Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Why Seattle lost OTAs; Rams' tough task
By Mike Sando
The NFL and NFL Players Association remain vague over what triggered their investigation into the Seattle Seahawks' practices.
They revoked two organized team activities and a workout session from Seattle without much explanation Tuesday.
Coach Pete Carroll offered additional clues Wednesday during a conversation with Dave Mahler of Sports Radio 950 AM KJR. Media reports about a shoving match at practice apparently caught the NFL's attention.
"There was a little pushing thing that happened on the practice field a week ago, there was an article written about it, that did draw their attention and that is what came up," Carroll said. "They said, 'We're going to come up and check you out.' They did. The guy who came out, he loved what we did, he said it was the best OTA he has ever seen.
"We thought we were on track," Carroll said, "but then when they went back and looked at some other stuff (on video), they thought we were getting after it too much."
It was natural to wonder if a Seahawks player reported the team to the NFL or to the NFLPA. That was not the case, according to Carroll.
League spokesman Greg Aiello declined to reveal what started the investigation. He listed several ways the league and the NFLPA can monitor OTAs or minicamps, all spelled out in the collective bargaining agreement.
The CBA bans "live" blocking, tackling, pass rushing and bump-and-run tactics. Those prohibitions remain for mandatory minicamps next week.
A physical Seattle defense stocked with aggressive press cornerbacks seemingly could not function on the field without some contact. Pro Bowl corner Brandon Browner incurred 19 penalties last season, after all. Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor racked up $60,000 in fines.
The Seahawks' margin for error has only gotten smaller now that the team is attracting additional scrutiny.
The challenges could be even tougher for a team with a new coach. The St. Louis Rams come to mind. Jeff Fisher promotes an in-your-face defensive style. He also needs to quickly evaluate the Rams' personnel, a tough enough task when more contact is permitted.
I thought of Fisher and the Rams first when reading comments from Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy earlier this offseason.
"If you watch the offense, that's not too far off what we used to do; we just can't have the opponent defense, but we're still creating timing," McCarthy said. "The defense doesn't get that. No direct competition. It's not practical as far as having any type of group or team activity to get a realistic look.
"We've had to be really creative with our film work and how we present the information and be very creative in the classroom as far as how the videos are presented, how the meetings are organized."
No live contact means no live contact. Carroll will have to tone down practices. He asked the NFL to make sure other teams also comply. Good luck with that.
"The problem is, we have nothing to go by as far as looking at film," Carroll told Mahler. "We just have to go by suggestive, what they have written and what they feel after they look at it."