Monday morning practicePosted by Frank Hughes @ 12:30:27 pm After two weeks scrambling around in the Sierra Nevadas, it's good to be back to work watching some football. This morning started out under cloudy skies but gave way to sunny and cool, which the players certainly prefer.
Today's practice was much more positive and business-like than yesterday's, when Mike Holmgren blew his lid because of inconsistencies from the offense. Holmgren said he had a long talk with himself before camp and wanted to stay in control, but when the players are messing up the basics rather than intricacies he can't take it any longer -- hence the venting.
Before we get into details from practice, I will point out that Holmgren said that Patrick Kerney is going to shut it down for a while. Kerney strained his calf in practice yesterday and was wearing an ice pack on it today, but the doctors decided that rather than risk it they are going to allow him to rest and get better rather than risk further injury.
Holmgren also said that Chris Gray and Chris Spencer will be out for five or six more days, a little disconcerting since there were three fumbled snaps in 11-on-11 drills today. Holmgren did not lose his cool when that happened, though he was miffed that Jeb Putzier, who dropped three passes yesterday, ran an incorrect route today. Not a good week for old Jeb.
Besides Kerney, Marcus Tubbs, Deion Branch, Spencer and Ryan Plackemeier were off on the side doing sprints rather than working out with teammates. With Plack out, Reggie Hodges will be doing holding duty on field goals.
Newly signed Bryan Gilmore also had a tough day, dropping a few passes, including one on a deep flag pattern. In the same drills, Jordan Kent took a high pass over diminutive Josh Wilson and hauled it on for a score. Kent still is raw, but it is quite a contrast from what he was last year. His improvement has been pretty remarkable, he now catches most things thrown his way, which could not be said a year ago.
With Will Herring out indefinitely, Matt Castelo was getting work at outside linebacker with the second unit. D.D. Lewis recovered two of the three fumbled snaps mentioned earlier, one snapped by Mansfield Wrotto, another by Steve Vallos.
Owen Schmitt's feistiness came out on one play when he continued to block Brian Russell and the two got into a minor scuffle, slapping each other in the helmet a few times before separating. This is what Schmitt is going to make his name doing, antagonistic toughness. He also caught a swing pass and lumbered through the secondary, David Hawthorne bouncing off him when they made contact.
Logan Payne made a very nice diving catch across the middle, continuing to impress. From the number of people who were interviewing him after practice, I would venture to say you will get your fill of Payne in print and on television tonight and tomorrow. Holmgren said after practice that the real test for Payne is going to be how he responds in game situations. He has seen plenty of examples of players doing well in drills and then disappearing in games. He hopes Payne does not vanish. Speaking of vanishing, Courtney Taylor did not participate in the latter stages of practice because of a tight hamstring.
There was one play where Jason Babin rushed from the left end spot, and he was completely pancaked by Kyle Williams. For good measure, Williams stayed on top of him and rolled around for a while. Standing next to Red Bryant, Babin looks like a little kid.
In my first camp last year, I was standing next to a photog who before it happened called the play where Hasselbeck pump fakes to Branch, Branch stutter steps and then Hasselbeck hits him on a fly pattern. It was one of their favorite plays during the season -- and was one of the plays that broke open the game against San Francisco last year down there. Hasselbeck tried it with Nate Burleson in this practice and it was not close to successful, forcing Hasselbeck to dump off the ball to Julius Jones. That's one to keep an eye on, how well Burleson runs the routes that his predecessors made successful.
A few other things from Holmgren's press conference:
* Of Hasselbeck's near injury yesterday, Holmgren rolled his eyes and said, "His foot was stepped on. After that it was Hollywood and the stars. As the world turns. He is alright."
* Holmgren said he hired Bill Lazor in part because both Dan Reeves and Joe Gibbs called him within two hours of each other and told him he needed to hire Lazor. "There's also the connection that he went to Cornell and I went to the Harvard of the West, USC," Holmgren said.
* Holmgren said he didn't want Jim Zorn to leave but that when Washington offered him their offensive coordinator job, he didn't have "any bullets in his gun" to match the offer.
* Holmgren said he met with Julius Jones and Mo Morris yesterday and informed them of his plan to have them share carries. He said they both took it well and accepted it. He said he may even rotate who starts and then go with the hot hand. He also said he is asking T.J. Duckett to learn both fullback and halfback spots.
That's it for now. I'll have more from the afternoon special teams practice. After that we are heading down to the new facility for some housekeeping stuff. I'll try to blog some impressions from that.
Another RBBC has formed in Seattle.