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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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August 6, 2008 7:42 PM

Today with Matt

Posted by Jose Romero

It's always fun talking to Matt Hasselbeck. Colleague Dave Boling probably put it best after the handful of reporters spoke with Matt after the afternoon practice.
"If he wasn't so darn rich, I'd give him whatever I had," Dave said. In other words, Hasselbeck is as good as it gets as a person and as someone who deals with the media very well.

Hasselbeck was asked about what he thinks WR Bobby Engram is going through as far as practicing despite dissatisfaction with his current contract, which Engram wants redone.

"He's not happy. He's not happy at all," Hasselbeck said. "But he's the kind of guy that puts the team first. I respect him. He's come to work."

Hasselbeck touched on other subjects as well. Here's his thoughts on the exhibition game Friday:

"Well, it'll be interesting. We've got a lot of guys who've never really played in games. They're going to get a chance to play with the first unit ... Mike [Holmgren] likes everything done a certain way, even travel. He just talked to us about it today. He feels that if you're disciplined in the way you travel, in the way you dress, all those kinds of things, he feels like those carry on to the game, onto the field. If you don't do those things right, that could upset him as well. For me, even though I know I'm not playing four quarters, I've got to prepare myself like I'm playing a game. That's part of the drill."

On a side note, secondary coach Jim Mora really lit into one of the defensive backs during the afternoon practice. His glare and words seemed directed at CB Kevin Hobbs but that is inconclusive. Can't repeat what was said, but Mora was unhappy with the intensity and effort and not taking data from the position meetings and implementing it on the practice field. But overall, it was a very spirited and easy-going practice, as Hasselbeck characterized it:

"I think today was called 'Teaching Tempo.' What I just tried to stress in the huddle was, 'This is a gift that he's given us. We got some injuries right now, so let's have the best practice that we can have assignment-wise, so that [Coach Holmgren] thinks highly of this idea and we do it again sometime.'"

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August 6, 2008 4:33 PM

Atkins OK -- 8.06.2008 P.M. practice

Posted by Danny O'Neil

A tip of the cap is in order for coach Mike Holmgren, said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. That's because the Seahawks practiced without helmets on Wednesday afternoon, instead wearing camouflage caps with a Seahawks logo.

Usually the team practices without pads in the afternoon, just wearing shells under the jerseys, but they generally have helmets on. Not Wednesday. The team had a longer-than-expected practice in the morning and then Wednesday's innovative practice technique.

"What I tried to stress in the huddle was, 'Hey, this is a gift that he's given us. We've got some injuries right now,' " Hasselbeck said. " 'Let's have the best practice that we can have assignment-wise so that he thinks highly of this idea and he'll do it again some time.' "

One injury that doesn't appear to be much of a worry was Baraka Atkins, who appeared to injure himself during the morning practice, but was back on the field in the afternoon.

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August 6, 2008 2:50 PM

John Marshall on Friday's game

Posted by Jose Romero

I asked the Seahawks' defensive coordinator about what he's looking at for the game at Minnesota.

"The number one thing is organization and everybody making the right calls, the right substitutions, everything's organized and guys aren't at a loss for anything. They know exactly what to do and where to go. Sideline procedure. It all starts with those things. Then I'm looking for guys that are going to it. See how physical they can play the game."

Q: Is this where the roster spot competition starts for real?
A: "Sure. Sure. It's the first real go kind of thing. I want to see how players function out on the field by themselves when they don't have coaches reminding them about this and that before the snap. They've got to get their own juice going and their intensity and they've got to pull together and do that."

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August 6, 2008 12:06 PM

If only this were fantasy: Jerry Rice, fantasy football commissioner

Posted by Danny O'Neil

NFL reporters are the frequent targets of E-mails from public-relations firms alerting us to so-and-so's latest activity.

Sometimes it's a new book on the league. Sometimes, it's a non-profit company's fundraiser. One time, it was an E-mail promoting Dr. Johnny Benjamin's status as a chief of orthopedics who was "weighing in" on Adrian Peterson's knee injury.

Today: This popped up in my in-box:

"Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver of all-time, has been named the commissioner of the inaugural Fantasy Football Open Championship (FFOC) ..."

Oooh, and if you win, Rice will award the "prestigious Millionaire Jacket" to the first winner, who will be made a millionaire by playing fantasy football. Remember when Jerry Rice went to the Denver Broncos training camp before finally calling it a career? Well, the record-breaking receiver has found something that's even more inauspicious after his career.

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August 6, 2008 12:00 PM

By the shores of Lake Washington

Posted by Jose Romero

The Seahawks moved practice to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in north Renton, their new home beginning Aug. 18, for a test run on the pristine grass fields with the water and Mercer Island in full view.

After the morning session -- the afternoon practice will be back in Kirkland at current headquarters -- WR Nate Burleson, who grew up in Renton, shared his thoughts.

"It's truly unbelievable," Burleson said. "I feel honored just to be here and to walk around and be one of the first players to actually set foot on this grass. I know I'm not going to be the last, but to be one of the first is special."

Asked if it would be easy to daydream with the boats on the water in full view, Burleson said with Mike Holmgren running practice, the only daydreaming one can do is inside a playbook.

"The surroundings are great, everything else is great, but at the end of the day it's still football."

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August 6, 2008 11:53 AM

Heller, Bumpus return to practice -- 8.06.2008, A.M. practice

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The Seahawks practiced on one of the three grass fields outside their new team headquarters in Renton right on the shore of Lake Washington. Skies were clear, the breeze was slight and blowing to the northwest.

Tight end Will Heller and wide receiver Michael Bumpus returned to practice after sitting out Tuesday because each had a tight hamstring.

I'll be posting a more complete description of the facility later, but I'll start out by sketching some notes from practice.

  • Fullback Owen Schmitt laid a pretty stiff block on D.D. Lewis, blocking to open a hole for Justin Forsett.

  • Defensive end Baraka Atkins appeared to hurt himself during a goal-line drill. He was slow getting up and tended to by trainers.

  • Tight end John Carlson made a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone, jumping and then making a strong finger-tip grab on a fade route with Lance Laury providing good coverage.

  • Cornerback Derrick Johnson -- a former UW player -- was signed to the team on Wednesday, but injured his left foot during his first workout with the team. He could not finish the practice. Johnson was signed to fill the roster spot previously held by Wesly Mallard, a linebacker who was placed on injured reserve. Mallard injured his hamstring previously during this camp.

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