Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 7.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his report from Thursday’s practice, noting that safety Kam Chancellor did not participate while resting a groin injury. In an interview with KIRO Radio’s Seattle Morning News earlier today, head coach Pete Carroll said Chancellor would sit out practice again today, but said he should be able to play on Sunday.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes that rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has won over his veteran teammates, “If there was any remaining doubt that Wilson had earned the complete confidence of even the most cynical Seahawks veterans, hearing their raves after he engineered Sunday’s overtime victory in Chicago likely erased that. That’s what happens when, as Sidney Rice said Wednesday, ‘With the pressure on, he’s never failed us. He’s brought us to the table every single time.’ Rice, in fact, says he sometimes forgets that Wilson is a rookie. ‘He doesn’t carry himself like a rookie,’ he said. ‘He’s never shown a sign of being scared.’ Added guard John Moffitt: ‘I think he’s just playing good football. What you do on the field is how you get respect.’ ”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps a Thursday media session with the rookie Wilson, “So is revenge on Wilson’s mind as he faces the Cardinals for a second time? C’mon, this is Russell Wilson we’re talking about here. ‘I try to let everything go,’ Wilson said. ‘You have to learn from your lessons. You have to learn from the games – positive and negative. And write them down, and figure out how they can help you in the long run. I think that first game helped me improve, and helped me win some games at the end of games throughout the course of the season so far. I try to learn from those lessons, but at the same time, I don’t look at it as revenge or anything like that. It’s just another opportunity for us.’ ”
Williams also highlights the play of rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner, “In 12 games, Wagner has already reached the century mark for tackles, joining an exclusive list that includes such franchise standouts as linebackers Keith Butler and Lofa Tatupu, and safety Kenny Easley. And with four games to go, Wagner has a chance to surpass those names as Seattle’s leading rookie tackler. Wagner tops the Seahawks with 100 tackles, just 35 short of the record of 136 set by Terry Beeson in his rookie season in 1977. ‘He’s a first-year guy, but he acts and plays like a fourth-year guy,’ [Seahawks linebackers coach Ken] Norton said. ‘He sees the field well, and he has really good instincts. That’s what really sets him apart – he can kind of feel things happen before they happen. He’s kind of a gym-rat kind of a kid. He wants to be good. And he’s willing to make the sacrifices that it takes. So when you know that about a guy, you’re not surprised he’s doing well at all.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald says the Seahawks ought not overlook the Arizona Cardinals – a team that has lost eight consecutive games, “Nobody should look at the Cardinals eight-game losing streak and assume that it will be easy sledding for the Seahawks on Sunday. Four of the losses during their current streak have been by seven points or less, and while the offense has varied from inconsistent to just plain bad, the defense has remained strong despite getting no help. The Cardinals rank dead last in total offense and scoring, 31st in rushing offense and 27th in passing offense, but their defense continues to play well, ranking seventh in total defense and scoring defense, third in passing defense and fourth in takeaways with 27. ‘Even though they’re not doing so well the last few games, that doesn’t show up on the defensive side of the ball,’ receiver Sidney Rice said. ‘… They’re just getting better. We’ve got to be on our jobs on Sunday.’ ”
Boyle also has reaction from Wilson on facing the Cardinals for a second time, “Wilson, as well as Seattle’s offensive line, are much better prepared to handle the likes of Darnell Dockett than they were three months ago, but they will still have their hands full. The challenge of facing Arizona’s defense, and of facing a team for the second time, is one Wilson is embracing this week. ‘I’m definitely looking forward to it,’ he said. ‘It’s a new challenge that I’m looking forward to for sure. The first time out, I wish I could have done something to win that game there at Arizona. Now it’s the second go around at it, so you have to figure out what you did well, what you didn’t do so well, figure out what they did really well, and figure out how we can attack them. I think I’m 12 times more prepared. I just feel so much more confident out there, understanding what they’re trying to do. And just getting used to the speed of the game, playing live games really helps.’ ”
Steve Rudman of SportsPressNW.com has a look back at Wilson’s performance against the Chicago Bears in Week 13, “It did not go unreported that, largely due to Wilson, Seattle defeated Chicago for the third consecutive year at Soldier Field. But this nugget failed to make the final stat sheet: the Seahawks are the first interdivision opponent ever to beat the Bears in Chicago in three consecutive seasons. Some notable quarterbacks have taken whacks at that, including Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Wilson, named the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week Wednesday, emerged from Seattle’s 23-17 victory with a 104.9 passer rating, his fourth consecutive game with a rating above 100.0. Since the first of November, a span that includes five games for some quarterbacks, four for others, Wilson’s passer rating is 120.3 (127.3 vs. Minnesota, 131.0 vs. New York Jets, 125.9 at Miami, 104.9 at Chicago). That leads the NFL by a tick over Washington’s Robert Griffin III’s 119.8.”
John McMullen of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, “The Cards haven’t won since September and Wilson is 5-0 at home with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. You do the math. ‘He’s just so beautifully poised and so confident that it gives himself a chance to play at this level,’ Carroll said of his young quarterback. ‘It’s just surprising that anybody could be like that, not just a rookie or a young guy. He just continues to be impressive in all of those ways.’ Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Seahawks 21, Cardinals 10.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com says how Wilson operates against the Cardinals’ pass rush will be a key component to watch on Sunday, “Wilson and the Seattle offense have grown, no question. But they also haven’t faced many defenses as strong as Arizona’s has been against the pass. The Cardinals emerged from Week 13 having sent five or more pass-rushers 40.9 percent of the time, the fourth-highest rate in the NFL this season. The percentage was 51.2 against Seattle in the first meeting. ‘As football players, you know who’s talented and who could really play because you have played them once before, but also you have seen them on film that we watch every day,’ Wilson told reporters this week. ‘When you turn on the film, you realize how well they move around, and how aggressive they are, how much pressure they bring and the great things that they do on defense.’ ”
Sando details the Seahawks’ use of the read-option, “Mobile quarterbacks have increasingly used read-option plays in the NFL, but Seattle had only dabbled in the tactic before Sunday, as the first chart shows. John McTigue of ESPN Stats & Information did the work on this one. ‘Basically, the Seahawks used more option runs in the fourth quarter and overtime Sunday than they had the rest of the season combined,’ he noted. ‘This may have really set up the play-action passing game for Wilson. If you watch the final play again, it was a play action that looked just like a zone read option.’ ”
Sando also believes the Seahawks’ Week 16 game against the San Francisco 49ers is a strong candidate to get flexed into NBC’s prime time Sunday night game.
Les Carpenter of YahooSports.com describes Wilson’s devotion to the game, “The same way he pushed himself into the starting role and rookie of the year talk, Wilson has shoved the Seahawks into the playoff picture. And when the Chicago game was over and Seattle was suddenly seen as a real contender, he went into the locker room at Soldier Field and cut loose like never before. ‘You know, you may scream and shout a little bit,’ he said. Just a little. ‘Ah come on he knows how to have fun,’ Wilson’s roommate on the road, Robert Turbin said. ‘If you have six or seven hours of free time you’re not going to spend the whole time watching film.’ Then Turbin paused. ‘He does watch a lot of film, though.’ ”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his feature on Wilson’s ability to remain cool, calm and collected on the field, and has his recap of “Thursday in Hawkville” with a focus on second-year linebacker Malcolm Smith, who stepped in and played well for the veteran Leroy Hill a week ago in Chicago.
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” as the club turns their focus toward the Cardinals, and Wilson readies to face a team for twice for the first time in his young career.
Lastly, our team photographer Rod Mar updated his Week 14 photo gallery at practice with several frames from “Turnover Thursday.”