A recap of the day’s events at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 15:
Two games in five days. That’s what the Seahawks are facing this week, as they already have put Sunday’s last-second victory over the Patriots behind them today so the emphasis can be clearly on Thursday night’s nationally televised game against the 49ers in San Francisco.
The Seahawks went through this same condensed schedule last season, when they lost to the Redskins 23-17 on a Sunday (Nov. 27) and then beat the Eagles 31-14 on a Thursday night (Dec. 1). But both games were played at CenturyLink Field. This season, there is travel involved – even if it is the team’s shortest trip.
“We’re utilizing the same system, basically, from what we did,” coach Pete Carroll said during his weekly Q&A session with the media. “We thought we played pretty well and got done what we had to get done.”
For the players, the physical drain is obvious. For the coaches, it’s a matter of putting the game plan together and then installing it with limited practice time.
“You don’t have a whole lot of choice physically, you’ve just got to get there,” Carroll said. “So it is the learning and the acquiring of the game plan and the style of play that you’re up against in a condensed fashion.
“So it’s really important, and we talked as coaches, that we have to teach really well and present information really clearly and make sense and maximize every second that we have. And meanwhile, take care of the guys as they return to get their bodies back. A big physical challenge, there’s no question about it.”
Against a very physical opponent. The Seahawks and 49ers are 4-2 to share the NFC West lead with the Cardinals.
Guard John Moffitt, who has missed the past three games because of a knee injury, is the only player who has been ruled out for Thursday night’s game, Carroll said. The others should be able to play, and that includes Pro Bowl strong safety Kam Chancellor, who injured an ankle in Sunday’s game.
Chancellor was not expected to particiate in today’s walkthrough, along with defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (groin) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (hamstring).
Cornerback Walter Thurmond, who has been on the physically unable to perform list, begins his three-week window where he’s allowed to practice. But Carroll admitted that because of the limited practice time this is a tough week for Thurmond to jump back in for the first time since he injured an ankle in the Week 7 game against the Browns last season.
STATS ’N STUFF
By yielding 475 yards to the Patriots, the Seahawks’ defense slipped from No. 1 to No. 4 in the league in average yards allowed (294.7) – behind the 49ers (275.8), Cowboys (285.2) and Bears (291.2). The Seahawks are second in average rushing yards allowed (70.0) to the Bears (65.8).
Despite rushing for a season-low 41 yards, Marshawn Lynch remains third in the league with 549 yards – behind the Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles (591) and Texans’ Arian Foster (561). He’s also second in the NFC in total yards (619), nine fewer than the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson.
Leon Washington is second in the league in kickoff return average (31.7), while Jon Ryan is fourth in the league in net punting average (43.1) and fifth in average (50.7).
Chancellor and strongside linebacker K.J. Wright share the team lead with 43 tackles – one more than rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Heath Farwell continues to lead the team in coverage tackles with seven – one more than Chris Maragos.
STAT DU JOUR
On Sunday, Russell Wilson became only the fourth rookie quarterback to beat the Patriots’ Tom Brady. Here’s a look at that short list:
Quarterback (year) Result
Russell Wilson (2012) Seahawks, 24-23
Colt McCoy (2010) Browns, 34-14
Mark Sanchez (2009) Jets, 16-9
Ben Roethlisberger (2004) Steelers, 34-20
One very short week. The players will have a walkthrough today and practice on Tuesday, their usual off day. They’ll also practice on Wednesday before the team flies to San Francisco for Thursday night’s game.
“If you can imagine, we’re practicing on the day we’re traveling to get ready for this game,” Carroll said. “It’s a unique opportunity and we’re going to try to make the most of it and have a heckuva game down there.”
The NFL Network will show a replay of the Seahawks-Patriots game at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday as part of its “NFL Replay” series.
YOU DON’T SAY
“After his sixth NFL game Sunday, a 24-23 win over the Patriots at home, (Russell) Wilson told Tom Brady on the field, ‘I have so much respect for you as a player and a person. It’s great to play against you.’ He walked through the Seattle locker room, shaking hands with every player. He stopped to share a few moments with owner Paul Allen. In his post-game press conference, during which he deflected any praise about himself toward the team, he finished the way he finishes interviews broadcast live to Seattle fans: ‘Go Hawks!’ Good teammate. Good politician. Good guy. And a very quick study as a quarterback.” – Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback at SI.com
YOU DON’T SAY, PART II
“The crowd in Seattle. Those fans are so loud you almost have to turn the TV down.” – King from the “What I liked” section of his MMQB
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing Training Camp for Saturday, August 4.
The quarterbacks. That would be incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson, free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn, and 2012 third-round draft pick Russell Wilson.
But first, we take a look at a different ‘quarterback competition’ that took place between the coaching staff before the start of today’s practice. Quarterbacks coach Carl Smith, running backs coach Sherman Smith, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, tight end coach Pat McPherson, and offensive line coach Tom Cable each took an attempt throwing a football into a trash can stationed 30 yards away. The victor? Not who you might think, as coach Cable’s first toss was right on the money, nestling nicely into the trash bags plastic lining.
Now, back to the actual quarterbacks – Jackson, Flynn, Wilson, and quarterbacks coach Smith, who has perhaps been the closest one to this three-man competition through the team’s first seven days of camp.
“To have the three of them involved in this competition just heightens their neurons every day,” said Smith. “There’s a lot of electricity in the room and in meetings, on the field, and it’s just a little more than usual. They’re like that all the time, but it just adds something when you think you’re going to be the guy, or have a chance to be the guy.”
Jackson wants to be the guy. Flynn wants to be the guy. Wilson wants to be the guy. But the three quarterbacks are not letting the competition for the starting job affect the way they work with each other, and the way they work at making this team better.
“They’re teammates – they’re helping each other,” said Smith. “They’re never going to play against each other. They’re all there to help the Seahawks win. T-Jack has been great with Matt and Russ, telling them the stuff he already knows about the system. Matt has been generous with his knowledge of what he came with from Green Bay, so it’s great for all of us.”
Smith has never been part of a competition like this before, but there is one thing he’s certain of, and that’s that the team will go with the man that gives them the best chance to win.
“Every year, whether it’s stated or not, the best guy winds up playing,” Smith said. “If somebody’s doing better he moves up. They could move from three to two, or from two to one. If you’re doing poorly at one, you move to two. It’s inherent to the game. You’ve got to hold your position once you have it.”
Today we catch up with rookie defensive tackle Jaye Howard out of Florida, who was the second of the ‘Hawks two fourth-round draft choices in April.
Howard has seen snaps along the defensive line between the second and third units thus far in camp and his relationship with Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who coached the Seahawks defensive line in 2010, has helped with his transition to the NFL, and more specifically, his transition to Seattle’s defensive system.
“The speed of the game has changed a lot,” Howard said. “But I was able to go out with coach D-Q before I came back to training camp and work with him on my pass rush and my run stuffing. It’s definitely an advantage coming from a guy in college that had been in this system before.”
During individual defensive line drills today Howard’s speed was evident. He has quick feet and moves well for someone who is 6-3 and carries 301 pounds.
“I feel like I’m a great penetrator,” Howard said. “I can get up and get to the quarterback. I’m quicker than most of the guards that I face, so I just try to use that speed to my advantage.”
Howard tallied 11.0 sacks in college through 45 games and now it’s about upping his game to get to the quarterback at the NFL level, an area that defensive line coach Todd Wash and defensive line coaching intern Kenechi Udeze could be seen emphasizing in practice today with Howard.
“They brought me in to get to the quarterback and they’re going to keep working me in until I get there,” said Howard. “It’s just baby steps – they were teaching me how to open my hips better, the small fundamental things that I didn’t have in college they’re trying to tweak now.”
PLAYS DU JOUR
Offense: Wide receivers Golden Tate and Kris Durham stood out with a few nice grabs, but Tate’s catch up the right sideline on a deep ball from Wilson takes the cake as our play of the day. Tate elevated over safety Jeron Johnson and cornerback Byron Maxwell to make the grab in the end zone for the score. Jackson made a nice left-handed (he’s right-handed) flip toss to Tate in the end zone while scrambling away from pressure. Tate shined again on a jump ball from Flynn in the team’s red zone drill from five yards out, hauling it in and drawing a defensive pass interference flag from the referee. Running back Marshawn Lynch made a nice grab at the beginning of practice when the team focused on coming out of their own goal line. Lynch hauled in an off-target ball from Jackson in the flat, getting one hand on the football and twisting his body toward the sideline to secure it with both hands before falling to the ground and lunging forward to pick up the first down.
Defense: Safety Chris Maragos came untouched off the right side of the line for a sack of quarterback Matt Flynn in the end zone that resulted in a safety during one of the team’s goal line drills at the start of practice. Flynn had very little time to react on the play before he was met by the speedy Maragos. During the team’s red zone offense drill, cornerback Richard Sherman tipped a ball from Tarvaris Jackson that fell into the hands of Kam Chancellor for an interception in the end zone. Safety Earl Thomas picked off a Jackson pass on a deep ball over the middle end zone intended for wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei. Linebacker Heath Farwell intercepted a ball from Flynn over the middle of the field toward the end of practice.
IN ‘N OUT
Eleven players did not practice today, as wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, linebacker Allen Bradford, and tight end Kellen Winslow joined the eight players who did not practice yesterday – wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Antonio Bryant, tight end Anthony McCoy, linebackers Bobby Wagner, Matt McCoy, and Jameson Konz, offensive lineman James Carpenter, and cornerback Walter Thurmond. Carpenter and Thurmond remain on the physically unable to perform list.
The players have a walkthrough and meetings this afternoon and will practice tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. – a session that is slated to feature a “mock game” between the squads. Tomorrow’s practice is the last weekend practice scheduled for the entire camp.
After Sunday’s “mock game” the players will have a day off on Monday before beginning game-week preparations on Tuesday for their first preseason matchup against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, August 11.
JOIN THE CROWD
Today’s practice attracted more than 2,500 fans – the most to date this camp. Head Coach Pete Carroll gestured up at the 2,500 faithful that blanketed the berm at VMAC to make some noise before the team’s agility bag drills at the start of practice, and the 12th Man responded with an overwhelming applause.
Six practices remain open to the public. You can register to attend a practice session here.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Hard to block. That’s all I’ve got.” – Quarterbacks coach Carl Smith on playing against former Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame today in Canton, Ohio.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 3.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times previews Cortez Kennedy’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame tomorrow, “He was the most memorable player in what was otherwise a largely forgettable decade in the team’s history,” O’Neil writes. “Kennedy stood out — such a singular force of nature that he could be identified by only half his first name. He was ‘Tez. ‘There is no one more deserving of this than Cortez,’ said Mike Holmgren, who coached Kennedy his final two seasons. ‘I got him near the end of his career. He’s such a good man, such a pleasure. We maintained a friendship. He’s one of the good guys.’ “
O’Neil also tells the story of how Facebook helped Seahawks safety Chris Maragos first get discovered.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune talks with rookie running back Robert Turbin, who is easing in to his new role as backup running back to Marshawn Lynch and Leon Washington, ” ‘There’s no pressure,’ Turbin said. ‘This is what I do. I’m a rookie, but I’m a professional football player right now, you know what I mean? So I’ve got to do my job. And my job is to right now back up Marshawn Lynch, or back up Leon (Washington). And so when my opportunity comes to get on the field, I have to just do my job and take advantage of the opportunity.’ Two days after getting knocked on his back by linebacker K.J. Wright during a running drill, Turbin heeded the second-year linebacker’s advice and got his pad level lower. The result at Thursday’s practice was a thundering collision where Turbin got the better of massive defensive end Red Bryant – although Turbin was the one looking around for his helmet afterward.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald asks Brandon Browner what his expectations are for 2012, after the towering cornerback had such a successful first season after coming over from the CFL, ” ‘It’s a lot different,’ Browner said of his second Seahawks training camp. ‘Last year, there was some uncertainty. Now, I’ve got a little bit of an understanding of the defense this year. But at the same time, we’ve got a standard that’s set and we’ve got to play to that standard that’s set.’ ” Boyle’s piece also contains an interesting anecdote on Browner from coach Carroll.
Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com says second-year linebacker K.J. Wright is hoping for a breakout season in 2012, as he recounts a segment of “Bob and Groz” in which Wright joined the show. ” ‘When I first got here, I’m telling you, I was real lost. I didn’t know how to make the strength calls and I was playing a new position,”‘ Wright, a fourth-round pick in 2011, told “Bob and Groz” after the team’s training camp practice on Thursday. ‘Coming in here and having OTAs and minicamps [this year], learning the insides of the defense, why we’re doing certain things, it really helped me out.’ For a guy who claims to have been lost, Wright seemed to figure it out quickly. He started the season opener at middle linebacker while David Hawthorne was out with a knee injury, and by the sixth week of the season the Seahawks were convinced enough in his ability to start at strongside linebacker that they gave him the job and shipped Aaron Curry out of town.”
Brock Huard of mynorthwest.com analyzes the ‘Hawks wide receiver position – a position he thought could emerge to be among the 10 best in the League – in this short video. Huard doesn’t necessarily share those same sentiments anymore after watching how Seattle’s defensive backs have had their way with the receivers thus far in camp, and calls for the group to step up their game as the preseason nears.
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his notes from Thursday’s practice session, “Whether it was the first- or second-team unit on the field, the defense showed the promise and potential they have. The pass rush was consistent. LB K.J. Wright and LB Bobby Wagner flashed frequently and the secondary was as strong as expected. The strength of the defense obviously played into how much the offense struggled, but the difficult question is just how good was the defense and just how poor was the offense? That’s a tough question to answer, but it’s safe to say the defense has some scary potential this season.”
Here at Seahawks.com we bring you a look at Thursday’s practice, including a look at second-year cornerback Byron Maxwell, who has been working back into training camp practice this summer after an ankle injury from last year slowed him during the offseason, ” ‘We’re very satisfied with his progress,’ said Seahawks secondary coach Kris Richard. ‘Of course, his issue is going to be conditioning now. He hasn’t had a full offseason. We are well aware of it, but we’re very satisfied with his effort. He’s a ball player. He’s always had a knack to get around the ball. A healthy Byron at corner, in the nickel, and on special teams – a healthy Byron is a very effective Byron.’ “
Clare Farnsworth has made it to Canton, Ohio for Cortez Kennedy’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and has his story previewing ‘Tez’s big day, as he talks with Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon on what ‘Tez can expect come Saturday, ” ‘It’s like you’re trying to plan a reunion and a wedding, at the same time,’ Moon said this week. ‘It’s a weekend filled with all these different people that have been involved in your life – whether it’s high school, whether it’s Pop Warner. I had so many different people from all the different phases of my career there that you want to try and spend time with them all. But you also know you have all these other obligations.’ ”
Farnsworth also brings us his final ‘Countdown to Canton’ piece, this one with the only Seahawk currently in the Hall of Fame – wide receiver Steve Largent, ” ‘I’m so happy for Cortez,’ Largent said. ‘He knows how cool it is right now, but he doesn’t realize yet that it gets better and better. Just the quality and caliber of guys that you’re associated with, and get to associate with a lot, it’s really fun and exciting. I still feel like a kid when I’m in the room with these guys. I’m a fan.’ “
Here at Seahawks.com we also break down Day Five of the team’s quarterback competition, a day that saw Matt Flynn taking the majority of first-team reps, and a day that saw the defense – once again – dominate the practice session, ” ‘I talked to the defense today and told them to dial it up and make it hard as we can make it on these guys for getting comparisons and good information,’ said head coach Pete Carroll. “So we’re going to continue to do that and continue to make it hard. We’re not going to cater at all and make it easy for the quarterbacks.”
Tony Ventrella takes a look at the mix of veterans and youth in the ‘Hawks defensive backfield in our Thursday Seahawks Daily.
And finally, we have a little light-hearted competition between the team’s three quarterbacks, as Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn, and Russell Wilson took part in the first of three non-football competitions. First up – how many free throws can each QB make in a minute?
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for July 30:
Brandon Mebane. The pads came on for the first time in camp, and the team’s nose tackle came out smokin’.
The 311-pound Mebane was dominating in the 9-on-7 run drill, starting with the first play when he put some extra “ex” in explosive by blowing through a gap between the center and guard to get to the running back well behind the line. Mebane then provided replays of his disruptive quickness on back-to-back plays and also recovered a muffed exchange between the center and quarterback.
In another drill, when rookie quarterback Russell Wilson dropped an unexpected shotgun snap – after a defensive player had jumped offside – Mebane was there again to fall on the loose ball.
Despite his obvious physical prowess in the first padded practice, Mebane said the impressive performance was more about the improved mental aspects of his ample game.
“The older I get the more knowledge I gain,” he said. “It’s about experience, playing with the guys and learning other things from (defensive line coach Todd) Wash. I learned things from pretty much all my position coaches I’ve had in the past.”
It’s strange to hear the 27-year-old Mebane talk about his age and experience, but on this defense only linebacker Leroy Hill has played more games for the Seahawks among the current starters. Since being a third-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Mebane has played for three head coaches and three position coaches – Mike Holmgren and Dwaine Board (2007-08), Jim Mora and Dan Quinn (2009) and now Pete Carroll and Wash.
“I’ve taken something from each of them,” Mebane said of his position coaches. “Knowledge is power and just picking up little things from each of them has helped me. I’m trying to just keep going to the next step, next step.”
Mebane definitely stepped up last season, when he was moved to the nose fulltime, by posting a career-high 56 tackles to lead all interior linemen in the NFC.
If today’s performance was any indication, Mebane is ready to pick up not only where he left off but take his game that is as much as about disruptive quickness as it is power to an even higher level.
The defense. Mebane’s early efforts proved to be the metronome for two hours of big plays – and even bigger pops.
Second-year linebacker K.J. Wright dropped rookie running back Robert Turbin with a solid shot. Rookie safety Winston Guy put a lick on Turbin after he caught a pass that forced a fumble. Wright put veteran wide receiver Antonio Bryant on his derriere with another shot on one of the last plays of practice.
“It was good,” rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said when asked about putting on the pads for the first time. “Now we get to hit, and I enjoy it.”
The session even included a matchup that Wagner used to get asked about when he and Turbin were at Utah State.
“It’s funny, because I never really got a chance to hit Turbin – ever,” Wagner said with a smile. “It was kind of funny when I tackled him to see who it was.
“At school, everybody always used to ask what would happen. I guess they’re finding out now.”
PLAYS DU JOUR
Offense: Ricardo Lockette had one catch that produced the wow-factor, as he tipped a pass from Matt Flynn and then controlled the carom as he was falling into the end zone. But the better effort for a second-year receiver who is working on honing his route-running and pass-catching skills came when Lockette made a fingertip grab – in stride and between cornerback Phillip Adams and safety DeShawn Shead – of another Flynn pass for another touchdown.
Defense: Safety Jeron Johnson’s interception of a Josh Portis pass that was tipped first by safety Chris Maragos and Adams.
Special teams: Steven Hauschka using that smooth stroke of his to convert a 55-yard field goal. He also hit a 53-yarder.
IN ‘N OUT
Ten players did not practice, as tight end Anthony McCoy, defensive linemen Jason Jones, defensive backs Ron Parker and Donny Lisowski and linebacker Matt McCoy joined the five players who also sat out Sunday – defensive tackle Alan Branch and defensive end Jameson Konz; and offensive lineman James Carpenter, cornerback Walter Thurmond and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who are on the physically unable to perform list.
Offensive lineman Allen Barbre returned after missing the first two days of camp because of a family situation.
The players have a walkthrough this afternoon and will practice at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow. They will have their first off day on Wednesday.
JOIN THE CROWD
It’s tempting to say that “only” 915 fans attended practice, until you consider that it was a cloudy and unseasonably cool Monday morning following a weekend when more than 4,400 packed the berm adjacent to the fields for two practices. Ten more practices are open to the public and you can register here to attend – including the final weekend practices of camp this Saturday and Sunday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Nobody knows who I am. No coaches. No fans. They draft guys, so they have an idea who you are and they have an idea of what you can become. With Marshawn, his whole thing is, ‘Man, you’ve got to show people who you are.’ And that’s kind of how he plays. He doesn’t like to talk, and I don’t really like to talk much, either. But he’s a guy that just likes to show who he is by how he plays. That’s what he tells me.” – Turbin, when asked what advice he has gotten from leading rusher Marshawn Lynch
The Seahawks not only wrapped up the second week of their OTA practices today, Doug Baldwin wrapped a bow around the drizzle-drenched session with a one-handed catch that had to be seen to really appreciate.
Since that can’t happen, an explanation will have to suffice.
“It was a regular corner route,” said Baldwin, the team’s leading receiver as a rookie last season. “The nickel corner that was playing me (rookie Jeremy Lane) kind of leaned to the outside, so I had to go over the top of him and Matt (Flynn) put the ball in a place where only I could get it.”
Even more impressive was why Baldwin made the one-handed grab for a 35-yard gain.
“You use these practices like a project, so sometimes you do things you wouldn’t normally do to try and make yourself better,” he said. “So I’m working on my ability to go up in different ways to catch the ball.”
The QB rotation system continued, with rookie Russell Wilson up first in the two-hour practice, followed by Flynn and then incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson.
Wilson kicked off one of the team drills with a nice throw that followed an even better read on a play that produced an up-the-seam touchdown pass to tight end Anthony McCoy. Wilson later completed six of seven passes and also scrambled for a couple of first downs in a drive that started at the 12-yard line to get the offense in a first-and-goal situation at the 8. But the drive stalled when free safety Chris Maragos and linebacker K.J. Wright made impressive plays on a pair of 1-yard gains and tight end Kellen Winslow couldn’t get both feet down on a third-and-6 pass into the end zone.
Other highlights included rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and rookie safety Winston Guy intercepting passes and Steve Hauschka drilling a 47-yard field goal.
The players are off until Monday, when they return for the final four OTA practices next week.
The Seahawks traveled to the Valley of the Sun for the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams sought a victory to finish the season with an 8-8 record, but the Cardinals prevailed in overtime, 23-20.
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 10:
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the Seahawks’ young secondary and how it’s starting to match the efforts of the run defense: “The biggest change in the Seahawks’ defense has come in the secondary, which speaks to not just the height of the 6-foot-4 (Brandon) Browner and 6-3 (Richard) Sherman, but the impact of Kam Chancellor, a cleanup hitter of a strong safety; and Earl Thomas, the free safety with a center fielder’s range. They compose one of the youngest units of one of the youngest teams in the league. None of Seattle’s starting defensive backs has more than two years of NFL experience. All are under contract through at least next season, and there is no reason to think that the group will do anything but get better. ‘Everybody is developing that swag, that confidence,’ Chancellor said. ‘Just feeding off one another.’ “
Eric Williams at the News Tribune stays in the secondary, checking in with backup safety Chris Maragos: “At 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, Maragos might not look like an NFL player, but he has played a role in Seattle’s success this season. Maragos said his first year in the league at San Francisco he was mistaken for kicker David Akers. ‘That’s probably the best part,’ he said. ‘When I tell people I work for the Seahawks they’re like, ‘Oh, are you in the accounting department?’ Or, ‘What are you, the ball boy?’ There’s not a whole lot to me, but I really feel that what’s on the inside is what counts – and that’s having that desire and passion. I really feel like God has blessed me with a lot of ability, and every day I want to go out and maximize that.’ ”
Here at Seahawks.com, we stay with secondary matters with a look at Brandon Browner, the extra-large cornerback who has three interceptions in the past two games and considers the first game against the Rams as a breakthrough performance because they targeted him so often: “The game slowed down for me a little bit in that game. Things just seemed to be happening slower than it was earlier in the season,’ Browner said. ‘And it allows me to play faster. I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to me. Early on, it was hectic a little bit. So I was battling the excitement and my nerves and the crowd and all that. Now, I’m just playing football again.’ ”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com has his “Final Word” on the NFC West, on a weekend when the four division teams are matched up: “Yes, the Seahawks and Rams play, too. The Monday night matchup between the teams marks the third week in a row with a prime-time game featuring at least one NFC West team. We’ll preview that game in greater detail Monday. For now, though, consider this: The 137.0 NFL passer rating Seattle’s Tarvaris Jackson posted against Philadelphia last week was higher than any single-game rating by a Rams or Seahawks starter since Matt Hasselbeck’s 147.7 against Tennessee in 2005. No Rams starter has posted a single-game rating above 137.0 since Kurt Warner’s 145.6 against New Orleans in 2001. Marc Bulger never had one that high as a starter. Hasselbeck had just that one.”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at the Rams, who are limping into this nationally televised game: “Who knew the Seahawks were lucky to have a quarterback with ‘only’ an injured pectoral muscle? Of course both teams’ injury issues go well beyond quarterback. Like Seattle, St. Louis has both its starting tackles (Jason Smith and Rodger Saffold) and one of its top receivers (Danny Amendola) on injured reserve along with a handful of other key players. The Rams also have put nine cornerbacks on injured reserve over the course of this season. Unlike Seattle, however, the Rams have not been able to withstand the injuries. While Seattle has gone 3-1 in its past four games even as injuries piled up, the Rams, most people’s preseason NFC West favorites, have lost three straight and are 2-10.”
For a look at the rest of the league in Week 14, there’s Clark Judge’s “Peek at the Week” at CBSSportrs.com; Peter King’s “Game Plan” at SI.com; and Albert Breer’s “Game Picks” at NFL.com, with this comment about the Monday nighter: “Gotta love how Pete Carroll has his team playing, and the direction Seattle is going. And it’s hard not to like the Seahawks’ draw this week, with Tom Brandstater piloting the Rams.”
The Seahawks started the second half of the season at a disappointing 2-6, and faced the visting Baltimore Ravens, holders of a gaudy 6-2 record and first place in the AFC North. However, Seattle never trailed and upset Baltimore, 22-17 on Military Appreciation Day at CenturyLink Field.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 2:
Tarvaris Jackson. The Seahawks’ starting quarterback stepped back in as the starter in practice today for the first time since straining the pectoral in his right shoulder in the Week 5 upset of the New York Giants.
Jackson took the starter reps during the 105-minute session and is on track to start Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys after sitting out the loss to the Cleveland Browns two weeks ago and then replacing backup Charlie Whitehurst in the second quarter of last week’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
“He feels the best he’s felt, but he’s still not well yet,” coach Pete Carroll said. “But we’ll manage him through it and hopefully have a week of continuity and his comfort with the game plan and all of that will help.”
Last week, Jackson did not take significant snaps in practice until Friday and the coaches then decided to try and buy him another week to rest his throwing shoulder by starting Whitehurst. This week, it’s Jackson’s show to run after he passed for a season-high 323 yards against the Bengals.
Jackson’s return also could mean a return to the productivity the offense was getting with its no-huddle before he was injured.
“Tarvaris has a great handle on it. He really does a nice job,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said after practice. “He understands the tempo that we’re looking for. He understands that he can speed it up as fast as we need to. But then there’s times where you’re just trying to make sure you’re doing the right things, so he can slow it down, as well.
“You can play many different tempos by not huddling, and I think he’s really got a real feel for that.”
Carroll went that one better, offering, “I think it’s really something that Tarvaris is special at – he has a knack. … He’s a bigger factor in it than maybe we would have thought when we first started out.”
Kam Chancellor. Whenever a Seahawks player gets some national recognition, it’s a good thing. Being named to a midseason All-Pro team? All the better.
Chancellor, the second-year strong safety who’s in his first season as the starter, made Peter King’s midseason team that will be included in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated.
Chancellor has three of the team’s eight interceptions, also leads in passes defensed (six) and ranks fourth with 43 tackles.
King on Chancellor: “The 6-3 Chancellor conjures memories of giant Cincy safety David Fulcher. Chancellor hits like his hero, Sean Taylor.”
Chancellor on King’s selection: “It feels good to get recognized, but I’ve still got to stay humble and keep playing and improving my game.”
Jon Kitna. The Cowboys’ backup QB is no stranger. Kitna started 33 games for the Seahawks from 1997-2000 after signing with the club in 1996 as a free agent out of Central Washington University.
Since leaving the Seahawks, the former QB from Tacoma’s Lincoln High School has played with the Bengals (2001-05), Detroit Lions (2006-08) and, for the past three seasons, the Cowboys. He started nine games last season when Tony Romo was injured, passing for 2,365 yards with 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
“Jon’s been great,” Romo said today during a conference-call interview. “He’s a consummate professional. He comes to work every day, he’s got a great attitude. He knows the game. I’ve said for awhile, he’s by far, I think, the best backup in the league and we’re lucky to have him.”
High praise, indeed, for a kid from Tacoma whose improbable NFL career is now in its 15th season.
“I was such an admirer of his throughout his career when he was playing other places – just kind of the player he’s been and also the kind of person he’s been,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We had an opportunity to get him a couple years ago (in a trade with the Lions) and were really excited about that. He’s been just a tremendous asset to our team.”
“He’s a guy who helps your football team in so many different ways. He certainly helps our quarterback room, but he helps everybody. He’s a very competitive guy, but also understands team and understands how to bring the best out of everybody.”
Safety Chris Maragos made a hasty departure from CenturyLink Field after Sunday’s game. That’s because his wife had just given birth to a son in Michigan. Micah Maragos checked in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces.
His wife is from Michigan, so when Maragos was released by the San Francisco 49ers in September she went there rather than to Seattle.
“I found out Saturday that they were going to induce her,” Maragos said. “I kind of hemmed and hawed and talked to her about hopping on a plane and missing the game. But we talked about it and just felt like I needed to be there playing, and then come back after the game.”
IN ’N OUT
Here’s the official injury report:
Did not practice
LB Leroy Hill (knee)
TE Cameron Morrah (toe/knee)
DT Alan Branch (knee/hip)
SS Kam Chancellor (knee)
WR Mike Williams (hamstring)
QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)
Rookie Malcolm Smith got a lot of work in practice for Hill, while Atari Bigby replaced Chancellor, Ben Obomanu filled in for Williams and Anthony Hargrove worked for Branch during team drills.
For the Cowboys:
Did not practice
CB Mike Jenkins (hamstring)
RB Felix Jones (ankle)
OG Kyle Kosier (foot)
LB Sean Lee (wrist)
P Matt McBriar (foot)
QB Tony Romo (ribs)
Lee is holding out hope that he’ll be able to play Sunday with the wrist he dislocated in last week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Dallas Morning News is reporting that club officials are skeptical that Lee will be available. They’re still trying to decide if Lee can wear a cast on the wrist or if surgery is the best option. Keith Brooking and Bradie James will play in the base and nickel defenses if Lee can’t go.
STAT DU JOUR
As good as the Seahawks defense has been this season, the league’s 13th ranked unit has been even better in the second half. The defense has allowed two second-half touchdowns to lead the league. Here are the top NFL teams in that category:
Team TDs allowed
“Turnover Thursday,” when the players will have an afternoon practice. Carroll always stresses taking the ball away, but the Seahawks have forced 10 turnovers compared to turning the ball over 13 times. Their minus-3 ratio ties for 22nd in the league.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’m seeing the things that he’s able to do that gives us a chance to run an offense like we like to run it and he’s added to what we thought he could do by growing with him and learning about it.” – Carroll on Jackson
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.