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Tuesday round-up: Reviewing the read-option

Brock Huard and Danny O’Neil of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” discuss how much the Seahawks will use the read-option in 2013

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Tuesday, July 2, about your Seattle Seahawks:

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com writes about the risk and reward associated with running a read-option offense.

It’s never too early to start thinking about fantasy football, and NFL.com has their list of the Top 30 fantasy football players for 2013. Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin comes in at No. 17, while running back Marshawn Lynch appears at No. 3 behind Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (No. 2) and Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (No. 1).

Former NFL offensive lineman turned NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger says the NFC West is the best division in the NFC in this short video clip.

NFL Network’s Baldinger and former NFL center Shaun O’Hara have a look at the best available free agents remaining and offers some landing spots on which teams they might fit best with.

With football just 10 Sunday’s away, NFL Network’s NFL Total Access crew takes a stab at some Week 1 headlines around the League.

The NFL announced training camp report dates for all 32 clubs yesterday afternoon, and Seahawks rookies and veterans alike will report to Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Wednesday, July 24. The team’s first practice will be held Thursday, July 25 – you can register to attend that session and more by clicking here.

And here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth continues his 2013 preview series with a look at the offensive line, including comments from assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable on the under-the-radar play the club has received from right tackle Breno Giacomini and guard Paul McQuistan.


Wednesday in Hawkville: Brandon Mebane reverts to baseball-playing days to make one big interception

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 5, when the Seahawks put the wraps on the on-field activities in the OTA portion of their offseason program:

Brandon MebaneFOCUS ON: BRANDON MEBANE

Pete Carroll stopped short of announcing the move of 311-pound nose tackle to extra-strong strong safety, but the Seahawks’ coach was duly impressed with the interception Mebane made during today’s OTA.

“The return was not that good,” Carroll cracked. “But the pick was nice.”

For Mebane, it was his second interception this week as he also had one on Monday. But today’s pick – which came off a pass that was tipped by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner – allowed him to display the full array of his athletic skills.

“I just saw the ball go up and my eyes got real big,” Mebane said. “I was like, ‘Just like baseball. Just catch it.’ ”

Baseball? Mebane played third base, catcher, second base and centerfield while growing up. That was before he grew into a nose tackle.

“That was just like a pop fly,” he said of the batted Brady Quinn pass he intercepted.

But Mebane’s second pick also was a testament to the work he has been putting in. The D-lineman began today’s OTA with a drill where coordinator Dan Quinn had them drop, turn and catch the ball as he threw it. Mebane displayed cat-like quickness in grabbing his.

Marshawn Lynch

PLAYER WATCH: MARSHAWN LYNCH

The All-Pro running back participated in today’s session, Lynch’s first OTA appearance this week. He looked quick and explosive while getting carries with the No. 1 and even No. 3 units.

“He had a nice day today. He got a little running room,” Carroll said. “He’s in really good shape. We’re trying to get him all the way through this offseason and get him ready for the real season. We know what Marshawn can do as long as he’s in good shape, and he’s in fantastic shape. He’s hard as a rock and he’s worked really hard to this point.

“It’s really just take the next step, the next step. Get him through minicamp. Then get him through the summertime. Then show up for camp and get him through the preseason. So that he’s right and ready to go. There’s so much (tread) on the tire and we don’t want to wear down that.”

The Seahawks ran the ball a league-high 536 times last season, and Lynch used his career-high 315 carries to produce 1,590 rushing yards and average 5.0 yards – also a career-bests.

POSITION WATCH: RIGHT TACKLE

Rookie Michael Bowie continued to work with the No. 1 line because, as Carroll explained, starter Breno Giacomini has been in New York to have a knee that’s been bothering him checked out.

The news is good on both fronts: Giacomini will not need surgery, and the reps Bowie got with the first unit in his absence were invaluable for the seventh-round draft choice.

“He could have practice this week, but we wanted to take this time to make sure that we were doing the right thing,” Carroll said of Giacomini. “So he’s in good shape and that’s a really positive report for us.”

On Bowie, he added, “Michael got a great chance to show and it was cool to have him with the first group out there. He handled himself well. It’s a good initial statement that he’s made that he looks like he can fit in. He’s got a lot of ground to make up, but we’re very pleased with him.”

ALUMNI WATCH: CURT WARNER

Three generations of Seahawks running backs were on the field before the start of practice, as Warner had a sideline conversation with Lynch and Sherman Smith, the team’s original running back who now coaches the position.

Smith led the team in rushing from 1976-79 and again in 1982. Warner, the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 1983, ran for 6,705 yards in six seasons, including 1,481 in 1986 and 1,449 as a rookie. Lynch has been the team’s leading rusher the past three seasons.

Lt. Colonel Edward DrummondPULLING RANK

Also at practice was Edward Drummond, a retired Lt. Col. and the youngest of the Tuskegee Airman. He had his picture taken with Carroll and several players after practice.

Drummond, 86, was accompanied by his wife and eight students from Pacific West Aerospace Academy.

UP NEXT

The players will work out on Thursday, but they won’t have their scheduled on-field session.

Friday, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman will sign autographs from noon to 1 p.m. as part of the weekend-long grand re-opening of the Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field. Quarterback Russell Wilson and team president Peter McLoughlin will handle the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

Next week, the team’s mandatory minicamp will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with an afternoon practice each day.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Walter is physically capable of showing off. He is a tremendous athlete. He has been in a situation where he’s kind of had to hold back a little bit for a long time. He’s really able to just go for it now.” – Carroll on oft-injured cornerback Walter Thurmond, who we profiled in this story on Monday


Monday in Hawkville: Zach Miller’s one-handed catches really aren’t as easy as he makes them look

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 3, as the Seahawks kicked off the final week of their OTA sessions:

FOCUS ON: ZACH MILLER

Zach MillerThe Seahawks’ veteran tight end does so many things well that focusing on just one could be difficult. Except that when it comes to making one-handed catches, Miller is exceptional.

He had another during today’s OTA session, as well as a finger-tip grab of a pass after he got behind Pro Bowl-caliber strong safety Kam Chancellor. Miller also had a one-hander in the end zone last Wednesday that earned five-highs from several players – defensive, as well as offensive – and coach Pete Carroll. All three passes were thrown by quarterback Russell Wilson.

“I’ve always had a knack for just being able to get the big paw on it,” Miller said through a smile after the team’s sun-drenched session along the shores of Lake Washington. “It helps that I’ve got pretty big hands.”

But making the one-handers is mental as well as physical.

“You’ve got to understand what kind of passes you can catch like that,” Miller said. “If the ball is coming to you fast, you have no chance. So you’ve kind of got to pick your times to do that.”

While those catches can be uplifting for Miller, the QB who throws the pass and the other offensive players, they can have the reverse effect on the players who are covering Miller.

“If you make a one-hander, the defenders don’t like that,” he said. “They think they’ve got you. Then you stick a big paw out and you bring it in, they’re like, ‘Really, you caught that?’ ”

With Miller, the answer is a resounding “yes,” and comes with the tagline “again.”

PLAYER WATCH: MICHAEL BROOKS

The rookie defensive tackle has now practiced with the team twice since being claimed off waivers last week. But Brooks admits to feeling like the new kid who has entered a new school at midterm.

“I’m just trying to learn my way around right now and get with this new system,” said Brooks, who was signed by the Lions after April’s NFL Draft.

Brooks did things one way at East Carolina and was learning to do them another with the Lions. Now comes the way defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and line coach Travis Fisher teach their techniques.

“I was just getting used to the way they do things in Detroit, then I get here and I’ve got to switch it all over,” he said.

In his first two practices – Friday and today – Brooks has participated in the individual drills and then been tutored while on the sideline during the team portions.

“It’s been a pretty good transition. Everybody is helping out,” he said. “I’m just watching and trying to learn from the older guys. They’ve been in the system for a while and I’m just kind of feeling my way through.”

POSITION WATCH: RIGHT TACKLEBowie

With incumbent starter Breno Giacomini missing today’s session, rookie tackle Michael Bowie worked on the right side of the offensive line with the No. 1 unit that also included Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, veteran left guard Paul McQuistan, All-Pro center Max Unger and second-year right guard J.R. Sweezy.

Bowie also continued to work with the No. 3 line, along with left tackle Mike Person, rookie left guard Alvin Bailey and fellow seventh-round draft choices Jared Smith at center and Ryan Seymour at right guard.

The extra reps will only help Bowie as he works to earn one of the backup spots on the 53-man roster.

JOSH PORTIS CFL BOUND

Josh Portis, the quarterback released last month by the Seahawks, has signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, the team has announced.

Portis was the Seahawks’ No. 3 quarterback on 2011, when he was active for one game. He was released last August on the roster cut to 53 players, signed to the practice squad and then released in November. Portis was re-signed in April.

UP NEXT

The players will be back on the field Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as they complete the 10 OTA sessions allowed by the CBA that ended the 136-day lockout in 2011.

The Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field will kick off its grand re-opening weekend on Friday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. The ceremonial ribbon cutting will take place at 5:30, with Wilson and team president Peter McLoughlin doing the honors.

YOU DON’T SAY

“He’s ready to learn. He’s listening to everything. He’s asking questions. Which is exactly how you want your rookie to be. He’s making plays out. He’s having some good days. It’s what he’s got to do to be our second tight end. … And he has that speed that he can separate from guys pretty easily. He’s going to be a weapon for us on offense.” – Miller on Luke Willson, the tight end the Seahawks selected in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft


Monday in Hawkville: Russell Wilson picks up far beyond where he left off

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 20, as the Seahawks kicked off the OTA portion of their offseason program:

FOCUS ON

Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ second-year quarterback made it difficult to not watch him, and coach Pete Carroll summed up the situation when asked how much farther along Wilson is this year compared to last year – when he had just been selected in the third round of the NFL Draft and still was competing for the starting job with the since-departed duo of Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson.

“There’s no way of even calculating that,” Carroll said after a crisp, spirited practice on yet another gorgeous day along the shores of Lake Washington. “His awareness and his sense for the finest details, we jumped offside today and he’s working on hard counts on the first play of team (drills).

“He didn’t know what a hard count was last year at this time.”

That might be stretching it just a tad, but saying that Wilson had a very impressive outing in the first of the team’s 10 OTA practices is not.

In that first team segment Carroll mentioned, Wilson completed passes to wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate and also scrambled twice, before throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Anthony McCoy. Wilson remained almost as sharp, and aware, for the rest of the session.

“It’s really hard to equate what it is, because he’s applied himself so much that he’s taken an extraordinary amount of information and he’s processing it,” Carroll said. “He threw a couple of balls today – things that we’ve talked about over the offseason we’d like to take a shot at – and he did it today just to see what would happen. With full awareness of why he was doing it.”

Before the OTA session was over, Wilson had completed passes to 10 receivers – running back Robert Turbin; Baldwin and McCoy; Tate, running back Derrick Coleman, rookie tight end Luke Willson, Percy Harvin, tight end Zach Miller, wide receiver Bryan Walters and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.

The pass to Kearse was vintage Wilson – and that’s saying something, as well, that a second-year QB already has established trademark nuances to his game. It came on the final play, as Wilson avoided pressure and got off a pass that caught Kearse as much as Kearse caught the pass.

“Russell is the kind of players that will affect other guys,” Carroll said. “He affects everybody around him and hopefully that will help everybody play better.”


UNIT WATCH

Offensive line. Right tackle Breno Giacomini participated fully, after being limited in Phase 2 of the offseason program following elbow surgery. His returned allowed the No. 1 offense to field the same line that closed last season – Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, left guard Paul McQuistan, All-Pro center Max Unger, right guard J.R. Sweezy and Giacomini.

Comprising the second unit, from left tackle to right: Mike Person, who had been working for Giacomini with the No. 1 line; Rishaw Johnson, Lemuel Jeanpierre, John Moffitt and Michael Bowie. In the third unit: Alvin Bailey, Johnson, Jared Smith, Ryan Seymour and Jordon Roussos.

PLAYER WATCH

Cliff Avril. And that’s what the defensive end who was signed in free agency was doing – watching, because he’s dealing with plantar fascia that he got a month ago.

But with Bruce Irvin facing a four-game suspension to start the regular season and Chris Clemons still recovering from surgery to repair the ligament and meniscus damage in his left knee from the wild-card playoff win over the Redskins in January, Avril is slated to be the starter at the Leo end spot in the Sept. 8 opener against the Panthers in Carolina.

“I like the fact that Cliff is here because he gave us a cushion for Clem,” Carroll said. “That now changes for the first month of the season.”

Today, Irvin continued to work at Leo end in the No. 1 nickel line, with Mike Morgan taking over with the second unit and Ty Powell going with the third unit. In the base defense, Michael Bennett was the Leo end with the No. 1 line.

ROSTER MOVES

Tight end Darren Fells was re-signed this morning, while snapper Adam Steiner was released to clear a spot on the 90-man roster.

Fells, a basketball player in college who also played professionally in Belgium, Ireland and Argentina, was released two weeks ago. But he attended the May 10-12 rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. Steiner had been claimed off waivers last week.

Also, running back Christine Michael, who was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft last month, signed his rookie contract.

UP NEXT

The players also have OTA sessions Tuesday and Thursday this week. Next week, they’ll go Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

YOU DON’T SAY, PLAYER EDITION

“We really don’t care. Coach said we’ve got a lot of hype, but he also said let’s make it natural. Everybody around here expects us to win, but we expect ourselves to win, too. We don’t come out here saying we hope to lose. With a good team comes a lot of talk, but we put all that behind us. We’re out here having fun, we’re competing and that’s how it’s going to be.” – Harvin, when asked how the players were handling the heightened expectations that have come from being regarded among the “favorites” in the league this offseason by the national media

YOU DON’T SAY, COACH EDITION

“It was a very, very good first day for us.” – Carroll


Weighing in on the NFC West

Mike Sando, the NFC West blogger at ESPN.com, has turned Matt Williamson’s positional rankings for the division’s four teams into a series of informational and entertaining “conversations” with the website’s resident scout.

Williamson ranks the Seahawks as the second-best team in the NFC West behind the conference champion 49ers, but the Seahawks come out No. 1 at quarterback, running back, defensive line, cornerback and safety. They are No. 2 at wide receiver, offensive line, linebackers and head coach, and No. 3 at tight end.

It’s worth checking out the rankings and the dialogue on each:

Quarterback

Williamson: “If I were starting a team, (Colin) Kaepernick and (Russell) Wilson would rank among my top five picks. The upside for Kaepernick is so great. I don’t expect him to take a step back. I just don’t think he is as far along as Wilson in the fundamentals of quarterback play. Wilson coming into the league was ahead of Kaepernick in terms of being a pocket passer, reading defenses, not relying on his physical gifts so much and just in the mental side of things.”

Running back

Williamson: “Seattle has the best back in the division in Marshawn Lynch, and Robert Turbin is a heckuva backup. It’s not a knock on (Frank) Gore. I like LaMichael James and like Kendall Hunter, too. So, the 49ers have three guys to talk about instead of two for Seattle.”

Wide receivers

Williamson: “I’ll take (Percy) Harvin every day over (Michael) Crabtree and that is not a knock on Crabtree. Harvin is more dynamic, more versatile. He frightens defenses way more. You can do so much more with him. He has big-play ability and is just a better football player. When I rank the wide receivers in this division, it goes Larry (Fitzgerald), Harvin and Crabtree, but Harvin is closer to Fitz than Crabtree is to Harvin.”

Tight ends

Sando: “The Cardinals were the only NFL team without a touchdown reception from a tight end last season. Bad quarterback play had quite a bit to do with that, of course.”

Offensive line

Williamson: “Breno (Giacomini) has been serviceable. Marshawn Lynch has room to run. I think they have two good players (Max Unger and Russell Okung) and then a bunch of guys. I do think the whole is greater than sum of the parts. There is some truth to that in Seattle, which goes to coaching (by Tom Cable).”

Defensive line

Williamson: “They have a wide skill set, which I like, too. (Bruce) Irvin and (Red) Bryant are totally different players at defensive end. Irvin, (Chris) Clemons, (Cliff) Avril and Bryant give you versatility. For the Rams, (William) Hayes is an important part of that equation. He had seven sacks last year. (Robert) Quinn and (Chris) Long are questionable against the run. Hayes can be a base run defensive end. Plus, he moves inside and can be a quality rusher there.”

Linebackers

Sando: “The Seahawks found one starter in the second round (Bobby Wagner) and another in the fourth (K.J. Wright). They plan to use Cliff Avril at strong-side linebacker in some situations. But with Leroy Hill apparently having run his course in Seattle, the team figures to draft a weak-side linebacker to compete with Malcolm Smith.”

Safeties

Sando: “Seattle is really the only team in the division appearing set at safety for now. I could still see the Seahawks drafting one for insurance in case they have a hard time re-signing Kam Chancellor. In the meantime, Earl Thomas might be the best safety in the league. At least I’m assuming you’d agree in saying he’s moved past Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, who were long considered the standards.”

Cornerbacks

Williamson: “Seattle to me has the best set of corners in the league, clearly (in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner). And then (Antoine) Winfield might be the best slot corner in the league. It’s almost unfair.”

Head coach

Williamson: “(The Rams’ Jeff) Fisher is a heckuva coach, but he is behind two of the top five in the league (Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll) when it comes to ranking head coaches in the NFC West.”


Breno Giacomini is one happy Cardinals fan – Louisville Cardinals, that is

Breno Giacomini

A picture is worth a thousand words…or in this case, at least around 500.

Offensive tackle Breno Giacomini left Atlanta’s Georgia Dome last night in much higher spirits than when he and the Seahawks left that same stadium back in January, after the club fell 30-28 to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC divisional playoff round.

That’s because Giacomini had just witnessed his stop-at-nothing Louisville Cardinals win the 2012-13 NCAA men’s basketball National Championship, outlasting a tough, young University of Michigan squad, 82-76, to finish the year with 34 wins – including 16 in a row to end the season – to just five losses.

“The scene was unreal,” Giacomini said today of Monday’s setting in Atlanta. “I went last year, so I felt the good and the bad. This year something just felt right.”

Last year, the fourth-seeded Cardinals won the bracket’s West Region to advance to the Final Four, but fell to the eventual champion Kentucky Wildcats in the tournament’s semifinal. This year, led by senior point guard Peyton Siva, a graduate of Seattle’s Franklin High School (who quarterback Russell Wilson sends some love to below), Louisville marched into the madness with the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed.

“Both schools had thousands of fans there,” Giacomini said. “We set a record for attendance. It was an unbelievable experience.”

The dome packed 74,326 fans, to be exact. A number that topped the previous NCAA tournament attendance record of 72,922 set in 2011 in Houston, Texas, and ousted the 70,366 who witnessed the Seahawks-Falcons divisional playoff. The numbers were impressive – as was the noise – but not enough to top what Giacomini has experienced here in the Emerald City.

“Let’s just say it sounded like a second down in Seattle when our ‘D’ is on the field,” he said of the crowd noise in the Georgia Dome. “I can’t say it was like third down, because no one can match that in any sport.”

A 2008 Louisville graduate, Giacomini has been living in the state of Kentucky since 2004. The rivalry between the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky runs deep, and the two are separated by just 76 miles down Interstate-64. Needless to say, Monday’s win that brought the championship from Lexington to Louisville was big.

“For the basketball team to bring it back to the ‘Ville is huge,” Giacomini said. “This is a basketball state, so the fans are diehard. It’s something that Louisville has been waiting on for a long time. The man behind it deserves all the credit – our athletic director Tom Jurich.

“Hopefully we can pull in another ‘Ship tonight with the Lady Cards.”

That’s right, Louisville’s hoop dreams aren’t over just yet. They’ve become just the third school to have both women’s and men’s basketball teams in the NCAA Title Games in the same year. The Lady Cards are set to take on the University of Connecticut Huskies in the NCAA women’s National Championship at 5:30 p.m. PT.

And you can bet Giacomini will be watching.

Fellow Louisville alum and Seahawks defensive end Greg Scruggs is also hoping the Lady Cards can bring the championship home tonight:

Following last night’s NCAA Championship, quarterback Russell Wilson had a personal message for Louisville point guard Peyton Siva:


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Breno Giacomini takes his game to China with American Football Without Barriers

Breno Giacomini

Breno Giacomini poses with students from a local school in Shanghai, China (photos by American Football Without Barriers)

Seahawks right tackle Breno Giacomini is in Shanghai, China this week as part of his American Football Without Barriers foundation.

Founded by Giacomini and Carolina Panthers tight end Gary Barnridge in 2011, the foundation’s goal is to spread the game of football to underprivileged areas around the world by hosting yearly camps that support football clubs in other countries, in addition to spending time to help out the country’s local charities and communities.

Breno GiacominiGiacomini and Barnridge are joined in Shanghai this week by the Panthers’ wide receiver Steve Smith, running back DeAngelo Williams, defensive end Thomas Keiser, and former Cincinnati Bengals fullback Joe Tronzo. The group spent time earlier in the week working with students at schools in Shanghai, speaking to the children on the importance of hard work and dedication to achieve their goals.

This weekend, Giacomini and his NFL brethren will host football camps in Shanghai in partnership with China Sea Dragons – a pop-warner, full contact, youth program in Minhang Shanghai. The younger players will have a chance to meet the players and learn positional skills, while the older players will have a chance to participate in a scouting combine for possible athletic scholarships to play American football at the collegiate level.

For more information on Giacomini’s foundation and on the events in Shanghai this weekend, head over to http://afwbcamp.com/. You can also give them a follow on Twitter and “Like” their page on Facebook.


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Breno Giacomini has elbow surgery

Breno Giacomini

Breno Giacomini, who started all 16 regular-season games and both postseason games at right tackle for the Seahawks this season, had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow this morning.

The procedure was performed by team doctor Ed Khalfayan at Seattle Surgery Center.

Giacomini’s recovery period is expected to be four to six weeks.


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Thursday in Hawkville: Russell Wilson was ready, and prepared, for Pro Bowl call

Russell Wilson

HONOLULU – Hawkville moves to Paradise this week, as the Seahawks have six players preparing to participate in the Pro Bowl on Sunday at Aloha Stadium:

FOCUS ON

Russell Wilson. What a whirlwind week the Seahawks’ rookie quarterback has had. He didn’t find out that he was being added to the NFC Pro Bowl squad until Sunday after Falcons QB Matt Ryan injured his left shoulder during Atlanta’s loss to the 49ers in the NFC Championship game.

Imagine how rushed Wilson must have been in preparing to join teammates Russell Okung, Max Unger, Marshawn Lynch, Leon Washington and Earl Thomas for their flight from Seattle to Honolulu on Tuesday. Or, think again.

“I got called right after the game,” Wilson, who was the third alternate at his position, said today following the NFC practice that was held at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “But I was hoping that I was going to be able to go. So I was already packed and ready to go.”

The kid QB is focused, and has been since the Seahawks selected him in the third round of the NFL Draft last April. How else can you explain everything he has been able to accomplish during a rookie season that now includes a Pro Bowl berth?

“It’s obviously a blessing,” Wilson said.

BLOCKING BUDDIES

Okung and Unger are not the only Seahawks offensive linemen here this week. Okung brought right tackle Breno Giacomini and right guard John Moffitt with him.

So there are six Seahawks on the NFC squad and two more who are getting a first-hand look at just how cool it is to go to the Pro Bowl.

“That’s even better,” Okung said. “That just shows you what we’re doing as a team and where we’re trying to get. We’re going to have guys come here, hopefully, every year.”

WILSON WINS “TOP VALUE” AWARD

Wilson has been voted the Vizio Top Value Performer of the Year, which measures on-field performance against earnings.

The others finalists were Redskins running back Alfred Morris, Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker, Patriots running back Stevan Ridley and Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts. But, according to the release announcing his selection, a record-breaking number of fans decided that Wilson provided his team with the greatest value during the 2012 season.

“It’s an honor to win this great award, and I’d like to thank the fans for voting me as the Vizio Top Value Performer,” said Wilson. “All the finalists had fantastic seasons and were certainly deserving of  this award, but I’m happy to be able to share this with my teammates and all the fans that support our team.”

STAT DU JOUR

Half the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl contingent is here for the first time – Wilson, Unger and Okung. But the other half has been here before – Thomas, Washington and Lynch, who was the NFC’s leading rusher last season and the AFC’s leading rusher in 2008 while playing with the Bills. Here’s a look at their previous Pro Bowl contributions:

Marshawn Lynch

Year         Carries   Yards   Avg.

2008             6           48      8.0

2011             8           43      5.4

(also caught one passes for 2 yards in ’08)

Leon Washington

Year            Carries    Yards    Avg.

2008               2             22      11.0

(also caught one pass for 6 yards; and returned four kickoffs for 65 yards and two punts for 2 yards)

Earl Thomas

Year          Statistics

2011         Credited with no tackles

UP NEXT

The NFC and AFC squads will practice on Friday, but the sessions have been moved to the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa, where the players are staying. The practices originally were scheduled for Kapolei High School, the site of Wednesday’s practices.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It’s even more special for me, being from Hawaii. It’s pretty cool, man. I hope they keep the game here. It’s a pretty special environment. ” – Unger, who is from Kailua-Kona on the Big Island


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Friday in Hawkville: Seahawks to salute fans at Sunday’s game

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 28:

Chris Clemons

FOCUS ON

Blue Sunday. The Seahawks are turning their regular-season finale against the Rams at CenturyLink Field into a fan appreciation day, and no one appreciates the team’s 12th Man following more than coach Pete Carroll.

“It’s been a great, great season here and the fans have been fantastic,” Carroll said after practice. “The response, the spirit the whole area as expressed to our crowd; the 12th Man has just continued to answer the call.

“Everybody talks about them and how big-time they are, and then we get to Sunday night football (last week) and they (the commentators) are talking about they’ve never heard anything like that.”

For Sunday’s game against the Rams, fans are encouraged to wear blue – turning the stadium into a blue wave. There also will be random selections of fans and entire sections for prizes – from Seahawks beanies to round-trip tickets anywhere in the 48 contiguous states or Canada.

As Carroll views it, the fans deserve it all, and more.

“The 12th Man is playing well right now at the end of the year,” Carroll said. “They’re doing a good job. So we’ll celebrate one more time and see if good fortunate hits and we get another shot at it. And if we do, they’ll answer the call. They’re not done yet.”

The Seahawks already have clinched a playoff spot. They can win the NFC West title, and host a first-round playoff game, if they beat the Rams and the Cardinals beat the 49ers in San Francisco.

BUTLER BACK

For the second time in two weeks, wide receiver Deon Butler has been re-signed by the Seahawks.

Butler was with the team the past three seasons, but was released in August on the roster cut to 53 players. He was re-signed on Dec. 15, the day before the Week 15 game against the Bills in Toronto, but released on Monday. Butler was re-signed again this morning.

To clear a roster spot, cornerback Ron Parker was released. Parker was with the Seahawks for two games last season, but was released in August on the roster cut to 75 players. After spending time on the Panthers’ practice squad, Parker was re-signed on Dec. 5.

OPPONENT WATCH

Steven Jackson. The battering-Ram of a back is no stranger to the Seahawks. Sunday will be the 17th time Jackson will have played against the Seahawks during the regular season. He has 33 100-yard rushing performances in his career, but none against the Seahawks – although he has come close with 93 yards in 2006, 91 in 2008 and 90 in 2007.

But this time, Jackson is chasing history. He needs 10 rushing yards to become the sixth player in league history to have eight consecutive 1,000-yar seasons. The others? Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin, Thurman Thomas and LaDainian Tomlinson.

“The last four games that we’ve watched, Steven Jackson has really been taking off,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “In the Tampa game, I think that he really showed up. He’s running harder. I mean, he always runs hard. But it seems like he has stepped it up the last couple of games and is running like a different person.”

Jackson had 81 yards against the Bucs last week, and averaged 5.6 yards per carry the week before against the Vikings.

INJURY REPORT

The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:

Out

CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)

Questionable

OT Breno Giacomini (elbow)

LB Leroy Hill (hamstring)

Probable

DE Red Bryant (foot)

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

TE Anthony McCoy (back)

WR Sidney Rice (knee)

WR Golden Tate (illness)

FS Earl Thomas (ankle)

CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)

Trufant got the most work at nickel back that he has since returning last Friday from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the past four games. “Tru did well,” Carroll said. “He’s ready to play. It’s great to have him back.”

Giacomini participated in all phases of practice today after being limited on Thursday and sitting out on Wednesday. Hill was limited today after not practicing on Wednesday or Thursday. “We’re not sure if he’s full speed yet,” Carroll said of Hill.

On Thurmond, Carroll said, “It hasn’t been as smooth as we’d like. He’s really been pushing, and just hasn’t been able to get out of the discomfort with the hamstring. You’ve got to comeback feeling nothing. You can’t be nursing it or you’re too vulnerable. So he’s still feeling it and that’s not a good sign for this week, obviously. And it’s going to be hard for him to get back next week, too, I would think.”

For the Rams:

Probable

S Craig Dahl (knee)

CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh)

RB Steven Jackson (illness)

LB James Laurinaitis (back)

WR Austin Pettis (shoulder)

CB Scott Wells (knee)

STAT DU JOUR

The 2012 Seahawks are attempting to go where only two other teams in franchise history have: Finishing unbeaten at home during the regular season. Here’s a look at the Seahawks’ top home-victory teams:

Year    Home record   Overall record

2003          8-0                   10-6

2005          8-0                   13-3

2012          7-0                     ?-?

1984          7-1                    12-4

1986          7-1                    10-6

2007          7-1                    10-6

“To have a championship team you have to dominate at home,” Carroll said. “You have to. There’s no other way to get it done. Over the long haul, you have to be great at home. You have to finish great, as well, but you’ve got to be great at home.”

UP NEXT

After holding their final full practice of the regular season outside today, the players will have a walkthrough on Saturday.

Monday, cornerback Brandon Browner is eligible to return from his four-game suspension, just in time for the playoffs.

“It’s kind of like putting the band back together next week,” Carroll said. “It will be good back there.”

YOU DON’T SAY

“I’m still here with a vengeance.” – cornerback Richard Sherman when asked if he was back with a vengeance after winning his appeal of a league-imposed four-game suspension


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