Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 30.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look at what has accounted for the club’s struggles in defending the run, “The first sign of trouble defending the run came on a Thursday night game in San Francisco in Week 7. Frank Gore rushed for 92 yards in the second half of Seattle’s loss, but that was chalked up to San Francisco’s scheme. The 49ers ran a trap play that Seattle didn’t adjust to. When Adrian Peterson gained 182 rushing yards against Seattle two weeks later, it was a testament to Peterson’s MVP-caliber season. But when Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas each averaged more than 6 yards per carry Sunday, it’s a sign of a fairly serious problem. ‘Last week wasn’t any new concepts,’ Bradley said. ‘It was just lack of trust. Some guys trying to do too much. We lost our gaps a couple of times, and then you saw some of our veteran guys try to do too much to compensate for them. Our defense is built on trust.” Now some of that trust needs to be rebuilt. ‘We’ve just got to find a way to get the job done,’ safety Earl Thomas said. ‘That’s all I can say really about that. We’ve got to win when our number is called. It’s really the little details. We just haven’t been able to get the job done.’ “
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his practice report from Thursday, noting Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant and linebacker Leroy Hill sat out for the second consecutive day. Williams also has the Bears’ injury report, who have ruled out return specialist Devin Hester for Sunday’s game with a concussion, along with former Seahawk offensive lineman Chris Spencer, who suffered a torn meniscus in the Bears matchup with the Minnesota Vikings a week ago.
Williams also recaps a media session with quarterback Russell Wilson, who celebrated his 24th birthday yesterday, “Wilson understands he’ll face a tough challenge on the road against an experienced, physical Chicago defense at Soldier Field. Wilson played at Soldier Field last season while at Wisconsin against Northern Illinois, so he’s familiar with the stadium. ‘I have so much respect for guys like (Brian) Urlacher, (Lance) Briggs, (Julius) Peppers and (Charles) Tillman – all of those guys that I’ve watched over the years,’ Wilson said. “So it’s going to be pretty awesome for me to play against them. But it’s no different. I won’t be star struck, that’s for sure. I think that you have to play smart. You have to know that they’re very, very intelligent in terms of knowing how to play the game, in terms of their coverages and everything. They do a great job of being in the right spots at the right times. So you have to trust what you see, and just play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald labels Wilson as the Seahawks most consistent weapon of late, “Wilson…has been very good since talk of his job security eight weeks ago. He has been exceptional the past three games, becoming the first rookie in NFL history to register a passer rating of 125 or better in three straight games. Since Seattle’s Week 5 win in Carolina, Wilson has 13 touchdown passes and just four interceptions, good for a passer rating of 105.3. Only Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and fellow rookie Robert Griffin III have had better ratings in that span. That’s pretty heady company, particularly for somebody who a lot of Seahawks fans wanted to see sitting on the bench not too long ago.”
Michael Rushton of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s matchup with the Chicago Bears, “Though the Seahawks have won their last two regular-season trips to Chicago, they have twice been bested at Solider Field in the divisional playoffs, including a meeting in the 2010 playoffs. That seems to indicate that Seattle struggles when Chicago’s fans are bringing the noise. A victory this weekend by Seattle would show it is a playoff-caliber team and would keep the club in the hunt for the division title, but that is easier said than done given recent road issues. ‘You don’t know how this is going to go, but we do know we need to take care of business. We don’t have many chances left, we have five games to get it done, and we can’t just lock in that we’re going to win all our home games either. It ain’t going to be that easy. But right now, it’s Chicago,’ said Carroll. The Bears are one of only two teams this season that give up fewer points per game than the Seahawks and home cooking should work in their favor this Sunday. Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bears 20, Seahawks 13″
Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com has his report from Thursday’s practice, recapping a conversation with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, “The Chicago Bears use running back Matt Forte on toss sweeps and screen plays very effectively, according to Bradley. They also have a larger back, Michael Bush, for the power plays. Seattle’s secondary will have its work cut out covering the Bears’ primary receiver, Brandon Marshall. Bradley said the fact Seattle has faced Calvin Johnson of the Lions and Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald should help them against Marshall. The Bears’ patched-up offensive line is not asked to pass protect very long. Bradley says they run more quick plays which makes it difficult for the defense to get pressure on Jay Cutler, who can also extend plays with unusual side-arm and underhand shovel throws.”
Tim Booth of the Associated Press visits the Seahawks’ road woes, “The road problems aren’t new. Seattle’s struggles outside the Northwest are a long-standing issue that is a mix of having to travel more than any other team in the NFL and often playing what feels like a morning start when going to the Eastern or Central time zones. And those issues become more glaring because of how good the Seahawks are at home. Since Seattle opened its new stadium before the start of the 2002 season, the Seahawks are 56-29 at home, including an 8-0 mark in 2005 on their way to the Super Bowl and a 7-1 home record in 2007. On the flip side, Seattle is just 31-55 on the road during the same time span and 12-34 since 2007. In the Eastern time zone alone, Seattle is 7-20 over the last 10 years. ‘We just have to learn how to get over that hump, know that we’re a good team and finish games no matter whether home or on the road. We have to figure out how to win those games and until then we’ll just be middle of the pack,’ [Leroy] Hill said.”
Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com has an interesting read on “underdog” quarterbacks winning the locker room, and ultimately, the starting job, “In March, the Seattle Seahawks signed former Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn to a three-year, $19.5 million contract and penciled him in as the quarterback of the near future. They selected Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson in the third round a month later, with the idea that Wilson would learn Seattle’s offense over time. But a funny thing happened on the way to the regular season. Flynn didn’t play badly in minicamps and practices, but it was clear from Day 1 that Wilson had attributes Flynn didn’t possess. The rookie outstripped the veteran in mobility, velocity, accuracy, and the most important thing a quarterback must possess — the faith of his teammates. From the summer on, Seahawks players were telling me about Wilson’s intangibles. ‘When Russell’s in there, we just feel like something good’s going to happen,’ one player said.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at the Seahawks’ offensive production against NFC North opponents.
Sando also breaks down the progression of Wilson this season, whose QBR (82.4) trails only Tom Brady (85.1) since Week 5.
Doug Kretz of ESPN.com previews several key elements to watch for in Sunday’s game against the Bears. You must have an ESPN Insider subscription in order to view the entire article, but here is an interesting snippet: “Key positional battle — Seahawks’ O-line vs. Bears’ D-line: In a lot of ways, these two lines are similar in their approach to the game. Both are extremely physical and like to set the pace for their respective units. Seattle loves to dominate up front with a powerful line that opens up holes for Lynch. Chicago relies on a powerful interior and athletic ends to limit run lanes and collapse the pocket. Case for the underdog: The Seahawks need a big game from Lynch and their running game if they hope to come out ahead on the road. They have not been a great team away from the friendly confines of their home stadium and a strong ground game is the best recipe to correct the issue. Few teams can strike as quickly as Chicago with its Cutler-to-Brandon Marshall connection, and Seattle needs to do everything possible to keep these guys off the field.”
NFL Films previews Sunday’s matchup with the Bears in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth recaps “Thursday in Hawkville” with a focus on offensive lineman Frank Omiyale, the former Chicago Bear who signed with Seattle this past offseason, “The veteran offensive lineman played the past three seasons with the Bears, starting 31 games at left guard, left tackle and right tackle. With the injury problems the Bears are having on their line, there’s a pretty good chance he’d be starting this week against the Seahawks. Except that Omiyale signed with the Seahawks in free agency in March. ‘It’s not a big deal, but I’m excited to see some of the guys,’ he said today of returning to Soldier Field as a member of the visiting team. ‘Other than that, we’re trying to win a game. So that’s what this week is all about.’ “
Farnsworth also highlights quarterback Russell Wilson as he prepares to face the Bears, and rehashes the rookie’s numbers over the past three games, “Wilson’s three-game totals are worth a second look: 70 percent completions (49 of 70) for 585 yards, with seven touchdown passes and no interceptions for a 128.6 rating. This November to remember got Wilson nominated for NFC Rookie of the Month. Even though the honor went to Redskins rookie QB Robert Griffin III, it doesn’t diminish what Wilson accomplished. ‘The surprise, I guess, is it’s so hard for a rookie to demonstrate that kind of consistency,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘We’ve seen him grow. We’ve seen him emerge. Now we’re able to watch him show a consistency of performance where each game looks like an extension of the next one. That’s really powerful. I think that’s the surprise – he’s done something that nobody’s ever done before in those three (games). We wouldn’t have anticipated that.”
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” emphasizing ball security this week against a Bears defense that has forced the most turnovers (33) in the NFL.
Finally, our team photographer Rod Mar has a look at the week of practice in photos here.