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Tuesday cyber surfing: Defense, Irvin finding success; Penalties remain an issue; Week 6 battle of the bests

Good morning, and here’s what’s ‘out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 9.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times wonders if the Seahawks are asking too much of their defense, “Seattle’s offense has given up more touchdowns than its defense the past two games, but can the Seahawks really keep this up when it comes to keeping opposing offenses grounded? ‘I don’t have any idea,’ Carroll said. ‘I’ve been around defenses that have done it from wire to wire. There’ll be a time where some guys are going to have to jump in and help, but right now, with really great fortune, we’ve been healthy and guys are able to do their stuff.’ Seattle is starting a rookie at middle linebacker in Bobby Wagner. Cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are both in their second NFL seasons, as is linebacker K.J. Wright. Throw in the fact that rookie Bruce Irvin is second on the team in sacks, and it’s reasonable to assume that the trajectory for this team points up. ‘I think we should improve,’ Carroll said. ‘I think we should count on our guys to continue to get better.’ “

O’Neil tells us three things we learned and three things we’re still trying to figure out after Sunday’s 16-12 win over Carolina, “Does it matter when opponents stack up to stop Marshawn Lynch? The Panthers loaded up against the run. Lynch carried seven times in the first half, and five of those carries gained 3 yards or fewer. Carolina certainly gave every indication it was not going to let Lynch win this game yet when Seattle had the ball deep in its own territory, facing thid-and-7 from its own 4 with 2:58 remaining, Lynch was able to run for 11 yards and gain a first down that was essential in bleeding the clock. For all Carolina’s attention, Lynch rushed 21 times for 85 yards in spite of having a 20-yard gain negated by a questionable holding penalty against Russell Okung.”

O’Neil also passes along an interesting piece from Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe, who has a look at the Patriots’ accelerated no-huddle offense, which will visit CenturyLink Field this weekend, “The NFL never has seen anything like it, and it may never be the same. How did the Patriots run the offense that fast? What was the key? One word. Not one word to describe it. The Patriots operate their no-huddle attack most often using one word as the play call. More accurately, they use six one-word play calls a game. That word tells all 11 players on offense everything they need to know. Formation. Blocking scheme. Direction on run plays. Routes for receiver on passing plays. Shifts in formations. Snap count. Possible alerts and play alterations. One word. ‘I think the point of it is to try to get everyone going fast,’ quarterback Tom Brady said recently. ‘So as fast as you can get the communication to your teammates, everyone can be on the line of scrimmage, then the better it is.’ “

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune comments on the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense, and offers some comments from Carroll on the achievement through Week 5, “The Seahawks are ranked No. 1 in the league in total defense, No. 2 in total points allowed and No. 3 in rushing defense. Fresh off a 16-12 win over Carolina that took the Hawks to 3-2, coach Pete Carroll on Monday talked to the press about the performance. He did not wave an oversized No. 1 finger to liven up his statements. ‘It doesn’t mean much right now … it’d be really nice to be No. 1 at the end,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s a good statement at the beginning of the season that our guys have gotten off to a great start. … It’s fun for those guys to know – it’s a very prideful group – but does it mean anything? Not really. What we’re going to do this week is what counts.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald details Carroll’s frustration with the team’s first-half play in their Week 5 win, “Well for the most part, Carroll was frustrated by the mistakes that kept his team from winning more comfortably. First-half penalties slowed the offense — most notably the holding call on tackle Breno Giacomini that negated a 56-yard Russell Wilson pass to Golden Tate — helping limit the Seahawks to a pair of field goals despite a statistically impressive half. A rather silly penalty on defensive end Chris Clemons also kept the Panthers on the field on their only scoring drive of the half. And in the second half, Carroll was frustrated by the three turnovers that if not for another very impressive outing by Seattle’s defense, would have cost the Seahawks the game. ‘It was a very frustrating game for the most part, because we could not get on top of it. We were playing well and doing some really good things,’ Carroll said. ‘You could feel us executing in different areas that spelled that we could be ahead and taking command of the football game, but we weren’t able to because we got in our own way.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press recaps the impressive performance by cornerback Brandon Browner and the Seahawks defense and their ability to overcome mistakes in the win over Carolina, “There were plenty of moments when the Seahawks defense shined on Sunday and cornerback Brandon Browner was often in the middle. It was Browner’s strip of DeAngelo Williams and subsequent fumble recovery in the third quarter that changed the momentum after Seattle had gifted the Panthers three turnovers, including Captain Munnerlyn’s 33-yard interception return for a touchdown to give Carolina a 10-6 lead. Browner’s forced fumble led to Wilson’s touchdown pass to Golden Tate that gave the Seahawks the lead late in the third quarter. But the burly cornerback wasn’t done. He and Marcus Trufant combined to tackle Carolina’s Louis Murphy at the 1-yard line on third-and-goal with less than 4 minutes remaining when it appeared he would score easily and potentially give Carolina the lead. On fourth-and-goal, Newton rolled out of the pocket, but threw a pass intended for Ben Hartsock into the turf. ‘The four plays down there were really extraordinary,’ Carroll said of the goal-line stand. ‘That’s a fun situation to be in. As a defense that is as intense as it gets and as exciting as it gets to play ball, so much at stake and the game on the line and all that and to come through is really huge.’ “

Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com shares some thoughts on the play of rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin, “Irvin, the 15th overall pick, has 4.5 sacks after picking up two in Seattle’s 16-12 win over Carolina on Sunday. That has him on pace for more than 14, which would equal the stellar season turned in by Aldon Smith in 2011 when the 49ers’ top pick was nearly the league’s defensive rookie of the year. Coach Pete Carroll estimated that Irvin played less than 25 of 52 plays against Carolina. That didn’t stop him from getting to Cam Newton twice. His second sack came on Carolina’s final possession, when Irvin forced a fumble that teammate Alan Branch recovered to seal the win for Seattle. He dropped Newton for a 13-yard loss on third down earlier in the game. It was his second two-sack game in three weeks. Irvin isn’t an every-down player. Neither was Smith a year ago, though, so matching his 14-sack season seems like a realistic possibility.”

Henderson also has a closer look at the Seahawks’ decision to take a safety at the end of the game against Carolina, “The Seahawks picked up one first down but still faced a fourth-and-7 from their own 18 before calling a timeout. Carroll, while considering the risk of the Panthers blocking the punt, figured Ryan would be standing at the 7- or 8-yard line, too close to the end zone for comfort. A blocked punt, if recovered by Carolina, could be easily returned for a game-winning touchdown. Even if Seattle were to recover it, Carolina would take over just yards from the end zone. Another factor: the Seahawks, not knowing whether Carolina would come after Ryan, would need to hold their blocks to prevent pressure, potentially giving the Panthers more time to set up their return. The alternative, an intentional safety and a free kick, was more appealing. ‘I thought, ‘Well, shoot – we can stand at the 20 with our guys going full go, full speed chasing the football and we might put the ball back at the other 25 or something.’ It wasn’t even a difficult decision at all,’ Carroll said.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM says addressing the team’s penalty situation still remains a focus for Carroll, “The Seahawks fought back and were able to win against the Panthers, but coach Pete Carroll knows they have areas they still need to clean up. T Breno Giacomini was benched in the first half after picking up a holding penalty that negated a 56 yard pass from QB Russell Wilson to WR Golden Tate and another personal foul on a late hit on the sideline. He was replaced by T Frank Omiyale for a series in the second quarter. ‘I better start reinforcing a lot better than I’m doing. I’m not doing a very good job here,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s not because it’s not emphasized, the message just isn’t hitting home yet.’ Seattle has 44 penalties – the most of any team in the NFL through five weeks – for 363 yards, which is tied for third most in the league. They have two games already with 10-plus penalties this season. While the amount has been cut back the last two weeks, the penalties they have incurred have been more costly. ‘We’ve got very aggressive guys and we’ve sought them out and now we’re dealing with it,’ Carroll said.”

The staff at ESPN.com has their updated NFL Power Rankings and the Seahawks come in at No. 16 on their list, ranking as high as No. 11 (Mike Sando, John Clayton) and as low as No. 19 (Dan Graziano).

Mike Sando of ESPN.com notes that the NFC West is statistically the division that opposing quarterbacks should fear most, “This is the first in a series of posts Tuesday illustrating just how dominant NFC West defenses have been despite facing Aaron Rodgers (twice), Matthew Stafford (twice), Tom Brady, Michael Vick, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton through Week 5.”

Sando also notes that NFC West teams lead the League in shutting down running backs.

Lastly from Sando, he has a look at the success the NFC West’s young pass rushers have enjoyed through Week 5, “Four young NFC West outside pass-rushers have combined for 18 sacks through five games. Bruce Irvin, Seattle Seahawks (4.5): Irvin collected two sacks while playing 20 snaps against Carolina. His second sack forced a turnover, allowing the Seahawks to run out the clock on their 16-12 victory. Irvin appears increasingly comfortable as he gains experience. He is the only non-starter of the four listed here. Smith was also a situational player as a rookie. He collected 14 sacks in 2011. Irvin is now on pace for that many.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his first look at the Seahawks’ Week 6 matchup with the Patriots – a battle of the No. 1-ranked defense and No. 1-ranked offense in the NFL.

Tony Ventrella and Farnsworth review the Seahawks’ 16-12 victory over the Panthers in this short video, and Ventrella details the Seahawks’ ability to overcome mistakes en route to victory in his Seahawks Daily from Monday.

Finally, we have the full video of Carroll’s Monday press conference available here.