Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 7:
Dave Boling at the New Tribune takes a look at how the Seahawks have gotten bigger, faster and younger. Says Boling: “Since last season’s opener against San Francisco, the Seattle Seahawks starters have gotten 30 years younger, the offensive line has added 58 pounds and the starting secondary has sprouted 8 inches. It’s increasingly clear that if they were to design an heraldic crest symbolic of the Pete Carroll/John Schneider regime with the Seahawks, it would feature a couple of grinning guys high-fiving above the motto: Younger, Faster, Stronger.”
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times examines the new look of the Seahawks’ passing game, and he’s not talking about QB Tarvaris Jackson. Offers O’Neil: “The Seahawks’ most intriguing story line this season is at quarterback, whether focusing on starter Tarvaris Jackson specifically or the position in general. But so much time has been spent scrutinizing the man who will throw the ball that the addition of the two Pro Bowlers who will catch it has been overlooked. A year ago, Seattle’s five wide receivers had a combined 64 receptions the previous season. Now, the Seahawks have three players who’ve caught more than 60 passes each at least once in the previous two years.”
At the Everett Herald, Scott Johnson continues his “The Game of my Life” series with a look at one of the most enigmatic players in franchise history: Daryl Turner. Says Johnson: “On the football field, there was only one way for Daryl Turner to achieve the ultimate high. A way to get that feeling of invincibility, to chase away that depression and self-doubt that had plagued him for much of his life. A way to float above it all. Scoring a touchdown could do that for Turner. The end zone was his refuge, and it was a place he visited often.”
Also at the Herald, John Boyle begins a four-part series previewing the 2011 Seahawks with a look at the offense. Says Boyle: “The Minnesota Vikings did not believe in Tarvaris Jackson as a starting quarterback. The Seattle Seahawks do. And as the start of the 2011 season approaches, that belief by the Seahawks, more than anything else, will shape how the year plays out.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com has thoughts on the Seahawks from Gary Horton, the founder of Scouts Inc. Says Horton: “This passing game could be underrated with wide receivers Mike Williams and Sidney Rice and tight end Zach Miller if they can find a quarterback to get the ball to them!” This is nothing new. Those inside the Seahawks organization love Jackson’s potential. Those who are the outside looking in, not so much.
Here at Seahawks.com, Ben Malcolmson has the inside story on Pete Carroll’s pregame ploy for the preseason finale that worked very well in his weekly “From the Sidelines.” We’ve also got a look at Carroll’s choice (or choices) for the player (or players) he’s most excited about making the 53-man roster (don’t tell anyone, but it’s Brandon Browner and Dominique Byrd), as well as the daily report from Hawkville.
Thomas Clayton continues to be the Seahawks’ leading rusher in the preseason, but he’d better not look over his shoulder pads because Josh Portis is gaining on him.
Portis, the rookie free agent quarterback, scrambled four times for 46 yards in the fourth quarter of Saturday night’s home opener against the Vikings. That gave him 53 rushing yards, 34 fewer than Thomas’ team-leading total (87).
Clayton also ranks fourth in the NFC and is tied for ninth in the league. He has produced five first downs, which is tied for 10th in the league.
Tight ends Dominique Byrd and Anthony McCoy and rookie free agent wide receiver Doug Baldwin share the club lead with six receptions, which also ties them for ninth in the league. McCoy also has scored two of the team’s four touchdowns. Baldwin also leads the team in kickoff (27.2) and punt (11.5) return averages.
The Seahawks rank 12th in the league in total offense and are No. 6 in rushing offense. They are 10th in total defense, ninth against the pass and 11th against the run. They’re also tied for second in red-zone defense, having allowed 16 points in five possessions inside their 20-yard line – one TD and three field goals.
A recap of the afternoon practice at Seahawks training camp on Saturday:
Russell Okung. No crutches. No boot. Able to do toe-raises while watching practice.
All the signs today where more positive than it appeared after the team’s left tackle limped off the field on Thursday night during the first series of the Seahawks’ preseason opener against the Chargers in San Diego. Yes, Okung has a sprained left ankle. But it is not as severe as the high sprains of both ankles that forced him to miss six regular-season games last season.
“Russell’s not nearly as bad as it looked,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice. “It’s nothing like the ones he had.”
Carroll did not put a timetable on Okung’s possible return, but he said it is conceivable that last year’s top draft choice could be ready for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco.
“He’s way more active than he was any time early in those other ankle injuries that he had,” Carroll said. “So we’re feeling pretty positive that something’s going to come out and within a couple of weeks we’ll be in pretty good shape.”
While Okung is out, Tyler Polumbus is working at left tackle with the No. 1 line.
Tight end. After Thursday night’s game, backup QB Charlie Whitehurst glanced around the locker room and offered, “Look at the talent we have on this team at the tight end position.”
He’ll get no argument from Carroll.
“It really feels strong now,” Carroll said. “With Zach (Miller) coming in, John Carlson has really answered the call. I mean John is competing like crazy.
“It’s a very strong position for us and one we’re kind of growing with as we see them display the kind of things they can do.”
The addition of Miller from the Raiders in free agency to complement Carlson gives the team two starting-caliber tight ends, and a tandem that assistant head coach/line coach Tom Cable considers the best in the league.
But the contributions of free-agent addition Dominique Byrd and second-year man Anthony McCoy are making things interesting in the battle for the third roster spot. And Cameron Morrah, who filled that spot last season, has yet to practice because he’s recovering from offseason toe surgery.
“Dominique is a very good all-around athlete,” Carroll said of Byrd, who played for him at USC. “He was a point guard in high school. He’s got a lot of athleticism that make him unique to the tight end position.”
Byrd caught two passes for 52 yards against the Chargers and also was wide open in the end zone on the play where rookie QB Josh Portis went to McCoy for the TD that tied the score at 17.
The fans. Those along the fence, as well as those on the berm that is adjacent to the practice fields. Today’s practice drew the largest crowd of camp – 2,314 – and the fans were treated to the best practice of camp.
“I thought it was a really interesting day of practice for anybody watching,” Carroll said. “Just a lot of playmaking. A lot of really interesting plays. Guys making catches. Guys making throws. And a bunch of different positions, too.
“So it was just a great day of practice for us.”
And the fans cheered and applauded on a regular basis. They also showed their old-school 12th Man colors, as Steve Largent, Curt Warner, Jacob Green, Shawn Springs and Brian Bosworth jerseys were spotted in the crowd.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: Ben Obomanu somehow gathering in a pass from Tarvaris Jackson while sandwiched between cornerback Kelly Jennings and the back of the end zone. Obomanu not only came down with the ball, he got both feet in before falling out of the end zone.
Defense: Rookie cornerback Richard Sherman coming off wide receiver Golden Tate to intercept a flea-flicker pass from Whitehurst.
IN AND OUT
Seven players who did not play in Thursday night’s game participated in practice at least on a limited basis: wide receivers Sidney Rice, Mike Williams and Obomanu; running back Justin Forsett; and defensive linemen Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Kentwan Balmer.
“It was great to see those guys jump back out,” Carroll said. “It feels like a little boost, on the depth chart anyway.”
Three players joined the ranks for those sidelined: cornerback Byron Maxwell, wide receiver Chris Carter and Okung.
Still out: cornerback Walter Thurmond, offensive lineman Caz Piurowski, wide receiver Kris Durham, defensive linemen Jay Alford and Ryan Sims and the four players who have yet to practice in camp – wide receiver Deon Butler, defensive tackle Colin Cole, cornerback Roy Lewis and Morrah.
The players will have a walk-thru on Sunday morning and then practice starting at 1:45. The session is open to the public and another large turnout is expected.
YOU DON’T SAY
“No, I just think that’s a regular day for Kenny Norton. Kenny Norton had a big day today. But we had to remind Kenny, it isn’t how you start, it’s how you finish. Because he was all hot and going early on and had the whole defense and everybody riled up.” – Carroll on his linebackers coach, who was involved in a couple of very animated discussions with the local officials who work practice
SAN DIEGO – A recap of the Seahawks’ 24-17 victory over the Chargers in their preseason opener at Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday night:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Thomas Clayton. There were a lot of candidates for the Seahawks, but the third-year running back scored the game-winner – on a 25-yard touchdown run with 3 minutes to play – had a game-high 62 rushing yards and also added an 11-yard run to the Chargers’ 5-yard line on the TD drive that tied the score at 17.
All this from a guy who was just signed last weekend.
“It was amazing. Amazing. Amazing,” Clayton said of scoring the decisive touchdown. “I’m speechless.”
That’s OK, because his action on the field spoke so loudly there was no need for post-game words.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Again, there were a lot to choose from – and from both teams. But if the choice isn’t the game-winning touchdown, well, it’s the wrong choice. And part of what made Clayton’s 25-yard run so impressive was how well not only the line blocked but also the receivers downfield.
Defense: The play that setup Clayton’s run. On the Chargers’ first snap after the Seahawks had tied the game at 17, rookie defensive end Pierre Allen came up with a fumble-forcing hit on Scott Tolizen, the Chargers’ No. 3 QB. Rookie defensive tackle Pep Levingston recovered at the Chargers’ 22-yard line.
Special teams: After the Seahawks had scored to tie the game at 10, rookie free agent Bryan Walter took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 103 yards for a touchdown. Enough said, in most cases. But Seahawks coach Pete Carroll offered, “Unfortunately for us, the kickoff coverage just stunk on the touchdown or we would have had almost a perfect second half.”
The big news – and the event that likely will dominate the conversation coming out of this game – was the left ankle sprain that forced left tackle Russell Okung to the locker room on the first series of the game.
He is scheduled to have a MRI, which will determine how much time last year’s first-round draft choice will miss.
Seventeen Seahawks did not dress for the game, including four starters: wide receiver Mike Williams (toe) and Sidney Rice (labrum), defensive linemen Red Bryant (knee) and defensive end Chris Clemons (ankle).
THIS ’N THAT
Rookie free agent Doug Baldwin had a team-high four receptions and also added a 20-yard punt return and a 41-yard kickoff return. … Rookie middle linebacker K.J. Wright had a team-high eight tackles. … Jameson Konz, who was moved from tight end to defensive end during training camp, had a sack. … Tight end Dominique Byrd had two catches for 52 yards. … The Seahawks quarterbacks – Tarvaris Jackson, Charlie Whitehurst and Josh Portis – combined to complete 22 of 24 passes for 197 yards and a passer rating of 90.0. … On the Chargers’ 89-yard touchdown drive on their first possession, the Seahawks yielded a 48-yard completion on third-and-6 and a 16-yard completion on third-and-11.
YOU DON’T SAY
“We shut him out on defensive in the second half. We scored 24 points on offense in the second half. That’s cool stuff.” – Carroll