Friday cyber surfing: Lynch leads the way

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 8:

Steve Wyche at NFL.com looks at teams that feature a running back who could help lead them to the playoffs in this Era of the QB, and includes the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch: “Lynch rushed for 12 touchdowns and 1,204 yards last season, and the Seahawks still finished 7-9. Not much has changed in that Seattle is still unsteady at quarterback, regardless of whether Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson or Russell Wilson starts. The rising defense could be better and more opportunistic, and if one of the quarterbacks minimizes turnovers, it could provide enough low-risk opportunity for Lynch’s production to translate into wins. Every opponent knows slowing Lynch is the first priority, but that was the case last season, too. If the quarterback play improves moderately, more opportunities could open up for Lynch and he could be even more productive.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com looked at the Seahawks’ backup situation to Lynch during his chat on Thursday: “Seattle used a 2012 fourth-round choice for Robert Turbin. The team also added Kregg Lumpkin in free agency. Both are bigger than former backup Justin Forsett. That was by design. The Seahawks now have multiple backs with the size to carry the ball on early downs, but it’s too early to know whether the team could maintain its physical approach on offense without Lynch. It wasn’t possible last season. Now, it’s possible, but no sure thing.”

Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. has his Top 10 breakout players in the NFC for the 2012 season and Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright is at No. 9. It’s an Insider feature at ESPN.com, so requires registration and a fee. But here’s what he said about Wright: “As a fourth-round rookie in 2011, he did a nice job of replacing veteran Aaron Curry at OLB, and he finished with 65 tackles and eight tackles for loss. He is good versus the run, a physical player and wrap-up tackler, and he has good instincts. He identifies the play quickly, and he is better in pass coverage than you might think. He has the skill set to move to MLB in this 4-3 defense if the Seahawks don’t get more comfortable with their personnel at that position. At strongside LB, he lines up a lot next to sack artist DE Chris Clemons (11 sacks in 2011), forming a tough duo to block for an offensive line.”

The big story Thursday, of course, was Brian Banks performing well enough in his workout with the Seahawks that he was invited back for a tryout in next week’s minicamp.

Sando offers his thoughts and observations on the situation: “The excitement over the possibilities was palpable. Carroll called Banks a ‘solid natural athlete’ with ‘good natural quickness’ and flexibility. But after a wrongful conviction ended Banks’ high school career and sent him to prison for six years, the 26-year-old prospect faces long odds. Carroll: ‘We’re going to support the chance and have a vision for what he could become more than what he is today and see where it goes.’ ”

Also offering their thoughts and observations:

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times: “Now 26, Banks stands 6 feet 2, 239 pounds and can still run 40 yards in less than 4.7 seconds. It was his grace, though, that was most striking when he answered questions after the workout Thursday, wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned, “XONR8.” Instead of looking back at what he’s lost, Banks talked about the possibilities that have opened up in the weeks since his exoneration. ‘The opportunities that I’ve received, men dream of those days,’ Banks said. ‘They get up every morning, they work hard for that type of offer. I just want to make sure that I’m prepared.’ “

Eric Williams at the News Tribune: “Can you blame Brian Banks for feeling like he was floating on air Thursday morning, taking questions from a throng of local and national reporters? Minutes earlier, the exonerated former high school star linebacker had just been told by Seattle coach Pete Carroll that he had earned an invitation to next week’s minicamp after a productive workout at the team’s facility, conducted by Seattle linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. ‘I really don’t have a word for it. It’s just a dream come true,’ Banks said. ‘A lot of people work hard to get to this point. I’ve also worked hard myself. And I’m just thankful for this opportunity.’ ”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald: “And Banks’ feel-good story isn’t over yet. While the 26-year-old knows better than anyone the uphill battle he is fighting to make an NFL roster for the first time, Banks did do enough at his workout for the Seahawks to ask him to come back for a tryout at next week’s three-day minicamp. ’Now, I understand that we don’t know how that’s going to work out yet,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, ‘but I was really proud to be able to say that to him and the light in his eye, the emotion that was running through him throughout the day and at that moment was amazing.’ “

Art Thiel at sportspress northwest: “For every Seattle sports fan pulling mightily against the success of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals, take a break. For a few minutes, try pulling FOR something. If you don’t feel better after pulling for Brian Banks, something’s wrong. You must be Howard Schulz. You don’t even have to know the cruel backstory to appreciate a top-tier athlete who says, ‘I’m more appreciative of this chance than deserving of it.’ As soon as Banks said that Thursday morning at the Seahawks’ indoor practice field, he won over every fan and media skeptic who has had it up to here with entitled athletes.”

Tim Booth at the Associated Press: “From a football perspective, there is still plenty left for Banks to prove. He first must decide whether to accept the Seahawks’ minicamp offer. Banks’ agent, Bruce Tollner, said Thursday afternoon that he had yet to speak with Banks about the offer, but that Banks tentatively has visits scheduled with five other teams. ‘An invitation back to Seattle is a very positive thing that he’ll want to consider, we just need to check his schedule,’ Tollner said.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got Banks’ big day covered in words and video: “ ‘This is by far the second-best day of my life,’ Banks said. ‘May 24th, my day of exoneration, and just today. To be out here on this field, to workout with the Seahawks, to be given an opportunity to have a tryout, I really don’t have words for it. This is a dream come true. I know a lot of people work hard to get to this point. I’ve also worked hard myself. I’m just thankful for this opportunity.’ Things went well enough during his workout that Banks has been offered a tryout at next week’s minicamp. Somebody definitely owes Banks, now 26, something. But he doesn’t look at it that way. ‘I feel more appreciative for the opportunity than I feel deserving,’ he said.”

You also can watch the Q&A sessions with Banks and Carroll.


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