As 35-year-old Greg Olsen gets acclimated to his new team in 2020, he’s also approaching training camp with a fresh perspective.
With only five practices and two mock games remaining until the first regular-season game week, Olsen is immersing himself in the offense like never before, and he’s running more plays than he has in nearly a dozen training camps with the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears.
“Typically, in training camp, especially as I’ve gotten older, we were always very selective with the plays,” Olsen said following Tuesday’s practice. “If it was a pass or a look, I needed to get in the run game or pass protection, I was always in there to get it. But I didn’t take the extra stuff and here I find myself – when you’re trying to learn a new system – I took for granted all the little things that I just came to know in my time in Carolina. There’s things that the first time I do them here is the only time I’ve ever done them or it’s done a little bit differently than I had done in the past.
“So, every rep whether it’s a walkthrough or a jog through practice or full speed team is so valuable and finding that balance between, you can’t take 80 plays every day, but you need all those reps. You need to see things. You need to mess things up. You need to hear Russ say ‘hey, I was thinking you were going to go flatter there.’ You can only gain the real intricacies of playing by playing. You can study the playbook all you want and you can ask as many questions, but until you’re out there out of the field doing it, that’s the only way is to mess it up, or do it right and cement and then learn from it."
Olsen understands that teams often using varying terminology and playbooks to run a multitude of plays, but the way the game is played is similar. Building chemistry, however, with a new quarterback in Russell Wilson and new teammates is not something that’s done overnight.
That’s why Olsen is committed to do everything he can before the season begins.
“I think the personal stuff, on the field especially, is really the part that just takes reps. It just takes time,” Olsen said. “There’s so much about bringing those pieces of paper, bringing those plays on paper to life that goes beyond anything you can note down in a notebook. … There’s a lot of those things that I’m adjusting to out here. And a lot of the things they do out here and great and are new for me but are things that I’m excited about doing. But there is a learning curve to that.”
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest Evan Silva].
Olsen, who signed a one-year, $7 million deal with Seattle in February, has 718 receptions, 8,444 yards and 59 touchdowns to his name across 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers.
The three-time Pro Bowler had 52 receptions for 597 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games for the Panthers in 2019, but it wasn’t quite the production Olsen had hoped for… and he’s still longing for a Super Bowl Champion title to be added to his long list of accolades.
Now that he’s partnered up with elite quarterback in Wilson, he could see a surge in his stats and potentially the first Super Bowl title of his career.