Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s 2:00 p.m. practice and preparation for their Week 16 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football at CenturyLink Field.
Carroll addressed yesterday’s roster moves, noting that linebacker Kyle Knox has been added to the practice squad to fill the spot left by tight end Sean McGrath, who was promoted to the active roster with the release of tight end Evan Moore. Knox had spent time with the club during training camp earlier this season.
On the promotion of McGrath to the active roster, Carroll said they need to get special teams production out of that roster spot – something Moore did not provide. According to Carroll, McGrath has a “good chance” to see play time this Sunday.
Defensive tackle Alan Branch will sit out today’s practice as he rests a sprained ankle he suffered against the Bills. Carroll said Branch will “probably” sit out Thursday’s practice as well, with the hope they have him on the field by Friday and back in time for Sunday’s game against Niners.
In Branch’s place, rookie defensive end Greg Scruggs and fourth-year defensive tackle Clinton McDonald are expected to see play time.
On the injured cornerbacks – Marcus Trufant (hamstring) and Walter Thurmond (hamstring) – Carroll said they will know more about their status later in the week. In the meantime, rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane will see work as the second starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman, with second-year player Byron Maxwell working as the nickel corner.
Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. Until then, check out Carroll’s full video press conference below.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 18:
Jeremy Lane. It didn’t take the Bills long to see what the rookie cornerback had during Sunday’s game at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
On their second play, and first pass play, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick went to wide receiver T.J. Graham – and at the Seahawks’ sixth-round draft choice. But there was Lane, not only matching Graham stride for stride as they ran up the sideline, but having a better read on the ball than the intended receiver as the pass fell incomplete.
“He did a great job,” coach Pete Carroll said. “They went after him right off the bat and tried to get him and he played a great deep ball.”
Lane, who was making his first NFL start, could be needed again in Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the NFC West-leading 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Carroll is keeping his fingers crossed that Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant will be able to return from the hamstring injuries that have sidelined them – Thurmond for the game against the Bills, Trufant for the past three games.
But when the players begin practicing for the 49ers on Wednesday, it’s likely that Lane will be on the right side and Byron Maxwell will be the nickel back. The coaches also got a good look at Ron Parker, who was just re-signed last week, in the fourth quarter of the 50-17 rout of the Bills.
“All three guys did a good job,” Carroll said. “All of those snaps are just hugely valuable to us in bringing those guys along and getting a feel for them.”
Carroll also gave credit where credit is due – to secondary coach Kris Richard and passing game coordinator Rocky Seto, who were down to their third and fourth options with Lane stepping in for Thurmond, who had stepped in for Trufant, who were needed but unavailable because Brandon Browner is serving a four-game suspension.
“Kris Richard and Rocky Seto are doing a really good job coaching those guys,” Carroll said. “They’re playing with really good technique and again this week they stayed on top like they’re supposed to. They’re gaining confidence. We’re seeing reason to trust them more. And it’s really crucial for us that that’s happening right now.”
McGRATH ADDED TO 53-MAN ROSTER
Sean McGrath’s up-and-down season with the Seahawks spiked today when the practice-squad tight end was signed to the 53-man roster. He replaces tight end Evan Moore, who was released.
Moore was signed in September after tight end Kellen Winslow was released. But Moore caught only one pass for six yards.
McGrath, a rookie free agent from Henderson State, was signed in April after the NFL Draft. He was released on the roster cut to 53 players on Aug. 31, signed to the practice squad the next day and then released two days later. He returned to the practice squad on Sept. 8, was released again on Sept. 27 and then signed again on Oct. 2.
STATS ’N STUFF
Marshawn Lynch remains No. 2 in the league in rushing (1,379 yards). He’s the first Seahawks back to surpass 1,300 yards since Shaun Alexander led the league in rushing with 1,880 yards in 2005, and only the fourth back in franchise history it do it – joining Curt Warner, Chris Warren and Alexander. Lynch also is fourth in the league in total yards (1,542) and tied for seventh in first downs (69).
Leon Washington also remains second in the NFL in kickoff return average (30.0), while Jon Ryan is fifth in net punting average (41.6). Rookie QB Russell Wilson is eighth in passer rating (95.5).
With six interceptions, cornerback Richard Sherman is tied for fourth in the league, and defensive end Chris Clemons is tied for fifth with 11.5 sacks.
As a team, the Seahawks rank No. 3 in the league in overall defense, passing defense and rushing offense. They’re also sixth in turnover differential at plus-11.
STAT DU JOUR
The Seahawks can clinch a playoff spot on Sunday, even if they don’t beat the 49ers. According to the scenarios issued by the league, here’s how the Seahawks can get in:
Beat the 49ers.
Tie the 49ers and have the Giants lose and the Bears lose or tie; or the Giants lose and the Vikings lose or tie; or the Bears lose or tie and the Vikings lose or tie; or the Cowboys lose, Redskins win and Bears lose or tie; or the Cowboys lose, the Redskins lose and the Vikings lose or tie.
The Bears, Vikings and Redskins lose; the Bears and Vikings lose, the Cowboys lose or tie and the Redskins tie.
The players return from having two “off” days to begin practicing for Sunday’s game on “Competition Wednesday.”
Just a reminder: Kickoff for Sunday’s game is 5:20 p.m., not 1:25 p.m., after it was flexed in the primetime spot.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Oh, I realize that the 49ers-New England matchup was supposed to be the most epic event in the history of the free world. But when you consider all the factors, beating Seattle is more paramount.” – San Jose Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy
Tight end Evan Moore was waived by the Seahawks this afternoon, and practice-squad tight end Sean McGrath was signed off the practice squad to fill Moore’s spot on the 53-man roster.
The Seahawks signed Moore in September after tight end Kellen Winslow was released. But Moore caught only one pass for six yards.
McGrath, a rookie free agent from Henderson State, was signed in April after the NFL Draft. He was released on the roster cut to 53 players on Aug. 31, signed to the practice squad the next day and then released two days later. He returned to the practice squad on Sept. 8, was released again on Sept. 27 and signed again on Oct. 2.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 26:
Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ rookie quarterback has been on a “continued ascent,” as coach Pete Carroll said today during his day-after Q&A session with the media.
That’s one way to put it, because what Wilson has done in the past three games is historic stuff.
In Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Dolphins in Miami, Wilson became the first rookie in the 93-year history of the NFL to complete 16 consecutive passes – which also is one shy of the Seahawks’ franchise record that was set by Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon in 1998.
The historic feat that Wilson turned with his arm also led to another first-for-a-rookie achievement, which the league announced today. With his 125.9 passer rating against the Dolphins, he also has a three-game streak where his rating has been at least 125. Wilson had a 131.0 rating in the pre-bye week win over the Jets and was at 127.3 the week before against the Vikings – both victories in games played at CenturyLink Field.
Put those three games together and Wilson’s numbers inch closer to top-of-the-chart status, not for a rookie QB but any QB: 128.6 rating, 70 percent completions (49 of 70), 585 yards, seven touchdown passes, no interceptions.
The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers leads the league in passer rating (105.6), while the 49ers’ Alex Smith leads in completion percentage (.700).
As pleased as Carroll is with the progress of his first-year passer, he is not startled by Wilson’s development.
“Russell has really, really continued to improve,” Carroll said. “It’s not really a surprise when you look at how he goes about it, and who he is, and how talented a football player he is.
“I thought his talent really showed in (Sunday’s) game. I thought he was really adept at finding space to make his plays, and dumping the ball off really effectively, as well.”
Here’s a closer look at Wilson’s “sweet 16” against the Dolphins:
It started on the Seahawks’ first possession of the second quarter, after he threw incomplete to Golden Tate. Then it was Wilson to Sidney Rice for 26 yards on third-and-12; Wilson to Rice for 11 yards; and Wilson to tight end Zach Miller for 4 yards on third-and-3. That’s three in a row.
On their next possession in the quarter, it was Wilson to rookie running back Robert Turbin for 20 yards on third-and-3; Wilson to running back Marshawn Lynch for 7 yards on third-and-1; Wilson to Tate for 32 yards; and Wilson to tight end Anthony McCoy for 3 yards and a touchdown. That’s seven in a row.
On the Seahawks’ first possession in the third quarter, Wilson was 7 of 7 during the 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with his 4-yard TD pass to fullback Michael Robinson: Wilson to Rice for 12 yards; Wilson to Miller for 4 yards; Wilson to rookie wide receiver Jermaine Kearse for 8 yards on third-and-3; Wilson to Doug Baldwin for 14 yards; Wilson to Turbin for 18 yards; Wilson to tight end Evan Moore for 6 yards on third-and-1; Wilson to Robinson for the score. That’s 14 in a row.
Wilson then hit his first two passes of the fourth quarter – a 14-yarder to Tate and an 8-yarder to Miller – for No. 15 and No. 16.
His 16 completions went to 10 different receivers, with Rice (three), Miller (three), Tate (two) and Turbin (two) catching more than one.
“I think he’s got more room to improve,” Carroll said. “And I think he is a prime example of why a guy improves, because of the way he applies himself. He does it to the absolute nth degree. We’re seeing it right before our eyes. Pretty cool.”
THE POINT OF NO RETURNS
Heath Farwell and his mates on the kickoff and punt coverage units went without a tackle against the Dolphins because the Seahawks did not allow a return. Six of Jon Ryan’s seven punts were inside the 20-yard line, as four were fair caught, two went out of bounds and the other was downed; while each of Steven Hauschka’s four kickoffs were touchbacks.
“That’s one of the first games I’ve been in where they had zero return yards, and we didn’t have any tackles,” special teams coordinator Brian Schneider said. “Our guys love to fight for tackles. That’s a big deal to them in the locker room, like who’s going to get them. And there just weren’t any, because Jon did such a great job punting and Steven was crushing the ball.”
As a result, the Dolphins had 11 possessions and the last 10 started at (four) or inside (six) the 20-yard line.
“We’ll take that anytime,” Schneider said.
Linebacker Leroy Hill (ankle) and left guard James Carpenter (knee) left Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, but each was able to return. Carroll said today that he’ll know more on Wednesday about their availability to practice.
STAT DU JOUR
Leon Washington returned his eighth kickoff for a touchdown against the Dolphins on Sunday, tying the NFL record that was set by the Browns’ Josh Cribbs. Here’s a look at Washington’s scoring returns – the first four with the Seahawks, the other four with the Jets:
Opponent (year) Yards Outcome
Dolphins (2012) 98 L, 24-21
49ers (2010) 92 L, 40-21
Chargers (2010) 101, 99 W, 27-20
Patriots (2008) 92 W, 34-31
Dolphins (2007) 98 W, 31-28
Giants (2007) 98 L, 35-24
Redskins (2007) 86 L, 23-20 OT
The players have their “off” day on Tuesday and will return on “Competition Wednesday” to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Bears in Chicago.
Strong safety Kam Chancellor will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop.
YOU DON’T SAY
“This is running into the quarterback, not roughing the quarterback … (Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas) was trying to avoid it. He didn’t even hit him (Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill) hard, barely touched him.” – Tony Dungy, the former Colts and Buccaneers coach and now NBC analyst, on the fourth-quarter penalty that negated an end-zone interception by rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 23.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look back at Seahawks history and the records the team has held after seven games, “The results aren’t shocking. Those years that Seattle started 5-2, it almost always made the playoffs. When it started 4-3, it made the postseason half the time. The Seahawks have never reached the postseason when they’ve had a losing record after seven games.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune notes the return of cornerback Walter Thurmond to yesterday’s practice for the first time since October 2011 after a long rehab process recovering from a broken fibula, “Seattle coach Pete Carroll said that Thurmond will remain on the PUP list for now, and that no timetable has been established on when the team will add him to the active roster. ‘He looked very quick,’ Carroll said. ‘He worked very hard to be in shape with the trainers, so he could start practicing and not have to ease him into practice and all of that. So he looked like he had really worked hard.’ Thurmond said he’s working this week to show the coaching staff he’s ready to go. ‘Just giving the coaches confidence – I think that’s the biggest thing,’ Thurmond said. ‘Just showing that I can still play like I was playing before I got injured, and so I’ve just got to prove that in practice, and earn my reps for the team.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald also has the story on Thurmond’s return to practice, “Thurmond hoped to be ready for the start of this season, but he broke the leg for a second time in March, requiring another surgery. That setback meant opening the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which he was eligible to come off of last week. ‘It was the exact same rehab and getting in shape and everything, so I had to do it twice,’ he said. ‘That wasn’t fun at all. Sometimes I joked, I wish I had the ACL again, because that was a straight through injury, I came back at the start of the season. But things happen for a reason, so it’s just good to be back at the end of the day.’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he doesn’t yet know if Thurmond will play Sunday in Detroit. ‘It’s great to have him back,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s a real positive for him. It’s been a long haul him being out. Hopefully he can hang, we’ll see what that means. We’ll just take it one week at a time and see where it goes, I don’t have any idea what we would do with that at this point for this weekend.’ ”
Boyle has an update on the status of guard John Moffitt, who saw his first practice action since tweaking his knee in late September, “Moffitt injured his knee in Seattle’s third game, and has been out ever sense, but was back in action Monday, though his status is also up in the air. ‘He got out there, he practiced with us,’ Carroll said. ‘That was great to see him out there. I don’t know how far along John will be until we get him through Wednesday’s practice, then we’ll have a better clue, but it’s great to just have him back.’ ”
Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps an appearance by coach Carroll on 710 AM ESPN’s “Brock and Salk”, in which Carroll said the team’s problems in their Week 7 loss to the Niners can be fixed, “Four days later, Pete Carroll is still miffed. But the one positive, he said, is that what that doomed the Seahawks during their 13-6 loss to the 49ers on Thursday were one-time mistakes that aren’t indicative of longer-term trends. ‘I think we let an opportunity get away and we just had to do just normal things and we could have come out on top in that game – some things that normally we’re better at,’ Carroll told ‘Brock and Salk’ on Monday. ‘We didn’t adjust on the running game as well as we usually do on defense and we had some balls that got away from us – that hasn’t been a factor at all – showed up in that game, and the game was so close and was so easily turned in the other direction. That was hard to let that one get away.’ ”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday’s practice, “WR Doug Baldwin was held out of Monday’s practice after suffering a sprained ankle against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night. Carroll wouldn’t give an update as to whether he is expected to play next Sunday against Detroit, but said overall they are looking pretty good health-wise.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “NFC West Stock Watch“, noting the struggles the Seahawks had with dropped passes in the Week 7 defeat at San Francisco, “Golden Tate, Robert Turbin, Evan Moore and Marshawn Lynch dropped passes during the Seahawks’ 13-6 defeat at San Francisco. It’s tough to win when completed passes (nine) roughly double the total for drops.”
ESPN.com has their Week 8 NFL power rankings, and the Seahawks have dropped two spots to No. 11 on their list since a week ago.
At NFL.com, they take a look at the playoff picture if the season were to end today. The Seahawks would find themselves on the outside looking in – conceding the No. 6 playoff spot to the Green Bay Packers, who are also 4-3, but would get in based on a better conference record.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth highlights the return of Thurmond and has his “Monday in Hawkville“, with a focus on the players’ assigned homework for last night’s Monday Night Football matchup between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, “Not that the players wouldn’t watch anyway. But tonight’s game features the team the Seahawks will play on Sunday – the Lions, in Detroit; as well as another down-the-road, on-the-road opponent – the Chicago Bears. ‘With the Monday night game coming up, these guys have an assignment – to watch the ballgame,’ Carroll said. ‘So we’ll be getting ready for Detroit from this point forward.’ TV coverage isn’t exactly the game video the players will be studying later in the week, but there is a benefit to seeing the Lions play the same week the Seahawks will play them. ‘It’s a good introduction,’ Carroll said. ‘They’ll hear all the talk about their season, about the team and how it’s gone and the players. They’ll see the style of play. I think it’s just a really good night for our guys to kind of zero in. It will start the week on Wednesday with a good familiarity.’ ” The Bears topped the Lions, 13-7.
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” with a recap of the team’s “Bonus Monday” practice session.
Finally, we bring you coach Carroll’s full video press conference from Monday here.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks following their 13-6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the Niners got the best of the Seahawks in a physical battle, “For most of the season, the Seahawks (4-3) have been the punishers. They sent the Dallas Cowboys begging for league intervention after a 27-7 whipping in Week 2. They sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers eight times in a half. They were too much for Cam Newton and Steve Smith. If you can depend on anything with these Seahawks, it’s that you will feel them for several days after the game, and their defense will eventually shut you down, one bruise at a time. Not in this game. With an array of well-designed run plays, including lots of traps, the 49ers opened holes against the Seahawks that we haven’t seen all season. Frank Gore ran for 131 of San Francisco’s 175 rushing yards, and he averaged 8.2 yards per carry. The Seahawks entered the game ranked No. 2 in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing just 70 yards a game. They hadn’t given up more than 87 in a game this season. ‘I’m not pleased with what we did on defense,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘That’s really unfortunate. I think we’re better than that.’ ”
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times recaps the 13-6 result from San Francisco, “No last-minute comeback. Not this time as the team with a penchant for last-minute drama never got the ball in the 49ers’ half of the field in the fourth quarter, let alone within striking distance. ‘We found ourselves in the midst of a slugfest here tonight,’ Carroll said. And all Seattle could manage was a pair of first-half jabs as Steven Hauschka kicked two field goals. In the second half, the 49ers were the only ones connecting. They ran the ball with impunity and drove the ball inside the Seattle 20-yard line on each of their first three possessions in the second half. It didn’t seem to matter how many times the Seahawks got the ball in the final period, it was hard to imagine them ever scoring.”
O’Neil notes the struggles the team’s wide receivers had in yesterday’s loss to the Niners, “Golden Tate was targeted more than 50 times a year ago, and he didn’t drop a pass. On Thursday night in the Seahawks’ 13-6 loss to the 49ers, he dropped two. One was a potential game-changing play in the first half and the other a critical third-and-two in the second half. That prompted the Seahawks to use Braylon Edwards more at split end in the second half, though Tate was back on the field in the fourth quarter. Tate wasn’t alone as there were five dropped passes by four players. ‘We’ve got to figure out a way — as a receiving group — to go up and get balls to help us,’ Tate said. ‘It starts with myself. Before the half, I’ve got to come down with one of those. A huge first down. I have to catch that. The team relies on me to catch that, and do what I do best — gain some yards. Honestly, I take it personally, this loss. I feel like I could have done something to put us in a better position to win this game at the end or get a lead.’ ”
O’Neil also names Marshawn Lynch his player of the game in his two-minute drill, “Marshawn Lynch rushed for 103 yards, the third time this season he has hit the century mark. In the past 44 games, the 49ers have allowed an opponent to rush for more than 100 yards in three games, and Lynch is responsible for two of those three efforts.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks were beaten at their own physical style of game on Thursday night, “Behind a physical running attack and a stingy defense, the San Francisco 49ers showed that they are not ready to relinquish their title as the heavyweights of the NFC West, pounding the Seahawks, 13-6, at Candlestick Park…San Francisco entered the game as the top rushing team in the league, averaging 176.8 yards rushing a contest. ‘It was disappointing because we didn’t stop the run like we wanted to,’ said Seattle linebacker Leroy Hill, who finished with a team-high nine tackles. ‘But there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Holding them to 13 points is nothing to be embarrassed about.’ ”
Williams also notes the wide receivers’ miscues from Thursday night, “Seattle went into halftime leading 6-3, but dominated play in the first half and could have been ahead by more. ‘I feel like I definitely should have made one of those, and that’s all we needed,’ Tate said. ‘We needed one of those to be caught, and we would’ve scored or got a field goal before the half. And we would’ve taken the momentum into halftime.’ ”
The Sports Network provides their game recap from the 49ers’ 13-6 victory, “Frank Gore provided most of the yards for the 49ers (5-2) as he totaled 131 yards on 16 carries and added five catches for 51 yards to help the team bounce back from last week’s rout at the hands of the Giants. Alex Smith was 14-for-23 with 140 yards, one touchdown and one interception while David Akers kicked a pair of field goals for San Francisco, which moved into the top spot in the NFC West with the victory. ‘I was expecting a close, physical game because that’s how both our games were last year,’ Smith said. ‘I didn’t expect a big stat game, but this was a really tough one that we had tonight. This is a very satisfying win for the whole club.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald passes along a few thoughts following the Seahawks’ 13-6 defeat in the Bay Area, “The 49ers won the special teams battle thanks in large part to the play of 49ers punter Andy Lee, the Seahawks average starting field position was their own 15-yard line, the worst for any team this season according to ESPN Stats & Info. Facing the 49ers defense, that would make for an uphill battle for even the best NFL offenses. And the Seahawks are not one of the best NFL offense (Captain Obvious, reporting for duty). The 49ers, meanwhile, enjoyed pretty good field position in no small part thanks to the ability to get return yardage out of Tedd Ginn Jr., who had 70 yards on three punt returns.”
Mike Salk of mynorthwest.com says the Seahawks are still in “tremendous shape” following last night’s division loss to the Niners, “They still have a gigantic secondary that allowed nothing deep on Thursday night. They still have a powerful force at running back that can run on even the best defenses. They still have a precocious young quarterback with a strong arm, quick feet and a flare for the dramatic. They are learning how to win. That is one of those incalculable vagaries that statheads hate because it’s difficult to define. Heck, it might not really exist. But if it does, it sure seems to fit this team. Sometimes it takes a few opportunities before a young team learns how to overcome adversity. Playing on the road on short rest against last year’s division winner certainly counts as adverse conditions. Dropping five passes might define the term. The Seahawks are a work in progress, but that doesn’t mean they need to be years away from big-time success.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “Rapid Reaction” after Thursday night’s game, “What I liked: Both teams ran the ball better than expected despite facing run defenses that have been extremely stout since last season. The 49ers’ Frank Gore and the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch each topped 100 yards rushing. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw down the field without fear and put his receivers/tight ends in position to make big plays (they did not make nearly enough of them). Seattle’s offensive line rose to the occasion, clearing holes in the running game while giving Wilson enough time. The 49ers’ offensive line answered by springing Gore for big gains repeatedly. Niners return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. helped swing field position in the 49ers’ favor multiple times.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his game recap from San Francisco and offers his “Game at a glance“, naming the 49ers’ Gore his player of the game, “What is it about the Seahawks that seems to bring out the best in this guy? He has had two 200-plus yard rushing performances against them in the past, and already had run for more yards against the Seahawks (1,079 in 12 games) than any other team. Thursday night, Gore ran for 131 yards on just 16 carries – for an 8.2-yard average. ‘They did a great job,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘They schemed beautifully and Frank ran great. But we need to do better.’ ”
Tony Ventrella has his game recap with postgame reaction from Carroll, Wilson, defensive end Red Bryant, linebacker K.J. Wright, and wide receiver Ben Obomanu.
Greetings from CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks will host the New England Patriots this afternoon with both teams looking to climb to 4-2, rather than slide to 3-3.
What’s left to say about this game that we haven’t already covered this week?
The Seahawks have the No. 1-ranked defense in the league, and that fast, aggressive, disruptive unit is allowing averages of 287.2 yards and 10.8 points per game – not the 14.0 figure that has been out there, because 16 of the 70 points the Seahawks have yielded came against the special teams (nine) and offense (seven). The Patriots have the No. 1-ranked offense in the league, and that up-tempo, multi-legged and -handed unit is averaging 439.4 yards and has scored at least 30 points four times in five games. And, the Patriots are actually running the ball more this season than passing it. But then we covered all of that in this story.
The Seahawks spent the week trying to simulate the tempo of the Patriots’ offense in practice, while the Patriots were attempting to replicate the crowd noise at CenturyLink. Good luck on both counts.
This will be the first time Tom Brady has played at played in Seattle, because the been-there/done-that in every other category QB was injured when the Patriots where here in 2008. We covered that in this story, which included this confident declaration from Brady: “This will be fun. It’s always nice when you take 53 guys on the road and you say, ‘This is all we’ve got and this is all we need and this is what we have to do.’ And see 70,000 fans, if you can keep them quiet or turn them on their own team. I think that’s an exciting part for road teams, is to see if you can get them booing their own players.”
And Ron Borges at the Boston Herald also is pooh-poohing the effect of the crowd noise on Brady and the Patriots’ prolific offense.
Lost in the excitement of the No. 1 vs. No. 1 angle, as well as the concern over the Seahawks’ still-growing offense being able to sustain drives against the Patriots’ defense, is the fact that the Seahawks’ special teams rank No. 2 in the league. The leader of that pack is Heath Farwell, and we took a closer look at him and his impact in this story.
There also are a couple of side attractions to today’s game.
First, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy will have his No. 96 retired during a halftime ceremony, joining Steve Largent and Walter Jones as the only players in franchise history to be so honored. We covered that in this story, as well as in a story that appears in today’s GameDay program.
October also is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the NFL, and this is the Seahawks’ only home game this month. So there will be more pink visible at CenturyLink Field today than at a 5-year-old girl’s birthday party. We talked with one player – tight end Evan Moore – whose family has been touched by the disease in this story.
So what is left to say? How about a few more stats to tide you over until the 1:05 p.m. kickoff:
The Patriots are a league-best 33-6 in the month of October since 2003, including a 14-5 record on the road.
Wes Welker, the Patriots’ slot receiver supreme who led the NFL with 122 receptions last season, is averaging 6.4 yards after the catch this season on receptions made from the slot. The Seahawks are allowing receivers to average 4.09 yards after the catch, which ranks No. 2 in the league behind the Vikings (3.9); but that average is 3.6 for slot receivers, which ranks 12th in the league.
The Seahawks are 2-0 at home this season, and have allowed 19 points to the Cowboys and Packers in those games.
So what is left to say? Enjoy what should be an intriguing and enjoyable matchup, and remember that the game is on CBS (KIRO/7) – not Fox – because the visiting team dictates the network in inter-conference games. You also can listen to the action on 710 ESPN and KIRO Radio 97.3.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 12:
Thinking pink. CenturyLink Field will be decked out in pink for the Seahawks’ game against the Patriots on Sunday. From the players’ shoes and gloves, to the Sea Gals’ pompoms, to the pink ribbons that will be distributed to the first 30,000 fans as they enter the stadium.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the NFL, and this will be the Seahawks only home game this month.
But to tight end Evan Moore, pink is more than just the color – especially the idea behind it. His grandmother and mother-in-law are breast cancer survivors, and his great aunt died from the disease.
“Breast cancer has hit my family and every year my wife and I decide to support it anyway we can – raise awareness and fund raise and be a part of it as much as possible,” Moore said. “And the NFL is doing the same thing.”
The league raises money by having the players autograph the pink gear they wear and donating it to auctions. But to Moore, there’s more to it than that.
“People forget that along with fund raising there’s also raising awareness,” Moore said. “Getting women to go get screened is just as important as raising money. There are probably exceptions, but it’s my understanding that if you get screened with enough regularity than you’ll probably be in the clear if something were to happen.”
Take it from someone who has seen it happen.
“I was old enough to remember my grandmother and great aunt going through it,” Moore said. “It’s a tough disease. But it’s a great thing the NFL is doing.”
PLAYER WATCH/OPPONENT WATCH
Max Unger, as well as Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love. This is a two-fer today, because Unger practiced for the first time this week and is ready to start at center on Sunday, coach Pete Carroll said; and also because the Patriots have built their defense around the tackle tandem of the 325-pound Wilfork and the 315-pound Love, in Carroll’s view.
First Unger. “Max, of all of our guys, he’s like an old vet for us,” Carroll said when asked if Unger was not only ready but prepared after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday to rest a sore hip. “He can handle it as well as anybody.”
Now Wilfork and Love, who will present a challenge for Unger and also guards James Carpenter and Paul McQuistan. “They’re huge. They’re much bigger than advertised,” Carroll said. “They’re really physical and they’ve built their defense around those two guys and count on them to absolutely dominate in the middle. It’s hard moving those guys. They kind of play where they want to. But we’ll put a couple hats on them and see if we can get them moving some.”
The good news is that one of those hats will belong to Unger.
The official end-of-the-week report, as released by the team:
OG John Moffitt (knee)
DL Jaye Howard (foot)
DT Clinton McDonald (groin)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
C Max Unger (hip)
With Howard out and McDonald doubtful after not practicing all week, rookie Greg Scruggs will be active for the first time in three games and only the third time this season. “I’m anxious to see him play,” Carroll said of Scruggs. “He hasn’t been out there for a while. So we’ll get him going a little bit.” Like Unger, Lynch participated in every phase of practice today.
For the Patriots:
S Steve Gregory (hip)
LB Tracy White (foot)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
DE Brandon Deadarick (ankle)
Julian Edelman (hand)
Justin Francis (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hip)
TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle)
LB Donta Hightower (hamstring)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion)
OG Logan Mankins (calf/hip)
C Nick McDonald (shoulder)
CB Sterling Moore (knee)
RB Shane Vereen (foot)
OT Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee)
WR Wes Welker (ankle)
DT Kyle Love (knee)
STAT DU JOUR
From 1988-1993, the Seahawks played the Patriots six times – winning five of those games. From 1980-86, they also played the Patriots six times – but won only twice. The two teams did not meet from 1994-2003, and have played only twice in the past eight seasons. Here’s a look at their on-again, off-again series:
Date Outcome Patriots QB
Oct. 9, 1977 Patriots, 31-0@ Steve Grogan
Sept. 21, 1980 Patriots, 37-31 Steve Grogan
Dec. 19, 1982 Patriots, 16-0 Steve Grogan
Dec. 18, 1983 Seahawks, 24-6 Tony Eason
Sept. 16, 1984 Patriots, 38-23@ Grogan/Eason
Nov. 17, 1985 Patriots, 20-13 Steve Grogan
Sept. 21, 1986 Seahawks, 38-31@ Tony Eason
Dec. 4, 1988 Patriots, 13-7@ Doug Flutie
Sept. 24, 1989 Seahawks, 24-3@ Tony Eason
Oct. 7, 1990 Seahawks, 33-20@ Marc Wilson
Sept. 20, 1992 Seahawks, 10-6@ Hugh Millen
Sept. 19, 1993 Seahawks, 17-14@ Drew Bledsoe
Oct. 24, 1993 Seahawks, 10-9 Scott Secules
Oct. 17, 2004 Patriots, 30-20@ Tom Brady
Dec. 7, 2008 Patriots, 24-21 Matt Cassel
@ — game played in Foxboro
The players will have a walkthrough on Saturday morning.
Football 101, sponsored by the Seahawks Women’s Association, will be held at VMAC from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can register here to attend.
YOU DON’T SAY
“What a great recognition. He was an incredible football player. He played for so long and was so dominant for so long. He was a great attitude guy and really kind of the heart and soul of the history of this program when you talk about defensive linemen.” – Carroll on Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who will have his No. 96 retired during a halftime ceremony on Sunday
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 4.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times reports that with the release of tight end Kellen Winslow, and addition of tight end Evan Moore, the Seahawks still feel comfortable with their weapons at the position, “Expect to see more targets for Zach Miller, more time for backup Anthony McCoy and maybe even a chance or two for Moore. ‘We’ll use all the guys with Zach and with Anthony,’ said Darrell Bevell, Seattle’s offensive coordinator. ‘Then we’ll continue throughout this week to find out exactly what Evan can bring for us and then we’ll fit him in accordingly.’ ”
O’Neil also questions the decision to release Winslow, wondering if there are enough offensive weapons for a rookie quarterback to take advantage of, “It’s kind of funny, actually, to think that a team could go from having too many to not enough targets with exactly two roster moves. After all, the Seahawks acquired [Terrell] Owens and [Kellen] Winslow on the premise that they were not risking much. If anything went sideways, they could always cut them. And that’s just what Seattle did, and while the departure of Owens was not all that shocking considering he dropped as many passes as he caught in his two exhibition games, the release of Winslow was an out-of-the-blue shock. At least it was for anyone who has been watching practice. He was very involved with what Seattle was doing on offense. He was the receiving specialist in Seattle’s two tight-end sets, and someone who gave Seattle’s defense fits in practice. He is big enough to give defensive backs problems in coverage, and too precise a receiver to be covered by a linebacker.”
Lastly from O’Neil, he says the Seahawks no longer owe a draft pick to Tampa Bay for Winslow.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his practice report from Monday, which includes a note on guard James Carpenter, 2011’s first-round draft pick who practiced yesterday for the first time since his ACL knee surgery last December, “Carpenter spent all of training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list rehabbing his knee. But Seattle head coach Pete Carroll decided to put him on the active roster to begin the season because the organization thinks he’s close to getting back on the field. Now it’s up to Cable to get Carpenter ready. ‘There’s a process that’s just starting,’ Cable said. ‘So when you talk about playing the game and all of that, first you’ve got to figure out where he’s at. He’s been approved from the medical standpoint, but he hasn’t played any football. So there’s six weeks that the players have had, but he’s had none of that. And so that process has now started for him. So it’s a matter of getting him back in the playbook and back into drills. And getting his confidence to where we know he’s ready to play football again. That’s really what the plan is right now.’ ”
Williams also details tight end Evan Moore’s first practice as a Seahawk, “New tight end Evan Moore made his first appearance at practice, and looked pretty explosive while getting some snaps in with the first unit. Moore is wearing No. 82, the same number Kellen Winslow wore when he was here. Moore said he flew in Sunday morning, and has been working ever since to learn the playbook so he’s ready to play this week against Arizona. ‘I went through camp, just like all of these guys did,’ said Moore, who was released by Cleveland during final roster cuts last week. ‘So I’m ready to go. Considering these guys just went through camp together, I’m kind of a new guy. You almost feel like a rookie. You walk into the building, and everybody’s looking at you like ‘Who’s this guy?’ There is a learning curve. But fortunately there’s a lot of translation between what we did in Cleveland and what we’re doing here – both terminology and schematically in X’s and O’s and all of that. So I’m fortunate that that’s the case.’ ”
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has a look at a pair of 2012 seventh-round draft choices – J.R. Sweezy and Greg Scruggs – who are excelling at the NFL level thus far, “J.R. Sweezy and Greg Scruggs watched for three days, and heard more than 200 names announced before they were drafted in the seventh round this past spring. Each day was an insult, every name a thorn they won’t forget. Until finally, they were invited by Seahawks GM John Schneider to come to the Refuge of the Overlooked, where Pete Carroll coaches a Roster of the Perpetually Motivated. ‘I am forever grateful to John Schneider and coach Carroll,’ said Scruggs, a Louisville product and the 10th and final player the Seahawks drafted, who has turned into a promising defensive lineman. ‘Those guys saw something in me, and they allowed me to get my reps and to get evaluated. They gave me a foot in the door, so I don’t want to make them look bad. I want to prove every day that they made the right decision.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald recaps Carpenter’s return to the practice field, “…as expected, Carpenter returned to practice playing left guard, not right tackle, the position he played in college and for eight of his nine games last season. The Seahawks decided Carpenter is a better fit at guard — plus they like what they have in Breno Giacomini at right tackle — and Carpenter agrees with that assessment. ‘I’m going to be happy playing guard,’ he said. ‘I feel like that’s what I should be playing.’ When Carpenter is all the way back, he’ll have to beat out Paul McQuistan to earn a place back in the starting lineup. McQuistan, a versatile lineman who filled in at guard and tackle for injured players last season, did well enough to earn a contract extension with the Seahawks, and won’t be easy to displace.”
Liz Matthews of 710 ESPN Seattle has her take on Carpenter’s return, as well as notes from Monday’s practice.
Curtis Crabtree with 950 KJR AM brings us his notes from Monday’s practice, including this on wide receiver Golden Tate, “Although the team isn’t required to provide an injury report until Wednesday, WR Golden Tate did not participate during Monday’s practice. Tate tweaked a knee when he got rolled up returning a punt during Thursday’s preseason finale against Oakland.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com breaks down where the NFC West stands with their offensive line units, and has a couple of notes on Seattle, “The Seahawks have options, particularly on the interior, after rookie J.R. Sweezy emerged as a surprise candidate at right guard. Incumbent starter John Moffitt can back up the three interior spots if he’s not starting, as can Lemuel Jeanpierre. Former starting right tackle James Carpenter will become a candidate to start at left guard if his knee rehabilitation continues on schedule. He was expected to practice with the backups this week.”
The staff at NFL Insiders answers 20 questions as we head into Week 1 of the regular season, and the majority like the Seattle Seahawks as the team they expect to make “the biggest jump in 2012″, “20. Which team will make the biggest jump in 2012? Seattle Seahawks (6 votes) Carolina Panthers (4) Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans (2) Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts: Coach Pete Carroll has built an exciting young team in Seattle, and there are a lot of Wilson believers among our panel. With Newton at the helm, the Panthers are fully capable of challenging for a playoff spot in 2012.”
From the video side, we have Moore’s press conference following his first practice as a Seahawk, and in our Seahawks Daily Tony Ventrella catches up with Doug Baldwin, who also returned to practice Monday after resting a hamstring through the majority of the preseason.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 3:
Evan Moore. The newest member of the Seahawks said his life has been a whirlwind since the Browns waived him on Friday. Today, that whirlwind plopped in the middle of the team’s practice field.
And the fifth-year tight end wasn’t a sideline spectator. Moore ran routes, caught passes and blocked as he hurries to learn the ins and outs of the offense with the regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona looming on Sunday.
“It’s been a whirlwind since Saturday afternoon,” said Moore, who’s listed at 6 foot 6, 250 pounds but looks taller and leaner.
Saturday afternoon is when the Seahawks first contacted Moore, following the release of tight end Kellen Winslow. Moore flew from Cleveland to Seattle on Sunday morning.
As for the quick immersion into practice and the offense, Moore said, “As of late last night, I was part of this team. So I knew I was going to have to be ready to go for this Monday practice.”
Even while he continues to feel his way through the process of changing teams, conferences, cities and time zones.
“Considering these guys all just went through camp together, I’m kind of the new guy,” he said. “You almost feel like a rookie. You walk in the building and everybody’s looking at you like, ‘Who’s this guy?’
“There is a learning curve, but fortunately there’s a lot of translation between what we did in Cleveland and what we’re doing here – both in terminology and schematically, and X’s and O’s, and all that. I’m fortunate that’s the case.”
Moore said he heard from other teams after being waived, but quickly added, “This is where I wanted to be. There was no question in my mind. I wanted to come play for coach (Pete) Carroll and be a Seahawk.”
Guard. Rookie J.R. Sweezy continued to work at right guard, where he started the last three preseason games. But James Carpenter, last year’s first-round draft choice, got some work at left guard with the No. 2 line.
Carpenter was just activated off the physically unable to perform list following a grueling rehab from the season-ending knee injury he got last November.
IN ’N OUT
The big news was the big presence of Carpenter, but wide receiver Doug Baldwin, defensive lineman Jason Jones and safety Chris Maragos also returned to practice after missing time because of injuries.
Cornerback Phillip Adams, who was waived by the Seahawks on Friday, was claimed by the Raiders. Wide receiver Kris Durham (Lions) and cornerback Ron Parker (Panthers) have been signed to other teams’ practice squads.
Rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane, who had been No. 1, has switched to No. 37; while rookie safety DeShawn Shead, who’s on the practice squad, is wearing No. 35 rather than No. 5. Linebacker Mike Morgan also made a switch from No. 48 to No. 57.
There will be two McQuistans at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday – Paul, who will start at left guard for the Seahawks; and Pat, his twin brother who was signed today by the Cardinals after they lost tackles Levi Brown and Jeremy Bridges to season-ending injuries. Pat McQuistan had been with the Cowboys, but was waived Friday on the roster cut to 53 players.
The players will be off Tuesday before retuning Wednesday to continue preparing for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It doesn’t surprise me. If you’ve spent any time with him you know how driven he is. And committed he is. And how much he wants to make himself better. He’s done that each and every day he’s been out here. He’s basically slept in the building to make himself learn the offense. He’s just done a great job.” – offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on rookie quarterback Russell Wilson making his first regular-season start on Sunday