Chris Maragos signs restricted free agent tender

Chris Maragos

For Chris Maragos, it wasn’t a matter of if he would sign his restricted free agent tender with the Seahawks, but when.

And when arrived today, as the backup safety and special teams standout did just that.

“Just signed my tender, inks not even dry yet, blessed to be a Seahawk and can’t wait for 2013!” Maragos tweeted earlier today.

Maragos, 26, originally signed with the Seahawks in 2011 after being released by the 49ers. He ranked second on the team with 11 coverage tackles that season and was third last season with nine. On defense, Maragos is the backup to All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas and also has played in some of the defensive sub-packages.

“Chris is ready to play anywhere, anytime, anyhow,” defensive backs coach Kris Richard said last season. “He’s always well prepared. He’s very sharp. He’s very bright.”

And now, he’s back with the Seahawks.

“We’ve got to keep this thing rolling,” Maragos said in the locker room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and snapper Clint Gresham, the team’s other restricted free agents, already had signed their tenders.


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Seahawks tender three restricted free agents

Clinton McDonald

The Seahawks have made tenders to three players who became restricted free agents today: snapper Clint Gresham, safety Chris Maragos and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald.

Gresham and Maragos were tendered at a level where the Seahawks will have the right of first refusal should they sign an offer sheet with another team. McDonald was a tendered at a level to match his draft status when he entered the league as seventh-round pick in 2009 with the Bengals. If he signs with another team, the Seahawks will receive a seventh-round draft choice as compensation.

Gresham has been a steady presence while snapping for punts, field goals and PATs since signing with the Seahawks in 2010. Maragos has been one of the more productive special teams players since being signed in 2011. He had nine coverage tackles last season to rank third on the team and 11 in 2011 to tie for second. McDonald has been a productive presence while working in the rotation at defensive tackle since coming to the Seahawks in 2011 in a trade with the Bengals. He had 25 tackles last season and 35 in 2011.


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Thursday in Hawkville: Sunday proved to be a very happy birthday for Clinton McDonald

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 10:

Clinton McDonald

FOCUS ON

Clinton McDonald. So, what do you get a guy who already has so much for his birthday? How about a fumble recovery to ice the team’s first road playoff victory since 1983?

That was the case for McDonald on Sunday, which just happened to be his 26th birthday, when he fell on a fumbled snap by Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III with 6½ minutes to play in the Seahawks’ 24-14 victory. And McDonald’s reaction was typical of why the nose tackle has become such a popular player in only his second season with the team.

“I told him, ‘That’s a great birthday present.’ And he said, ‘It’s a birthday present for the team,’ ” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said after practice, which was held in the indoor practice facility. “That’s really his mentality. Like a lot of our guys, it’s whatever they can do to help us play at the highest level.”

Because of the win, and McDonald’s play, the Seahawks will play at a higher level – Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta, with the winner advancing to the NFC Championship game.

And this week, McDonald will be anchoring a nickel line that won’t have sack leader Chris Clemons, who will have surgery next week to repair the knee ligament and meniscus he tore in the game last Sunday. So the rush-end opposite first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin could be rookie Greg Scruggs; or perhaps outside linebacker Mike Morgan; or even Patrick Chukwurah, who was signed to fill Clemons’ roster spot on Wednesday but hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2007; or a combination of the three.

The given is that McDonald will continue to be the leader of that group.

“He is really, I don’t know if inspirational is the right word, but the guys really rally around him,” Bradley said. “He does a great job with that group of bringing everybody together – the young guys, the older guys, he kind of meshes between them both.”

There is the risk of trying to do too much to make up for the loss of Clemons, who has had double-digit sacks in each of his three seasons with the Seahawks. So McDonald also will be into risk management this week.

“I don’t feel like there’s extra pressure,” he said. “I just feel like we’ve got a man down and guys are made to step up in this situation. So we’ve just got to show what we know.”

Just as McDonald and Irvin, who had a fourth-quarter sack of RGIII, did after Clemons went out in the third quarter against the Redskins.

“I wouldn’t say I’m worried,” McDonald said. “We know what we’re missing in Chris Clemons. But at the same time, we’ve still got a game to play. We’ve still got to take that field and go out and produce.”

Patrick Chukwurah

PLAYER WATCH

Chukwurah. The just-signed defensive end and special teams player did more today than during his first practice with the team on Wednesday. He’ll likely do even more on Friday. It’s all part of trying to get him ready for some spot action against the Falcons.

“It’s tough,” Bradley said. “He’s been lifting (weights) in gyms and riding ellipticals. This is going to be a little bit different. But some of the third-down situations, if he’s a rusher, get 15-16 reps. That’s what we’re looking at.”

As well as special teams. “He’s been very good on special teams in the past,” said Bradley, who was with the Buccaneers when Chukwurah played with them in 2007. “They’re taking a look at him there to see where he is conditioning-wise, what he can handle.”

RUSSELL WILSON UP FOR ANOTHER AWARD

Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ rookie quarterback, is a finalist for the Vizio Top Value Performer award as someone who has performed above and beyond expectations.

“Overlooked by the majority of the league, Wilson lasted until the third round of the 2012 draft. Earning $390,000 in 2012, he completed 252 passes for 3,118 yards and 26 TDs, tying a league record for passing TDs by a rookie. Exceeding all expectations, he’s an ideal choice for the Vizio Top Value Performer award,” is what they said about Wilson in naming him a finalist.

You can vote here for Wilson.

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Did not practice

S Jeron Johnson (hamstring)

RB Marshawn Lynch (foot)

CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)

No change for the Seahawks, as Lynch, Johnson and Maxwell sat out for a second consecutive day to rest injuries that have sidelined them at times during practice in previous weeks.

For the Falcons:

Did not practice

CB Christopher Owens (hamstring)

Limited participation

S William Moore (hamstring)

DE John Abraham (ankle)

S Charles Mitchell (calf)

Full participation

CB Dunta Robinson (head)

The only change for the Falcons was Mitchell being limited after sitting out on Wednesday.

STAT DU JOUR

Lynch rushed for 99 yards in the second half of Sunday’s win over the Redskins, after having 33 in the first half. It was just the sixth time in 17 games this season, and the first in the current six-game winning streak, that Lynch has had more yards in the second half than the first. Here’s a look at his half-and-half performances, starting with the season opener against the Cardinals:

                                    First half       Second half

Opponent                  No.-Yards     No.-Yards

Cardinals                     10-40            11-45

Cowboys                     10-22            16-100

Packers                        16-71               9-27

Rams                            10-62            10-56

Panthers                        7-28            14-57

Patriots                          9-26              6-15

49ers                              9-55            10-48

Lions                               7-80              5-25

Vikings                          11-55           15-69

Jets                                14-39           13-85

Dolphins                          9-12           10-34

Bears                                7-51           12-36

Cardinals                          8-69             3-59

Bills                                    9-100           1-3

49ers                                12-64          14-47

Rams                                   8-66          10-34

Redskins                              8-33         12-99

UP NEXT

“Turnover Thursday” gives way to “No Repeat Friday” as the team will hold its final full practice before flying to Atlanta for Sunday’s game. The Saturday walkthrough will be held in the Atlanta area.

Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas got into the Thursday theme by picking off two passes, while cornerback Richard Sherman also had an interception.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Most significant NFL Wednesday injury report line: “ATL – DE John Abraham (ankle), limited.” He’d better not be limited Sunday, two weeks after what looked to be worse than the apparently nasty ankle sprain Abraham suffered in the last game of the season. Not quite sure why, with Seattle missing its best pass rusher (Chris Clemons, torn ACL on the FedEx cow pasture last week) and Abraham likely not at full health, I pick only 30 points to be scored here. I think both secondaries will play stout and smart, and the physicality of the Seattle back four (or five, or six) will have a big impact on the game.” – Peter King in predicting a 17-13 Seahawks victory at SI.com


Friday cyber surfing: With Jones out, opportunity arises for club’s young D-linemen

Greg Scruggs

Defensive end Greg Scruggs (pictured right) could see an expanded role in the absence of defensive lineman Jason Jones, who was placed on injured reserve

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 21.

The club made a few roster moves yesterday, sending defensive lineman Jason Jones to injured reserve and signing defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo off of the team’s practice squad. In Fangupo’s place, the team signed wide receiver Bryan Walters, a native of Kirkland, Wash., to fill out the practice squad.

Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times has the story on the move of Jones to injured reserve, “Defensive tackles that could see an expanded role for the Seahawks are Clinton McDonald, rookie Jaye Howard (who has been inactive most of the year) and Hebron Fangupo, a 6-foot-1, 323-pound player signed to the active roster Thursday. Rookie Greg Scruggs, a seventh-round pick out of Louisville, is also expected to see more time on the defensive line against a physical 49ers offense. ‘My biggest thing has been waiting for my opportunity and my chance, and so it’s come,’ said Scruggs, who has two sacks. ‘Now I just have to apply everything that I’ve been doing. You thrive on the opportunity to perform under pressure. One of the biggest knocks on me was I always had potential in college to be a first-round pick, but when big games came around, it was almost as if it was a slump. I’ve been fighting that my whole life and I think that this is an opportunity for me to go out and really show that I can play on the big stage and I can play under pressure.’ “

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh share the same philosophy on football, but differ in terms of personality, “Carroll has never met an interview he can’t talk around, while Harbaugh hasn’t found a conversation he can’t make agonizingly, haltingly awkward. But someone who has played for both coaches said that as different as they were to play for, there is a common ground between the two head coaches in Sunday’s game between the top two teams in the NFC West. ‘Their personalities are completely different,’ said Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin, who played for Harbaugh in college. ‘Coaching style is completely different. But there’s a strategic way that they go about running their teams. Obviously, they both love to run the ball. Passing is not necessarily at the forefront of the offense. It’s all running, and then you build the pass off the run. That, I guess you could say is comparable. Defense as well. You’ve got to have a strong defense to back everything up.’ “

O’Neil also has Thursday’s injury report for both the Seahawks and 49ers, noting the Seahawks got a boost with the return of defensive tackle Alan Branch to practice.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says that it’s a good weekend to be a Seattle sports fan, with the Washington Huskies squaring off against Boise State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, and the Seahawks battling the 49ers on Sunday Night Football, “Sunday, of course, is the Almost-Game-of-the-Century between the Seahawks and San Francisco at CenturyLink Field. Games like this are why we’re sports fans. Games this good have a way of briefly galvanizing communities, which is part of why we build stadiums to house them. Sure, the Niners took some of the starch out of it with their win over New England in Foxborough last week, virtually assuring their second straight NFC West title, but this night still will have all the heat, passion and noise of a playoff game. CenturyLink will be lit up.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with Fangupo after the move of Jones to injured reserve, “Fangupo is stout against the run, and could help plug up the middle of the defense against San Francisco’s potent running attack. ‘I’m just excited, man,’ Fangupo said. ‘I know what I can do, I’ve just been waiting. On game days it’s hard to watch, so I just try and sit back and wait for my opportunity to play. The best way to do that is by practicing, working my butt off to get the offensive line ready. And now that I have my shot, I’ve got to do the best I can.’ “

Williams also has a look at the increasing popularity of the read-option offense, “The option puts defenses at a disadvantage. Stack the box to stop a bruising runner like Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch or Washington’s Alfred Morris, and the quarterback pulls the ball out and takes off untouched down the sideline. Spread out to protect the perimeter, and the big back gashes you inside. ‘It just becomes a numbers game,’ San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. ‘Your typical run, the quarterback hands off and it’s now their 10 against your 11. Now, when he’s a potential runner, it’s their 11 against your 11 and they’re not even blocking one of the guys at the point of attack, so it actually becomes 11 against 10 if they do it right. So, the numbers are flipped.’ “

Michael Rushton of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s matchup with the Niners, “Seattle has much more on the line than San Francisco, but that doesn’t seem to matter to Kaepernick, who is looking to perfect his game heading into the postseason. He even refused to classify his win over New England as any kind of statement. ‘It really isn’t going to mean too much if we don’t come out and win this week. So, that’s what we’re focused on right now,’ he said. Even Seattle’s perfect home record might not save it as San Francisco is 11-4 on the road under Harbaugh since 2011. Sports Network Predicted Outcome: 49ers 20, Seahawks 13″

John Boyle of the Everett Herald dissects what Jones’ move to injured reserve means for the rest of the defensive line, “Rookie Greg Scruggs is the likely candidate to take over Jones’ pass-rushing role, but things would get more complicated in the event that Branch were to be out or even limited by his ankle injury. Clinton McDonald, who normally plays in pass-rushing situations, could take over for Branch in the base defense, or Scruggs could see some time in that role. The Seahawks could also work rookie Jaye Howard into that rotation, or even undrafted rookie Hebron Fangupo, who was signed off the practice squad to fill Jones’ roster spot. ‘We get a chance to take a look at some of the younger guys now,’ said Seattle’s ever-optimistic defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. ‘Some of those guys may have an opportunity now.’ “

Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, contributing to 710Sports.com, offers a look at running back Marshawn Lynch, whose production has received less attention than normal – just the way Lynch likes it – because of the success of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, “The last time I remember hearing from Lynch was after the Miami game, a loss in which he only rushed for 46 yards. There was no scowling or harsh answer during the interview and he was gracious with both his time and himself. He’s much more likely to talk to the media after a game like that than after a victory in which he runs for over 100 yards. He’s not there for that. He just wants to win and is willing to pick his teammates up after a loss. He reminds me of Lofa Tatupu in that way. It was well known in the media that if you want one- or two-word answers, ask Tatupu about himself. If you want sentences that turn into paragraphs, ask him about his coaches and teammates. Like Tatupu, Lynch has a level of selflessness that plays well with his teammates … and ex-linebackers.”

Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com has his report from Thursday’s practice, “There was some positive injury news Thursday. Defensive tackle Alan Branch (ankle) was a full participant. With Seattle placing defensive lineman Jason Jones (knee) on injured reserve, the team is taking a closer look at young backups. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said rookies Greg Scruggs and Jaye Howard are both getting lots of work and could be in the rotation along with veteran Clinton McDonald. I spoke with Scruggs before practice and he assured me he is ready for this prime-time, nationally televised game. Scruggs believes he didn’t step up his game in college and it cost him a chance to be a first-round draft pick. He has practiced at all four defensive line positions for Seattle.”

Jim Moore of 710Sports.com previews the Seahawks-Niners matchup, “The 49ers have the slightly better team, but I said it last week, and I’ll say it again: if I’m going to blather on and on about the Seahawks being Super Bowl contenders, I have to ride them to the finish, and you’ve gotta love ‘em at home. Prediction: Seahawks 27, 49ers 21″

Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” discuss why they believe Sunday night’s contest will be decided by which coaching staff outsmarts the other in this short video.

Curtis Crabtree, writing for the Associated Press, says this Sunday the Seahawks will try to overcome several missed chances that plagued them in their first matchup with the Niners back on October 18, “Wilson was just 9 of 23 for 122 yards and an interception against the 49ers. His 38.7 passer rating against San Francisco is his lowest mark this season. Yet Wilson doesn’t see the point of dwelling on a missed opportunity. ‘There’s times where you’re like, ‘Oh man I wish he caught it’ … You have emotions but the key is staying even-keeled as possible, I think,’ Wilson said. ‘I let the receivers know I’m coming right back to them. You don’t think that they’re not going to catch the next one, so you’ve got to keep playing.’ Seattle’s offense has greatly improved since the initial meeting in October. Wilson has a passer rating of 111.3 over the seven games following the loss to the 49ers. Wilson has thrown 13 touchdowns to just two interceptions and Seattle is 5-2 since then.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com notes several similarities between the Seahawks and 49ers on a statistical level:

  • Each team has scored 25 red zone touchdowns on 47 chances.
  • Each team has converted about 36 percent of its third-down opportunities.
  • Each team averages 6.8 yards per pass play.
  • The teams are within 30 yards of one another in total rushing yards: 2,280 for the 49ers and 2,250 for the Seahawks.
  • The teams are within one total touchdown of one another: 40 for the 49ers, 41 for the Seahawks.
  • The teams have committed about the same number of penalties, 99 for San Francisco and 95 for Seattle.

Sando also offers up his prediction for the Sunday night matchup between the two clubs, “Here we go. The main event. My feeling going into Week 15 was that San Francisco would go 1-1 against the Patriots and Seahawks. I didn’t have the guts to pick the 49ers at New England, unfortunately. The slate is clean this week. If the 49ers win prime-time road games on opposite coasts against two of the NFL’s best teams in an eight-day period, they’re even better than I realized when ranking them No. 1 on my latest power rankings ballot. Should be a great game either way. Sando’s best guess: Seahawks 23, 49ers 21.”

Doug Kretz of ESPN.com details “What to watch” in Sunday night’s matchup between the Seahawks and Niners. You must be an ESPN Insider to view this piece, but here is a small sample, “Key positional battle — Seahawks’ O-Line vs. 49ers’ D-Line: Seattle’s offensive line has been dominating up front the past couple of games and has been creating huge run lanes for Lynch and the ground game. These blockers are great road-graders who fight for everything they get and refuse to back down. San Francisco’s defensive linemen are also powerful and are great fighters. They are the league’s third-ranked run defense and hold opponents to 3.61 yards per carry….These are two evenly matched teams, and the position advantage could go either way at multiple spots. The ’12th Man’ advantage should provide the difference as Seattle pulls this one out.” Kretz likes the Seahawks by a score of 20-17.

NFL Films previews our Week 16 Sunday night matchup with the Niners in this short video.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth highlights rookie tight end Sean McGrath, who was recently promoted to the active roster from the practice squad earlier this week after the release of tight end Evan Moore, and recaps the activities surrounding “Thursday in Hawkville“, with a focus on the play of the rookies Wilson and Bobby Wagner.

Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” with reaction from the club as they look forward to a challenging weekend against the Niners.

We bring you Wilson’s full video press conference from yesterday here, and Bradley’s full video press conference from yesterday here.

Finally, our team photographer Rod Mar has an updated look at the week of practice in photos.


Carroll: Branch to sit out Wednesday’s practice; Knox added to practice squad

Kyle Knox

Linebacker Kyle Knox in a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans

Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s 2:00 p.m. practice and preparation for their Week 16 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football at CenturyLink Field.

Carroll addressed yesterday’s roster moves, noting that linebacker Kyle Knox has been added to the practice squad to fill the spot left by tight end Sean McGrath, who was promoted to the active roster with the release of tight end Evan Moore. Knox had spent time with the club during training camp earlier this season.

On the promotion of McGrath to the active roster, Carroll said they need to get special teams production out of that roster spot – something Moore did not provide. According to Carroll, McGrath has a “good chance” to see play time this Sunday.

Defensive tackle Alan Branch will sit out today’s practice as he rests a sprained ankle he suffered against the Bills. Carroll said Branch will “probably” sit out Thursday’s practice as well, with the hope they have him on the field by Friday and back in time for Sunday’s game against Niners.

In Branch’s place, rookie defensive end Greg Scruggs and fourth-year defensive tackle Clinton McDonald are expected to see play time.

On the injured cornerbacks – Marcus Trufant (hamstring) and Walter Thurmond (hamstring) – Carroll said they will know more about their status later in the week. In the meantime, rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane will see work as the second starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman, with second-year player Byron Maxwell working as the nickel corner.

Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. Until then, check out Carroll’s full video press conference below.


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Thursday cyber surfing: Kiper revisits Seahawks draft; Sherman on NFL Network

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 15.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune passes along an interview Seahawks beat writer Eric Williams had with ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., who gave the Seahawks an overall grade of C- after their April 2012 draft. Now that the Seahawks stand at 6-4 and have received notable production from their top three draft choices, Williams asked Kiper to re-evaluate the Seahawks’ draft, “Overall: ‘They’ve got some production out of this draft, there’s no question about it. Now, ultimately down the road, it’s going to be Russell Wilson. Is he a quarterback that keeps progressing and ultimately becomes a top-10, top-12 quarterback? If he does, then it’s a phenomenal draft to get him in the third round. That’s ultimately going to determine it. And Certainly Irvin, to see how he continues to play. Right now he’s one dimensional. He’s on the field only in pass-rush situations. So we’ll how he develops. So I think the jury is still out to see how they’ve done, but they’ve gotten a lot of numbers. They’ve gotten a lot of guys who have made the team, a lot of guys who have competed and given them some production. So right now, it’s a little better than I thought it would be.’ “

710 AM ESPN Seattle’s Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of “Bob and Groz” take a moment during the bye week to discuss who the Seahawks’ defensive MVP is in this short video.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, fresh off of being named the NFC’s Defensive Player of Week 10, joined NFL Network’s “NFL AM” in studio with former NFL cornerback Eric Davis to break down his big plays on the field.

Sherman also sat down with the crew of “NFL AM” to talk about the Seahawks’ season, the play of the secondary, and quarterback Russell Wilson.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com breaks down injury situations around the NFC West and offers a few notes on the Seahawks during their bye week, “The bye week gives guard James Carpenter and linebacker K.J. Wright additional time to recover from their concussions. Center Max Unger, safety Kam Chancellor, receiver Doug Baldwin, defensive tackle Jason Jones, running back Marshawn Lynch, defensive end Red Bryant and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald all appeared on injury reports recently. They’ll benefit from the down time as well. One question is whether or not cornerback Walter Thurmond will emerge from the bye as a contributor in the secondary. Veteran Marcus Trufant has been the nickel corner to this point. Thurmond was activated from the PUP list before the bye. He has not yet played, however.”

Sando has a look at where NFC West players stand in the NFL’s Pro Bowl voting, “Players ranking second at their positions include tight end Vernon Davis, tackle Joe Staley and defensive tackle Justin Smith of the 49ers, running back Marshawn Lynch and punter Jon Ryan of the Seahawks and inside linebacker Daryl Washington of the Cardinals. … third [at their position] from the NFC West: tackle Anthony Davis, running back Frank Gore and center Jonathan Goodwin of the 49ers and strong safety Kam Chancellor of the Seahawks. … The NFC West has eight players ranked fourth: fullback Bruce Miller, guard Alex Boone, outside linebacker Aldon Smith, kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. and punter Andy Lee of the 49ers, defensive end Chris Clemons and free safety Earl Thomas of the Seahawks and cornerback Patrick Peterson of the Cardinals. … Center Max Unger and kick returner Leon Washington of the Seahawks are ranked fifth at their positions. … Seven members of the NFC West blog’s all-division team do not rank among the top five at their positions in voting: defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Richard Sherman and special-teamer Heath Farwell of the Seahawks.”

Lastly from Sando, he has a few notes on Sherman’s big game that earned him player of the week honors.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth highlights Sherman’s rise in the secondary, “Sherman now leads the team with four interceptions – to go with the four he had while starting the final 10 games last season. That’s eight picks in 20 games. Sherman also leads the team with 14 passes defensed – to go with the 17 he had last season. That’s 31 PDs in the past 20 games. Sherman is seventh on the team with 38 tackles – to go with the 53 he had last season. That’s 91 in the past 20 games. To say that Sherman has become an impact player on a defense capable of impacting any game doesn’t do justice to the impression this guy is making. And remember, Sherman only found his way into the lineup at left cornerback last year after season-ending injuries to Trufant and Walter Thurmond. Sherman’s response to the biggest day of his still-young NFL career was typical – rapid-fire words, sprinkled with smiles and punctuated by laughs. ‘That’s a testament to the entire defense,’ he said when asked about the unit pitching a shutout (the Jets’ touchdown came on a fumble return). ‘The front seven played great. We tried to tackle well in the backend. I think everybody played a great game. Kam (Chancellor, strong safety) and Earl (Thomas, free safety) were tackling their behinds off. B.B. (cornerback Brandon Browner) was batting the balls down whenever they came his way. And the line, there wasn’t a lot of tackles to be had because of (Brandon) Mebane and (Alan) Branch and Big Red (Bryant) and Clem (Chris Clemons). They were getting on everything.’ “

Finally, Tony Ventrella recaps the 9th annual Trufant Bowling Classic, a bowling fundraiser put on by Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant and the Trufant Family Foundation to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association.


Friday in Hawkville: Wright, Carpenter out for Sunday; but five others return to practice

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 9:

FOCUS ON

Marshawn Lynch

Injuries. The good, as running back Marshawn Lynch, defensive linemen Red Bryant and Clinton McDonald, cornerback Richard Sherman and strong Kam Chancellor returned to practice today. But also the not so good, as linebacker K.J. Wright and left guard James Carpenter were ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Jets at CenturyLink Field.

Wright and Carpenter will miss the game because of concussions they got last week. But the others are expected to play after missing time this week with an assortment of injuries and ailments.

“This is the biggest challenge we’ve had,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice. “We’ve had some guys in and out, not sure whether they could go. Missing a front-line player like K.J., that’s a big deal to us.

“But it’s not about who’s stepping down, it’s who’s stepping up.”

That would be second-year linebacker Mike Morgan for Wright, as he did after the Seahawks’ leading tackler was injured on the first play of last week’s game against the Vikings; and John Moffitt for Carpenter, as he did last week as well because Carpenter also was ruled out last Friday because of a concussion he got earlier in the week.

“We’ll focus on expecting all the good stuff to happen and keep our level of play up,” Carroll said. “But this is a natural challenge for a football season. These things happen.”

BOWLING AND BILLIARDS

Cornerback Marcus Trufant is holding his annual Bowling and Billiards Classic at ACME Bowl and Events in Tukwila on Monday from 5:30-10 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Trufant Family Foundation, raises money for youth programs in the area.

But why bowling and billiards? “It was actually put on before I got here, Shawn Springs used to do it,” Trufant said of the former Seahawks cornerback. “I kind of just took it over.”

This will be the ninth event sponsored by Trufant, and he likes the format because it allows his teammates and fans to participate for the good cause.

“It’s a good deal,” he said. “The fans get to come out and see the guys in a different element.”

The bowling spots are all but filled, but fans still can register to be spectators at www.trufantfamilyfoundation.com.

INJURY REPORT

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

Out

OG James Carpenter (concussion)

LB K.J. Wright (concussion)

Doubtful

DE Greg Scruggs (oblique)

Questionable

DT Clinton McDonald (groin)

Probable

WR Doug Baldwin (ankle)

DE Red Bryant (foot)

SS Kam Chancellor (quadriceps)

WR Braylon Edwards (knee)

DE Jason Jones (ankle)

RB Marshawn Lynch (back/wrist)

OG John Moffitt (knee)

CB Richard Sherman (illness)

C Max Unger (finger)

For the Jets:

Out

DT Kendrick Ellis (knee)

RB Joe McKnight (ankle)

Questionable

C Nick Mangold (ankle)

OG Brandon Moore (hip)

DT Sione Pouha (back)

RB Bilal Powell (shoulder)

LB Bart Scott (toe)

S Eric Smith (knee)

Probable

TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist)

DT Mike DeVito (finger)

WR Clyde Gates (shoulder)

DT Damon Harrison (thumb)

WR Jeremy Kerley (heel)

S LaRon Landry (heel)

LB Calvin Pace (shin)

QB Mark Sanchez (back)

OG Matt Slauson (knee)

STAT DU JOUR

A month ago, the Seahawks were among the least productive teams in the league when it came to red-zone possessions – especially scoring touchdowns inside the 20-yard line. But in their past four games, they have scored on 12 of 13 red-zone possessions, including eight touchdowns. Here’s how they’ve done it:

New England: 3 of 3

Steven Hauschka 34-yard field goal

Russell Wilson 24-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin

Russell Wilson 10-yard TD pass to Braylon Edwards

San Francisco: 1 of 1

Steven Hauschka 35-yard field goal

Detroit: 3 of 3

Steven Hauschka 23-yard field goal

Russell Wilson 9-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice

Russell Wilson 16-yard TD pass to Zach Miller

Minnesota: 5 of 6

Russell Wilson 6-yard TD pass to Golden Tate

Russell Wilson 11-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice

Russell Wilson 11-yard TD pass to Golden Tate

Marshawn Lynch 3-yard TD run

Steve Hauschka 40-yard field goal

End of game

UP NEXT

The players will hold a walkthrough on Saturday morning, their final on-field session before Sunday’s game.

The Seahawks will recognize Veterans Day and honor the military on Sunday with a “Salute to Service.” Joe Moser, a World War II fighter pilot and native of Ferndale, will raise the 12th Man Flag above the south end zone prior to kickoff.

“We’ve always tried to do everything we can to recognize the service men and women,” Carroll said. “It’s really cool when we can do that. We think the world of the work and the time that they put in and the freedom they give us. Hopefully it will be a big day for everybody.”

YOU DON’T SAY

“We knew about him and liked him. He’s proving he’s a complete quarterback. He just happens to be not as tall as your prototype (quarterback). He was a proven winner in college and he’s showing it in the NFL. You can tell he’s very savvy. He knows where to go with the football. He can make plays in and out of the pocket. He’s very dangerous when he gets out and he can make guys miss. They’re starting to run some zone-read stuff with him, which is another element that is dangerous. We’re fortunate that we’ve seen a lot of that in camps with what we’ve done with Tim (Tebow). That’s always something that you have to be prepared for.” – Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, to the Newark Star-Ledger, on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson; adding the senior personnel executive Terry Bradway was so high on Wilson before the NFL Draft that it earned the QB the nickname “Russell Bradway” around the organization


Wednesday cyber surfing: Thursday night previews

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 17.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times previews tomorrow night’s matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, “The Seahawks suffered a season-opening 33-17 loss to the 49ers last year as Ted Ginn Jr. returned a kickoff and punt for touchdowns. And in Week 16, Seattle lost a 19-17 heartbreaker as quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was stripped of the ball late in the game. Running back Frank Gore, averaging 5.4 yards per carry this season, has always been a load for the Seahawks. ‘It’s going to be a brawl, and we know that,’ said Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill. ‘That’s how I remember San Fran as long as I’ve been in the league. Over my eight years, I’ve played them 14, 15 times. It’s a brawl when you play San Fran, and that was before Harbaugh even got there. They always had that personality. It’s always been tough. We know that. They’re even more so a pounding team now that Harbaugh’s there. … You have to get your body ready for it, especially in a short week. It’s going to be a tough one.’ “

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his practice report from Tuesday, noting that defensive tackle Clinton McDonald returned from a strained groin to practice in full.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune highlights Niners running back Frank Gore in his Seattle-San Francisco preview, “Gore has twice rushed for more than 200 yards against Seattle. This season, he’s the No. 10 rusher in the league heading into Week 7, with 470 yards on 87 carries for a 5.4 yards-per-carry average. Gore has four touchdowns and leads a San Francisco rushing attack that’s tops in the NFL at 176.8 yards a game. While Gore has played well against Seattle over the years, the Seahawks have done better against him of late. Seattle held Gore to an average of 71 yards a game in two contests last year. So what’s the best way to slow down Gore? ‘You got to hit him hard and hit him early,’ Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said. ‘Let him know that it’s not going to be your day to get a bunch of running yards. We’re going to come out and set the tone, and make sure he doesn’t get rolling.’ “

John McMullen of The Sports Network previews Thursday Night Football, and predicts a 24-17 49ers victory, “This contest pits strength against strength as both offenses will be trying to solve two of the NFL’s best defensive units. Smith, who is s 7-1 in past eight starts against NFC West teams, has a vast experience edge over Wilson and is the less likely to make the game-changing mistake. Meanwhile, the 49ers haven’t dropped consecutive games since Dec. 16-26, 2010, and will be shooting for a fourth straight win over the Seahawks at Candlestick. San Francisco has outscored Seattle 96-48 over that stretch. The 49ers’ next three games are against division foes and Harbaugh’s club will be trying to set the tone in the division with this one. ‘We need to go out and work and get ready for the Seahawks,’ said 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers. ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do. This game is going to count more because it’s in the division. This is our division to win.’ Sports Network Predicted Outcome: 49ers 24, Seahawks 17″

John Boyle of the Everett Herald details Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, “Last season, the Seahawks sent three of their four starting defensive backs to the Pro Bowl, but the scariest things for opposing offenses this year isn’t that they have to face three Pro Bowlers, it’s that a strong argument can be made that Seattle’s best defensive back this season isn’t one of those three. That’s how good Sherman has been through six games. With three interceptions and 13 passes defensed, Sherman is among the league leaders in both categories, but his ability to impact a game goes beyond that. That swagger, that ability to get in an opponent’s head, that isn’t just for fun — though believe me, Sherman is having fun out there — it can have an effect on opposing offenses.”

Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com notes the play of rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner, “…the speed that Seattle’s second-round pick has shown through six games still surprises defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. ‘I don’t think we understand just how fast he is,’ Bradley told ‘Bob and Groz’ on Tuesday. ‘Some of the plays he makes on tape even jump out at me, and when you see him make the long runs and making plays you’re like, ‘Whoa.” ” Henderson also includes discussion from 710 AM ESPN’s “Bob and Groz” in a short video.

Henderson also rehashes a conversation on “Bob and Groz” with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who says he is glad his slow start is behind him, “Both of Baldwin’s catches on Sunday came on the Seahawks’ second possession. The first was a 50-yard bomb on third-and-9 that kept the drive alive. Four plays later, Baldwin slipped coming off the line of scrimmage and fought off a jam from a Patriots cornerback before making a leaping 24-yard catch in the end zone. It was one of several impressive plays turned in by Seattle’s receivers, a group that had drawn some of the criticism for the team’s passing issues earlier in the season. ‘I would like to think that we have that capability to do it week in and week out,’ Baldwin said. ‘I don’t think it was just a coming out party. I think it’s just a sign of things to come from now on into the future.’ “

Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has his report from Tuesday’s practice, “The Seahawks’ Tuesday injury report was a bit improved from Monday. Safety Kam Chancellor was limited in practice with an ankle issue. Defensive lineman Clinton McDonald (groin) was a full-go in practice. Guard John Moffitt is ruled out of Thursday night’s game against San Francisco with a knee injury.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Tuesday, “Seattle knows everything the 49ers will do offensively revolves around the running game and RB Frank Gore and that he will be the most important thing for them to try and stop. Doing so on the other hand will still be a massive chore. ‘He hits the hole right where it needs to hit every time, and he’s going 100 mph every time,’ defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. ‘If you’re not in your gap, it’s like a couple of years ago in 2009 he had like 190 yards rushing against us, one was for 70 and one was for 80, he hit it just perfect and if you’re not on it he has the ability to break a big one at any time.’ “

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com offers an extensive breakdown of the Seahawks’ defense, “In breaking down the Seahawks’ lineup, it’s obvious that Carroll has stockpiled ‘urgent’ athletes to create a fierce pass rush capable of overwhelming opponents with speed and quickness. Chris Clemons was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles (in exchange for Darryl Tapp) soon after Carroll’s arrival to provide the Seahawks with a disruptive playmaker off the edge. Clemons has lived up to expectation by nabbing 27.5 sacks in 38 games. The soon-to-be 31-year-old has developed into the dominant force that few envisioned based on limited production during his first five seasons (20 total sacks during stints with the Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins). Part of Clemons’ sack explosion should be attributed to the way Carroll utilizes him in the Seahawks’ hybrid scheme. As the “Leo” on the front line, Clemons typically lines up on the open-side tackle (away from the tight end) in a wind-nine alignment. This allows him to use his remarkable first-step quickness and burst to run past blockers on speed rushes.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his latest “MVP Watch” and Marshawn Lynch rounds out his top 10, “Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson broke out with a three-TD game against New England. Lynch had something to do with that, of course. Defenses must account for Seattle’s running game, opening up opportunities down the field. Lynch ranks third in rushing yards (549) and second to Adrian Peterson (253-250) in yards after contact. The Seahawks figure to need more from Lynch against San Francisco’s defense in Week 7. Lynch topped 100 yards against the 49ers in Week 16 last season, ending San Francisco’s streaks for games without allowing a 100-yard rusher (36) and games without allowing a rushing TD (15).”

Sando also passes along a chart depicting NFC West rookie playing time, and offers a few quick hits on the ‘Hawks, ” Bruce Irvin has 4.5 sacks, including one to help preserve a victory at Carolina. … Second-round choice Bobby Wagner has provided a significant upgrade at middle linebacker. He opened the season as a starter and member of the base defense. His has become an every-down player over the past two weeks, with positive results, including when he ran down Cam Newton for a loss. … Russell Wilson owns two fourth-quarter comeback victories in his first six starts, two more than Seattle managed last season. He is the first rookie since the 1970 merger to throw winning touchdown passes in the final two minutes of two games. … Robert Turbin’s speed and power have impressed. … J.R. Sweezy impressed in camp and started the opener, but he wasn’t ready. … Greg Scruggs is healthy again and figuring into the pass-rush rotation.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his “Tuesday in Hawkville” with a focus on the Ninja-Turtle-loving Wagner, he previews Thursday’s matchup with the Niners, and has a feature on a pair of Stanford standouts who have become cornerstone players with the Seahawks – Baldwin and Sherman.

Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily“, highlighting the team’s physical and mental preparation on a short week of practice.

NFL Films previews Thursday’s contest between the NFC West rival Seahawks and 49ers in this short video.

Wide receiver Sidney Rice joined “NFL Fantasy Live” to discuss his increased role in the Seahawks offense here.

And finally, we bring you quarterback Russell Wilson’s full video press conference from yesterday.


Thursday cyber surfing: Defense readies for Patriots no-huddle attack

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 11.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times previews the Seahawks’ Week 6 matchup with the New England Patriots’ up-tempo, no-huddle offense, “What makes the Patriots’ offense go is their quarterback, who will be playing in Seattle for the first time as a professional. This is Brady’s 13th NFL season. He has three Super Bowl wins, two Super Bowl MVP awards and one supermodel marriage. But Seattle is one of two NFL cities where he has never played. He was out with a knee injury in 2008, the last time the Patriots came to town. ‘I’m actually excited to get out there and play in a place I’ve never played,’ Brady said Wednesday during his weekly news conference. ‘I think what makes it loud is that they’re very good. So, when they make plays, the crowd is into it and they get a lot of support.’ “

O’Neil also recaps a Wednesday conversation with Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who says the Seahawks need to do a better job at converting in the red zone, particularly against a high-scoring team like the Patriots, “The red zone has been Seattle’s Bermuda Triangle this season, the offense missing the end zone repeatedly once the Seahawks are in scoring position. Of Seattle’s 14 possessions inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, Seattle has scored a touchdown on four of them, the lowest percentage of any team in the league. And with Seattle preparing to face the league’s top-scoring offense on Sunday, it can’t afford to settle for three points when it gets close, which means the emphasis this week is on improving the offense’s short game. ‘We’re doing a pretty decent job of moving the ball down the field and getting to the red zone,’ said Darrell Bevell, Seattle’s offensive coordinator. ‘Now we’re not finishing those with touchdowns, and we’ve got to do that at a better rate.’ “

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times comments on the Seahawks’ innovative defense, “Defense always carries the burden of reaction. You hear more about offensive ingenuity than cutting-edge defense because offense is supposed to be more imaginative. Before a defense can stop a team, it must know what to defend. Offenses create. Defenses stifle. But on occasion, there are special defenses that start to do as much dictating as reacting. You see glimpses of that with the Seahawks, but they’re young, and they’ve only been together since last season. They need more time and polish to achieve such a lofty status. Nevertheless, the potential is there. ‘Two or three years from now, we’ll see,’ Carroll said. ‘I know people in the league don’t think two or three years down the road very well. They think two or three weeks. But you’re going to have guys playing in their third and fourth and fifth years together by then. That’s not old guys. That’s just guys who have really grown up together. And that’s when you really benefit.’ “

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says New England’s hurry up offense will test the Seattle defense, “New England has the top-rated offense through five games this season, averaging 33 points and 439 yards a game. The Patriots have a league-leading 151 first downs, and are averaging 165 yards rushing a contest, No. 3 in the league. But it’s New England’s ability to get off a play every 15 to 17 seconds that has the league’s defenses on their heels. Carroll said the Patriots are the one NFL team that has come closest to mirroring the type of speed Oregon plays with in college football. Of course, Carroll can use his experience at USC in facing the Ducks’ high-powered offense annually when his defense takes on the Patriots this weekend. ‘We know what it is,’ Carroll said. ‘We know what they’re going to do, and how they’re going to do it when they speed it up. And we’ll see if we can match it, and if we can, then we’ll have a chance to play pretty good. The point is that we can’t let their tempo dictate our play.’ “

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune revisits Carroll’s firing from New England and how it re-invented him as a coach, “It not only turned out to be one of those rare occasions that worked well for all principals, but it also is suddenly relevant again, 12 years later, as Carroll and his Seattle Seahawks on Sunday entertain the Patriots and the coach who so successfully replaced him – Bill Belichick. Belichick has led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles in five appearances. Carroll regrouped, rebuilt the USC program into a national powerhouse, and has been with the Seahawks since 2010. ‘It really is classically one of those deals when you get kicked in the tail and you come out better,’ Carroll said.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that Carroll is excited to take on the challenge of going up against the League’s No. 1-ranked offense, “With all the weapons Brady has at his disposal, the Patriots would be a challenge for a talented Seahawks defense regardless of tempo, but now they’ve upped the degree of difficulty. ‘Preparing for that is most challenging,’ Carroll said. ‘I think the fact that they studied with Chip and he’s helped — I’m still kind of pissed at that — you have to experience what this is like to adapt well. They’re doing some really cool things on offense, and Tom Brady is as good as you can get. It’s an exciting opportunity for us. … They have really featured the no-huddle offense, and kind of tailored it after the speed of the college game, and it’s been very, very effective.’ The reason Carroll calls this an exciting opportunity as opposed to, say, a terrifying one, is that he and his defense might just be as well-equipped as any team in the league to handle an offense like New England’s. Through five games this season, the Patriots have scored more points and gained more yards than any team in the NFL. Perhaps most impressively, the Patriots have just three three-and-outs this season in 60 possessions, the fewest in the league.”

Boyle passes along some comments from Belichick, Brady, and Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, who offer their impressions of the Seahawks’ defense, and also has an injury update after Carroll’s Wednesday press conference and the team’s practice session, noting that guard John Moffitt has been ruled out for Sunday.

Tim Booth of the Associated Press also revisits Carroll’s past with the Patriots, “While it was an embarrassing moment in Carroll’s coaching career, his firing in New England more than a decade ago was the catalyst for the philosophy and system Carroll brought to USC with so much success and that helped land him another chance in the NFL in Seattle. ‘What I learned from the situation is to be a really successful head coach you have to have control. Otherwise it’s somebody else’s job that you’re dealing with. That’s why everything that came out of that experience changed me and I haven’t been the same ever since,’ Carroll said Wednesday. ‘It took me 10, 11 months before I got going on the next job, but from that time, everything that is the philosophy, the approach, the mentality, everything, the language, everything came out of that experience. It’s classically one of those deals where you get kicked in the tail and you come out better. I hate to learn the hard way.’ “

Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com catches up with cornerback Richard Sherman on how the Seahawks are preparing for the Patriots’ no-huddle attack, “The lightning-quick tempo is something the Pats borrowed from college football’s most prolific offense, that of the Oregon Ducks. A few Seattle defenders like cornerback Richard Sherman have faced the Ducks and other no-huddle teams in the Pac-12. ‘What New England does is similar with the pace,’ said Sherman, who played collegiately at Stanford. ‘I think it’s different because Oregon had guys running here, and motioning there. They would run two or three reads and you didn’t know where the ball was. The Patriots will line up quick, but then they’ll run power.’ “

Steve Sandmeyer of mynorthwest.com says it’s time for the Seahawks to open up the playbook on offense for quarterback Russell Wilson, “Coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, try as they might, cannot escape the following three realities: • For Wilson to truly succeed, he has to be given the chance in the first place – the full playbook. • This includes giving him the chance to fail as well. • If Wilson is the guy they all think he is, he can handle it – including some failures along the way. That’s what taking a risk is about. This is the NFL. The Hawks need to be ahead of the curve – proactive instead of reactive. Don’t wait for the game that the defense can’t win by itself (perish the thought) and then address the passing game afterward.”

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com also recaps Carroll’s departure from New England in 1999, “Naturally, Carroll now looks upon the his sour departure from Boston as a chance for re-invention, which he exploited. ‘Getting spanked and getting knocked out of there was a great chance for me to regroup,’ he said. ‘I needed to get my act together or I was never going to get another chance. That gave me real insight to create what is so important to me now as a coach and deal with the position. I was embarrassed to get fired. I was ready for the next (job). Fortunately, I lucked out and got an opportunity at USC.’ Now he’s on to another new opportunity in Seattle. He has no empire yet, but what he has is control — he was hired before his nominal boss, general manager John Schneider, so there’s no doubt about where the final call rests. Just as was the case at USC — for better or worse. ‘What I learned from that (New England) situation is that to be a really successful head coach you need to have control,’ he said.  ‘Otherwise it’s somebody else’s job that you’re dealing with.’ “

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com writes that the Seahawks believe they are ready for the Patriots’ offense, “Under the radar until recently, the Seahawks have assembled one of the NFL’s best defenses during the three-year tenure of head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. The ultimate test for that young defense stands to be an equivalent exam for an offense that is blowing opponents off the ball in some interesting ways. By the traditional NFL metric of yards per game, which is how these things are measured in a conventional sense, the Patriots have the league’s #1 offense, and the Seahawks have the league’s top defensive unit. More advanced numbers support the hypothesis that this is a battle between two highly-charged units. Football Outsiders’ opponent-adjusted efficiency metrics has New England first in offense and Seattle third, behind the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans. No matter which stats you care to use, every occurrence of New England’s offense against Seattle’s defense looks to be a proverbial clash of the titans.”

John McMullen of The Sports Network previews the Seahawks’ Week 6 matchup with the Patriots, and offers a final score prediction, “The Seahawks defense, which is allowing a league-low 258.6 yards per game and is second in points allowed (14.0), will keep them in most games and this one should be no different, although Ridley’s emergence and New England’s balance will provide a very stiff test. ‘I think it will be a great challenge for us this week against a defense that’s really, really playing well,’ [Patriots offensive coordinator Josh] McDaniels said. Seattle, of course, is especially tough at notoriously noisy CenturyLink Field. This season the Seahawks have stymied Dallas 27-7 at home on Sept. 16 and topped Green Bay, 14-12, just over a week later, albeit with the help of a controversial touchdown call by the replacement referees on the last play of that one. ‘I think it might be the loudest stadium that we’ve been in and we’re in a lot of loud ones,’ Belichick said. ‘It’s a huge home field advantage for them.’ All that said, it’s hard to imagine Wilson keeping up and this game will put Carroll’s decision to go with the rookie under an even brighter microscope again. ‘I use it as fire,’ Wilson told the Seahawks’ website when asked about his critics. ‘I ignore the noise all the time, but at the same time I know that I have to get better.’  Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Patriots 24, Seahawks 23″

Greg Garber of ESPN.com ranks the NFL’s toughest venues to play at, and the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field comes in at No. 2 on their list.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at NFC West injury situations, “Seattle Seahawks: Center Max Unger will join the injury report for Seattle this week with a hip injury that was expected to keep him from practicing Wednesday. Former starting guard John Moffitt, a contingency at center when healthy, was also among those missing practice. A knee injury will keep him inactive this week. Eight players have started on the offensive line for Seattle this season, tied with Jacksonville for most in the league. Seattle does have options at center. Lemuel Jeanpierre has started there. Defensive linemen Clinton McDonald (groin) and Jaye Howard (foot) did not practice. The team continues to list running back Marshawn Lynch as limited with a back injury. He has 121 touches this season, second-most in the NFL behind Arian Foster (142). Lynch had 313 touches last season.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth notes the challenge that Brady and the Patritos’ offense present, and focuses on Carroll’s past with New England in his “Wednesday in Hawkville.”

Tony Ventrella recaps Wednesday’s activities in his Seahawks Daily, saying the Seahawks look forward to Sunday’s opportunity to face the League’s No.1-ranked offense.

Team photographer Rod Mar has a look at Wednesday’s practice in photos.

Finally, we have Carroll and Bevell’s full video press conferences from Wednesday.


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Game at a glance: Seahawks 16, Panthers 12

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A recap of the Seahawks’ 16-12 victory over the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday:

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

The Seahawks’ defense. From coordinator Gus Bradley’s game plan, to the way his defenders carried it out, this was just another exemplary performance by a unit that entered the game ranked No. 2 in the league in average points and yards allowed.

The Seahawks held the Panthers without a touchdown – running their streak to eight consecutive quarters – and to only 190 yards. They also limited them to two conversions in 11 third-down situations – or 18 percent, for a unit that had been allowing opponents to convert at a 43-percent rate in its first four games; and 75 percent on third-and-8 or longer.

“It was a great day for our defense,” end Chris Clemons said. “Everybody played exactly the way they were supposed to play today.”

Especially against the Panthers’ vaunted option-read plays that had allowed QB Cam Newton to produce so many big plays the past two seasons. But the Seahawks used cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman to take Newton’s pitch options, leaving the linemen and linebackers to clog Newton’s gap options.

Browner came up huge – even for a 6-foot-4 corner – with a strip and fumble recovery to set up the game’s only offensive touchdown and then combining with nickel back Marcus Trufant to make a stop just short of the end zone on a third-down play in the fourth-quarter goal-line stand.

Rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin had two sacks of Newton, while rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had 1.5 among his six tackles and Clemons had the other half among his six tackles. Sherman had a team-high five solo tackles.

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: The only offensive touchdown, which came on Russell Wilson’s 13-yard pass to Golden Tate in the third quarter – after Browner’s strip-and-recover play gave the Seahawks the ball at the Panthers’ 27. Tate lined up as the inside man in a three-receiver set to the right side that also included Braylon Edwards and Sidney Rice. At the snap, he ran up and then across the middle, taking Wilson’s pass and making sure he got into the end zone to give the Seahawks a 13-10 lead.

“Sid and Braylon did a good job of getting their guys out of there,” Tate said. “And my corner didn’t run with me. So Russ did a good job of finding me. After that, I just found a way to get into the end zone.”

Defense: The Panthers’ only touchdown, which came on a pick-six by Captain Munnerlyn. Wilson was going to tight end Anthony McCoy on the play, but threw the ball slightly behind him. That gave Munnerlyn his chance, and he returned the interception 33 yards for the score.

This Captain had been demoted after allowing more completions than any corner in the league last season. The Panthers drafted Josh Norman to take his spot on the right side. But when a shoulder injury prevented Chris Gamble from playing on Sunday, Munnerlyn was back in the starting lineup – on the left side.

Special teams: Jon Ryan waiting, and waiting, and waiting before stepping out of the end zone to take a safety with 59 seconds to play. It made the score 16-12, of course, but it also allowed Ryan to punt the ball to the Panthers on the ensuing free kick with some breathing room.

“Taking the safety was great,” Carroll said. “We’ve been working on all that stuff.”

Was the high snap from Clint Gresham that forced Ryan to “climb the ladder” to grab it part of the plan?

After the laughter subsided, Carroll offered, “That was just one drama of the day.”

INJURY REPORT

Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald pulled a groin, and Carroll had no report on how long he might be sidelined.

WORTH NOTING

With his six tackles, Wagner now has 21 in the past three games.

Clemons’ half sack gives him a team-high 5.5 for the season, and Irvin is second with 4.5.

Marshawn Lynch ran for 85 yards, giving him at least 85 in 13 of his past 14 games.

Wilson’s 221 passing were a season high – and therefore a career high. He also was 9 of 10 on third downs for 73 yards.

Tight end Zach Miller had the Seahawks two longest plays of the game – a 30-yard reception in the third quarter and a 23-yarder in the fourth quarter. After catching 25 passes all of last season, Miller now has 12 in five games this season.

Of the Panthers’ 190 total yards, 77 came on their drive to a field goal in second quarter and 79 on the drive that ended on downs at the Seahawks’ 1-yard line in the fourth quarter.

YOU DON’T SAY

“To me, it was all about the finish today. It’s what we haven’t had in the other couple (road) games.” – Carroll