Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 14.
Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times writes that the Seahawks plan to continue featuring running back Marshawn Lynch, who will face his former team this Sunday, “Lynch, who signed a four-year, $31 million deal in March, has seven 100-yard rushing games this season, second-best in the NFL. He has reached the milestone in five of the past seven games, including a dominant performance last week versus Arizona with 128 yards and a career-high-tying three touchdowns on just 11 carries. ‘He’s been very consistent with his output and his effort and his style,’ Carroll said of Lynch. ‘Everything has been there every single game.’ Added quarterback Russell Wilson: “He’s the best running back in the NFL — one of the best, for sure — and he does a great job of just being a workhorse. … I think the biggest thing is you have to keep feeding him.’ ”
Mayers also has the Seahawks and Buffalo Bills injury reports from yesterday, noting that wide receiver Sidney Rice (foot) and cornerback Walter Thurmond (hamstring) did not participate in practice.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with linebacker Malcolm Smith, who has seen increased playing time lately while veteran linebacker Leroy Hill recovers from a sprained ankle, “During his first season in Seattle, Smith had trouble staying healthy. Smith missed two games because of a hamstring injury, and two games with a concussion. But this season, Smith has been active for all 13 games. And he’s been a key special teams contributor, with five tackles and a blocked punt. ‘The speed on special teams is even more than defense,’ Smith said. ‘So being able to do that has helped a lot for sure. That was the plan when I came here. They said you have to earn your way. And that’s my way of showing up.’ ”
Williams also chats with Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News, who regularly covers the Buffalo Bills, and asks him five questions leading up to Sunday’s game, “Q: C.J. Spiller was one of the most explosive players in the 2010 draft. He’s on the verge of rushing for 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, and has an impressive 6.6 per carry average. However, he’s still had to split carries with Fred Jackson, who was recently placed on the injured reserve list with a knee issue. Do you feel Spiller has been used effectively? A: Gaughan: He has been used effectively but not enough. He needs to get the ball more. There are some understandable reasons why he hasn’t gotten the ball in this situation or that situation. But the bottom line is he’s their best offensive weapon and he hasn’t gotten it enough. The offense was on the field 58 plays vs. St. Louis and he got eight touches. They lost by three.”
Michael Rushton of The Sports Network previews the Week 15 matchup between the Seahawks and Bills, “Working against Seattle is the fact that it has been a much better team at home than on the road. Had it faced off against Buffalo during the early string of this Toronto series, it might have been even ground. However, [Bills coach Chan] Gailey feels his team is starting to get a following a little further up north. ‘Last year it really felt like a home game. The first year it was a little bit more of a neutral site, but last year it felt like a home game. That is what you hope to create and continue to develop where that becomes like a game right here (in Buffalo). If we can get that, that would be great,’ he said. Gailey better hope Toronto’s allegiance isn’t riding on this game as Seattle has too much momentum and talent on the defensive side of things for the Bills’ struggling offense to overcome. Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Seahawks 17, Bills 14″
John Boyle of the Everett Herald highlights the recent play of the linebacker Smith, “It’s way too early to say if Smith will join the long list of Seahawks defenders who have gone from draft-day afterthoughts to key contributors to a very good defense, but he’s done nothing to hurt the perception that Carroll and general manager John Schneider have a real knack for finding and developing talent on the third day of the draft. ‘It’s really fun to see the maturity of Malcolm,’ linebackers coach Ken Norton said. ‘I couldn’t be more pleased with Malcolm.’ ”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has a look at where the Seahawks pass rush stands after investing in a first round draft pick and free agent acquisition along the defensive line, “Irvin. The 15th overall pick leads all rookies in sacks with eight. He picked one up late in last week’s blowout win over Arizona to avoid going a third straight game without a sack. The Seahawks raved about Irvin’s explosiveness when they drafted him. [Defensive line coach Todd] Wash said he recently fell back into a habit of not coming off the ball as quickly as he could. ‘Timid’ was the word Wash used. Wash also said Irvin is developing a nice spin move. Jones. The Seahawks hoped Jones would improve their interior pass rush when they gave the versatile lineman a one-year, $4.5 million deal. Jones has 2.5 sacks and has missed two games with an ankle injury.
Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com has his report from Thursday’s practice, “Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said both young defensive backs Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell played well against the Cardinals. They are preparing to play either outside or at nickel. Bradley is concerned the defense is no longer allowed to have padded practices under terms of the NFL collective bargaining agreement. Statistics showed the Seahawks gave up one more yard per carry last season after a non-pads practice week.”
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” discuss cornerback Richard Sherman’s mentality in this short video.
Tim Booth of the Associated Press details the play of the Seahawks rookie class, “The most notable has been giving the Seahawks a key player in Wilson, the starting quarterback coming out of training camp. He’s on pace to challenge the NFL rookie record for touchdown passes and is the first rookie quarterback since 1970 to win his first six home games. At the same time that Wilson was named the starter, the Seahawks also decided Wagner would be capable of taking over as the organizer of the defense at middle linebacker. Wagner currently ranks third among all NFL rookies with 109 tackles. Irvin, the Seahawks’ first-round pick, currently leads all NFL rookies with eight sacks, and Turbin is coming off the first 100-yard rushing game of his career and looks like a suitable backup to spell Marshawn Lynch at running back without the Seahawks losing their punishing style of running. Carroll said he noticed near midseason that Wagner and Irvin both went through the typical rookie swoon of getting used to playing so many games. That wasn’t the case with Wilson. ‘With those other kids there was a time about eight, nine games in, they had already played 12 to 13 games, and it was hard on those guys,’ Carroll said. ‘Russell did not fall into that category; he just continued to progress the whole time. Why he has is because of the way he’s prepared himself. He’s just worked so hard and he will not back off. He continues to push, but not only does he continue to push and try hard, he’s getting better.’ ”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Thursday’s practice, “Thurmond appeared on the injury report Wednesday with a hamstring injury that forced him to have his workload reduced. A day later, Thurmond wasn’t able to practice. If Thurmond can’t play, the Seahawks would turn to CB Byron Maxwell and CB Jeremy Lane to step up into more prominent roles. Both saw time last week against the Arizona Cardinals but have not seen extensive action as part of the defense.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his NFC West offense and defense ranks thru Week 14, and offers a prediction for the Seahawks game against the Bills, “The Bills’ defensive front is playing better recently. Seattle has potential manpower concerns at cornerback and wide receiver, depending on Sidney Rice’s status. Still, if the Seahawks are a legit playoff team, they have to win this game, right? Marshawn Lynch is getting much of the attention heading into this game against his former team, but I’m thinking Russell Wilson will be the story, one way or another. Sando’s best guess: Seahawks 23, Bills 17.”
NFL Films previews our Week 15 game against the Bills in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth highlights Bills return man Leodis McKelvin, who is the only returner in the NFL to rank among the Top 5 in both punt return and kick return categories, and also recaps the events surrounding “Thursday in Hawkville“, with a focus on the play of the Seahawks rookie class.
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” as the Seahawks hope to keep the momentum up after an overtime road win in Chicago against the Bears in Week 13 and a 58-0 victory at home against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14.
We have quarterback Russell Wilson’s full video press conference from yesterday available for you here, and you can watch defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s full video press conference from yesterday here.
Lastly, our team photographer Rod Mar has an updated look at the week of practice in photos here.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 13:
The rookie class. We’ve written a lot about the rookies, and for good reason. They’ve done so much to help the team already win more games this season (eight) than the Seahawks won in their first two seasons (seven) under coach Pete Carroll.
What’s news is how quickly the rookies realized they could be special.
“I knew that as soon as I got here for rookie minicamp,” rookie QB Russell Wilson said today of the first time the rookies gathered in May. “I had a great, great feeling about it. The passion and energy we brought to the practice every day. You wanted to see if that was going to continue into the summer and into the season.
“Everybody talks about that rookie wall. Well, we haven’t hit it. I really don’t believe we’ve hit it. We’re not even close and we’re ready to go.”
And the Seahawks can go to the postseason in the rookies’ first season, if they continue to take care of business one game at a time – starting with Sunday’s game against the Bills in Toronto.
While Wilson, a third-round draft choice, already has done things no other rookie QB in the history of the league has, first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin leads all rookies this season with eight sacks; second-round pick and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the team with 108 tackles; fourth-round pick Robert Turbin had his first 100-yard rushing effort in last week’s game against the Cardinals; and cornerback Jeremy Lane (sixth round), guard J.R. Sweezy (seventh round), defensive lineman Greg Scruggs (seventh round) and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (free agents) also played a lot, and made plays, against the Cardinals.
“That’s the great thing about it, our energy and our passion for the game and for this franchise is very, very high,” Wilson said. “So we want to do our best to represent very, very well.”
That opinion on the rapid, and continuing, impact of the rookies is not a one-man band.
“Probably the first day of OTAs,” Wagner said when asked when he realized these rookies could be something special. “I saw Russell flinging the ball, and Bruce rushing the passer, and just everything we were doing.”
Richard Sherman. This time, the view comes from a teammate – Wilson, who was with the free-spirited second-year cornerback when a group of players visited Seattle Children’s Hospital on Tuesday.
“Richard is a tremendous guy,” Wilson said. “He’s very, very intelligent. You can see that. He has this love for football, just like I do. He may express it in a little different way, but that’s not a bad thing. That’s his personality in terms of competing. He brings that fire to his teammates. He brings that compassion and fire to himself. That’s how he motivates himself. That’s great.
“It’s the National Football League, he’s just having fun.”
The off-field view of Sherman isn’t that much different.
“I think the biggest thing is, when we’re in Children’s Hospital and stuff like that, you can see his love for people and just how he likes to talk to kids,” Wilson said. “And that’s great. To be around a guy like Richard Sherman who, for sure in my opinion, is a Pro Bowl-type player, to see him be around young kids is pretty awesome.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
DE Red Bryant (foot)
SS Kam Chancellor (groin)
WR Sidney Rice (foot)
CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)
CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)
Limited in practice
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
WR Charly Martin (calf)
With Thurmond sitting out after injuring a hamstring in practice on Wednesday, Byron Maxwell and Lane split the reps at right cornerback. Bryant and Chancellor sat out for the second day and were replaced by Jason Jones and Jeron Johnson. Rice was out of the walking boot he was wearing on Wednesday.
For the Bills:
Did not practice
LB Nick Barnett (knee)
RB Fred Jackson (knee)
C Eric Wood (knee)
Limited in practice
S Jairus Byrd (shin)
DE Marcell Dareus (shoulder)
DT Spencer Johnson (knee)
CB Leodis McKelvin (groin)
DT Kyle Williams (ankle)
DE Mark Anderson (knee)
CB Ron Brooks (hip)
TE Scott Chandler (groin)
OG Andy Levitre (knee)
CB Justin Rogers (foot)
TE Lee Smith (knee)
OG Kraig Urbik (knee)
LB Chris White (thumb)
WR Donald Jones (calf)
S Da’Norris Searcy (hand)
RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder)
CB Aaron Williams (knee)
DE Mario Williams (wrist)
TAKE THE PLEDGE TO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE
It’s OK to text. It’s OK to drive. It’s just not OK to do both at the same time. Just ask Wilson, who is partnering with Verizon to reward the high school that gets the most pledges from students to not text and drive.
“I have an awesome partnership with Verizon Wireless, it’s ‘Save it Seattle,’ ” Wilson said. “Basically, we’re trying to get as many pledges as we can from all the high schools and all the high schoolers to not text and drive.
“I’ve texted and driven before, and you don’t want to do that. I’ve made that pledge myself.”
The school that gets the most pledges by next Wednesday will get a visit from Wilson.
STAT DU JOUR
With three games left in the regular season, the Seahawks’ postseason opportunities run the gambit from claiming the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs to not even making playoffs. How’s that for disparity in a league that loves parity?
How can the Seahawks leapfrog from the top wild-card spot, which they currently hold, to the No. 1 seed? It starts with the Seahawks beating the Bills, 49ers and Rams to finish with 11 wins. It also would entail the top-seeded Falcons (11-2) losing their three remaining games; the 49ers (9-3-1) losing two of their remaining three; the Packers (9-4) finishing with no more than 11 wins, because the Seahawks hold the tiebreaker with their Week 3 victory over Green Bay; and the Giants (8-5) losing another game.
How can the Seahawks leapfrog the 49ers to win the NFC West? This dare-to-dream scenario is more intriguing, and also closer to reality. If the Seahawks beat the Bills and the 49ers lose to the Patriots (10-3) in Foxboro on Sunday night, the Seahawks could move into first place with a win over the 49ers next Sunday night at CenturyLink Field – and then clinch with a win over the Rams at CenturyLink on the 30th.
What’s the fallback scenario? The Seahawks win two of their final three to earn a wild-card spot with 10 wins.
What’s that last option? We don’t want to find out.
The team will fly to Toronto on Friday afternoon following a midday practice, and then hold its Saturday walkthrough in the Canadian city.
YOU DON’T SAY
“You’ve always talked about how coach Carroll was such a great inspiration to you, can you elaborate on that?” – Carroll, sticking his head into Wilson’s weekly Q&A session to ask a mock question, and make Wilson laugh
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 12, 2012 (12.12.12) or #12Day, as we are calling it on our various social media outlets. To learn more about how you can follow our #12Day events, click here.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times highlights head coach Pete Carroll’s relationship with several late-round Seahawks draft picks that have come out of USC, “… as Carroll nears the end of his third season as Seattle’s coach, it has become clear Carroll did use his insight and relationships regarding the players he had at USC, but he used that to find the undervalued and the overlooked as opposed to cherry-picking the top-shelf, blue-chippers he was known for recruiting. Backup linebacker Mike Morgan, who was undrafted, is the only USC player other than (Anthony) McCoy and (Malcolm) Smith on Seattle’s 53-man roster. McCoy’s draft status slipped because of a positive drug test at the NFL’s scouting combine in 2010, but he’s now in his third year on the roster and against Arizona, he became the first Seahawk player this season to amass more than 100 yards receiving in a game. Smith was picked even later, someone who ran so well Carroll compared him to a running back on defense. He was the younger brother of NFL receiver Steve Smith, but a player who had trouble staying healthy both in college and in his first year in the NFL. He has filled in for starter Leroy Hill the past two weeks and played so well that there’s an open question about who might fill that position going forward. Carroll’s ability to find contributors in the later rounds speaks to his ability to pinpoint which of his former players still had room to grow and blossom.”
Brock Huard of 710Sports.com has his latest “Chalk Talk“, breaking down running back Marshawn Lynch’s 22-yard touchdown run – the first of his three TDs on the day – in the club’s 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday.
Huard and Mike Salk of 710Sports.com discuss the similarities (or lack thereof) between the 2012 Seahawks team and the 2005 team that went on to Super Bowl XL.
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com comments on wide receiver Sidney Rice and his improved durability, “Rice added several pounds of muscle to his upper body following offseason surgeries on each shoulder. He also adopted a stretching routine and eliminated certain foods from his diet. It’s safe to assume that the better care he’s taken of his body has helped him escape injury despite taking some big hits, including the one he absorbed while scoring an overtime touchdown to beat the Bears in Week 12. ‘I think it helped out a whole lot,’ he said Sunday. ‘… Just trying to make it through the whole season and be out there helping my team win ballgames.’ ”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com takes a look at how several NFC West trades have worked out, and includes a few notes on players the Seahawks have acquired over the years, “Lynch has 3,043 yards rushing since making his Seahawks debut. Only Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice have more over that span. His 27 rushing touchdowns rank tied for fourth. Seattle got him for a 2011 fourth-round pick and a 2012 fifth-rounder. Clemons, acquired from Philadelphia along with a fourth-round choice for Darryl Tapp, has 31 sacks since Seattle acquired him. That ranks eighth in the NFL. Washington, acquired for a 2010 fifth-round choice, has four kickoff returns for touchdowns since the Seahawks acquired him. That is tied with Jacoby Ford for most in the NFL. He averages 31.2 yards per kickoff return this season, a career-high figure that ranks third in the NFL among players with at least 10 returns.”
Sando has his latest “MVP Watch” where he moves Lynch up to No. 5 on his list of 10 candidates, “Lynch needed only 11 carries to rack up 128 yards and three touchdowns during the Seahawks’ 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Pro Football Focus counted five times when Lynch forced Arizona to miss tackles. Lynch ranks fourth in carries for the season despite the light workload Sunday. He faces his former team, Buffalo, in Week 15.”
Mike Silver of YahooSports.com has an extensive feature on cornerback Richard Sherman, “For all the success he has enjoyed during his stellar second season, one in which he has been a key playmaker for the league’s third-ranked defense while helping to push the Seahawks (8-5) into postseason contention, Sherman’s anger hasn’t come close to subsiding. A brash, intelligent, self-described “nerd” with bleeding-heart sensibilities, Sherman is a complex young man with a single, overriding trait: He plays football with a Space Needle-sized chip on his shoulder, and he’s upset that his excellence isn’t more celebrated. ‘I want to be the best, period,’ says Sherman, the 34th defensive back chosen in the 2011 draft. ‘A lot of people don’t think it’s possible, because how could a fifth-rounder be the best of all time? But that’s what I want to be.’ ”
NFL.com has their latest Power Rankings, and the Seahawks have moved up three spots to No. 7 on their list from a week ago, jokingly adding, “The Seattle Seahawks’ defense just scored another touchdown. Come back later.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth recaps the events surrounding “Tuesday in Hawkville” with a focus on the young cornerback play from Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane, “We finally got a look at both in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, as Lane took over as the nickel back and he and Maxwell then manned the corners for the conclusion of the 58-0 romp. Each made a tackle, while Maxwell also broke up a pass. ‘I was really pleased with the play of those guys,’ Carroll said. ‘I think I was as fired up about that as anything, as far as the challenge of new guys jumping in and all of that.’ “
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 11:
Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane. The backup cornerbacks certainly have looked the part since joining the Seahawks in the draft the past two years.
Maxwell, a sixth-round pick in 2011, has the size (6 feet 1, 207 pounds), length and athletic ability that coach Pete Carroll and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley covet in a corner. So does the 6-foot, 190-pound Lane, who was a sixth-round pick this year.
But how would they play the part? We finally got a look at both in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, as Lane took over as the nickel back and he and Maxwell then manned the corners for the conclusion of the 58-0 romp. Each made a tackle, while Maxwell also broke up a pass.
“I was really pleased with the play of those guys,” Carroll said. “I think I was as fired up about that as anything, as far as the challenge of new guys jumping in and all of that.”
And that definitely is saying a lot because there was so much to be fired up about on Sunday.
“Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell did really well,” Carroll said. “They both looked disciplined. They played confident. Technique-wise, they played the way we had hoped they would play. They both looked just about the same and, for their first outing, they really handled it well.
“There were very few plays that they didn’t get graded on the positive side.”
And that will remain a plus this week, when the Seahawks travel to Toronto to play the Bills. Walter Thurmond, who stepped in at nickel back for Marcus Trufant two weeks ago, is now at right corner because Brandon Browner is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
“Walter Thurmond played really well,” Carroll said of his efforts against the Cardinals.
That’s what put Lane on the field as the nickel back for Thurmond. Whether Trufant is able to return this week remains to be seen. But the coaches have seen enough from Lane, and Maxwell, and Thurmond, that they’re comfortable turning things over to the young corners.
“I think that’s a really good statement about what (defensive backs coach) Kris Richard and (passing game coordinator) Rocky Seto are doing with these guys,” Carroll said. “It really is good stuff.”
STATS ’N STUFF
The Seahawks rank No. 3 in total defense, allowing an average of 301.7 yards per game. They’re No. 4 in passing defense (196.3), No. 4 in rushing offense (152.3) and No. 10 in rushing defense (105.4). The offense ranks No. 21 overall (341.2) and the passing offense is No. 29 (188.9).
After Sunday’s eight-turnover avalanche against the Cardinals, the Seahawks are plus-8 in turnover differential, which ties for eighth in the league. Only seven teams have fewer giveaways than the Seahawks (17; nine interceptions, eight fumbles).
Marshawn Lynch remains second in the NFL in rushing (a career-high 1,266 yards) to the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson (1,600). Only four players in the league have more than Lynch’s nine rushing touchdowns – the Texans’ Arian Foster (14), Bucs’ Doug Martin (10), Patriots’ Stevan Ridley (10) and Peterson (10). Lynch also is sixth in total yards (1,415) and tied for ninth in first downs (64).
Rookie QB Russell Wilson is seventh in the league in passer rating (94.9), and the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III is the only rookie with a higher rating (a league-leading 104.2). Wilson also is sixth in fourth-quarter passer rating (97.9), which tops all rookies.
Leon Washington is second in the NFL in kickoff return average (31.2), while Jon Ryan is seventh in net punting average (41.7) and tied for sixth for punts inside the 20 (27).
Richard Sherman is tied for third in interceptions (six).
STAT DU JOUR
Lynch’s efforts against the Cardinals were impressive: three rushing touchdowns, tying his career high; a franchise-record 11.6-yard rushing average; his seventh 100-yard rushing effort of the season (124); and surpassing his single-season career best in rushing yards (1,266), with three games to play.
What put it even more over the top was that Lynch accomplished all this on 11 carries. Here’s a look at what he did to get his 128 yards, and when he did it:
Situation Yards Result
First-and-10 2 Seahawks punted on first possession
Second-and-12 1 Seahawks converted on third-and-11
Second-and-6 10 First down in first TD drive
First-ansd-10 2 Seahawks converted on second-and-8
First-and-10 15 Seahawks lost the yards on penalty
First-and-10 20 Touchdown run No. 1
First-and-goal 4 Touchdown run No. 2
First-and-10 15 Seahawks eventually punted
Second-and-5 18 First down at Seahawks’ 37
First-and-10 8 Came on next play after 18-yarder
Third-and-4 33 Touchdown No. 3
“I think the thing that comes to mind is consistency,” Carroll said Monday when asked about the season Lynch is having. “He’s been very consistent with his output and his effort and his style. Everything has been there every single game.”
The players return from having two “off” days to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Bills.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The final score in Seattle got most of the attention. There was plenty of credit to go around in Seattle. (Anthony) McCoy’s first 100-yard receiving game could be a good sign for the Seahawks. McCoy made an important catch to help beat Chicago on the road last week. His 67-yard reception against the Cardinals set up Marshawn Lynch’s touchdown run for a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. Arizona hadn’t scored more than 17 points in seven of its previous eight games.” – Mike Sando including the Seahawks’ tight end among his weekly “Risers” on his NFC West blog at ESPN.com
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 11.
Running back Marshawn Lynch has been nominated for NFL FedEx Ground Player of the Week after his 128-yard, three-touchdown performance in the team’s 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. He is up against the Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno, who ran for 119 yards and a score in a 26-13 win over the Oakland Raiders, and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-14 win over the Chicago Bears. You can vote for Lynch here.
The NFL announced the Seahawks’ Week 16 home contest against the San Francisco 49ers has been flexed into the primetime slot – Sunday, December 23 at 5:20 p.m. PT on NBC.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes about head coach Pete Carroll’s reaction on the move to primetime, “Next up for Seattle is the Buffalo Bills in Toronto this Sunday. Then, Seattle returns home to play the NFC West-leading 49ers in a game that was moved to 5:20 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally by NBC. ‘Whatever, it’s moved back a little bit,’ Carroll said. ‘Two weeks from now.’ Come on, coach. How about a little something about the potential excitement of being moved into a featured time slot to face a 49ers team that has become quite a rival? ‘Nah, there’s nothing to talk about,’ Carroll said. ‘What does that mean? We’ll just stay in the hotel a little bit longer, and then go play.’ ”
O’Neil also takes some time to revisit his keys to Sunday’s matchup with the Cardinals, “2. Don’t let Larry Fitzgerald catch fire. Scouting report: He was targeted 11 times in the season-opener against the Seahawks, but caught only four passes for 63 yards. Result: Fitzgerald was targeted 11 times by Arizona — most of any Cardinal — but caught one pass for a total of 2 yards. He has caught six passes total over the past four games, and at this point the Cardinals could be accused of wasting a natural resource as they have one of the game’s best receivers playing for an offense with the league’s worst quarterback situation.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps the Seahawks’ Week 16 move to the national spotlight, “The upcoming rematch between Seattle and San Francisco will be the Seahawks’ third nationally televised game this season. The Seahawks defeated Green Bay, 14-12, in Week 3 on Monday Night Football, and lost at San Francisco in Week 7, 13-6, in a Thursday night game on the NFL Network. The Seahawks-49ers rematch has some appeal for a national audience because it could help decide the division title, with San Francisco (9-3-1) traveling to New England on Sunday, while the Seahawks (8-5), trailing by 11/2 games, play Buffalo in Toronto. If the 49ers lose to the Patriots and Seattle sweeps its final three games, the Seahawks would win the NFC West title for the second time in three seasons.”
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune highlights the impact Lynch has had since coming to Seattle in a trade with the Bills in 2010, “Although it was a sidebar topic played below the headlines of the thrashing of the Cardinals on Sunday – by the largest margin in team history (58-0) – Lynch upped his rushing total for the season to 1,266 yards with a 4.9-yard average. He’s second in the league in rushing, trailing only the astonishing Adrian Peterson, who has 1,600 yards and 10 TDs after returning from a severe knee injury late last season. At his current rate, Lynch could crack 1,600 yards this season, a figure that would trail only Shaun Alexander’s totals in 2005 (1,880) and 2004 (1,696) as the best in franchise history. ‘The thing that comes to mind is his consistency, he’s been very consistent with his output and his effort and his style,’ Carroll said Monday. ‘Everything’s been there every single game. He’s been healthy; we’ve managed him well during the week and he’s come out strong and fast and looked sharp every single time he’s shown up.’ ”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com details cornerback Richard Sherman’s first career touchdown that came off an interception that was very similar to a pick Sherman had last year against the same club, “It came in the fourth quarter of Seattle’s Week 17 loss in Arizona. Sherman jumped in front of a Cardinals receiver to pick off Skelton’s pass at Arizona’s 45-yard line. He raced 33 yards up the left sideline before he was caught at the 12 by speedy running back LaRod Stephens-Howling. That play came to mind – both mine and Sherman’s – when he picked off an underthrown Skelton pass at Arizona’s 19-yard line on Sunday – again near the left sideline – and returned it for a touchdown. ‘Yeah, I definitely had a flashback,’ he said. ‘My teammates still get one me for that. They’re like, ‘You still haven’t scored. You keep getting picks and you can’t score. Man, when you gonna score one?’ So I was like, ‘Oh man, I can’t get caught on this one.” ”
The staff at SportsPressNW.com has a look at the play of Seattle’s young cornerbacks who stepped in for the suspended Brandon Browner and injured Marcus Trufant in last Sunday’s win, “… the Seahawks deployed into the void third-year vet Walter Thurmond, second-year vet Byron Maxwell and rookie Jeremy Lane. They helped pitch a shutout, although the 58-0 outcome was as much about team-wide negligence by the Cardinals. ‘I was as fired up about that as anything,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday. ‘I was really pleased with play of those guys. Walter played really well. He was consistent, aggressive and he played with good confidence. He had a lot of different stuff to do, moving around playing inside and outside. Jeremy and Byron l did really well. They both looked disciplined, they played confident technique-wise. They both looked just about the same and, for their first outing, they really handled it well. There were very few plays that they didn’t get graded on the positive side. They both played well enough that I couldn’t tell the difference in play — if one came out ahead of the other — so that’s a really good sign for us.’ ”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday, “Carroll said the team came out of the game pretty healthy with only S Chris Maragos suffering a minor hamstring strain. Maragos was out of uniform for the late stages of the game and said he would be all right. LB Leroy Hill was active for yesterday’s game against the Cardinals despite an ankle injury, but LB Malcolm Smith started and played the entire game in his place. Carroll said after the game Hill could have played if needed but they wanted to give him another week if they could. Carroll spoke highly of the way Smith played for a second straight week. ‘This is the best that I’ve seen Malcolm over the years,’ said Carroll, who coached Smith at USC as well. ‘This is the most confident that he has been and he’s playing aggressively and chasing the ball really well. He’s kind of got a nose for the football. Things happen when he’s around it, and that has kind of always been the case so it’s good to have him out there.’ ”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com passes along how the voters voted in the site’s latest NFL Power Rankings, where the Seahawks come in at No. 10.
Sando has his latest “NFC West Stock Watch” as he notes the rise of tight end Anthony McCoy, who in Week 14 became the Seahawks’ first 100-yard receiver this season, “Anthony McCoy, Seahawks TE. The final score in Seattle got most of the attention. There was plenty of credit to go around in Seattle. McCoy’s first 100-yard receiving game could be a good sign for the Seahawks. McCoy made an important catch to help beat Chicago on the road last week. His 67-yard reception against the Cardinals set up Marshawn Lynch’s touchdown run for a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. Arizona hadn’t scored more than 17 points in seven of its previous eight games.”
Sando has a look at several reasons why the Seahawks have improved:
- The GM: General manager John Schneider led the way as Seattle defied convention by using a third-round choice for quarterback Russell Wilson.
- The coach: Carroll had the guts to start Wilson over Matt Flynn when the decision appeared risky.
- The QB: Wilson himself has made the biggest difference on the field. He has 15 touchdowns with three interceptions over his past eight games.
Sando also shares his thoughts on the Seahawks-49ers game moving to primetime in Week 16.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has his latest Power Rankings, and the Seahawks come in at No. 10 on his list – up two spots from a week ago, “They are surging. Are they the team nobody wants if they get to the playoffs?”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella review the Seahawks’ win over the Cardianls in this short video.
Farnsworth has his “Monday Metatarsal Musings” where he looks back at what worked and what needs work after the Week 14 matchup with the Cardinals, and he also recaps the activities surrounding “Monday in Hawkville.”
Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” as he recaps coach Carroll’s Monday press conference.
And we have Carroll’s full video press conference from yesterday available here.
Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner has been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances, the league announced today. The suspension begins immediately and Browner will miss the team’s four remaining regular-season games.
The club has taken steps to fortify its secondary by signing cornerback Ron Parker off the Panthers’ practice squad and elevating cornerback DeShawn Shead from its own practice squad. Parker was with the Seahawks for 10 games and played in two last season, after being claimed off waivers from the Raiders. He also was with the team in training camp before being released on the cut to 75 players. Shead, a rookie free agent, was released on the roster cut to 53 players and signed to the practice squad the next day.
To fill Shead’s spot on the practice squad, running back Derrick Coleman was signed. He was with the Vikings in traning camp, but waived in August.
Walter Thurmond is the likely replacement for Browner at left cornerback, starting with Sunday’s game against the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. Thurmond was expected to be the starter at that spot last season, before an injury sidelined him in training camp and opened the door for Browner, who ended up leading the team with six interceptions and playing in the Pro Bowl.
Thurmond began this season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, but was added to the 53-man roster on Nov. 7. He was inactive for his first two games, but replaced an injured Marcus Trufant as the nickel back in Sunday’s victory over the Bears in Chicago.
The Seahawks also have rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane and second-year corner Byron Maxwell.
Browner will be able to rejoin the team on Monday, Dec. 31, the day after the Seahawks’ regular-season finale against the Rams. Browner is eligible to participate in the postseason if the Seahawks qualify.
When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PT, Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Records: Seahawks are 6-4 and coming off their bye; Dolphins are 4-6 after their loss to the Bills on Nov. 15
TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jaime Maggio
Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Series: Dolphins lead 7-3, including a 21-19 win in Miami in the last meeting on Nov. 9, 2008, and a 5-1 edge at home
Rest of the West: 49ers (7-2-1) at Saints (5-5); Rams (3-6-1) at Cardinals (4-6)
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill vs. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: This is the first time this season that Wilson will face another of the quarterbacks from the 2012 draft class. And at this point in their rookie seasons, Wilson and Tannehill are heading in opposite directions. In his past three games, Wilson has fashioned a 115.2 passer rating by completing 68 percent of his passes (53 of 78) for 597 yards with seven touchdown passes and one interception. In his past two games, Tannehill’s passer rating is 46.5 because he has thrown five interceptions and one TD pass while completing 55 percent of his passes (37 of 67) for 395 yards. Wilson, however, has not played as well on the road, where he has thrown all eight of his interceptions; while Tannehill had played better at home before the Dolphins’ 37-3 face plant of a loss to the Titans in Week 10. The Seahawks need to pressure Tannehill, especially with “Leo” end Chris Clemons (seven sacks) working against left tackle Jake Long, who already has allowed a career-high six sacks; and rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin (seven sacks) going against rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin. Wilson needs to exploit the Dolphins’ mistake-prone secondary, especially cornerback Nolan Carroll who was flagged for four penalties against the Bills.
One to watch
The Seahawks’ Heath Farwell, Chris Maragos, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell vs. Dolphins returner Marcus Thigpen: With his 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Bills, Thigpen became the first player in the history of the franchise to return a kickoff and a punt for scores in the same season. He’s also the only player in the NFL to rank among the Top 5 in punt (13.6) and kickoff (29.4) return average. Farwell (10) and Maragos (seven) lead the Seahawks in coverage tackles, while Lane and Maxwell (four tackles each) are the gunners on punt coverage. The Seahawks cannot allow Thigpen to alter the outcome of the game, or even field position, by breaking a long one.
Fun to watch
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch vs. the Dolphins’ defense: After carrying the ball 212 times in the first 10 games, second only the Texans’ Arian Foster (269), Lynch seems not only rested but rejuvenated after getting the bye week off. Not that there was anything lacking in his pre-bye efforts. Lynch already has surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark and is No. 2 in the NFL with 1,005. He’s riding a streak of four consecutive 100-yard games and averaging a career-best 4.7 yards per carry. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have allowed an average of 148.5 rushing yards in their past two games, after allowing 83.9 in their first eight games.
One tough task
The Seahawks vs. the obvious: It’s not only another cross-country trip; it’s the longest flight that can be made in the continental United States. And, of course, there’s the issue of the 10 a.m. kickoff Seattle time. Also, the Seahawks are 1-4 on the road this season and 6-15 in three seasons under coach Pete Carroll. The Seahawks played well enough to win in Arizona, St. Louis and Detroit this season. In fact, they had fourth-quarter leads against the Cardinals and Lions. They have to slay their road demon at some point, and this is a good place to start.
The Seahawks have scored 61 points in the fourth quarter, while the Dolphins have allowed 60 fourth-quarter points. … The only time the Seahawks have won in Miami during the regular season was in 1996, when they beat the Dolphins 22-15. … The Seahawks are looking for their first three-game winning streak since Weeks 13-15 last season, which was their first since 2007. … They’re also looking to post their seventh victory this early in the season since 2007, when they also did in Week 12. … In two games against AFC opponents this season (Jets and Patriots), Wilson is 28 of 46 for 481 yards with five TD passes and no interceptions for a 132.6 passer rating. … The Dolphins’ Cameron Wake has 9.5 sacks, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Irvin leads all NFL rookies with his seven sacks. … Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks with 81 tackles, while linebacker Karlos Dansby leads the Dolphins with 76.
A recap of the Seahawks’ 24-23 victory over the Patriots at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. You had to expect this would go to a quarterback – just not this quarterback. The Patriots’ Tom Brady might have thrown for 395 yards and two touchdowns, but he had to put the ball up 58 times to do it.
Wilson, meanwhile, was efficient – and effective – from start to dramatic finish. The rookie was 7 of 8 for 131 yards in leading the Seahawks to a 10-7 lead in the first quarter, when he passed 24 yards to Doug Baldwin for a touchdown. After going 4 of 10 in the second and third quarters, when the Patriots took a 20-10 lead, Wilson made like a little kid with a big bag of Halloween candy.
That is, he saved the best for last.
Wilson was 5 of 9 for 116 yards in the final 15 seconds, including a 10-yard TD pass to Braylon Edwards – on a fourth-and-3 play – to cut the Patriots’ lead to 23-17; and a 46-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice for what proved to be the game-winner.
It left Wilson with 16 completions in 27 attempts for 293 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, for a passer rating of 133.7. Winning numbers no matter how you stack them.
“This week, we made a big point to the whole receiving crew and the quarterbacks and everybody that is catching the ball, that we have not taken advantage of Russell’s movement,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s been getting out, and he’s been running and making yards. And we made a big deal about it this week that there are huge plays there for us if we just look and fight harder to get open.”
None bigger than Wilson’s two fourth-quarter TD passes. The last rookie QB to overcome a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter was Vince Young. He did it in 2006 while playing for the Titans, and playing against the Giants.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The game-winner, of course, as Wilson lofted his pass toward the end zone and Rice was able to run it down.
Said Rice: “It was a heckuva throw. The whole time when I came out of my break I was looking at the ball in the air and it was so pretty. I’m just running and I was like, ‘You’ve got to catch up to it. You’ve got to catch up to it.’ ”
Said Wilson: “The key was that the offensive line did a great job of protecting me long enough for Sidney to get open. He ran a great, great route. He headed up his guy and he ended up getting open. I just try to put it in a spot where only he could catch it, and he did a great job of coming up with that tremendous catch there. I think he squeezed it with four hands.”
Defense: The Seahawks intercepted Brady twice, but let’s go with the pick by free safety Earl Thomas because it came in the end zone on the third play of the fourth quarter.
“I baited him,” Thomas said. “I watch a lot of tape. I had a great opportunity. I had a great break on the ball.”
Special teams: Jon Ryan’s entire day, as he averaged 60.0 yards on four punts. That made Ryan only the third punter in NFL history to average at least 60 yards on a minimum of four punts, and the first to do it since 1946. The two punters ahead of Ryan are the Lions’ Bob Cifers (61.75 on Nov. 24, 1946) and the Packers’ Rob McKay (61.60 on Oct. 28, 1945).
Then there is the punter Ryan nudged from the third spot – the 49ers’ Andy Lee (59.60), who did it against the Seahawks last Sept. 11.
Cornerback Byron Maxwell aggravated a hamstring injury. Strong safety Kam Chancellor took a blow to the elbow and Carroll said, “We’ll see what that means.” Guard Paul McQuistan tweaked a knee, but was able to finish the game.
Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had a game-high and career-best 14 tackles. The franchise single-game record is 18, set by Terry Beeson in 1977 and tied by Sammy Green in 1978.
Chancellor had 11 tackles, also a career-high; while linebacker K.J. Wright had nine and nose tackle Brandon Mebane seven.
Marshawn Lynch ran for 41 yards, his lowest total since he had 24 against the Bengals last season – one week after sitting out a game against the Browns because of back spasms. Lynch had run for at least 85 in the first five games this season and 13 of his past 14 dating back to last season.
Rice (three for 81) and Baldwin (two for 74) combined to catch five passes for 155 yards, while the Patriots’ Wes Welker caught 10 passes for 138 yards.
Brady had thrown one interception in 185 pass attempts entering the game, but the Seahawks picked him twice.
The Seahawks are 4-2 for the first time since 2010, Carroll’s first season as coach.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I really don’t care about the yards, as long as we get the win and we’re making plays in critical situations.” – Thomas, on the Patriots compiling 475 yards against the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense in the loss
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 3:
Bobby Wagner. Tuesday, we tabbed the middle linebacker as our best rookie in the first quarter of the season. Today, coach Pete Carroll seconded that notion, and then some.
“I think it’s worth noting at the quarter point of the season that there are a lot of good things that have happened, particularly for some of the young guys who have come on. Bobby is one of them,” Carroll said of the Seahawks’ second-round pick in April’s NFL Draft.
“He’s really playing good football. He’s doing a terrific job of handling things. He’s shown up with big hits and he’s shown up covering well. He’s chasing the football. You can see the speed that he has.”
And Wagner is doing it in what was the one hole in the defense after the club decided not to re-sign three-time leading tackler David Hawthorne in free agency. Entering Sunday’s game against the Panthers in Carolina, Wagner is third on the team in tackles (22), and had three for losses among his team-leading seven solo stops against the Rams on Sunday.
“We don’t have anything we can’t do right now,” Carroll said. “He can play. He can play in nickel situations. He can do everything that we want him to right now.
“That’s a major statement for us.”
And a major statement about just how well the rookie from Utah State is playing at the next level.
Nickel back. Marcus Trufant was sidelined today because of a back issue that Carroll said is related to the problems that forced him to miss the first six games in 2009 and the last 12 games last season.
It’s significant because of the problems the Seahawks’ No. 2-ranked defense has had getting off the field on third downs. Opponents are converting 43.1 percent on third downs, and the Rams did it five times in Sunday’s game despite facing at least a third-and-10 situation on each play.
With Trufant sitting out, recently signed Danny Gorrer and second-year corner Byron Maxwell filled in for him during practice.
The Panthers’ offense. It starts with QB Cam Newton, but it definitely doesn’t stop there. Just ask Carroll.
“Boy, this is a loaded offense that we’re dealing with,” Carroll said. “We had a lot of respect for Cam Newton coming out in the draft. … But to see him now and see the offense they’re running and what they’re doing with the three running backs that they have is terrific. (Tight end Greg) Olsen and Steve Smith outside.
“This is a really, really difficult offense and they’re doing a great job. Ron (Rivera, Panthers coach) has put together an offense that is very, very explosive. It’s a good matchup for us.”
Newton and DeAngelo Williams each have 167 rushing yards to pace the Panthers, while Jonathan Stewart has 91 and the most impressive number with Mike Tolbert is 245 – his weight. Olsen leads the Panthers with 20 receptions, while Smith has 17.
The Panthers also have produced a glut of explosive plays: a 66-yard reception by Smith; a 55-yard reception by Louis Murphy; a 36-yard TD catch by Kealoha Pilares; a 34-yard reception by Olsen; a 40-yard run by Newton; a 27-yard run by Williams; and a 25-yard run by wide receiver Brandon LeFell.
“They average 10 or 11 (explosives plays) a game,” Carroll said. “That’s an enormous number. That’s a big challenge for us.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
OG John Moffitt (knee)
Did not practice
CB Marcus Trufant (back)
DE Jaye Howard (foot)
Limited in practice
RB Marshawn Lynch (rest)
Moffitt already has been ruled out for Sunday’s game because of the knee injury he got in Week 3 against the Packers. So James Carpenter will start at left guard, with Paul McQuistan sliding to the right side to replace Moffitt as he did Sunday against the Rams. With Lynch seeing little action in practice, rookie Robert Turbin got a lot of work with the No. 1 offense. Turbin ran for 45 yards on six carries against the Rams on Sunday.
For the Panthers:
Did not practice
DE Frank Alexander (back)
LB Jon Beason (knee)
CB Chris Gamble (shoulder)
OG/C Geoff Hangartner (knee)
S Colin Jones (shoulder)
Limited in practice
OG/C Mike Pollak (shoulder)
DE Antwan Applewhite (knee)
PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES
Rookie free agent tight end Sean McGrath has been re-signed to the practice squad. To clear a spot, running back Lonyae Miller was released.
McGrath was added to the practice squad after being released on the final roster cut in August; released two days later; re-signed five days after that; and then released last week.
STAT DU JOUR
Which is better, the Seahawks’ kickoff return unit or the Seahawks’ kickoff coverage unit? Neither, because both units lead the NFL in average starting position after four games. Here’s a look at how the Seahawks stack up:
Team Kickoffs Avg. start
Seahawks 15 18.3
Ravens 24 19.3
Jets 18 19.3
Bears 23 19.6
Redskins 23 19.6
Team Returns Avg. start
Seahawks 16 27.8
Vikings 21 27.5
49ers 14 26.4
Falcons 14 25.5
Bears 15 25.2
“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to prepare for Sunday’s game against the Panthers. The team will leave for Charlotte on Friday following a midday practice.
Just a reminder: Sunday’s game has a late kickoff – 4:05 p.m. in Charlotte; 1:05 p.m. in Seattle.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I think Russell Wilson’s going to be OK. I just think people need to relax a little bit, don’t push the panic button. Let’s see where we go this week. I think he’s going to come back and play very strong. I really do.” – Warren Moon, Hall of Fame QB and analyst for Seahawks radio broadcasts, on the team’s rookie quarterback during an interview on 710 ESPN
Head Coach Pete Carroll delivered what is usually his weekly Wednesday press conference today, on a Thursday, because the team’s schedule has been pushed back a day as they ready for the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football, September 24.
It was a media session relatively free of any ground-breaking news, which should be viewed as a good thing.
For some quick injury notes, Carroll expects tight end Zach Miller (foot), wide receiver Sidney Rice (knee), and tackle Russell Okung (knee) to be OK by game-time Monday night. Carroll’s only question mark was the status of cornerback Byron Maxwell. Barring any setbacks through the week of practice, he expects everyone else to be ready and available by game-time in Week 3.
Carroll also cited the big challenge that the Packers pose, offering that he has a “tremendous respect” for Green Bay’s background, style of play, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, defensive back Charles Woodson, and linebacker Clay Matthews, whom Carroll coached at USC.
“It’s sick,” Carroll said of Matthews’ NFL-leading six sacks through two games. “I don’t know how that happens.” Carroll mentioned that they will use tight ends and running backs to help block Matthews on Monday.
Stay tuned to Seahawks.com for the full press conference shortly and our Insider Clare Farnsworth will be back with more following today’s practice.