Cyber surfing: Sunday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 4:

The club cut its roster from 80 players to 53 on Saturday, so that was the story du jour.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times focuses on the release of veteran nose tackle Colin Cole, a starter the past two seasons after being signed in the free agency by the previous regime. Offers O’Neil: “Cole’s release was the biggest surprise of the 27 roster moves Seattle made Saturday, which underscores just how much the Seahawks’ depth has changed in a year. In 2010, Seattle was sorting through the discard pile of other teams, adding six different players who didn’t make their team’s 53-man roster in the week before the regular season began. This year, Seattle was parting ways with serviceable veterans.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald also leads with Cole’s release. But he points out that shouldn’t have surprised anyone: “But to call Cole’s release a genuine surprise is a bit of an overstatement. Cole recently had surgery on (his) injured ankle, and has spent all of training camp on the physically unable to perform list. He was not going to be ready to start the season, and the Seahawks had already moved Brandon Mebane from his old defensive tackle spot to the nose tackle position previously occupied by Cole. Free agent addition Alan Branch, meanwhile, was signed to play in Mebane’s old spot, so Cole, even if healthy, might have been the odd man out.”

Eric Williams of the New Tribune leads with the Seahawks likely not being done reshaping their roster. Says Williams: “The Seahawks still can make waiver claims on players who have been released by other teams as they work toward cementing a final roster before practice Monday. Seattle coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider spun through 41 roster moves during their first cut-down together last year. Expect fewer moves during the next few days this season.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we focused on the continuing roster turnover since Carroll and Schneider took over in January of 2010: “Eleven rookies, including undrafted free agents Josh Portis, Doug Baldwin and Jeron Johnson. Nine second-year players, including three starters – left tackle Russell Okung, free safety Earl Thomas and strong safety Kam Chancellor. Twenty-three players who are in their first season with the Seahawks, including seven or eight starters – quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, wide receiver Sidney Rice, tight end Zach Miller, left guard Robert Gallery, right guard John Moffitt, defensive tackle Alan Branch, cornerback Brandon Browner and possibly right tackle James Carpenter. Only 10 players left from the team coach Pete Carroll inherited in January of 2010. That’s what the Seahawks were left with Saturday after making 27 roster moves to reach the NFL-mandated limit of 53 players.”

We’ve also got a closer look at the 53-man roster.

The Seahawks can begin signing players to their practice squad today, and Mike Sando at ESPN.com has a list of those eligible for all four NFC West teams from the players released yesterday. Here’s the Seahawks: DE Pierre Allen, FB Dorson Boyce, WR Chris Carter, OG Paul Fanaika, DL Maurice Fountain, DL David Howard, LB Michael Johnson, LB/DE Jameson Konz, S Mark LeGree, WR Ricardo Lockette, LB Mike Morgan, S Josh Pinkard, OT William Robinson, WR Owen Spencer, RE Vai Taua and WR Patrick Williams.

Also from Sando, an analysis of the Seahawks’ cuts. His no-brainer move: “Golden Tate’s status had drawn considerable attention in recent weeks, but the Seahawks never planned to release him. Tate came through with a strong performance in the final exhibition game, putting to rest questions about his status. Running back Justin Forsett wasn’t in danger, either, even though Leon Washington could be moving past him on the depth chart behind starter Marshawn Lynch. With Washington and Forsett sticking around, there was no room for Thomas Clayton. Undrafted rookies Josh Portis (quarterback) and Doug Baldwin (receiver) had clearly done enough to earn spots initially. Both stuck.”

Clark Judge at CBSSports.com has a preview of the Seahawks for this season. Says Judge: “The Seahawks made nearly 300 roster moves in Carroll’s first season and got younger, bigger and faster. Now, the biggest offseason change isn’t with the roster; it’s with the coaching staff. The addition of Tom Cable as offensive line coach is a plus for a franchise – and offensive line – looking for an identity. I always thought the guy brought a toughness that had been missing to Oakland, with his team playing hard for him. The addition of (Darrell) Bevell, the team’s fourth offensive coordinator in four years, means a return of Mike Holmgren’s West Coast offense – with fewer downfield throws, more timed deliveries and running backs more involved in the passing game.”

NFL.com has the lists of all the roster moves from yesterday. Including some involving ex-Seahawks: OG Mansfield Wrotto (Bills), DB Cord Parks (Vikings), LB/DE Baraka Atkins (Steelers), LB Kevin Bentley (Chargers), RB Louis Rankin (Raiders), OT Ray Willis (Dolphins) and LB Niko Koutovides (Patriots).


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Cyber surfing: Wednesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 27:

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has been one busy beat writer. Yesterday, he broke the news that Matt Hasselbeck would not be re-signing with the Seahawks. This morning, he’s got this look back at the situation and Hasselbeck’s 10-year stay in Seattle. Says O’Neil: “Breakups are never easy. They’re even worse when they happen over the phone, and that’s exactly how the Seahawks’ most prolific passer found out the team had someone new.”

And Hasselbeck already has found a new home, agreeing to the deal with the Titans, according to this report from The Associated Press.

Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his thoughts on the big news from Tuesday, when the Seahawks bid farewell to Hasselbeck and agreed to terms with two other QBs – Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Leinart.

Dave Boling at the News Tribune recaps Hasselbeck’s legacy. Says Boling: “Tarvaris Jackson might step in and be a competent quarterback for the Seahawks. But Matt Hasselbeck is going to be missed around here. Most of us who do this job are pretty good about maintaining objectivity in the course of work, but a lot of us in the media are going to be sad to see Hasselbeck depart. He was a first-class guy from Day One.”

With the QB situation resolved, Eric Williams of the New Tribune says the Seahawks now can concentrate on free agent defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who was at the team’s facility on Tuesday. Says Williams: “While he was there, Mebane likely had a conversation with team general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll to see where things stood on a possible deal to stay in Seattle.”

Jason La Canfora at NFL.com says the Seahawks also are interested in Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice. Offers La Canfora: “I have reported the Vikings’ desire to retain Rice for quite some time, as well as the Seahawks’ desire to sign him to place with QB Tarvaris Jackson and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, both of whom know the receiver from their time together in Minnesota. So, it looks like it will come down to these two teams.”

Looking for a quick way to stay up on all the comings and goings? CBSSports.com offers this free agent tracker.

Here at Seahawks.com, we were at the backdoor to greet players as they returned following the 136-day lockout. We also have separate items on punter Jon Ryan and defensive tackle Colin Cole.


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What’s the rush?

There was a time last season when the Seahawks had the No. 2-ranked run defense in the NFL.

It was entering their Week 8 game against the Raiders in Oakland, when the Seahawks were allowing an average of 95.5 rushing yards.

In that game, however, defensive end Red Bryant went down for the season with a knee injury and defensive tackle Colin Cole was lost for five games with an ankle injury. Without Bryant and Cole, the Raiders ran for 239 yards on Halloween and the Seahawks finished the season ranked 21st against the run.

Cole was back at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Tuesday morning, when players were allowed to return after the 136-day lockout was lifted.

Cole’s 328-pound body is vital to the defense, especially with defensive tackle Brandon Mebane scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent and Bryant also on the mend.

“I’ll be back as soon as they’ll clear me,” Cole said. “I’m on the road to recovery.”

“Back” was the key work on Tuesday, when other players also returned to VMAC.

“I’m happy to get back to football, just as everybody else is,” Cole said. “It’s time to get back to work.”

Cole also is eager to get the run defense back to where it was before injuries played into the Seahawks allowing an average of 143.8 rushing yards in their final 10 games – and 165.0 in the six games that Cole was out.

“It’s a matter of everybody coming together, the nucleus being there, guys just buying in and getting it done,” he said. “The bottom line is getting it done. It doesn’t matter how you get it done, it’s just getting it done.”


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Thursday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Tackling. In the Seahawks’ loss to the 49ers in San Francisco two weeks ago, the primary culprit in yielding 227 yards on six plays was poor tackling. Last week, when the defense held Falcons’ 1,200-yard rusher Michael Turner to a 3.3-yard average on 25 carries – and Atlanta to a season-low 266 total yards – the credit was given to improved tackling.

Funny how that works.

“It was an emphasis that we captured last week that helped us,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We really turned back the pages in some fundamental aspects of what you talk about in tackling and showed some old clips and tried to make a point, in particular in the open field.”

Read more »


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Thursday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Going “home.” The Seahawks have a number of players, coaches and staffers with ties to the Bay Area and the San Francisco 49ers, as Seahawks.com’s Ben Malcolmson outlined earlier today.

But none are fresher and longer than those of assistant special teams coach Jeff Ulbrich. He played for the 49ers the past 10 seasons, and Sunday’s game will be his first at Candlestick Park since he retired after last season and joined Pete Carroll’s staff in February.

“I anticipate it being strange, emotional,” said today after practice. “It will be strange going into the visiting locker room, for sure.

“I spent a lot of time there, obviously, so it’s going to be strange. But at the same time it’s going to be nice to get back there and see a lot of old friends.”

Then there is the game itself.

“It just means so much to us at this point of the season,” said Ulbrich, a six-season starter at linebacker and special teams standout for the 49ers from 2000-09. “So it’s special from that standpoint, too.”

At 6-6, the Seahawks are tied for the NFC West lead with St. Louis, but the Rams hold the tiebreaker because of their Week 4 win over the Seahawks in St. Louis. The Rams also play the 49ers, on Dec. 26, before meeting the Seahawks at Qwest Field in the regular-season finale.

So the Seahawks beating the 49ers – with Ulbrich on their sideline and in their locker room – would put the onus on the Rams to do the same.

NO. 263, AND 264

Tackle Breno Giacomini has been signed off the practice squad to fill the spot on the 53-man roster that opened Wednesday when defensive end Clifton Geathers was released. Wide receiver Dominique Edison was signed to fill the open spot on the practice squad.

The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Edison was a sixth-round draft choice by the Tennessee Titans last year. He was released from the Titans’ practice squad Wednesday.

The Seahawks have now made 264 roster moves since Carroll and general manager John Schneider were hired in January.

ON THE FIELD

The players practiced for 95 minutes in their indoor practice facility. Cornerback Marcus Trufant slapped an exclamation point on the “Turnover Thursday” workout by making an interception, and he also broke up a pass in the end zone.

For an insider’s peek at practice, check out Rod Mar’s photo gallery.

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Did not practice

WR Mike Williams (ankle)

WR Ben Obomanu (hand)

OG Chester Pitts (ankle)

MLB Lofa Tatupu (knee)

Full participation

CB Roy Lewis (knee)

LB Matt McCoy (head)

DE Chris Clemons (ankle)

QB Matt Hasselbeck (wrist)

DT Colin Cole (ankle)

TE John Carlson (hip)

Clemons and McCoy were back after sitting out Wednesday, while Lewis participated in all phases of practice after being limited Wednesday. Cole took part in every drill for the second consecutive day, a good sign as he attempted to return after missing the past five games with a high ankle sprain.

Friday will be an important practice to see if Williams or Obomanu is able to work. With the team’s starting split end (Williams) and flanker (Obomanu) out for the second consecutive practice, it gave ample snaps to the other wide-outs – Deon Butler, Brandon Stokley, Golden Tate and Ruvell Martin. Their combined total of 71 receptions is three fewer than Williams (52) and Obomanu (22) have.

For the 49ers:

Out

K Joe Nedney (knee)

OT Joe Staley (fibula)

Did not practice

RB DeShawn Wynn (ankle)

LB Takeo Spikes (ankle)

RB Brian Westbrook (not injury related)

Limited participation

CB Nate Clements (knee)

LB Parys Haralson (ankle)

CB William James (concussion)

WR Josh Morgan (shoulder)

CB Shawntae Spencer (quad)

DT Aubrayo Franklin (groin)

TE Delanie Walker (ankle)

Full participation

OT Anthony Davis (back)

Franklin was limited today, but at least he did some work after sitting out Wednesday. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky stressed the importance of having Franklin for Sunday’s game. “It all starts with the nose,” he told reporters who cover the 49ers today. “I’ve been saying that since I got here. Everything acts off it.” The 49ers had problems containing the run after Franklin went out in last week’s game against the Packers in Green Bay.

STAT DU JOUR

Four. That’s the number of games the Seahawks have had their starting defensive tackle tandem of Brandon Mebane and Cole on the field together – and it was the first four games of the season.

Following the Week 4 loss to the Rams, Mebane missed the next four games because of a strained calf. By the time he returned, Cole was out. So if Cole returns this week, as expected, it would be the first time both have been in the lineup since Oct. 3.

YOU DON’T SAY

“The thing that has unraveled us a little bit is when Mike Williams has gone down. He’s become such a big part of our offense. We’ve gotten a little unraveled when he’s gone down, just trying to figure out who is where.” – QB Matt Hasselbeck on the team’s leading receiver, who missed the game against the Chiefs two weeks ago with a strained foot and then went out on the first offensive series last week with a sprained ankle


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Monday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

The 49ers. The good feelings generated by Sunday’s storm-from-behind victory over the Carolina Panthers still were reverberating through Virginia Mason Athletic Center today. But coach Pete Carroll and staff already were directing their attention to the fourth quarter of the season.

For the Seahawks, that starts with his week’s game against their division rivals in San Francisco. The Seahawks beat the 49ers at Qwest in their season opener, 31-6. But that seems even longer ago than three months.

If the Seahawks are to achieve their season-long goal – which is winning the NFC West – a sweep of the 49ers would be a giant step in the right direction.

  Read more »


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Friday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Fresh legs. Pete Carroll’s late-season approach to practice was even more obvious today as the Seahawks’ first-year coach had the players practice in a walk-thru format during their final full workout before Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers at Qwest Field.

No pads. No helmets. No offense vs. defense. And for only 40 minutes.

“Late in the year, there are some opportunities to adjust, to keep things fresh and just take advantage of all of the work that we put in,” Carroll said. “So we just adjusted a little today. It was a little bit different than what we’ve done.

“We took every snap that we normally do, so we covered every situation that we had to cover. We just took off the pounding. These guys practiced really hard on Wednesday and Thursday, and we got that work done. So we thought we could take advantage of this opportunity and capture the focus we’ve had with another good day of it. And we got that done, so it was good work for us.”

Carroll also altered the practice times this week, which has allowed the players to leave Virginia Mason Athletic Center an hour earlier each day.

Did the players appreciate the benevolent gestures? The smile on cornerback Kelly Jennings’ face when asked about the altered schedule said it all. No one runs more in practice than the cornerbacks and wide receivers.

“It definitely was a great day for us,” Jennings said. “Running as much as we do, our legs tend to get sore around the end of the week. So to have this day where we can get those mental reps in, and also save your legs, that helps a lot.”

The players also practiced outside on the grass fields Wednesday and Thursday, a very rare occurrence in December.

“It really is easier on the legs to practice on grass,” Jennings said. “But just to be outside and see the sunshine around here that helps just give a whole different light to things we’re doing.”

SWISH

A few of the players stayed after practice to try and throw a football through the basketball hoop that is along the side of the indoor practice facility.

The winner? Linebacker David Hawthorne, who swished an attempt from 50 yards and then headed to the locker room. 

EXTRA SPECIAL

We covered the special efforts by the Brian Schneider-coached special teams in a feature story yesterday, but have been feeling a bit remiss because there are even more players who deserve recognition than the 15 included in the story – especially on the league-leading kickoff return unit and the kickoff coverage crew that ranks second.

Aside from returner Leon Washington, the kickoff return team includes Roy Lewis, Kam Chancellor, Dexter Davis, Matt McCoy, Will Herring, Kennard Cox, Michael Robinson, Cameron Morrah, Craig Terrill and Mike Gibson.

On the kickoff coverage unit are – from left to right – Earl Thomas, Cox, Davis, Robinson, Lewis, Chancellor, Herring, McCoy, Deon Butler, Jordan Babineaux and, of course, kicker Olindo Mare.

INJURY REPORT

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

Doubtful

OL Chester Pitts (ankle)

DT Colin Cole (ankle)

Questionable

TE John Carlson (hip)

WR Williams (foot)

Probable

QB Matt Hasselbeck (wrist)

DE Chris Clemons (ankle)

MLB Lofa Tatupu (knee)

CB Marcus Trufant (lower leg)

Williams practiced for the first time since straining his left foot in the game against the Saints two weeks ago. “At this point, we’re counting on him to play,” Carroll said.

Cole and Carlson did not practice and will be game-day decisions, Carroll said. Cole did more agility work during practice and then stayed out to work on engaging blockers and pushing off on the sprained ankle that has sidelined him the past four games.

“He’s really close,” Carroll said of Cole. “He got good drill work right there at the end. We’ll take him right up to game day. For sure he’ll be out competing next week, if he doesn’t make it (this week). He’s that close right now. He’s dying to get out here. We’ll just have to see how it goes on Sunday morning.

“He has to go out really flying around on Sunday to convince us that he should play this week.”

On Carlson, Carroll said, “He got a little hip flexor thing that twinged earlier in the week. We just wanted to be really careful and not aggravate it. We’ll have to see if he goes on Sunday.”

Tatupu and Trufant practiced after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday and they are expected to start against the Panthers.

STAT DU JOUR

In three previous games against the Panthers, Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck has completed 68.7 percent of his passes (68 of 99) for 694 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception.

UP NEXT

Sunday is the Seahawks’ annual Toys for Tots toy drive and fans are asked to donate new, unwrapped toys, which will be distributed as Christmas gifts to needy children in the Seattle community. Representatives from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve will be in Touchdown City and at all gates to accept the toys and cash donations.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It’s a true honor and humbling just to know that you can make his day by hanging out with him.” – Tatupu on Make-a-Wish recipient Kyle Cronk, who attended practice and spent time in the locker room wearing a Tatupu No. 51 jersey


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Tuesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

The NFC West. As the Seahawks and their division rivals move into the final five weeks of the regular season, one of the four will emerge and secure a berth in the postseason. But which team will make it a December to remember?

As ludicrous as this might sound for a team that has given up 42 and 34 points in its past two games and been outscored 83-31 in its past two home games, the Seahawks continue to control their own destiny. Of course, so do the St. Louis Rams – who also are 5-6 and beat the Seahawks in St. Louis in Week 4; and the San Francisco 49ers – who pulled to within a game of the Seahawks and Rams with Monday night’s win over the Arizona Cardinals.

But the Seahawks cannot let another home game slip away, especially with the 1-10 Carolina Panthers coming to Qwest Field on Sunday and their next home game against the 9-2 Atlanta Falcons. The Seahawks also have to travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers next week and make a Christmas weekend trip to Tampa to play the 7-4 Buccaneers before hosting the Rams in a Jan. 2 game that could determine the division champion.

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Monday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Accountability. The day after a game is always “Tell the Truth Monday” at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in the Seahawks first season under coach Pete Carroll. But Carroll and his staff ratcheted up the intensity today in the wake of Sunday’s 42-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Qwest Field.

“I would say it was very honest and very serious; very blunt,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “Our team meetings are always different. They’re never the same. Today was just basically, ‘Say it how it is.’

“It was good. But it was a tough day all around.”

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Hawk eyes: A few observations

For those fans attending Monday’s open practices – and especially those who aren’t – it seems an appropriate time to offer some observations after the first three practices at the Seahawks training camp.

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