Thursday cyber surfing: Rice’s return

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 23.

Head coach Pete Carroll tossed a couple of important announcements our way after practice on Wednesday – cornerback Roy Lewis will undergo knee surgery and there is no specified date for his return at this time, and wide receiver Sidney Rice is expected to see his first action of the preseason Friday night at Kansas City.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story on Rice’s return to action, “It wasn’t until Sidney Rice got put on his butt that you knew he was back. It happened Tuesday during a passing drill at practice, when free safety Earl Thomas hit Seattle’s top wide receiver. Thomas pulled up a little bit, but the blow was enough to knock Rice off his feet. ‘It was great,’ coach Pete Carroll said. Great? Rice is coming off twin shoulder surgeries this offseason, a guy who has missed more regular-season games (17) than he has played over the previous two years and had 11 anchors installed in each shoulder this offseason. ‘He needed to feel that and know that could happen,’ Carroll said.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his story on Rice’s return, “…the sixth-year veteran has been full-go this week and has taken a couple of hard shots from Seattle’s first-team defense without suffering any ill effects. ‘We’re anxious to see him get out there,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s had a fantastic process getting back. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s practicing really, really well. And so we’ll get him a little bit of (playing time) just to break the ice on that one.’ “

Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network previews the Seahawks-Chiefs preseason matchup, “With a chance to seize a starting quarterback position that’s still up for grabs, [Russell] Wilson will draw a surprise start for the Seahawks as they head to Arrowhead Stadium for a rehearsal contest against the Kansas City Chiefs. Wilson, Seattle’s third-round choice in this past April’s draft following a stellar collegiate career at North Carolina State and Wisconsin, entered camp as the underdog in a three-man battle to be the team’s No. 1 signal-caller. The rookie has been terrific in his two preseason appearances — albeit against second-team defenses — to emerge as perhaps the favorite to be under center when the Seahawks open the regular season at Arizona on Sept. 9.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald catches up with defensive back Jeron Johnson as he battles to make the Seahawks’ roster, “Johnson was impressive during the preseason last year, too, which is how he made the roster as an undrafted rookie at the expense of, amongst others, fifth-round pick Mark LeGree. Although he was good enough to make the team last year and contribute primarily on special teams, Johnson feels like he has come a long, long ways since training camp a year ago. ‘It’s not too much different from what they asked of me last season,’ said Johnson, who like other rookies last year was behind thanks to the lockout, which eliminated offseason workouts. It’s just I had time to understand the defense more this year. The OTAs and minicamps helped tremendously. The lockout was my rookie year, so just having OTAs and minicamp helped out. … This year I’m playing a lot faster.’ “

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com says Russell Wilson deserves the start he is getting Friday night, “Wilson started 50 consecutive games and was only the fifth quarterback in college history to run for 1,000 and pass for 5,000. The guy’s a freak, and in the most flattering way. But hey, you don’t have to believe me, or even his ever-so-lightly hyperventilating coach, Pete Carroll. Listen to his teammates. ‘He’s playing at a level you don’t expect as rookie to be at right now,’ said Unger, the bearer of the foot-stool for his 5-foot-11 little buddy. ‘There are expectations for a guy you take higher in the draft — not saying third isn’t high — but you just don’t expect a guy taken in the third round to be in the running for the starting spot right away. To be in the competition this late says what he’s done in camp.” And this from wide receiver Golden Tate: ‘Russell wants to be the best. From the day I met him, he’s been the first one in and the last one out. Even when we had those five weeks off, he was coming in at 7 a.m. getting his work done, them lifting, then throwing with whatever guys were here. In meetings, he asks very good questions. Watching the game, you can see the kid is good, but he has worked so hard to get there. He’s so driven to be the guy for us.’ “

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com has his story on the Seahawks naming Wilson the starting quarterback against Kansas City, “As Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Wednesday on SIRIUS NFL Radio, the decision isn’t as much about Flynn as it is about Wilson’s compelling play with and against non-starters, and the now imperative need to see where he is against the ones. ‘He’s been going with the twos, he’s had eight drives, and scored six times: five touchdowns and one field goal,’ Schneider told Adam Schein and Rich Gannon. ‘He’s been pretty dynamic. Matt’s done a nice job and has a good feel for the system … Russell’s done so much in the second half of these two games. Pete preaches competition all the time, he’d be remiss if he didn’t put this guy with the ones and see what he could do with that group.’ “

Gil Brandt of NFL.com names offensive lineman Breno Giacomini and rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner as players who must step up if the Seahawks are to be successful in 2012, “Offense: Breno Giacomini, offensive tackle: A former Packers prospect, Giacomini made a big leap in Week 11 of 2011, when he stepped into a starting role. The one-time college tight end has long arms and excellent work habits; his athletic ability and strength seem to have finally caught up with him. He’s the kind of player offensive line coach Tom Cable loves to develop. Defense: Bobby Wagner, linebacker: The competitive second-round draft pick must figure heavily into the Seahawks’ plans; perhaps encouraged by Wagner’s play, they traded free-agent acquisition Barrett Ruud to the Saints on Monday. The long-armed Wagner will make a lot of tackles, but he can also play in space.”

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com has his NFL head coach power rankings, and he has coach Carroll ranked in the ‘Middle of the pack’ with the likes of John Harbaugh, Mike Smith, Jeff Fisher, Gary Kubiak, Lovie Smith, Marvin Lewis, and Ken Whisenhunt.

Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com says to keep an eye on offensive tackle Russell Okung as a potential Pro Bowl candidate in 2012, “Injuries are the main issue for this young player. When healthy he demonstrates why he was a first-round pick. If he stays on the field for 16 games, the truth will come out about this athletic pass blocking left tackle.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his story on Rice’s return, but asks what other receivers will step up, and catches up with wide receivers coach Kippy Brown on the topic, “About the only two givens at this late point in the preseason – and with the first roster cut from 89 to 75 players looming on Monday – are that Doug Baldwin will be the slot receiver and Sidney Rice will be the flanker. Baldwin won’t play against the Chiefs after having fluid extracted from a troublesome hamstring this week, and Rice will make his preseason debut at Arrowhead Stadium after spending most of the summer in a red no-contact jersey to protect his surgically repaired shoulders. But who will replace Mike Williams at split end? And who might be the fourth wide-out in the four-receiver sets? And, while we’re wondering, who fills the fifth and possibly sixth spots on the 53-man roster from the 13 wide-outs on the current roster? Kippy Brown, who coaches the position, can only wish he had the answers to those questions. ‘The competition is as open as it could be. It couldn’t be any more open,’ Brown said after Wednesday’s practice, when he continued to mix and match his receiver in trying to find the most-productive groupings. ‘It’s an interesting deal. Everybody is playing hard and trying hard. There are only so many reps. So there are going to be some difficult decisions.’ “

Farnsworth also has his ‘Wednesday in Hawkville‘ with a look at Edawn Coughman, “The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Coughman was still wearing his white No. 70 jersey, it’s just that he was working with the blue-jerseyed defensive linemen. ‘We took a little look,’ Carroll said. ‘I saw him in a little drill over here helping the offensive guys and he showed a little quickness. So we thought we’d give him a look. We put him on film rushing the passer a little bit.’ Coughman was signed in June after being released by the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. He played offensive line at Shaw University, but also has played defense in the past. ‘He has very good quickness, and he’s done a really nice job growing on offense,’ Carroll said. ‘I’m not yet ready to tell you he’s a two-way performer yet, but we’re working at it.’ “

Fantasy writer Scott Engel brings us a look at the Seahawks defense/special teams unit as it relates to fantasy football in 2012, calling the opportunistic unit undervalued and effective.

Lastly, Tony Ventrella has a look at Wednesday’s happenings in his Seahawks Daily.