The Seahawks are holding camp at their year-round training facility in Renton, Wash. It's doubtful there's a more picturesque setting in the league. The expansive complex, which opened last year, sits on the banks of Lake Washington and looks across the water at hillside homes sprinkled among mature trees. Seaplanes can be seen and heard overhead and fans regularly pull up to the fringe of the facility in hopes of sneaking a peek of the workouts from the decks of their boats. Others soak up the sun and the atmosphere while bobbing on the water in inner-tubes.
The first practice kicked off just as a "severe" record heat wave subsided. When temperatures reached triple digits on back-to-back days in some areas during the week, nearby hotels swelled with locals searching for air conditioning and swimming pools (older homes in the area were built without air conditioning because it's really only needed a few weeks out of the year).
Things finally started to cool Friday, but new coach
The Seahawks had seven winning seasons, won five division titles and reached one Super Bowl during Holmgren's 10-year tenure, and Mora wants to build on that. The team was ravaged by injuries last season and finished 4-12, but there is optimism because the roster is stocked with talent (if it can remain healthy). Also, Mora went through a similar situation in 2004 in his first season with the Falcons. They were coming off an injury-induced 5-11 season and generating little excitement, but Mora guided them to the NFC Championship Game that season.
The key will be health. In particular, quarterback
Defensively, Mora brought in former Bucs assistant
For someone who signed a five-year, $40 million deal that includes $15 million in guarantees and a "Get Out of Jail Free" card that allowed him to leave the Bengals, wide receiver
The Seahawks were stunned to have linebacker
Curry had not signed through the weekend, but there was optimism that a contract would be finalized sooner than later. He's expected to start in
Carlson led the team in catches, yards and touchdowns last season as a rookie, and appears prepared to build on that. He's also impressed coaches with his improved commitment to run blocking. He has size, good hands and the ability to stretch the seam. A big year is possible.
Overall, the receiving corps looks strong with Houshmandzadeh, Burleson, Carlson,
• There has been good news and bad at cornerback. The bad:
• Kerney is being limited after having shoulder surgery. He reported at 275 pounds and remains the only proven pass-rush threat.
• Mora adjusted the schedule to allow his players to be off their cleats at least eight hours between practices. The schedule also allows them to have at least two meals between workouts. Because the players set a franchise record with 97 percent participation during offseason workouts, Mora says there's no need to overwork them in training camp.
"You can sell out for a dude like that, you know what I mean?" says Julius Jones.
• My prediction: 10 wins.