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Tuesday cyber surfing: Training camp previews

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 24.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com reports defensive end Chris Clemons reached agreement Monday on a multi-year contract extension with the Seahawks. Clemons, 31, has led the Seahawks in sacks with 11 in each of the past two seasons – a total that is good for eighth in the NFL since 2010. An official announcement from the team is expected later today.

Sando also brings us his thoughts as Seahawks training camp approaches, including his take on Seahawks new DT Jason Jones, “Free-agent addition Jason Jones will fit much better at defensive tackle in Seattle than he did as a defensive end with Tennessee last season. The pass rush should improve as a result. Jones’ addition on a one-year contract holds promise because the Seahawks seem excited about him. The team’s leadership has been right on just about every defensive player Seattle has targeted by trade (Chris Clemons), the draft (see the secondary in particular), unrestricted free agency (Alan Branch), street free agency (Brandon Browner) and position changes (Red Bryant).”

Khaled Elsayed of ProFootballFocus.com gives us his take on NFC West training camp battles to watch, and it’s no surprise that the Seahawks camp is highlighted by the three-man quarterback competition between Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson. But Elsayed also offers some interesting thoughts on the division as a whole, “Before 2011 this was viewed as the weakest division in the NFL, but after the San Francisco 49ers compiled the second best record in the NFC and came agonizingly close to the Super Bowl, people have had to reconsider that opinion. Especially when you consider the development of the Seattle Seahawks and the aggressive moves the St Louis Rams have made this offseason. Heck, you even have to imagine the Arizona Cardinals quarterback situation will have improved, so it’s looking like a division on the up.”

Hub Arkush and Dan Arkush of ProFootballWeekly.com continue their training camp opening report video series by taking a look at the Seattle Seahawks. The two discuss the free agent and rookie additions that head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have put together this offseason, add their thoughts on the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition and wide receiver corps, and give their take on how the team’s strength – the defense – can improve in 2012.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth is back with his “Monday metatarsal musings,” as he re-hashes the Seahawks news from his time away on vacation, including remembering Grant Feasel, the former Seahawks center who passed away at age 52 on July 15, “He [Feasel] played on the franchise’s first division championship team in 1988, but also during that forgettable run from 1989-93 when the best the Seahawks could do was one winning record (9-7 in ’90),” writes Farnsworth. “But Feasel was a winner, on and off the field. A 16-game starter at center in 1989 and 1990, and 15-game starter in ’91, Feasel led with his chin and therefore lead by example. It was Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times, as I recall, who hung the moniker ‘Fightin’ Feasel’ on him, because whenever a tussle broke out during training camp Feasel almost always was involved.”

Farnsworth also wraps up his Seahawks 2012 positional preview with a look at the running backs. Farnsworth offers this outlook as the position group heads into 2012, “Despite all the handwringing over which of the three QBs will start this season, it’s [Marshawn] Lynch’s legs that will carry the Seahawks where they want to go – starting with posting the team’s first winning record since 2007, but not stopping until this team returns to the playoffs. It’s the running game that sets up the play-action passing game in coordinator Darrell Bevell’s offense. The Pro Bowl duo of Lynch and lead-blocking [Michael] Robinson will make sure this offense remains headed in that direction – the right direction. The addition of [Robert] Turbin is a plus, as is the versatility of [Leon] Washington.”


Wednesday cyber surfing: Baldwin earns mention as NFL’s top prospect

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 18.

At ESPN.com, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders gives us his list of the 25 top prospects in the NFL – noting that to be included the player must fit the following criteria:

• Drafted in the third round or later, or signed as an undrafted free agent
• Entered the NFL between 2009 and 2011
• Fewer than five career games started
• Still on their initial contract
• Age 26 or younger in 2012

And who do you think sits atop Schatz’s list? Well, that’s none other than Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin. Also on Schatz’s list are fellow Seahawks receivers Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham. You can read what Schatz had to say about Baldwin right here, but the full piece requires an ESPN Insider subscription.

Pete Prisco, Pat Kirwan and Rob Rang of CBSsports.com provide a three-part Seahawks piece, as they make predictions for the team in 2012, break down the team’s X’s and O’s and recap Seattle’s 2012 NFL Draft. In his prediction for the Seahawks in 2012, Prisco calls wide receiver Sidney Rice the team’s ‘X-Factor’, “The Seahawks signed him last year to a big contract with the idea he would become their go-to guy in the passing game. He played in only nine games last season and caught just 32 passes because of shoulder issues. He had screws inserted into both shoulders during the offseason and said the doctors told him it was like having two new shoulders. We’ll see. Rice has to become more of a threat in the passing game and if he stays on the field, I think he can.”

Also at CBSsports.com Prisco gives us a list of his Top-100 NFL players, and the lone Seahawk to make his list is safety Earl Thomas, who checks in at No. 97. On Thomas, Prisco provides, “This rangy player has all the tools to be a dominant safety in a passing league. His cover skills are impressive.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues with his 2012 Seahawks positional outlook, this time turning his attention toward the defensive line. For all of the success the Seahawks enjoyed at the position last season – a position that was a big part of the Seahawks turning in the ninth-ranked defense in the league – Farnsworth notes that one area that could use a boost is the line’s ability to get to the quarterback, “The Seahawks generated just 33 sacks in 2011, their second-lowest total in the past nine seasons. A closer look, however, really shows just what was missing. While Leo end Chris Clemons led the team with 11 sacks – for the second time in his two seasons with the Seahawks – the rest of the linemen combined for 10. What’s a coach to do? Sign pass-rushing tackle Jason Jones in free agency and then select pass-rushing end Bruce Irvin in the first round of the NFL Draft. ‘We just see the increase in athletic ability upfront with the addition of those two,’ said Todd Wash, who is in his second season as coach of the D-line. ‘So you add them to what Clem already brings and we’re going to be not only big but also fast, to hopefully increase our ability to get to the quarterback.’ “

Also here at Seahawks.com former Seahawks quarterback Jeff Kemp provides this heartfelt piece honoring his center in Seattle, Grant Feasel, who passed away over the weekend. Kemp remembers, “Grant was the quintessential sacrificial warrior. He wrapped himself up in the duty to clear the way for and protect his teammates. He took his job so seriously. Our families grew up together and Grant deeply loved his family. He had a great sense of humor but never during the heat of battle.”

Brock Huard of MyNorthwest.com breaks down the strengths, weaknesses and expectations for the Seahawks wide receiver group heading into 2012, and also provides a thought on each Seahawks wideout and how they can improve going forward. On Golden Tate, Huard offers, “It’s a make-or-break season for the former second rounder. The light bulb appeared to go on at the end of last season, and Tate must avoid the injury and inconsistency in route-running that has slowed his development. He should be able to play all three wideout spots in spurts, and he has the breakaway speed to be a difference maker.”

Finally, sticking with the wide-receiver theme, Ian Furness and Hugh Millen at 950 KJR AM analyze the Seahawks wideout group in this nearly 18-minute audio link. Furness and Millen explain the differences between the ‘X’, ‘Z’ and ‘slot’ receivers and they discuss how the Seahawks current wide receiver personnel fits into each of those designations.


Former Seahawks QB Jeff Kemp Remembers and Honors Grant Feasel

Former NFL QB Jeff Kemp, who played for the Seahawks from 1987-91, remembers and honors teammate Grant Feasel, the former Seahawks center who passed away over the weekend.

By Jeff Kemp

Grant Feasel was our center and my roommate on road trips for most of my years on the Seahawks in the late 80′s and early 90′s.  I am so saddened at his loss and our prayers go out to all his family, especially Cyndy, Sean, Sarah and Spencer.

Grant was the quintessential sacrificial warrior. He wrapped himself up in the duty to clear the way for and protect his teammates. He took his job so seriously. Our families grew up together and Grant deeply loved his family. He had a great sense of humor but never during the heat of battle.

Grant was deeply conscientious and took his job incredibly seriously. As a holder for field goals, I would always ask him to snap hard-to-handle snaps to me after practice so I could prepare for the toughest situations, but Grant would never allow himself to snap anything but perfect snaps. Part of that was his desire to never allow coaches to see him at less than his dependable best.

I had dinner with Grant in Dallas about two years ago and we laughed uproariously at our joint misfortune of having had been a part of a classic NFL blooper which nearly gave Coach Chuck Knox a heart attack. One game against Denver in the noisy Kingdome, Grant and I crossed signals on when to snap the ball. The ball blasted me in the earhole of my helmet while I was looking at kicker Norm Johnson to see if he was ready. The ball bounced around the field and a pile of Broncos dove on me as I scrambled to cover the ball. Grant reminded me at that dinner that he could never forget Chuck Knox’s opening line of his next week’s talk to our team. Chuck told us that in his last days when he’d be confined to a nursing bed, connected to an “iron lung,” his last thoughts on this Earth would be, “Why in the heck did Grant Feasel snap that ball into Jeff Kemp’s head in our game against Denver?”

Grant Feasel was a consummate football player, a trustworthy teammate, and a good man… a man who loved his family.


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Former Seahawks center Grant Feasel passes away at age 52

Former Seahawks center Grant Feasel passed away Sunday morning. He was 52 years of age.

Originally drafted in the sixth round of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts after a highly decorated college football career at Abilene Christian University in Texas, Feasel would go on to play for the Minnesota Vikings before joining the Seahawks as a free agent in 1987. Feasel found success in Seattle and was named the Seahawks’ starting center from 1989-91, playing and starting in 47 games, a stretch which included playing every offensive snap of the 1989 season when the Seahawks finished 7-9.

Feasel played in 117 games in the NFL, 91 of which came in six seasons with Seattle.

KTXS.com in Texas has the full story here.


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