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Seahawks draft choices set, for now

John Schneider

Seahawks general manager John Schneider operates in the club’s “War Room” during the 2012 NFL Draft

The league has released the order of picks for next month’s NFL Draft after the compensatory selections were awarded this week.

The Seahawks still have 10 draft choices, just not the same 10 they had a few weeks ago. Here’s a look at the team’s selections:

First round (no pick) – traded the 25th selection overall to the Vikings in last week’s deal to acquire receiver/returner/runner Percy Harvin.

Second round – 26th pick in the round, 56th overall

Third round – 25th pick in the round, 87th overall

Fourth round – 26th pick in the round, 123rd overall

Fifth round (two picks) – fifth pick in the round, 138th overall, which was acquired from the Raiders in the 2011 trade of linebacker Aaron Curry; 25th pick in the round, 158th overall.

Sixth round – 26th pick in the round, 194th overall

Seventh round (four picks) – 14th pick in the round, 220th overall, which was acquired from the Saints in last year’s trade of linebacker Barrett Ruud; 25th pick in the round, 231st overall; 35th and 36th picks in the round, 241st and 242nd overall, which are compensatory picks. The Seahawks had the eighth pick in the round, 214th overall, from the Bills in last year’s trade of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, but they sent it to the Vikings as part of the trade for Harvin.


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Tuesday cyber surfing: Which QB will it be at KC?

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 21.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times remembers long-time Seahawks and University of Washington athletics usher George Hickman, who passed away over the weekend at age 88, “George Hickman was kind, compassionate, feisty, thoughtful, but most of all he was genuine. He experienced so many thrilling moments late in his life, and all of us felt as if we shared in his good fortune.”

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times speculates on whether or not rookie quarterback Russell Wilson will start this week’s preseason game against Kansas City, “Carroll has been very tight-lipped about the process, declining to say after Saturday’s exhibition game in Denver and again on his weekly radio appearance on ESPN 710 Seattle if Wilson will start this week. But that might change Tuesday, as there were multiple indications that Wilson will start at Kansas City on Friday, which would be considered a sharp change of direction given that Matt Flynn started the first two exhibition games.”

O’Neil also has a couple of notes after the Seahawks traded veteran linebacker Barrett Ruud to the New Orleans Saints late yesterday, “The move nets Seattle what the Saints termed an undisclosed draft pick in their announcement of the deal. It also reflects the Seahawks’ confidence in rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner. New Orleans had a need at linebacker after Hawthorne underwent knee surgery this week to repair a damaged meniscus. The Saints’ Curtis Lofton is sidelined with a high ankle sprain.”

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says Pete Carroll’s quarterback decision this week could define the early part of the Seahawks’ season, “If it’s an open competition, then Carroll should be intrigued enough with Wilson to want more information about him, and seeing him against Kansas City’s starting defense is a must. But if he’s leaning heavily toward Flynn based on practices and two preseason games, then now is the time to stop trying to push Flynn and start getting him ready for Week 1 against Arizona. I’m fine with whatever Carroll chooses. I’ve already written that he deserves some trust. But if you can’t see that this quarterback battle is odd, then you’re not being honest. Fortunately, the urgency of this week dictates that we’ll receive some clarity, probably on Tuesday.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his take on the Seahawks’ trade of Ruud to the Saints, “Ruud became expendable after the Seahawks drafted Bobby Wagner in the second round, and the rookie from Utah State performed well as Seattle’s starting middle linebacker in the team’s first two exhibition games. The Saints are looking to increase depth at middle linebacker after projected starter Curtis Lofton suffered a high ankle sprain. Former Seahawks stalwart David Hawthorne, projected as New Orleans’ starting weakside linebacker, also had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.”

Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps a segment of “Brock and Salk”in which head coach Pete Carroll joined the show, and says quarterback Matt Flynn’s performance Saturday night at Denver was better than it looked, “Flynn played the first half and finished 6 of 13 for 31 yards. Carroll was pleased with the effort considering the two would-be touchdown passes and the pressure Flynn was under from Denver’s defense. ‘He had two touchdown-opportunity throws that were there, and I think he was 6 for 13, so that makes him 8 for 13 with two touchdowns in the first half. That would have been a fantastic start,’ Carroll said. ‘So we have to be very clear-minded and not emotional and work our way through the film, and we did, and I think he did a nice job under the circumstances. There were a couple opportunities in there that he would like to have back – that’s how that goes. I think he played a solid game and we would have loved to cash in on those two touchdowns.’ “

Mike Sando of ESPN.com takes a look at the number of snaps Seattle’s preseason quarterbacks – Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson – have taken in comparison to other potential starting quarterbacks around the NFC West, “Seattle’s two candidates, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson, have taken far more snaps than their peers in the division. Flynn has played full first halves, giving him snaps with the first-team offense. Wilson could get that opportunity when the Seahawks face Kansas City on Friday night, although coach Pete Carroll hasn’t made an announcement yet.  NFL teams have traditionally used the third preseason game to get their starters extended playing time for the regular season. Priorities can change for teams without starting quarterbacks in place.”

Sando also revisits a few under-the-radar moves the Seahawks have made, including a look at the added depth along the offensive line, “3. Churning the OL depth. Adding veteran Deuce Lutui in free agency is paying off now that starting left guard John Moffitt is recovering from elbow surgery. Late-round choice J.R. Sweezy is making a surprisingly quickly transition from defensive line to guard. It remains to be seen whether Alex Barron provides value as a swing tackle. Overall, though, the Seahawks appear to have done the right thing by churning the line depth. The situation with Gallery comes to mind especially.”

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com believes the Seahawks’ quarterback battle might be closer than most people think, “It will be hard to bypass Flynn as the starting quarterback, considering his solid play throughout the preseason and the hefty financial investment Seattle made in him. Flynn was recruited to be the franchise quarterback and hasn’t done anything to disappoint thus far. However, Wilson appears to have special skills at the position, and his ability to thrive as a dual threat could be problematic for opponents in the regular season. I expect Flynn to get the first crack at the job when the regular season opens, but if the marquee free agent struggles at any point, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wilson get the call.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth tells us what worked and what needs work in Saturday night’s preseason game at Denver in his Monday Metatarsal Musings, and also has a look at one pass that wasn’t caught Saturday night, “Terrell Owens, who had practiced with the Seahawks for the first time only 11 days earlier and had not played in the league since 2010, was a step behind Broncos cornerback Chris Harris as he neared the north end zone. Matt Flynn, making his second start in as many preseason games, threw what might have been his best pass since signing with the Seahawks in free agency in March. But instead of a touchdown 46-yard catch, the ball eluded Owens’ grasp and fell incomplete. With the catch, Flynn would have finished with seven completions in 13 attempts for 77 yards – rather than 31 on 6-of-13 passing. With the catch, Owens would have had one big reception in the five times he was targeted by Flynn. With the catch, the No. 1 offense would have scored its first touchdown of the preseason. With the catch, coach Pete Carroll could have stepped to the podium after the game and discussed the progress that had been made by that No. 1 offense’s passing game in the team’s second preseason game; and the remarkable next step in Owens’ return to the NFL. Instead, Carroll was left to say, “It’s the first big ball he had thrown to him in a long time, and unfortunately it got away from him. That would have been a really big event for us to score on that play in the first half; I think it would have made a difference in how that first half would have gone. ‘It’s unfortunate. But he’s got to get back in action. It’s his first time out there. He’s been very much on point in practice and he’s worked very hard – and he’s caught a lot of deep balls in practice, too. So I know he can make those plays for us. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get it right off the bat. I wish for him, and for everybody, we would have caught that thing.’ “

Farnsworth also looks at the four Seahawks who were selected in Matt Williamson’s Top 200 players in the NFL, “Matt Williamson has released his annual list of the Top 200 players in the NFL at ESPN.com and the Seahawks are represented by four players: defensive end Chris Clemons (No. 105), free safety Earl Thomas (No. 120), running back Marshawn Lynch (No. 131) and defensive end Red Bryant (No. 194).”

Lastly, Farnsworth recaps quarterback Russell Wilson’s impressive stat line through two preseason games, and also has a note on the Seahawks’ impressive team statistics, “As a team, the Seahawks lead the NFL in rushing defense after two games and are third in rushing offense, after running for 228 yards against the Broncos on Saturday night.”


Ruud traded, Davis waived/injured

The Seahawks have traded linebacker Barrett Ruud to the Saints for an undisclosed draft choice and also waived/injured defensive end Dexter Davis, the team announced this afternoon.

Ruud was signed as an unrestricted free agent in April and expected to compete with rookie Bobby Wagner for the starting middle linebacker job that opened when David Hawthorne jumped to the Saints in free agency. It was an injury to Hawthorne that prompted the Saints interest in Ruud, who became available because Wagner has played well while working with the No. 1 defense.

Davis injured a hip in Saturday night’s game against the Broncos in Denver. If he clears waivers, he will be added to the Seahawks’ injured reserve list.

To fill his spot on the 90-man roster, Donny Lisowski was re-signed. The cornerback from Montana and Seattle’s O’Dea High School was originally signed on May 15, but then released on Aug. 7 when wide receiver Terrell Owens was signed.


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Tuesday cyber surfing: First padded practice of 2012 in the books

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 31.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times catches up with wide receiver Golden Tate, who’s expectations are high – just as they were in 2010 and 2011 – as he heads into his third season hoping to finally emerge as a key contributor on offense,  “Saying something is not the same as doing it, though,” said O’Neil. “Tate knows that better than anyone, and after a strong finish last season, he might never get a better chance than this one. The release of Mike Williams created a receiving vacancy on the opposite side from Sidney Rice. With Doug Baldwin entrenched as the slot receiver, Tate is competing with teammates Ben Obomanu, Kris Durham and Ricardo Lockette at split end. So, here we go again — another Seahawks season begins with the question of whether the receiver who was such a talented playmaker at Notre Dame is ready to establish himself as an NFL starter.”

Eric Williams at the Tacoma News Tribune talks with 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin, who told Williams that with DE Chris Clemons now at practice, Irvin feels like he can finally start to make strides at the NFL level, ” ‘It’s a big help. I felt like when Clem wasn’t here, I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Now that Clem is here and I get can a visual of what he’s doing, it really helps me out a lot.’ “

Dave Boling at the Tacoma News Tribune speaks with Red Bryant on the joys of fatherhood, and on how his family and his new baby-boy, Joseph Brooks Bryant, played a large role in his decision to re-sign with Seattle in the offseason, “Especially with the new addition to the family, Bryant wanted to stay in Seattle because it feels like home,” writes Boling. “His wife, Janelle, was born in Kirkland, and is the daughter of Seahawks Ring of Honor defensive end Jacob Green. ‘I didn’t really want to have to move to a new city and adapt and deal with all the things that go with that,’ Bryant said. ‘We’ve got a great fan base here and my father-in-law played here, so it’s a dream come true.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his notes from Monday’s practice session – the ‘Hawks first padded practice of the season. “Today was the first practice in pads, and apparently this fact excited linebacker K.J. Wright,” said Boyle. “Early in team drills, Wright found his way quickly into the backfield, then delivered a welcome-to-the-NFL pop on Robert Turbin that put the rookie running back on his rear. A little while later, Wright delivered another big hit, this one on veteran receiver Antonio Bryant, who is attempting to break back into the NFL after two years out of the league.”

Tim Booth of the Associated Press previews former Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy’s Hall of Fame induction, which is set to take place this Saturday, August 4. “What made Kennedy so difficult to stop was his low center of gravity, unexpected quickness and remarkable strength packaged in a 6-foot-1, 300-pound frame,” said Booth. “If he was asked to hold the line on a running play, he would regularly eat up two or three potential blockers. But he could also rush the passer up the middle, a rarity for an interior defensive lineman. While 1992 was his best individual season, Kennedy recorded at least six sacks in six of his 11 seasons.”

Liz Matthews of 710 ESPN Seattle has her practice report from Day Three of camp, where rookie QB Russell Wilson took the majority of the first-team reps, “Wilson took snaps with the first-team offense Monday, the first day the team was in pads. Still working on perfecting the timing and rhythm that comes with the speed of the NFL game, Wilson has made a number of big plays these last few days that haven’t gone unnoticed. He’s shown impressive footwork, the ability to scramble and the maturity to remain calm under pressure not often seen in rookies.”

Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps a segment of “Bob and Groz” in which ‘Hawks cornerback Marcus Trufant joined the show. Henderson details their conversation as the veteran CB begins his transition to the nickel cornerback role, “Trufant, a starting cornerback for nine seasons, is sliding inside to nickelback, a change he seems to be enjoying. ‘I think it’s a good move, man,’ Trufant said. ‘It’s fun. I get to do different stuff. I get to move around a little bit. I get to blitz a little bit. I get to do a little bit of everything. I just take it as a challenge. I’m excited and I’m having fun doing it.’ “

Also from mynorthwest.com Brock Huard gives us two thoughts on the Seahawks quarterback competition in this short video.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth brings us his Hawkville report, with his focus from Monday’s practice centering on defensive lineman Brandon Mebane. “The 311-pound Mebane was dominating in the 9-on-7 run drill, starting with the first play when he put some extra ‘ex’ in explosive by blowing through a gap between the center and guard to get to the running back well behind the line,” said Farnsworth. “Mebane then provided replays of his disruptive quickness on back-to-back plays and also recovered a muffed exchange between the center and quarterback. In another drill, when rookie quarterback Russell Wilson dropped an unexpected shotgun snap – after a defensive player had jumped offside – Mebane was there again to fall on the loose ball.”

Farnsworth feature story from Monday’s session centers on veteran linebacker Barrett Ruud and rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner, who are competing with each other for the middle linebacker spot.

Lastly from Farnsworth, he breaks down Day Three of the ‘Hawks QB competition, where Russell Wilson garnered the most first-team reps.

Our Seahawks Daily features a look at the veteran presence along the offensive line.

Wide receiver Rircardo Lockette participated in a Twitter video interview after Monday’s practice, where we took questions from the 12th Man on Twitter to ask the speed-demon Lockette.


Thursday cyber surfing: Reaction to Unger’s extension

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 26.

Yesterday the Seahawks announced a contract extension for 2009 second-round draft pick and starting center Max Unger. Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com has the story on Unger, who expressed his excitement to Farnsworth in regards to his new deal, “I am very happy about this new deal,” Unger said. “We have a developing young line that had some success last year that we can build upon this season. It’s a good deal for both of us and I couldn’t be happier to be in Seattle.”

As the NFL’s Hall of Fame class of 2012 prepares for their enshrinement into the NFL Hall of Fame on August 4 in Canton, Ohio, Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com begins a “Countdown to Canton” series for Seahawks inductee Cortez Kennedy. In his first installment, Farnsworth catches up with former Seahawks safety, special teams standout and coach Paul Moyer, who offered his first impression of ‘Tez, “It wasn’t until we got him in camp, where he was going against other people with the same athletic ability or likeness, that you went, ‘Wow. OK, he’s not the same athletic ability. He’s stronger. He’s faster. He’s a better player.’ ”

One day after his contract extension was made official by the team, Farnsworth takes a look inside defensive end Chris Clemons’ 22.0 sacks in his two seasons with the Seahawks. Farnsworth notes that Clemons has made a habit of sacking St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (6.5 sacks in four games), and that Clemons has had more success in the sack department on the road (15.5 sacks) than at CenturyLink Field.

Also here at Seahawks.com we talk with defensive back and former University of Washington standout Roy Lewis in our Seahawks Insider with Tony Ventrella. Lewis talks about his high hopes for the team in 2012 season, how he has found success at the NFL level, and offers some thoughts on the Huskies 2012 football season.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times gives us his take on Unger’s extension, “The timing [of the extension] is important to note, too, coming before Unger starts the final year of a four-year contract he signed after being drafted out of Oregon in 2009. He is the only Seahawks offensive lineman to arrive before Pete Carroll became coach in 2010.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald gives his two cents on the Unger extension, as he writes how the move solidifies the Seahawks projected offensive line for the foreseeable future, “With Unger getting a new contract, every offensive lineman projected to open the season as a starter — Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan, Unger, John Moffitt and Breno Giacomini — plus tackle James Carpenter, who is likely to open the year on the physically unable to perform list, are under contract through at least the 2013 season.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune asks five questions in advance of the Seahawks 2012 season, including the question of who will replace David Hawthorne – who departed to the New Orleans Saints in free agency – at Seattle’s middle linebacker position. Williams points to second-round draft choice Bobby Wagner as the obvious choice, but also mentions other candidates should Wagner struggle, “They could move second-year pro K.J. Wright to middle linebacker. Wright started the 2011 regular-season opener against San Francisco in the middle when Hawthorne was hobbled with a knee injury, and trained there most of last season’s training camp. Barrett Ruud and Matt McCoy are also veteran options to man the middle.”

John Clayton of ESPN.com comes at us with 10 hot training camp storylines, and it’s no surprise that the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition gets a mention, “Pete Carroll has only 20 practices to resolve a three-way quarterback battle among Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson. Delaying a decision in this competition could prevent the winner from getting enough time to get his offense ready for the early part of the season.”

Also at ESPN.com, Mike Sando reflects upon the Unger extension, “While the Seahawks have been known for making wholesale personnel changes under coach Pete Carroll, this deal affirms their willingness to build around select players inherited from the team’s previous leadership. A long-term deal for defensive end Red Bryant provides another example. The Seahawks probably wouldn’t sign an offensive lineman to a meaningful extension without strong support from assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable. Unger obviously fits the Cable mold.”

Pete Prisco of CBSsports.com gives us his preseason power rankings, and the Seahawks find themselves at No. 20 on his list, noting that Seahawks quarterbacks Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson just don’t get him very excited about the quarterback position. Sitting atop Prisco’s list – like many other lists of this nature – are the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers, and the New England Patriots.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com picks the Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West in 2012, citing strong defensive play and improvement at the quarterback position as reasons to like the Seahawks over the 49ers in the division, “The Seattle Seahawks will win the NFC West. Their defense can be just as dangerous as the San Francisco 49ers’ vaunted unit. The quarterback play can be better with Matt Flynn. San Francisco, meanwhile, must deal with a much tougher schedule and heightened expectations. Pete Carroll’s boys might not “Win Forever,” but winning nine to 10 games is a doable goal. That should be enough to take the division.”

Seahawks 2012 seventh-round draft pick defensive end Greg Scruggs out of Louisville participated in a Pro Football Camp for youth in Colorado Springs and shared this interview after the camp’s completion. Scruggs discusses the importance of how a man in his position can have a positive impact on area youth.


Friday cyber surfing: NFC West on the rise

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 20.

Here at Seahawks.com we start by bringing you Clare Farnsworth’s next installment of his 2012 Seahawks positional outlook, as he checks out the Seahawks special teams unit. Farnsworth speaks with special teams coach Brian Schneider, who believes that despite the units success a year ago they have the talent and potential to be even better this season. Just how good was this unit? Well, Schneider shared this eye-popping statistic with his group, and then with Farnsworth, “Last season, when the special teams gave the offense the ball inside the 50-yard line, the Seahawks scored 77 percent of the time. Conversely, when the special teams put the defense inside the opponents’ 20-yard, the opposition scored 17 percent of the time. ‘It’s a pretty cool deal,’ Schneider said. “’f we can create a really long field for the defense, we’re really successful. If we get a short field for the offense, we’re really successful. And when you put those numbers on it, it just kind of gives some value to it.’ “

Next up at Seahawks.com we have the unique story behind Seahawks fan Karlyn Moyer’s “Mom Cave”- her own room packed full of Seahawks memorabilia. Moyer shared some photos of her “Mom Cave” on the 12th Man Tour’s visit to Alaska, “Almost 20 years ago, Moyer’s collection of Seahawks memorabilia started with a single stuffed Teddy bear donning a Seahawks sweater bearing Moyer’s name and birth year. Today, Moyer’s collection has grown to include furniture, clothing, flags, figurines, and more – and she has not purchased a single piece of it. ‘I do not buy myself any new things for my collection,’ Moyer said. ‘Everyone I know purchases them for me. Friends and family all ask, ‘Do you have this?’ ” The 12th Man Tour continues with a stop in Spokane this Saturday, July 21.

Rounding out the coverage here at Seahawks.com we have a video featuring Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright, who sits down with Seahawks Insider Tony Ventrella. The two talk about the difference between Wright’s preparation during the lockout-shortened offseason a year ago compared to his first full offseason this year, as well as how he was able to adjust to play at the NFL level so quickly.

NFL.com gives us their divisional power rankings, and the NFC West sits as the seventh-ranked division of the eight in the League, “Despite its consistently low ranking, the NFC West has made strides,” writes NFL.com. “The gap between, say, the NFC East and NFC West has closed dramatically. The NFC West would have been dead last, often by a wide margin, for much of the past decade. It’s a division on the rise with the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals all possessing good defenses.”

Mel Kiper of ESPN.com breaks down summer additions to the NFC West, and althought you must have an ESPN Insider account to view the complete piece, here’s a taste of what Kiper offers on the Seahawks: “Help added: There’s been a notable velocity with which Pete Carroll and John Schneider have remade the Seahawks’ roster over the past 24 months. This year, I think it’ll finally be time to really judge these guys on something more than growth. This is a team that, on paper, can be a winner if it can find some points and keep healthy in key spots. In terms of additions, it starts with Matt Flynn at quarterback. While Tarvaris Jackson is still around, and Russell Wilson deserves to be in the picture as a young player competing for the spot, Flynn has to be the starter in Week 1. With Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin, Seattle has an above-average tandem in the passing game, with the chance to be better. People should remember that Rice is still just 25, with a history of nicks that have limited him. So while I think it should be Flynn, “not enough weapons” can’t be an excuse for anyone. I think we’re all pretty interested to see how much of a pass rush Carroll can create with the addition of Bruce Irvin. I know evaluators who saw the lightning rod out of West Virginia as the best pure pass-rusher in the draft (which is partly a reflection of the class), and Seattle had to have taken Irvin with a specific role in mind. Carroll can use him as a Leo linebacker, with Chris Clemons as a possible model. Barrett Ruud provides some experience at linebacker and Jason Jones filled a hole at D-tackle. But the key is the rush, because consistent pressure could make an already good secondary look spectacular. It starts up front, and Irvin is the key for me.”

Finally, Forbes recently released a list of the world’s 50 most valuable sports teams, and the Seahawks find themselves at No. 25 on the list, with an estimated worth of $997 million. Despite their relatively high ranking, the Seahawks are just the 16th-ranked NFL team on the list, behind the Dallas Cowboys (T-No. 3), Washington Redskins (No. 5), New England Patriots (T-No. 6), New York Giants (No. 9), New York Jets (No. 12), Houston Texans (No. 13), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 14), Chicago Bears (No. 16), Green Bay Packers (No. 17), Baltimore Ravens (No. 18), Indianapolis Colts (No. 19), Denver Broncos (No. 20), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 21), Miami Dolphins (No. 22) and Carolina Panthers (No. 24).


Thursday cyber surfing: Seahawks hold keys to Seattle’s next sports superstar?

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 12.

At the Seattle Times, Jerry Brewer tells us Seattle is in dire need of a new sports superstar. Brewer points to years 1990-2010 as a time when Seattle experienced an unforgettable – and remarkable – run of sports superstars: Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Steve Emtman, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Walter Jones, Lou Piniella, George Karl and Mike Holmgren. As Seattle continues to search for it’s new sports identity, Brewer offered that the Seahawks have the potential to shape that mold, “With quality talent evaluators such as Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik and Seahawks GM John Schneider in town, you can already see the potential for a new generation of superstars. Seahawks safety Earl Thomas has a chance to be, at least, the best safety in the NFL. If [Marshawn] Lynch goes off, there’s a possibility he could be elite. [Felix] Hernandez is just 26, and with some help, it’s easy to see him taking that final step to becoming a superstar. Matt Flynn, who is expected to be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback this season, could become a star, but if rookie Russell Wilson eventually wins the job and performs at a star level, a small, 5-foot-11 quarterback would have a better chance of captivating a national audience.”

Also at the Seattle Times, Danny O’Neil continues to take a close look at the Seahawks wide receiver position, this time turning his attention to fourth-year pro Deon Butler. O’Neil admits that he has questioned whether or not Butler would land on the team’s 53-man rosters the past two seasons, as he notes Butler’s small stature in a system that favors bigger wide receivers, and points to a leg injury that landed Butler on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start the 2011 season . In 2012, O’Neil still finds himself questioning Butler’s status among the wide receiver group, but if history is any indication for Butler, O’Neil gives him a good shot at making the squad, “Go ahead, crunch the numbers, but come Sept. 1, I think it would be very hard for Seattle to pick its 53 best players for the roster and not have Butler among that group. That’s not to say it’s impossible. He’s not a special-teams mainstay like veteran Ben Obomanu has been, and he hasn’t shown that uncanny knack as a slot receiver like [Doug] Baldwin did. He doesn’t have the height of [Sidney] Rice, [Kris] Durham or Mike Williams — all of whom stand 6-4 or taller. But Butler is in the conversation for the fastest receiver on the roster, and he has shown a professionalism and ability to bounce back from both adversity and injury. And the past two years have shown that for all the questions of whether he’ll be back, the guy listed as the smallest player on Seattle’s roster has some staying power”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues with his 2012 positional breakdown, as he takes a look at the Seahawks linebacking corps heading into the new season. Farnsworth speaks to the group’s healthy mix of youth and experience, “On a team that has been in a constant change since coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider took over 30 months ago, the linebacking crew has undergone one of the most major transformations under [Seahawks linebackers coach Ken] Norton. The last linebacker standing from the team’s glory days of winning the NFC Championship in 2005 is [Leroy] Hill, who continues to be the starter on the weakside. David Hawthorne took over in the middle for Lofa Tatupu in 2010, but with the team’s leading tackler the past three seasons now with the New Orleans Saints, Hawthorne will be replaced by either the youthful enthusiasm of [Bobby] Wagner or the productive experience of [Barrett] Ruud. On the strong side, [K.J.] Wright played so well as a rookie last season that the club traded former first-round draft choice Aaron Curry to the Oakland Raiders. … This seemingly mismatched collection of linebackers creates an interesting blend of skills and talents that should allow Carroll and coordinator Gus Bradley to play the way they want to, and need to – fast, physical, aggressive and smart – in matching the efforts of the Pro Bowl-laced secondary and line.”


Wednesday cyber surfing: Offseason activities

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 11.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times follows up his Seahawks wide receivers breakdown from yesterday with a closer look at one wide receiver in particular – Mike Williams. The former first round draft pick and USC alum enjoyed a breakout season with the Seahawks in 2010, leading the team in receiving with 65 catches for 751 yards after being out of the NFL completely for two years. Last year, for whatever reason – injuries, a new offense, or a new quarterback – Williams’ production fell off. O’Neil wonders how Williams will respond in 2012, “Well, that depends on Williams’ readiness both in terms of his recovery from injury and his mindset. Does he focus on the decline of his numbers last season as a sign the offense in general — and quarterback in particular — didn’t involve him to the same degree as 2010? Or does he see that as a speed bump that he can overcome? [Head Coach Pete] Carroll has always liked big, physical wide receivers, and there isn’t a bigger receiver on Seattle’s roster. Now, it’s up to Williams to show he can still be a sizeable factor in the offense.”

Bob Heist of the Pensacola News Journal catches up with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who is working out in his hometown at his old Gulf Breeze High campus with Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn in preparation for the start of training camp at the end of this month. Heist tells us, “The workout lasted more than an hour as Baldwin and Flynn ran through different routes, exchanging ideas on timing, field positioning and general likes and dislikes specific to executing certain patterns. ‘The neat thing about all this, Doug appreciates every second he has in the NFL,’ said Gulf Breeze coach Chris Nemith. ‘It’s an inspiration for anybody that says this is what you want to do and has the courage and resolve to stick with it. And those two guys out there today, this shows they care about the Seahawks and what they’re doing individually. You can see the self-respect they have in themselves and the mutual respect for each other. This really was outstanding to see.’

Sticking with the wide receiver theme, here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues with his positional breakdown, as he takes a look at Seattle’s wide receiver position heading into 2012. Farnsworth notes that the unit should improve significantly as a whole if they can get, and stay, healthy, “With the return of [Sidney] Rice and the addition of [Kellen] Winslow, the passing game should be in good hands. But their practice reps will need to be monitored to make sure they’re ready when needed most – on game days. Their presence also should make it possible for [Doug] Baldwin to be even more productive from the slot. But the offense also needs [Golden] Tate and [Kris] Durham to play to their potential, more consistency from [Ricardo] Lockette and a return to form by [Zach] Miller – who caught 66 and 60 passes for the Raiders in 2009 and 2010.”

Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities chats with Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who is in Minnesota at Larry Fitzgerald’s annual offseason workouts. Pelissero asked Jackson about the competition at the team’s quarterback position, to which Jackson responded, “You only know what coaches tell you. Coaches have been pretty straightforward about the competition. It’s all you can ask. Just let me know where I stand. That’s all you can really ask for — know the truth and let the best man win.” Pelissero also noted that Seattle running back Leon Washington and wide receivers Ricardo Lockette and Golden Tate joined Jackson at the Fitzgerald workouts.

Over at SI.com, Chris Burke breaks down the Seahawks offseason. Burke points to the competition at quarterback, the health of the offensive line and the development of first round draft pick DE Bruce Irvin as three things to watch going forward, as he offers up a season outlook, “Because the Seahawks were more or less out of the playoff picture by the 2011 season’s midpoint, they kind of flew under the radar late. Which means that a lot of people now fail to grasp how close this team was to contending. Assuming one of the QBs steps up, the offensive line stays upright and someone — anyone — breaks through at wide receiver (don’t count Seattle out as a player for WR Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft), the offense could be pretty solid. The defense has question marks at linebacker with [Barrett] Ruud, K.J. Wright and Leroy Hill expected to start, but the front four and secondary are stout. Carroll may need one more year to fully implement his plan, but Seattle is on the upswing.”


Wednesday in Hawkville: An ‘overwhelming’ experience for Banks

A recap of the activities on the second day of the Seahawks’ three-day Bing minicamp:

FOCUS ON

Brian Banks. The latest stop on his exoneration tour was a return to Virginia Mason Athletic Center, where Banks began a two-day tryout with the Seahawks after he worked out for the team last Thursday.

“I didn’t even know if I was going to have a number or a jersey,” said Banks, who was wearing No. 43. “I didn’t know what to expect when I first got here. I got to my locker and saw that there was a jersey in it and I just wanted to take a picture of it just for myself.

“It was amazing just to see my name on the back of it. It’s just an honor. It’s an honor to be taken serious and to be given this opportunity.”

In between trips to Seattle, Banks worked out for the Chargers on Friday and the Chiefs on Tuesday. It’s all part of trying to regain his life – and his love for football – after spending 62 months in prison for being wrongly accused of rape.

Today, Banks worked at middle linebacker with the No. 3 defense, flanked by Mike Morgan and Kyle Knox – who, like Banks, is at this minicamp on a tryout basis.

“This is the NFL – the best of the best – so it’s going to be really tough for him,” linebackers coach Ken Norton said. “Just the fact that he came out here and gave it a shot and didn’t shy away from it, you’ve got to give him a plus for that.

“But again, this is the best of the best, the highest level of athlete, and he’s been out of it for 10 years. So it’s going to be really, really tough. … Right now, he has a chance. But it’s going to be really, really tough.”

That’s all Banks is asking: An opportunity to make up for lost time. So today was a huge step for him.

“It was more overwhelming than I thought,” Banks said. “I had high hopes and dreams of being out here today. And then just to finally be out here, to have this helmet on, to have my name on the back of this jersey, to be a part of this team for a day, it’s more than I could ever imagine.”

What’s next for Banks? Another practice, as the Seahawks conclude their minicamp on Thursday. After that?

“What I take from it all, the advice that I appreciate the most, is just enjoy the moment,” Banks said. “Enjoy the moment – if it’s for one day, if it’s for the whole season, if it’s for however long. Just enjoy the moment.

“I’ve already won. I have my freedom. That’s what’s most important to me. Making this team is just an additional blessing to this freedom.”

POSITION WATCH

Quarterback. Today was Matt Flynn’s turn to run the No. 1 offense in the three-way competition for the starting job that also includes Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson.

Flynn admitted that while it is a competition, it’s not a cut-throat situation as he vies with Jackson, the incumbent starter; and Wilson, who was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft.

“I don’t think we look at it like we’re going against each other,” said Flynn, who was signed in free agency after serving as Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay the past four seasons. “We’re trying to help each other out. If they made a good throw, I’m the first one there telling them good job. So it’s not like any bad blood coming out here – where we’re on the field and I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m going against you.’

“It’s not like that. Everybody’s trying to compete. Everybody’s trying to get better. And everybody’s trying to make the team better. I think that’s really the overall goal.”

SECONDARY THOUGHTS

Flynn got a taste of just how much closing speed Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas processes. It happened on a deep throw to wide receiver Deon Butler that instead ended up in the hands of Thomas.

“I got first-hand experience to see how fast Earl was today,” Flynn said. “I get a two-minute situation and I’ve Deon streaking down and I throw it. I’m thinking, ‘That might be a touchdown.’ Then all of a sudden I see this flash like come across.

“I don’t think I’ve had a DB back there, especially at safety, with that kind of speed.”

LOOKING GOOD

In addition to Thomas’ out-of-nowhere interception, other practice highlights included nickel back Marcus Trufant slapping away a pass intended for wide receiver Doug Baldwin; wide receiver Charly Martin going up between cornerback Ron Parker and safety Winston Guy to pull down a touchdown pass from Wilson; Guy making a last-second tip of a pass just as it was settling into the hands of wide receiver Phil Bates; tight end Kellen Winslow grabbing a low pass from Jackson for an 18-yard gain; defensive lineman Pep Levingston getting to running back Robert Turbin for a 1-yard loss; and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner reaching around running back Marshawn Lynch to deflect a pass.

ON THE MEND

Eleven players are not practicing as they continue their rehabs from offseason surgeries or more recent injuries: wide receivers Golden Tate, Mike Williams and Jermaine Kearse; offensive lineman James Carpenter; defensive lineman Monte Taylor; linebackers Barrett Ruud, Malcolm Smith and Jameson Konz; and defensive backs Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell and Chris Maragos.

Tate has what coach Pete Carroll calls “a very slight, little crack” in a bone on his right hand, adding the left-handed Tate could play if there was a game this week. Williams is “close” to returning, Carroll said, and should be ready for the start of training camp at the end of July. Ruud is “very close,” in Carroll’s words, and he also should be ready for training camp.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I can’t even imagine. So I wouldn’t be doing justice if I talked about it because I can’t imagine what he’s been through and what he’s feeling just being out here now.” – Flynn, when asked his thoughts on Banks’ situation


Wednesday cyber surfing: Seahawks ‘building momentum’

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 9:

We’ve always liked Clark Judge – first as a fellow beat writer when he was covering the Chargers and 49ers; then as someone who shares the same birthday; and now as a friend. But we really like what he has to say about the Seahawks in his latest offering at CBSSports.com. Judge picks them as one of five teams that failed to make the playoffs last season that could advance to the postseason in 2012: “There are few teams building more momentum than Seattle, which quietly put together a defense that could rival San Francisco for intensity, ferocity and opportune play. OK, so the Seahawks lost linebacker David Hawthorne, their leading tackler the past three seasons. They acquired linebacker Barrett Ruud and defensive lineman Jason Jones, retained defensive lineman Red Bryant and added Bruce Irvin, a first-round pick who has a ton of issues but whom scouts describe as the best edge pass rusher in the draft. Seattle is chasing San Francisco in the NFC West, and the last time they met – late last season – they fell just short, losing by two points after quarterback Tarvaris Jackson fumbled with a little more than a minute left. Those Seahawks played great defense but didn’t have enough offense. These Seahawks think they fixed the problem with the acquisition of quarterback Matt Flynn, and maybe they’re right. Flynn has only two NFL starts, but he was marvelous in both. I don’t know, but this looks like a carbon copy of the 49ers’ blueprint, a club that can hammer you with defense and put just enough points on the board – largely thanks to its running game. It worked for San Francisco. Why not here?”

John Clayton at ESPN.com has a photo gallery of his picks for the 10 draft choices that will have the biggest impact during their rookie season, and Irvin makes the cut at No. 6: “Maybe Irvin isn’t a starter and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll eventually will be criticized for drafting a backup at No. 15. But Irvin is probably the draft’s best pass-rusher and should put up double-digit sack numbers early in his career.”

Also at ESPN.com, Mike Sando offers his comments on Clayton’s Top-10 selections: “Irvin should benefit from the Seahawks’ very specific plans for him. The team got nine sacks in zero starts from Raheem Brock in 2010. Irvin will play a similar role and a similar percentage of the snaps, giving him a very good chance to eclipse Brock’s total – if he’s talented enough to produce those numbers. Brock played about 50 percent of the snaps for Seattle in each of the last two seasons.”

Marc Sessler at NFL.com also has an assessment of Irvin, and his selection in the first round: “The immediate prognosis was uncharitable: Pete Carroll and Co. officially reached on the pick. Sure, Irvin turned heads at West Virginia, but off-the-field issues soiled his allure as a rare pass-rushing talent. Ignored amid a flurry of melting tweeters and talking heads was the obvious: The Seahawks weren’t caught off-guard here. This wasn’t a case of general manager John Schneider lounging in the war room, picking a random name out of a hat, with cheerful piñatas dangling from the ceiling. The organization mined Irvin’s past and felt a connection to his story. Where draftniks pick him apart, Seattle saw a unique, moldable talent. ‘Look, he has had a rough background,’ Schneider told the National Football Post. ‘He was so desperate. He dropped out of school. He basically was living on the street. But he was able to pick himself up, get his GED, get into a junior college (Mount San Antonio College), then get a scholarship (with the Mountaineers).’ “

Don Banks at SI.com offers some positional battles to keep an eye on the offseason programs and minicamps continue. The Seahawks’ QB situation is included, of course, but with a twist – Tarvaris Jackson vs. Russell Wilson to be Matt Flynn’s backup: “My way of thinking, if the Seahawks were happy with what they got out Jackson as their starter for 14 games last season, they wouldn’t have signed Matt Flynn in free agency or drafted Wilson in the third round. So I’m not buying it’s a three-man quarterback competition in Seattle. It’s last year’s starter against this year’s rookie to see who earns the No. 2 job, behind Flynn. Jackson has seen this movie before, in Minnesota, and he knows the advantage always goes with the new option, because there’s no taint or stain of defeat on the quarterback who just walked through the door. The sense is that Pete Carroll and Co. are intrigued with Wilson’s skill set and will find ways to get him on the field, perhaps even using him in a Wildcat role. Jackson clearly enters with the edge in experience, and his knowledge of the offense should give him a healthy advantage. But if Wilson proves himself a quick study, don’t be surprised if he’s only relegated to the team’s No. 3 quarterback role for a little while this season.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune provides a roster analysis, including this assessment of the most-talked about spot – quarterback: “This position experienced an extreme makeover from last season, with Seattle adding what it hopes are significant upgrades in (Matt) Flynn and (Russell) Wilson to increase the overall performance from this position. My opinion is even though (Tarvaris) Jackson is in the final year of his contract, if he does not win the starting job the Seahawks likely will keep him. Seattle believes this team is on the cusp of a deep playoff run, and you can’t do that without having two veteran quarterbacks that can step in and win games for you. I think this will be mostly a learning year for Wilson. And don’t count out (Josh) Portis; the organization still likes him as a player and he’ll be given a chance to prove he can be a part of the equation moving forward.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a closer look at sixth-round pick Winston Guy, who could become the third safety in the big nickel defense: “With (Lawyer) Milloy finally retired after 15 NFL seasons and (Atari) Bigby joining the San Diego Chargers in free agency, someone had to fill the third safety spot. And the coaches think they’ve found just the safety. ‘All those things where we used Atari, this kid fills those roles very well,’ Carroll said just after the draft had been completed. ‘He’s a versatile player. They moved him around in the kind of fashion that we like moving our guys around. We’re very excited about him. He’s a very aggressive kid. He plays a lot like Atari.’ ”

We’ve got a look at the wide receivers from Tuesday’s offseason program workout: “But today, after another offseason program workout that was held in warm, sunny conditions and on the manicured outside practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, (Tarvaris) Jackson said he liked the team’s current group of wide receivers. It’s an eclectic mix that includes (Sidney) Rice and Mike Williams, the on-the-mend incumbent starters; Doug Baldwin, who led the team in receiving as a rookie last season and has switched to his college number (89) so (Matt) Flynn could have No. 15; veteran Ben Obomanu, who GM John Schneider recently called “one of the more underrated receivers in the league”; and the promising quartet of Golden Tate, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham. ‘That’s what makes those guys work harder, because they know they’re unproven and they’re trying to prove themselves,’ Jackson said. ‘When you’ve got guys that are hungry like that, and willing to work, that makes things a lot better.’ ”