Monday in Hawkville: Driven to discouragement, but also encouragement

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 29:

FOCUS ON

Zach Miller

The last drives. As discouraged as Pete Carroll was with his defense allowing the Lions to drive 80 yards in 16 plays to a game-winning touchdown in Detroit on Sunday, the Seahawks’ coach was even more encouraged by the 12-play, 87-yard TD drive that allowed his team to take a 24-21 lead with 5½ minutes to play.

That was the word from Carroll today after he had reviewed the video of the 28-24 loss that left the Seahawks at 4-4 as they begin the second half of their schedule against the Minnesota Vikings at Century Link Field this Sunday.

“For sure, the offensive finish,” Carroll said when asked about the most encouraging aspect of the game. “The ability to execute a huge drive and get down the field.”

That drive included an 18-yard pass from rookie QB Russell Wilson to Sidney Rice on third-and-10 and also Wilson’s 6-yard pass to Golden Tate on fourth-and-2. But the piece de resistance was the throw and the catch that produced the TD.

“To see a great throw to Zach, and then a better catch,” Carroll said. “He threw the ball way early because he knew where he was going to be, and put tremendously soft touch on the ball so Zach had a chance to really control that ball. He gave him an opportunity to make the play, and Zach makes a phenomenal catch.

“Of all the conditions that were presented in that game that was terrific. That was the bright spot – the whole drive, the execution of it.”

As for that other drive that was the exclamation point on the Lions compiling 415 yards, Carroll offered, “We’re disappointed. We’re not accustomed to giving up stuff like that. It just felt uncharacteristic. … We have things to correct and we’re going to work on it.”

POSITION WATCH

Wide receiver. The Seahawks are suddenly shorthanded, because of the high ankle sprain that is sidelining Doug Baldwin, the wrist injury Ben Obomanu got in Sunday’s game and Braylon Edwards’ knee to swell on Sunday morning.

“We have to consider our situation because there’s a little bit of uncertainty right there,” Carroll said. “We’re looking at our options there.”

Obomanu was seeing a specialist today, while Edwards was getting additional tests on his knee. Carroll is anticipating that Edwards will be able to play against the Vikings, because there is no structural damage to the knee. But he called Baldwin’s availability “a long shot.”

Fullback Michael Robinson also was seeing a specialist for the wrist he injured against the Lions.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW

If he had it to do over, Carroll would not have challenged the play in the third quarter against the Lions where he couldn’t win no matter what the ultimate call was.

“A total blunder,” Carroll said. “It was a blunder. I screwed it up.”

Carroll challenged whether Titus Young actually had caught a 9-yard pass from Matthew Stafford on a third-and-8 play. But it didn’t matter, because cornerback Brandon Browner had been called for defensive holding. So the Lions would get a first down even if the ruling on the field was reversed – which it wasn’t.

“It was a competitive moment that I really regret,” Carroll said.

STAT DU JOUR

Marshawn Lynch didn’t just run 77 yards for a touchdown against the Lions on Sunday; he ran his way into the franchise record book in two more categories. That play tied for the fourth-longest run and allowed him to post the best-second per-carry average in club history:

Longest runs

Player, opponent (date)                                      Length

Shaun Alexander, Raiders (Nov. 1, 2001)             88

Shaun Alexander, Cardinals (Nov. 6, 2005)          88

Joey Galloway, Jaguars (Nov. 12, 1995)                86

Marshawn Lynch, Lions (Oct. 28, 2012)                77

Steve Broussard, Titans (Oct. 5, 1997)                  77

Best per-carry average

Player, opponent (date)                                    Avg. (carries-yards)

Sherman Smith, Falcons (Nov. 7, 1976)         8.86  (14-124)

Marshawn Lynch, Lions (Oct. 28, 2012)         8.75  (12-105)

L. McCutcheon, Cowboys (Nov. 27, 1980)     8.64  (11-95)

Marshawn Lynch, Giants (Oct. 9, 2011)         8.17  (12-98)

UP NEXT

The players have their off day on Tuesday, when the coaches will compile the game plan for Sunday’s matchup with the Vikings. The players will return on Wednesday to begin practicing.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Marshawn Lynch. (NFL Network analyst Mike) Mayock’s right – the most underrated tailback in football.” – Peter King in the “What I Liked” section of his “Monday Morning Quarterback” on SI.com


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Game at a glance: Lions 28, Seahawks 24

DETROIT – A recap of the Seahawks’ 28-24 loss to the Lions at Ford Field on Sunday:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Matthew Stafford. The Lions’ quarterback threw, and threw, and then threw some more. Stafford didn’t stop until he had passed his team to victory with a 1-yard pass to Titus Young with 20 seconds left in the game.

It was Stafford’s 49th pass of the afternoon, and 34th completion. Not to mention his third TD pass. Oh, and he also ran for a touchdown to give the Lions a 21-17 lead with 11½ minutes remaining. But after Russell Wilson led a 12-play, 87-yard drive that ended with his 16-yard TD pass to tight end Zach Miller that gave the Seahawks a 24-21 lead with 5½ minutes left, Stafford didn’t blink. He just kept throwing on the 16-play, 80-yard drive that ended with his game-winner.

“It was a great win for Detroit,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll conceded. “They kind of did what they wanted to do. Stafford did a really good job moving the ball around like he needed to.”

That was perhaps the most frustrating part of Stafford rallying the Lions not once by twice in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks held Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson in check (three catches for 36 yards). It was Titus Young, who was filling in for injured former Seahawks wide receiver Nate Burleson, and tight end Brandon Pettigrew that they had trouble with. Young (nine for 100) and Pettigrew (seven for 74) combined to catch 16 passes for 174 of Stafford’s 352 passing yards.

Stafford was at his best on third downs, completing 14 of 15 for 111 yards and two TDs.

“Anyone of those, if we had gotten a stop, it would have changed the game,” Carroll said.

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: The game-winner, of course, as Stafford found Young on a third-and-goal play – and with the Seahawks in zone coverage in the end zone.

Defense: Earl Thomas’ third-quarter interception, because of when it came – as the Lions were driving; and where it came – at the Seahawks’ 3-yard line. It was the kind of play the Seahawks needed more of on this afternoon. It also was somewhat wasted, because rookie QB Russell Wilson was picked off six plays later by safety Ricardo Silva at the Lions’ 18-yard line.

“I thought Sidney was saying, ‘I put my hand up, I’m going (downfield),’ ” Wilson said. “He was saying, ‘Hey, throw it to me now.’ So it was just one of those situations.”

Special teams: Jon Ryan’s 64-yard punt. Again, because of when it came – after a three-and-out; and where it came – with the Seahawks deep in their own territory. But also because of where it put the Lions – at their 19-yard line.

INJURY REPORT

Fullback Michael Robinson and wide receiver Ben Obomanu got sprained wrists, while wide receiver Golden Tate tweaked an ankle.

The Seahawks also played without wide receiver Braylon Edwards and rush-tackle Jason Jones.

Edwards participated in Saturday’s walkthrough at a local high school, and Carroll said he would split reps with Tate at split end. But Edwards woke up Sunday morning with a swollen knee. It was drained, but then became swollen again after he went through pregame warm-ups. So he was inactive.

Jones missed practice all week because of an ankle injury, and Carroll credited his inability to play with the Seahawks’ inability to generate more pressure on Stafford.

WORTH NOTING

While the Lions were converting 75 percent of their third-down situations (12 of 16), the Seahawks converted 33 percent (3 of 9).

Each team was 3 of 3 in red-zone situations, but the Lions got three touchdowns on possession inside the Seahawks’ 20-yard line, while the Seahawks got two TDs and a field goal in their red-zone possessions.

Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (12) and second-year strongside linebacker K.J. Wright (11) combined for 23 tackles.

Wilson’s interception was his eighth of the season, and all have come in road games.

Marshawn Lynch carried 12 times for 105 yards, including a 77-yard TD that was the longest run of his career. He has four 100-yard rushing games this season and 10 in his past 17 games.

The Seahawks are 1-4 on the road this season, and 6-15 in 2½ seasons under Carroll.

The Seahawks were penalized only twice for 10 yards, each a season-low.

YOU DON’T SAY

“These young guys know that we’re OK. They know that we can play football and we can hang tough. We just have to come back and get going and see if we can’t put together a second half that really makes this season feel like we’re going in the right direction and we’re making great progress. There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that we can. We’ve just got to go do it.” – Carroll


Friday cyber surfing: Seahawks fall to 49ers, 13-6

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks following their 13-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football.

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the Niners got the best of the Seahawks in a physical battle, “For most of the season, the Seahawks (4-3) have been the punishers. They sent the Dallas Cowboys begging for league intervention after a 27-7 whipping in Week 2. They sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers eight times in a half. They were too much for Cam Newton and Steve Smith. If you can depend on anything with these Seahawks, it’s that you will feel them for several days after the game, and their defense will eventually shut you down, one bruise at a time. Not in this game. With an array of well-designed run plays, including lots of traps, the 49ers opened holes against the Seahawks that we haven’t seen all season. Frank Gore ran for 131 of San Francisco’s 175 rushing yards, and he averaged 8.2 yards per carry. The Seahawks entered the game ranked No. 2 in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing just 70 yards a game. They hadn’t given up more than 87 in a game this season. ‘I’m not pleased with what we did on defense,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘That’s really unfortunate. I think we’re better than that.’ “

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times recaps the 13-6 result from San Francisco, “No last-minute comeback. Not this time as the team with a penchant for last-minute drama never got the ball in the 49ers’ half of the field in the fourth quarter, let alone within striking distance. ‘We found ourselves in the midst of a slugfest here tonight,’ Carroll said. And all Seattle could manage was a pair of first-half jabs as Steven Hauschka kicked two field goals. In the second half, the 49ers were the only ones connecting. They ran the ball with impunity and drove the ball inside the Seattle 20-yard line on each of their first three possessions in the second half. It didn’t seem to matter how many times the Seahawks got the ball in the final period, it was hard to imagine them ever scoring.”

O’Neil notes the struggles the team’s wide receivers had in yesterday’s loss to the Niners, “Golden Tate was targeted more than 50 times a year ago, and he didn’t drop a pass. On Thursday night in the Seahawks’ 13-6 loss to the 49ers, he dropped two. One was a potential game-changing play in the first half and the other a critical third-and-two in the second half. That prompted the Seahawks to use Braylon Edwards more at split end in the second half, though Tate was back on the field in the fourth quarter. Tate wasn’t alone as there were five dropped passes by four players. ‘We’ve got to figure out a way — as a receiving group — to go up and get balls to help us,’ Tate said. ‘It starts with myself. Before the half, I’ve got to come down with one of those. A huge first down. I have to catch that. The team relies on me to catch that, and do what I do best — gain some yards. Honestly, I take it personally, this loss. I feel like I could have done something to put us in a better position to win this game at the end or get a lead.’ “

O’Neil also names Marshawn Lynch his player of the game in his two-minute drill, “Marshawn Lynch rushed for 103 yards, the third time this season he has hit the century mark. In the past 44 games, the 49ers have allowed an opponent to rush for more than 100 yards in three games, and Lynch is responsible for two of those three efforts.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks were beaten at their own physical style of game on Thursday night, “Behind a physical running attack and a stingy defense, the San Francisco 49ers showed that they are not ready to relinquish their title as the heavyweights of the NFC West, pounding the Seahawks, 13-6, at Candlestick Park…San Francisco entered the game as the top rushing team in the league, averaging 176.8 yards rushing a contest. ‘It was disappointing because we didn’t stop the run like we wanted to,’ said Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill, who finished with a team-high nine tackles. ‘But there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Holding them to 13 points is nothing to be embarrassed about.’ “

Williams also notes the wide receivers’ miscues from Thursday night, “Seattle went into halftime leading 6-3, but dominated play in the first half and could have been ahead by more. ‘I feel like I definitely should have made one of those, and that’s all we needed,’ Tate said. ‘We needed one of those to be caught, and we would’ve scored or got a field goal before the half. And we would’ve taken the momentum into halftime.’ “

The Sports Network provides their game recap from the 49ers’ 13-6 victory, “Frank Gore provided most of the yards for the 49ers (5-2) as he totaled 131 yards on 16 carries and added five catches for 51 yards to help the team bounce back from last week’s rout at the hands of the Giants. Alex Smith was 14-for-23 with 140 yards, one touchdown and one interception while David Akers kicked a pair of field goals for San Francisco, which moved into the top spot in the NFC West with the victory. ‘I was expecting a close, physical game because that’s how both our games were last year,’ Smith said. ‘I didn’t expect a big stat game, but this was a really tough one that we had tonight. This is a very satisfying win for the whole club.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald passes along a few thoughts following the Seahawks’ 13-6 defeat in the Bay Area, “The 49ers won the special teams battle thanks in large part to the play of 49ers punter Andy Lee, the Seahawks average starting field position was their own 15-yard line, the worst for any team this season according to ESPN Stats & Info. Facing the 49ers defense, that would make for an uphill battle for even the best NFL offenses. And the Seahawks are not one of the best NFL offense (Captain Obvious, reporting for duty). The 49ers, meanwhile, enjoyed pretty good field position in no small part thanks to the ability to get return yardage out of Tedd Ginn Jr., who had 70 yards on three punt returns.”

Mike Salk of mynorthwest.com says the Seahawks are still in “tremendous shape” following last night’s division loss to the Niners, “They still have a gigantic secondary that allowed nothing deep on Thursday night. They still have a powerful force at running back that can run on even the best defenses. They still have a precocious young quarterback with a strong arm, quick feet and a flare for the dramatic. They are learning how to win. That is one of those incalculable vagaries that statheads hate because it’s difficult to define. Heck, it might not really exist. But if it does, it sure seems to fit this team. Sometimes it takes a few opportunities before a young team learns how to overcome adversity. Playing on the road on short rest against last year’s division winner certainly counts as adverse conditions. Dropping five passes might define the term. The Seahawks are a work in progress, but that doesn’t mean they need to be years away from big-time success.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “Rapid Reaction” after Thursday night’s game, “What I liked: Both teams ran the ball better than expected despite facing run defenses that have been extremely stout since last season. The 49ers’ Frank Gore and the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch each topped 100 yards rushing. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw down the field without fear and put his receivers/tight ends in position to make big plays (they did not make nearly enough of them). Seattle’s offensive line rose to the occasion, clearing holes in the running game while giving Wilson enough time. The 49ers’ offensive line answered by springing Gore for big gains repeatedly. Niners return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. helped swing field position in the 49ers’ favor multiple times.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his game recap from San Francisco and offers his “Game at a glance“, naming the 49ers’ Gore his player of the game, “What is it about the Seahawks that seems to bring out the best in this guy? He has had two 200-plus yard rushing performances against them in the past, and already had run for more yards against the Seahawks (1,079 in 12 games) than any other team. Thursday night, Gore ran for 131 yards on just 16 carries – for an 8.2-yard average. ‘They did a great job,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘They schemed beautifully and Frank ran great. But we need to do better.’ “

Tony Ventrella has his game recap with postgame reaction from Carroll, Wilson, defensive end Red Bryant, linebacker K.J. Wright, and wide receiver Ben Obomanu.

We have full game highlights from last night here, Lynch highlights here, and Wilson highlights here.

Finally, we have the full postgame press conferences from Carroll and Wilson.


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Week 3 – The Real Rob Report

Our Pro Bowl fullback and aspiring broadcaster Michael Robinson is back with another episode of “The Real Rob Report”.

In you’re unfamiliar with Robinson’s endeavors, he offers a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective of life in the NFL, catching up with fellow players and coaches in an informal setting compared to what you may be used to seeing in the mainstream media.

In this week’s installment quarterback Russell Wilson kicks things off with his best impersonation of Head Coach Pete Carroll, which is frighteningly close to the real thing.

Robinson catches up with wide receivers Ben Obomanu and Ricardo Lockette, and cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Brandon Browner, asking the guys who their favorite teams and players were when they were growing up.

Mike Rob also tries to get camera-shy running back Marshawn Lynch to open up to the lens, and catches an interaction between running back Robert Turbin and a Seahawks media relations staffer on film.

All-in-all it’s another must-see Real Rob Report production from the Real Mike Rob.


More Real Rob Report

Our Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson is back behind the camera in his latest installment of “The Real Rob Report.”

Robinson catches up with wide receiver Golden Tate, who will return to action tomorrow against the Dallas Cowboys, Ben Obomanu flexes his pipes – not his biceps, but his vocal chords – and second-year offensive lineman James Carpenter talks college football and his long-awaited return to the practice field.

Check out the video above and check back for more episodes of “The Real Rob Report” throughout the season.


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Obomanu, Butler battling roster bubble; Sweezy excelling

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 29.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look at veteran wide receiver Ben Obomanu, who finds himself in a familiar position as the team nears it’s 53-man roster cut Friday, “Obomanu used to be one of those young guys taking aim at a veteran’s gig as he came to a team with established receivers like Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram. ‘First couple of years, that was the obstacle,’ Obomanu said. ‘Trying to compete as a low pick against guys that had big contracts that were new to the team. I had a lot of big guys in front of me the first couple of years.’ He outlasted big-ticket additions like Nate Burleson and Deion Branch. He made the team in 2010, a year the Seahawks paid T.J. Houshmandzadeh more than $6 million to go away. But this week he is once again one of the guys who’s playing for a job, not taking anything for granted while doing everything he can so he can buy his folks plane tickets for the first home game. Of course, that won’t happen until after Friday.”

O’Neil also catches up with wide receiver Deon Butler, who he thinks many have overlooked in the wide receiver competition for a roster spot, “Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are locks to make this team. Braylon Edwards is almost certainly going to get an opportunity as he’s built for the jump-ball sideline routes that have been a stale of the exhibition gameplans. But when the Seahawks roster is finalized this week, Butler and Obomanu are very strong candidates to round out the receivers. But nothing is given so is Butler feeling comfortable? ‘I’ve been comfortable for a long time,’ Butler said. ‘I’ve been just confident in my abilities and myself. I just feel like there’s a place for me in this league. Hopefully it’s here.’ “

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune speaks to the learning curve and adversity that rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin is facing this preseason, “Two rookie pass rushers drafted after Irvin, the Jets’ Quinton Coples (three sacks) and the Chargers’ Melvin Ingram (two sacks) have been more productive statistically. Todd Wash, Seahawks defensive line coach, is not worried over Irvin’s progress at this point. ‘We’ve seen so much development,’ Wash said. ‘The first couple (games) we were seeing some apprehension with his get-off, (being) unsure of things; I think there was a lot of thinking going on.’ Wash said that in the third exhibition game, against Kansas City, Irvin had several quarterback pressures and near sacks. ‘We saw him starting to threaten guys on the edge, and he’s using his hands better every day,’ he said. ‘(At practice) today he had three of the best rushes he’s had so far.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that rookie offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy – who played defensive line in college -  is exceeding expectations thus far, “When offensive line coach Tom Cable went to work Sweezy out before the draft, he asked a defensive player, one who had not played offensive line since he was eight years old, how he felt about changing positions. Cable liked what he saw of Sweezy in that workout, and just importantly, what he heard, and that was enough for the Seahawks to take a flier in the seventh round on a defensive lineman who they thought might just be able to make a successful transition to the other side of the ball. ‘He answered the question right,’ Cable said. ‘When I asked, ‘I’m here to work you as an offensive lineman, not a defensive lineman, are you all right with that?’ His answer was, ‘Yeah, I’ll do whatever it takes.’ That’s the right answer. It’s not, ‘Well, does this mean I don’t get to play D-line?’ You don’t want to hear that crap. You just want to know, ‘Hey, do you want to go for this or not?’ And right from the beginning, he did, and that made it easy.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press also comments on Sweezy’s contributions, “Clearly, the Seahawks underestimated just how fast Sweezy could make the change. He’s already started a pair of preseason games – two weeks ago in Denver and last week at Kansas City. Sweezy could get a third start on Thursday night when the Seahawks close out the preseason hosting Oakland. Sweezy has taken advantage of starting right guard John Moffitt missing time during training camp after requiring elbow surgery. Moffitt returned to practice this week and may play against the Raiders, but it’s Sweezy who has continued to get work with the No. 1 offense. Seattle (No. 22 in the APPro32) was so impressed with Sweezy’s improvement the team felt comfortable releasing experienced veteran guard Deuce Lutui during the first round of cuts last weekend. ‘We thought maybe he’ll make the practice squad and develop later on in the season,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ‘Well, that development came within the first four to five days of camp.’ “

Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps a segment of “Brock and Salk” in which quarterback Russell Wilson joined the program, “Russell Wilson’s mobility helped him lead Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl during his final collegiate season, it added to his appeal when the Seahawks took him in the third round of April’s NFL draft, and it’s been evident in three preseason game in which Wilson has been good enough to win a job as a starter. But never has his mobility been the main reason for Wilson’s success. While it’s part of his game, it doesn’t define him as a quarterback. Wilson often finds ways to subtly mention that when the topic comes up, as if to dispel any notion that he’s a run-first quarterback. The latest reminder – as if we needed one – came Tuesday when Wilson joined ‘Brock and Salk’ and was asked about what goes through his head when he decides to tuck the ball and run. ‘I never, ever think about running the football. I’m always wanting to throw the ball and if something closes, if I go through my progression and it closes, it’s like, ‘Bam.’ It happens so fast and you’re out. You’re just trying to get something positive,’ he said.”

Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has his report from Tuesday’s practice session, including a note on running back Marshawn Lynch, “Running back Marshawn Lynch watched practice wearing sweats. He has been receiving treatment for a sore, tight back. According to coach Pete Carroll, Lynch will not play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against Oakland.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his notes from Tuesday’s practice, and catches up with rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner, “Wagner has taken over as the starting middle linebacker replacing LB David Hawthorne. Head coach Pete Carroll said at the end of last season they would be looking to get faster on defense. Linebacker appared to be the primary focus of where the team was looking to add that speed. Wagner fills that role. He’s a rangy, albeit somewhat small at just 6-feet tall but has come along way in taking over the defensive calls and making sure the defensive line is aligned properly. ‘I took a lot of pride in that because a lot of middle linebackers do that,’ Wagner said. ‘…I was going to mess up, but make sure I got it right the next time.’ “

Mike Sando of ESPN.com takes a look at eight ‘elite’ 2011 NFC West draft choices who enter their second year having secured starting positions. For Seattle, that includes linebacker K.J. Wright and cornerback Richard Sherman, “Linebacker K.J. Wright and cornerback Richard Sherman became starters as rookies. Both appear to be ascending rapidly. Wright impressed during camp with physical play. He stays on the field in nickel situations. Sherman was arguably the Seahawks’ best corner by season’s end, no small feat. Wright is 6-foot-4. Sherman is 6-3. These are rangy defenders with bright futures. Seattle would ideally have four projected starters from this class, but it’s looking like offensive linemen James Carpenter (first) and John Moffitt (third) will enter the season as backups. Rookie seventh-rounder J.R. Sweezy has played very well since replacing an injured Moffitt. Breno Giacomini won the job at right tackle after Carpenter suffered a season-ending knee injury last year. Carpenter could start at some point this season, probably at left guard. Moffitt could back up the three inside spots if Sweezy sticks in the lineup.”

Sando also has his updated outlook for Seahawks 2011 first-round draft pick James Carpenter, “There were even rumblings Carpenter, a first-round draft choice in 2011, would miss the season entirely after suffering a severe knee injury during a November practice.  The outlook has changed. While teams around the league have begun placing players on their physically unable to perform lists, Carpenter stayed on the roster at the reduction to 75 players. If he remains active at the reduction to 53 on Friday, which now seems likely, Carpenter could factor into Seattle’s plans much earlier than once anticipated. Players on the PUP list must miss the first six weeks.”

Michael Lombardi of NFL.com has his list of “blue chip” and “red chip” players on offense and defense. Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger, and Red Bryant make his list as “blue chip” players, while Earl Thomas makes the list as a “red chip” player.

Don Banks of SI.com labels the Seahawks quarterback depth as one of the League’s “winners” of Week 3 of the preseason, “We just found out Pete Carroll will ride the hot hand of rookie Russell Wilson, rather than go with the slightly more experienced free-agent signee Matt Flynn, but that’s the two best choices the Seahawks have had at quarterback in quite some time. No offense to Charlie Whitehurst, Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace, but no offense pretty much summed up the state of things in Seattle before this preseason. Wilson, the “short” quarterback who some said wouldn’t even get drafted, is the clear-cut story of the 2012 preseason. Score yet another one for the science that is NFL draft scouting.”

Starting quarterback Russell Wilson appeared on NFL Total Access yesterday. You can watch the video here.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth has his notes from Tuesday in ‘Hawkville‘, and says that backup quarterback Matt Flynn was a full participant in practice, “The backup quarterback was able to throw more in today’s practice than he has since an inflamed muscle in the right elbow started acting up last week. Flynn took part in all phases of practice, a good sign that he’ll be able to play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field. It also was Flynn’s longest on-field stint since coach Pete Carroll announced on Sunday that rookie Russell Wilson had won the starting job. So Flynn needs to begin taking advantage of whatever opportunities come his way.”


Monday cyber surfing: Reaction to Williams’ release

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 16.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times gives us his reaction to the Seahawks release of wide receiver Mike Williams, noting  the move did not come as a total surprise, but rather a disappointment given Williams’ career revival with Seattle in 2010. “Williams’ release is disappointing, however,” said O’Neil. “His 2010 comeback was nothing short of remarkable as the former first-round pick — who had been out of the league entirely for two years — caught 65 passes to lead the team. He was never going to be mistaken for a track star, but he had size, great hands and an engaging personality. The man is very likeable. He had an ability to cut to the quick and speak honestly. On the subject of the NFL’s comeback player of the year in 2010, he pointed out that Leon Washington was much more deserving considering the severity of the broken leg Washington had to recover from. All Williams did, he said, was recover from being out of shape and sitting on his couch.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his own take on the release of Williams, as he designates health issues and a lack of production a season ago as factors in the team’s decision, and comments on how the move affects the Seahawks’ competition at wide receiver heading into training camp, “The release of Williams opens up competition for the starting split end spot opposite Sidney Rice, with veterans Ben Obomanu and Deon Butler battling with youngsters Golden Tate, Kris Durham and Ricardo Lockette for the starting job.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald presents his take on the release of Williams, and also takes a look at how the move affects the Seahawks wideout group heading into camp, “With or without Williams, the battle for roster spots and playing time already figured to be one of the most intriguing position battles aside from Seattle’s three-man quarterback competition. While Sidney Rice is a lock to start, assuming he is healthy, the battle for the other starting job is wide open. Doug Baldwin should remain the Seahawks’ slot receiver, a role in which he thrived as a rookie in 2011. Golden Tate is now likely the front runner to be Seattle’s other starting receiver, but a number of other players could push him for that spot. The Seahawks will have a battle for both playing time and roster spots beyond Rice, Tate and Baldwin, one that will include Ben Obomanu, Kris Durham, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and perhaps a couple of undrafted rookies such as Lavasier Tuinei and Phil Bates.”

Tim Booth of the Associated Press gives us this story on the release of Williams, suggesting that the signing of tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. may have played a role in the team’s decision to let Williams go, “With Winslow and Zach Miller, the Seahawks are likely to use more two tight end sets and limit the need for a second taller receiver on the outside.”

Over at MyNorthwest.com Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of the “Bob and Groz” show provide their own assessment of the Seahawks decision to release Williams, and discuss what’s next for the team at the wide receiver position, and for Williams, in this video.

Rounding out the reaction to Williams’ release is Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM, who shares this piece and predicts what the team might do to replace Williams, “The team could look to bring in another veteran receiver or two to help add security to the position. WR Antonio Bryant had a tryout during mini-camp in June, but the team wanted him to get in better shape before making a decision on whether to sign him to the roster. He could be an option entering camp.”

The guys at ProFootballTalk.com are incrementally releasing their preseason power rankings and the Seahawks have landed at No. 22 on their list. Evan Silva breaks down the ranking in this Seahawks preview, analyzing the team’s strengths, weaknesses, changes the team has undergone, upcoming training camp battles and has provided an outlook heading into 2012, “The Seahawks seem to be a team on the rise, but they’ve yet to exceed seven regular-season wins through two years of the Carroll/Schneider regime. In order to instill confidence in the minds of observers, Seattle needs to take a significant step forward in on-the-field performance. Seattle’s 2012 schedule includes a brutal stretch from Weeks Two through Eight. They’ll square off with four returning playoff teams — the Packers, Patriots, 49ers, and Lions. During the seven-game run, the Seahawks also face the explosive offenses of Dallas and Carolina. We’ll have a very good feel for what kind of team the 2012 Seahawks are following that tough run. Ultimately, we ranked Seattle as the second best team in the NFC West. We like them better than the Cardinals and Rams, but much less than the Niners. The Seahawks are a club that certainly could surprise, especially if they emerge from the aforementioned seven-game stretch with four solid wins.”

Eric Edholm of ProFootballWeekly.com picks out three teams that may not necessarily be division favorites heading into 2012, but could have the potential to surprise and challenge for the division. Among Edholm’s short list are the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks. Edholm had this to say on the Seahawks, “The Seahawks are fascinating. They have a young, ballhawking defense, some real talent at receiver and a confident head coach in Pete Carroll with a chip on his shoulder. All they need now is to settle on a quarterback. It should be easy, right? They signed Matt Flynn in the offseason, gave him $10 million guaranteed. That should be our sign he’s the starter. But an interesting thing is happening here, with Tarvaris Jackson getting the first-team reps to start training camp and white-hot (and intriguing) rookie Russell Wilson throwing bolts and determined to win the job from Day One.”

At NFL.com Kurt Warner, Warren Sapp and guest-analyst and former-teammate of Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings each give their two cents on the Seahawks quarterback competition heading into training camp in this short video.

Finally, here at Seahawks.com registration is now open for 2012 Bing Training Camp, which is set to begin at the end of the month. For more information, including how to register, click here.


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.”


Tuesday cyber surfing: Positional breakdowns

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 10.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times takes a look at the Seahawks wide receiver position, and the competition that will come with it come training camp. O’Neil considers three wide receivers to be “locks” for the Seahawks 53-man roster – Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate. Beyond those three, it gets a little complicated according to O’Neil, “There are veterans Ben Obomanu, [Deon] Butler and [Mike] Williams. There are promising second-year players like Kris Durham – a fourth-round pick in 2011 — and Ricardo Lockette, who flashed his big-play potential at the end of the season. And don’t forget the crew of undrafted free agents and offseason additions: Lavasier Tuinei, Charly Martin, Jermaine Kearse, Cameron Kenney and Phil Bates. So how many can you expect Seattle to keep? Well, 5.4 says history, and before you start wondering how to get 40 percent of one wide receiver, that’s simply the average number of receivers the Seahawks have kept when they reduced the roster to 53 players from 2002 through last season.”

Like O’Neil, here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a positional analysis of his own, as he takes a look at the Seahawks secondary heading into 2012. Farnsworth points to more experience and better depth as reasons to see improvement in the Seahawks secondary in 2012, as the unit hopes to build off the success they enjoyed a season ago, “No other team in the league had three defensive backs play in the Pro Bowl last season [Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor & Brandon Browner]. No other team in the league had three defensive backs ranked among the Top 10 cornerbacks and safeties in the league by the Sporting News this offseason.”

Over at NFL.com Gregg Rosenthal piggy-backs off of O’Neil’s wide receiver discussion and offers his own thoughts on Mike Williams, “Seattle Seahawks wideout Mike Williams could go from one of the best stories in the NFL to out of the league in the span of just two years. Somehow, that’s the most NFL story of all. Coach Pete Carroll resurrected his former USC star from the ashes in 2010. After being out of the NFL two years, Williams led the Seahawks with 65 catches and 751 yards. He was a legitimate Comeback Player of the Year candidate. He was the No. 1 receiver on a team that won a playoff game. But the NFL is an unforgiving place to work. Williams fell off the map during an injury-plagued 2011, putting up only 236 yards in 12 games. He’s coming off a broken leg and is no longer a lock to make the Seahawks’ roster.”

Also at NFL.com, Matt Smith gives us his fantasy dream team – the “perfect” draft – as he calls it, and lo and behold, there are a couple Seahawks mentions on his list. Smith hopes to pick up running back Marshawn Lynch in Round 3, offering this on Seattle’s bruising back, “I don’t buy last season being a fantasy miracle year for Lynch, Pete Carroll simply realized where his production was going to come from and kept it going, riding momentum of a great defense and running game to a solid close of the season. With the “dink and dunk” Matt Flynn, or the inconsistent Tavaris Jackson, or rookie Russell Wilson, the running game is going to have to be solid again for the Seahawks to succeed. And with their defense looking even better this season, they’re likely to lean on that run game even more.” Then, several rounds later, Smith has his eyes set on the Seahawks defense, “I love getting the defense right in Fantasy. It could be the difference between a win or a loss when you have one that’s dominant in point production. You need a defense that attacks, that goes after the quarterback and places a value on the ball above all else. The Bears have made a fantasy career of it, but these days they’re getting a little bit old to keep doing what they have been. Seattle closed strong, and all season long was solid. Seven weeks of double-digit production is just lunacy to leave on the board.”

Dan Arkush at ProFootballWeekly.com talked to a daily observer of Seahawks team activities, who told him Seahawks first round draft pick DE Bruce Irvin has impressed in the early-goings of Seahawks OTAs and minicamps, “One particularly striking example in a late-May OTA was the eye-popping countermove the sleek Irvin put on Breno Giacomini that literally floored the massive tackle. ‘It was really something to see; it made an instant impression,’ the observer said. But it was hardly enough to suddenly thrust Irvin into consideration for a starting role, with the game plan calling for him to hopefully wreak havoc along with [Chris] Clemons in specific nickel pass-rush situations the same way Aldon Smith did as a first-round rookie for the Niners last season. ‘Irvin has gotten all the starting reps up to now, but he has talked about how much he’d like to be learning from Clemons,’ the observer said.”


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.’ ”