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Cyber surfing: Sunday

Good morning: Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 11:

Jerry Brewer at the Seattle Times says the Seahawks truly are almost ready for primetime on the eve of their first appearance on “Monday Night Football” since 2007, even if the Seahawks are 5-7 and hosting the 2-10 Rams: “But despite the inevitable groaning about this game, the Seahawks are a different kind of bad. They’re a rising young team that made a ton of major changes during a lockout-shortened preseason, which contributed to their 2-6 start. Since then, they’re 3-1, with a victory over the Baltimore Ravens included. Their lone loss during this span came after they blew a 10-point lead against Washington in the fourth quarter. So the perception of the Seahawks — an inept team struggling to get off the ground with a former college coach guiding them — doesn’t match the reality. On Monday night, they have another opportunity to change their image.”

Danny O’Neil at the Times looks at an increasingly hot topic as Marshawn Lynch continues to pile up 100-yard rushing efforts and touchdowns: Should the Seahawks pay to keep the running back they’ve finally found? Says O’Neil: “Lynch is a free agent at the end of this season, ready to cash in on more than just a two year’s supply of Skittles the candy company offered him. He’s making a compelling case for a big payday. If Baltimore’s Ray Rice and Chicago’s Matt Forte receive the franchise tag — as many expect — Lynch will be the best running back on open market. Should the Seahawks pay what it takes to keep him? It’s one of the biggest questions facing this franchise going forward. One in which Seattle must consider the shelf life of running backs while acknowledging the reality that DeAngelo Williams’ five-year, $43 million contract with Carolina stands as a landmark in negotiations. There’s a compelling case to be made that Lynch has been more productive with this looking like it will be his third 1,000-yard rushing year in his five NFL seasons.”

Dave Boling at the News Tribune stays with the free-agent pondering, and also includes Red Bryant: “The humble Bryant would never raise the topic, but he’s turned into an enormous bargain for the Seahawks. He’s in the final year of his rookie contract, playing for a base salary of $600,000 — lower than the base for special teams player Heath Farwell and backup lineman Paul McQuistan. Bryant would be worth that for his blocked field goals, alone. But when you look at the salaries of top defensive ends, the big money goes to those with high sack figures. That’s not Bryant’s style. It’s likely, then, that his value to the Seahawks is higher than it would be to other teams in the market for ends. Bryant is an example of the fiduciary benefits of drafting and developing your own studs rather than buying somebody else’s.”

Also at the News Tribune, Eric Williams has the word on David Hawthorne practicing on Saturday, a good sign that the Seahawks’ middle linebacker and leading tackler will play Monday night: “Hawthorne appeared to move OK during team drills. He’s listed as questionable on Seattle’s injury report. However, coach Pete Carroll expects his starting middle linebacker to play Monday against St. Louis. ‘We think he’s going to be all right,’ Carroll said. ‘He looked OK today. I think it was a good effort to rest him, to get him strong for the week.’ ”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at how while Earl Thomas’ interceptions are down but his overall play at free safety is way up: “Despite the fact that last year’s leader in interceptions has only one entering Monday night’s nationally televised game against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field, the second-year free safety has improved his game from his rookie season. ‘I know Earl hasn’t had the picks, but he is playing better,’ defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. ‘He’s playing more disciplined football for us.’ Coach Pete Carroll was stressing that aspect of Thomas’ ample game even while he was tying the franchise record for interceptions by a rookie last season. While the coaches loved his ability to roam and make plays as a centerfielder, they would like it even better if Thomas did a better job of playing within the defense. That definitely has been the case this season, as Thomas is second on the team in tackles (76, two behind Hawthorne; and five more than Thomas had all of last season) and almost always is one of the first names mentioned when discussing the improvement in the overall play of the defense.”

We’ve also got a rare “Saturday in Hawkville,” as well as Tony Venrella’s video recap.

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has “Five Things to Watch” on Monday night, including this one: “ ‘Beast Mode,’ times two. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch has popularized the term by smashing through defenses like a wrecking ball. His two most memorable runs – against New Orleans in the playoffs last season, followed by his disappearing act against Philadelphia last week – played out before national audiences. Expect more of the same from Lynch against the Rams, but don’t forget about that other ‘Beast Mode’ runner. Steve Jackson can still put the hurt on opponents. Buckle up when Jackson and Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor collide. Chancellor goes 6-foot-3 and 230-plus pounds, and he’s one reason Jackson will have a hard time reaching 100 yards against Seattle for the first time in his career.”

Sando also offers his thoughts on former Seahawks coach Jim Mora taking the head coaching job at UCLA: “I’ve long thought Mora might be well suited for the college game, but I never envisioned him coaching for one of Washington’s conference rivals. Mora played for the Huskies. He was blindsided when the Seahawks fired him to hire Pete Carroll. Now, he’ll be coaching for UCLA against his alma mater – and against Carroll’s former right-hand man at USC, Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian. Weird.”

For a look at the rest of the league in Week 14, there’s Adam Schefter’s “Ten Spot” at ESPN.com and John Czarnecki’s “Countdown to Kickoff” at FoxSports.com.


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