Thursday cyber surfing: Changing of the (left) guard

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

Day Two of free agency for the Seahawks was all about guards, as the team released Robert Gallery, reached agreement on terms with Paul McQuistan and hosted Steve Hutchinson.

Eric Williams at the News Tribune wraps up the situation: “The metamorphosis of the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive line – one of the youngest starting units in the league – continued during the second day of NFL free agency. The Seahawks announced the release of 31-year-old guard Robert Gallery, who limped though his only season in Seattle. Seattle also re-signed versatile offensive lineman Paul McQuistan to undisclosed terms. And the Seahawks hosted a familiar face – and Gallery’s possible replacement – on Wednesday in former left guard Steve Hutchinson.”

The Seahawks also lost tight end John Carlson, who agreed to terms with the Vikings. Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times has the details: “Tight end John Carlson is leaving the Seahawks, having agreed to a five-year, $25 million contract with the Vikings. Carlson was Seattle’s second-round pick in 2008, and in his first two seasons with the Seahawks he twice had more receptions than any tight end in franchise history.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald also has a recap of the Seahawks’ activities: “It probably doesn’t hurt that Hutchinson, a seven-time Pro Bowler, has almost no remaining ties to the organization he left six years ago. The entire front office and coaching staff have been turned over, meaning there shouldn’t be any remaining hostility, and it should also help Seattle’s chances that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell spent five seasons in Minnesota with Hutchinson.”

And Curtis Crabtree at KJR also wraps things up: “So how likely is a Hutchinson return to Seattle? According to columnist Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, very much so. Farmer said on his twitter account Monday that he expected Hutchinson to return to Seattle. He added to that statement after news of Hutchinson’s visit to Seattle came out on Wednesday. ‘As I wrote Monday, unless somebody blows away the Seahawks’ offer, Steve Hutchinson is going back to Seattle.’ “

Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers thoughts on the NFC West from Day Two of free agency: “Seahawks linebacker David Hawthorne plans to visit New Orleans. The Saints should know him well. Hawthorne had a combined 21 tackles and one interception against New Orleans in two games during the 2010 season (one in postseason). He faced the Rams six times when new Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was head coach in St. Louis. Hawthorne is an NFL success story as an undrafted free-agent-turned-starter. Seattle needs help at linebacker whether or not Hawthorne returns. K.J. Wright can move from the strong side to the middle if needed.”

Jason La Canfora at NFL.com continues to monitor the activity around the league, and you can follow along here. He’s got the word on former Dolphins QB Chad Henne agreeing with the Jaguars. Henne had been scheduled to visit the Seahawks.


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Tuesday cyber surfing: March Madness, NFL version

Good morning, and welcome to the start of NFL free agency. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, March 13:

Bucky Brooks at NFL.com gets us in the mood – or more in the mood – as the former NFL wide receiver and scout for the Seahawks offers his all-free agent team. He’s got Red Bryant at one tackle spot: “Bryant has quietly put together a solid career in Seattle as a versatile player along the frontline. He is listed as a defensive tackle on the roster, but he plays like a quasi-five-technique in their hybrid defense. As a result, he is an attractive option for teams looking for a base end to fortify their defensive front.” He’s also got David Hawthorne as one of his linebackers: “Versatility is certainly valued in the NFL, particularly at the linebacker position. Hawthorne possesses the skills to play anywhere on the second level. He has been a productive playmaker controlling the tackle-to-tackle box, but also displays the athleticism and quickness to shoot gaps from a weakside linebacker alignment.”

Peter King at SI.com offers his Top 50 free agents, with Bryant at No. 15 (“Perfect 3-4 end, but can also excel inside in 4-3. Seattle wants to keep him”); and tight end John Carlson at No. 48 (“Missed last year with a torn labrum, but he should be back healthy in 2012”).

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at some possible free agents of interest for the Seahawks: “Armed with at least $30 million in cap space after the league announced the salary cap for the new league year will be $120.6 million, the Seahawks have other, big-name targets in mind, including Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams, Green Bay backup quarterback Matt Flynn and Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times says there’s “a pretty strong buzz” that the Seahawks will pursue Williams, adding: “The Seahawks are not rebuilding so much as they are rebuilt. This offseason isn’t about addition, but avoiding attrition. The Seahawks wanted to re-sign running back Marshawn Lynch. They did. They still want to re-sign defensive end Red Bryant. Linebacker David Hawthorne led the team in tackles the past three years, and he’s a free agent. So is Leroy Hill, making K.J. Wright the only one of Seattle’s three starting linebackers signed for 2012. Beyond that, Seattle’s shopping list is shorter, and a lot more expensive. The Seahawks are seeking a quarterback and someone to sack the quarterback, which count as two of the four most expensive positions in an NFL budget.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the growing trend that has team prioritizing their players in free agency: “Ask pretty much any fan of any NFL team about free agency and they want their team to sign any – and seemingly all – available free agents. Cost and salary-cap ramifications be damned. But there is a growing trend in the league that goes in exactly the opposite direction, and starts with targeting your own players. ‘Our first concern is to take care of our team and take care of the guys that are unrestricted (free agents) on our team and fit that back together,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘We have some room (under the salary cap) and we’re going to be able to do some stuff. But we really want to focus on the guys on our team, and I want that to be a strong message – that we believe the guys that we have put together here are the foundation of a championship team.’ ”

We also continue our series of looks at potential free agents with the running backs.

Randy Moss is back in the league and with a new team – the division rival 49ers. Chris Burke at SI.com has a look at what Moss could mean to the defending NFC West champs: “It’s not as if teams just forgot to sign the eccentric 35-year-old before he announced his (albeit short-lived) retirement prior to last season. His 2010 campaign was a mess, filled with disappointing stops in New England, Minnesota and Tennessee. All told, he caught just 28 passes and looked like a guy on his last legs.”

Peyton Manning? His situation remains fluid, as the Colts’ former QB visited with the Dolphins on Monday (in Indy) and is expect to meet with the Titans today or tomorrow. Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter at ESPN.com say the Titans are trying to entice Manning by possibly signing Steve Hutchinson, the All-Pro guard for the Seahawks and Vikings: “One goal of signing Hutchinson would be to make Tennessee even more appealing to Manning, who is close to the guard from the time they’ve spent together at multiple Pro Bowls in Hawaii.”

Clark Judge at CBSSports.com looks at the potential losers in the sweepstakes to land Manning: “Barring a last-minute entry, Denver, Miami and Arizona are the finalists in the Peyton Manning Sweepstakes, with no indication when Manning makes a decision. The smart money is on Denver, but let’s be honest: Nobody knows who wins and when. What we do know, however, is who could lose – and I can identify at least five guys whose careers and reputations depend on Manning’s next move. They are the few, the proud, the vulnerable, and Manning’s decision has an immediate impact on all – with some affected if he joins them, and others if he does not.”

The NFLDraftScout.com guys have updated mock drafts at CBSSports.com, and they have the Seahawks taking a pitcher (QB Ryan Tannehill) and a catcher (Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd) at No. 12. Here’s Dane Brugler on Tannehill: “With running back Marshawn Lynch re-signed, the Seahawks need to stabilize the quarterback position and Tannehill would give the Seahawks a long-term answer under center. Despite a limited resume at the position, Tannehill has all the physical tools to develop into a quality NFL starter.”

Chad Reuters at NFL.com also has a new mock and gives the Seahawks LSU D-tackle Michael Brockers: “Coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider have been accumulating big, long athletes all over the defense – and Brockers fits that description. Even though his combine workout wasn’t as impressive as (Dontari) Poe’s, some teams still feel the redshirt sophomore has better game film.”


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Wednesday cyber surfing: On Manning, and Lynch

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

The big news around the league, of course, is where Peyton Manning might land now that the Colts have decided to part ways with their iconic QB. Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his thoughts for the teams in the NFC West, including the Seahawks: “The team has a strong base of talent on defense. The running game finished strong last season, with Marshawn Lynch leading the league over the final nine weeks. Sidney Rice, Zach Miller and Doug Baldwin would give Manning weapons in the passing game. Miller was underutilized in the passing game last season. The team needed him in pass protection at times. Also, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson played hurt and held the ball too long. Manning would make fuller use of Miller and the other weapons. Seattle can also offer a talented left tackle if Russell Okung has better luck on the injury front. Seattle also has easily the most appealing facilities in the division. Like Arizona, Seattle can offer a low-key media atmosphere where Manning can focus on football, same as he did in Indy. Manning’s neck injuries remain a concern, but Seattle can offer something on that front as well. Team physician Stan Herring serves on the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times also ponders where Manning might land, and offers this on the Seahawks: “It’s hard to come up with a reason why Seattle wouldn’t be interested. The Seahawks’ proliferation of close losses last season showed just how close they might be to contending, and they don’t have a long-term investment currently in place at quarterback. Also, it’s not like signing Manning would preclude the possibility of developing a younger quarterback behind him. The bigger question is whether Manning would want to come and play in the NFL’s most isolated outpost in a stadium that’s outdoors in a city known for precipitation.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald asks the obvious regarding Manning, and also lets you vote on whether the Seahawks should pursue him: “Now the question for Seahawks – and every other team with a quarterback need, for that matter – is whether Manning is worth pursuing. Manning turns 36 later this month, and missed the entire 2011 season following a series of neck surgeries.”

Dave Boling at the News Tribune says the re-signing of Marshawn Lynch sends a message to the Seahawks’ other players, as well as their fans and even opponents: “No Richter activity was reported for the Puget Sound region Sunday evening, but an announcement from the Seattle Seahawks put the seismic monitors on alert for the next four years. Getting Marshawn Lynch signed to a four-year deal was a ground-shaking investment for a team that has so energetically urged its players and fans to buy in. For a reported $31 million ($18 million guaranteed), the Seahawks locked up one of the game’s most exciting backs through what can be expected to be the prime of his career. This tells Seattle fans: Yes, we hear you. We’re keeping this guy. He’ll keep you on your feet. This tells Seahawks players: You sell out completely, the way we ask, you’ll get paid. This tells rivals in the NFC West: Buckle up.”
Speaking of Lynch, the Seahawks’ leading rusher bought himself a new Seahawks “grill” and you have to see this video to truly appreciate it.

Here at Seahawks.com, nose tackle Brandon Mebane looks beyond the re-signing of Lynch to a couple of other potential free agents he’d like to see retained: “As Mebane sat in his cubicle in the locker room discussing the team re-signing leading rusher Marshawn Lynch this week, he couldn’t overlook the obvious. To Mebane’s left was the cubicle belonging to Red Bryant, Mebane’s best friend on the team and a player who blossomed into a run-stuffing, kick-blocking force in his first full season as a starter. To Mebane’s right was the cubicle of David Hawthorne, the middle linebacker who has led the team in tackles the past three seasons. ‘I’m happy they were able to get Marshawn re-signed,’ Mebane said. ‘But they’ve still got some things they’ve got to take care of.’ ”

The boys at CBSSports.com have a new round of mock drafts, and they have the Seahawks picking … Boston College middle linebacker Luke Keuchly, Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd (twice), Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill (twice) and Stanford guard David DeCastro. Rob Rang is one of those going with Floyd, and here’s why: “Many expect the Seahawks to consider a quarterback to compete with incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson with this selection but in beating the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens last year and matching up well with division champion San Francisco, the club may not be willing to reach to fill a perceived need. Don’t be surprised if Seattle instead turns their attention to other areas of concern like receiver or defensive line. With Sidney Rice’s durability a concern, Seattle might be hard-pressed to let Floyd slip by, especially after he erased any concerns about his speed with a 4.47 showing at 6-3, 220 pounds.”


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All the Wright stuff

Linebacker K.J. Wright tackles 49ers running back Frank Gore from behind for one of his four tackles.

INDIANAPOLIS – Sometimes, you really don’t know just how much you’re going to get from a draft choice.

Take K.J. Wright, which the Seahawks did in the fourth round of last year’s NFL Draft. Wright started games at strongside linebacker (11) and middle linebacker (one). He displayed some pass-rush ability (two sacks), as well as coverage ability (two passes defensed). He finished fifth on the team in tackles (61).

“We expanded his position last year as the season went on because of what he could do,” coach Pete Carroll said the NFL Scouting Combine. “We’re going to continue to do that.”

Now, Wright provides some insurance with middle linebacker David Hawthorne scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month, and also the versatility to be featured in the nickel defense.

“K.J. is a very good coverage guy, and not just what you would typically think of him in man-to-man type of coverage,” Carroll said. “He’s a very good zone (coverage) player. He has great feel for it and sense. It didn’t matter whether we were playing at the (middle) linebacker spot or we played him outside. He just has a feel for things.

“So that all carries over to nickel. He’s also a good one-on-one guy. As long as he is (6 feet 4), most guys would think that that would be difficult for him. But he has a great sense of it, and we think that’s an area that we will certainly experiment. We really expect him to be a big part of the middle package this year.”

Carroll said he would prefer to leave Wright at outside linebacker in the base defense, but added, “He gives us some flexibility. We’ll just have to wait it out (in free agency).”


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Friday cyber surfing: Combine prompts QB questions

INDIANAPOLIS – Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Feb. 24:

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times wonders if the Seahawks will select a quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft: “The Seahawks are looking for a quarterback in the draft every year, said general manager John Schneider. One year they might even get around to picking one. It hasn’t happened since Schneider and coach Pete Carroll took over in 2010, and entering the third season of their regime, quarterback remains Seattle’s long-term question mark. So will this be the year, then? In a draft class headlined by quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor, is Seattle going to pony up the king’s ransom it would take to vault toward the top of the draft? Or will the Seahawks instead opt for one of the next tier of prospects at that position, someone like Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill, Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins or Arizona State’s Brock Osweiler?”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune also looks at the prospects of the Seahawks’ quest to upgrade the QB position: “Through the draft, free agency or trade, Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider understands he has some options available to improve the talent level at quarterback. Or he could just stand pat, bringing back starter Tarvaris Jackson and backups Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis for another season, in the hope that all three continue to show improvement.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got a recap of Schneider’s session with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday: “The NFL Scouting Combine is all about evaluating the pool of talent that will be available in April’s NFL Draft. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing on John Schneider’s mind this week. Far from it. The Seahawks’ third-year general manager also continues to work on signing players who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next month. The list of what Schneider called “a pretty cool group of unrestricted free agents” is topped by leading rusher Marshawn Lynch, but also includes kick-blocking and disruptive defensive end Red Bryant, middle linebacker and leading tackler David Hawthorne, Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson, veteran linebacker Leroy Hill and tight end John Carlson, among others. ‘We’re getting to the point now where we feel strongly about some of our own guys; we’d like to take care of those guys first,’ Schneider said Thursday when asked about free agency during a two-part, 45-minute Q&A session at Lucas Oil Stadium – which started at a podium in the interview room and then moved to the side after his allotted time had expired. ‘We’re trying to knock those guys out.’ ”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers some NFC West “closing thoughts” from Thursday, including these for the Seahawks: “GM John Schneider expressed strong appreciation for what defensive end Red Bryant adds in the locker room. He pointed to Bryant as a core player. Bryant could still consider opportunities elsewhere, but the fit is perfect in Seattle. Bryant should have more value to the Seahawks than to other teams, in my view. Schneider also said the franchise tag is an option for running back Marshawn Lynch in the absence of a long-term agreement. I considered that a given and arguably more appealing to the team than committing longer-term money at a position where durability can be fleeting.”

Bucky Brooks at NFL.com takes a look at what fans of all 32 teams should be looking for at the Combine, including this one for the Seahawks: “Pete Carroll has built his offense around the versatile talents of Marshawn Lynch, but the Seahawks’ feature back is a free agent and could depart to greener pastures. To guard against his defection, the Seahawks’ personnel staff will focus their attention on Miami RB Lamar Miller and Virginia Tech RB David Wilson. If the Seahawks look to address one of their defensive needs at pick No. 12, the evaluations of USC DE Nick Perry and North Carolina LB Zach Brown could become major parts of a draft-day discussion.”

Don Banks at SI.com has some “Snap Judgments” from Thursday, including: “USC offensive left tackle Matt Kalil seems to know his place in life. He has a father who was an NFL guard (Frank Kalil) and an older brother who’s the highest-paid center in league history (Carolina’s Ryan Kalil, a 2007 second-round pick). So, what else could he have possibly been in life besides an NFL offensive lineman? ‘For my dad, ‘Let’s play football’ means let’s go do kick steps and let’s work O-line drills,’ said Matt Kalil, who could go as high as No. 2 to the Rams. ‘My first time going to Servite (his Orange County, Calif., high school) I tried to play tight end as a freshman and my dad went on the field and said, ‘No, he’s playing left tackle.’ That pretty much ended that dream. I would have been a sweet tight end. Maybe like Anthony Munoz catching touchdowns.’ ”


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Friday cyber surfing: Sky’s the limit for Robinson

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Feb. 17:

So, how did you celebrate your birthday? Michael Robinson went sky diving. You can check out the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl fullback, who turned 29 on Feb. 6, in this video from his website – RealRobReport.com.

A lot is being written and said about what the Seahawks should do to secure another quarterback. But general manager John Schneider tells Seahawks.com that there is one thing that definitely won’t happen as the team prepares for the NFL Scouting Combine next week and the start of free agency next month: “ ‘I just know if you panic at the position, it can set the organization back. So we’re not going to do that,’ he said. Regardless of the volume of those outside voices. ’That may disappoint fans, because they want to see an instant guy and have that instant success. But really, you’re better off continuing to build your team. Initially when I got here, I thought we were going to plug the quarterback in and we were going built around him. If we had done that, we would have panicked in a way. And I’m not sure we would have been able to host the Saints (in the 2010 wild-card playoff game) and had that great atmosphere and all that.’ ”

Chris Burke at SI.com has a “Free Agency Primer” for the NFC West, and has this to say about the Seahawks: “(Marshawn) Lynch and the linebackers (David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill), that’s where Seattle will land most of its attention. Bringing back “Beast Mode” is the key to the offseason, but the Seahawks could have upwards of $12 million to spend in free agency, so they’ll have to decide how much of that to throw at their defensive players (including Red Bryant).”

Since Cortez Kennedy was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame almost two weeks ago, there has been more talk – and more written – about those who did not enter the Hall than those who did. Jason Cole at YahooSports.com has had enough: “I’m officially sick of Cris Carter and the cries of injustice over his exclusion from the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the fourth consecutive year. I’m tired of people ripping the Hall of Fame selection process, as faulty as it might be, because some guy who happened to score 130 touchdowns didn’t get in. Likewise, I don’t want to hear about Charles Haley, Andre Reed, Eddie DeBartolo or Bill Parcells or anybody else who hasn’t made it yet. Ultimately, they’re all going to get in. I’ll bet anybody a 12-pack of cheap Mexican beer that every single one of those guys will make it – some day and some day probably very soon. That day just didn’t happen to be earlier this month. … Or maybe you want to argue about center Dermontti Dawson or left tackle Willie Roaf? They each happen to be considered among the top two or three players ever at their respective positions. How about Chris Doleman or Cortez Kennedy, two of the most disruptive defensive players in the history of the game? Should one of them step aside?”

As for the give-us-this-day-our-daily-Peyton-Manning item, Peter Schrager at FoxSports.com says it’s time for the Colts’ iconic QB to step aside: “I, obviously, can’t tell Peyton Manning what to do with his career. No one can. And as a fan, I know I’m supposed to want to see him on that field, suiting up as the starting quarterback for one of the league’s 32 NFL franchises next August. But I don’t. I want the NFL to stay on top, I want Manning to go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game with no asterisks or freakish ‘yeah, buts’ tagged to his post-career write-up, and I want to see him as one of the central figures on my Sunday afternoons for years to come. Nine out of 10 doctors and 99 out of 100 sports marketing experts may disagree, but I’m with Charles Barkley on this one. Hang it up, Peyton.”


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Free agency and the Draft

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

Mike Sando at ESPN.com takes a look at the Seahawks who are scheduled to become free agents: “The Seahawks’ top priorities in free agency appear clear, at least when it comes to their own players. Re-sign running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant.”

Sando also has a NFC West “Draft Primer,” and has this to say about the Seahawks: “Finding a long-term quarterback remains the top priority for the Seahawks, but once again the planets appear reluctant to align for them. Parting with Matt Hasselbeck and passing over Andy Dalton have left Seattle with Tarvaris Jackson and developmental quarterback Josh Portis. Chasing after Peyton Manning could make sense for the Seahawks. They have good young players. Adding a front-line quarterback could put them over the top in the division. Linebacker has replaced the offensive line as a primary need for the Seahawks. That should not be the case, in theory, because the team had so much invested in a couple of relatively young linebackers. Aaron Curry and Lofa Tatupu are gone, however, and David Hawthorne is a free agent. The team could move K.J. Wright into the middle.”

Former NFL executive Jeff Diamond at SI.com takes a look at both in this offseason assessment of the Seahawks: “Team Needs: QB, T, DE. The Seahawks want to find a potential elite QB to replace Tarvaris Jackson, but they’re in a tough spot. Picking at 11 or 12 in the first round, it’s too far to trade up for one of the top two. Perhaps they can get a shot at Ryan Tannehill, the third-ranked QB. In free agency, they would have interest in Matt Flynn, but Miami (with Joe Philbin) has a leg up unless the Dolphins can sign Peyton. The Seahawks also must improve their pass protection after giving up 50 sacks, so they will draft offensive linemen in the early rounds. A better possibility in the first round is a pass-rushing DE to play opposite Chris Clemons (such as Melvin Ingram of South Carolina or perhaps a trade up for Quinton Coples). The Seahawks also should seek a vet WR from the strong free agent class. And they may have to franchise Marshawn Lynch after his strong season (1,204 rushing yards, 12 TDs).”

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com has a new mock draft at CBSSports.com, but a familiar pick for the Seahawks: “Devon Still, DT, Penn State. Many expect the Seahawks to consider a quarterback to compete with incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson with this selection but in beating the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens last year, and matching up well with division champion San Francisco, the club may not be willing to reach to fill a perceived need. Don’t be surprised if Seattle instead turns its attention to a bounty of talented defensive linemen likely to be selected in the top 15. Still, a 6-4, 310-pound defensive tackle, showed his talent and despite all of the distractions in Happy Valley last year, was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year. Still could help inside at defensive tackle as well as provide the Seahawks with some flexibility at the five technique defensive end position should incumbent starter Red Bryant be heavily pursued in free agency.”

Whatever happened to Randall Morris? We catch up with the former running back here at Seahawks.com: “Morris, 49, owns Final Clean, a company that prepares just-constructed buildings so the tenants can move in. ‘I never left the Seattle area,’ he said. ‘I’m from Long Beach, Calif., and I didn’t want to raise my family down there. This is a much nicer place.’ ”

We also have a look in photos of the Top 10 moments from the 2011 season, as well as a video report of Walter Thurmond, Kris Durham, John Moffitt, Matt McCoy, Jameson Konz and Brandon Mebane delivering “baskets of hope” at Children’s Hospital.

 


Photoblog: Overtime and Out.

The Seahawks traveled to the Valley of the Sun for the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams sought a victory to finish the season with an 8-8 record, but the Cardinals prevailed in overtime, 23-20.

The roster says he's a rookie but receiver Ricardo Lockette looked All-Pro in a three-piece suit as he boarded the team charter.

Upon arrival in Phoenix, Tarvaris Jackson walks from the plane to the buses in the warm sunshine.

On game day, injured left tackle Russell Okung talks with general manager John Schneider during the early warmup period.

Rookie receiver Doug Baldwin listens to music as they players make final preparations to take the field.

Players including Chris Maragos gather for their traditional team prayer shortly before leaving the locker room prior to kickoff.

Chris Clemons takes a moment to himself on the sidelines as the Seahawks wait for the Cardinals to be introduced.

Leon Washington is brought down after a gain in the first quarter.

Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson stiff-arms Arizona's Daryl Washington in the backfield.

Arizona's dangerous receiver Larry Fitzgerald is brought down by Seahawks linebacker David Hawthorne, who led Seattle's defense with nine tackles.

Seahawks defensive tackle Alan Branch breaks through to sack Arizona quarterback John Skelton.

Running back Leon Washington dives for the corner of the end zone to score Seattle's first touchdown on a 48-yard run in the third quarter.

Cornerback Brandon Browner (39) and safety Earl Thomas (29) both leap high to prevent a completion to Arizona's intended receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

David Hawthorne's hard hit on Arizona's Andre Roberts sent the Cardinal receiver's helmet flying.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman races down the left sideline after intercepting a pass that set up a Seattle field goal.

Atari Bigby put a big hit on Arizona's kickoff returner A.J. Jefferson with the help of Earl Thomas.

Seattle's biggest offensive highlight came when rookie receiver Ricardo Lockette made a juggling one-handed catch for a 61-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was pumped after Lockette's touchdown tied the game at 20-20 in the fourth quarter.

Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald showed why he's one of the best in the game, hauling in three catches on the final drive of overtime.

Seattle's Red Bryant had blocked three field goals already this season, but couldn't get his big hands on the final kick in overtime.

In the quiet locker room after the game, players brought their hands together for the final time of the 2011 season.

Head coach Pete Carroll spoke on the phone as the team boarded the charter bound for Seattle after the game.

Each member of the team's traveling party has a name plate above their seat, and the Seahawks Director of Video Thom Fermstad's was waiting for him on his final road trip. Fermstad is retiring after the season and has been with the club since Day One of its existence.


Friday in Hawkville

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 30:

FOCUS ON

Three blasts of the horn. That’s the daily signal that practice is over – three toots from the air horn manned by assistant equipment manager Kyle Stillwell.

Today, the horn blasted three times for the final time this season, as the Seahawks will play their finale on Sunday against the Cardinals in Arizona. It’s the first time in Pete Carroll’s two seasons as coach that he knew his players were practicing for the final time, because last year the Seahawks made the playoffs and got to the divisional round before losing to the Bears in Chicago.

“I did say something to them. I did applaud the fact that here we are (23 weeks) into it, or whatever it is, and they practiced like crazy today,” Carroll said. “And with great attitude and energy and all that. That’s a tribute to what’s going on in the locker room, because they brought it out on the practice field again.

“And that’s going to help us always be effective and do the best we can do.”

Still, there was an odd feeling in the locker room after the final practice.

“It’s a little weird,” center Max Unger said. “It was a pretty quick season, though. You think back and the season just went by real fast. We were just talking about it, and it feels like we’re packing our bags to go to Pittsburgh right now.”

That was for the Seahawks’ Week 2 game against the Steelers. Part of the reason the season seemed to go so quickly is that it took so long for this season to finally get here after the 136-day lockout that erased the spring minicamps and OTA sessions. So once training camp opened, it’s been a mad dash to the finish.

“It’s a little surreal,” Unger said. “But you don’t really think about it because you’re working away, then you pop your head out and it’s all over.”

INJURY REPORT

Middle linebacker David Hawthorne, wide receiver Ben Obomanu, right tackle Breno Giacomini and defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove returned to practice today. Hawthorne and Obomanu sat out Wednesday and Thursday, while Giacomini and Hargrove did not practice Thursday.

“Guys that were banged up, it looks like they’re going to make it back,” Carroll said. “So we’ll go in pretty healthy.”

Giacomini and Hargrove are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, and their final status is expected to be determined after they work out Sunday.

Here’s the official end-of-the-week status report:

Questionable

OT Breno Giacomini (abdominal)

DT Anthony Hargrove (calf)

Probable

CB Kennard Cox (hamstring)

QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)

DT Clinton McDonald (concussion)

LB Malcolm Smith (concussion)

MLB David Hawthorne (knee)

WR Ben Obomanu (knee)

S Jeron Johnson (illness)

For the Cardinals:

Out

OT Brandon Keith (ankle)

Questionable

S Rashad Johnson (knee)

QB Kevin Kolb (head)

RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring)

RB Beanie Wells (knee)

S Kerry Rhodes (ankle)

CB Patrick Peterson (Achilles)

Probable

CB Michael Adams (shoulder)

S Sean Considine (foot)

Kolb continues to experience concussion symptoms, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters after the team’s practice today. So it looks like John Skelton will start at quarterback on Sunday.

Four other starters also were limited in practice: leading rusher Beanie Wells, cornerback Patrick Peterson, free safety Kerry Rhodes and kickoff returner LaRod Stephens-Howling. Whisenhunt said Peterson’s status will be a game-day decision.

STAT DU JOUR

If you don’t know that Marshawn Lynch is the NFL’s leading rusher over the past eight games, you haven’t been paying attention. But it’s even more impressive when you look at the other backs who trail Lynch and his 855 yards during that stretch – and those who aren’t even in the running. Here’s the list:

Player, team                                     Att.   Yards    Avg.   TD

Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks          192    855      4.5       9

Reggie Bush, Dolphins                     141    751      5.3       6

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars         152    627      4.6       5

Arian Foster, Texans                         143    692      4.8       6

Chris Johnson, Titans                        140    684      4.9       3

UP NEXT

One final walk-through on Saturday morning before the team flies to Phoenix for Sunday’s season finale.

The players will clean out their locker on Monday morning, prior to a final team meeting.

YOU DON’T SAY

“This is an important game for us and we’d really like to play well. We know (the Cardinals) are doing really well and they want it just as badly as we do. So it’s going to be interesting to see how it goes. We’re looking forward to it.” Carroll on teams that started 2-6 (the Seahawks) and 1-6 (the Cardinals) playing for the chance to finish 8-8


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Thursday in Hawkville

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 29:

FOCUS ON

The rush continues. How is it that the Seahawks have been able to run for 100-plus yards in six of their past seven games, while losing three starting linemen during this stretch?

The linemen point to Tom Cable, while the team’s first-year assistant head coach/offensive line coach points to his system – and his approach to those who make the blocks that have helped Marshawn Lynch rush for a league-high 855 yards in the past eight games.

Breno Giacomini (for right tackle James Carpenter), Paul McQuistan (first for right guard John Moffitt and now for left tackle Russell Okung) and Lemuel Jeanpierre (for Moffitt) have been able to step in with the running game missing nary a beat because they’ve been treated like starters since training camp opened in late July.

“It’s the teaching, the coaching,” Giacomini said when asked the key to unlocking the continued success in the running game. “Every guy in the room prepares like they’re the starter, especially seeing all this change.”

Giacomini said his “moment” with Cable came during the second week of the season, when the Seahawks were not running the ball well but Cable stuck to his plan.

“That’s when I was like, ‘OK, I’m really going to listen to everything this guy says – every sentence; every “i” he dots and every “t” he crosses,” Giacomini said. “It’s been gradual, but you could see it pretty quick.”

It’s just the way Cable always has coached the position, and always will. And that starts with always treating all the linemen the same.

“I never have liked, or understood, how you can make this guy ‘all that,’ or this guy ‘all that,’ ” Cable said. “It’s B.S. to me. They’re all just tough guys who work hard, and want to get a job, and play professional football. So I think they ought to be treated that way.

“In our room, there’s no one bigger or greater than anyone else.”

With the possible exception of Cable, who has proved to be one the Seahawks’ best “gets” in a year where they’ve made 231 transactions.

ON THE FIELD

The players practiced for 105 minutes in the indoor practice facility as they continued to prepare for Sunday’s season finale against the Cardinals in Arizona. Linebacker Leroy Hill, rookie cornerback Byron Maxwell, practice-squad corner Coye Francies and cornerback Brandon Browner came up with interceptions on the final Turnover Thursday of the season. Browner made his in the end zone, while Maxwell’s came off a ball that was tipped by defensive end Chris Clemons.

IN ’N OUT

Leading tackler David Hawthorne and starting split end Ben Obomanu sat out practice for the second day, and were joined this afternoon by Giacomini and defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove.

With Giacomini out, Allen Barbre and Jarriel King got work at right tackle with the No. 1 line. K.J. Wright and Heath Farwell continued to replace Hawthorne at middle linebacker.

Obomanu ran sprints as well as routes on the side under the supervision of assistant trainer Donald Rich.

Here’s the official injury report:

Did not practice

MLB David Hawthorne (knee)

WR Ben Obomanu (knee)

OT Breno Giacomini (abdominal)

DT Anthony Hargrove (calf)

Full participation

CB Kennard Cox (hamstring)

QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)

DT Clinton McDonald (concussion)

LB Malcolm Smith (concussion)

For the Cardinals:

Did not practice

OT Brandon Keith (ankle)

CB Patrick Peterson (Achilles)

Limited participation

S Rashad Johnson (knee)

QB Kevin Kolb (head)

RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring)

RB Chris Wells (knee)

S Kerry Rhodes (ankle)

Full participation

CB Michael Adams (shoulder)

S Sean Considine (foot)

Rhodes got some work today after being sidelined on Wednesday, and it’s looking like John Skelton will get the nod over Kolb because the Cardinals’ starting QB continues to be bothered by concussion-like symptoms.

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks’ defense heads into Sunday’s season finale with a chance to do something only five other defenses in franchise history have accomplished: Finish in the Top 10 in the league in average yards allowed. If they pull it off, it will be the first time since 1997 it has happened. The Seahawks currently rank No. 9, allowing an average of 328.5 yards – only 2 yards fewer than the 10th-ranked Browns and 6.6 fewer than the 11th-ranked Chargers. The Cardinals are averaging 354.2 yards, so …

Here’s a look at how this year’s unit stacks up against the other Seahawk defenses that ranked in the Top 10:

Year    Rank; average yards allowed

1984    No. 6; 310.2

1990    No. 9; 288.1

1991    No. 8; 293.9

1992    No. 10; 286.4

1997    No. 8; 303.1

2011    No. 9; 328.5

UP NEXT

The final Friday of the regular season. The players will have a walk-through, practice and meetings in their final full day of preparation for Sunday’s season finale.

YOU DON’T SAY

“ ‘Lock’ came a long way. He was kind of a deer in headlights when he first got here; just running real fast.  Like Forrest Gump, just running. Just running. He’s gotten better throughout the season. He’s come out here and worked real hard every day. You see every day; he’s making a great catch or outrunning somebody. That shows his ability. But he’s building on it and working on the mental aspects of it. He’s come a long way since Day One of training camp. He’s got a long ways to go. But he can definitely do it.” – QB Tarvaris Jackson on rookie free agent wide receiver Ricardo Lockette


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