Tight end Cameron Morrah, a seventh-round draft choice by the Seahawks in 2008, has signed with the 49ers, it was announced today on the team’s website.
Morrah had nine of his 16 career receptions in 2010 and started three games that season as well as in 2011. But he spent last season on the injured reserve list.
Morrah is the third of the nine Seahawks players who became unrestricted free agents last month to sign with another team, joining defensive linemen Alan Branch (Bills) and Jason Jones (Lions).
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 31:
The defense. Somewhat overshadowed by the continuing problems on offense and breakdowns in the coverage units on special teams during Sunday’s 34-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was how well the Seahawks defense played.
“The thing that does get lost a little bit in here is that we played very tough on defense again,” coach Pete Carroll said today. “We did a very good job in the second half, in particular.”
Say what? The Bengals put up 34 points. But two of their touchdowns came on late returns – the first on a punt for 56 yards, the second on an interception for 75 yards. Also, both the Bengals’ field goals also were set up by big returns – a 63-yard punt return and a 45-yard kickoff return.
The defense held the Bengals to that one field goal in the second half, not to mention 84 yards.
“The defense gave us a chance to hang in that football game, if we could make a few plays,” Carroll said. “The guys played very physically. They were intent on getting after the running game. It wasn’t perfect, but there was enough to put us in position to win.”
Ben Obomanu. When split end Mike Williams could not play against the Bengals because of a sore hamstring, Obomanu stepped in to catch four passes for 107 yards. On his 28th birthday, no less.
“That’s pretty neat,” Obomanu said after the game. “I’m glad the fans can take something away from the game. I know it’s pretty rare for somebody to play on their birthday. I know for me that may not have happened since I was a little kid playing Pee-Wee football, so I just wanted to come out and play hard and help our team get a win.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t do that. But at the same time, at least the fans can take something away from the game.”
Asked if Obomanu was pushing for more playing time, Carroll offered, “Ben’s always been pushing. Ben’s been a starter here and he’s a really good football player. Ben again came through and did a very nice job. It’s a competitive position for us.”
Carroll said he expects Williams to be OK for practice this week. Tight end Cameron Morrah bruised a knee in the game, so his status is uncertain for practice.
Also, wide receiver Deon Butler remains the last of the players on the physically unable to perform list after cornerback Roy Lewis was activated last week and Morrah the week before. Butler is ready to return, but Carroll said his situation is day-to-day.
STAT DU JOUR
To say that the Seahawks are playing “winning” defense is not just hyperbole. They rank No. 13 in the NFL coming out of Sunday’s games, and eight of the teams ranked above them have winning records. Here’s the Top 13, with the records of those teams:
The players are off Tuesday, but will return Wednesday to begin preparing for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The Niners’ magic number to win the NFC West is six. Not since Nixon-McGovern has there been less drama in a race two months before it ends.” – Peter King, in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” on SI.com
CLEVELAND – With starting tight end Zach Miller out for Sunday’s game against the Browns, Cameron Morrah was activated off the physically unable to perform list today.
Morrah had been on PUP since training camp opened in late July because he had surgery on a toe following the Seahawks’ loss to the Chicago Bears in the playoffs last season. Anthony McCoy is expected to start against the Browns, but Morrah provides a second option for the two-tight end sets that the Seahawks use so often.
Miller received neck and head injuries in the pre-bye week game against the Giants and has not been able to practice since.
In another move, safety Chris Maragos was signed off the practice squad.
To clear roster spots, defensive tackle Jason Shirley and linebacker Stephen Franklin were waived. The pair of former Bengals had been signed since the game against the Giants two weeks ago.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 19:
Tarvaris Jackson. The Seahawks continued to prepare Charlie Whitehurst to start at quarterback in Sunday’s post-bye week game against the Browns in Cleveland. But Jackson also continues his rapid recovery from the strained pectoral that knocked him out of the pre-bye week victory over the New York Giants.
Jackson not only was in uniform for today’s 95-minute practice, he was handing off during the run-drill period.
“The trainers and the doctors are really surprised that he’s able to do what he’s doing,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s really tough-minded. He’s just not wavering with this at all. It’s like he’s going to handle it.
“He’s very consistent in his character and his personality and you can see it’s coming out here in his attempt to rehab it, too. He’s going to be very tough on himself and very demanding. He’s not going to be knocked off course because he’s got a little something he’s dealing with.”
And what does Carroll need to see before getting Jackson back on course to return to the lineup?
“Obviously, we want to see him throw. He can run. He’s fine doing all that stuff,” Carroll said. “But we’ll need to see him throw the football competitively, where he can fire it around like he does. How long we wait during the week to find that out … we might go all the way to game time to understand whether he’ll be available to us.”
Until then, Whitehurst is running the offense in practice.
“I’m not impatient about it,” Carroll said. “In the meantime, Charlie is getting ready to play.”
Heath Farwell. Tuesday, the linebacker and special teams standout was taking care of his 8-week-old son, Brock. Wednesday, he worked out for the Seahawks in the morning, signed a contract and then took part in both the late morning walk-thru and afternoon practice.
“It’s a whirlwind, but that’s life in the NFL,” said Farwell, who got a call from Seahawks on Tuesday after the club worked out six other linebackers on Monday. “It’s a great opportunity and I’m ready to help out in any way I can to help this team win.
“I’m excited to play. You sit around and watch games on TV and you get hungry.”
Farwell signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie free agent in 2005, part of a linebacker class from San Diego State that also included Matt McCoy, who is on the Seahawks’ injured reserve list; and Kirk Morrison of the Buffalo Bills. Farwell was voted to the Pro Bowl as the NFC special teams player in 2009, but the Vikings released him in September.
“I’ve been working out,” Farwell said. “But I’ve also got an 8-week-old at home, so I’ve been working at home. My wife put me to work.”
CAPTAIN, MY CAPTIAN
Carroll was asked for the second time this week is he intended to name another defensive captain because cornerback Marcus Trufant has been placed on injured reserve because of disc problem in his back.
“I don’t think it’s the kind of situation where we should take a vote. Tru is our captain,” Carroll said. “He was voted for this season and he remains our captain even though he can’t be there all the time. He’ll be around us.
“We already talked about that (on Monday). Our young guys in the secondary rely on him quite a bit and as much as we can keep him around and with them as they go through the process of the season and the game plans and dealing with the issues and all, he needs to be a voice for those guys. He’s a big part of it.”
Greg Little. The rookie wide receiver is doing a lot for the Browns, as in leading the team in receptions. His development has been a gradual process in this season that followed the lack of an offseason and a hurry-up approach to the preseason.
“He kind of came to training camp as, I would call him, a true rookie,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said today. “He battled through training camp and there was some inconsistency that you see with young players. The first quarter of the year, they found a way to get some production and then after the bye basically just started him.
“What I see from him is a guy that is improving each day. I wouldn’t even say each week. I would say he’s improving each day. I see things about him that are better.”
Little starts at split end, but also will move into the slot in the three- and four-receiver packages. At 6 feet 2, 220 pounds, Little can create some big matchup problems.
“He’s a big target,” Shurmur said. “He’s got excellent ball skills. He’s a good player that’s improving.”
IN ’N OUT
Left guard Robert Gallery returned to practice for the first time since getting a groin injury that required surgery in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers. But center Max Unger continued to sit out because of a foot injury and was replaced by Lemuel Jeanpierre.
Also sitting out was tight end Zach Miller (head/neck). But running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (hamstring) participated fully.
Cornerback Roy Lewis, tight end Cameron Morrah and wide receiver Deon Butler, who have been on the physically unable to perform list since training camp opened, practiced for the first time. Lewis got some work as the nickel back in the No. 1 defense and also took reps at cornerback with the No. 2 unit. Morrah and Butler also worked with both units on offense.
“I’m happy for those guys. They’re been working hard to get here,” Carroll said. “We’ll ease those guys into it.”
For the Browns:
Did not practice
LB Scott Fujita (head)
CB Joe Haden (knee)
OL Artis Hicks (back)
RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring)
DB Ray Ventrone (hamstring)
OL Alex Mack (illness)
OL Tony Pashos (ankle)
LB Titus Brown (ankle)
WR Josh Cribbs (knee)
TE Evan Moore (ankle)
On Hillis, the Browns’ leading rusher, Shurmur said, “It’s too early to speculate as to whether he’ll be available this weekend. He’s working through it just like you would.”
STAT DU JOUR
The Seahawks don’t just have an 11-5 record in previous games against the Browns; they have a better winning percentage against the Browns – past and present – than any team in the NFL. Here’s a look at the Seahawks’ Top 5, by percentage:
Opponent Record Pct.
Browns 11-5 .688
Jaguars 4-2 .667
Bears 8-4 .666
Titans/Oilers 9-5 .643
Buccaneers 7-4 .636
The team will practice on what is “Turnover Thursday,” according to the Carroll calendar, but the defensive players must have been confused today because it was the second practice of the week after Monday’s bonus session. Linebacker K.J. Wright intercepted three passes, including one of the final play of practice and another that he took from the hands of practice-squad tight end John Nalbone. Free safety Earl Thomas had two picks and came tantalizingly close to getting a third. Cornerback Brandon Browner made it a pick-six by adding another.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Well, Cleveland’s not the East Coast. I’m from the East Coast. You guys get this confused. Cleveland is not on the East Coast. Cleveland is in the Midwest.” – rookie tackle and geography buff John Moffitt, who’s from Guilford, Conn., when asked about playing on the East Coast this week
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 17:
Roy Lewis, Deon Butler and Cameron Morrah. These three have been on the physically unable to perform list since training camp opened in late July, and joined at the rehab schedule since then.
Each will begin practicing on Wednesday. They then have a three-week window before the Seahawks must decide whether to add them to the 53-man roster or place them on injured reserve.
Lewis, a cornerback, had knee surgery late last season. Butler, a wide receiver, had surgery to place a steel rod in his broken leg in December. Morrah, a tight end, had postseason toe surgery.
“At this point, there’s no reason to anticipate anything other than they’re back to practicing,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice. “If you can imagine, this is August for them. So Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and then playing a game on Sunday, that’s a tremendous amount to ask.”
Getting Lewis back, however, definitely would help because of the move today to place veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant on injured reserve with a back problem. Walter Thurmond will start on the left side for Trufant, but Lewis would provide another option to fill the nickel back spot that Thurmond has been playing.
“Three weeks doesn’t even seem like enough time when you think about it,” Carroll said. “We’re going to go for it. They’re going to practice a lot. We’ll get them a lot of work out here. It will boost what’s going on out here, which will be good.
“And hopefully those guys will be able to show where they fit in.”
IN ’N OUT
Linebacker Leroy Hill and backup center Lemuel Jeanpierre returned to practice and running back Marshawn Lynch was back on a limited basis after sitting out the two bye-week practices. But four starters continued to be sidelined: quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral), center Max Unger (foot), tight end Zach Miller (neck) and left guard Robert Gallery (groin).
Jackson is ahead of schedule, Carroll said, and did some light throwing on the side during practice.
“We’re just taking it one day at a time,” Carroll said of Jackson’s status for this week’s game. “We’ll just see what happens. But he has a chance.”
Charlie Whitehurst continued to quarterback the offense in practice and No. 3 QB Josh Portis is getting his most extensive practice time of the season running the scout team that works against the Seahawks defense.
Carroll expects Miller and Gallery to practice on Wednesday. Unger was out of the protective boot he was wearing last week, but Carroll said his heavy work in practice won’t come until Friday.
The Seahawks signed two players: defensive tackle Jason Shirley (6-5, 345), who was waived from the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad on Sept. 3; and linebacker Stephen Franklin (6-foot, 235), a rookie who also had been with the Bengals.
Shirley participated in the 85-minute bonus practice, but Franklin watched from the sideline.
The Seahawks noticed Shirley while looking at video of defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, another ex-Bengal who was acquired in an August trade for cornerback Kelly Jennings.
“Always having this liking for the really big guys, Jason surely caught our eye,” Carroll said. “We’re pleased to get him. To get another real healthy big guy at this time … we jumped at it.”
To clear roster spots, rush-end Jameson Konz were placed on injured reserve along with Trufant.
Allen Bradford, who was claimed off waivers last week, practiced with the team for the first time. He worked at running back and linebacker with the scout teams.
STAT DU JOUR
Carroll already has done something only one other coach in franchise history was able to accomplish: Win the week following his first bye with the team. Carroll did it last season, his first as coach, when the Seahawks beat the Bears in Chicago 23-20.
The only other coach to do it? Dennis Erickson in 1995, when the Seahawks beat Broncos at the Kingdome 27-10. In fact, only Carroll, Erickson and Mike Holmgren have won games the week after the team’s bye. Here’s a look at the coach’s post-bye week records since the week-off schedule was started in 1990:
Coach (year) W-L
Chuck Knox (1990-91) 0-2
Tom Flores (1992-94) 0-4
Dennis Erickson (1995-98) 3-1
Mike Holmgren (1999-2008) 2-8
Jim Mora (2009) 0-1
Pete Carroll (2010-present) 1-0
The players will have their off day for this week on Tuesday, and then return for what will be a two-week battle for the Ohio state championship. After playing the Browns in Cleveland on Sunday, the Seahawks host the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 30.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Really, K.J. Wright made the difference. He took over. He took over that spot (strongside linebacker). He just was way ahead of any curve that we would have ever projected for him. So we just needed him on the field. He won the job. That’s really the best way to explain it. That’s exactly what happened.” – Carroll when asked about last week’s trade of Aaron Curry to the Raiders
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 13:
Pro Football Focus ranks the offensive lines from the 2010 season and the Seahawks are a somewhat surprising 22nd on the list. Surprising, that is, because of the major injury problems that forced them to start 10 different combinations. Says PFF: “The Seahawks just couldn’t get anything going in their run game, hence the need for Marshawn Lynch to enter beast mode. On the plus side none of the players had that many issues in pass protection, with many of them distinguishing themselves. Best Player: So many average to below average players, the best might just be Russell Okung who is the first rookie left tackle in a few years to come out and handle it. If he takes a step up he won’t be too far from some of the better left tackles in the league. Biggest Concern: Time to move on from Chris Spencer? Yes indeed. Is Max Unger going to be the answer?” Our take on Okung? No “might just be” about it, the rookie was the Seahawks’ best lineman last season, despite playing on two bad ankles.
John Clayton at ESPN.com touches on several topics in his always readable and even more informative weekly mailbag, including the on-going talks aimed at getting a new CBA and the quarterback situation in the NFC West. Says Clayton: “The NFC West will become a decent division once it settles its quarterback issues. The Rams are fine with (Sam) Bradford. Arizona might solve its problems if it acquires Kevin Kolb in a trade. Seattle and San Francisco, however, are in a transitional period at quarterback, and that could hold those teams back. The 49ers are going with Alex Smith on a one-year deal. The Seahawks have to re-sign Matt Hasselbeck. This is a quarterback-driven league, and the reason for the decline in the NFC West is the quarterback problems. You noticed NFC West teams – Arizona and Seattle – went to Super Bowls when their quarterback position was good.”
Matt Williams of Scouts Inc. examines the NFC West tight ends for ESPN.com. It’s an “Insider” item, so registration and a fee are required. But here’s part of what he has to say about the Seahawks: “Because the Seahawks’ offensive line played so poorly last season, it was difficult to analyze what Seattle has at this position. The tight ends were blocking more than anyone in the organization would have liked. Seattle has dedicated a lot of resources to the front five this offseason, though, so we might just see something from John Carlson or Cameron Morrah. … Morrah interests me. I see him as someone who could make a real impact in this offense. He can run and get downfield, and he has the natural ability you look for in a pass-catching tight end. He, too, was asked to pass block more often than the ideal last season, but he shuffles his feet well and gives excellent effort. Morrah might be an ascending player with some explosive qualities, though he did have only nine receptions last season.”
For the give-us-this-day-our-daily-labor-update item, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees – you might have heard of them – say “it is time” for the owners and their fellow players to wrap up negotiations, talks and whatever else there is to be completed so a new CBA can be reached. In a statement released to the Associated Press via the NFL Players Association on Wednesday, New England’s Brady, Indianapolis’ Manning and New Orleans’ Brees said: “We believe the overall proposal made by the players is fair for both sides and it is time to get this deal done.”
In this other AP report, however, there is this: “But there is serious doubt that a disruption to the preseason can be avoided. Although the regular season still appears safe, the situation isn’t as simple as shaking hands and going back to business as usual, even assuming owners and players patched everything up when face-to-face talks resume Wednesday – an unlikely scenario.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we continue our series of articles on the team’s first 35 years with a look at the 1987 season – when the Seahawks returned to the playoffs after a two-year absence, in part because their replacement team went 2-1 during the players’ strike.
Seattle traveled to Chicago to face the Bears in a NFC Divisional Playoff game at Soldier Field, where for the second week in a row they were vast underdogs. After two amazing weeks of football, the Seahawks run came to an end on a frozen, snowy day in the Windy City.