Carroll's evolution evidenced in rest for Seahawks

Carroll's evolution evidenced in rest for Seahawks

Credit: Rod Mar / Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll talks to quarterback Matt Hasselbeck at the beginning of the team's first practice of the 2010 Bing Training Camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.


Associated Press

Posted on August 5, 2010 at 7:36 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 5 at 7:39 AM

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Matt Hasselbeck and Lawyer Milloy have 34 seasons of NFL experience combined.

Yet they have never experienced a day off just five days into a training camp.

That's what new Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll gave his team on Wednesday. No practice. No meetings.

No, really.

They will get another day off on Monday. That's two full breaks over the first 10 days of camp.

Carroll is also resting veterans on a rotating basis each day.

No wonder Houshmandzadeh is smiling as though he's at a summer swim camp instead.

"This might be the best camp I've ever been a part of," Houshmandzadeh said. "You see the players' schedule. You have to work hard — but they are taking care of you."

Carroll gathered his players in the middle of the field after Tuesday's single practice, Seattle's sixth of the preseason. He told them to be smart, stay safe, get off your feet and report back for a check-in meeting on Wednesday night.

They told him, "Thanks!"

It's the Seahawks' first score of the season.

It's also an early example of how Carroll has changed his first go-around in the NFL, as coach of the New York Jets in 1994 and of New England from 1997-99.

"We'll take it, we accept that," said Hasselbeck, who also sees Carroll's gift as a test. "I think with that comes a huge responsibility as players. It's an opportunity to do the right thing or do the wrong thing. He asked us to get off of our feet and rest and that kind of thing. Hopefully we all take advantage of it. I know I'm going to."

It's only sounds like Camp Breeze. When they've been practicing, the Seahawks have been cracking each other since Day One. The first practice was in shoulder pads, something else most players hadn't seen. The second day, Seattle was in full pads slamming ball carriers to the turf.

Starting linebacker Aaron Curry was hitting teammates so hard during Saturday afternoon's second practice of camp that he hasn't been back on the field since because of a concussion.

It's more like Camp Preservation.

"Every single practice, every step we take out here is critically important that we max it out in every direction. The emphasis of how we practice and the intensity that we maintain also has to do with how we're prepared physically to do that," Carroll said. "There will be a rhythm to it that will get us through this process, hopefully, at a very high tempo. We don't know any other way to practice.

"The question is, 'How do you do this?'" Carroll said. "By managing it really well, that's part of it. We have a full plan on how to do that."

Carroll says this is the way he did it at Southern California while building a national champion and Pac-10 dynasty at USC, until he left the Trojans in January.

Milloy was with Carroll the last time he was in NFL. He said Carroll never did this in New England — but that it's an example of how the coach has learned how to treat pros this time.

"I think coming back into the league, he has the understanding that it's a long season and you have to go into the season fresh," Milloy said. "He understands that some of the guys who have been around understand the game, and that you don't have to evaluate them as much."

Milloy spent his first veterans' rest day this week holding a play card and instructing younger Seahawks defensive backs from the sideline throughout practice.

Not that he loved doing that.

"He was (griping) and moaning," Carroll said of the 14-year veteran with whom the coach says he had a "special relationship" in New England.

"We had to hide his shoulder pads today."