Deon Butler, the Seahawks’ third-round draft choice in 2009, has agreed to contract terms with the Chargers, the team’s website announced today.
Butler was with the Seahawks for their final three regular-season games and both playoff games last season, but played in only one. He was re-signed in December after being released on the roster cut to 53 players in August. Butler caught 36 passes in 2010.
For the second time in two weeks, wide receiver Deon Butler has been re-signed by the Seahawks.
Butler was with the team the past three seasons, but was released in August on the roster cut to 53 players. He was re-signed on Dec. 15, the day before the Week 15 game against the Bills in Toronto, but released on Monday. Butler was re-signed again this morning.
To clear a roster spot, cornerback Ron Parker was released. Parker was with the Seahawks for two games last season, but was released in August on the roster cut to 75 players. After spending time on the Panthers’ practice squad, Parker was re-signed on Dec. 5.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 24:
Christmas Eve Eve. For Pete Carroll, Sunday night began with him holding his grandson, Dillon, on the sideline before the Seahawks’ game against the 49ers. It ended with the team’s third-year coach embracing a playoff berth after a beyond-convincing 42-13 victory.
But Carroll is not satisfied. Far from it.
“My goal has never been the playoffs,” he said today during his weekly day-after Q&A session with reporters. “It’s try to win the division, because that puts you in the playoffs at home. And that’s what you want. The second season starts, but you want to position yourself in the best spot that you can get it.
“So we never say around here, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get to the playoffs.’ I never thought that. That isn’t good enough.”
That’s still out there for the Seahawks, if they beat the Rams at CenturyLink Field this Sunday while the Cardinals are beating the 49ers in San Francisco. But regardless of where the Seahawks finish, they’ve made it apparent that they can make some noise in the postseason.
To say they’re are on a roll does not do justice to just what the Seahawks have done during their four-game winning streak. Starting with the fourth quarter of their overtime win against the Bears in Chicago in Week 13, the Seahawks have scored on 24 of their 32 full possessions – not counting when the clock expired at the end of the first half or they kneeled to run out the clock at the end of the second half. And that doesn’t include the four touchdowns scored by the defense and special teams.
“We have to take care of our business first,” Carroll said. “What’s most important right now is we maintain consistency, and we maintain the level of play, and the focus to the details, and the discipline it takes to practice each day with intent, and do things right. And put together another good week so we can play well again.
“We’ve been playing well for quite a while. I can feel it in the room and the guys understand it. But that doesn’t mean anything unless we go do it again.”
GUY BACK, BUTLER GONE
The Seahawks have activated rookie safety Winston Guy, who returned last week with a roster exemption after serving a four-game suspension.
Guy, a sixth-round draft choice, was inactive for eight of the first 10 games before his suspension.
To clear a roster spot, wide receiver Deon Butler was released. Butler was re-signed Dec. 15.
Leroy Hill (hamstring) and Malcolm Smith (groin) came out of Sunday night’s game with injuries, and the next-man-up at weakside linebacker is Mike Morgan, who started one game and played most of the second on the strongside for K.J. Wright earlier this season.
Carroll expects Marcus Trufant to practice on Wednesday after missing the past four games with a hamstring injury. But he is not sure if Walter Thurmond will be able to return by then. Thurmond has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury.
Jermaine Kearse. Signed as a free agent in April after the NFL Draft, the rookie free agent from the University of Washington was released Aug. 31 on the roster cut to 53 players. He was then signed to the practice squad (Sept. 3), released from the practice squad (Sept. 8), re-signed to the practice squad (Sept. 11) and then signed to the 53-man roster (Oct. 30).
Sunday night, Kearse caught a 17-yard pass from Russell Wilson on a third-and-8 play to sustain a 15-play, 68-yard drive that ended with Wilson’s first TD pass to Doug Baldwin and also had two coverage tackles on special teams.
“Oh man, this is a lot of fun,” Kearse, who also went to Lakes High School, said in the locker room after the game. “Especially being in this environment, my rookie year, being with this team, in my hometown; it’s a ton of fun. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Especially because he’s playing for a coach who rewards those players who work hard. Kearse is just one example of a rookie – and a practice-squad rookie, at that – who has reaped the Carroll-bestowed chances.
“Coach has given be a great opportunity to be part of this team,” he said. “Whether it’s special teams or offense, whatever opportunity I get I’m going to run with it. I felt good about today. It was a great team win and I’m happy to be part of this organization.”
If the season ended today, which of course it doesn’t, the Seahawks would play the Redskins in Washington in the first round. That, of course, could change because the only playoff spots not settled involve the NFC West, NFC East and NFC North.
The Seahawks and 49ers are both in, with the 49ers winning the division if they beat the Cardinals on Sunday; or the Seahawks winning it if the 49ers lose and they beat the Rams. One wins the division, while the other gets the No. 5 seed.
In the East, the Cowboys play at the Redskins on Sunday with the winner taking the division and No. 4 seed. With a loss, the Redskins are the No. 6 seed, if the Vikings and Bears also lose. If the Cowboys lose to the Redskins, they’re out. Then it’s the Vikings for the No. 6 seed, if they beat the Packers; or the Bears, if they beat the Lions and the Vikings lose; or the Giants, if they beat the Eagles and Cowboys, Vikings and Bears all lose.
The Seahawks have made a pre-Christmas move in two of the power rankings that have surfaced early in this Christmas week. Here’s a look at where they rank, and what they’re saying:
No. 3 in Peter King’s “Fine Fifteen” at SI.com: “A tour de force victory Sunday night over the big, bad wolf of the NFC West that stamped the Seahawks as a real Super Bowl contender. No team has a bigger home-field advantage than the Seahawks (7-0 at CenturyLink this year). Too bad the ‘Hawks will likely have to win three straight on the road to get to the Super Bowl.”
No. 6 in ESPN.com’s Power Rankings: “The Seahawks are on a 100-13 scoring run at home and have put up 150 over the past three weeks.”
STATS ’N STUFF
After rushing for 176 yards against a 49ers defense that was allowing an average of 91.1, the Seahawks rank No. 2 in the league in rushing offense. They have spiked their per-game average (161.7) by averaging 226.5 in their four-game winning streak.
The Seahawks also are plus-12 in turnover differential, which ties for sixth in the league.
Marshawn Lynch remains second in the league in rushing (1,490) and is tied for fourth among non-kickers with 72 points. He’s also fifth in total yards (1,672) and first downs (75).
Richard Sherman is tied for second in the league with a career-high seven interceptions, one behind league-leader Tim Jennings of the Bears; while Chris Clemons is tied for seventh in sacks (11.5).
Wilson’s passer rating of 98.0 is seventh in the league, and second among rookie QBs behind the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III. Wilson’s 101.5 passer rating in the fourth quarter is seventh in the league and his 92.4 rating on third downs in eighth. With 25 TD passes, he is ninth in the league, tops among rookie QBs and one shy of Peyton Manning’s league record for a rookie QB.
Leon Washington remains second in the league in kickoff return average (30.1), while Jon Ryan is sixth in the league in net punting average (41.6) and tied for 10th in punts inside the 20 (28).
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the team with 130 tackles, which is six shy of the single-season club record for a rookie set by Terry Beeson on 1977. Special teams co-captains Heath Farwell (15) and Michael Robinson (10) lead the team in coverage tackles.
STAT DU JOUR
Calvin Johnson surpassed Jerry Rice’s single-season NFL record for receiving yards on Saturday night, which only makes the job the Seahawks did against the Lions’ Megatron wide-out in Week 8 that much more impressive. Here’s a look that game, and what Johnson has done since then:
Opponent Rec. Yards
Seahawks 3 46
Jaguars 7 129
Vikings 12 207
Packers 5 143
Texans 8 140
Colts 13 171
Packers 10 118
Cardinals 10 121
Falcons 11 225
Christmas Day, of course. And this year it just happens to fall on the players’ usually day off. They will return on Wednesday to begin practicing for this week’s game against the Rams at CenturyLink Field.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The amazing thing Sunday night was, that was no Jacksonville or Kansas City they beat up 42-13. That was the San Francisco 49ers, who’d entered the game first in the NFL in scoring defense. Russell Wilson had the first four-touchdown-pass day of his exploding career, Marshawn Lynch rushed for 111 yards, and the Seahawks, with a crowd so loud that NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya had to scream into Pete Carroll’s ear to be heard before the game, continued on the NFL’s best three-game offensive run since 1950.” – King in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com
TORONTO – The Seahawks dipped into their recent past today and signed wide receiver and former draft choice Deon Butler to fill the roster spot that opened when wide receiver Charly Martin was placed on injured reserve after pulling a calf muscle in practice Thursday.
The 5-foot-10, 182-pound Butler was a third-round draft choice in 2009 and caught 57 passes in three seasons – including 36 for 385 yards and four touchdowns in 2010. Butler remained with the team during training camp this summer, but was released Aug. 31 on the roster cut to 53 players.
The Seahawks play the Bills here tomorrow, and were down to four wide receivers – starters Sidney Rice and Golden Tate; slot receiver Doug Baldwin; and rookie free agent Jermaine Kearse. Rice, who leads the team with 45 receptions, returned to practice Friday after sitting out the previous two days to rest a bruised foot. But he is expected to play against the Bills.
On 12-12-12, here’s a look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Dec. 12:
1976: The Seahawks close their inaugural season with a 27-10 loss to the Eagles at the Kingdome that leaves them 2-12, which will be the worst record in franchise history until the 1992 team goes 2-14. Steve Largent catches seven passes for 98 yards and the Seahawks’ only touchdown.
1982: Jim Zorn runs for one touchdown and passes for another, while Steve Largent catches eight passes for 111 yards, in a 20-14 victory over the Bears at the Kingdome.
1993: The Raiders take a 27-9 lead in Los Angeles and then hold on for a four-point victory as Rick Mirer runs for one touchdown and passes for another in the final 6½ minutes.
1999: The Seahawks take their first lead of the game on a Jon Kinta-to-Derrick Mayes touchdown pass in the third quarter, but John Carney kicks two fourth-quarter field goals to give the Chargers a 19-16 victory at the Kingdome. The loss is the third in a four-game losing streak that follows the Seahawks’ 8-2 start in their first season under Mike Holmgren.
2004: Josh Brown kicks field goals in the third and fourth quarters to give the Seahawks a 27-23 victory over the Vikings in Minnesota. Rashad Moore recovered a fumble at the Vikings’ 26-yard line to set up Brown’s fourth quarter field goal and Michael Boulware then intercepts a Randy Moss pass in the end zone to ice the win. Before the late heroics by the defense, Matt Hasselbeck passes for three touchdowns, Darrell Jackson catches 10 passes for 135 yards and Shaun Alexander runs for 112 yards.
2011: The Seahawks pick up win No. 2 in what will become a three-game winning streak with a 30-13 victory over the Rams in a “Monday Night Football” game at CenturyLink Field. Michael Robinson gets the rout rolling by returning a Doug Baldwin blocked punt for a touchdown and before it’s over Tarvaris Jackson passes for one TD and runs for another, while Marshawn Lynch rushes for 115 yards and a TD and Steven Hauschka kicks three field goals. Linebacker K.J. Wright leads the defensive effort with eight tackles, a sack, two other tackles for losses and a tipped pass.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 27:
Da Bears. In not quite 2¾ seasons under coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks are 6-16 on the road. During this same span, the Chicago Bears are 16-7 at home. But two of the Seahawks’ road wins have come at Soldier Field – 38-14 in Week 15 last year and 23-20 in Week 6 in 2010.
Has there been a common thread in the Seahawks claiming a third of their wins on the road at one location?
“I hope so. I hope so,” Carroll said with a laugh. “We do know the setting. … We’ve found some success. We know how to travel there. We know what it takes and all that. We’ll try to bank of that the best we can and make the most of it.”
That’s exactly what the Seahawks did during their wins in the Windy City the past two seasons.
Last year, the Bears played without the injured duo of quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte. Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown combined to complete 11 of 23 passes for 123 yards, but the Bears rushed for 132 yards and a 4.3-yard average with Kahlil Bell (15 for 65) and Hanie (5 for 34) picking up the slack for Forte.
The Bears defense held Marshawn Lynch to 42 yards on 20 carries, but the Seahawks’ Beast Mode back managed to get into the end zone twice. The defense also scored twice, as end Red Bryant (20 yards) and cornerback Brandon Browner (43) returned interceptions for touchdowns.
In 2010, Cutler and Forte played, but Cutler was tackled in the end zone for a safety and Forte was held to 11 yards on eight carries. Lynch, in his first game with the Seahawks after being obtained in a bye-week trade with the Bills, scored a TD. So did two players who no longer are with the team – running back Justin Forsett and wide receiver Deon Butler. Two other since-departed players also made big contributions, as Mike Williams caught 10 passes for 123 yards and Matt Hasselbeck was 25 of 40 for 242 yards.
This week, the Seahawks need a repeat performance from their current players to register another upset and atone for Sunday’s fall-from-ahead loss to the Dolphins in Miami, which dropped their road record to 1-5.
BATES BACK, PORTIS RELEASED
Wide receiver Phil Bates has been re-signed to the practice squad. Bates, a rookie free agent, was with the team during training camp but released on the roster cut to 75 players. He was signed to the practice squad on Oct. 31 and then released on Nov. 14.
To clear a spot, quarterback Josh Portis was released. Portis was on the 53-man roster last season. This year, he was released on the roster cut to 53 players and signed to the practice squad the next day.
STATS ’N STUFF
Lynch has slipped to third in the league in rushing (1,051 yards) after being held to 46 yards by the Dolphins. The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson still leads the NFL (1,236), while the Texans’ Arian Foster (1,064) leapfrogged Lynch. Peterson ran for 108 yards against the Bears on Sunday.
Lynch also is fifth in the league in total yards (1,189).
Jon Ryan is ninth in the league in punting average (47.7), but fifth in net average (42.1). He also tied a club record against the Dolphins by having six punts downed inside the 20-yard line. That gives him 22 for the season, which ranks fifth in the league.
With his 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Dolphins, Leon Washington increased his average to 31.9 yards, which ranks third in the league.
Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner continued to lead the team in tackles with 90.
As a team, the Seahawks rank fifth in the league in total defense (12th against the run, third against the pass) and 27th in total offense (eighth rushing, 31st passing).
STAT DU JOUR
How efficient and effective has rookie QB Russell Wilson been over the past seven games? Only two quarterbacks in the league have a better QBR, the rating system used at ESPN.com, and their names are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Here’s a look at the Top 10 since Week 5:
Player, team QBR
Tom Brady, Patriots 84.7
Peyton Manning, Broncos 81.0
Russell Wilson, Seahawks 79.1
Drew Brees, Saints 76.9
Josh Freeman, Bucs 74.9
Robert Griffin III, Redskins 74.7
Matt Ryan, Falcons 73.2
Aaron Rodgers, Packers 72.7
Andrew Luck, Colts 72.3
Eli Manning, Giants 71.3
The players return from their “off” day to begin practicing for Sunday’s game on “Competition Wednesday.” Because the game is in Chicago, the team will leave on Friday for the second consecutive week and hold its Saturday walkthrough at a local high school.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Knee-jerk reaction: ‘Good teams don’t go 1-5 on the road. The Seahawks are a fraud. They’ll never make a dent in the playoffs as a wild-card team at this rate.’ Reality or not? ‘What did you expect, a 12-4 season? Seattle is building around one of the most impressive rookie QBs in the NFL. Simply reaching the playoffs should be enough.” – NFC West blogger Mike Sando in the weekly “Knee-jerk reaction” feature at ESPN.com
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 29.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look at veteran wide receiver Ben Obomanu, who finds himself in a familiar position as the team nears it’s 53-man roster cut Friday, “Obomanu used to be one of those young guys taking aim at a veteran’s gig as he came to a team with established receivers like Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram. ‘First couple of years, that was the obstacle,’ Obomanu said. ‘Trying to compete as a low pick against guys that had big contracts that were new to the team. I had a lot of big guys in front of me the first couple of years.’ He outlasted big-ticket additions like Nate Burleson and Deion Branch. He made the team in 2010, a year the Seahawks paid T.J. Houshmandzadeh more than $6 million to go away. But this week he is once again one of the guys who’s playing for a job, not taking anything for granted while doing everything he can so he can buy his folks plane tickets for the first home game. Of course, that won’t happen until after Friday.”
O’Neil also catches up with wide receiver Deon Butler, who he thinks many have overlooked in the wide receiver competition for a roster spot, “Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin are locks to make this team. Braylon Edwards is almost certainly going to get an opportunity as he’s built for the jump-ball sideline routes that have been a stale of the exhibition gameplans. But when the Seahawks roster is finalized this week, Butler and Obomanu are very strong candidates to round out the receivers. But nothing is given so is Butler feeling comfortable? ‘I’ve been comfortable for a long time,’ Butler said. ‘I’ve been just confident in my abilities and myself. I just feel like there’s a place for me in this league. Hopefully it’s here.’ “
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune speaks to the learning curve and adversity that rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin is facing this preseason, “Two rookie pass rushers drafted after Irvin, the Jets’ Quinton Coples (three sacks) and the Chargers’ Melvin Ingram (two sacks) have been more productive statistically. Todd Wash, Seahawks defensive line coach, is not worried over Irvin’s progress at this point. ‘We’ve seen so much development,’ Wash said. ‘The first couple (games) we were seeing some apprehension with his get-off, (being) unsure of things; I think there was a lot of thinking going on.’ Wash said that in the third exhibition game, against Kansas City, Irvin had several quarterback pressures and near sacks. ‘We saw him starting to threaten guys on the edge, and he’s using his hands better every day,’ he said. ‘(At practice) today he had three of the best rushes he’s had so far.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that rookie offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy – who played defensive line in college – is exceeding expectations thus far, “When offensive line coach Tom Cable went to work Sweezy out before the draft, he asked a defensive player, one who had not played offensive line since he was eight years old, how he felt about changing positions. Cable liked what he saw of Sweezy in that workout, and just importantly, what he heard, and that was enough for the Seahawks to take a flier in the seventh round on a defensive lineman who they thought might just be able to make a successful transition to the other side of the ball. ‘He answered the question right,’ Cable said. ‘When I asked, ‘I’m here to work you as an offensive lineman, not a defensive lineman, are you all right with that?’ His answer was, ‘Yeah, I’ll do whatever it takes.’ That’s the right answer. It’s not, ‘Well, does this mean I don’t get to play D-line?’ You don’t want to hear that crap. You just want to know, ‘Hey, do you want to go for this or not?’ And right from the beginning, he did, and that made it easy.’ “
Tim Booth of the Associated Press also comments on Sweezy’s contributions, “Clearly, the Seahawks underestimated just how fast Sweezy could make the change. He’s already started a pair of preseason games – two weeks ago in Denver and last week at Kansas City. Sweezy could get a third start on Thursday night when the Seahawks close out the preseason hosting Oakland. Sweezy has taken advantage of starting right guard John Moffitt missing time during training camp after requiring elbow surgery. Moffitt returned to practice this week and may play against the Raiders, but it’s Sweezy who has continued to get work with the No. 1 offense. Seattle (No. 22 in the APPro32) was so impressed with Sweezy’s improvement the team felt comfortable releasing experienced veteran guard Deuce Lutui during the first round of cuts last weekend. ‘We thought maybe he’ll make the practice squad and develop later on in the season,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ‘Well, that development came within the first four to five days of camp.’ “
Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps a segment of “Brock and Salk” in which quarterback Russell Wilson joined the program, “Russell Wilson’s mobility helped him lead Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl during his final collegiate season, it added to his appeal when the Seahawks took him in the third round of April’s NFL draft, and it’s been evident in three preseason game in which Wilson has been good enough to win a job as a starter. But never has his mobility been the main reason for Wilson’s success. While it’s part of his game, it doesn’t define him as a quarterback. Wilson often finds ways to subtly mention that when the topic comes up, as if to dispel any notion that he’s a run-first quarterback. The latest reminder – as if we needed one – came Tuesday when Wilson joined ‘Brock and Salk’ and was asked about what goes through his head when he decides to tuck the ball and run. ‘I never, ever think about running the football. I’m always wanting to throw the ball and if something closes, if I go through my progression and it closes, it’s like, ‘Bam.’ It happens so fast and you’re out. You’re just trying to get something positive,’ he said.”
Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has his report from Tuesday’s practice session, including a note on running back Marshawn Lynch, “Running back Marshawn Lynch watched practice wearing sweats. He has been receiving treatment for a sore, tight back. According to coach Pete Carroll, Lynch will not play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against Oakland.”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his notes from Tuesday’s practice, and catches up with rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner, “Wagner has taken over as the starting middle linebacker replacing LB David Hawthorne. Head coach Pete Carroll said at the end of last season they would be looking to get faster on defense. Linebacker appared to be the primary focus of where the team was looking to add that speed. Wagner fills that role. He’s a rangy, albeit somewhat small at just 6-feet tall but has come along way in taking over the defensive calls and making sure the defensive line is aligned properly. ‘I took a lot of pride in that because a lot of middle linebackers do that,’ Wagner said. ‘…I was going to mess up, but make sure I got it right the next time.’ “
Mike Sando of ESPN.com takes a look at eight ‘elite’ 2011 NFC West draft choices who enter their second year having secured starting positions. For Seattle, that includes linebacker K.J. Wright and cornerback Richard Sherman, “Linebacker K.J. Wright and cornerback Richard Sherman became starters as rookies. Both appear to be ascending rapidly. Wright impressed during camp with physical play. He stays on the field in nickel situations. Sherman was arguably the Seahawks’ best corner by season’s end, no small feat. Wright is 6-foot-4. Sherman is 6-3. These are rangy defenders with bright futures. Seattle would ideally have four projected starters from this class, but it’s looking like offensive linemen James Carpenter (first) and John Moffitt (third) will enter the season as backups. Rookie seventh-rounder J.R. Sweezy has played very well since replacing an injured Moffitt. Breno Giacomini won the job at right tackle after Carpenter suffered a season-ending knee injury last year. Carpenter could start at some point this season, probably at left guard. Moffitt could back up the three inside spots if Sweezy sticks in the lineup.”
Sando also has his updated outlook for Seahawks 2011 first-round draft pick James Carpenter, “There were even rumblings Carpenter, a first-round draft choice in 2011, would miss the season entirely after suffering a severe knee injury during a November practice. The outlook has changed. While teams around the league have begun placing players on their physically unable to perform lists, Carpenter stayed on the roster at the reduction to 75 players. If he remains active at the reduction to 53 on Friday, which now seems likely, Carpenter could factor into Seattle’s plans much earlier than once anticipated. Players on the PUP list must miss the first six weeks.”
Michael Lombardi of NFL.com has his list of “blue chip” and “red chip” players on offense and defense. Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger, and Red Bryant make his list as “blue chip” players, while Earl Thomas makes the list as a “red chip” player.
Don Banks of SI.com labels the Seahawks quarterback depth as one of the League’s “winners” of Week 3 of the preseason, “We just found out Pete Carroll will ride the hot hand of rookie Russell Wilson, rather than go with the slightly more experienced free-agent signee Matt Flynn, but that’s the two best choices the Seahawks have had at quarterback in quite some time. No offense to Charlie Whitehurst, Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace, but no offense pretty much summed up the state of things in Seattle before this preseason. Wilson, the “short” quarterback who some said wouldn’t even get drafted, is the clear-cut story of the 2012 preseason. Score yet another one for the science that is NFL draft scouting.”
Starting quarterback Russell Wilson appeared on NFL Total Access yesterday. You can watch the video here.
Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth has his notes from Tuesday in ‘Hawkville‘, and says that backup quarterback Matt Flynn was a full participant in practice, “The backup quarterback was able to throw more in today’s practice than he has since an inflamed muscle in the right elbow started acting up last week. Flynn took part in all phases of practice, a good sign that he’ll be able to play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field. It also was Flynn’s longest on-field stint since coach Pete Carroll announced on Sunday that rookie Russell Wilson had won the starting job. So Flynn needs to begin taking advantage of whatever opportunities come his way.”
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 20.
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times tells us which questions have been answered through the Seahawks first two preseason games, and which questions remain, “1. You can’t proclaim the pass rush fixed. At least, not yet. The Seahawks have one sack in each of their two exhibition games, and for all the playing time rookie Bruce Irvin got Saturday in Denver, he didn’t spend all that much time near the quarterback. He did get one clear pressure, knocking the quarterback down, and he showed his speed in chasing plays down from behind. He didn’t show much in terms of getting around blockers, though. The Seahawks didn’t play Jason Jones, the defensive tackle they’re expecting to be a big part of their nickel pass rush, and August isn’t the time teams typically put their best pass-rush plans on display. But for all the talk this offseason about improving Seattle’s pass rush, it hasn’t been exhibited so far this month.”
O’Neil also has a look at Saturday night’s game and the play of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, who shined again with the second unit, “Wilson completed 10 of 17 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 33 yards before Josh Portis was summoned to play the game’s final 3 minutes. Yes, Wilson was playing against Denver’s backups. No, Flynn did not have Seattle’s full array of receivers. Still, after playing the first half in two consecutive games, Flynn has yet to lead Seattle to a touchdown while Wilson has thrown for three and run for another. ‘He’s doing really well,’ Carroll said of the first-year player from Wisconsin. ‘We’re ecstatic about it. To have a guy coming off the bench like that and play two halves back-to-back and really play football, it’s great for our team.’ “
Eric Williams at the Tacoma News Tribune takes a look at Deon Butler, claiming the fourth-year wider receiver has made the biggest impact this preseason, “Fourth-year pro Deon Butler has been working mostly at slot receiver because Doug Baldwin has been nursing a hamstring injury the past two weeks. Butler has just four receptions for 26 yards through the first two games, but three of his four catches have resulted in first downs. Quarterback Matt Flynn has looked to the Penn State product in critical stretches of the games.”
Williams has his story and notes from Saturday night’s 30-10 victory over the Denver Broncos, “While Wilson sizzled, Flynn sputtered in the first half, completing 6 of 13 passes for 31 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions in Seattle’s 30-10 win over the Denver Broncos on Saturday evening at Sports Authority Field. ‘It was really hard on him,’ Carroll said about Flynn, who was sacked once. ‘We didn’t protect him very well. We held a little bit. He couldn’t even get started, I feel. At this point it’s really hard to evaluate the quarterback, because I need to see all that happened.’ “
Williams also has a look at safety Jeron Johnson, who forced a fumble and picked off Peyton Manning Saturday night at Denver, “Johnson earned significant time with the starting defensive unit, playing in place of safety Kam Chancellor at times in the first half. And Johnson made the most of it, corralling one of two Peyton Manning interceptions. Johnson also stuffed Denver running back Lance Ball behind the line of scrimmage and stripped him of the ball, with linebacker Leroy Hill recovering the fumble. ‘That’s huge for two turnovers by a kid,’ Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. ‘But all along he’s really improved from last year. And he’s playing some good ball for us. It’s exciting to see him in there.’ “
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune calls for head coach Pete Carroll to start Russell Wilson at quarterback this week at Kansas City, “If Wilson struggles against a legitimate defense, while Flynn thrives against the temps, the conclusions you make will be difficult. But they’ll also be informed. Just know this, Pete: Russell Wilson hasn’t struggled on an athletic field since the last time he geared up to hit a fastball that arrived as a curve.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com shares the same sentiments as McGrath, calling for Wilson to start at Kansas City, “If Russell Wilson doesn’t start the Seahawks third exhibition game Friday in Kansas City, it will be an abdication of coach Pete Carroll’s strategy in camp, as well as his coaching beliefs. Wilson has earned his chance to fail. If he does fail, then we know, for now.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at three things from Saturday night’s matchup with the Broncos, as he revisits the Seahawks quarterback competition, the addition of Terrell Owens, and a look at Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.
Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com says it’s time for the Seahawks to make a decision at quarterback, “Seattle looks close to their decision — with Matt Flynn winning the job (for now) and rookie Russell Wilson right behind him and Tarvaris Jackson on the way out. Flynn needs as much practice time as he can get from here on out because he has only two career starts.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his story from Saturday night, and also a look at the play of safety Jeron Johnson, “Johnson definitely took advantage of the situations as they presented themselves. ‘I had an opportunity to get in early and just tried to make plays,’ he said in the locker room, flashing a smile as bright as the light on the TV camera that was focused on him. On the third play of the Broncos’ first possession in the second quarter, Johnson jarred the ball from 215-pound running back Lance Ball and linebacker Leroy Hill recovered the fumble at the Denver 46-yard line. ‘I just tried to take care of my gap and the blocker kind of fell off of me,’ Johnson said. ‘I hit the running back and when I tackled him my hand already was on the ball. I just stripped it out and the ball came loose.’ “
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for Aug. 15:
The fans. They came by the bus loads. Day after day. Practice after practice. Weekends. Week days. It didn’t seem to matter. They packed the berm adjacent to the practices field at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. They lined the fence that separates the berm from the fields. They cheered the big plays, and even the not so big. They coaxed players into autographing everything from footballs, to jerseys, to body parts.
After today’s practice, the berm fell silent.
The last of the 13 training-camp practices open to the public attracted a crowd of 1,325 fans, pushing the total for camp to 20,841.
And the players appreciated you being here. It’s one thing to run out of the tunnel at CenturyLink Field to the roar of 66,000-plus on game day. But to get a rousing reception from a thousand or more die-hards on a Wednesday morning, that’s special, too.
“The fans help,” right tackle Breno Giacomini said. “If you don’t get excited for that, then something’s wrong with you. You should probably be playing golf somewhere.
“I like having the fans at practice. It’s a good environment, a game-like environment for practice.”
After practice, Giacomini was one of the players who “worked the fence” – signing autographs, chatting with fans, posing for picture.
“It’s good, man. The 12th Man is really good, and we use it to our advantage. So whenever we can give back, we do,” he said. “These kids love it, just as much as I did when I was growing up.”
Giacomini has grown into a 6-foot-7, 318-pound beast of a blocker. But he still knows his place.
Asked how it felt to have the fans yelling and cheering for him, he said, “Well, they’re not screaming for me. They’re screaming for us.”
Right on cue, quarterback Matt Flynn also stepped away from the fence so he could fulfill his post-practice interview duties. The fans erupted with shouts of, “Matt. Matt. Matt.”
Giacomini smiled and shrugged before offering, “See what I mean. But it’s all good.”
Quarterback. How did Flynn learn that will be the starting quarterback in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos in Denver?
“I’m finding out along with you guys,” Flynn told reporters after practice, adding that he heard the news on the radio. “I found out from you guys before I found out from anybody else yesterday. So I’m just going where they tell me to go and doing the best I can.”
Flynn starting for the second consecutive week is part of coach Pete Carroll’s grand plan to determine which of three QBs will start the Sept. 9 regular-season opener. In addition to Flynn, there’s also incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson and rookie Russell Wilson. But Flynn is not privy to the details of that plan.
He’s more concerned with the game plan for the Broncos. Flynn completed 11 of 13 passes in the preseason opener against the Titans, producing 71 passing yards and three points as “we took what the defense gave us,” he said.
What does he hope to improve on against the Broncos?
“Everything. That’s what preseason is for, that’s what this (practice) is for. We have to improve on everything,” said Flynn, who then rattled through a mental to-do improvement list that included the running game, passing game, protection, route running and accuracy throwing.
“Just everything as an offense, everything that makes an offense go we’ve got to improve on.”
Third down. The Seahawks converted six of 12 third-down situations against the Titans on Saturday night – two of five in the first half under Flynn; four of seven in the second half under Wilson.
But in the final full-team segment of practice today, Wilson had his third-down mojo working on a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended with his 6-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens. Wilson passed to Kris Durham for 16 yards on third-and-10, and then hooked up with Charly Martin for 17 yards on a third-and-8 play. The TD pass? It came on third-and-goal.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Defense: You had to be an early bird to catch this one, as cornerback Phillip Adams continued his impressive week of practice by taking the ball from the hands of Braylon Edwards in the end zone for another interception (Adams had two on Tuesday).
Offense: Another early highlight that stood the test of the rest of practice, as rookie wide receiver Phil Bates grabbed and controlled a pass that had been tipped by cornerback Bryon Maxwell – and did it while falling out of bounds, but making sure his feet were inbounds.
Special teams: Rookie Carson Wiggs kicked a 49-yard field goal on the final play of practice.
IN ’N OUT
The number of players watching practice grew to 14, as offensive lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre, wide receiver Golden Tate, tight ends Anthony McCoy and Cameron Morrah and linebacker Mike Morgan joined those already sidelined – linebackers Matt McCoy and Malcolm Smith, defensive ends Cordarro Law and Pierre Allen, cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Ron Parker, tight end Zach Miller and offensive linemen James Carpenter and John Moffitt.
But Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson and safety Jeron Johnson returned after sitting out Tuesday.
PASSING THE BATON
In honor of the scorch marks doled out by Usain Bolt and the other members of Jamaican 4×100 relay team at the London Olympics, we asked wide receiver Ricardo Lockette to compile a 400-meter relay team for the Seahawks.
Lockette’s credentials: He was the NCAA Division II 200-meter champion in 2008 in a time of 20.6 seconds, but has a PR of 20.3; has run the 100-meter dash in 10.0 seconds; and tied for the third-fastest 40-yard dash (4.37 seconds) at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, but has a PR of 4.26.
“If he had stuck with track, he would have been at the (U.S. Olympic) Trials this year,” said Tyree Price, Lockette’s track coach at Fort Valley State.
Lockette’s selections for the Seahawks’ 4×100, in order of how they would run: Leon Washington, to Jeremy Lane, to Deon Butler, to Lockette.
Camp will break following a morning practice tomorrow. The team will fly to Denver after practice on Friday for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos.
YOU DON’T SAY
“You’ve all seen him out here. He’s fast. It looks like he hasn’t lost a step; it looks like he’s gained a step.” – Flynn on the 38-year-old Owens, who is beginning his week with the team
Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 16.
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times gives us his reaction to the Seahawks release of wide receiver Mike Williams, noting the move did not come as a total surprise, but rather a disappointment given Williams’ career revival with Seattle in 2010. “Williams’ release is disappointing, however,” said O’Neil. “His 2010 comeback was nothing short of remarkable as the former first-round pick — who had been out of the league entirely for two years — caught 65 passes to lead the team. He was never going to be mistaken for a track star, but he had size, great hands and an engaging personality. The man is very likeable. He had an ability to cut to the quick and speak honestly. On the subject of the NFL’s comeback player of the year in 2010, he pointed out that Leon Washington was much more deserving considering the severity of the broken leg Washington had to recover from. All Williams did, he said, was recover from being out of shape and sitting on his couch.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his own take on the release of Williams, as he designates health issues and a lack of production a season ago as factors in the team’s decision, and comments on how the move affects the Seahawks’ competition at wide receiver heading into training camp, “The release of Williams opens up competition for the starting split end spot opposite Sidney Rice, with veterans Ben Obomanu and Deon Butler battling with youngsters Golden Tate, Kris Durham and Ricardo Lockette for the starting job.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald presents his take on the release of Williams, and also takes a look at how the move affects the Seahawks wideout group heading into camp, “With or without Williams, the battle for roster spots and playing time already figured to be one of the most intriguing position battles aside from Seattle’s three-man quarterback competition. While Sidney Rice is a lock to start, assuming he is healthy, the battle for the other starting job is wide open. Doug Baldwin should remain the Seahawks’ slot receiver, a role in which he thrived as a rookie in 2011. Golden Tate is now likely the front runner to be Seattle’s other starting receiver, but a number of other players could push him for that spot. The Seahawks will have a battle for both playing time and roster spots beyond Rice, Tate and Baldwin, one that will include Ben Obomanu, Kris Durham, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and perhaps a couple of undrafted rookies such as Lavasier Tuinei and Phil Bates.”
Tim Booth of the Associated Press gives us this story on the release of Williams, suggesting that the signing of tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. may have played a role in the team’s decision to let Williams go, “With Winslow and Zach Miller, the Seahawks are likely to use more two tight end sets and limit the need for a second taller receiver on the outside.”
Over at MyNorthwest.com Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of the “Bob and Groz” show provide their own assessment of the Seahawks decision to release Williams, and discuss what’s next for the team at the wide receiver position, and for Williams, in this video.
Rounding out the reaction to Williams’ release is Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM, who shares this piece and predicts what the team might do to replace Williams, “The team could look to bring in another veteran receiver or two to help add security to the position. WR Antonio Bryant had a tryout during mini-camp in June, but the team wanted him to get in better shape before making a decision on whether to sign him to the roster. He could be an option entering camp.”
The guys at ProFootballTalk.com are incrementally releasing their preseason power rankings and the Seahawks have landed at No. 22 on their list. Evan Silva breaks down the ranking in this Seahawks preview, analyzing the team’s strengths, weaknesses, changes the team has undergone, upcoming training camp battles and has provided an outlook heading into 2012, “The Seahawks seem to be a team on the rise, but they’ve yet to exceed seven regular-season wins through two years of the Carroll/Schneider regime. In order to instill confidence in the minds of observers, Seattle needs to take a significant step forward in on-the-field performance. Seattle’s 2012 schedule includes a brutal stretch from Weeks Two through Eight. They’ll square off with four returning playoff teams — the Packers, Patriots, 49ers, and Lions. During the seven-game run, the Seahawks also face the explosive offenses of Dallas and Carolina. We’ll have a very good feel for what kind of team the 2012 Seahawks are following that tough run. Ultimately, we ranked Seattle as the second best team in the NFC West. We like them better than the Cardinals and Rams, but much less than the Niners. The Seahawks are a club that certainly could surprise, especially if they emerge from the aforementioned seven-game stretch with four solid wins.”
Eric Edholm of ProFootballWeekly.com picks out three teams that may not necessarily be division favorites heading into 2012, but could have the potential to surprise and challenge for the division. Among Edholm’s short list are the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks. Edholm had this to say on the Seahawks, “The Seahawks are fascinating. They have a young, ballhawking defense, some real talent at receiver and a confident head coach in Pete Carroll with a chip on his shoulder. All they need now is to settle on a quarterback. It should be easy, right? They signed Matt Flynn in the offseason, gave him $10 million guaranteed. That should be our sign he’s the starter. But an interesting thing is happening here, with Tarvaris Jackson getting the first-team reps to start training camp and white-hot (and intriguing) rookie Russell Wilson throwing bolts and determined to win the job from Day One.”
At NFL.com Kurt Warner, Warren Sapp and guest-analyst and former-teammate of Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings each give their two cents on the Seahawks quarterback competition heading into training camp in this short video.
Finally, here at Seahawks.com registration is now open for 2012 Bing Training Camp, which is set to begin at the end of the month. For more information, including how to register, click here.