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Russell Wilson hosts receivers at the beach during ‘extraordinarily competitive” Seahawks break

Russell Wilson raves about rookie DK Metcalf, also assesses other Seahawks receivers at minicamp

Franchise quarterback Russell Wilson raves about hulking rookie DK Metcalf, other Seahawks receivers on day two of the team’s minicamp.
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Franchise quarterback Russell Wilson raves about hulking rookie DK Metcalf, other Seahawks receivers on day two of the team’s minicamp.

Russell Wilson is taking his receivers to the beach again.

To workout and catch his passes.

Bobby Wagner is waiting on his new, rich contract while taking his break.

All the Seahawks’ players have plans for what they are going to do in their next six weeks away. Their coaches gave each of them a detailed one.

“This is an extraordinarily competitive time,” coach Pete Carroll said.

Wait...what?

The six weeks between the end of minicamp and offseason workouts Thursday and reporting day for training camp July 24 is the players’ last extended time off until at least January. And it’ll be longer than that if the Seahawks make the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons.

How, then, is this an “extraordinarily competitive time”?

Because Always Com-Pete makes it so.

“So many things can happen. Guys can go south on you. They can get better. They really can make it; changes can occur right now,” Carroll said as his players began scattering Thursday afternoon. “And we’re really trying to focused about it, hoping our guys (are on board).

“We have helped them create a plan for their offseason, to make sure that they are coordinated and they are organized, and that they will max this out.”

It used to be NFL coaches’ chief concern during this time off before training camp was guys staying out of trouble—specifically, out of jail—during this “off time.”

Carroll and his staff, and most teams, now see that as a given. Players who choose to get stupid in their rare time away from the team are more likely than ever to lose more than money but also jobs, depending on their status on the team before they left.

Just ask Trevone Boykin.

Carroll and his assistants go beyond the baseline expectation of mature summer behavior. They give their players specific conditioning and training plans for these six weeks away. Their hope is to maintain the levels of fitness the players have now, after the last two months of official offseason training with the team.

The Seahawks are also prescribing these personalized vacation workouts in hopes of minimizing the muscle pulls and soft-tissue injuries so prevalent early in NFL training camps. Those injuries sometimes linger into the season. Or they become major issues when players who have to be on the field in August to win jobs for September try to come back too hard and too fast from them.

Coach Pete Carroll summarizes Seahawks’ offseason work at the end of their minicamp. The players are off until training camp begins in late July.

“One of the big issues—I think this is a big issue that the league, I think, just kind of has to live with—is that when you take breaks you become more vulnerable to getting hurt when you come back because the adaptation not always match up to the action of an NFL training camp,” Carroll said. “So we are real concerned about that.

“The focus is...these guys get back here and are just like they were and we’re going to be fine. But a lot can happen now.”

League rules prohibit teams from checking in on players during these six weeks off, other than to ask “how mom and dad’s doing,” Carroll said. No conveying game plans or workout milestones. No inquiries on the training programs the Seahawks gave their players, not even over the phone.

The coaches just hand out the plans, then trust the players will have followed them when they return to the team at the end of July.

“We have a lot of guys working out in different areas, and they know where everybody is. I’m hoping that we feed off one another and put forth a great six weeks,” Carroll said. “There is no reason, there is no reason, every one of these guys shouldn’t come back in the best condition of their life. This is the only season they have in their life, and they should do everything they can to do that.

“That has been the message. So they’ve been challenged, to make the most of this.

“I don’t know what other teams are doing. But this is crucial to us. We have to do a great job here. We will win games here, in these next six weeks. So, counting on them.”

Wilson has been taking his receivers to beaches, usually in Southern California, for between-seasons workouts since just after his 2012 rookie season with the Seahawks. That first pitch-and-catch on the sand was in Hermosa Beach. That worked pretty well.

Wilson and his bonded teammates won the Super Bowl that following season.

“Yeah, we throw a bunch of routes. I think one part of it is just the spending time with each other. And that’s always the fun part,” Wilson said.

“I think also, too, is just really trying to perfect our craft. It’s just like guys in the NBA, you know, offseason they’re shooting around playing with each other, working together and everything else. Just trying to understand what we’re trying to see and what we’re trying to think abou...just like anything else.

“The offseason, I really believe, translates into the regular season and the kickstart that you want to have to the beginning of the season, because you don’t get to play all those games, especially with the preseason games, you know? Not everybody plays and everything else.

“So I think it’s one of those things that you try to get your extra 500 reps or whatever it may be in the offseason leading up into the regular season.”

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.
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