The Seahawks have granted ESPN special access privileges for this upcoming training camp, which officially kicks off tomorrow, and with a combination of Jon Gruden, Kenny Mayne, Darren Woodson, and John Clayton, will break down Seattle's unique practice style in never-before-seen detail (hopefully). The two-hour special will air Tuesday, July 29, 10:30 a.m. PT.
"Hopefully we can break new ground and give the fans some fresh and unique access they haven't seen before," Monday Night Football producer and director behind this special, Jay Rothman, told USA TODAY Sports. "There's more character development in Hard Knocks. Our show will be less personal, more football storytelling."
"As popular as NFL games are," Rothman said, "we thought it would be really interesting to offer a raw and real look at what a NFL team practice is like, since this is something so few fans get to experience. ESPN is excited to try this for the first time and we're thrilled the Seahawks are providing this unique access to us as they prepare to defend their Super Bowl title."
Clayton will get the chance to interview Seahawks GM John Schneider, and obviously Gruden and Mayne will talk to the players and coaches.
Said Grudes: "The fact we get to watch the champions - I know I sound like a little kid sometimes - but what a way to kick off the season. I can't wait to spend the day getting an up-close idea of how intricate their practices are."
As detailed here at Field Gulls previously,Pete Carroll strongly emphasizes the importance of practice in his program, perhaps even more than most other NFL coaches. We've heard from players time and again that Seahawk practices move at a higher speed and with greater intensity than most, if not all other, NFL teams. They're certainly different than most other teams' practices, if you believe the things players have said about it.
For Carroll, it comes down to the goal that each player ends up playing in practice as hard or intense as he does during a game - this is meant to diminish pressure to perform under the big lights and in front of huge crowds, it's about muscle memory and as Carroll often says, it's about playing with the absence of fear. By practicing like this, on game day, players are loose and confident in themselves, or that's the goal, anyway.
The objective of the ESPN special, per Rothman, is to "explain to fans what's going and to be able to show the application for how (practice drills) translated into a Super Bowl win for these guys. And also to give fans an experience they haven't had before, that nobody's really seen before. The magic is not being too much in tape (pre-packaged material), but maintaining the integrity of live (action) - raw and real - while sprinkling in a little flavor and really presenting a day in the life of Seahawks training camp."