Injuries are a fact of life in the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks have definitely dealt with their fair share early in training camp. At times, it has seemed, the team’s training room has had more player in it than were out on the field practicing. Some of those players have returned to action, but one of those players – TE Jerramy Stevens – was bitten again by the injury bug.
Head coach Mike Holmgren addressed that and a number of other issues following this mornings practice.
“(Stevens) is going to have an MRI today and then we’ll have what happened this afternoon,” Holmgren told the assembled media following the morning workout. “It was the same knee he had surgery on, so we are a little apprehensive, but we’ve got to wait and see.
“It looked to me like he got tripped up a little bit, I don’t know if he caught it or didn’t and then he just came down on his knee. That’s what it looked like to me.”
The coaching staff had planned to hold Stevens out for this week’s game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night, hoping to use him in a limited role during their third preseason game against San Diego. Now those plans might have to be put on hold.
“I think (Itula) Mili has had a great camp,” Holmgren said when asked about the other tight ends. “It’s good to have him back, because now with Jerramy’s situation, to have a veteran tight end in there, it’s good to have him back.
“The other guys are all in the same pot. They look the same. They’re tall, big guys, angular, a little different than some of the tight ends we’ve had around here in the past. They’re all competing and right now there is very little to choose between them. In fact I think they’re all doing a pretty good job.
“They get a chance to play in the games now and they’ve got to show because that’s an important position. Particularly given the thing, I don’t know what Jerramy’s situation will be, but now we got to see.”
Another player who recently returned from an injury is DB Jordan Babineaux who worked in the nickel package today at camp.
“We’ve got to get him ready,” Holmgren said. “He hasn’t had much practice time. However that sorts itself out in the end I’m not sure yet, but I know he’s involved. He’s a good football player, but he’s probably getting a little more work now to get him used to things again.”
After a lackluster performance in their first preseason game, a 13-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Holmgren was fit to be tied with his team’s performance, not only during the game, but in the week of practice preceding it. This week, he said the effort level and intensity are close to where he wants it to be on a daily basis.
“I think we’ve had good tempo,” Holmgren acknowledged. “I don’t think the tempo in training camp has been poor, but I think when you play a game and you’re a little passive a little about how you played in certain areas then that cranks everybody up. It cranks me up; it cranks the coaches, the players. There’s that trickle down effect, so it’s been a good week that way.”
So good, that Holmgren gave the players the afternoon off to watch a movie, presented by the coaching staff.
“They’ve been working really hard and we had a pretty long week,” Holmgren said. “At sometime in here, we did it last year and we were able to get a hold of this movie that they’re going to see, and just to change it up a little bit for the coaches and players, give them a little break. We’re going to have meetings tonight at 8:30. They practiced hard. They banged around pretty good this morning.”
With Darrell Jackson out while recovering from knee surgery, the young wide receivers in camp – namely Ben Obomanu, Maurice Mann, Keenan Howry, C.J. Jones and Tony Brown – have been getting more reps than would normally be afforded them at this point. Holmgren said he liked their effort and some are making an impression on him, but he didn’t specifically name anyone.
“I can’t really give you an order right now to be honest with you, because everyday it seems to be a different guy shining and then everyday is somebody making a mistake,” Holmgren admitted. “We’re looking for consistency certainly. The young guys, their heads (are) spinning because we ask a lot of our wide receivers.
“We’ve got some time and they’re battling like crazy for those spots. Typically, we keep five or six. You’ve got Jackson, (Nate) Burleson and (Bobby) Engram and then the other three spots are very competitive, or the other two, however we do that.”
Engram has been the third wideout in Seattle’s attack for the past five seasons and Holmgren noted the special relationship that the 10-year veteran wideout has established with QB Matt Hasselbeck.
“The quarterback trusts the receiver and he knows what he’s going to do in certain situations, and that’s the relationship Matt and Bobby have,” Holmgren said. “Bobby’s been pretty durable except for last year when he had to sit out the game. They’ve thrown and caught a lot of balls between them, but I’d suggest that if you can stay with the quarterback long enough and you are a receiver, then that’s the type of relationship and chemistry you want to have because they know what to expect from one another on the field.”
Hasselbeck and Engram, along with the rest of the team, will continue to work on things and prepare for their coming game against the Colts this weekend.