Seahawks Getting Reps With New Schemes

With the draft now in the rearview mirror and most of the team's offseason moves made, Seahawks head coach Jim Mora has been focused on building chemistry with training camp a little less than two months away.

Seattle has had a good turnout among its rookies and veterans, with everyone in attendance during the team's organized team activities and other offseason workouts.

However, a concern for the Seahawks will be getting injured players like offensive tackle Walter Jones, offensive guard Mike Wahle, defensive end Patrick Kerney and wide receiver Deion Branch healthy for training camp.

Those players and other veterans, including defensive lineman Cory Redding and fullback Justin Griffith, have been slowed by lingering injuries from last season. The Seahawks anticipate all will be ready for training camp; however the veterans are missing quality reps that would help them develop some cohesion with their teammates as Mora implements new offensive and defensive philosophies in his first year as head coach, taking over for the departed Mike Holmgren.

"We're probably playing it safe with some of those guys, but that's OK," Mora said. "The older a player gets I think the safer you have to play it with them. We want them to be healthy for training camp. And then we want our team to be at optimal health for the start of the season. So you work with that in mind. Sometimes you feel like maybe you're babying them a little bit, but at this time of year it's just important to get them healthy."

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who missed nine games last season with a bulging disk in his back, looks healthy and will be a key component to Seattle rebounding from a disappointing 4-12 campaign last season.

Most league observers believe if the Seahawks can keep Hasselbeck upright, they can compete for another NFC West division crown in 2009. For his part, Hasselbeck says he feels fine and is trying to master new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's version of the West Coast offense.

"I hope everything's in," he said of the offense. "The (play)book is so thick. I think what we're trying to do now is just really install everything, see what works, see what fits the personnel. And Greg Knapp's kind of going 100 miles an hour teaching it, coaching it. We're just trying to learn it, practice it, get so it feels just like second nature."

Defensively, a key for the Seahawks will be getting rookie linebacker Aaron Curry up to speed. The fourth pick overall in this year's draft, the Wake Forest linebacker was considered the most complete player in the draft, and will start immediately for the Seahawks on the strong side, replacing Julian Peterson.

Seattle traded Peterson to Detroit before the draft. Curry actually met Peterson on a pre-draft visit to Detroit. The two became friends and Curry will wear No. 59 for Seattle partly to honor Peterson, whom he admired in college.

Curry is learning the ropes from fellow linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill, and has proved a quick study. Tatupu has been wowed by the 6-2, 254-pound rookie's physical skills, but is just as impressed with Curry's ability to quickly pick up Seattle's new defensive scheme.

"He's one of those guys where reps get it for him," Tatupu said. "Once he does it, he's got it. It's pretty amazing."

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