Thursday cyber surfing: Baldwin out; Prepping for “Megatron”

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 25.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look at the Seahawks’ improved ability to score early in games, “Seattle, like many teams, scripts about the first 15 offensive plays. The players are told what those plays will be the day before, and they rehearse them during the walk-through. The team won’t necessarily run those 15 plays in that exact order in the game, as there are some adjustments made for third-down situations or if the team has the ball inside the 20-yard-line, but for the most part, the team sticks to the sequence laid out in advance. The goal of following that prepared script? ‘We’re trying to execute well,’ said Darrell Bevell, Seattle’s offensive coordinator. ‘We’re trying to score points, which I think we’ve done a pretty decent job of doing that. There’s some fact-finding you’re trying to find out.’ The offense is trying to judge defensive tendencies, to see if the opponent is using the same alignments and coverages as previous weeks and to test whether it is adjusting the same way. But more than anything else, those 15 plays are what the coaches believe give the offense its best chance to start fast. And amid all the faults you can find with Seattle’s offense, its early success is a bright spot. Seattle has scored first in each of its seven games this season, a marked improvement over a year ago, when Seattle didn’t score a first-quarter touchdown until its fifth game. The Seahawks were outscored 67-13 in the first half during their first four games last season.”

O’Neil also highlights Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, “One of the biggest mysteries of this season has been why Johnson has not been to the end zone more. Through six games this season, he has caught 38 passes, which is actually two more than he had after six games last season. But he has scored only one touchdown this season whereas he had nine in the first six games last season. He’s coming off a Monday night game in which he caught three passes for 34 yards, both season-lows. Seattle has shown it’s not going to deviate from its defensive formula. Not when it comes to defending Cam Newton and Carolina’s option. Not when it comes to the Patriots and Tom Brady. And not when you bring in a 6-5 mismatch like Johnson. The Seahawks are going to give cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner help with a safety, but Seattle isn’t going to gerrymander a defense to have someone stick with him the whole time. Coach Pete Carroll: ‘Where he’s most dangerous is when they throw it up and he goes up and makes his plays, especially when you’re defending the play and he still wins. He’s already famous for all of that in the early part of his career.’ “

Lastly from O’Neil, he has practice notes from Wednesday with the news on wide receiver Doug Baldwin’s high ankle sprain, and cornerback Walter Thurmond and guard John Moffitt’s return to practice.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with cornerback Richard Sherman, who along with fellow cornerback Brandon Browner will be tasked with defending the Lions’ Calvin Johnson on Sunday, “So the 6-foot-5, 236-pound Johnson doesn’t present a unique challenge? ‘It’s nothing for a guy who’s 6-3,’ Sherman said, chuckling. ‘There’s nothing unique about it. … Actually it might be a little less of an issue – because of his height, we’re closer in size so you move similar to him. It’s better than the small, little guys who you don’t move the same as. He’s got long strides, I’ve got long strides – you know what I’m saying? We’ve got similar body types.’ The Seahawks are one of the few teams that match up well against Johnson because of 6-3 Sherman and 6-4 Brandon Browner – the biggest cornerback tandem in the league. ‘They have giants in the secondary,’ Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. ‘They have 6-4 and 6-3 cornerbacks. I think (Seattle strong safety) Kam Chancellor is 6-3. With those guys it’s like a junior college basketball team out there with their great length.’ “

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks bring the intensity every game under coach Pete Carroll, “Fans of the Seattle Seahawks don’t have to look back too far to remember those times when their team occasionally came out curiously lifeless, almost as if sedated. And a double-digit loss generally left a frustrated coach to say, ‘Well, we really came out flat today.’ Even in the Super Bowl year of 2005, the Hawks started the season with a 12-point loss and ended with an 11-point defeat. Through the late Holmgren years and all the way up to the middle of last season, at least a few blowout losses blemished the annual results. But in the 15 games since then, the Seahawks have won nine, and have been in reasonable striking distance in the six losses. One came in overtime, two others were by a field goal or less, and none were by more than a touchdown. At times they have opened themselves to valid questioning over mind-numbing penalties, dubious schemes, questionable calls, untimely turnovers and that damnable draw play on third-and-long. But whatever else has gone on, win or lose, this team’s effort and emotion and competitive energy have been absolutely above reproach. This team shows up to play every week.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald connects with wide receiver Sidney Rice, who appeared visually frustrated when the team turned the ball over in the second half of the team’s Week 7 loss to the 49ers, “Rice insists that his only concern is wins and losses, not his stats, and that in that particular instance, he was upset to see his team turn the ball over. ‘It’s all about winning,’ Rice said when asked about showing frustration. ‘… I just may show emotion different ways when I’m out there on the field. I take it you’re talking about last week when I threw my mouthpiece? I was a little upset, because you can’t win ballgames turning the ball over to a team like the 49ers.’ That Rice or any other Seattle receiver occasionally shows frustration shouldn’t be that much of surprise. Rice is Seattle’s No. 1 receiver, yet has been targeted only 36 times through seven games. That number leads the Seahawks, but ranks 67th among NFL pass catchers. Not only are numerous receivers getting more balls thrown their way than the Seahawks’ top target, 16 tight ends and even three running backs have been targeted more times than Rice. When asked about the offense, Rice noted, ‘We’re one of the top running offenses in the league with Marshawn (Lynch) back there — he’s doing a great job. The fellas up front are doing a great job getting him to the second level, and it’s up to us as receivers to continue blocking down field and just make plays when the ball’s thrown our way.’ “

Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN’s “Brock and Salk” say that while many people are calling for the Seahawks to open up the offense and throw more passes, it may not be the cure-all that some people think. They explain why in this short video.

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Wednesday’s practice session.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at NFC West injury situations with a few notes on the Seahawks, “Receiver Doug Baldwin (ankle) has a high sprain suffered Thursday night. He’ll probably miss multiple games. That means Charly Martin will reemerge in the offense. Braylon Edwards could get additional snaps as well, particularly if Golden Tate’s consistency does not improve. Tate and Martin could get more work from the slot with Baldwin out. That would also open up reps for Edwards on the outside. Cornerback Walter Thurmond is practicing following a lengthy rehab from a broken fibula. The team has through next week to activate Thurmond from the physically unable to perform list. Guard John Moffitt (knee) is also back at practice this week, but it’s not clear when he’ll return to the rotation on game days. Defensive tackle Jason Jones (ankle) and special-teams linebacker Malcolm Smith (concussion) are expected to play.”

SI.com has their updated NFL power rankings heading into Week 8, and they rank the Seahawks at No. 9 – dropping them one spot from a week ago, “Russell Wilson’s night in San Francisco could have had a much happier ending if his intended Seahawks receivers could have held on to a few of his passes, especially early on in the game. I like these Seahawks, but they’re now 0-3 in the division, with all the losses on the road. They don’t get back into the NFC West until Week 14, and Seattle’s only hope is that those three late-season home games in December still carry division-title possibilities.”

NFL.com also has their updated NFL power rankings and they have the ‘Hawks at No. 7 – the same spot as a week ago, “Pete Carroll’s Little Ballclub That Could is seventh because it deserves to be. The Seattle Seahawks have played better than the Baltimore Ravens as of late, have a far better defense, a more reliable running game and not as many guys injured. Moreover, Seattle just gave the Niners all they could handle last Thursday. The Seahawks rushed for 136 yards on San Francisco (no small feat against that D) and lead the NFL in run-to-pass ratio at 54.6 percent. Pretty incredible in this era of NERF football.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth recaps “Wednesday in Hawkville” and previews Sunday’s Sherman/Browner vs. Johnson matchup.

Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” with a look at the team’s “Competition Wednesday” practice.

Finally, we bring you offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and head coach Pete Carroll‘s full press conferences from yesterday.


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