With day three of the 2013 NFL Draft in the books, we take a look back at the moves made around the NFC West, continuing with the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals got things started for the West on day three when they used the No. 103 overall pick to select linebacker/defensive lineman Alex Okafor out of the University of Texas. Okafor marked the club’s third consecutive pick on the defensive side of the football after they took offensive guard Jonathan Cooper in round one.
Okafar, who measures 6-foot-4, 264 pounds, was one of the nation’s top pass rushers in 2012 with the Longhorns. He led the Big 12 conference with nearly a full sack per game (0.96), racking up 12.5 on the season to go along with four forced fumbles.
Arizona swung their second fourth-round pick (No. 110) to the New York Giants in exchange for their third and sixth rounders (No. 116 and No. 187). With No. 116 the Cardinals went back to the offensive line when they took the 6-foot-4, 301-pound guard Earl Watford out of James Madison University. He’ll help shore up an offensive line that allowed a League-high 58 sacks last season.
With their lone pick in round five, the Cardinals went with the 5-foot-9, 214-pound Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor. He brings some much needed durability to the Cardinals’ backfield, who has seen current running backs Ryan Williams and Rashard Mendenhall suffer serious injuries in recent years.
The Cardinals added the speedy wideout Ryan Swope (No. 174 overall) and explosive running back Andre Ellington (No. 187 overall) in the draft’s sixth round. Texas A&M’s Swope, who ran a 4.34 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine – the fastest at his position, figures to work as a slot receiver in head coach Bruce Arians’ offense. Clemson’s Ellington adds a runner to the Cardinals stable of backs that can provide a “home run” threat with every touch.
Arizona rounded out their draft with the selection of Rutgers tight end D.C. Jefferson with the No. 219 overall pick in the seventh round. The 6-foot-6, 262-pound Jefferson red-shirted at quarterback in 2008, but now represents a physical blocker and developing receiver whose size likely intrigued Arizona’s front office.
|A pick-by-pick look at the players chosen by the NFC West rival Arizona Cardinals in the 2013 NFL Draft.
With day two of the 2013 NFL Draft in the books, we take a look back at the moves made around the NFC West, starting with the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals kicked off day two by trading down. They dealt the No. 38 overall pick to the San Diego Chargers in exchange for picks No. 40 (second-round) and No. 110 (fourth-round).
At No. 40, the Cardinals grabbed 6-foot, 246-pound linebacker Kevin Minter out of LSU. Minter earned All-SEC honors in 2012 and was named the team’s most valuable player, starting 13 games and recording 130 total tackles to go with 4.0 sacks.
Minter’s final season at LSU was his lone season as a full-time starter, but he should compete for a starting job in Arizona, where current starting linebacker Daryl Washington will open up 2013 by serving a four-game suspension.
After Minter, Arizona wasn’t finished nabbing the defensive talent out of LSU. With their third-round pick (No. 69 overall) they selected Tyrann Mathieu, the 5-foot-9, 186-pound “Honey Badger” of a cornerback. Mathieu earned the nickname at LSU for his small stature and tenacious play out of the defensive backfield.
Mathieu was dismissed from the Tigers back in August of 2012 for violations of team rules and did not play football in 2012. Now, he’ll have the opportunity to compete in the Cardinals’ secondary alongside former LSU product turned Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Good morning, Seahawks fans, and welcome to day two of the 2013 NFL Draft. After not selecting in yesterday’s first round, the Seahawks hold two picks today (Round 2, No. 56 overall and Round 3, No. 87 overall). The action revs back up at 3:30 p.m. PT.
In the meantime, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks and around the League for Friday, April 26.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks trading their first-round draft pick to acquire wide receiver Percy Harvin was the right move.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps the Seahawks’ quiet first day and offers up some second-round targets for Seattle.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald details the moves made around the active NFC West on the draft’s first day.
ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando was hard at work while the rest of us in the Seahawks media room were spectating yesterday’s first round (kidding, kind of), and he shares his thoughts on the Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals first-round selections.
Grantland.com’s Bill Barnwell tries to make sense of the draft’s first day, noting surprises, trade winners and losers, and what to watch for on day two.
Former University of Washington Husky standout cornerback Desmond Trufant – the younger brother of longtime Seahawk Marcus Trufant – went to the Atlanta Falcons, who traded up with the Rams to grab him at No. 22.
A 49-year-old NFL Draft streak was snapped yesterday when a running back was not taken in the first round for the first time since 1963.
NFL.com has a round-by-round look at the 2013 NFL Draft order after last night’s picks and draft-day trades.
NFL.com Around the League editor Gregg Rosenthal breaks down what he believes to be the draft’s top 20 remaining players.
Stay plugged in to our draft central for all the latest news surrounding your Seahawks and the rest of today’s draft.
We leave you with the reactions from several Seahawks players via Twitter as they followed last night’s first round:
…. And with the Seahawks First pick in the NFL draft they select @Percy_Harvin
I'm excited about all the new competition that's coming to the NFC WEST!!!—
Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) April 26, 2013
Still say we had the best first round pick of the draft……—
Earl Thomas (@Earl_Thomas) April 26, 2013
Three weeks since the start of the 2013 League year, we take an updated look at who has come and who has gone around the NFC West via trades and free agency.
Out: S Kerry Rhodes (released); S Adrian Wilson (released, signed by New England Patriots); RB Beanie Wells (released); WR Early Doucet (released); CB William Gay (released, signed by Pittsburgh Steelers); QB Kevin Kolb (released, signed by Buffalo Bills); QB John Skelton (released); CB Greg Toler (free agent, signed by Indianapolis Colts); LB Quentin Groves (free agent, signed by Cleveland Browns); LB Stewart Bradley (released, signed by Denver Broncos); G Rich Ohrnberger (free agent, signed by San Diego Chargers)
In: CB Antoine Cason (free agent, signed from San Diego Chargers); DE Matt Shaughnessy (free agent, signed from Oakland Raiders); RB Rashard Mendenhall (free agent, signed from Pittsburgh Steelers); LB Jasper Brinkley (free agent, signed from Minnesota Vikings); S Yeremiah Bell (free agent, signed from New York Jets); CB Jerraud Powers (free agent, signed from Indianapolis Colts); LB Lorenzo Alexander (free agent, signed from Washington Redskins); QB Drew Stanton (free agent, signed from Indianapolis Colts); DE Frostee Rucker (released from Cleveland Browns); S Jonathan Amaya (free agent, signed from Miami Dolphins); QB Carson Palmer (trade with Oakland Raiders)
For a full Cardinals free-agent tracker click here.
San Francisco 49ers
Out: S Dashon Goldson (free agent, signed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers); DT Isaac Sopoaga (free agent, signed by Philadelphia Eagles); TE Delanie Walker (free agent, signed by Tennessee Titans); DT Ricky Jean Francois (free agent, signed by Indianapolis Colts); K David Akers (released); WR Tedd Ginn (free agent, signed by Carolina Panthers); QB Alex Smith (trade with Kansas City Chiefs)
In: DL Glenn Dorsey (free agent, signed from Kansas City Chiefs); S Craig Dahl (free agent, signed from St. Louis Rams); LB Dan Skuta (free agent, signed from Cincinnati Bengals); WR Anquan Boldin (trade with Baltimore Ravens); K Phil Dawson (free agent, signed from Cleveland Browns); WR Marlon Moore (free agent, signed from Miami Dolphins); QB Colt McCoy (trade with Cleveland Browns); CB Nnamdi Asomugha (free agent, signed from Philadelphia Eagles)
For a full 49ers free-agent tracker click here.
Out: RB/KR Leon Washington (released, signed by New England Patriots); DE Jason Jones (free agent, signed by Detroit Lions); WR Ben Obomanu (released); QB Matt Flynn (trade with Oakland Raiders); DT Alan Branch (free agent, signed by Buffalo Bills)
In: DE Cliff Avril (free agent, signed from Detroit Lions); DE Michael Bennett (free agent, signed from Tampa Bay Buccaneers); WR Percy Harvin (trade with Minnesota Vikings); DT Tony McDaniel (free agent, signed from Miami Dolphins)
For a full Seahawks free-agent tracker click here.
St. Louis Rams
Out: RB Steven Jackson (free agent, signed by Atlanta Falcons); WR Danny Amendola (free agent, signed by New England Patriots); S Craig Dahl (free agent, signed by San Francisco 49ers); CB Bradley Fletcher (free agent, signed by Philadelphia Eagles); WR Brandon Gibson (free agent, signed by Miami Dolphins); C Robert Turner (free agent, signed by Tennessee Titans); S Quintin Mikell (released); OT Wayne Hunter (released); TE Matthew Mulligan (released)
In: OT Jake Long (free agent, signed from Miami Dolphins); TE Jared Cook (free agent, signed from Tennessee Titans)
For a full Rams free-agent tracker click here.
We’re just over one week into free agency and Nate Davis of USA Today has handed out his first offseason report cards, and Seattle should feel good about the mark they’ve earned. Davis tabbed the Seahawks with an “A” grade after acquiring the likes of wide receiver Percy Harvin and defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. The Seahawks were one of just two teams (the Minnesota Vikings being the other) to earn the high mark.
Here’s a look at what Davis had to say about the moves general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have made to this point:
Seattle Seahawks (A): The offense (Harvin) and defense (DEs Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett) have been supercharged, and the pay scale really didn’t suffer much even if GM John Schneider had to part with a few picks, including this year’s first rounder, for Harvin. The Niners should be worried.
Yesterday, we tracked the free-agent acquisitions around the rest of the NFC West, and took a look at why the West will be “a bear of a division in 2013.” Davis’ grades and comments on those clubs are below:
Arizona Cardinals (C): At the outset of free agency, they only had about $3 million available. But new GM Steve Keim has made quite a few moves to churn his roster: he signed QB Drew Stanton and parted with Kevin Kolb, picked up RB Rashard Mendenhall after punting Beanie Wells and completely remade the secondary. But should Keim have devoted his newfound money to a worrisome O-line in order to give Stanton (or whomever) a chance? Maybe next month.
St. Louis Rams (B+): If free agency is any indication, St. Louis is very confident its youngsters are ready to supplant Amendola, Gibson and Jackson. New LT Jake Long and TE Jared Cook should make QB Sam Bradford a very happy man. Armed with two first-round picks, the Rams’ drastic improvement over the past year should continue at draft time.
San Francisco 49ers (B): They chose to move on from all-pro FS Dashon Goldson and a few others. But given this team’s return to NFL royalty under GM Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh, who’s going to argue? WR Anquan Boldin and DE Glenn Dorsey look like cost-effective additions, but is Craig Dahl really the man to fill Goldson’s cleats?
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 12.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his “Rookie Report” following the Week 1 loss at Arizona, “DE Bruce Irvin – First round, No. 15 overall: Played 35 of Seattle’s 64 defensive snaps. Also on field for 6 special-teams plays. Irvin was credited with no tackles, and he didn’t have a sack, though he did have one quarterback hit. ‘Bruce played solid,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘Didn’t get at the quarterback, but was around it. Played a lot of plays in this game and was a big part of the plan. We’ll see him continue to get better.’ “
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says that in addition to scouting the Dallas Cowboys this week, coach Pete Carroll and his staff will be scouting the work of the replacement referees, “The Seattle head coach said his coaching staff traditionally studies every officiating crew in the league to get a sense for how each group calls a game – whether a crew is more likely to call holding or pass interference or will let teams play more physically. The coaching staff then passes that information along to the players as part of the team’s preparation each week.”
Williams also has some quick notes on some practice squad moves from Tuesday.
Dave Grosby and Bob Stelton of “Bob and Groz” discuss the Seahawks pass-rush in this short video on mynorthwest.com.
Brock Huard of mynorthwest.com brings us his first edition of “Chalk Talk,” as he rehashes the Seahawks final play from scrimmage in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals.
Huard also offers up some potential solutions to aid the Seahawks offense in this short video.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com breaks down Week 1′s “pressure stats” – a look at how often teams brought five or more rushers in their home openers. The Seahawks ranked ninth across the NFL, while their Week 1 opponent – the Cardinals – ranked second. The Seahawks’ Week 2 foe – the Cowboys – came in at 21st in the League.
Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth has a look at the Dallas Cowboys, the Seahawks’ Week 2 opponent, “Burning question: Are the Cowboys as good as they looked in their opener? They not only beat the defending Super Bowl Giants, they went to the Meadowlands to do it. The Cowboys rolled up 433 yards, and limited the Giants to 269. They sacked Eli Manning three times, two by DeMarcus Ware. DeMarco Murray picked up where he left off as a rookie by rushing for 131 yards. Kevin Ogletree exploded onto the scene with eight catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns.”
Farnsworth also has a feature on defensive end Chris Clemons, who had a sack of Cardinals quarterback John Skelton in Week 1, “The relentless Clemons now has 23 sacks in 33 games since being acquired in a 2010 trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to fill the Leo end spot in coach Pete Carroll’s defense. He has produced a dozen while playing the Seahawks’ NFC West rivals – 6.5 against the St. Louis Rams, five against the Cardinals and half a sack against the San Francisco 49ers. ‘Clem really did a nice job, he was very effective,’ Carroll said on Monday, when he also lamented Clemons missing a second sack when he separated QB John Skelton from the ball but the play was ruled an incomplete pass.”
Finally, Farnsworth has his recap of “Tuesday in Hawkville“, with a focus on Seattle’s home-opener this Sunday, “Is there a better get-well venue in the NFL than CenturyLink Field? ‘Here we go with Dallas coming in, that’s going to be a major matchup,’ coach Pete Carroll said on Monday. ‘We’re happy that we’re coming home.’ The team’s success in home openers has been an indication of what they’ve been able to accomplish over the course of the season. The current 8-1 run started in 2003, when the Seahawks began a stretch where they advance to the playoffs five seasons in a row and won four NFC West titles.”
Coach Carroll is scheduled to address the media in his customary Wednesday press conference at noon. Be sure to tune in here for a live look.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks after their 20-16 season-opening loss to the Cardinals in Arizona.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times recaps Sunday’s opener, “Seattle’s defense allowed 10 points in the first half and then held the Cardinals without a first down on their first six possessions of the second half. But with Seattle leading 16-13, the Seahawks allowed the Cardinals to drive 80 yards after quarterback Kevin Kolb came in to replace starter John Skelton, who suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. ‘Bottom line, we’ve just got to finish,’ free safety Earl Thomas said. ‘We had a great game except that last drive.’ But in the end, Seattle showed progress. The Seahawks got to the opponent’s 4-yard line, which was closer than they ever came to pulling off a last-minute comeback a year ago.”
O’Neil also has a look at running back/kick returner Leon Washington, who had a kick return of 83 yards and punt return of 52 yards yesterday, “Special-teams returns played a huge role in Sunday’s game, which wouldn’t be all that shocking because Arizona’s Patrick Peterson set an NFL record last year by scoring on four punt returns. Except it was Seattle’s Leon Washington whose returns proved pivotal. ‘(He) gave us a chance, really,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Washington. ‘He lit it up. That and the plays on defense gave us a real chance to be in the football game.’ “
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times writes that Sunday’s loss was an all too familiar scene for these Seahawks, “And so Pete Carroll’s first year of big expectations starts with a major bugaboo. The Seahawks lost despite knocking the Cardinals’ starting quarterback, John Skelton, out of the game with 8:18 remaining and while holding a 16-13 lead. They lost despite running seven plays inside the red zone in the final 52 seconds. They lost despite having first-and-goal from the 6-yard line, despite a spirited comeback from a 13-3 deficit and despite receiving an extra timeout on the final drive because replacement referee Bruce Hermansen got confused. ‘I thought this was a really indicative game of the league,’ Carroll said. ‘The margin is just so slight.’ For the Seahawks, that slight margin will be the difference between a third straight losing season and a playoff appearance. The NFL is legislated for parity, and every team must win its share of close games to be successful. The Seahawks might be an exaggerated example because the grind-it-out style they employ dictates low-scoring, tight games.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has a look at rookie quarterback Russell Wilson’s first regular season NFL start, “In four exhibition games, he threw for 536 yards and five touchdowns while adding 150 rushing yards and a touchdown. But regular-season games, as it always does, provided a ruder welcome. Against the Cardinals, Wilson was 18-for- 34 passing, throwing for 153 yards. He was intercepted once, but he also connected on his first touchdown pass – a 10-yard throw to wide receiver Sidney Rice to cut Arizona’s lead to 13-10 in the third quarter. ‘I knew they were going to bring pressure,’ Wilson said. ‘I knew they were going to do different things. That’s what NFL teams do, and we changed it up, too, on offense, as well. I think the main thing is just coming out a little bit stronger in the first half, just collectively, and continue to grow and capitalize on opportunities.’ “
Williams details Washington’s big returns, “Though Washington hasn’t scored on a return in 20 games, dating back to an 84-yard punt return against Carolina on December 5, 2010., he still provided two of the most explosive plays for the Seahawks, giving the team a spark. ‘Huge,’ Michael Robinson said about Washington’s returns. ‘It totally sparked our second-half run. That’s what this team’s all about – one phase is down, and the other phase picks them up. It just wasn’t enough today.’ “
Williams also has his game recap from Sunday.
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune says don’t give up on Wilson just one game into his NFL career, “While Wilson’s passing stats (18-for-34, for 153 yards and a touchdown with one interception) suggested no upgrade from 2011 starter Tarvaris Jackson, don’t underestimate the Cardinals’ influence in those numbers. ‘They threw everyone hard at us,’ said Carroll. ‘Considering how Russell was under duress, I think it was a great first game for him. It was not easy for him at any time.’ Consider something else, too. Among the five rookie quarterbacks who started Sunday, Wilson’s effort was eclipsed only by Washington’s Robert Griffin III, who completed 19-of-26, for 320 yards and two touchdowns (a passer rating of 139.9), and ran for another 42 yards on 10 carries in the Redskins’ 40-32 win.”
Mike Salk of mynorthwest.com tells us that Sunday’s contest was a prime example of what to expect from Seahawks football in 2012 – a tough, grind-it-out game that Seattle had a chance to win, “The Seahawks are supposed to crush your ability to run, pressure your ability to pass, and then slowly grind out a few scoring drives. They aren’t quick-strike. They don’t meticulously pick you apart. They bulldoze you. With that gameplan in mind, they should play games that come down to a few plays. Make them, and you’ll win. Fail to make them, and you’ll go home disappointed. That script played out for 55 minutes of Seattle’s 20-16 loss to Arizona on Sunday. The Seahawks found themselves within a score, needing just one play to win the game. Unfortunately, that play never came.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com details Sunday’s opener and Wilson’s performance, “Wilson, who finished 18 for 34 for 153 yards, a TD and a pick, knows he’s still opening the college physics book in the middle. This is the NFL, where rookie starters don’t have the luxury of beginning at the beginning. ‘I have to go through my reads quicker, that’s the main thing,’ he said. ‘In the red zone, the windows are a lot shorter, and I have to be smarter. I felt great about the opportunities we had. We just fell short. The defense and special teams did a great job helping us out.’ “
For a bit of injury news, CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reports that Russell Okung’s injury suffered yesterday does not seem to be serious, calling it a bone bruise.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “Rapid Reaction” following Sunday’s opener, “What it means: The quarterback drama and questions that dominated pregame discussion aren’t going away. Kevin Kolb, all but written off in Arizona, came off the bench to throw the go-ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter after an ankle injury knocked out starter John Skelton. Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson answered by quickly leading Seattle down the field, but his final pass fell incomplete in the end zone on fourth down with 18 seconds left. In the bigger picture, both teams are still looking up at the San Francisco 49ers. The standings show a tie atop the NFC West, but neither Seattle nor Arizona played anywhere near the level San Francisco demonstrated while handling the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Both teams appeared limited offensively. Both have big injury concerns.”
Sando also has a look at Wilson’s day under center.
GLENDALE, Ariz. – A recap of the Seahawks’ 20-16 loss to the Cardinals in their season opener at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Leon Washington. The Seahawks didn’t win the game, but their dynamic returner did everything he could to make it happen. Washington not only produced two big plays; they came when the Seahawks most needed them.
With the Seahawks trailing 13-3 in the third quarter, Washington broke an 83-yard kickoff return that setup Russell Wilson’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice. With the score tied at 13 in the fourth quarter, Washington broke a 52-yard punt return to setup a 39-yard field goal by Steve Hauschka with 9:20 remaining the game.
Did someone say big plays?
“Huge plays. Huge,” said special teams co-captain Michael Robinson. “He totally sparked our second-half run. That’s what this team is about – picking each other up. If one phase is down, another phase picks them up. That’s what Leon did today.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The game-winner, of course, which was Kevin Kolb’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Andre Roberts with 4:59 left to play.
Defense: On the Cardinals’ first play after Wilson’s TD pass to Rice, Chris Clemons pressured John Skelton into an ill-advised throw and cornerback Richard Sherman then made a sideline interception of that pass to setup a Hauschka field goal that tied the score at 13.
Special teams: Washington’s kickoff return, because it was longer than the punt return and setup a touchdown.
Left tackle Russell Okung injured a knee on the Seahawks’ final possession. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin also had to leave the field after attempting a diving catch in the end zone on the same possession, but coach Pete Carroll said last year’s leading receiver was OK.
Despite not playing since the second preseason game and being limited in practice all week because of back spasms, Marshawn Lynch started the game and carried 21 times for 84 yards.
Second-year linebacker K.J. Wright had a team-high nine tackles.
The Seahawks broke up, batted down, tipped or intercepted eight passes, including two each by Sherman, who had the only interception; nose tackle Brandon Mebane and lineman Jason Jones.
The defense held the Cardinals to 43 yards on 20 rushing attempts.
Clemons had the Seahawks’ only sack.
James Carpenter and John Moffitt, the starters at right tackle and right guard as rookies last season, were named inactive. Each is recovering from a surgical procedure.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I think he handled himself really well. He had a lot of pressure on him. He did what he could do back there. But there’s still room for not only him to get better, but the rest of this team.” – wide receiver Sidney Rice on Wilson
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 7.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times brings us inside the Seahawks defense, a pseudo follow-up to yesterday’s piece on defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, “Thomas is just as excited about this defense as some of you are. ‘This defense has a certain feel about it,’ Thomas said. ‘This is how it’s supposed to be. All the pieces are here. The chemistry is great. We’re so close off the field, and that makes you want to work harder on the field because you’re playing for more than you.’ “
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that quarterback Russell Wilson’s rise to earning the starting job in Seattle comes as no surprise to those who know Wilson best, “Confidence. Charisma. Poise. Wilson embodies all of those high-minded concepts that get tossed around to describe the essence of a successful quarterback. In terms of intangibles, Wilson holds a full house, and someone who’s known Wilson since grade school just chuckles a little bit when asked about this quarterback who has turned Seattle on its ear. ‘He’s kind of done that everywhere he’s gone,’ said Charlie McFall, Wilson’s football coach at the Collegiate School in Richmond, Va.”
O’Neil also has his notes from Thursday’s practice.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times delves into Wilson’s former life as a professional baseball player, “The Rockies drafted Wilson in the fourth round in 2010 when he was still at North Carolina State — 140th overall, eight picks after the Mariners took left-handed pitcher James Paxton, one of their vaunted “Big Three” hurlers. John Manuel, editor-in-chief at Baseball America, remembers being ‘completely floored’ that Wilson was taken so high, because he had played only sporadically in college. Wilson was mainly a platoon player for the Wolfpack, starting almost exclusively against left-handers, mostly in the outfield, and even dabbling on the mound in 10 appearances his junior year (starting one game and earning a save in another). ‘Our people looked at Russell as a prospect, but we weren’t going to know until 1,500 at-bats,’ said Bill Schmidt, Colorado’s vice president of scouting. ‘It would probably be three years. I told Russell that. There were no guarantees, but he had a tremendous work ethic. He always told me his objective was to play in the NFL and major leagues.’ “
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps Thursday’s media and practice sessions, “Wilson said that he benefitted from facing Kansas City’s 3-4 defensive front in Week 3 of the preseason in preparation for Arizona this weekend. ‘It helped a lot,’ Wilson said. ‘A 3-4 defense is a little different than just your normal four down lineman that most teams run. So you have to be able to adjust, and understand what we’re trying to do. The offensive line is doing a great job of understanding what we need to do in terms of protection, and in terms of running the football. So I think that more than anything, just being on the same page throughout the game.’ “
Williams also details the Cardinals decision to go with John Skelton over Kevin Kolb as their starting quarterback for Week 1, “So even though Kevin Kolb will make $8 million in total compensation this season, John Skelton will start the season opener for the Cardinals against NFC West division-rival Seattle on Sunday in the desert. ‘Ultimately, in evaluating all of the factors and all of the different things that we looked at, we felt at this time that John gave us the best chance to win going forward, and that’s the decision that we made,’ [Arizona head coach Ken] Whisenhunt said during a conference call with Seattle-area reporters this week. ‘It was definitely a tough decision.’ “
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has a look at three key players who saw little preseason action, but could return this Sunday at Arizona – running back Marshawn Lynch, defensive tackle Jason Jones, and wide receiver Doug Baldwin.
Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s opener against the Cardinals, “Both 2011 encounters between these teams were decided by three points, and with each expected to play things rather close to the vest with quarterbacks that are either unproven or erratic, another narrow margin on the scoreboard seems like a good bet.”
Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com has a look inside fullback Michael Robinson’s “The Real Rob Report”, “Robinson, the former Penn State quarterback, started doing what he called “The Rookie Report” after the San Francisco 49ers selected him in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL draft, and things really took off after he signed with the Seahawks in September 2010. Not only did he find a more defined football role in Seattle, but his interviewing skills flourished in Pete Carroll’s media-friendly world. ‘The fans, they don’t get to see our personalities,’ Robinson recently told 750 The Game in Portland. ‘And we wear helmets — it’s not like the NBA or baseball. I just want to give the fans a behind-the-scenes of what guys are doing. I think the mainstream media seems to always look for the negative — it seems like only the negative things are made into stories. I’m more interested in how they work in the community, what they’re doing during the week, and how they get ready for games. I’ve noticed that most fans really aren’t concerned with the X’s-and-O’s part of the game — they want to see their favorite athletes, just talking in their natural settings. The Real Rob Report is giving you that, and it’s definitely been successful.’ “
Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has a look back at Thursday’s practice, “There was a new name on the injury report. Back up quarterback Matt Flynn was limited with right elbow soreness. Flynn missed the third preseason game with the same ailment. Offensive lineman James Carpenter was also limited in practice as he continues to make his way back from a knee injury. Defensive end Greg Scruggs (hamstring), receiver Golden Tate (knee) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (shoulder) did not participate in practice. Coach Pete Carroll had hoped Tate would be able to do some running in practice this week.”
Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, contributing to mynorthwest.com, writes that Head Coach Pete Carroll and General Manager John Schneider have built a contender with a band of misfits, calling the team that will take the field Sunday a, “…sort of Billy Bean-like ‘Money Ball’ experiment”, and points to oversized corners Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, the massive Red Bryant at defensive end, and defensive tackle turned right guard J.R. Sweezy as just a few examples of the team that Carroll and Schneider have unconventionally built.
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Thursday, including a note from offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell that the playbook actually shrinks on gameday with a specific plan of attack for that week’s opponent, a move that is likely to aid rookie quarterback Russell Wilson’s first regular season NFL start, “Wilson is already considered to have an outstanding work ethic in the amount of time he puts in on the job. Now he has time to specifically study the opponent he’ll see on the field Sunday and try to figure out the best ways to attack them. ‘It’s always good to have a game plan and have an understanding of what the defense is trying to do where you really have a set amount of plays that your focused on and trying to run,’ Wilson said. ‘It definitely helps you focus and stay on task with what you need to do.’ “
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com depicts Wilson’s ascension to the starting quarterback job, “From deep in the depth, he started as a freshman for North Carolina State and held the job for three years. After leaving to play minor league baseball, he returned cold to college football, transferring to Wisconsin, where he started every game his senior year. Now he’s a starter on his first NFL team by his first game. When the NASA rover Curiosity bumps into the Martian Football League, Wilson likely will be the first to start there.”
Clare Farnsworth has a recap of the day’s activities surrounding Thursday in Hawkville, with a focus on running back Marshawn Lynch, who was limited in practice, sort of, “Lynch took part in today’s two-hour practice, on a limited basis. But there was nothing limited about his efforts on the few touches he got before giving way to rookie Robert Turbin. Lynch displayed the explosive one-step-and-go style in getting through the line that is required to run in line coach Tom Cable’s system. There also were the multiple changes of direction, with accompanying dips and ducks, that were such a part of Lynch putting up career-high totals in rushing yards (1,204) and touchdowns (14) last season.”
Farnsworth also points to the historical significance that will come with Wilson’s start at quarterback against the Cardinals this Sunday, “Jim Zorn. Rick Mirer. And now Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ third-round pick in April’s NFL Draft is about to go where only two other rookie quarterbacks in franchise history have gone when he starts Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona. ‘I don’t get caught up in it,’ Wilson said Thursday when presented with what’s about to transpire. ‘I’m excited about the opportunity. It’s another football game in a place I’ve never played before. But it’s the same distance on the field. The good thing is just to be able to get on the football field with these guys again and to have the opportunity is very, very big in my life.’ “
Tony Ventrella has his Seahawks Daily, as he touches on the rapport that has developed between Wilson and Seattle’s receiving corps.
NFL Films previews the Seahawks matchup with the Cardinals in this short video.
And finally, if you are wondering where to watch, listen to, or otherwise follow Sunday’s season opener, we have a breakdown for you here.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 5.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times says that running back Marshawn Lynch’s status for the season opener at Arizona this Sunday is a is a little unclear, and that we should know more after Pete Carroll addresses the media later today, “He suffered back spasms following the Seahawks’ second exhibition game at Denver. He hasn’t practiced with the team since, just watching workouts, and didn’t appear in the final two exhibition games. Lynch was absent from the practice field entirely on Aug. 27, while getting treatment. Carroll was asked afterward if Lynch’s back was a long-term concern. ‘We’ll have rested him a couple of weeks to make sure that he’s OK,’ Carroll said. ‘So we’re taking care with this one. He has had back conditions kind of in the past. We’re just making sure we do the right thing and are taking all the time that’s available.’ Two days later, Carroll’s assessment was more certain. ‘He took a real good turn this week,’ Carroll said last Wednesday, the day before Seattle’s exhibition finale. ‘The rehab that he has been doing has really been effective, so we think he’s going to be fine.’ “
O’Neil points to rookie running back Robert Turbin as a more than capable backup plan should Lynch not be able to go on Sunday, “We bring this up now not just because Lynch’s status became a national question mark on Tuesday, but to point out that Turbin gives Seattle something it didn’t have last year: Namely, someone running with comparable size to Lynch. Turbin is listed at 222 pounds with a massive upper body, but more burst than expected from a guy whose biceps are that big. Turbin gave a glimpse of what he can do in the third exhibition game when he rushed 14 times for 93 yards. More than have those yards were gained in the first series of the third quarter when Turbin carried three times, gaining 8 then 17 and then 25 yards at a time when a good chunk of Kansas City’s starters were still in the game.”
O’Neil also makes an appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” show, subbing for Dave Grosby. In this short video, O’Neil and Bob Stelton discuss Lynch’s injury and what it could mean for the Seahawks if he does not play this Sunday.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune writes that versatility helped wide receiver Charly Martin win a spot on the 53-man roster over several other receivers gunning for the job in camp, “Martin, a native of Walla Walla who competed at the NCAA Division II level (West Texas A&M), landed on this roster by doing everything right in four exhibition games and in dozens of practices during the offseason and training camp. His margin for error was that slim. ‘He did the right thing and was always in the right place,’ Brown said. ‘Not only on offense, but on special teams, too. When he had the occasion to make a play, he made it. He stayed healthy, which was big, and he just never did anything to hurt himself. You could say he took advantage of his opportunities.’ “
Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com details the significance of Lynch’s injury heading into the weekend at Arizona, “Lynch has dealt with back spasms for much of his career. He was sidelined shortly before kickoff of the Seahawks’ 6-3 loss to the Browns last season. Smaller running backs Leon Washington and Justin Forsett combined for just 62 yards in his absence, underscoring how important Lynch and his physical running style are to Seattle’s offense. The Seahawks spent a fourth-round pick on Robert Turbin with the hope that the similar-sized running back could replicate that style when Lynch came off the field. With Lynch on the sideline for all but one preseason game, Turbin rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown on 38 carries.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com takes a look at what it could mean if Lynch misses the season opener, “Even with the 222-pound Turbin running well, the Seahawks likely would not be the same without their starting back. Lynch rushed for a career-high 1,204 yards last season. His physical running style gave Seattle a welcome and needed identity on offense. Heading into the Arizona game with rookies at quarterback (Russell Wilson), right guard (J.R. Sweezy) and running back (Turbin) probably wouldn’t faze the Seahawks as much as one might expect. Wilson and Sweezy beat out more experienced competitors. Inexperienced backs can struggle in pass protection initially, however. Seattle might feel more comfortable leaning on Washington in passing situations if Lynch could not play.”
Andy Benoit of the New York Times ‘Fifth Down’ NFL blog has their 2012 Seahawks preview, “Want a breakout team for 2012? Turn your attention to the upper left corner of our country’s map. The Seahawks are returning a solid, aggressive young defense that quietly ranked in the top 10 last season. It’s a defense that plays a fairly straightforward style, relying on talent more than gimmicks. Offensively, the Seahawks finally discovered a run game in 2011, which is largely why they went 5-3 in the second half of the season.”
The APPro32 has their comments and ranks on the Seahawks for 2012, ranking them as high as No. 17, “Pat Kirwan (SiriusXM NFL Radio/CBSSports.com) — Maybe surprise team of 2012. Russell Wilson sparks offense and receiving group coming together. Defense is physical and secondary is biggest in NFL.” and as low as No. 26, “Rich Gannon (CBS Sports/SiriusXM NFL Radio) — Russell Wilson doesn’t have a ton of juice at WR … very average group.