Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 4.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at the play of Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, “It has been more than a month since he was last intercepted, and he is seven touchdown passes away from matching Peyton Manning’s NFL rookie record of 26. Wilson is making the kinds of plays that won him the starting job in August. Now those plays are winning games in December. Wilson has caught up to the speed of a regular-season NFL game and the complexity of the defenses. The game is starting to slow down for him. It’s the culmination of a process the Seahawks clearly staked out, starting from the moment Wilson was thrust into the quarterback competition in the offseason and continuing into August when the exhibition games became his own personal showcase. ‘We weren’t that protective of him early on,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We were just trying to see what the scope, what the range of his play could be. We were very aggressive in those games, and that brought out the best in him.’ “
O’Neil comments on what we learned and what we’re still trying to figure out after the Seahawks’ road win in Chicago, “Seattle can play up to a higher level of competition. The Seahawks are now 4-1 when facing an opponent who enters the game with a winning record, which might be the most remarkable fact about this team. It’s the kind of thing that makes you think Seattle can not only reach the playoffs, but make some noise if it gets there if it has found a way to win on the road.”
O’Neil also has several injury updates following Sunday’s game in Chicago, noting that left guard James Carpenter’s status for Week 14 is uncertain because of a pain he felt in his left knee, “Carpenter has undergone X-rays as well as a magnetic-resonance image (MRI) test though Carroll didn’t specify what was wrong nor a timetable for his return. ‘The early indications, there’s nothing major wrong,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s just it’s still uncomfortable for him.’ If Carpenter is not available, John Moffitt would start at left guard with rookie J.R. Sweezy — who has been inactive the past two months — moving into a backup role.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his report from Monday, including more on the injured Carpenter, “Carpenter’s injury is another bump in the road for the University of Alabama product. He made an impressive recovery from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery on his knee last December. But he missed games against Minnesota and the New York Jets because he suffered a concussion against Detroit on Oct. 28 that went undetected for a few days. Carpenter started six games this season at left guard but has never seemed to get into a rhythm. ‘He’s shown us enough at this time that we know what he’s capable of doing,’ Carroll said. ‘We’re excited about his future and all. If we can’t get him back right away, we still have gained some. It was a major and miraculous recovery that he made, and he’s to be complimented for that.’ “
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune highlights the play of wide receivers Golden Tate and Sidney Rice, “With four games to go, Rice and Tate have seven touchdown catches each, which puts them on pace for 19 this season and a tie for second-most in team history. That’s short only of the 1984 combo of Steve Largent (12 TDs) and Daryl Turner (10). The targeting and scheming of the offense toward Rice and Tate was by design when coach Pete Carroll and his staff sought to enhance offensive production in the second half of the season. ‘We really focused in on those two guys,’ Carroll said Monday. ‘We decided to push those guys to the front and see if we couldn’t accelerate the process of the chemistry.’ The two have such different traits, Carroll said of the 6-4 Rice and the 5-10 Tate. But both are threats to score from any distance, particularly as they build rapport and timing with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. ‘Focusing on those two guys … kind of lasers us in on the chemistry part of it,’ Carroll said. ‘And Russell has really taken off with that.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that the team will go through the NFL’s concussion protocol with Rice after he suffered a big hit on his game-winning touchdown catch-and-run against the Bears on Sunday, even though Carroll did not specially label what happened to Rice as a concussion, ” ‘He’s going to go through the process,’ Carroll said. ‘We want to be very careful and make sure we know what we’re doing. He’ll go through the whole sequence of the tests and stuff, and probably we will determine on Wednesday where he is for Thursday’s practice.’ “
Boyle also breaks down the Seahawks’ use of the zone read on their final two scoring possessions Sunday in Chicago, “On the game-winning touchdown, Wilson again faked a handoff before rolling left, this time finding Sidney Rice coming across the middle. Rice was able to get away from Charles Tillman, at least in part, because he began the play as if he was going to block Tillman on a running play before breaking to his left with a step on the cornerback. In all, the Seahawks showed zone-read eight times on that final drive with Lynch taking the ball four times, Wilson keeping it twice and two crucial throws. The Seahawks won’t ever become a team that relies primarily on the zone read, but they’ve clearly found an effective weapon they can go to from time to time.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com comments on Tate’s emergence as a go-to wide receiver, “Tate, a second-round pick in 2010, didn’t do much in his first season, which included an infamous doughnut shop incident, a Week 1 benching and just 21 catches for 227 yards. He caught 35 passes for 382 yards and three scores the following season, with 24 of those receptions coming over the final eight games. Despite the strong finish, the two-year totals where underwhelming. Tate, by his own admission, was relying too much on his athleticism, figuring that would make up for undisciplined route running and an overall lack of attention to detail. Carroll said it’s often not until a receiver’s third season until he realizes that won’t cut it. ‘The marvelous athleticism and the natural ability that so many of these kids have, it gets in the way sometimes of the discipline that it takes,’ Carroll said. ‘Right now we have a fantastic football player in Golden. He is creative, he’s really though, he’s got tremendous hand-eye coordination and sense, he’s got great confidence, too.’ “
Tim Booth of the Associated Press has a look back at the Seahawks’ ability to finish the game offensively on Sunday against the Bears, “Combined over Seattle’s final two possessions, the first of which was capped by Golden Tate sliding off tacklers for a 14-yard TD with 24 seconds left in regulation, Wilson accounted for 115 yards passing and 47 yards rushing. His 71 total yards rushing turned out to be the most in Seahawks history for a quarterback. Most of those running yards came on designed zone-read plays where Wilson would fake the handoff to Marshawn Lynch, then dash around end for gains that gashed the Bears defense. ‘He just has a tremendous level of awareness and poise and it’s just surprising that anybody could be like that, not just a rookie or a young guy in his first shot playing in Chicago or what not,’ Carroll said. ‘He just continues to be impressive in all of those ways.’ “
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday, including an update on veteran linebacker Leroy Hill, who missed the Seahawks’ Week 13 game in Chicago with an ankle injury, “LB Leroy Hill would not have been able to play yesterday after his workout before the game. Carroll said he thought Hill would have been able to play given a few more days, which would seem to bode well for his availability this week.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his latest “Stock Watch” where he is quick to point out the rising stock of the Seahawks’ Wilson, “Wilson was shockingly effective while leading 97- and 80-yard touchdown drives to beat the Chicago Bears by a 23-17 score at Soldier Field. Said Bears receiver Brandon Marshall: ‘He’s a born leader. I listened to the guy talk. I watch how he conducts himself, how he handles himself. That’s a guy I can watch and learn from. Even as a rookie, a young guy, Russell Wilson is a guy that is going to be special. He is special already.’ Wilson has 14 touchdown passes and two interceptions in his past seven games. He led the NFL in Total QBR from Week 6 through Sunday. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Robert Griffin III ranked second through fifth, respectively.”
Sando also breaks down QBR ranks for NFC West quarterbacks.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella review the Seahawks’ win over the Bears in this short video.
We take you inside the Seahawks locker room for a look and listen at coach Carroll’s postgame speech to the team following the Week 13 win in Chicago in this short video.
Farnsworth has a recap of “Monday in Hawkville” with a focus on the club moving into the fourth quarter of the season, and rallies some support for Wilson to be included in the conversation for Rookie of the Year in his Monday musings.
Ventrella recaps coach Carroll’s Monday press conference in his “Seahawks Daily.”
And finally, we have coach Carroll’s full video press conference from yesterday available here.