Monday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 28:

FOCUS ON

The week. Because the Seahawks are hosting the Eagles on Thursday night, their weekly schedule is getting the equivalent of being stuffed in a trash compactor.

Today is Monday, but also Tuesday. Tomorrow will be Wednesday, as well as Thursday. Wednesday will be Friday. Thursday morning will be Saturday, with Sunday afternoon coming on Thursday night.

Translation: There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be done in a short amount of time.

That’s why Pete Carroll did not have his weekly day-after news conference this afternoon, because the coaches were putting together the game plan.

As difficult as the task is for the Seahawks, it’s even more challenge for the Eagles because they have to make the Philadelphia to Seattle flight for the game.

How do the players handle this condensed two-games-in-five-days schedule? Mike Williams has some experience with it, because the Seahawks wide receiver played his first NFL seasons with the Lions, who play on Thanksgiving every year.

“It really is about getting back to work – game planning,” Williams said after Sunday’s game. “I’m not sure how much stuff we’re going to do physically, but you can watch film – a lot of film. What you don’t do physically, you have to do in the film room.

“We’ve got enough leaders and we’ve got enough vets, and we’ve just got to bring everybody along. … It’s more mental. When you have such a short time and you just finished playing a game, you just kind of want to heal and get healthy enough to get out there and play again for 60 minutes.”

INJURY REPORT

The Seahawks and Eagles had to file injury reports today because they play on Thursday night. The one for the Seahawks is an estimation, because their walk-through does not begin until 6 p.m. The Eagles held a walk-through earlier in the day. So here’s the report

Did not practice
WR Sidney Rice (concussion)

Limited participation
DT Alan Branch (ankle)
LB David Hawthorne (knee)
QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)
CB Byron Maxwell (illness)
CB Richard Sherman (calf)

For the Eagles:

Did not practice
CB Nnamdi Asomugha (knee)
OT King Dunlap (concussion)
LB Moise Fokou (ankle)
WR Jeremy Maclin (hamstring, shoulder)
QB Michael Vick (ribs)

Limited participation
DT Cullen Jenkins (thumb)
RB LeSean McCoy (toe)
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ankle)

LINEBACKER SHUFFLE

Linebacker and special teams player David Vobora was placed on injured reserve today after being injured in Sunday’s loss to the Redskins. To fill Vobora’s roster spot, linebacker Adrian Moten was claimed off waivers from the Colts.

Vobora was originally signed Aug. 22 and made the 53-man roster on the final cut down, but was then released Sept. 4. He was re-signed Oct. 4 and played in six games. Sunday, he came in to play strongside linebacker in the second half after David Hawthorne went out with a knee injury, forcing K.J. Wright to move from the strong side to middle linebacker replace Hawthorne.

Moten signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent in July, but was waived Sunday. He played in 10 games, making four tackles and recovering a fumble on special teams.

Vobora becomes the 11th player to go on IR for the Seahawks, joining cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond; offensive linemen John Moffitt and James Carpenter; tight end John Carlson; linebackers Matt McCoy and Jameson Konz; defensive linemen Jimmy Wilkerson and Dexter Davis; and wide receiver Kris Durham.

STAT DU JOUR

Doug Baldwin is no longer on pace to become the Seahawks’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Bobby Engram in 2007. But the rookie free agent with Engram-like skills is leading the team in receptions (37) and receiving yards (604). If he finishes the season as the leading receiver, Baldwin will be the sixth player to do it in the past six seasons. Here’s a look at the group he would join:

Player                        Times (seasons)

Steve Largent              12   (1976-87)

Brian Blades                  5   (1989, 1991, 1993-95)

Darrell Jackson             4   (2001, 2003-04, 2006)

John L. Williams           3   (1988, 1990, 1992)

Joey Galloway             3   (1996-98)

Bobby Engram              2   (2005, 2007)

Derrick Mayes              1   (1999)

Sean Dawkins               1   (2000)

Ricky Watters               1   (2000)

Koren Robinson            1   (2002)

John Carlson                  1   (2008)

T.J. Houshmandzadeh  1   (2009)

Mike Williams                1   (2010)

UP NEXT

Tuesday usually is the players “off” day, but not this week. Because of Thursday’s game, they will have an afternoon practice.

Tickets are available for Thursday night’s game and can be purchased here.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It’s going to be difficult for the Eagles, too, so we can’t use that as an excuse. … They’re going to be hungry for a win and we’ve got to make sure we’re hungry for one. So we’ll continue to focus and prepare, and bounce back to be the team that I feel like can get a ‘W.’ ” – defensive end Red Bryant


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Vobora to IR

Linebacker and special teams player David Vobora was placed on injured reserve today after being injured in Sunday’s loss to the Redskins.

To fill Vobora’s roster spot, linebacker Adrian Moten was claimed off waivers from the Colts.

Vobora was originally signed Aug. 22 and made the 53-man roster on the final cut down, but was then released Sept. 4. He was re-signed Oct. 4 and played in six games. Sunday, he came in to play strongside linebacker in the second half after David Hawthorne went out with a knee injury, forcing K.J. Wright to move from the strong side to middle linebacker replace Hawthorne.

Moten signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent in July, but was waived Sunday. He played in 10 games, making four tackles and recovering a fumble on special teams.


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Wednesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 16:

FOCUS ON

Tarvaris Jackson. Pete Carroll was asked the weekly midweek question about his quarterback and that sore right shoulder today – not to be confused with the early-in-the-week and later-in-the-week questions about the same subject.

“I can’t tell you that,” the Seahawks’ coach said to the is-Jackson’s-pectoral-getting-better-week-to-week inquiry. “At the end of Friday, we’ll know. Because he goes back and forth. It doesn’t just always steadily improve for him and it responds each day that he works.

“So it’s a minimal amount of work that he’s doing and he’s doing fine. He’s doing remarkably well under the circumstances and we’ll see how he does again this week.”

Jackson is expected to start Sunday’s game against the Rams in St. Louis, just as he has the past two games – after limited work in practice during the week. Carroll said Jackson threw only one pass in today’s morning walk-through and the QB was then limited in practice this afternoon, when backup Charlie Whitehurst got most of the reps with the No. 1 offense.

It’s all part of the process that has become Jackson’s weekly pain-tolerance routine since injuring his throwing shoulder in the Week 5 upset of the Giants.

“We’re all just learning,” Carroll said. “He’s kind of learning himself with what he can do and what he can’t do. We know kind of what the rhythms are of it now and we’ll see what he can do and then we’ll just take the next day and find out.

“Unfortunately, he can’t practice very much and when he does he’s holding back. That’s just the way it is.”

OPPONENT WATCH

Brandon Lloyd. The veteran wide receiver has been quite the catch for the Rams. In four games since joining the team, Lloyd has 21 receptions for 255 yards and two touchdowns – and the Rams have won two of their past three games.

“Since Brandon Lloyd has jumped on board they’ve picked it up and they’ve got it going,” Carroll said. “They’ve really gone to him. He’s probably been targeted more in the four games that he’s been there than any one receiver in the whole season.

“So they’ve really thrown him in the mix to make him a featured player and he’s done beautifully with it.”

For the record, Lloyd has been targeted 47 times in those four games. He’s also familiar with the Rams’ system because he played for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel when both were with the Broncos.

“It’s been a big addition for us,” Rams QB Sam Bradford said today. “Obviously, that’s a position that we have gone through a lot of different guys this year – guys getting dinged up, different guys stepping in to play. I think adding Brandon to our team just added another weapon for us to throw the ball down the field and another weapon who, for the most part, we can rely on to get open in one-on-one coverage.

“Whereas before him, I’m not sure we really had a true No. 1 receiver. To get him here is nice.”

IN ’N OUT

The big news out of practice was rookie right tackle James Carpenter going down with an injury to his left knee during the pass-rush drill. The Seahawks’ first-round draft choice is scheduled to have a MRI tonight. After Carpenter was taken to the training room, Breno Giacomini finished practice at right tackle.

The four players who had recent concussions – wide receivers Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin, strong safety Kam Chancellor and linebacker David Vobora – participated in the 100-minute, full-pads practice that was held in the indoor practice facility. Chancellor participated in all phases of practice, while Rice, Baldwin and Vobora were limited.

Ben Obomanu filled in for Rice and Golden Tate worked in the slot for Baldwin.

Here’s the official injury report:

Did not practice

S Atari Bigby (hamstring)

DL Anthony Hargrove (hamstring)

Limited participation

WR Doug Baldwin (head)

QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)

WR Sidney Rice (head)

LB David Vobora (head)

Full participation

SS Kam Chancellor (concussion)

TE Cameron Morrah (toe/knee)

For the Rams:

Did not practice

WR Brandon Gibson (groin)

OT Jason Smith (head)

RB Carnell Williams (calf)

Limited participation

WR Danario Alexander (hamstring)

LB Josh Hull (hamstring)

LB Bryan Kehl (ankle)

TE Lance Kendricks (foot)

CB Justin King (head)

RB Jerious Norwood (hamstring)

OT Rodger Saffold (head)

DE Eugene Sims (shoulder)

S Darian Stewart (neck)

Full participation

QB Sam Bradford (ankle)

STAT DU JOUR

Steven Hauschka not only became the fourth player in franchise history to kick five field goals in a game last week, he was the third to do it in five attempts. When Norm Johnson set the club record in 1987, he hit five of six – as did Todd Peterson in 1999 and Olindo Mare in 2010. Joining Hauschka in the five-for-five club are Johnson (in 1988) and Mare (in 2010). Here’s a look at the five-field goal kickers, ranked by total yardage of their kicks:

Kicker (year, opponent)                       Total yards (field goals)

Todd Peterson (1999, Steelers)              201   (45, 51, 41, 26, 38)

Norm Johnson (1987, Chiefs)                  181   (34, 25, 46, 27, 49)

Norm Johnson (1988, Raiders)                170   (39, 24, 40, 35, 32)

Steven Hauschka (2011, Ravens)            164   (22, 38, 39, 35, 30)

Olindo Mare (2010, Cardinals)                152   (20, 31, 51, 24, 26)

Olindo Mare (2010, Cardinals)                136   (41, 34, 19, 23, 19)

Mare missed from 29 yards in 2010; Peterson from 30 in 1999; and Johnson from 39 in 1987.

UP NEXT

The players will practice Thursday afternoon and also hold a morning practice on Friday and a walk-through on Saturday before the team flies to St. Louis for Sunday’s game – which has a 3:05 p.m. local kickoff, or 1:05 PT.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I feel like we’re a better football team than we were last year. We’re younger, which has been a factor, but we’re stronger and I think our depth has held up better. So I think in time I’m hoping that this is going to show in terms of wins by the end of the season. Whether it does or not, I don’t know.” – Carroll


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Monday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 7:

FOCUS ON

The second half. Not of games – when the Seahawks have outscored their first eight opponents 86-79 – but the season. Like it or not, the Seahawks have reached the halfway point of their second season under coach Pete Carroll at 2-6. It’s the first time they’ve started with that record since 2002.

The good news is that the Seahawks will play four of their next six games at CenturyLink Field, starting with Sunday’s matchup against the 6-2 Baltimore Ravens.

“There’s nothing easy about any of these matchups,” Carroll said of the second-half slate – which also includes home games against the Redskins, Eagles, Rams and NFC West-leading 49ers, as well as road games against the Rams, Bears and Cardinals.

“These games all make it very difficult. Here comes the Ravens. We’re going to have to play really good ball.”

The bad news, of course, is being 2-6 after playing on the road five times already.

“We’ve been struggling through the first half,” Carroll said. “We’ve been working to find a continuity and a level of execution that will get us some more wins. It hasn’t happened like we’d like.

“The things that can hold back a young team are holding us back – making mistakes; the penalty situation has caused us problems, especially the last three weeks; and always is the case when you turn the ball over.”

During their current three-game losing streak the Seahawks have been penalized 28 times for 226 yards and turned the ball over seven times in a three-point loss to the Browns; a 22-point loss to the Bengals, where they trailed 17-12 midway through the fourth quarter; and Sunday’s 10-point loss to the Cowboys.

“We have to clean that up,” Carroll said. “We have to get rid of turnovers and we’ve got to get these penalties where it’s in a manageable number, where it’s not disrupting drives and setting us back.

“Because the margins have been so close that they’ve been factors in games.”

INJURY REPORT

Linebacker and special teams player David Vobora got a concussion in Sunday’s game that “could be an issue” during the week, Carroll said.

Wide receivers Mike Williams and Sidney Rice also could be slowed early in the week with what Carroll labeled “nicks.”

Tarvaris Jackson feels a little better this Monday than he did last week, Carroll said, but the team’s starting quarterback is sore after throwing 30 passes on Sunday with a strained pectoral in his right shoulder.

“Really, we just kind of go day-to-day on how he responds,” Carroll said.

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks allowed season highs in rushing yards (163) and per-carry average (5.6) against the Cowboys, but slipped only slightly in the league rankings. They’re No. 13 in rushing defense (down from 11th) and third in per-carry average allowed (down from No. 1, when they were allowing 3.2 yards). Here’s a look at the league leaders in per-carry average allowed:

Team               Avg.

Bengals           3.3

Ravens            3.4

Seahawks            3.4

49ers               3.5

Dolphins         3.8

Vikings            3.8

Broncos          3.9

Cardinals        3.9

UP NEXT

The players have their off day on Tuesday, while the coaches compile the game plan for the Ravens, before returning on Wednesday to begin prepare for Sunday’s game.

Tickets are available for the game and can be purchased here.

YOU DON’T SAY

“This team is a young team that’s going to be successful and be very, very good. I just wish we could get rid of the stuff that keeps us from demonstrating that. That’s what we’re working to try and figure out.” – Carroll


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Thursday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 6:

FOCUS ON

Turnovers. It is “Turnover Thursday” on the Pete Carroll calendar, but the Seahawks are putting an even greater emphasis on the game-changing plays this week.

Having only two turnovers in four games will do that. So will playing the New York Giants in the Meadowlands this Sunday. The Giants have forced eight turnovers, which ties for the fifth-highest total in the league. The Seahawks’ total of two? That ties them for second fewest.

“Believe me, we’re doing studies,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said after today’s 105-minute practice. “We’re looking at teams four games into the season and saying, ‘OK, are teams that are pressuring more, are they getting more turnovers? Are the teams that are playing zone coverage more, are they getting more turnovers?’

“You would think that the teams that are pressuring more are getting turnovers. But that’s not the case. … There’s some that are doing a real good job getting the ball playing zone coverages. We’ve been bringing quite a bit of pressure, hoping that that gets it. We’ve just got to mix it up more. Get our eyes on the ball. Mix it up. Not go completely to zone, but just enough that are guys have chances to break on the ball.”

Both the Seahawks’ turnovers have been interceptions – and both came in their only victory over the Arizona Cardinals two weeks ago.

The league leaders in turnovers also are among the team’s with the best records: Baltimore Ravens (3-1), 14 turnovers; Detroit Lions (4-0), Green Bay Packers (4-0), San Francisco 49ers (3-1) and Buffalo Bills (3-1), 11 each.

PLAYER WATCH

David Vobora. The versatile linebacker is back after being released on Sept. 4. He was re-signed on Tuesday to help fill the void on special teams that was created after linebacker Matt McCoy went on injured reserve because he needs a surgical procedure to repair a sprained knee.

Vobora, who grew up in Lebanon, Ore., and played at the University of Idaho, spent the past month working out – just in case a team called.

“I just tried to stay patient and continue to work and grind,” Vobora said. “Even yesterday at practice, I felt better even after being out of it for a month than I did probably when I came here in training camp.”

Vobora split his time between Seattle (for the first week) and packing up his belongings in St. Louis, where he played his first three seasons in the NFL. He also made a trip to Houston for a workout with the Texans.

In addition to his special teams duties, Vobora also is working as the backup to Leroy Hill at weakside linebacker.

OPPONENT WATCH

Eli Manning. The most impressive aspect of his game during the first month of the season is the fact that the Giants’ QB has thrown two interceptions – after being picked off a career-high 25 times last season.

The big difference? “Eli can probably give the lecture better than I can now,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.

The lecture? “You have to be aggressive, but on the other hand you have to be really, really smart and you have to be very careful with the ball,” Coughlin said.

Offered Manning: “I’m just trying to make smarter decisions. Trying to throw the ball accurately, put it in the right locations and concentrate on being confident in my throws when I make them and not putting them into crowded areas. So I’m just trying to continue to do that.”

IN ’N OUT

Tight end Zach Miller returned to practice after sitting out Wednesday to rest a sore knee. Also back was defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove, who missed Wednesday because of a sore hamstring. But Hargrove gave it a good workout by breaking into a dance to the music that is played during the pre-practice stretching. His moves had some teammates applauding, and others laughing.

Back on a limited basis was strong safety Kam Chancellor, who missed last week’s game with a deep thigh bruise. But Atari Bigby continued to get most of the snaps with the No. 1 defense.

Cornerback Marcus Trufant sat out to rest a sore back. He was replaced on the left side by Walter Thurmond in the base defense and Richard Smith in the nickel, because Thurmond slides inside to cover the slot receiver.

Out for the second consecutive day were wide receiver Mike Williams (concussion) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (hamstring).

For the Giants, cornerback Prince Amukamara (foot), center David Baas (neck) and running back Brandon Jacobs (knee) did not practice again. Linebacker Michael Boley (knee) and defensive end Justin Tuck (groin, neck) were limited after sitting out Wednesday, while defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (ribs) and defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee) were limited for the second time this week.

STAT DU JOUR

The Meadowlands has been the Land of the Lost for the Seahawks in previous trips to East Rutherford, N.J., where the Giants and Jets share a stadium. The Seahawks were a combined 1-11 against those teams at Giants Stadium, which is now MetLife Stadium. Here’s a closer look at those games:

Year, opponent        Outcome, score

1976, Giants              L, 28-16

1983, Giants              W, 17-12

1985, Jets                   L, 17-14

1987, Jets                   L, 30-14

1989, Giants              L, 15-3

1992, Giants              L, 23-10

1998, Jets                   L, 32-31

2000, Jets                   L, 19-9

2001, Giants              L, 27-24

2002, Giants              L, 9-6

2004, Jets                   L, 37-14

2008, Giants               L, 44-6

UP NEXT

The players will practice on Friday, starting at 11:30 a.m., before the team flies to New Jersey for Sunday’s game.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I really didn’t even think about it because we lost. It was kind of hard to think about individual stats, especially when you lose a game that close and with the great effort that we had to come back at the end of the game. It would have been a lot sweeter if we would have gotten the win.” – QB Tarvaris Jackson, when asked if he felt last week’s career-high 319-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Falcons was his best game


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Cyber surfing: Wednesday

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

Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers five observations after reviewing the video of the Seahawks’ two-point loss to the Falcons on Sunday. No. 1 on his list: “Right tackle James Carpenter looked good. He drove the Falcons’ John Abraham across the formation on one play, then landed on him the way offensive linemen love to do when imposing their physical dominance on defenders. Carpenter sometimes looked like the Seahawks’ best tackle in this game. That is partly because left tackle Russell Okung still doesn’t appear fully comfortable planting hard on his ankles to anchor against strong pass-rushers. Abraham beat Okung to the inside and hit Tarvaris Jackson in the lower legs on the first play of the game. Okung responded by pancaking Ray Edwards on the next play. The line did not allow a sack, so this was improvement across the board and a confidence-builder heading into a road game against the New York Giants’ defensive front. But if Okung can get back to how he played when healthy in 2010, the line will take another giant step forward.”

Eric Williams at the New Tribune looks at Doug Baldwin, the rookie free agent who leads the team in receptions. Says Williams: “One thing that impressed Seattle coaches is the toughness Baldwin has shown in making catches across the middle of the field, and his ability to read the soft spots in zones and run crisp, precise routes. Baldwin steadily moved up the depth chart during training camp, and now is playing ahead of Seattle’s second-round selection last year, Golden Tate, and the team’s fourth-round selection this year, Kris Durham.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times examines the Seahawks’ past success against this week’s opponent, the New York Giants. Offers O’Neil: “Seattle will travel across the country this week, hoping to summon some momentum as it faces a Giants team that is riding a three-game winning streak. ‘If you want to do it big, you’ve got to do it in New York,’ coach Pete Carroll said.”

Christian Caple at PI.com has a recap of Tuesday’s roster moves. Says Caple: “The Seattle Seahawks placed linebacker Matt McCoy on injured reserve on Tuesday, signing linebacker David Vobora to take his place on the 53-man roster. In addition, the Seahawks released fullback Eddie Williams and signed defensive end Jameson Konz off the practice squad.” In addition, Williams was signed to the practice squad.

At SI.com, Ann Killion takes a look at the NFC West-leading 49ers, who beat the Seahawks in the season opener and visit CenturyLink Field on Christmas Eve. Says Killion: “The team is 3-1 a quarter through the season, with an early lead in the very forgiving NFC West and a clear shot at the division title. The 49ers have been 3-1 before — under Mike Singletary in 2009 — but this seems different. It isn’t just coming back from a 20-point deficit in a hostile environment. It’s the feeling involved. ‘Just top to bottom, collectively,’ quarterback Alex Smith said. ‘It’s a completely different mindset, a different attitude.’ “

Speaking of Smith, former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman looks at the quarterbacks in the division at mynorthwest.com. Wyman on Tarvaris Jackson: “T-Jack now has four interceptions but in my mind he only ‘owns’ one of them. Two of his picks were ‘Hail Mary’ passes at the end of a half and one was a ball that was knocked out of tight end Zach Miller’s hands. Consider this: Every interception costs a quarterback roughly three points at this stage. Take away those three picks and Jackson would have a QB rating that would put him in the top half of the NFL.’

Here at Seahawks.com, we also look back at Sunday’s game from the unique perspective of Ben Malcolmson’s “From the Sidelines” and another exceptional photo blog from Rod Mar. We’re also got some first-quarter-of-the-season awards in “Hawkville,” including free safety Earl Thomas as the best player; and a look at this week’s opponent in “Up next.”

At NFL.com, former Seahawks scout and NFL receiver Bucky Brooks passes out first-quarter awards for the league, and his selection for MVP might surprise you.


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Tuesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 4:

FOCUS ON

First-quarter honors. After an offseason of uncertainty when it seemed the regular season would never get here, the Seahawks already are a quarter of the way through it.

With the players off today and the coaches working on the game plan for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants in the Meadowlands, we figured it was a good time to pass out some awards:

Best player – Earl Thomas. This has been apparent to anyone who’s watched the Seahawks during their 1-3 start. The second-year free safety is good, and only getting better by the game. Thomas leads the team in tackles (26) and also has been forcing plays by forcing the issue.

“Earl, he’s a flash,” John Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowl safety during his career with the Buccaneers and Broncos, said last Friday when he was in town to handle the analyst duties for Fox’s telecast of the Seahawks-Falcons game on Sunday.

“Every time I’ve got the film on, I think I’m in fast forward. Then I realize that’s just him. He’s got tremendous instincts. I met with him with the first week of the season and he realized there were a lot of things he needed to get better at. He’s worked hard at them. I think he’s got a very, very bright future. He’s got as much range as any safety I’ve seen. (Former Redskins safety) Sean Taylor is the last guy with that kind of range and the ability to get from centerfield over to the sideline.”

Best free-agent addition – Sidney Rice. He got off to a slow start because of a damaged labrum, but the Pro Bowl wide receiver from the Minnesota Vikings has been a playmaker in the past two games. Rice led the team with eight receptions for 109 yards against the Cardinals – in his first regular-season game with the Seahawks, and their only win. Sunday, he hooked up with Tarvaris Jackson for a 52-yard touchdown.

“Sidney is the kind of guy you can throw the ball to knowing that he’s going to make something happen with it,” coach Pete Carroll said.

Best rookie free agent addition – Doug Baldwin. Ricardo Lockette got most of the attention early, because of his ridiculous speed. But the best receiver – and player – of the 18 undrafted rookies the Seahawks signed on July 26 was the made-to-order slot receiver from Stanford. Baldwin has been making plays from the first day he stepped on the practice field in training camp, and he’s still doing it. He leads the team in receptions (12) and receiving yards (194), and it was his 48-yard run after the catch that produced the team’s longest play of the season – a 55-yard TD in the opener against the 49ers.

“He’s a really natural football player,” Carroll said on Monday. “Things come easy to him. He’s a really good special teams player as well, which tells you something. He has a real feel for the game in general.

“So he’s able to make sense of what we’re asking him to do and then he naturally kind of makes the right decisions, too. So he’s got a savvy that has helped him.”

Best free-agent “find” – Brandon Browner. From the day he walked into the building, Carroll has wanted a bigger cornerback to match up against what seems like the steady diet of bigger receivers the Seahawks have been force-fed the past two seasons. The coach found one in the 6-foot-4 Browner, who spent the past four seasons covering the much-larger field in the CFL. Browner has had his moments – good and not so good. But he has not backed down from any challenge, whether it’s the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald, the Falcons’ Julio Jones or the Steelers’ Mike Wallace.

“As his confidence grows and his sense for the game here in the league grows, he’s going to be a big factor,” Carroll said. “I like to see the hard, dirty work that he had to do in making those tough tackles and stuff. … He’s ready to go nose-to-nose with everybody and he’s going to get better. He’s going to keep improving.”

Best draft choice – James Carpenter. Another slow starter who would have benefitted from the offseason that wasn’t, the team’s first-round draft choice has only gotten better at right tackle with each game. He’s now blocking his man and then getting to the second level to block another.

“James Carpenter played a really good football game, and I’ve been saying that now for three weeks,” Carroll said on Monday. “So he’s really getting on it.”

Best third-day draft choice – K.J. Wright. They simply haven’t been able to keep this guy off the field. Selected in the fourth round with the idea that he could backup Aaron Curry on the strongside, linebacker coach Ken Norton Jr. decided to take a look at Wright in the middle after the release of incumbent starter Lofa Tatupu prompted the move of David Hawthorne from the weakside to the middle. Wright started the opener in the middle because Hawthorne was out, and has started the past two games on the strongside.

“K.J. is very instinctive. He plays very smart situation football,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “He’s just a real good football player.”

VOBORA BACK, KONZ UP

Linebacker and special teams standout Matt McCoy was placed on injured reserve today because of the sprained knee he suffered in Sunday’s game. Linebacker David Vobora was re-signed to fill McCoy’s roster spot, because he can help on special teams and also in a situational role on defense if needed.

Also, linebacker Jameson Konz was signed off the practice squad. To clear a roster spot, fullback Eddie Williams was released. Williams had been signed when fullback Michael Robinson was out with a knee injury, but Robinson returned last week. In another practice squad move, tight end John Nalbone was signed and tight end Fendi Onobun reached an injury settlement and was released.

Vobora, who was raised in Eugene, Ore., and went to the University of Idaho, has an interesting story – which we covered after he was signed on Aug. 22. Vobora made the 53-man roster when the cuts were made on Sept. 3, but he was released the next day when the team claimed four players off waivers.

Konz, a seventh-round draft choice last year, is a versatile athletic who has played a number of positions on the practice squad – on both sides of the ball. We examined his versatility in this story.

STAT DU JOUR

Third downs have become the barometer by which to gauge the Seahawks’ defensive performances. When they play well on third downs, they “win.” When they don’t, they “lose.” Here’s a closer look at the “winning” and “losing” efforts:

Winning

Opponent (half)          Third downs    Score

49ers (second)                 1 of 6            17-3, Seahawks*

Cardinals (second)          1 of 9             7-0, Seahawks

Falcons (second)             3 of 8            21-7, Seahawks

* — offensive points only

Losing

Opponent (half)           Third downs   Score

Steelers (first)                  4 of 6           17-0, Steelers

Falcons (first)                   6 of 8           24-7, Falcons

UP NEXT

The players return from their “off” day to begin preparing for the Giants on Wednesday. Practice is at 1:30 p.m.

The team will travel to New Jersey on Friday and hold a walk-thru on Saturday afternoon.

YOU DON’T SAY

“That was an extraordinary emotional surge that happened in the stadium for our players. The fact that he lost his mind for a moment there; I’ve never seen him practice that, I don’t like us doing things that we don’t practice.” – a smiling Carroll when asked about Marshawn Lynch’s leaping somersault into the end zone as he was scoring on an 11-yard run against the Falcons


Tuesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:

FOCUS ON

The offensive line, and especially rookie right tackle James Carpenter. This is no surprise after the Seahawks allowed QB Tarvaris Jackson to be sacked five times in Saturday night’s loss to the Broncos in Denver, and Carpenter yielded two of them.

During today’s full-pads practice, Breno Giacomini was rotating with Carpenter – with the first unit as well as the second.

“It’s a competition that we’re just continuing,” coach Pete Carroll said when asked about the situation. “ ‘Giac’ has done a nice job. He’s put together a really good preseason. He’s very solid. He hasn’t played against the same (level of competition as Carpenter) all the time, but he has had a very solid preseason.

“He’s a been around a little bit more. So we want to make sure that he has the opportunity to show and see if he can help. So we’ve decided to give him some opportunities with the first group.”

Carpenter has only been around since July 29, when the team’s first-round draft choice signed his contract. He would have benefited greatly from the offseason minicamps and OTA sessions that were erased by the 136-day lockout.

“Our guy has done a marvelous job in a bunch of areas now at right tackle,” Carroll said of Carpenter. “I’m fired up about him. But there’s still a lot to learn, and there’s a short time to learn it.

“His feet are in the fire, right from the first game in San Diego.”

Carpenter wasn’t the Seahawks’ only problem against the Broncos.

As line coach Tom Cable put it, pointing out that miscommunication was the culprit on three of the five sacks, “We don’t feel good about Saturday at all. Very disappointed. But we also can see what it is and have a chance to now go fix it and improve from here. And it will be like that for a little while, but not too much longer.”

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Offense: Rookie wide receiver Ricardo Lockette reaching out to snag a Josh Portis pass with one hand and then spinning around cornerback Brandon Browner in almost the same motion to head up the sideline.

Defense: Linebacker David Vobora starting to his right but then diving back to his left to tip a Portis pass incomplete.

JUST VISITING

Andre Gurode, the five-time Pro Bowl center released by the Dallas Cowboys this week, visited the Seahawks today. But it was just that, Carroll said.

“He’s kind of taking a tour right now and looking at some places,” Carroll said. “We were fortunate to get in on it and visit with him. He’s had a great career and it ended kind of abruptly for him. So he’s going to take a look around and see what’s out there.”

IN AND OUT

The big news, of course, was Carroll’s announcement that tight end John Carlson will need season-ending shoulder surgery to repair the labrum he tore while diving for a pass in practice 2½ weeks ago.

Thirteen other players also did not practice, including five starters – running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle), defensive end Chris Clemons (ankle), middle linebacker David Hawthorne (knee), outside linebacker Aaron Curry (knee) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (foot). Lynch and Hawthorne will not play against the Oakland Raiders in Friday night’s preseason finale at CenturyLink Field, Carroll said.

Justin Forsett and Leon Washington filled in for Lynch, while Raheem Brock worked at Clemons’ spot, K.J. Wright and David Vobora stepped in for Hawthorne and Curry and Atari Bigby replaced Chancellor.

Also out: wide receiver Isaiah Stanback (hamstring), defensive end Dexter Davis (hip), defensive lineman Pierre Allen (hamstring) and safety Josh Pinkard (knee), as well as the four players who remain on the physically unable to perform list – wide receiver Deon Butler (leg), tight end Cameron Morrah (toe), defensive tackle Colin Cole (ankle) and cornerback Roy Lewis (knee).

Wide receivers Sidney Rice (shoulder) and Ben Obomanu (head) started practice but did not finish.

Left tackle Russell Okung was limited to individual drills because of the ankle he sprained in the opener against the Chargers.

The club also completed the league-mandated roster trim to 80 players by releasing defensive Jay Alvord and safety Rickey Thenarse.

STAT DU JOUR

After making an unprecedented 284 transactions in their first year together, Carroll and general manager John Schneider have been making up for lost time following the lockout. From July 26 through today, they have made 95 roster moves – or an average of 2.6 per day.

UP NEXT

The players will practice Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning before playing their preseason finale on Friday night.

The 80-man roster must be reduced to 53 players on Saturday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Obviously you never want to look like that. It was an embarrassment to all of us, especially as a group. But that’s life. And you’ve got to learn, and how everybody responds will be the key.” – left guard Robert Gallery, looking back at the performance against the Broncos with an eye to Friday night’s game against the Raiders


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Wednesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:

FOCUS ON

Walter Thurmond. The second-year cornerback from Oregon waded back into practice on Tuesday after missing more than three weeks with a high ankle sprain.

Today, he made a splash – and got his lip bloodied while doing it.

“I disappointed myself,” Thurmond said in a say-what statement after the two-hour practice. “I dropped a couple of picks out there shaking this rust off. Looking forward to a better practice tomorrow.”

The offense isn’t, as Thurmond’s making-up-for-lost-time portfolio was packed with impressive plays while working as the nickel back with the No. 1 defense.

Thurmond blitzed and the play was whistled a sack on one snap. On another, he closed on a pass in half-a-blink and tipped it incomplete with a well-timing, well-placed dive. On still another, his presence forced rookie wide receiver Ricardo Lockette to shy away from a pass over the middle. Thurmond finished on a high note as well, breaking up a pass that was intended for wide receiver Golden Tate in the two-minute drill that concluded practice.

“They gave me some more reps today,” he said. “I just felt real comfortable getting my feet under me again. It feels good to be back.”

Thurmond also looked sharp at the start of training camp, when he was working at right cornerback with the No. 1 defense. Then he injured his ankle on the second day.

“I feel healthy now,” he said. “I’m not even thinking about it. I’m just going out and playing football.”

And making plays.

UNIT WATCH

The No. 1 defense. At least what was left of it. With defensive end Chris Clemons, linebackers David Hawthorne and Leroy Hill and strong safety Kam Chancellor sitting out, as well as linebacker Leroy Hill being limited, they were replaced by – in order – Raheem Brock, rookie K.J. Wright, rookie Malcolm Smith and second-year man Josh Pinkard.

The unit might have been missing five starters, but they didn’t miss much in practice.

The “starters” were especially impressive in the 7-on-7 drill, as Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings and Thurmond broke up passes and QB Josh Portis was forced to scramble on another play because the coverage was so tight across the field.

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Defense: So many from which to chose, starting with Thurmond impressive break on the ball for one of his deflections and also including rookie cornerback Byron Maxwell tipping a Charlie Whitehurst pass that was intended for rookie wide receiver Kris Durham and then intercepting the carom. But let’s go with one that came earlier in practice, as just-arrived linebacker David Vobora played off a block with one hand while reaching out to thump the running back with the other – and behind the line of scrimmage. The effort prompted linebackers coach Ken Norton to offer, “That’s good work 40 (Vobora’s number). Nice hands.”

Offense: And speaking of nice hands – and a nice throw – Tarvaris Jackson hit Tate with a laser of a pass along the sideline. The pass had to be on the mark, because cornerback Kennard Cox had good coverage on the play.

IN AND OUT

The release of defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer earlier in the day allowed the team to re-sign Vai Taua. Practice was already in progress when the rookie running back emerged from the locker room, but coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider took time to come over and shake hands – and Carroll even gave Taua a pat on the helmet.

In addition to the four defensive starters, running back Marshawn Lynch also sat out. He joined a group that already included tight end John Carlson, left tackle Russell Okung and defensive linemen Dexter Davis, Pierre Allen and A.J. Schable. But backup center Mike Gibson was back after sitting out Tuesday.

UP NEXT

The players will practice Thursday morning, their final full workout before flying to Denver on Friday for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos.

The first roster cut – to 80 players – must be completed by Tuesday. The cut to 53 players must be made by Saturday, Sept. 3, after the final preseason game.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I got to learn the defense better, seeing different situations that the offense is going to try and put us in and just really getting a better feel for the knowledge of the game. So even being hurt I still benefitted from it.” – Thurmond


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Cyber surfing: Wednesday

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

Eric Williams at the New Tribune examines the comfort and confidence Charlie Whitehurst is showing this summer. Rookie wide receiver Doug Baldwin on the team’s backup QB: ““Personally I feel like I have more chemistry with him just because I’ve had more reps with him. Charlie’s a great guy. He’s a great quarterback who does some tremendous things on the field.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at two defensive backs who are playing themselves into spots on the 53-man roster – cornerback Brandon Browner and safety Josh Pinkard. Offers O’Neil: “They can no longer be considered longshots to make Seattle’s roster, though. And that is truly remarkable, considering how far these two have come. Browner spent the past four seasons in the Canadian Football League while Pinkard spent most of 2010 coming back from the third torn knee ligament he suffered while at USC.”

Also from O’Neil, a video of coach Pete Carroll talking about the play of the offensive line in the first two preseason games, when the No. 1 unit hasn’t been as good as it needs to be and the No. 2 unit has been much improved from a year ago.

John Boyle at the Everett Herald asked Carroll a couple of times to clarify the situation at quarterback, and the coach is unwavering in his commitment to Tarvaris Jackson as the starter. Says Boyle, and Carroll: “So if you’re looking for a quarterback controversy following Saturday’s preseason game in which Charlie Whitehurst turned in a strong performance with the Seahawks’ No. 2 offense, you’ll be sorry to hear that Carroll has not changed the stance he took at the beginning of training camp when he named the newly signed Jackson the starter. ‘It doesn’t change at this point,’ Carroll said. ‘But I’m really pleased with (Whitehurst’s) progress.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press looks back at Saturday’s preseason game, which looked better to Carroll the second time around. Says wide receiver Mike Williams: “With this whole lockout and this drought from football and no one being able to watch the game I think now people can watch their teams and they’re a little more critical. Everyone has their right to an opinion and we have to go out and perform and we understand we didn’t really perform as a first unit.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has an updated free-agent scorecard for all the teams in the NFC West. On the Seahawks, he says: “Adding Jackson as the starting quarterback was the most significant move for the 2011 season. Mebane was the most important re-signing for the longer term. Hill was a bargain relative to how he’s playing right now. Miller and Rice were the types of young, talented players who rarely change teams in free agency. The Seahawks were outbid for Herring and Mare. Can street free agent David Vobora fill some of the void Herring left?

And speaking of Vobora, here at Seahawks.com, we check in with the newest Seahawk – the linebacker from Idaho and Eugene’s Churchill High School who was “Mr. Irrelevant” as the last pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Says Vobora: “That’s always been something I’ve taken a lot of pride in. … It’s an incredible deal. You kind of feel like you’re the first pick.”

We’ve also got Tuesday’s practice covered in words and video. And there’s a look back at Saturday night’s game against the Vikings in Ben Malcolmson’s “From the Sidelines” report.


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