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Thursday cyber surfing: Wilson a ‘star in the making’

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 28:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com passes along an interesting – and possibly insightful – comment on rookie QB Russell Wilson from Tony Softli, a former personnel evaluator for the Panthers and Rams: “(Matt) Flynn will have his hands full in a training camp competition against this star in the making.” The item also includes this pre-draft assessment from Football Outsiders of the player who ended up being the Seahawks’ third-round choice: “Considering the examples from Wilson’s junior year in the Atlantic Coast Conference where he’s effective on deep passes off play-action, throws receivers open, and improvises on the move, his potential to develop into an NFL quarterback is better than his height may indicate,” (Matt) Waldman wrote. “Still, it is reasonable to approach Wilson’s NFL prospects with skepticism. (Drew) Brees never overcame doubts from the organization that drafted him. … However, as Brees, Tom Brady, Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, Tony Romo and Kurt Warner, and several others have demonstrated, careers don’t end due to an inauspicious beginning.”

Sando also offers his thoughts on KC Joyner’s thought that cornerback Brandon Browner is among the most overrated players in the league: “Joyner pointed to the Seahawks cornerback’s league-high penalty count (19) as one indicator. He also used various coverage metrics to suggest Browner wasn’t all that good in coverage, either. I might have considered Browner’s teammate, Richard Sherman, as a superior choice to represent the NFC at season’s end. Pro Bowl voting was completed before then, of course. While Browner did commit too many penalties, those flags represented something positive, as well. Browner continually harassed opposing receivers near the line of scrimmage. Overrated or not, he was a pain to play against.” I’ll second that, and also point out that Browner led the NFL with 23 passes defensed.

And still more from Sando, he offers his “hidden treasure” for the NFC West teams and tabs the wide receivers for the Seahawks: “The Seahawks haven’t sent a player to the Pro Bowl as a full-time wide receiver since Brian Blades made it following the 1989 season. That streak appears unlikely to end anytime soon. The team invested virtually nothing in the position this offseason. A few questions persist – for example, what does Mike Williams have in store? – but with so much attention on quarterbacks and the Seattle defense, wide receiver gets my vote as a Seahawks position group that could surprise.” The Seahawks have had only two wide-outs voted to the Pro Bowl in franchise history – Steve Largent (seven times) and Blades (once).

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at rookie offensive linemen J.R. Sweezy and Rishaw Johnson: “… There are going to be the rookies to consider, and yes, that’s going to be rookies with an ‘s’ to indicate plural. The Seahawks chose J.R. Sweezy from North Carolina State in the seventh round, and have converted him from defensive tackle into an offensive guard. When the rookie minicamp ended in early May, coach Pete Carroll gave a very positive review. … The other rookie who made a strong first impression was Rishaw Johnson, an undrafted free agent signed from California (Pa.) University, which is the same college where the Seahawks found quarterback Josh Portis a year ago.”

With school out for the summer, Pat Kirwan at CBSSports.com offers a final examine to test your retention of what happened during the 2011 NFL season: “Think you remember how it all happened? Want to test your memory and maybe learn a thing or two? Have some fun taking this 21-question, multiple-choice (guess?) quiz.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the last of the team’s offseason workouts – and the nine rookie free agents who concluded the program this week: “Rookie free agents do face the longest of odds, as (strength and conditioning coach Chris) Carlisle said, in their attempts to earn spots on the 53-man roster or practice squad. But the Seahawks always have been good to undrafted rookies, and vice versa. The team’s honor roll of longest-odds beaters includes Ring of Honor quarterback Dave Krieg; free safety Eugene Robinson, the franchise’s all-time leading tackler; nose tackle Joe Nash, special teamer/linebacker Rufus Porter and fullback Mack Strong, who all played in the Pro Bowl during their careers and, like Robinson, were voted to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team; and Doug Baldwin, the team’s leading receiver last season. ‘There are a lot of guys who came in as free-agent rookies who play in the Pro Bowl, who were Super Bowl champions, that are in Canton (at the Pro Football Hall of Fame) right now that have gone from didn’t-have-a-chance to being pretty darn special,’ Carlisle said. Carlisle’s history lesson did not fall on deaf ears. ‘This is a program that kind of breeds these undrafted free agents, and that fact is very encouraging,’ said (tight end Sean) McGrath, who was heading back to Henderson State University in Arkansas to pack up the last of his left-behind belongings before going home to the Chicago area. ‘Anything can happen. You’ve just got to put your mind to it and keep working hard.’ ”


Wednesday cyber surfing: What’s being reported is not what Carroll said about QBs

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

Let’s start with a “thank you” to Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times for adding the needed disclaimer to all the talk at some national media outlets about Tarvaris Jackson being the “starting quarterback” heading into training camp. That’s not what coach Pete Carroll said, as O’Neil explains: “Ever played the game of telephone? You start with a dozen or so people, and arrange them in a line. The person at one end is given a word or a phrase and told to whisper it to the next person in line. That person, in turn, whispers those same word(s) to the next person. Everyone can whisper it only once, and the last person in line is asked to say it aloud to see just how far it has deviated from the original message. That’s the best explanation I can come up with to explain the headline that has appeared on CNNSI.com stating, ‘Report: Tarvaris Jackson named Seahawks starter.’ “

Sack-master and ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando expands on his already expansive look at the ability of the four teams in the division to get to the opposing quarterback: “NFC West teams averaged 3.0 sacks per game against each other and 2.1 sacks per game against everyone else. The Eagles, Giants, Ravens and Bengals averaged 4.2 sacks per game against the NFC West and 2.6 per game against everyone else. From this standpoint, then, defenses did fatten up on the division’s offenses in 2011. Some of those defenses belonged to NFC West teams. The bottom line: Every NFC West team needs to improve its pass protection significantly, especially with the division’s defenses on the rise.”

And if that doesn’t get you even more ready for the start of training camp at the end of July, Sando also looks at the production of receivers in the division last season on third down by distance: “Seattle’s Doug Baldwin made 23 first downs on 42 targets for a 54.8 percent conversion rate. Each of those figures led the division. NFC West teams ranked 24th (Seattle), 29th (Arizona), 31st (San Francisco) and 32nd (St. Louis) in overall third-down conversion rate.”

Doug Farrar at Shutdown Corner looks at the best third-day picks in the 2011 NFL Draft for this feature at YahooSports.com. The Seahawks’ K.J. Wright is at No. 1, with Richard Sherman at No. 5.

Farrar on Wright (fourth round): “Wright, who tested off the map at the scouting combine out of Mississippi State, started his NFL career by replacing former fourth-overall pick Aaron Curry in the Seahawks’ starting defense. His ability to pick up the defensive playbook allowed him to perform at a preternatural level, and Pete Carroll sees him as a potential inside linebacker in the future. Wright could develop into that rarest of linebackers – capable of playing inside and outside in multiple fronts, and doing so at a very high level all around.”

Farrar on Sherman (fifth round): “Sherman came to Stanford as a receiver, but former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio saw him as a cornerback, and that’s where he spent his 2009 and 2010 seasons. Sherman fit the Seahawks’ profile when it comes to defensive backs – big, physical, and aggressive – but few expected the rookie season he had. Replacing injured cornerback Walter Thurmond, Sherman showed early flashes when he did a fine job against Cincinnati’s A.J. Green in late October, and he finished his initial campaign with four interceptions – including three in his last six games.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with Rishaw Johnson, the rookie free agent guard who wasted no time catching the eye of coach Pete Carroll: “ ‘I was pretty excited when I heard that (Carroll’s positive comments),’ Johnson said. But he couldn’t let excitement morph into a premature sense of security. ‘I can’t get too excited,’ Johnson said. ‘I’ve still got to bust it and do everything I’ve got to do to make the team. But it was still good to hear that coach Carroll said that.’ It wasn’t the first time Johnson had heard good things about himself, and he’s hoping it won’t be the last. In July of 2010, the school website at Cal U called Johnson, ‘easily the most talented of the team’s interior linemen.’ Pre-draft reports this offseason described Johnson as ‘light on his feet’ and ‘fluid’ and as having ‘outstanding pulling ability.’ Johnson doesn’t just play big, he is big – with 11-inch hands, 35-inch arms, an 81-inch wingspan and, of course, those 313 pounds.”


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Tuesday cyber surfing: Sacks, symposiums and super first seasons

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 26:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com breaks down the sacks total for NFC West teams last season – by down: “The Seahawks ranked 18th in sacks on first and second downs, collecting 21 of them. That was only two fewer than the 49ers, a bit of a surprise. … Seattle ranked 25th in first-down sacks (eight) and seventh in second-down sacks (13). The Seahawks might count on free-agent addition Jason Jones to pump up the totals on early downs. But with a No. 21 ranking in third-down sacks (12), the Seahawks need help across the board. The team added Jones and first-round pick Bruce Irvin to remedy the problem.”

Adam Jones spoke to players at the NFL Rookie Symposium and Jeff Darlington at NFL.com has the details, including the impact of Jones’ advice on Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner: “When Jones finished his speech Monday, Seahawks rookie Bobby Wagner waited for the room to empty before jumping onto the stage to speak privately for a few extra minutes with Jones. He’d never met him before, but something during his speech triggered a desire to seek advice. ‘He was going through something that I was going through, so I asked him personally what he did so I can try to apply it to my life,’ said Wagner, who said the matter was too private to discuss during the interview. ‘It helps knowing that somebody went through what you went through. You can take what you need from it and apply it to your life. A lot of players in here are going through some of the same things, whether its baby mamas or trying to pick a financial advisor to an issue with an agent. We can learn from this. We can learn from him.’ “

Speaking of Wagner, the rookie said he has been studying video of former Seahawks middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu during an appearance on the John Clayton show on 710 ESPN on Saturday. Brady Henderson has the details at mynorthwest.com: “ ‘In watching him, I’ve kind of taken some of his style, the way he runs the defense, the way he was able to run around and make plays. He was definitely a heck of a player while he was here,’ Wagner said. ‘He knew the defense inside and out. He ran it for so long. You could just tell, as soon as the tight end motioned or somebody moved he was making the checks.’ “

How good was Brandon Browner’s first season with the Seahawks? Doug Farrar at Shutdown Corner lists it among the best first-season efforts in NFL history in this feature at YahooSports.com – and Warren Moon’s 1984 season with the Oilers also made the list.

Farrar on Browner: “Last time anybody in the NFL saw Browner before 2011, he was a Denver Broncos undrafted guy in 2005. Before he could even get started, a fractured forearm cost Browner the 2005 season and a 2006 roster spot. He spent (four) years in the CFL before Pete Carroll and John Schneider took a shot on him. Browner rewarded the Seahawks with an impressive and altogether unlikely season. Of the ten players on our list, only Browner and Warren Moon started all 16 games in their first seasons. Browner picked off six passes, returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and helped his first official NFL team establish the man coverage concepts it didn’t have the personnel to do before he arrived.”

Farrar on Moon, who later played for the Seahawks and is now the team’s radio analyst: “Moon is a bit of an oddity, of course. He ripped it up at Washington, and would have been selected within the first few picks a generation later, when the NFL wasn’t quite so stupid about black quarterbacks. Moon had to blow up the CFL for a few years before the Oilers brought him on in 1984. He went on to a Hall of Fame career and a well-deserved reputation as an important part of NFL history. After his early success, anyone who claimed that quarterbacks of his ‘type’ couldn’t succeed would look as dumb as they actually were.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with Cordarro Law, the rookie free-agent defensive end who has surprised his teammates: “After a recent workout, wide receiver Sidney Rice and some of the Seahawks’ other “skill-position” players were shooting hoops at the basket along one sideline in the indoor practice facility. Then Cordarro Law approached the group. He was greeted by glances that shouted, ‘And what does this guy think he’s doing?’ Law is, after all, a defensive end – and a rookie free agent defensive end, at that. Then, Law started draining nothing-but-net jumpers. Then, the 6-foot-1, 254-pound Law went up and … dunked the basketball. ‘He actually surprised me,’ Rice said. ‘He can shoot it. (Rookie wide receiver Phil) Bates, terrible jump-shooter. (Cornerback Byron) Maxwell, terrible jump-shooter. (First-round draft choice) Bruce Irvin, terrible jump-shooter. But Law actually impressed me.’ And the dunk? ‘Yeah,’ Rice said, ‘he can dunk.’ But wait, there’s more. Unable to workout at Virginia Mason Athletic Center together because of the new guidelines in the CBA that ended last year’s 136-day lockout, some of the receivers and quarterbacks went to the University of Washington last week to run routes, catch passes and all of that. Law was there, too. ‘Law ran like every route with us,’ Rice said. ‘And he only dropped two passes the whole day. So that’s pretty impressive.’ ”


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Monday cyber surfing: Some ‘camp concerns’ to ponder until camp

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 25:

Dave Boling at the News Tribune offers some “camp concerns” as the players and coaching head into their extended break before training camp opens in late July, including: “The young linebackers. K.J. Wright played like a veteran late in his rookie season, but it’s fair to remember he’s still in just his second year. Rookie Bobby Wagner looks to have the lead at middle linebacker, while fellow rookie Korey Toomer made a number of noticeable plays during OTAs, as well. Vet Leroy Hill looks fit and sound, but the rest of them still need to ripen into an effective unit.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com revisits the situation at quarterback, which hasn’t changed much since coach Pete Carroll decided it would be a three-player competition: “ESPN’s John Clayton noted over the weekend that Tarvaris Jackson would take the initial first-team reps when the Seahawks open training camp. This could seem a bit confusing for those following the team’s quarterback situation from afar. It’s natural to wonder why Matt Flynn wouldn’t open camp as the starter after signing a three-year deal averaging $6.5 million per season. The reason: Jackson is the incumbent, coach Pete Carroll wants a legitimate competition and the order wasn’t going to change during non-contact practices in the offseason.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with wide receiver Sidney Rice, who’s completing the rehab after having surgery on both shoulders and also adding weight: “The hope is that with all that (rehab) almost behind him, Rice can work on getting stronger, and therefore more durable, for the coming season. He already has added 13 pounds – of muscle, he is quick to point out – and now weighs 212. Rice wants to report to training camp at 215 or 216. ‘I’m planning to play around 209 to 212 this year,’ said Rice, who weighed 202 pounds last season. More of Rice is better, because the importance of having him – and having him healthy – can’t be overstated. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell summed up the enormity of that fact in seven little words: ‘We really need to get him back.’ ”

There’s also the final Real Rob Report of the offseason, as Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson makes his way through the locker room – video camera in hand – one last time. For more on how – and why – Robinson started doing this, click here.

Jason Smith at NFL.com is at it again, this time with look-alike actors who could portray NFL players. Included is Matt Damon as Matt Flynn: “Flynn signs with the Seahawks as a quarterback, but he’s also a spy who’s attempting to ferret out a huge NFL conspiracy. He breaks legs, arms and heads regularly – but those are just with his passes in practice. Can he win the big game and save the world at the same time? Bonus casting: Richard Gere as Pete Carroll. WORKING TITLE: BIRD OF PREY

Also at NFL.com, their Top Defensive Plays of the 2011 season in this video report. There’s at least one omission: Brandon Browner’s interception and club-record 94-yard TD return to ice the Seahawks’ upset of the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants in Week 5.

For a look around the rest of the league, there’s Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com, which this week is written by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith because King is on vacation.


Friday cyber surfing: Make that ‘Fantasy’ Friday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 22:

A panel at ESPN.com has listed its “fantasy sleepers” for the coming season and NFC West blogger Mike Sando offers his reactions for the selections from the division, including those of Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate and QB Matt Flynn. Sando on Tate: “Tate made progress last season. He had 35 receptions, three for touchdowns, with no drops. A hand injury has sidelined him recently. There are still questions about Seattle’s passing game in general. Coach Pete Carroll will want to feature the ground game. Tate stands out to me as a player to watch, but I’d be a little nervous about relying upon him for consistent fantasy production, particularly over more established alternatives. Seattle also could funnel more passes through its tight ends, Zach Miller and Kellen Winslow. Doug Baldwin is a big factor. Sidney Rice will become a bigger one, health permitting.” Sando on Flynn: “Carroll wants to run his offense through Marshawn Lynch. Flynn has yet to win the starting job. I’d consider him for the later rounds.”

The panel also picked some potential “fantasy busts,” with the Seahawks’ defense/special teams and Lynch on the list. But Sando doesn’t necessarily agree. Sando on the defense/special teams: “Seattle was pretty good in this area last season. I see no reason to expect a big drop in performance. The pass rush should improve with Bruce Irvin and Jason Jones joining Chris Clemons. Seattle already has Pro Bowl-caliber players throughout its secondary. Improving the pass rush should create more turnovers. I was surprised to see the Seahawks listed in the potential bust category for fantasy defense/special teams.” Sando on Lynch: “It’s tough to know how a potentially mercurial player will respond to receiving financial security through a long-term contract. That would be my only concern for Lynch. He’s going to get the football. The Seahawks are going to build their offense around the run. Lynch topped 1,200 yards despite a slow start to the season. I’d be surprised if he did not approach that total again.”

Also at ESPN.com, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky looks at the impact of former Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson on the Titans’ offensive line: “ ‘He’s the glue of that offensive line right now,’ offensive coordinator Chris Palmer said. ‘He’s a veteran that’s played a lot of snaps, he knows how to play the game and I think he settles everyone down up front…’ In 12 seasons with Seattle and Minnesota, he’s seen it all. He’s a standard-setter at practices already. He’s helped solve communication troubles. And the team hopes that he can help (Eugene) Amano the way Kevin Mawae (another former Seahawk) did, back when Mawae was the veteran center and Amano played guard. Working under two Hall of Fame offensive linemen, (Mike) Munchak and line coach Bruce Matthews, Hutchinson will now work to spread their messages.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the field trip that the team’s draft choices will make to the NFL Rookie Symposium: “ ‘The symposium is a great thing, because it helps all the rookies kind of understand what you go through as a rookie – certainly financially, media-wise and just in terms of everything that you have to deal with as a rookie,’ (quarterback Russell) Wilson said. ‘It will be a good experience, just because you get to see all the draft picks again. So that will be great.’ ”


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Thursday cyber surfing: Clayton sees nine-win season

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 21:

John Clayton at ESPN.com forecasts records for the four teams in the NFC West, and also offers his reasons. He has the Seahawks at 9-7, and Mike Sando has the details on his NFC West blog: “The Seahawks were a quarterback upgrade away from reaching, and probably surpassing, .500 last season. They upgraded their depth at the position without question. Their as-yet-unnamed starter will probably fare better than incumbent Tarvaris Jackson, who played much of the 2011 season with a torn right pectoral muscle. The team has reason for optimism as a result, but there are still question marks surrounding the position. The running game should remain strong with Tom Cable coaching the line and (Marshawn) Lynch pounding away. Seattle will not ask its quarterback to carry the team. A strong defense will keep the Seahawks competitive. Taking that next step will require better play at quarterback, most likely from (Matt) Flynn.”

Sando also has “late-season trend sustainability” for the Seahawks, which includes these comments from ESPN fantasy analyst Matthew Berry on Lynch: “He’s only 26. You’d think this guy has been around forever. He’s only 26, and when we talk about repeatability, he had an amazing year last year, we all know that, but he has done it before. It had been a while prior to that. His first two seasons in Buffalo, he had 1,200 total yards in each of those seasons and had been a productive fantasy back those first two years. Pete Carroll likes to run the ball, likes to run with a big back. He traded for him and I like that offensive line in Seattle. They are young and they are getting better. They need to get healthier, but given that division and given their commitment to the run, I think their offense will be better. I don’t think it will be amazing, but I do think the Seattle offense as a whole will be better. He’s gonna get the rock and, by the way, he outscored both those guys (Ryan Mathews and Chris Johnson) last year.”

Still more from Sando, he looks at the TD receptions by the wide receivers for each team in the league. Hard to say what’s tougher to fathom – that the Seahawks had only 13; or that 12 teams had fewer: “The Seahawks were the only NFC West team that did not address the position in the draft. They are expecting a bounce-back season from a healthy Sidney Rice, and a breakout season from 2010 second-round choice Golden Tate. Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham have a chance to contribute in their second NFL seasons.” And don’t forget about Doug Baldwin.

Dave Boling at News Tribune offers his thoughts on whether the Seahawks’ defense can rank among the Top 10 in the league for a second consecutive season – something that hasn’t happened since 1991-92: “I think the raw stats
from the whole (2011) season, then, are misleading, and projections for this season are more valid when we look at the second half – even though they faced only two playoff-bound teams (Baltimore and San Francisco). Over the second half of the season, their points-against average dropped to 16.25 a game. Four key players were in their first season as starters: Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, K.J. Wright and Richard Sherman. And Alan Branch was in his first season with the team. All those players are returning with a full offseason to further settle into their roles. Browner, particularly, struggled to find a balance between coverage that was physical and coverage that drew flags. We may assume that will be less a problem. … So, top 10 in the fall? Sure. Maybe better.”

Sidney Rice was on 710 ESPN last week and told Bob and Groz that he has gained 11 pounds in hopes of becoming more durable. Brady Henderson has the details at mynorthwest.com: “ ‘I actually gained 11 pounds of muscle,’ Rice said. ‘I’m really happy about that. I’m planning on putting on about seven more pounds to make coach (Tom) Cable happy.’ “

Doug Farrar at Shutdown Corner looks at the other team that has a three-way competition for the starting QB job – the Dolphins – along with the Seahawks in this item at FoxSports.com: “(Tarvaris) Jackson looks like the quarterback he was last year – capable of making every throw in the book, but lacking touch on certain finesse and distance throws at times. (Matt) Flynn is perhaps the most practiced at the little things – looking off safeties and throwing with anticipation – but his mechanics have him pushing the ball at times, and he often struggles when throwing against his own momentum or across his body. Without question, (Russell) Wilson has been the story of interest. Many of his new teammates have said that he would have been selected much higher in the draft were he taller than 5-foot-11, and he’s shown why during practices. He has the deep arm of Jackson, but with an uncanny touch at times. And he’s got the fast break offense down from his days at Wisconsin, but he’s a more dynamic and consistent intermediate thrower than Flynn. A team competing for a division title, as Carroll says the Seahawks are doing in the NFC West, would not prefer to start a rookie mid-round pick at the game’s most important position … but stranger things have happened.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at J.R. Sweezy’s progress in making the transition from college defensive tackle to NFL offensive guard: “ ‘It’s good. I’m adjusting well,’ Sweezy said. ‘It’s different, as I’ve said in every interview. It’s really different. It’s different from everything I’ve pretty much been taught my whole life.’ He made it through the rookie minicamp in May, the OTA practices and last week’s full-squad minicamp without once tackling the ball carrier he was blocking for, or returning to the defensive huddle after the play was over. ‘At least I’ve got the basics,’ he said, smiling.”

Jim Wyatt at the Tennessean checks in with Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck, who was reportedly a target of the Saints’ alleged “bounty” program while playing for the Seahawks: “ ‘I don’t know what to believe. I am not following it that closely,’ Hasselbeck said on Wednesday. ‘I think what I heard was the quarterback, the running back and the top wide receiver were the three names (reportedly on the bounty list for that game). Those are the names you would expect, I guess. … I have been going about my thing, and I really don’t know what to say. I guess there’s been a lot of ‘he said, he said’ in the situation.’ ” And remember, Hasselbeck passed for 272 yards and four touchdowns in the Seahawks’ 41-36 upset win in that wild-card playoff game.


Wednesday cyber surfing: Seahawks, past and present, preach achieving your goals

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 20:

Members of the Seahawks, past and present, visited schools on the Kitsap Peninsula on Monday to promote a partnership with the South Kitsap School District to help students achieve their goals. Katie Scaff at the Kitsap Sun has the details: “ ‘There’s no such thing as overnight success. I was 5-foot and 104 pounds when I entered high school, and I made it to the NFL. I just kept trying and trying,’ said Paul Johns, a wide receiver from 1981 to 1984. Johns visited an end-of-year assembly at John Sedgwick Junior High School with current wide receiver Ricardo Lockette in the afternoon while four other former members and (author) Debbie Macomber visited assemblies at Marcus Whitman and Cedar Heights junior high schools.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times takes at look at what some of the top pass-rushers in the NFL make as the Seahawks and Chris Clemons continue to discuss an extension: “Clemons is one of seven players in the league to total double-digit sacks in each of the past two seasons, and he’s on a significantly smaller deal as he enters the final year of a five-year contract that totaled $18.5 million.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com tackles the Seahawks’ QB situation while answering questions from his mailbag: “Seattle’s quarterback competition could not be settled without exhibition games. There was never an expectation one candidate would jump to a huge lead before training camp. The fact that no one has seized the job does not necessarily mean the team has no quarterbacks worthy of starting. Coach Pete Carroll was going to promote competition through the offseason and into training camp. That was the plan in the absence of exhibition games. I covered the Seahawks’ final minicamp practice last week and didn’t even think to report on whether one of the quarterbacks had won the job. Yet, it’s unusual to divide reps three ways. That isn’t sustainable. At some point, the Seahawks will have to decide whether they’re comfortable enough with (Matt) Flynn and rookie Russell Wilson to consider moving past 2011 starter Tarvaris Jackson or adjusting his $4 million salary.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the national media’s obsession with the three-QB competition for the starting job: “OK, obsession is a bit strong, considering the amount of national attention the team generates. But most of the mention the Seahawks have gotten this offseason stems from Carroll’s decision that incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson will vie for the job with free-agent addition Matt Flynn and rookie Russell Wilson. It happened Monday – again, and understandably – when Lindsay Rhodes of the NFL Network caught up with Carroll at a Play 60 event in Southern California. Three of her six on-camera questions – and the first three, at that – involved the QB situation.”

Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com offers his overrated/underrated tandems for each team in the league, including the Seahawks: “Overrated: WR Sidney Rice. They paid him like a No. 1 receiver and he didn’t stay on the field. Even healthy, is he really that? Underrated: DE Red Bryant. He isn’t a pass rusher, so he doesn’t get a lot of attention, but he is a good run player and a big part of Seattle’s improving defense.”

Gregg Rosenthal at NFL.com reports from the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp, which included Seahawks, past and present: “The players range from active (Nate Burleson,  Michael Robinson, Joel Dreesen) to retired (Chad Brown, Jenkins) to free agents (Melvin Bullitt and Patrick Crayton). Producers give honest feedback about what players can improve after their segment is done. No one is coddled. ‘Say what you have to say to me,’ Brown said. ‘I’ve played for Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. I’m used to being criticized. It doesn’t bother me one bit.’ “

Michael Martinez at FoxSports.com looks at Brian Banks’ tryout tour, which included a stop at the Seahawks, and wonders if the exonerated linebacker can get a contract: “Banks, who was away from the game for 10 years and only resumed working out after his case was cleared, will begin working with noted trainer Travelle Gaines this week. He also has done MMA-style training with FOX NFL insider Jay Glazer, who works with several NFL players at his Las Vegas gym. If the additional training helps Banks get closer to football shape, his chances of receiving an invitation will improve, (Seahawks coach) Carroll said. ‘We’re going to give him the next six weeks to get in shape and show us what he can do with a really good conditioning program behind him,’ Carroll said. ‘Then we’ll make a decision whether or not he gets to come to the big camp. He’s tried out for a couple of other teams, and he’s going to continue to do that. It’s a real long shot, of course, but he’s such a strong-minded kid, he’s got a chance.’ “

Speaking of linebackers, John Manasso at FoxSports.com checks in with Lofa Tatupu, the former Seahawk who is trying to restart his NFL career with the Falcons: “Last year, Lofa Tatupu was only 28 years old and four years removed from an All-Pro season as a middle linebacker. Yet, after undergoing surgery on the lateral meniscus in both knees following the 2010 season, he ended up having no takers when Seattle cut him a few days into training camp. He received a couple of invitations to work out. One, he said, appeared simply to be a ploy by a team to pressure its own player into signing. (It worked.) Tatupu said he was a victim of circumstance. Not only did the lockout hurt him, but when he received offers, they were at outside linebacker, which he had never played. He wasn’t sure he could do it. As a result, he sat out the entire season and contemplated retirement. ‘I thought it was over,’ he said. ‘I was ready to send those (retirement) papers in.’ “


Tuesday cyber surfing: A lot less Lutui

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 19:

Dave Boling at the News Tribune checks in with Deuce Lutui, the former bad boy for the Arizona Cardinals who’s here to tell you – and show you – that he’s not that guy anymore. Not all the time anyway: “Now that he wears a Seahawks uniform, fans will note that he’s an Eagle Scout in behavior, a charitable individual, and among the more engaging guys on the team and in the community. Cardinal Hyde and Seahawk Jekyll … ah, the wonders of perspective. ‘I’m a nice guy, a mama’s boy, a sweetheart off the field,’ Lutui said. ‘(On the field) I like to go to my alter ego, you could say.’ ”

Boling also handicaps the three-QB competition for the starting job: “The situation is an obvious upgrade. If it’s (Tarvaris) Jackson who wins the start, it will be because he beat out two other candidates and was not just named the starter, as was the case last season, because the only other choice was incumbent Charlie Whitehurst. If (Matt) Flynn proves an upgrade over Jackson, then that will mean a better balance with a rushing attack that was one of the best in the NFL over the second half of last season. And paired with a top-10 defense that returns 10 starters, that’s a promising situation. If (Russell) Wilson can come in and earn the starting job as a rookie over a pair of veterans, he will have to show the kind of potential that would make him a steal as a third-round draft pick.”

Coach Pete Carroll also discussed the QB situation when the NFL Network caught up with him at A Better L.A. function: “In Around the League’s conversation with the coach, we brought up the widely held belief — despite Carroll’s public insistence otherwise — that Flynn is the favorite to win the job on account of the $10 million in guaranteed money coming his way. Carroll dismissed the notion. ‘It has nothing to do with it. And I’ve said that from the start; I came into the league saying I don’t care how much you guys are getting paid, it’s who plays the best,’ Carroll said. ‘That’s free agency, you know? That’s what that is. That’s what it cost to get him in the free-agent market, but on the field, he ain’t carrying around any money in his pocket.’ “

NFL.com’s 32 in 32 series has gotten to the Seahawks. You can watch the video report here. Spoiler alert: They don’t like the three-man competition at QB or the team’s pass rush.

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the guidelines that prohibit players from working in football fundamentals together during their extended breaks under the new CBA: “Asked last week if he could foresee a push by the coaches in the league to tweak the format, (Pete) Carroll offered, ‘I think this is going to come from the players. I think if a movement is going to be made at all, the players are going to have to decide what they think is best and what they would like to have. I would be surprised if they think that this is a good thing that they can’t throw the football and play catch out here as quarterbacks and receivers. I don’t think that they’re going to like that because it’s not convenient for them at all. But we’ll find out. It’s up to them.’ ”

The Sports Xchange has the word on the latest stop on Brian Banks’ tryout tour, which included a two-day stint with the Seahawks last week: “Brian Banks’ workout tour continues this week in San Francisco. The 26-year-old inside linebacker is participating in a three-day rookie minicamp with the 49ers. Banks, who was exonerated last month when the alleged victim recanted 10 years after he was convicted, has also worked out for the Seahawks, Chiefs and Chargers.”


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Monday cyber surfing: Father’s Day memories, and quarterbacks

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 18:

To celebrate Father’s Day, we wondered what it was like growing up with Pete Carroll as your father. So we asked Nate Carroll, a defensive assistant on the Seahawks’ coaching staff headed by his father: “On this Father’s Day what better way to salute the father figure of the Seahawks than by taking a stroll down memory lane with the youngest of coach Pete Carroll’s three grown children. Growing up the son of a football coach also can make for some less-than-fond memories, because the occupation can easily lead to preoccupation. But that’s not how Nate remembers it ‘When he came home, it wasn’t ‘head coach dad,’ it was dad,’ said Nate Carroll, now 25 and a defensive assistant on his father’s staff. ‘He could flip the switch when he came home, which was awesome.’ For example? ‘I don’t like saying this, but as a child I used to think my dad wasn’t all that smart because he used to play dumb for me,’ Nate said. ‘I was always too smart for my own good, so I was like, ‘My dad’s just not that smart.’ But I came to realize he was just trying to relate to me as much as possible. It was awesome, and I thank him for that.’ ”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald not only looks at the Seahawks’ three-man QB competition, he warns readers of that fact: “Warning: You are about to read about the Seahawks’ quarterbacks competition. This is not the first time you have read about this topic, nor will it be the last. You will continue to read/see/hear countless stories about Seattle’s three-way QB competition between now and September. So, if you’re already tired of this quarterback talk, well, sorry. Things are only going to get worse in the coming months. Much worse.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we also look at the continuing competition between Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson: “One by one, Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson continued to take their turns quarterbacking the No. 1 offense at the Seahawks’ just-concluded three-day minicamp. One at a time, they stepped to the podium this week for post-practice Q&A sessions, where they said all the right things but also made it clear there will be no backing down before coach Pete Carroll and his offensive staff decide just which QB will lead the team in the 2012 season. But no one has yet to take a discernible lead in this arms race. ‘I can’t tell you that there’s anything that’s happened other than to say we’ll stay with the same format going into (training) camp,’ Carroll said Thursday. ‘I don’t think that will change. T-Jack will go first and away we go. But other than that, let the games begin. We’ll be really excited to see what happens.’ ”

We’ve also got a look at how the Seahawks became the Seahawks in our “On This Date” series: “It happened in 1975, when ‘Seahawks’ was selected from 1,741 different names that were suggested by 20,365 entries. ‘It’s overwhelming, simply overwhelming,’ then-managing general partner Herman Sarkowsky said at the time. ‘We expected only about one-tenth this many entries.’ ”

Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. ranks his 10 most versatile players in the NFC, and Leon Washington checks in at No. 10. It’s an Insider feature at ESPN.com, so requires registration and a fee, but here’s what he says about the Washington who plays in Washington: “Entering his eighth season in the NFL, Washington is still a productive player in a lot of areas for the Seahawks. He is most dangerous as a returner (as an outlet receiver, he had a modest 10 receptions), and as a backup running back, he rushed for 248 yards on 53 carries. He is a shifty guy with good open-field elusiveness and dependable hands. He will likely fill in as a third-down back and see more touches in 2012.”

NFL.com celebrated Father’s Day with a photo gallery of fathers and sons, including a three-generation picture of Seahawks tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., his Hall of Fame father and his son, Jalen; and a 2002 photo of Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy and his daughter, Courtney.

Len Pasquarelli of the Sports Xchange is reporting that Chris Clemons has “politely declined” the Seahawks’ offer on a contract extension, which is why the defensive end was not at last week’s mandatory minicamp in an under-the-radar move for a player who has produced 11 sacks in each of his first two seasons with the team: “That might have something to do, of course, with the fact that Seahawks play in a part of the country to which many fans don’t pay much attention, and which merits only modest media scrutiny. Or it might be because Clemons, a nine-year veteran who had started only three games with three different franchises in the seven seasons before he arrived in Seattle in 2010, isn’t particularly well-known. That said, it was a fairly significant storyline, especially for a Seattle team that could quietly challenge for a title in the relatively unleavened NFC West.”

But GM John Schneider said in an interview on 950 KJR on Saturday that talks are continuing with the Clemons: ‘ “What I can share with you guys is that we’ve had dialogue with Chris and his agent,’ Schneider said. ‘It’s all been positive. You know, he elected not to come to the camp, that’s his prerogative. He’s got a year left on his contract, he’s very talented, he’s a very important part of what we’re doing. And we’ll try to do what’s in the best interest of the organization. I think the fans recognize that he’s an important part of what we do on defense, and the 12th Man has really helped his game, too, in terms of being filled out at the stadium and allowing him to jump off the ball. Obviously we’d like to extend a number of different guys. We have several unrestricted free agents coming up that we’d like to start working on and he’s a priority.’ ”

And Eric Williams at the News Tribune cites a team source as saying Clemons’ declining the offer never happened: “However, a club source close to the situation contradicted the report, saying the Seahawks have not received a formal rejection on any deal, and the two sides continue to negotiate.”

For a look at the rest of the league, including LaDainian Tomlinson signing with San Diego so he can retire a Charger, there’s Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com. He’s also got more on Brian Banks, the linebacker who had a tryout last week with the Seahawks, including: “When the Chiefs worked out Brian Banks this month, they put him through a scouting combine type of workout, designed to see exactly what kind of athlete he was and potential he had. Banks measured at 6-2 ½ and 239 pounds. He ran a 4.77-second 40-yard dash. There were 33 linebackers at the Scouting Combine in February; 29 ran the 40-yard dash. Banks, who hadn’t worked out seriously before being exonerated May 24 because he never thought he’d ever have a chance to play pro football after 10 years away from the game, ran a faster 40 than eight of the 29 prospects, including running faster than five of the inside linebackers running for their NFL lives in Indianapolis.”


Friday cyber surfing: Observations aplenty from minicamp

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 15:

The Seahawks wrapped up their three-day minicamp on Thursday, and Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his observations, including: “The Seahawks are loading up rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner with play calls, same as they did for K.J. Wright last season. Wright has been expected to handle the calls this season even though Wagner projects as the middle linebacker in the base defense. That might not be the case, however. Wright smiled and shook his head when asked about continuing to handle all the calls. He’s heard and read the reports suggesting that will be the case. But Wright said Wagner is making the calls. Wright said he expects Wagner to make the calls this season. The Seahawks have options, but for now at least, they want to see what Wagner can handle. Hand strength is one of Wagner’s biggest assets – and an important one for middle linebackers, who must continually operate in heavy traffic.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at the continuing competition for the starting quarterback job: “For now, (coach Pete) Carroll said incumbent Tarvaris Jackson, high-priced free agent addition Matt Flynn and third-round draft pick Russell Wilson will continue to compete for the starting job once the team reconvenes for the opening of training camp in late July. ‘It’s going to take us until we start playing games to see something happen, I think,’ Carroll said. ‘At this point, they’re doing everything they can do with the opportunities. And they look good. I can’t tell you that there’s anything that has happened, other than we’ll stay with the same format going into camp, I don’t think that will change. T-Jack (Jackson) will go first, and away we go. Other than that, let the games begin.’ ”

 
Williams also offers some observations from the final practice: “(Russell) Wilson looked more comfortable working with the first unit offense today. He made a couple impressive throws, but missed on others, including a diving interception by Richard Sherman, who went up high to pull down the ball on a go-route over the outstretched arms of Kris Durham. Wilson also appeared in control, sometimes correcting veteran receivers like Kellen Winslow if he didn’t feel the route was run correctly, something you seldom see a rookie quarterback do.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times also looks at Wilson’s “turn” to run the No. 1 offense: “Russell Wilson was in the closer’s role Thursday. The rookie quarterback worked with the Seahawks’ first-unit offense on the final day of a mandatory minicamp. He was also the last player off the field after that final practice. ‘I always try to stay after practice,’ Wilson said. ‘Twenty-five more throws, 30 more throws, just to really focus on the throws that I think I either missed that day or things that I can always work on.’ “

Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson offered his assessment of Wilson in this interview on 710 ESPN: “ ‘You don’t look at him as a rookie,’ said Robinson, who finished fifth in Heisman voting and led Penn State to an Orange Bowl win as a senior in 2005. ‘You get the sense that he’s been around for a while, and I think that’s gonna help him going down the road.’ “

Dan Hanzus at NFL.com has the latest on Brian Banks, the exonerated linebacker who had a two-day tryout with the Seahawks: “Banks tweeted Thursday night his next stop is San Francisco, where he’ll take part in the 49ers’ minicamp.”

Doug Farrar of Shutdown Corner takes a longer look at Banks’ two days with the Seahawks at YahooSports.com: “The most impressive thing about Banks from a purely competitive perspective was that after so long away from the game, he looked like an undrafted free agent who would probably come up short on first cuts. That is to say, he didn’t appear to be some schlub who hadn’t played football in years. Banks ran to the ball with average speed in non-contact drills, he showed decent speed and flexibility in his drops, and he certainly appeared to be a step late to the action at times … but given the circumstances, it was pretty darned impressive.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the conclusion of the minicamp, which also happened to be the conclusion of the offseason program: “(Coach Pete) Carroll is hoping – no, planning – that the improved play down the stretch last season, coupled with an offseason and the infusion of some new talent, will make for a better start to the 2012 season. ‘There’s a good feeling about where we’re going, and we’re excited about it,’ Carroll said. ‘We’re young, and the young guys who started for the first time last year don’t feel like young guys anymore. And that’s a big deal to us, because we need to grow. Being the youngest starting team (in the NFL) last year gives us a chance to really make a big step forward, and we can feel it. There’s a lot of energy about it and it’s a good place to be right now.’ ”

We also take a look at the final practice in our Hawkville recap: “After (Kellen) Winslow made the first of his trio of catches, the veteran tight end had a few choice words for the rest of the defense that was standing along the sideline as he made his way back to the huddle. ‘It’s amazing. He’s definitely brought a different element out there,’ Sherman said. ‘And I think we appreciate it on defense. He makes it real lively out there. When he makes a catch you can hear him. We finally have somebody to go back (and forth) with, because sometimes we’re kind of going back with ourselves – it’s kind of one-sided. They’ll make a catch, then there’ll be a little bit of talk. But it won’t be the kind like we’re doing. But Kellen, we’ll bring some of the trash. … He plays with a lot of swagger, and I like that. I like his style of play.’ ”

There’s also Tony Ventrella’s video recap, as well as video of the Q&A sessions with Carroll, Wilson and Sherman.