Here's the third installment of last weeks radio interviews covering last Thursday (08/06) and Friday (08/07). These are the last of the interviews that were made on KJR prior to the Curry signing so once again the comments were made by individuals who didn't know when Curry would sign and were giving opinions of what the holdout was costing Curry and the team at that point.
Once again I've included the date of the interview, the name of the interviewer and interviewee, and a link to the interview so you can go listen yourself. You can alternately go to the KJR Website and under "Audio" drop down the menu and find the interviewer. That will bring up a window with all his interviews and you can find the one you want to listen to from there. Here we go again sports fans. Enjoy.
08/06 Mitch Interviews Deon Butler Link To Interview
Deon was a forensic Science Major in college and did an internship with the Philadelphia Homicide Investigation Unit where he was on the scene for real murder investigations complete with bodies, blood, and grieving families. His partner in the program quit halfway through the internship deciding that this wasn't what she wanted to do after all. There was a 50% dropout rate in the internship. Deon said he was OK with it all and was able to take it just fine. He particularly enjoyed solving the crime.
He said it was harder figuring out his playbook than a crime scene because of the speed in which he had to learn the playbook. A crime scene just sits there and you can take whatever time you need to thoroughly document it but the playbook needs to be assimilated quickly and put into practice.
He said he came in and watched Housh and Nate run routes and said to himself "I can do this". He then went out and tried to run the same routes as he'd seen the veterans run and it turned out totally different. The veterans make it look easy but it was anything but easy.
Deon broke all of Bobby Engram's records at Penn State. Bobby mentored him and told him to take care of his body as his top piece of advice. Butler is practicing returns with Josh Wilson and Justin Forsett although the coaches have yet to tell him where he figures to fit in. At this point it's all open competition.
Asked if all 80 guys lined up in camp and ran 50 yards who does he think would finish first. He said the top three would be Kent, Wilson and himself. Pushed to declare who would finish first, he said that Kent would be last because of his long stride. After a little hemming and hawing around, he said he would come in first.
He's gotten to know Hasselbeck and listens to what he has to say. He's been seen around camp carrying Branch's, Nate's, and T.J.'s gear on and off the field as part of the rookie hazing that goes on. He said that Branch makes him carry his gear the most.
He's a friend of Aaron Curry and intimated that Curry's agent was responsible for the holdout. He claimed that Aaron wants to be in camp but players coming out of college and not knowing the world of finance usually lean heavily on their agent to advise them and to protect them from making a major error.
Deon sounds very comfortable and at ease for a first year rookie and it wouldn't surprise me to see him playing a much bigger role in the offense by the second half of the season.To continue reading the interviews, click on the Read more... button below.
08/06 Softy Interviews Daryl Tapp Link To Interview
For Daryl Tapp, this is a make it or break it year and the last one of his rookie contract. He was disappointed in how he performed last season and wants to do much better this year but who doesn't in a contract year?
He likes the new defensive schemes because you don't have to think so much and can just get after the quarterback. Even though Kerney and Redding have all but been named as the starters, Tapp feels that he's still competing for a starting spot. This year, the defensive ends are being turned loose to get after the quarterback. He said that Cory Redding is a beast and a great guy to work with. Good chemistry is developing between the defensive linemen.
Bradley's defense is much more aggressive than the one run by Holmgren and Marshall. Bradley has broken down the defense so everyone knows their assignment and doesn't have to think. They just go after it according to Tapp.
He says that Curry's holdout is going to hurt him but he thinks he can come in and catch up. By all accounts, Tapp is playing well in camp so far.
08/06 Ian Interviews Nate Burleson Link To Interview
Nate flashing that charm and confidence he's known for said right off that the Seahawks were going to be great this year and they're going for the championship. He feels great and although he considers himself fully healed, he constantly tells himself that he's only 95% back so he doesn't get the idea that he's arrived and keeps working hard to recapture that other 5%.
After his injury, he was doing a lot of soul searching and re-evaluating his career. After a bit, he told himself to stop feeling sorry for himself and get back in the saddle and work hard. He felt like an underdog who has to constantly fight to get back to 100%.
Nate thinks the wide receivers are the real strength of this football team this year which is directly opposite of last season. He said they are working to be the best receiving corps in the league. He also noted that Hasselbeck is looking as good as he's ever looked. He's throwing the football real well, is moving well, is looking agile as well as showing a maturity that makes him hard to beat. He's definitely in command of this offense.
Nate likes the fans being there at practice and says it's a motivating factor for everyone. He loves to go out to the fence and pat a kid on the head and sign autographs to give the kids a great experience.
Nate's an engaging person and one of the best public relation players on the team. He's also been getting rave reviews from coaches, media, and the fans for how he's looked in camp so far. If he can translate that to the field, he'll prove that he's taken another step up in his career and moved into the elite class of receivers.
08/06 Groz With Gas Interviews Danny O'Neil Link To Interview
Danny doesn't think that Curry's holdout will impact him once the regular season starts if he signs soon (Curry signed three days later).
Talking about the Crabtree situation, he said that it was Crabtree's cousin who said that he was prepared to sit out the season and re-enter the draft if he wasn't paid as a top choice instead of where he was drafted at number ten. Michael's agent Eugene Parker quickly said that they weren't talking like that at all and they weren't firing threats at anyone. Apparently, Crabtree has problem relatives who are inserting themselves into the situation without acting in concert with him and his agent. That can't help himself or the 49'ers. That's fine with me by the way.
O'Neil isn't concerned about Walter Jones at this point. There's no indication that he won't be ready to be a dominant player again. He's also not too worried about Trufant's tweaked back which he said happened two weeks before training camp started. He thinks the team's just being ultra cautious because of how Hasselbeck's back problems manifested themselves last season. He amplifies what many other have been saying about Sims playing very well and includes Spencer in that praise. Of Sims, he says it looks as if he's ready to be the guard everyone figured he would be two years ago. He thinks Sims and Spencer are poised to have breakout years.
He notes that Wrotto is working with the first team at right guard and that Unger is rapidly improving and looking very good too.
He ends by noting that Jim Mora seems to have everything in firm control.
08/06 Elise Interviews Dave Boiling Link To Interview
Dave Boiling starts out by saying that he was fond of the old staff and Mike Holmgren. He misses them. However, everything's different and it's not necessarily for the bad. He notes that practices are now at a much higher tempo as many other players and coaches have noted throughout these interviews.
Having a defensive minded coach changes things too according to Boiling. There's a different attitude. Guys who have a strong physical presence are being promoted by Mora. Dave says guys are going harder at practice with more contact and at a more aggressive tempo. This team's pulse is beating faster than in the past. There are more fights this year too which is a sure sign that players are going harder at each other. There's more shouting.
Looking at Hasselbeck's health and progress, Boiling said he looked great and appeared to be 100%. The coaching staff is obviously taking pride in their units.
About the offensive line, he said that all last season it was a worry. He said that this season you have to keep that worry echoing many other players, coaches, and sports writers who have voiced similar concerns. The offensive line is definitely the most often named unit to be concerned about in all the interviews that I listened to. Specifically, he was worried about Walter Jones noting that if Walt goes down, the line won't be nearly as good. He did say that Sims and Spencer have looked good so far. He thought that Sims got some bad coaching his second year and then was injured which accounted for his not developing as well as many thought he would after having a very good rookie season. He called Sims the most improved player and one who is having a good camp going against some very good defensive lineman day after day.
Dave said that Kerney looks big and strong. Mora says his strength is back where it was two years ago. Kerney looks bigger as if he's bulked up some. Redding is described as massive, strong, experienced and knows what he's doing. Mora named him the starter on the left end after just the second day which shows he's something special according to Boiling. He observed that Tapp is playing with a bunch of energy and that Jackson looks much improved. He thinks the pass rush could be quite formidable this year. That's just what Mora wants as he described a suffocating rush in his first public appearance after taking over the team. Looks as if he has a good chance of getting what he wants.
08/07 Mitch Interviews Max Unger Link To Interview
Max was asked if guard or center was the more difficult position to play in the NFL for him so far. Unger noted that overall, they guys are much bigger in the NFL and having to snap the ball with a big guy over him is different. Also, having the quarterback right behind him is different that the shotgun formation that Oregon ran when he played there. He gained much more experience in that formation than the pro set. He noted that he's taken more snaps at guard.
He said that he did a lot of ZBS stuff at Oregon but with some differences. Of note was the tight end and fullback sets, knowing where they go, and adjusting his blocks off where they go.
Asked what was opposite of what he thought it would be, he responded that training camp has been tough and a player has to be better prepared which didn't exactly answer the question that was asked but that's what Mitch got.
Max said that Red Bryant and Craig Terrill are the hardest to handle from his viewpoint. He said that Terrill is so good that he can usually figure out the play that was called by looking at his stance. A 330 pound nose tackle breathing on him at center causes him problems too.
He played in the ZBS at Oregon and Unger said that you need to get quite a few reps at it and get your footwork down to succeed in the new scheme being introduced this season at Seattle. He's been called a jack of all trades and master of none by various media in his career. He says it doesn't worry him to receive negative criticism as he knows his own game and what he can do.
He said that Hasselbeck orchestrates most of the rookie hazing and the biggest critic of everyone is also Hass who gets after them when they don't sing well.
Asked about his goals this season and if he thought he would start, he said that was a lofty expectation to think about starting in his first season as a rookie when some guys have been in the NFL for longer than he's played organized football. Max Unger, down to earth and humble but also confident and looking as if he'll be manning an important position before the season's over.
08/07 Mitch Interviews Ken Lucas Link To Interview
Lucas says that he feels good and has worked hard in the off-season to get his body ready for the regular season. He noted that he feels wiser and more mature than when he played here before in his younger years. Look for better decisions and increased leadership this time around. He also said that he can't let the younger guys out play him and that serves as his motivation to excel in training camp and beyond.
He's been working on his recovery time after hard demanding workouts. He's also been helping younger players to play more intelligent football and urges them not to play with the blinders on. He related that coach Lewis at Carolina instructed the defensive backs to go out onto the field before every game and check the field for footing, pull some grass and throw it in the air to see which way the wind was blowing so they would know when a team would likely go deep on them and when they wouldn't. The coaches taught him to watch film and understand the mental part of the game.
Lucus noted that his teammates have embraced him and he felt a part of the team right away. He likes the team chemistry and is glad to be back where it all started for him in Seattle.
I think you have to look for a smarter player in Lucus this time around. He's certainly studying the finer points of the game and preaching it to the younger players. Exactly what you look to a veteran to provide in leadership and Ken is embracing that role by all appearances.
08/07 Softy Interviews Bryce Fisher Link To Interview
Softy asked Bryce what he thought of the current player wearing his old #94 jersey (Cory Redding). Fisher noted that Redding was the biggest defensive end to play for the Seahawks since Lamar King and he's a much better player. Bryce warned not to expect double digit sacks from Cory though noting that Redding's job is to collapse the pocket and flush the quarterback, not necessarily get sacks.
About Curry, if he wants to play and play early, he needs to get in camp. If he wants to make the most money, continue to hold out. His advice? Hold out for the money. Bryce said that when negotiating his rookie contract as a high round pick in the first round, he has as much leverage as he's ever going to get until he signs his second contract and now is the time to get his money situation settled and secure his future. He said that Curry's agent expected him to be drafted at the top of the draft and his value was pretty much as the consensus top player in the draft.
Concerning the offensive line, Fisher noted that they need to stay healthy through camp and if they are starting the same five as the third pre-season game, they will be ok. The good thing about the offensive line is that they can cover for each other and experience together counts.
Bryce isn't too excited about Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett saying that they're not game changing players. Forsett has the chance to be something special. The key according to Fisher is to keep Hasselbeck standing and J.J. and T.J. should be able to run good enough to make that happen.
08/07 Softy Interviews Lincoln Kennedy Link To Interview
Lincoln Kennedy is one of my absolute favorite players because of being a former Husky. He said that Mora had some success in Atlanta then the 2 years under Holmgren should have made him a very good candidate to succeed in his second head coaching job here in Seattle.
He's of the opinion that Arizona won't make the playoffs and the Cardinals were a one shot wonder. If Hasselbeck stays healthy, the Seahawks will win the West. He said that Arizona wasn't a dominating team but was an opportunistic one. He notes that Arizona gave up more points than anyone else in the NFC except Detroit and Saint Louis.
He thought the team didn't address the offensive line issues as much as he and the fans would have liked to see. He thinks that is Seattle's biggest concern. He does think that if the offensive line can play at 80% efficency, Seattle can win the West.
About Curry, asked if he was behind the 8 ball, Lincoln replied that Curry can handle himself because he's such a physical specimen.
08/07 Softy Interviews Robert Prince Link To Interview
Remember when Housh said that the receivers were the most under coached group in the league and that most of them couldn't help a receiver to develop? Well, that's been true in Seattle for some time now as well as around the NFL. However, for the first time in a long time here in Seattle, we have the real deal in Robert Prince.
Prince has a history with Knapp. He coached the receivers while Knapp was the offensive coordinator at Sacramento State in 1992. He also worked with Mora and Knapp in San Francisco and then Atlanta. He's coached every position on the offense except tight ends.
About our receivers. He said that we could keep at least 5 receivers. Maybe one more if the 6th best receiver is better than any other player as the last one at his position. Talking to Housh, he told him that he doesn't care if he only has 50 catches this season. What they are looking for is productivity with every catch. The Seahawks want to average more than 5 yards after every catch. He noted that every receiver who is averaging more than 5 yards after every catch is in the top 10 in the league.
He noted that Housh is a very good route runner as most top slot receivers are but that also he has the speed to get down field. He also said about Burleson that he looks like a different person from in the Spring (referring to his injury). About Butler, he said the he's really pleased with Deon who is a quick learner who wants to be good. He stays after practice and picks other wide receivers brains. He wants to succeed.
Talking about Branch, he said he shows explosive play making and is one of the best yards after catch guys. He notes that they need to get Branch the ball and let him do something with it. He said that Branch will definitely be part of the offense. Prince said that Kent, Taylor, Hass, and Payne have all caught his eye and it will be hard to choose who is going to make the club this year. He said that everyone hustles.
08/07 Ian Interviews Chris Spencer Link To Interview
Chris said that the Seahawks have an awesome scheme this year. He said that he feels good and has dropped a little weight to be faster and not get tired as easily. Last season he played between 312 and 315. Now he's a svelte 305 and said he feels quicker.
He notes that the defense is looking very good this year and that Mebane and Redding are hard to handle. He's also jacked about playing someone else in 9 days in the first pre-season game at San Diego. He's also saying as many others have before him that the fans pick them up at practice and makes them work harder.
Spencer was very much at ease during his interview joking and laughing and sounded like he could have a broadcast career ahead of him after his playing days are over. He sounded like a radio personality.
08/07 Ian Interviews Eric Williams Link To Interview
After Spencer was interviewed and late in the practice, he was injured and carted off the field. Too bad because it was apparent that he was having a good camp and was looking forward to playing in the first pre-season game. It's not considered a serious injury at the current time but he won't play Saturday at San Diego.
Eric noted that Hasselbeck is always smiling and having fun this camp and that Spencer was too up until his injury. Coach Solari gave props to both Spencer and Sims and said both were doing well and picking up the combo blocks in the ZBS.
Williams notes that the Seahawks are just taking it easy with Branch and not to be too concerned about any problems. They are being careful with any player who has even a minor injury not wanting to cause it to be exacerbated and have a repeat of last year. So far, all are being characterized as bumps and bruises and nothing to be concerned with.
Eric notes that Spencer, Vallos and Unger are working at center. Wrotto has been reputed to have had some time at the position too at times during camp.
08/07 Elise Interviews Jim Mora Link To Interview
This was one of the very best interviews in the series and I urge everyone to go out and listen to it yourself. I will do my best to bring you the essence of the interview working from my notes but there's no substitute for getting it from the horse's mouth so to speak.
Mora said that the practices so far have been inspired. He noted right away that both Butler and Branch had stood out making good catches. He thinks the wide receiver group is very good with excellent competition at the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th positions. Elsie asked if his reference to a 6th receiver indicated that they would keep six. He said that they will keep a 6th receiver if the 6th receiver being considered is better than another player at a different position. He said they would keep the best players on the roster.
Mora said that the team wanted to remain liquid and fluid in what they're going to do. They may keep a 6th and 7th receiver on the practice squad for example and go with only 5 on the active roster. I thought it was interesting that he mentioned the 4th spot as up for grabs. I would have thought that Butler was penciled into that spot but I don't think it's worth it to make anything out of it at this juncture.
He said that he feels good about Josh Wilson and Justin Forsett as the kickoff and punt returners. He said that they would use Nate Burleson situationally (but sparingly) as a returner because he was one of the best in the NFL and could be a game changer. They are also giving Butler a chance to show what he can do as a returner which is something he's never done before. What will be telling, says Mora, is how he handles pre-season.
Mora said that Jones is the first string running back and will get the most touches. He characterized Duckett as a load and Forsett as a scat back. He noted that he's looking for a good year out of the group and said he's asking a lot of them. He also said he was pleased with where they are so far but that they had a long way to go.
Elise noted that Housh looked like a man among boys at practice. Mora said that the passing game hasn't changed much and that the team is comfortable with it. The running game is a different story though. It has changed quite a bit and needs more work at this point.
Jim said that Spencer's injury isn't a big deal and that he'll be back in a few days. He said it's not a high ankle sprain and not to worry.
Mora said he doesn't worry about Curry but that starts to change the longer he's not there. He had quite a bit to say about Curry after saying that and my notes are pretty complete on that part of the conversation. I'm going to quote him here and although it won't be 100% accurate, it will be very close.
"He's going to be behind no matter when he gets here and has a lot of catch up work to do. It puts a burden on the coaches, on him but he's a conscientious young man and he'll do what it takes and the position coach (Derrick Rollins) will do whatever it takes time wise to get him up to speed. He's got the playbooks and I'm sure he's staying up on it but it's never the same as sitting in a meeting, watching yourself on film and listening to the coaching points, watching other guys on film. You just can't duplicate that and the repetitions you miss in practice. All the different looks, all the different adjustments you have to make, all the different calls you hear. When you miss eleven practices, that could be in the hundreds of plays that you miss that you just never get back."
Remember that this was two days before Curry signed but it seemed that Mora was getting frustrated with it and was laying out what he was missing pretty succinctly.
Asked about the Trufant situation and how the secondary has made up for it, Mora answered that adding Ken Lucas and Travis Ficher helped. He noted that they really miss Trufant and they need him out there. He said that they didn't want to jeopardize his return and have a setback and therefore were going to error on the side of caution with respect to his taking the practice field.
He finished by saying that he feels good about where they are at after day 8 and that he likes the attitude of the team. He noted that they have a chance to be very good on defense.
08/07 Elise Interviews Tod Leiweke Link To Interview
Tod said that on the Mount Rainier Climb that Mora and himself took with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the one thing they did talk NFL business about was the 10:00 AM starts in the East. He said they had resolved not to try and hit him with a ton of stuff but that the opportunity was too great to let pass to talk about the game times because it has such an impact on the Seahawks over a season. Mora joked about holding Goddell over a crevasse to get the concession from him.
Leiweke said that Tim Ruskell earned the right to be the General Manager of the Seattle Seahawks after years and years, and decades of serving. He came in with great expertise on talent. Tod says his job is to provide a great environment to work in like the VMAC (Virgina Mason Athletic Center) and the needed financial plans and so forth so the creative ones like Ruskell and Mora could function at their best and take the team as far as possible.
He also said that Tim Ruskell brought with him the idea that character matters.
The philosophy that Tim Ruskell brought into the Seahawks is being used successfully throughout the organization to maintain a high level of achievement. I firmly believe that Tim Ruskell is the backbone of this organization right now and he'll lead us to glory before too long. His ideals and ability to find talent everywhere will serve the team and entire organization well and make it possible for all the parts to mesh together into a team and front office that will be much greater than the sum of their parts. It all is starting right now before our very eyes with this first Mora run training camp. I can't wait for the season to get started.
Next, I'm going to listen to the interviews form the first half of this week after Curry was signed which includes an interview with Curry by Elise. It will be the weekend before I get that one published but it will be interesting to see what everyone is saying now that Curry is in camp. I have several hours of interviews to go through before I can write it up so the goal at this time is to get it published before the pre-season game against San Diego Saturday evening. Most likely Saturday morning or afternoon.