Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, January 3.
As you can see by the tweet displayed above, NFC Director of Football Communications Randall Liu announced that quarterback Russell Wilson has been named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Month for December, joining Walter Jones as the only Seahawks offensive players to ever win the award. Our Insider Clare Farnsworth details the honor here.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look at the similarities between the Seahawks and Washington Redskins offenses, “Both teams start a rookie quarterback who is a threat to run, each has a running back who gained more than 1,500 yards during the regular season, and both carry a similar ground-bound focus heading into Sunday’s game at 1:30 p.m. ‘That’s how they win ballgames,’ Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said. ‘They run the ball, they run the ball and then they set it up with the play-action. Their scheme is real good, and they’ve got the right players to run that offense.’ Sounds very similar to Seattle’s offensive approach.”
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times goes into coach Pete Carroll’s past and details how Carroll’s decision to join the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff over Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos reshaped his career, “For Carroll, the cost of missing out on that dominant Broncos run wasn’t much. Instead, he spent two seasons in San Francisco learning how the 49ers became one of the NFL’s great franchises. And though he was later fired in New England during his second stint as a head coach, the lessons Carroll learned during his time with the Niners eventually contributed to his transformation at USC and with the Seahawks. Carroll was asked if he ever wonders how things might’ve been different if he had gone with Shanahan. ‘How would I have changed? I don’t know,’ said Carroll. ‘They won a lot of games there. But we did well in San Francisco, too, and I needed to go to San Francisco because I needed to learn where they were with their system. Coach (Bill) Walsh came back my second year there as a consultant, and I had the access to George and to Bill, and that’s been extraordinarily meaningful to all of the things that we do today.’ ”
Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times highlights the return of cornerback Brandon Browner, “The 2011 Pro Bowl cornerback started the first 12 games before the suspension, and his hard-hitting nature helps set the tone for a smashmouth defensive backfield. His six passes defended still rank second on the team, and his three interceptions are tied for second. ‘Getting Brandon Browner back is a big deal to us,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s been a big part of what we’ve done here and he’s been a significant factor in the style that we play. So he comes back, and we’ll see how he does. It’s been a month, so we’ll see how (rusty) he is.’ ”
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times outlines the similarities between Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and Wilson, and how they won over their respective clubs, “Like Wilson, whose leadership hasn’t been codified with an official captain’s designation, Griffin earned the trust of his team’s veterans gradually. And he did so via the same way: through his work ethic, humility, poise and, most important, his production in games. Griffin’s 102.4 quarterback rating is third in the NFL behind Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning — and just ahead of Wilson’s 100.0. ‘You come in as a quarterback and you gain respect after you prove to the veterans how you work, how you prepare yourself, how you play,’ Shanahan said. ‘That credibility comes through experience and playing well. I think as people got to know Robert, as time went on, they could see he was a natural leader, he worked extremely hard at his craft, he took it very seriously, and he had the intangibles you look for. A lot like Wilson. It doesn’t take you long to figure out they’re easy guys to like.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald says the offenses of Seattle and Washington and strikingly similar, “When asked about Washington’s offense, safety Earl Thomas said, ‘It reminds me of what we have here. Marshawn and Russ, I think they’re the two best players on offense, and they’re the two best players on their offense. The ball’s in both of their hands, they play-action off of it, it just creates a lot of game-planning you have to do on defense.’ ”
Boyle also passes along the club’s injury reports from yesterday. Lynch is the only player listed on the report for the Seahawks, who has shown up on the list almost all year while managing a back issue, but who has also played in all 16 games.
Tim Booth of the Associated Press writes about what the return of Browner means for the rest of the Seahawks defense, “According to STATS, Inc., Browner and Sherman were among the best in the league at not getting burned. Browner was targeted 65 times and allowed 30 receptions with six passes defensed. Sherman was targeted 94 times and allowed 43 receptions, and led the NFL with 24 passes defensed according to STATS. ‘It just adds along to all the ballers we have back there,’ Thomas said. ‘(I) don’t want to take any credit away from the young guys that have been playing back there, but that’s a Pro Bowl player and it’s hard to replace that type of player. He’s a physical guy, can cause fumbles and interceptions. We’re just glad to have him back.’ ”
Liz Matthews of 710Sports.com has her report from Wednesday, “Linebacker Leroy Hill returned to practice Wednesday as a full participant after missing last Sunday’s game against St. Louis. Hill had injured his hamstring the week before. Malcolm Smith started in Hill’s place against the Rams. Cornerback Marcus Trufant appears to be on the mend as well. Trufant was active last Sunday for the first time since missing four games, sidelined for the month with a hamstring injury. Trufant was also a full participant in Wednesday’s practice. Wide receiver Sidney Rice, although active last Sunday, continues to nurse a knee injury and was a full-go to start the week.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com passes along a note heading into the NFL playoffs, “Six of the 12 starting quarterbacks who have led their teams to this year’s postseason are in either their first or second season. That’s the most first- or second-year quarterbacks in one postseason since 1970, according to the Elias Sports Bureau via ESPN Stats & Information.” And Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” discuss why that’s the case in this short video.
Dave Wyman of 710Sports.com says the Seahawks are built for postseason success, “Speaking of turnovers, if you look at the top 12 teams in the NFL in turnover ratio (takeaways vs. giveaways), nine of those teams are in the playoffs, including the Seahawks and the Redskins. It brings home the message Pete Carroll preaches constantly – it’s all about the ball. The Redskins rank third with a turnover ratio of plus-17 and the Hawks rank sixth with plus-13. Both defenses have the same number of takeaways but the Redskins’ offense has four fewer giveaways. You can attribute that to quarterback Robert Griffin III and the phenomenally low number of interceptions he has thrown this year. RG III has thrown just five picks, an incredible number for any quarterback let alone a rookie. But the Hawks are on a tear right now in that category. During their five-game winning streak that began in Chicago, the Seahawks are plus-11. They’ll need to keep that streak alive to advance in the playoffs.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com has a feature on the play of rookie quarterbacks Griffin and Wilson.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his latest “MVP Watch“, ranking Wilson at No. 6 on his list of 10 candidates, “Wilson leads the NFL in QBR since Week 10 (84.1) and ranks second to Manning since Week 5 (81.7). He tied Manning’s rookie record for touchdown passes with 26 even though Seattle kept its offense under wraps for the first few weeks of the season. His plus-16 margin of touchdowns to interceptions was the best by a rookie in NFL history. Wilson posted an 8-0 starting record at home. He also leads the NFL in QBR on the road since Week 8 and it’s not close (92.7 for Wilson, 88.7 for Ryan and 84.7 for Manning). He has 10 total touchdowns and just one turnover on the road over that span. Wilson has five touchdown passes and no picks in his last three road games.”
Sando also has a look at the role play-action tactics could have in Sunday’s matchup with the Redskins.
Finally, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic rank which Wild Card teams have the best chance to make a playoff run in the short video below: