It only seems Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are on vacation from football.
In fact, Wilson is hosting his receivers on his annual summer vacation FOR football, in Southern California.
You know, #NoTime2Sleep, and all.
Wilson’s latest work with DK Metcalf could be the most exciting, potentially impacting thing the Seahawks will see between now and training camp that begins July 25.
Wilson is throwing to his guys on the campus of UCLA in Westwood, in the hills west of downtown Los Angeles. Specifically, the NFL-record $140 million quarterback is strengthening his new bond with Metcalf, his hulking, tantalizing rookie. That is, according to Wilson’s Twitter page Tuesday.
On it, the QB and his new receiver look September-season ready.
Seattle traded up in this spring’s draft to get Metcalf at the end of the second round. Part of the reason the freakish, 6-foot-3, 229-pound wide receiver with 4.3-season speed in the 40-yard dash lasted that long in the draft: he was known as a one-route star in college at Mississippi. He blazed past defensive backs on go routes. Only on go routes.
Many saw Metcalf’s work at Mississippi as elementary. They knocked Ole Miss’ relatively simple concepts in its spread offense, saying they didn’t require Metcalf to prove he could run all the routes NFL receivers must to produce consistently.
Oh, yes, Metcalf has heard his critics say he can only run straight down the field. It’s yet another chip on the shoulder, now playing for a coach who loves to load his team with guys carrying those.
Metcalf is showing in L.A. what he showed in minicamps and his first NFL organized team activities this spring: a far more polished game. He’s wowed coach Pete Carroll and everyone else who has watched.
Metcalf sharpened his fundamentals by working for months this winter with Jerry Sullivan, the renowned, 74-year-old receivers guru.
Carroll said in May of the refined Metcalf: “Maybe (he’s) even more unique than we thought coming in.
“It’s almost like, what doesn’t excite you?”
What specifics did Sullivan teach Metcalf this offseason, before Seattle traded up with New England to the bottom of the second round to draft him?
“How to run routes, basically,” Metcalf said this spring. “How to stay straight as long as possible. How to break down....Don’t lean into my routes, or don’t try to stay straight as long as possible, when I break down be decisive in doing that.
“Then, make every route look the same when you come off the ball.”
Metcalf did that and more this spring as the most attention-grabbing of the Seahawks’ 11 draft choices, 12 undrafted free agents and 44 tryout players in their rookie minicamp, then among the 90 players at OTAs and minicamp into mid-June. Seattle’s veteran defensive backs said each day Metcalf changed his technique for getting off the line of scrimmage. That was so cornerbacks didn’t know exactly how to defend him in their press coverage. That’s the savvy of a 10-year veteran, not a guy who has yet to play his first NFL game.
What Metcalf is showing in L.A. with Wilson is additional evidence the Seahawks are getting more than a workout freak. Metcalf was a national sensation for his pre-draft workout physique and miniscule body-fat measurements—but not for his football.
And he really hasn’t started yet. Training camp begins July 25.
The way it’s been looking so far, Wilson will be throwing to Metcalf for far more than impressive summer videos on Twitter. Like, for real, while as Seattle’s new, “X” receiver on the line opposite the tight end Sept. 8 in the season opener against Cincinnati.
Wilson has been taking his receivers to SoCal for between-seasons workouts since just after his 2012 rookie year with the Seahawks. That first pitch-and-catch was on the sand at Hermosa Beach.
That worked pretty well. Wilson and his bonded teammates won the Super Bowl that subsequent season.
“Yeah, we throw a bunch of routes,” Wilson said last month. “I think one part of it is just the spending time with each other. And that’s always the fun part.”
“I think also, too, is just really trying to perfect our craft. It’s just like guys in the NBA, you know, offseason they’re shooting around playing with each other, working together and everything else. Just trying to understand what we’re trying to see and what we’re trying to think about...just like anything else.
“The offseason, I really believe, translates into the regular season and the kick-start that you want to have to the beginning of the season, because you don’t get to play all those games, especially with the preseason games, you know? Not everybody plays and everything else.
“So I think it’s one of those things that you try to get your extra 500 reps or whatever it may be in the offseason leading up into the regular season.”