Wednesday cyber surfing: That’s Turbin, as in ‘Turbinator’

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 13:

Dave Boling at the News Tribune came away from Tuesday’s minicamp practice rightfully impressed with Robert Turbin, the rookie running back from Utah State: “Interviews with 22-year-old athletes don’t ordinarily produce profound messages or perspectives on life and its meaning. But we might come to expect the extraordinary from Robert Turbin. The Seattle Seahawks’ rookie running back is a marvel of mass and velocity, with a quick burst to the line and biceps stolen from an animated action hero. He’s winning fans already with his play. After an impressive breakaway during Tuesday’s minicamp, teammates started yelling their approval: ‘The Turbinator,’ they called him. Regardless how this team progresses this season, Robert Turbin deserves that kind of support.”

The only player not at the mandatory camp – defensive end Chris Clemons – drew most of the coverage. Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times, Eric Williams at the News Tribune, John Boyle at the Everett Herald and Tim Booth at the Associated Press provide updates on his situation.

Williams also provides some observations from practice, including the latest on the QB competition: “Pete Carroll complimented Tarvaris Jackson on the way he threw the ball, and said his incumbent starting quarterback played with confidence in the team’s opening day of minicamp this afternoon. Jackson mostly worked with the first unit today. It will be Matt Flynn’s turn to work with the first unit on Wednesday, as Carroll continues to rotate those two and rookie Russell Wilson with the first unit. ‘He’s doing very well,’ Carroll said about Jackson. ‘He looks really healthy and strong, and very confident in what we’re doing. And he’s making it hard on these guys.’ ”

 
Brian Banks is scheduled to begin his tryout with the Seahawks today, but NFL.com reports that Tuesday he was in Kansas City and also drawing attention from the Vikings: “ ‘I know in talking to (general manager) Rick (Spielman) and the scouting staff, that’s something we’ve talked about and there’s a good chance that he may be coming in,” (Vikings coach Leslie) Frazier said.”

With the Kings winning their first Stanley Cup on Monday night, Gregg Rosenthal at NFL.com wonders which NFL team is closest to winning its first Super Bowl. He lists the Seahawks among his “sleeper” picks: “We like what Pete Carroll is doing with the Seahawks defense and think they will be playoff contenders for a while.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with recently acquired tight end Kellen Winslow: “Moments after walking off the field at the conclusion of the Seahawks’ minicamp practice on Tuesday, Kellen Winslow was asked how his impact on the offense might increase once he’s healthy. Winslow’s response was as exact as it was honest. ‘If I was healthy, which I never will be again, I would be Aaron Hernandez and (Jason) Witten together,’ he said. ‘Really?’ the questioner asked. ‘Yeah,’ Winslow said, punctuating the assessment with a laugh. ‘But, hey, I do what I can out there with the situation I have.’ The former Pro Bowl tight end the Seahawks acquired last month in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers never will be 100 percent healthy because of the serious knee injury he got in 2005 while playing for the Cleveland Browns, and the staph infection that followed in 2008. ‘It was the hardest thing that ever happened to me – the accident and then the staph infection on top of that,’ he said.”

We’ve also got a recap of practice in Tuesday in Hawkville, including a look at rookie safety Winston Guy: “The safety from Kentucky continues to wear a red jersey, but the sixth-round draft choice would stand out even without the non-contact apparel. ‘He’s doing a really cool job. I really like this player,’ Carroll said. ‘He brings more than we had hoped, maybe, at this early time.’ The plan when the Seahawks drafted Guy was to use him as a third safety in the “big nickel” defense, which would allow either Thomas or strong safety Kam Chancellor to play closer to the line. ‘His speed is very good. His instincts are excellent,’ Carroll said of Guy. ‘He’s got a lot to learn. But he’s going to play for us and be a part of what we’re doing.’ ”

For a peek at the day’s activities, there’s Tony Ventrella’s video report, as well as the Q&A sessions with Carroll and Jackson.

Elaine Thompson at the Associated Press also has a photo gallery from practice that’s available at PI.com.


Comments Off

Tuesday cyber surfing: Antonio Bryant to tryout at minicamp

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 12:

The Seahawks open their three day minicamp today, and Jason La Canfora at CBSSports.com reports that former Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Bryant will participate on a tryout basis: “Bryant has not played in the NFL since 2009 with Tampa; he was signed by the Bengals in 2010 while recovering from a knee injury and ended up being released prior to the season’s start. … He never played a game for Cincinnati. Bryant, a deep threat when healthy with elite speed, has been out of the NFL since, but is healthy and in shape and at age 31 hopes to get back. In 2008 he had over 1,200 yards receiving with Tampa Bay, his best season as a pro.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times and Eric Williams at the News Tribune also weigh-in in Bryant.

Also at CBSSports.com, Clark Judge has a question for each of the 32 teams in the league as we move into the minicamp portion of the offseason. One guess what it is for the Seahawks. You got it: Who quarterbacks these guys? Says Judge: “You say it’s Matt Flynn. I say it’s Matt Flynn. But it’s what coach Pete Carroll says that matters. For now, he’s saying it’s an open competition at quarterback, and that’s what you’d expect. But the Seahawks didn’t invest $26 million in the guy to have him compete with Tarvaris Jackson. I mean, if they had a conviction about Jackson they wouldn’t have gone shopping. But they did, and for the right reason: Because Flynn is better. Sooner or later, Carroll announces him as his starter.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has minicamp editions of his roided-out rosters for each of the teams in the NFC West, including the Seahawks: “The Seahawks have 21 players from college programs currently affiliated with the Pac-12 Conference. That is nearly double the league average (10.9). The numbers were high before Pete Carroll left USC to become the Seahawks’ head coach. They have remained high.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the connection between offensive line coach Tom Cable and center Max Unger: “ ‘I knew Max when he came out of college,’ Cable said Monday, as the coaches and players were preparing for the start of a three-day minicamp on Tuesday – the last hurrah in an offseason program that seemed like it never would start, but suddenly is almost over. That was in 2009, when Cable was head coach of the Oakland Raiders and Unger ended up being the Seahawks’ second-round draft choice. ‘I thought he would be a fine, fine center when he got to this level,’ Cable said. It just took Unger a while to get the opportunity to show that. In ’09, he started his first 13 games at right guard, before taking over at center for the final three after since-departed Chris Spencer broke a hand – as Unger became the first rookie lineman since Ray Roberts in 1992 to start 16 games for the Seahawks. In 2010, Unger got a season-ending toe injury in the opener, also while playing right guard.”

Former Seahawks defensive tackle Rocky Bernard has re-signed with the Giants, and Michael Eisen at Giants.com has the details: “Bernard, 33, is entering his 11th NFL season and fourth with the Giants. He joined the team as a free agent in 2009 after seven years with the Seattle Seahawks.”

Pat McQuistan has been re-signed by the Cowboys, and the Associated Press has the story on the twin brother of Seahawks’ lineman Paul McQuistan rejoining the team that drafted him: “The Cowboys have brought back tackle Pat McQuistan two years after trading him to Miami. The signing Monday reunited McQuistan with the team that drafted him in the seventh round in 2006. He played 40 games over three seasons for the Cowboys, including all 16 in 2007 and 2008. McQuistan started eight of 16 games for the Dolphins in 2010, and played 10 games for New Orleans last year.”


Comments Off

Monday cyber surfing: Banks to attend minicamp

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 11:

Brian Banks, who had a workout with the Seahawks last Thursday, will attend the team’s minicamp this Wednesday and Thursday. Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times has the update: “Banks is a 6-foot-2, 239-pound linebacker who participated in a solo audition for the Seahawks last week, performing well enough that coach Pete Carroll invited him back to continue his tryout during Seattle’s final minicamp. Banks will do just that as soon as he gets back from Kansas City, where he will audition for the Chiefs on Tuesday. From there, Banks will head back to Seattle, his agent, Bruce Tollner, confirmed.”

Tim Booth at the Associated Press also has the word on Banks returning to Seattle: “Following the workout, (coach Pete) Carroll said he wanted to bring Banks’ back for the minicamp and see him on the field. Banks initially hesitated saying he needed to speak with his agent about his other options, causing Carroll to joke that he needed to recruit Banks yet again.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at the QB situation as the team moves into its only full-squad minicamp, which remains an open competition: “(Tarvaris) Jackson also has the most experience in a group that includes Matt Flynn, who’s made two NFL starts, and rookie Russell Wilson. The 29-year-old Alabama State product has a 17-17 record in 34 NFL starts. ‘Russell and Matt both have ground to make up because they’re learning new systems,’ Carroll said. ‘And they both are doing exceedingly well at that, but they have more ground to make up. T-Jack has more familiarity after all the years he was with Bev (Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who coached Jackson while both were in Minnesota).’ ”

Tom Cable was on 710 ESPN with Bob and Groz and Brady Henderson has the highlights from the interview with the team’s offensive line coach at mynorthwest.com: “ ‘I’m personally disappointed in how we protected the quarterback, and we’ve made that a big emphasis to clean it up,’ Cable said.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has three under-the-radar moves for the Seahawks this offseason, including re-signing their own players: “Seattle spent the previous two offseasons adding “name” players from elsewhere. Sidney Rice, Robert Gallery and Zach Miller were examples in 2011. Keeping your own guys doesn’t always feel like progress, but it’s part of the building process. (Red) Bryant and Marshawn Lynch were the big re-signings. Paul McQuistan, Michael Robinson, Leroy Hill, Matt McCoy and Heath Farwell re-signed as unrestricted free agents. Bringing back Marcus Trufant could factor into the equation as well. Might the long-time starter be reborn as a nickel corner?”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at rookies Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin, teammates at Utah State and once again with the Seahawks: “Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin were walking out of a class at Utah State last fall when the conversation turned to the inevitable: Their imminent NFL careers. And who could blame them. Wagner was the leading tackler for the Aggies, while Turbin was in the process of fashioning a 1,517-yard, 23-touchdown season. The NFL wasn’t just calling this productive duo, it was screaming. ‘We talked for like an hour about what we were going to do when we got to the NFL,’ Wagner recalled this week, cracking the slightest of smiles. ‘We didn’t know we’d end up here together. I just knew that no matter which team he went to I was going to root for him, and he was going to root for me.’ As it turned out, these two would end up sharing more than a first name and an alma mater. The Seahawks selected Wagner in the second round of the NFL Draft to compete for the starting middle linebacker spot that open when three-time leading tackler David Hawthorne signed with the New Orleans Saints in free agency. The club then added Turbin in the fourth round, to supply the physicality required in the running game on those occasions when leading-rusher Marshawn Lynch needs a breather or can’t play. ‘We’ve talked about that, too; just how crazy it is that we ended up in the same spot,’ Wagner said. ‘We’re going to try and put Utah State on the map. I don’t think we could have asked for it to turn out any better.’ ”

For a look at the rest of the league, there’s Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com, which includes this note on the Seahawks: “I think I can’t get too fired up about the Seahawks losing two June practices because of contact during sessions that were supposed to be non-contact. As former player and now media maven Ross Tucker said: ‘It reminds me of recruiting violations against a college football power. Pretty much everybody does it to some extent and the only question is which college powerhouse, or in this case NFL team, gets this year’s slap on the wrist. The only way NFL teams get caught is if a player turns the team in to the NFLPA or there is something as egregious as a couple of injuries and a fight breaks out that the media is there to report on, which is what happened in Seattle. Plus, live contact during OTAs is inevitable. As long as the cameras are on, the coaches are evaluating and forming opinions. If coaches are forming opinions, players will continue to increase their intensity so that they look good until it escalates to an unacceptable level per the CBA rules.’ ”


Friday cyber surfing: Lynch leads the way

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 8:

Steve Wyche at NFL.com looks at teams that feature a running back who could help lead them to the playoffs in this Era of the QB, and includes the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch: “Lynch rushed for 12 touchdowns and 1,204 yards last season, and the Seahawks still finished 7-9. Not much has changed in that Seattle is still unsteady at quarterback, regardless of whether Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson or Russell Wilson starts. The rising defense could be better and more opportunistic, and if one of the quarterbacks minimizes turnovers, it could provide enough low-risk opportunity for Lynch’s production to translate into wins. Every opponent knows slowing Lynch is the first priority, but that was the case last season, too. If the quarterback play improves moderately, more opportunities could open up for Lynch and he could be even more productive.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com looked at the Seahawks’ backup situation to Lynch during his chat on Thursday: “Seattle used a 2012 fourth-round choice for Robert Turbin. The team also added Kregg Lumpkin in free agency. Both are bigger than former backup Justin Forsett. That was by design. The Seahawks now have multiple backs with the size to carry the ball on early downs, but it’s too early to know whether the team could maintain its physical approach on offense without Lynch. It wasn’t possible last season. Now, it’s possible, but no sure thing.”

Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. has his Top 10 breakout players in the NFC for the 2012 season and Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright is at No. 9. It’s an Insider feature at ESPN.com, so requires registration and a fee. But here’s what he said about Wright: “As a fourth-round rookie in 2011, he did a nice job of replacing veteran Aaron Curry at OLB, and he finished with 65 tackles and eight tackles for loss. He is good versus the run, a physical player and wrap-up tackler, and he has good instincts. He identifies the play quickly, and he is better in pass coverage than you might think. He has the skill set to move to MLB in this 4-3 defense if the Seahawks don’t get more comfortable with their personnel at that position. At strongside LB, he lines up a lot next to sack artist DE Chris Clemons (11 sacks in 2011), forming a tough duo to block for an offensive line.”

The big story Thursday, of course, was Brian Banks performing well enough in his workout with the Seahawks that he was invited back for a tryout in next week’s minicamp.

Sando offers his thoughts and observations on the situation: “The excitement over the possibilities was palpable. Carroll called Banks a ‘solid natural athlete’ with ‘good natural quickness’ and flexibility. But after a wrongful conviction ended Banks’ high school career and sent him to prison for six years, the 26-year-old prospect faces long odds. Carroll: ‘We’re going to support the chance and have a vision for what he could become more than what he is today and see where it goes.’ ”

Also offering their thoughts and observations:

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times: “Now 26, Banks stands 6 feet 2, 239 pounds and can still run 40 yards in less than 4.7 seconds. It was his grace, though, that was most striking when he answered questions after the workout Thursday, wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned, “XONR8.” Instead of looking back at what he’s lost, Banks talked about the possibilities that have opened up in the weeks since his exoneration. ‘The opportunities that I’ve received, men dream of those days,’ Banks said. ‘They get up every morning, they work hard for that type of offer. I just want to make sure that I’m prepared.’ “

Eric Williams at the News Tribune: “Can you blame Brian Banks for feeling like he was floating on air Thursday morning, taking questions from a throng of local and national reporters? Minutes earlier, the exonerated former high school star linebacker had just been told by Seattle coach Pete Carroll that he had earned an invitation to next week’s minicamp after a productive workout at the team’s facility, conducted by Seattle linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. ‘I really don’t have a word for it. It’s just a dream come true,’ Banks said. ‘A lot of people work hard to get to this point. I’ve also worked hard myself. And I’m just thankful for this opportunity.’ ”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald: “And Banks’ feel-good story isn’t over yet. While the 26-year-old knows better than anyone the uphill battle he is fighting to make an NFL roster for the first time, Banks did do enough at his workout for the Seahawks to ask him to come back for a tryout at next week’s three-day minicamp. ’Now, I understand that we don’t know how that’s going to work out yet,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, ‘but I was really proud to be able to say that to him and the light in his eye, the emotion that was running through him throughout the day and at that moment was amazing.’ “

Art Thiel at sportspress northwest: “For every Seattle sports fan pulling mightily against the success of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals, take a break. For a few minutes, try pulling FOR something. If you don’t feel better after pulling for Brian Banks, something’s wrong. You must be Howard Schulz. You don’t even have to know the cruel backstory to appreciate a top-tier athlete who says, ‘I’m more appreciative of this chance than deserving of it.’ As soon as Banks said that Thursday morning at the Seahawks’ indoor practice field, he won over every fan and media skeptic who has had it up to here with entitled athletes.”

Tim Booth at the Associated Press: “From a football perspective, there is still plenty left for Banks to prove. He first must decide whether to accept the Seahawks’ minicamp offer. Banks’ agent, Bruce Tollner, said Thursday afternoon that he had yet to speak with Banks about the offer, but that Banks tentatively has visits scheduled with five other teams. ‘An invitation back to Seattle is a very positive thing that he’ll want to consider, we just need to check his schedule,’ Tollner said.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got Banks’ big day covered in words and video: “ ‘This is by far the second-best day of my life,’ Banks said. ‘May 24th, my day of exoneration, and just today. To be out here on this field, to workout with the Seahawks, to be given an opportunity to have a tryout, I really don’t have words for it. This is a dream come true. I know a lot of people work hard to get to this point. I’ve also worked hard myself. I’m just thankful for this opportunity.’ Things went well enough during his workout that Banks has been offered a tryout at next week’s minicamp. Somebody definitely owes Banks, now 26, something. But he doesn’t look at it that way. ‘I feel more appreciative for the opportunity than I feel deserving,’ he said.”

You also can watch the Q&A sessions with Banks and Carroll.


Comments Off

Thursday cyber surfing: Secondary to none

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 7:

Vinnie Iyer at SportingNews.com ranks the safeties in the league and puts Earl Thomas as No. 3 and Kam Chancellor at No. 7: “In just two years at free safety, Thomas has delivered on his promise to be the heir apparent to (Ed) Reed’s ballhawking throne. He’s already racked up 174 tackles and seven interceptions through two seasons and earned his first Pro Bowl appearance last year. The Seahawks have allowed him to roam free in Pete Carroll’s defense, and Thomas has responded by displaying exceptional range. … Chancellor joined Thomas in representing the Seahawks in Hawaii, and he’s the ideal complement at strong safety. Although he had four interceptions in 2011, his strength is in smacking around ball carriers as an intimidating presence. Because of size at 6-3, 232 pounds and style, he’s like having an extra powerful linebacker in the back seven.”

Also from Iyer, the best cornerbacks in the league, with Brandon Browner at No. 9: “What a find for Pete Carroll, whose Pac-10 knowledge paid off in turning this Oregon State product from a Calgary Stampeder to a Pro Bowl Seahawk. It’s unusual for a corner with Browner’s size (6-4, 221) to be so fluid in coverage. In starting every game last season, he racked up a league-leading 23 passes defended and six interceptions (including two returned for touchdowns). If he comes through with another big year in Carroll’s scheme, he will shoot up this list.”

For those scoring at home, the Seahawks were the only team to have two players selected at one spot, as well as the only team to have three players ranked overall – one more than the Chiefs and 49ers.

Pete Carroll made the radio rounds yesterday to discuss, among other things, the team’s final two OTA practices being cancelled by the league. Mike Sando at ESPN.com has the highlights: “ ‘There was a little pushing thing that happened on the practice field a week ago, there was an article written about it, that did draw their attention and that is what came up,’ Carroll said. ‘They said, ‘We’re going to come up and check you out.’ They did. The guy who came out, he loved what we did, he said it was the best OTA he has ever seen. We thought we were on track, but then when they went back and looked at some other stuff (on video), they thought we were getting after it too much.’ ”

Sando also expands his item on the backup QBs in the NFC West from yesterday to include the entire league.

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the lessons learned by rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane during the team’s OTA practices: “As Deon Butler exploded off the line on his way to chasing down a deep pass from Russell Wilson, rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane matched the speedy receiver step for step and was there to go up and make the interception. Later, Lane was there to tip away a pass that was intended for Phil Bates in the end zone. Lane then completed his trifecta of impressive plays by shielding 6-foot-6 receiver Kris Durham from a catchable pass that sailed incomplete. All of this happened on Tuesday, just before Seahawks coach Pete Carroll informed his players that the final two OTA practices were being cancelled after the league determined the team had violated the rules on contact during one its sessions. In the wake of that news, it’s nice to know that the work the players already had done is paying off. Say what? Allow Lane to explain. ‘In college, I was kind of bad at it,’ he said when asked about his ability to make plays on the ball when it’s in the air. ‘But since I’ve been here, we do a lot of ball drills. So it’s helped me out a lot.’ ”

We’ve also got coach Pete Carroll talking about Brian Banks’ tryout today in words and video: “ ‘He’s a young man that has an opportunity to get a second chance at his dream,’ Carroll said. ‘I just think he deserves it and we’re going to give him a really good look and a serious look, and if he does well and we like him we’re going to try to get him to come to minicamp (next week).’ Banks, 26, served 62 months of his six-year sentence. A judge in Long Beach, Calif., threw out his kidnapping and rape conviction last month after looking at a videotape of his accuser admitting she lied.”

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a look at Lofa Tatupu’s return to the NFL with the Falcons: “Tatupu, a Pro Bowl selection his first three seasons in the NFL, did not play last season after the Seahawks released him following a six-year career. He started all 16 games in 2010 after playing only five games in 2009 with pectoral and hamstring injuries. While there was much speculation that the effects of concussions and other injuries caused Tatupu to miss last season, he insists he was healthy. The phone simply did not ring. ‘It wasn’t my choice,’ Tatupu said. ‘I think that’s kind of what happened to veterans across the league. … But it wasn’t anything to do with concussions or lingering injuries. I was ready to play last season. I got released, like a lot of people did, and I just didn’t catch on with anybody.’ ”


Comments Off

Wednesday cyber surfing: A sudden end to OTA practices

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 6:

All the hubbub, of course, is over the Seahawks losing two OTA practices – the final two, scheduled for today and tomorrow – because the NFL Management Council and NFL Players Association deemed they had violated the rules regarding contact in one of their sessions.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times offers his take: “Teams are allotted 10 days of OTAs in the offseason, but those workouts are restricted to less than two hours. And players can wear helmets, but not pads. There are to be no contact drills, according to the new collective-bargaining agreement the owners and players signed last year. The league’s rules also stipulate the workouts must be filmed. The league did not specify what the violation was or when it occurred, only that a workout included live contact.”

So did Eric Williams at the News Tribune, John Boyle at the Everett Herald, Marc Sessler at NFL.com, Bob and Groz at 710 ESPN and Curtis Crabtree at 950 KJR.

But Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers this observation: “I’ve attended a couple OTA practices in Seattle without noticing anything that seemed to qualify as unusually rough. Practices were spirited. There were a couple shoving matches. Players seemed to be competing hard. Those seemed like good things at the time.”

Sando also takes a look at the Seahawks’ back QB situation, which is difficult because they’re still trying to determine who the starter will be: “(Matt) Flynn passed for 731 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions in his two career starts, both with Green Bay. He’s the projected favorite to start for the Seahawks. It’s likely a bad thing in the big picture if Flynn fails to win the starting job this season, but the backup quarterback situation would improve under such a scenario. (Tarvaris) Jackson was 7-7 as the Seahawks’ starter last season despite playing through a torn pectoral muscle. He has a 17-17 career record as a starter. Those numbers should be comforting if Jackson is the backup. (Russell) Wilson has a strong arm, has shown instant command of the offense and possesses ample intangibles. He has never played even in an NFL exhibition setting, however, so it’s premature to say he’s ready for the backup role. Like the Cardinals, the Seahawks will take a potential starter into the regular season as a backup. They could do worse and did last season.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got Pete Carroll’s complete response to the OTA cancellations in words and video.

But we also take a look at Breno Giacomini’s late-starting road to becoming the Seahawks’ starting right tackle through the eyes of line coach Tom Cable: “Cable admits he didn’t exactly have the full book on Giacomini when he was hired last year. ‘I knew the name. I didn’t know a lot about him,’ Cable said. ‘But right away you could see that he had a skill set that was pretty cool; just had to refine it to fit our system. We did that, he took to it and every time you coached him he’d just get a little better and a little better. Then, opportunity knocked. He gets a chance to go in and play right tackle a bunch and he just took it and ran with it. And he did a fantastic job.’ ”


Comments Off

Tuesday cyber surfing: Breakout season for Okung

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 5:

John Clayton at ESPN.com has a photo blog of the Top 10 Breakout Players for the 2012 season, and Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung shares the No. 10 spot with Trent Williams of the Redskins: “Entering their third seasons, the top two left tackles from the 2010 draft should start to claim their Pro Bowl spots. Okung has to stay healthy and Williams needs to be more consistent.”

Also at ESPN.com, Mike Sando looks at the previous-coach or -coaches draft choices in the NFC West as one reason the 49ers have the edge over the other three teams: “The Mike Nolan era in San Francisco produced more heartache than the 49ers would care to revisit, but the long-term legacy isn’t so bad. Eleven draft choices, including eight current starters and five Pro Bowl selections, remain on the 49ers’ roster from the Nolan era. The other NFC West teams have a combined eight of their own draft choices from the same 2005-2008 window. That includes six starters and no Pro Bowl selections for the Seahawks, Cardinals and Rams.”

Sando also provides updated roided-out rosters for the teams in the division.

Eric Williams at the News Tribune addressed the Seahawks’ possible record during a Monday chat: “I think Seattle can win 10 games if the team stays relatively healthy. But I really think this team will go as the defense goes. As long as the offense plays mistake-free football and puts the ball in the end zone when they are inside the 20-yard line, the Seahawks can win a lot of games. But the defense and the swagger they play with will carry this team.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at Justin Forsett’s stay with the Seahawks after he agreed to sign with the Texans in free agency: “Once Seattle decided it wanted a bigger, more physical running back to pair with (Marshawn) Lynch, Forsett no longer had a role. But Forsett doesn’t deserve to be characterized as if he were a hangnail who were got trimmed off, either. He’s much more than an afterthought, though, who will be remembered as the undersized overachiever that he was. He was a great teammate and a more productive player than anyone had a right to expect from a seventh-round pick. Remember all the time and money Seattle spent on free agents? Guys like Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett and Edgerrin James. Well, Forsett averaged more yards per carry than all of them.”

Bucky Brooks at NFL.com takes a look at the two-tight end sets that are sweeping the league, and will be featured more by the Seahawks after the recent acquisition of Kellen Winslow: “In the past, offensive coordinators would employ this tactic primarily in the red zone, but more play-callers are taking advantage of these matchups by aligning the tight end in a wide position to get him isolated on linebackers or defensive backs in space. The quarterback will capitalize on the matchup by targeting the tight end on fades (back-shoulder fades) and slants. Given the superior size advantage, this becomes a high-percentage throw that is nearly indefensible.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we examine the roots of “The Real Rob Report,” the behind-the-scenes look at the team that is provided by Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson: “This isn’t something that has just happened the past few months, or even years. Robinson has been planning for his long-term future since he was at Penn State. In December 2004, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising/public relations – in only three years. Because the school did not have sports broadcasting program until his senior year, Robinson got a second degree in journalism a year later. Robinson’s first on-camera reporting gig was covering Penn State basketball games. From that acorn of an assignment, the tree that is ‘The Real Rob Report’ has blossomed. In 2006, his rookie season with the San Francisco 49ers, Robinson started doing ‘The Rookie Report.’ That morphed into ‘The Real Robinson Report,’ which became ‘The Real Rob Report’ last offseason.”


Comments Off

Monday cyber surfing: Best secondary in the NFL? It’s the Seahawks

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

Brady Henderson at 710 ESPN offers highlights from Tim Hasselbeck’s appearance on the Brock and Salk show, including: “Hasselbeck pointed to the Seahawks’ two Pro Bowl safeties, two towering cornerbacks and overall depth as reasons he thinks Seattle has the best secondary in the league. Hasselbeck said Kam Chancellor is better than Arizona’s Adrian Wilson – who’s considered one of the top strong safeties in the league – and predicted a breakout season for Earl Thomas, a Pro Bowl starter in 2011. Hasselbeck: ‘When Marcus Trufant is your fourth corner, that’s a good thing. That is a very good thing in terms of depth for your secondary.’ “

Speaking of Trufant, Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at the veteran corner, who admits he missed the game while sitting out the final 12 games last season: “At a recent offseason workout, Marcus Trufant quickly broke on a pass out in the flat, swatting it away from rookie receiver Jermaine Kearse before he could haul it in. That’s the feeling Trufant longed for while watching from the sideline most of the 2011 season because of a balky back. ‘I learned that I love football because I missed it sitting out,’ said Trufant, who has fought back issues since 2009 and was placed on the season-ending injured reserve with a bruised sacrum after four games last season.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has highlights from his appearance on 710 ESPN with John Clayton, including: “Clayton asked about the Seahawks’ quarterback situation. The answer I gave was lacking in nutritional value. It’s simply too early to pass judgment. Newcomers Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson have never played a game for the team. They have never even participated in a padded practice with the team. We have no idea how they’ll fare. Wilson impressed initially relative to reasonable rookie expectations. Flynn has done fine without wowing. Tarvaris Jackson represents the known and an insurance policy at this point.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we also check in with Trufant, who is settling into a new role: “Of all the things Trufant has done for the Seahawks in his nine-season career – which is a lot – he’s never done this. Not make a play. That has become routine, as Trufant has tackled (604), picked (21) and tipped (113) his way into the franchise’s Top 10 in all three categories. But for the first time in his career, Trufant is playing as the nickel back during the team’s OTA practices. ‘It’s brand new,’ Trufant said Friday, after the Seahawks wrapped up the second week of their OTA sessions. ‘It’s a lot of carryover, but it is new. So I’m learning on the fly. I’m in the film room. I’m just trying to get better at it. It’s a process. I’ll be all right, though.’ ”

We’ve also got a “look” at Doug Baldwin’s one-handed catch from Friday’s OTA practice: “The Seahawks not only wrapped up the second week of their OTA practices today, Doug Baldwin wrapped a bow around the drizzle-drenched session with a one-handed catch that had to be seen to really appreciate. Since that can’t happen, an explanation will have to suffice. ‘It was a regular corner route,’ said Baldwin, the team’s leading receiver as a rookie last season. ‘The nickel corner that was playing me (rookie Jeremy Lane) kind of leaned to the outside, so I had to go over the top of him and Matt (Flynn) put the ball in a place where only I could get it.’ Even more impressive was why Baldwin made the one-handed grab for a 35-yard gain. ‘You use these practices like a project, so sometimes you do things you wouldn’t normally do to try and make yourself better,’ he said. ‘So I’m working on my ability to go up in different ways to catch the ball.’ ”

John McClain at the Houston Chronicle has the word on Justin Forsett signing with the Texans: “Forsett, 27, gives the Texans three veteran running backs with Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Forsett worked out for the Texans last week.”

Teresa Walker of the Associated Press has a look at the Titans’ QB situation, which includes a couple of passers with ties to Seattle: “… the Titans kicked their quarterback battle into a new gear with their first on-field training activities last week. The Titans are letting Hasselbeck, who quarterbacked the Seattle Seahawks from 2001-10, and Jake Locker, the eighth pick overall in 2011 out of Washington, compete to be the starting quarterback this season. The veteran got the ball first in team drills last week, and Hasselbeck said he’s approaching this year as he does every year. ‘The advice I give to guys over the years is you’re not really competing with the guys at your position,’ Hasselbeck said last week. ‘It’s probably a faulty view of things. At this level, you’re competing with everyone in the world they could find to replace you with whether they’re here yet or not, and you know I almost learned that lesson the hard way this offseason. That’s just reality.’ ”

For a look around the league, there’s Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com.


Friday cyber surfing: Reflections on the Winslow trade

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 1:

John Clayton at ESPN.com writes about a topic we’ve been wondering about: How the heck did the Seahawks acquire Kellen Winslow for a seventh-round draft choice? Says Clayton: “(Buccaneers) coach Greg Schiano wanted to show that he is control of his new team. Knowing Winslow missed the first week of voluntary OTAs and wouldn’t be able to practice much during the season because of knee problems, Schiano shipped Winslow to the Seahawks for a seventh-round choice. Winslow for a seventh? It was a no-brainer for Seattle, and it leaves the Bucs’ tight end position in question. Despite six knee operations, Winslow is a 28-year-old tight end who can catch 70 to 80 passes a season. Seattle coach Pete Carroll couldn’t turn down such a deal.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the Seahawks’ approach to free agency under Carroll and GM John Schneider: “When Schneider arrived in 2010, he inherited a team that was bearing the salary-cap burdens of players like (Deon) Grant, (T.J.) Houshmandzadeh and (Patrick) Kerney, and while the Seahawks have spent millions in free agency since then, the deal for (Jason) Jones shows that Seattle has changed not only the demographics of the players it targets in free agency, but also the way they’re paying those players.”

Former Seahawks QB turned 710 ESPN host Brock Huard offers his impressions from Wednesday’s OTA practice, including: “Lastly, enough about Russell Wilson’s height. Like Barack Obama’s birth certificate, can we end this nonsense that he is shorter than what the combine listed him? Danny Fortson went from 6-feet-9 in college to 6-feet-6 for the Sonics for a reason: basketball guys exaggerate their height. Heel to heel, toes out, the combine doesn’t lie. Wilson is just under 5-feet-11. Just like the story isn’t about Obama’s birthplace but about his productivity, the same measure should be made about Wilson. Wilson had a very solid day, throwing more accurately than he did a week ago and flashing the “resourcefulness” that Carroll covets from the position. While Jackson continued to show why he is average and Matt Flynn actually missed a few targets, Wilson was steady. While the job won’t be won in May or June, this practice film will be dissected and studied in the months ahead, and the corresponding stats taken from the film will play a role in assembling the depth chart down the road.”

Chris Burke at SI.com takes a look at the NFC West rival Cardinals, who host the Seahawks in their regular-season opener: “The Cardinals have one of the league’s best weapons on offense in wide receiver (Larry) Fitzgerald, and the dynamic (Patrick) Peterson gives them hope for a similar game-changer on defense. This team is also not all that far removed from the one that captured back-to-back division titles in 2008-09 and made a Super Bowl run. The main difference is under center, where Arizona has traded in Kurt Warner for (Kevin) Kolb and, to a lesser extent, (John) Skelton. Alex Smith and the 49ers proved last season that you can win without consistently great quarterback play, but the Cardinals need one of their two guys to step up and grab the bull by the horns. If that happens, there’s no reason this team can’t compete. Don’t be surprised if Arizona walks away with the NFC West in 2012.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the continuing growth of first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin, who definitely made an impact on one play in Wednesday’s OTA practice: “From the moment the Seahawks selected Bruce Irvin in the first round of the NFL Draft last month, the most impressive – and most talked about – element of his game has been speed. It’s understandable. From the rookie minicamp earlier this month, to the on-going OTA practices, the pass-rushing end from West Virginia has been a blur coming off the edge. But that changed Wednesday, with one I-don’t-believe-what-I-just-saw blow that dropped Breno Giacomini in his tracks. That’s 6-foot-7, 318-pound Breno Giacomini, who anchors the right side of the offensive line like a weight-bearing column. It was a “Down goes Frazier” moment that was as stunning as it remains improbable. As effective as Irvin’s move was, the practice-field countermove that preceded it showed that Irvin’s still-evolving game is more than just speed. ‘That’s the first time that’s ever happened,’ Giacomini said Thursday, after the team had completed a two-hour OTA session in the indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. ‘It was all about timing on that one. But hey, that was a good move. He caught me.’ ”

We’ve also got a look at the soldiers who visited Wednesday practice in this video report by Tony Ventrella.


Comments Off

Thursday cyber surfing: Two tight ends are better than one

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 31:

The team’s OTA practice on Wednesday was open to the media. Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his impressions, including a look at the role of tight end Zach Miller: “While the Seahawks hope (Kellen) Winslow can provide a receiving threat, that doesn’t necessarily mean Miller will spend all his time blocking in the shadows, either. ‘They want me to get out more on some routes moreso than last year, when I was in protection a lot,’ Miller said following practice Wednesday. ‘Then I’ll be in protection sometimes as well. And then with Kellen, I don’t know if you saw him out there today, but he’s such a good receiver, he makes plays on the ball. He is going to be great for us to run in two-tight end packages.’ “

Dave Boling at the News Tribune checks in with Breno Giacomini, who stepped in at right tackle at midseason last year and is still there: “Giacomini was one of the Seahawks’ success stories last season. Having been picked up off the Green Bay practice squad in 2010, he came in and started eight games last season, including the final seven once first-round rookie James Carpenter was lost for the season. When Giacomini was in the lineup during the second half of the season, the Seahawks’ rushing game became one of the most productive in the league. And Giacomini’s knack for physically dominant play perfectly suited the team’s burgeoning aggressive mentality. ‘That’s what we want to do as offensive linemen – not just me, all the O line – is to play really nasty,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s a pass play or run play. And, yeah, sure, I want to be known as that guy.’ ”

Also at the News Tribune, Eric Williams looks at Jason Jones, the free-agent defensive lineman who grew up with Hoop Dreams: “For Detroit native Jason Jones, basketball was his first love. But football served as his ticket to the big stage. ‘Oh yeah, I was hoops,’ Jones said. ‘I grew up — my dad grew up watching Michael Jordan, so watching M.J. all the time. I grew up with the ‘Bad Boys,’ the Pistons, Isiah Thomas and all those guys.’ ”
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times also looks at Jones’ hoop roots: “Jason Jones primarily played basketball in high school, and as a power forward he understands the importance of rebounding. That’s good because the defensive lineman signed a one-year contract with Seattle hoping for a bounce-back year. ‘That’s the mind frame going into it,’ Jones said. ‘Last year was kind of an off year for me.’ “

O’Neil also has the word on the team confirming that it will give Brian Banks a tryout next week: “Banks, 26, has tryouts lined up with six teams, the first of which will be Carroll’s Seahawks. ‘This is what I have dreamed about my entire life,’ Banks said in a statement released by California Western School of Law. ‘I am ready to show the NFL what I am capable of doing. I want as many opportunities with as many NFL teams who are willing to give me a shot.’ “

John Boyle at the Everett Herald also looks at Jones’ background in basketball: “But while basketball was Jones’ passion, football, a sport he took up in the 11th grade, was the sport that netted him a college scholarship at Eastern Michigan. That was Jones’ only scholarship offer, which made picking a college easy, but after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Tennessee Titans, who drafted him in second round of the 2008 draft, Jones had a lot more options when it came to picking his next destination. In the end, Jones, who was one of the top free agent defensive lineman this offseason, signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks. ‘Really, they showed me the most love out here,’ Jones said.

First-round draft choice Bruce Irvin did an interview with Bob and Groz on 710 ESPN, and the co-hosts came to the conclusion that has been apparent watching him in practice – Irvin will have an impact, whether he starts or not.

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the first thing that sticks out about Jones – his length: “What part of Jones’ game stands out most? ‘He’s real long,’ center Max Unger said after the two-hour practice. ‘A guy with long arms can create a bunch of issues, especially inside where you usually have a little more compact type of player. So with a guy like that, who’s real long, it’s a different set of rules you’ve kind of got to follow when you’re blocking somebody like that.’ Did someone say long arms? Jones’ are that, and then some. They were measured at 36 3/8th inches at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2008, when he was selected in the second round of the draft by the Tennessee Titans.”

We also focus on Winslow’s impressive practice in Wednesday in Hawkville: “The former Pro Bowl tight end caught a half dozen passes during the two-hour practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center – in only his third practice with the Seahawks after being acquired in a trade last week with the Buccaneers. His best play came during a two-minute drill, when he not only made a lunging grab of a Matt Flynn pass along the sideline but got out of bounds to stop the clock. The effort prompted linebackers coach Ken Norton to holler, ‘Helluva catch.’ ”

And, we also look back at Carroll’s inaction with fans at a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday night: “The man of the evening, however, was Carroll, who was greeted by impromptu chants of ‘Let’s go Seahawks’ before he could even welcome the choir he was preaching to. Suddenly, the West Club Lounge was a locker room and Carroll was coaxing everyone to, well, ‘Do it better than it’s ever been done before.’ As he would in a game-day situation, Carroll played to his strengths. Not surprisingly, the coach definitely connected. ‘It was awesome,’ said Sue Jessup, a longtime fan from Kirkland. ‘Something like this was necessary years ago – years ago. This doesn’t seem like a lot of effort to make a lot of people get onboard.’ That was exactly the point of the event. ‘I just wanted to be available for them and be here for their questions and just kind of have some fun with them,’ Carroll said after his Q&A session. ‘And also to get a sense for where they’re coming from. They’re obviously very, very supportive and energetic and all that. It was a fun night.’ ”

But wait, there’s still more: Tony Ventrella’s video recap of practice; as well as video of the Q&A sessions with Jones and Unger.


Comments Off