Fourth-year tight end Anthony McCoy underwent surgery yesterday to repair a torn Achilles tendon, an injury he suffered Monday of this week during the team’s first OTA session. The surgery was performed by Dr. Ed Khalfayan at Seattle Surgery Center.
Drafted by the Seahawks in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of USC, McCoy saw action in all 18 games last season, often working out of double tight end sets with No. 1 tight end Zach Miller. He caught 18 balls for 291 yards and three touchdowns last year and was the team’s first player to top 100 yards receiving that season, when he made three catches for 105 yards in the club’s 58-0 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14.
The injury to McCoy leaves second-year players Sean McGrath and Cooper Helfet, 2013 fifth-round draft pick Luke Willson, and rookie minicamp signees Victor Marshall and the former professional basketball playing Darren Fells as the five players rounding out the position behind Miller.
Darren Fells, a former professional basketball player who was trying to catch on with the Seahawks as a tight end, has been released the team announced today.
The 6-foot-7 Fells had been signed in March following a tryout.
Fells played basketball last season for the Libertad Sunchales in Argentina and before that also had played professionally in Mexico, France, Finland and Belgium. He played his college ball at the University of California, Irvine.
The release of Fells leaves the Seahawks with five tight ends on their 90-man roster, as the veterans put the wraps on the second week of Phase 2 in their offseason program today and the rookies are set to report Thursday for a three-day minicamp this weekend: starter Zach Miller, who finished third on the team with 38 receptions last season; incumbent backup Anthony McCoy, who had career-best totals in receptions (18), receiving yards (291) and TD catches (three) last season; Sean McGrath, a rookie free agent last year who spent most of the season on the practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster in December; Luke Willson, who was selected in the fifth-round of the NFL Draft last month; and Cooper Helfet, who was signed to a future contract in January after being with the team in training camp last year.
The Seahawks have signed 10 players to future contracts, including eight who spent time on the practice squad this season – wide receivers Phil Bates and Bryan Walters, cornerbacks Chandler Fenner and Ron Parker, running back Derrick Coleman, tight end Cooper Helfet, linebacker Kyle Knox and defensive tackle Myles Wade.
Also signed were linebacker Korey Toomer, a fifth-round draft choice last year; and wide receiver Stephen Williams, who was with the Cardinals in training camp last summer but waived/injured in August.
These future signings can be insignificant moves. But in the past two years, players signed by the Seahawks in January included cornerback Brandon Browner, who has become a starter and played in Pro Bowl last year; guard Paul McQuistan, who started all 16 games this season and 10 last season; and wide receiver Charly Martin, who played in four games this season before being placed on injured reserve.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 26:
John Schneider. Add another name to the list of those associated with the Seahawks that deserves consideration for honors this season. With Schneider, it’s NFL Executive of the Year.
The Seahawks’ team that will host the Rams in its regular-season finale at CenturyLink Field on Sunday is 10-5 and clinched a playoff spot with last week’s decisive victory over the NFC West-leading 49ers. And the core of this team that has become the sixth in franchise history to post double-digit victories has been constructed the past three years by Schneider, the general manager, and coach Pete Carroll.
This year’s draft class included quarterback Russell Wilson, who was selected in the third round by Schneider and is a candidate for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year; middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, a second-round pick and candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year; first-round pick Bruce Irvin, who leads all rookies with eight sacks; running back Robert Turbin, a fourth-round pick who has provided the physical presence that was missing to complement leading rusher Marshawn Lynch; cornerback Jeremy Lane, a sixth-round pick who could start his third consecutive game on Sunday; and J.R. Sweezy, a former college defensive lineman and seventh-round pick who is the likely starter at right guard against the Rams.
“We’ve just continued to grow,” Carroll said. “Our way of thinking was hindered last year when we didn’t have the offseason (because of the 136-day lockout) to get our guys ready, because we wanted our guys to play early. That was hard as it could get, to see our philosophy and our approach to playing the young guys come to life.
“This is really the culmination of the three years, and the approach showed up this year I think successfully. You can see that we had a terrific draft and we’ve utilized those guys and they’ve grown to where they’re regular football players for us now.”
While it’s been three giant steps in the right direction for Carroll and Schneider, Carroll added, “We still feel like we’re in early stages. But we have been through three drafts, and he’s done a marvelous job with the drafts and with all of the transactions we’ve done.”
And with Carroll, that means tweaking the norm, because he looks for players with unique talents, rather than those who look as if they stepped out of the NFL-specs machine.
“To me, he’s an absolute joy,” Carroll said of Schneider. “Because we can talk about everything, work through everything and understand that we have to come to an agreement using all of the strengths and the savvy that we have. And we’ve turned out a pretty good product.
“I can’t imagine anybody doing a better job general managing than John has done. He’s just done an incredible job.”
FIVE VOTED TO PRO BOWL
Left tackle Russell Okung and center Max Unger were named starters on the NFC Pro Bowl team today, while kick returner Leon Washington also made the squad and running back Marshawn Lynch and free safety Earl Thomas are reserves.
To further the point Carroll made above, Okung and Thomas were the first-round draft choices in the first year Carroll and Schneider were in charge, while Washington and Lynch were acquired in trades during that first year.
For more on the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl selections, click here.
EDWARDS IMPRESSED WITH WILSON
Former Chiefs coach Herm Edwards, now an analyst for ESPN, has selected his 10 most impressive players for 2012 and a certain rookie quarterback made the list.
Edwards on Wilson: “Wilson has been answering questions about his size (5-foot-11) his whole career. I think it’s time to put those to rest. The Seahawks have done a tremendous job expanding the playbook for Wilson over the course of the season, giving him only as much as they thought he could handle. He has terrific poise, is extremely accurate down the field and has led the Seahawks to road victories in Chicago and Buffalo before blowing out San Francisco on Sunday. In the red zone this year, he has 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions.”
Edwards also gives cornerback Richard Sherman honorable mention, offering: “Although his status for the playoffs is uncertain, Sherman has had an excellent season. A smart player, Sherman is very physical at the line of scrimmage and has great change-of-direction and ball skills, especially with his back to the quarterback. He has selective memory, which is important as a cornerback, and doesn’t fear anyone. He has evolved into a true shutdown corner.”
Brandon Gibson. The Rams’ second-leading receiver (48 receptions) and leader in touchdown catches (five) played at Washington State University and obviously is developing into a nice complement to leading receiver Danny Amendola.
“Gibby’s done great,” Jeff Fisher, the Rams’ first-year head coach, said today during a conference-call interview. “He’s been making plays since we arrived. He’s real smart. He’s tough. He can make the tough catch.
“It’s fun to see him, not only on Sundays, but make some tremendous catches on the practice field. Most of the catches should be easy and are easy, because Sam (Bradford) is an accurate passer. But every once in a while he needs to put it someplace and Gibby can go get it. He’s one of those guys you want on your football team. He’s fun to coach and fun to be around.”
POWERING UP, PART DEUX
Monday, we mentioned that the Seahawks had jumped to No. 3 in Peter King’s “Fine Fifteen” at SI.com and to No. 6 in the Power Rankings at ESPN.com. Today, they continued their ascent in some other Power Rankings.
No. 2 in Bryan McIntyre’s Power Rankings at YahooSports.com: “The Seahawks showed that they’re for real with a 42-13 blowout of the 49ers at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night. From an advanced metrics standpoint, the Seahawks are the No. 1 team in the NFL, ranking in the Top 5 in Football Outsiders’ offensive, defensive and special teams DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average). With a win over the Rams and losses by the 49ers and Packers, the Seahawks will get a first-round bye in the playoffs.”
No. 5 in Pete Prisco’s Power Rankings at CBSSports.com: “They are building something special up there for the long haul.”
No. 5 in Don Banks’ Power Ratings at SI.com: “As I said last week, let the Seahawks hang up a stupid number against the stout 49ers defense, and a legitimate case of Super Bowl Fever will break out in the Pacific Northwest. All systems go on that front. Seattle’s only fear might be peaking before the playoffs arrive.”
O-LINE “MADDEN-ED” AGAIN
For the second consecutive week, the Seahawks’ offensive line has been selected as the winner of the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award.
“With great balance on offense behind the steady play of offensive line and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks are now poised to make a playoff run,” Hall of Fame coach John Madden said in the release announcing the selection of the Seahawks’ line.
The starting unit is comprised by – from left tackle to right – Okung, Paul McQuistan, Unger, Sweezy and Breno Giacomini. And because of the lopsidedness of the 42-13 win over the 49ers, backups Frank Omiyale and Lemuel Jeanpierre played in the second half.
Wilson threw for a career-high four touchdowns, while Lynch ran for 111 yards and scored twice.
The Seahawks’ line joins the 49ers (three times), Texans (twice), Giants (twice) and Vikings (twice) as multiple winners of the weekly Madden honor. But the Seahawks are the first unit to win it in back-to-back weeks.
Tight end Cooper Helfet has been signed to the practice squad. Defensive end Monte Taylor was released to clear a spot. Helfet was signed in May as a rookie agent, but was waived/injured on the roster cut to 53 players in August.
The official report, as released by the team:
Did not practice
DE Red Bryant (foot)
OT Breno Giacomini (elbow)
LB Leroy Hill (hamstring)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
TE Anthony McCoy (back)
WR Sidney Rice (knee)
CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)
FS Earl Thomas (ankle)
With Giacomini sidelined, Omiyale worked at right tackle. Greg Scruggs filled in at defensive end Red Bryant. Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse got snaps at split end for Rice. Washington and Turbin shared the reps at running back with Lynch out.
For the Rams:
Did not practice
CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh)
RB Steven Jackson (illness)
LB James Laurinaitis (back)
CB Scott Wells (knee)
Limited in practice
S Craig Dahl (knee)
WR Austin Pettis (shoulder)
STAT DU JOUR
Among the Seahawks’ 10 victories are wins over three other teams that have won double digit games, which ties for the most in the league. Here’s a look at the league-leaders in that category, as well as a look at how many of those wins the teams that have won more than 10 or more games have:
Most wins vs. teams with 10-plus wins
Team Wins Teams
Seahawks 3 Packers, Patriots 49ers
Texans 3 Broncos, Ravens, Colts
Patriots 3 Broncos, Colts, Texans
49ers 3 Seahawks, Packers, Patriots
Rams 2 Seahawks, 49ers
Giants 2 49ers, Packers
Vikings 2 49ers, Texans
Teams with 10-plus wins vs. other teams with 10-plus wins
Team (record) Wins Opponents
Seahawks (10-5) 3 Packers, Patriots, 49ers
Patriots (11-4) 3 Broncos, Colts, Texans
Texans (12-3) 3 Broncos, Ravens, Colts
49ers (10-4-1) 3 Seahawks, Packers, Patriots
Falcons (13-2) 1 Broncos
Ravens (10-5) 1 Patriots
Packers (11-4) 1 Texans
Colts (10-5) 1 Packers
Broncos (12-3) 1 Ravens
“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to prepare for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Rams.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Watching @DangeRussWilson this weekend really took me back. He has to be this season’s #NFL Rookie of Year. @Seahawks.” – a tweet from former Vikings and Giants QB Fran Tarkenton, who Wilson has been compared to this season and especially during NBC’s telecast of Sunday night’s game against the 49ers
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 14.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look at 2012 seventh round draft pick J.R. Sweezy as he relates to Seattle’s recent success under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll when it comes to late round draft picks, “There is more upside with a pick simply because there is greater room for improvement. It’s the same philosophy that led the Boston Red Sox to draft Shaq Thompson, the California safety now at Washington. Yes, everyone had a laugh about his uncomfortably brutal batting record in minor-league baseball last season. But the Red Sox knew that possibility when they picked him given his skill level. Their belief was that the upside of an athlete his caliber — if he developed in baseball — was worth the risk of a late-round pick and some money. Seattle has taken a similar approach with players who have made or will make a position switch. The possibility that guy might really take off in a new spot or make a breakthrough is worth the possibility that he won’t. Look at Sherman a year ago. Here’s a 6-foot-3 player who’s still learning cornerback, which makes it possible that he’ll experience a breakthrough or make a quantum leap. That’s unlikely to happen with someone who has spent eight years at a specific position. For better or worse, you know what you’re getting.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his story on Sweezy, and catches up with Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach Tom Cable on the converted D-lineman’s transition to the offensive side of the football, ” ‘I’m shocked, really,’ Cable said about Sweezy’s quick development. ‘I think he’s doing a fine job in terms of his learning. Every day it’s new for him, in terms of whatever he’s experiencing he’s never experienced before. He’s not the typical defensive lineman who played offensive and defensive line in high school. He was a linebacker and fullback kid in high school. So he’s never been an offensive lineman and never put his hand on the ground that way. So this has been his first time, and his transition so far, I would say he’s ahead of schedule. Now let’s see how far we can take it.’ “
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune comments on the quality performances of quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson in Saturday night’s preseason opener, “That Carroll kept from painting rainbows all over the place Saturday night was a good approach. It was only the first exhibition game, and Wilson, specifically, was playing against backups. But this game created more interest and sense of upward trajectory relating to the quarterback position than the Seahawks have seen in years. If this 60 minutes of quarterbacking in August is not an aberration, then it appears that either Flynn or Wilson will be an upgrade over Jackson. And on a team with a defense and rushing attack already in place, that factor should mean divisional contention.”
Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps a segment of “Brock and Salk” from Monday in which head coach Pete Carroll joined the show, “Pete Carroll thought Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson each had strong performances in Saturday’s preseason opener save some obvious mistakes, but the Seahawks’ coach didn’t see enough to make any decisions about the three-way quarterback competition – at least not yet. ‘Like I said right after the game, they did everything they could have done to help themselves,’ Carroll told “Brock and Salk” on Monday. ‘I think they both played really well. We’re not calling it right yet. We don’t have to.’ “
Also at mynorthwest.com, Bob Stelton and Dave Wyman give their impressions of what they saw from 2012 first round draft pick Bruce Irvin and 2012 second round draft pick Bobby Wagner in Saturday night’s preseason opener in this short video.
Kevin Dowd of the SeattlePI.com writes that after Saturday night’s preseason opener, Flynn and Wilson appear to be pulling ahead in the team’s three-man quarterback competition, “Quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson shined in their Seattle debuts Saturday night, combining to complete 23 of their 29 passes for 186 yards, with Wilson adding another 59 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Now, rather than not having one viable starting quarterback in their three-man race for the job, the Seahawks just might have two.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his update on the Seahawks quarterback battle, as he revisits his opinion on the race from back in July, “Flynn and Wilson are getting the meaningful reps as the team works to determine which one, if either, represents an upgrade over Jackson. Both players helped their cause with their performances against Tennessee in the exhibition opener Saturday night. Flynn was efficient working against the Titans’ starting defense. Wilson was dynamic working with — and against — backups. The Seahawks will presumably want to see Wilson work with the starters in a game situation before making their decision. I have a hard time envisioning Seattle going into a season with a rookie third-round choice behind center. But if any coach would embrace such an opportunity, the unconventional Pete Carroll might be the one to do it — especially since Wilson demonstrates more poise than many veterans. If the competition remains close, going with Flynn as the starter heading into the season would be the easiest move.”
Jim Trotter of SI.com has his Seahawks-related “Postcard from camp“, including an observation about the Seahawks defense, “The defense is going to be fun to watch. It’s not only big and strong, but fast and athletic. The unit was working on its blitz drill the day I was there, and more times than not the period resembled a jail break. Defenders consistently came free in the offensive backfield, forcing quarterbacks to look for safety valves instead of a receiver. Ideally, Seattle wants to generate pressure with its front four, and the addition of first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin should help it do that. He’s long and incredibly quick, which will be even more noticeable at home, where the crowd noise will give him an advantage over offensive tackles at the snap of the ball. Irvin still needs to develop a second rush move to maximize his potential, but that will come in time. For now his quickness and length, combined with the Seahawks’ other talent up front, will give offensive lines headaches.”
Writing for the Marin Independent Journal, I caught up with Cooper Helfet, the Seahawks rookie tight end out of Duke University and Redwood High School who got his first taste of NFL action Saturday night.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth recaps Saturday’s preseason opener and calls quarterback Russell Wilson starting against the Denver Broncos this Saturday night as the next logical step for the rookie out of Wisconsin, “While he did complete 12 of 16 passes for 124 yards, including a 39-yard TD pass to Braylon Edwards; and run for another 59 yards, with 32 coming on his scoring play; it was against the Titans’ second- and third-defensive units. So why not see how the rookie from Wisconsin fares against the Denver defense that features the pass-rush tandem of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil and a secondary that features 11-time Pro Bowl selection Champ Bailey? The pressure of the start? That will be totally internal, because of the Mile High-presence of Manning, who signed with the Broncos in March after being released by the Indianapolis Colts and wooed by other teams, including the Seahawks. So the visiting Seahawks and whoever starts at QB will be an all-but-undetectable blip in this situation.”
Farnsworth also has a look at the (limited) activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center yesterday in his ‘Monday in Hawkville’, “Teaching points. The players had meetings and a short walkthrough today, with the focal point of each being the things they did well – and not as well – in Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Titans at CenturyLink Field. But the most important aspect of the preseason is correcting mistakes and learning from them, as the Seahawks start preparing for Saturday night’s game against the Broncos in Denver. ‘I thought the tackling was terrible,’ coach Pete Carroll said after the game. ‘We didn’t tackle anybody. Particularly in the second half, we were just falling off the guys and that’s a first-game situation. We just have to get a lot better. That was really the area that jumped out at me. We could have had a ton of plays in the backfield for losses that we didn’t make. We just have to improve a lot there.’ “
Lastly, second-year linebacker K.J. Wright shows us what it’s like to run out of the tunnel at CenturyLink Field on game day in this short video.
The arrival of Kellen Winslow Jr. has led to the departure of Cooper Helfet.
The rookie tight end from Duke was released today to clear a spot on the 90-man roster for Winslow, who was acquired Monday in a trade with the Buccaneers.
Helfet was among the tryout players invited to the team’s rookie minicamp and then signed after impressing the coaches during the three practices.
Winslow, a former first-round draft choice by the Browns who averaged 73 receptions the past three seasons with the Bucs, did not participate in the Seahawks’ first OTA practice today. But he is scheduled to join the team this week.
Veteran tackle Alex Barron, a former first-round draft choice of the Rams, has agreed to contract terms with the Seahawks.
The 6-foot-7, 320-pound Barron participated in the team’s rookie minicamp over the weekend on a tryout basis. He started 74 games in five seasons with the Rams after being the 19th pick overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. After being traded to Dallas in 2010, he made one start for the Cowboys. Barron signed with the Saints last year, but sat out the season after being placed on injured reserve in August with a knee problem and then released in October.
“This is real good, especially when you consider that I had to sit out all of last year on injured reserve,” Barron said today after participating in the team’s offseason program workout. “But I’m over that now and moving forward. I’m here to help the team the best way I can.”
The club also reached agreements with two other tryout players from the weekend minicamp – cornerback Donny Lisowski, who went to Seattle’s O’Dea High School and then Montana; and Cooper Helfet, a 6-3, 239-pound tight end from Duke. Also added was Andrew Mitchell, a 6-5, 308-pound tackle who signed with the Bengals after the 2010 draft. He suffered a knee injury in a preseason game that August and spent the season on IR. Mitchell also missed last season.
To clear spots on the 90-man roster, linebacker Adrian Moten, offensive lineman Brent Osborne, cornerback London Durham and tackle Jon Opperud were released. Moten played in two games last season after being signed off the practice squad, while Osborne spent the season on the practice squad. Durham and Opperud were signed as free agents last month after the draft.
Coach Pete Carroll was impressed with the 5-11, 185-pound Lisowski during the weekend minicamp.
“He was all over the place out here,” Carroll said on Sunday. “I had no (idea about him), other than he ran extremely fast when he showed up for a workout day. And then he went out there and made a bunch of plays. So I was really fired up about him.”