken) Hamlin back puts a smile on my face and that's great. I thought it would be, and I've said this, I thought it was a great story if he could come back and play and I still feel that way. If he can come back and after last year that's special."

The team now breaks for the next five weeks before they report to Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington on July 27th for training camp.

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