Well, the beginning of three NFL Off-season Training Camps (OTA) have started and notably quiet today are the Seahawks. The Hawks were penalized by the NFL for incidents that occurred during last year’s OTAs.
The rules governing OTAs state that practices are limited to non-contact. The Hawks are famous (or infamous) for having loud, brash, chippy, and sometimes confrontational OTAs. Although details are sketchy from the NFL, there were several fights at the minicamps last year–including a famous fight between CB Richard Sherman and WR Phil Bates–that alerted the NFL to investigate if the non-contact rules had been violated. The Hawks were found in violation and stripped of two of their three OTAs.
”We want to do things right. I’d like to show exactly how to do it,” Carroll said last season after the penalties were announced. ”When you’re competing like we do, we’re trying to do things the best you can possibly do it. Unfortunately, this incident makes it look otherwise.”
The Hawks have conformed to the safety regulations and on the last day of OTAs we should see a much more muted practice environment. The Hawks’ coaches remain optimistic.
”I think any time you don’t get to practice you probably lose something,” Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable said. ”But at the same time, you all see how we work and we get a lot more done than most.”
What remains to be seen is how implementing an artificially soft practice schedule will impact the brash and competitive nature of this team. With safety taking the forefront, we can all agree that limiting injury risks is of utmost importance; however, the back to back Superbowl runs by the Hawks are predicated on intensity. Will a reduction in intensity in practice make this team soft? We will see starting in September.