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Monday cyber surfing: Making moves to 53; Practice squad forms

Good morning, and happy Labor Day. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks after a busy weekend of roster transactions. You can take a look at the Seahawks’ up-to-date roster here.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times speaks to the roster’s continuity this season from a year ago, “This season, the subtraction of tight end Kellen Winslow was the only real surprise as Evan Moore will be added to take his place. The fact that things are so much more settled this year speaks to the quality of the roster that coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider believe they’ve assembled over the past two and a half years. There’s not nearly as much turnover on this year’s team. Of the 53 players currently on Seattle’s roster, 15 were acquired over the offseason. Compare that to last season, when 24 of Seattle’s 53 players were in their first year with the team. The year before that, the number was 27, more than half the team.”

O’Neil has a look at the somewhat unexpected release of tight end Kellen Winslow, “The release of Winslow came after he declined to take a pay cut from the $3.3 million he was scheduled to earn. That salary may have been a point of discussion for months now. Seattle is expected to replace him with Evan Moore, a tight end who played the past three years in Cleveland. Moore is 6 feet 6 and caught 34 passes in 2011, scoring four touchdowns.”

Lastly from O’Neil, we have his look at Seattle’s cut to 53 players, which occurred Friday afternoon, “Just as significant as who is not on the 53-man roster, though, is one player who is: offensive lineman James Carpenter. He did not practice at all during training camp as he continued his recovery from a knee injury he suffered in practice last October. Carpenter was last year’s first-round pick, and he was on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list since training camp began. Had he been placed on that list to begin the season, he would not have counted against the 53-man roster limit, but also would have been ineligible to begin practicing with the team until after its sixth game.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune comments on the Seahawks’ 53-man roster, noting that Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s roster-churning days appear to have slowed down, “Currently, 37 of Seattle’s 53 players on the roster were with the team last season. Only six players on the roster remain from when Carroll took over the team after the 2009 season. And Seattle still has one of the youngest teams in the league, with only six players age 30 or older. Cornerback Marcus Trufant is the oldest at 31 – he turns 32 on Christmas Day. Linebacker Leroy Hill turns 30 on Sept. 14.”

Williams has a feature on rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who moved into the starting role this season with the departure of veteran David Hawthorne in free agency and has been making quick progress, “Bradley said he knew Wagner arrived when the headsets on the sidelines went down during the team’s first preseason game against Tennessee, the defensive coordinator had to signal in the calls. Wagner told Bradley he could read his lips from the sideline and get the calls that way. ‘I think for him the big thing is just getting used to using his hands,’ Bradley said. ‘He’s going to have linemen out on him, and he’s getting better at that, and attacking the line of scrimmage.’ “

Williams also comments on the Seahawks’ highly-touted secondary, who has been given the nickname ‘The Legion of Boom‘, “Seattle boasts one of best young secondaries in the league, with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, and cornerback Brandon Browner all making the trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season. Seattle finished No. 9 in total defense last season, the first time since 1997 the Seahawks finished in the top 10. While Seattle’s defensive front seven anchors the unit with its stout play against the run, the Legion of Boom creates turnovers, and plays with a ferocity befitting the name. ‘We all got that boom,’ safety Kam Chancellor said. ‘Whether it’s getting interceptions, talking trash, being a ballhawk or just knocking somebody out – it’s everything.’ “

Lastly from Williams, he details the release of Winslow and Seattle’s cut to 53.

John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune admires quarterback Russell Wilson’s attitude and drive to be “great”, but says that average will be just fine for Wilson in this offense, as he advises the rookie to not try to do too much, “Average will work on this offense. Good will be just fine. An average-to-good quarterback who avoids turnovers is a better fit for Pete Carroll’s system than a great quarterback prone to the occasional, inevitable mistake. Take last season’s road upset of the New York Giants. The Hawks beat the eventual Super Bowl champions because Charlie Whitehurst, relieving the injured Tarvaris Jackson in the third quarter, didn’t try to out-Eli Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Whitehurst completed only 11 passes in the second half, for 149 yards and a touchdown, but none of his 19 attempts ended up in the hands of the defense. Manning, meanwhile, finished the day with gaudy stats – 24-of-39 for 420 yards and three touchdowns – but undermined by three interceptions. On the best day of Whitehurst’s life – and helping the Seahawks to that 39-26 victory qualifies for the short list – he is not half the quarterback that Manning is. But again, sometimes less can be preferable to more.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald recaps the Seahawks’ roster reduction, and says wide receiver Braylon Edwards is out to prove critics wrong after a down season a year ago, “That guy you saw wearing Edwards’ jersey last year? That wasn’t him, he’ll tell you. But saying it is one thing, proving it while playing on your fourth team in the last five seasons? Well, let’s just say Edwards knows a strong training camp and a few nice catches in preseason games don’t mean he’s back to being the player who caught 53 passes for 904 yards as recently as two seasons ago. But just getting a chance to show what he can do is a pretty good start. ‘I feel great,’ Edwards said. ‘I feel like I’m full speed, I feel like I can jump however high I need to make plays and get around. I just feel like my athletic ability is there again. Last year I just wasn’t able really to jump, move, make certain cuts, so I’m a much different player this year than last year.’ “

Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network previews the Seahawks 2012 season, “Even before Wilson’s unexpected rise to the starting lineup and Carroll’s latest examples of unconventional wisdom, the Seahawks were being touted as a team potentially on the rise. Seattle went 5-3 over the second half of last year’s campaign, with the surge fueled by a string of productive games from running back Marshawn Lynch and a defense filled with relative unknowns gelling into one of the NFL’s better crews. And if preseason results can be used as an accurate measuring stick, the Seahawks may indeed be ready to take off in 2012. With Wilson leading the way, Seattle prevailed in all four of its warm-up contests and outscored the opposition by a convincing 122-44 margin.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report on the 53-man roster and release of Winslow.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his analysis of the Seahawks’ cut to 53 players, “Most significant move: The Seattle Seahawks emerged from last season with high hopes for Josh Portis as a developmental quarterback. The arrival of Matt Flynn in free agency and new starter Russell Wilson through the draft left Portis on the outside. The Seahawks released him, leaving Wilson and Flynn as the only quarterbacks on the initial 53-man roster. Some teams with rookie starters brace themselves for what they know will be a long season. The Seahawks think Wilson upgrades the position immediately. They appear unworried by rookie walls and all the other ominous metaphors that typically pop up with inexperienced players behind center. The team could always consider adding a third quarterback in the future, but the value wasn’t there given what Seattle thinks about its top two quarterbacks.”

Sando also has a breakdown of the Seahawks’ roster and practice available for download.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a position-by-position look at the newly-crafted 53-man roster.

Farnsworth also details what’s left at the tight end position after the release of Winslow, “Now what? The Seahawks still have Miller, and the coaches have been pleased with the more-consistent performance of third-year Anthony McCoy during training camp and the preseason. McCoy, a sixth-round draft choice in 2010, had six catches for a team-high 106 receiving yards during the just-concluded preseason. ‘Anthony has been a really good prospect,’ coach Pete Carroll said recently of the tight end he also coached at USC. ‘This was a great pick for us a couple years back. He’s really grown into a versatile tight end for us. He’s one of our best blockers. He’s not quite to Zach’s level, but he really does a great job on all the in-line blocking. He moves around well. He’s a great target to throw the ball to.’ “

And finally, to round things out this morning, Farnsworth looks at the seven familiar faces that make up the Seahawks practice squad, “The release-and-return move with [quarterback Josh] Portis is shrewd. Waiving him opened a roster spot for an extra position player, but he’ll still be around to continue developing his raw, but obvious, skills by getting some reps quarterbacking the scout team that works against the Seahawks’ defense in practice. Last year, Portis made the 53-man roster as a rookie free agent, but was inactive for 15 games.”