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
When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PT, Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Records: Seahawks are 6-4 and coming off their bye; Dolphins are 4-6 after their loss to the Bills on Nov. 15
TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jaime Maggio
Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Series: Dolphins lead 7-3, including a 21-19 win in Miami in the last meeting on Nov. 9, 2008, and a 5-1 edge at home
Rest of the West: 49ers (7-2-1) at Saints (5-5); Rams (3-6-1) at Cardinals (4-6)
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill vs. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: This is the first time this season that Wilson will face another of the quarterbacks from the 2012 draft class. And at this point in their rookie seasons, Wilson and Tannehill are heading in opposite directions. In his past three games, Wilson has fashioned a 115.2 passer rating by completing 68 percent of his passes (53 of 78) for 597 yards with seven touchdown passes and one interception. In his past two games, Tannehill’s passer rating is 46.5 because he has thrown five interceptions and one TD pass while completing 55 percent of his passes (37 of 67) for 395 yards. Wilson, however, has not played as well on the road, where he has thrown all eight of his interceptions; while Tannehill had played better at home before the Dolphins’ 37-3 face plant of a loss to the Titans in Week 10. The Seahawks need to pressure Tannehill, especially with “Leo” end Chris Clemons (seven sacks) working against left tackle Jake Long, who already has allowed a career-high six sacks; and rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin (seven sacks) going against rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin. Wilson needs to exploit the Dolphins’ mistake-prone secondary, especially cornerback Nolan Carroll who was flagged for four penalties against the Bills.
One to watch
The Seahawks’ Heath Farwell, Chris Maragos, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell vs. Dolphins returner Marcus Thigpen: With his 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Bills, Thigpen became the first player in the history of the franchise to return a kickoff and a punt for scores in the same season. He’s also the only player in the NFL to rank among the Top 5 in punt (13.6) and kickoff (29.4) return average. Farwell (10) and Maragos (seven) lead the Seahawks in coverage tackles, while Lane and Maxwell (four tackles each) are the gunners on punt coverage. The Seahawks cannot allow Thigpen to alter the outcome of the game, or even field position, by breaking a long one.
Fun to watch
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch vs. the Dolphins’ defense: After carrying the ball 212 times in the first 10 games, second only the Texans’ Arian Foster (269), Lynch seems not only rested but rejuvenated after getting the bye week off. Not that there was anything lacking in his pre-bye efforts. Lynch already has surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark and is No. 2 in the NFL with 1,005. He’s riding a streak of four consecutive 100-yard games and averaging a career-best 4.7 yards per carry. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have allowed an average of 148.5 rushing yards in their past two games, after allowing 83.9 in their first eight games.
One tough task
The Seahawks vs. the obvious: It’s not only another cross-country trip; it’s the longest flight that can be made in the continental United States. And, of course, there’s the issue of the 10 a.m. kickoff Seattle time. Also, the Seahawks are 1-4 on the road this season and 6-15 in three seasons under coach Pete Carroll. The Seahawks played well enough to win in Arizona, St. Louis and Detroit this season. In fact, they had fourth-quarter leads against the Cardinals and Lions. They have to slay their road demon at some point, and this is a good place to start.
The Seahawks have scored 61 points in the fourth quarter, while the Dolphins have allowed 60 fourth-quarter points. … The only time the Seahawks have won in Miami during the regular season was in 1996, when they beat the Dolphins 22-15. … The Seahawks are looking for their first three-game winning streak since Weeks 13-15 last season, which was their first since 2007. … They’re also looking to post their seventh victory this early in the season since 2007, when they also did in Week 12. … In two games against AFC opponents this season (Jets and Patriots), Wilson is 28 of 46 for 481 yards with five TD passes and no interceptions for a 132.6 passer rating. … The Dolphins’ Cameron Wake has 9.5 sacks, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Irvin leads all NFL rookies with his seven sacks. … Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks with 81 tackles, while linebacker Karlos Dansby leads the Dolphins with 76.
The first round of fan balloting for the Pro Bowl has been announced, and the Seahawks need your help.
Running back Marshawn Lynch and punter Jon Ryan rank second at their positions, behind the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson and Packers’ Tim Masthay. Peterson is fifth among all players and second to the Texans’ Arian Foster at running back with 298,323 votes.
Five of the Top 10 vote-getters are quarterbacks – No. 1 Peyton Manning, No. 2 Tom Brady, No. 4 Aaron Rodgers, No. 9 Matt Ryan and No. 10 Drew Brees.
Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor is No. 3 at his position. Defensive end Chris Clemons and free safety Earl Thomas are fourth at their respective spots, while center Max Unger and kick returner Leon Washington are fifth.
Nose tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Richard Sherman and special teams standout Heath Farwell aren’t even among the Top 5 at their positions.
Fan balloting runs through Monday, Dec. 17, and counts one-third toward the selection of the NFC and AFC squads the will play in the NFL all-star game on Jan. 27. The coaches and players in the league will cast their votes in December, and each will count one-third.
You can help the Seahawks’ players improve their current standing by voting here.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 12:
Rest and rehabilitation. That’s the focus for the week, not just the day, as coach Pete Carroll has given his players the rest of the week off during their bye.
There were other options, although limited, but none as appealing – and appropriate – as allowing the players some downtime before they return next Monday to begin preparing for the Nov. 25 game against the Dolphins in Miami.
“Taking everything into account, and the fact we’ve got to give them four days off (under the new CBA), it really doesn’t give you many options,” said Carroll, who was loose and relaxed as he looked toward his bye week as well.
“I didn’t feel like it was going to worth enough for what we could gain (in practicing).”
So he opted for rest and rehabilitation – although the players did leave today after a series of meetings with workout plans for Wednesday and Friday.
“Wherever they are,” Carroll said. “But I really don’t want them to try and do very much in terms of conditioning or strength work. We talked to them about, ‘Don’t go back to your guru workout guy and start carrying sandbags up hills.’ We’ve given them pretty strict guidelines.”
But Carroll also feels that the players have earned this break.
“I do feel good about where we’re going,” said Carroll, and he wasn’t talking about the trip to Miami. “We have worked really hard and the guys have performed very consistently. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do in terms of the prep and the focus and bringing it week in and week out.”
With Carroll’s trust comes the need for reciprocal trust from the players.
“Now we do have to see how we respond to the break,” he said. “But the motivation for me is that I believe these guys get it and they understand what we’re trying to get done. Now we have to prove that by how we perform next week.”
TAKING THE FOURTH
After controlling the ball for 12 minutes, 10 seconds of the fourth quarter in their victory over the Vikings last week, the Seahawks held it for 12:05 against the Jets in final quarter.
“The highlight to me is that we again finished really well,” Carroll said. “We had the ball for over 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and ran the ball like crazy, and owned it, and scored a couple touchdowns, and finished really well – the way that we like to.
“So that’s a couple weeks in a row of really good, solid ball; playing in kind of the formula that we would like to play in. It was great to do it here at home.”
Against the Vikings, Russell Wilson completed 4 of 6 passes for 58 yards, while Marshawn Lynch carried for 23 of the team’s 43 rushing yards in the fourth quarter. Sunday, Lynch averaged 10 yards on six carries, while Wilson was 3 of 3 for 55 yards as the Seahawks scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns – one on Wilson’s beautifully thrown 31-yard pass to Sidney Rice; the other, again to Rice, on a 23-yard pass by wide receiver Golden Tate.
The Seahawks have played the past two games without left guard James Carpenter, and all of Sunday’s game against the Jets and most of last week’s game against the Vikings without strongside linebacker K.J. Wright. But Carroll expects both concussed players to be back for practice next Monday.
In fact, he is anticipating just about all players to practice next week, after as many as eight sat out last week.
“When we get back to work, we’ll have almost everybody,” Carroll said. “That’s a really good note this late in the season. We’ll have a bunch of guys who should feel rested, but then also to get the guys back from the head knocks they’ve had and the bumps and the bruises, we’re going to be pretty solid as we go into the Miami game.”
Carroll also said that Carpenter and John Moffitt, who has replaced him the past two games, would compete for the left guard spot in practice. But he then added, “Carp, if he feels good and he’s right, we’d like to get him back in there.”
STATS ’N STUFF
Lynch is second in the NFL in rushing yards (1,005) – 123 behind the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson and 133 yards ahead of the Texans’ Arian Foster. Lynch also is third in the league in total yards (1,142) and tied for sixth in first downs (49).
Wilson has jumped to 12th in the league in passer rating (90.5), but he’s No. 6 in fourth-quarter passer rating (96.2). Wilson also has become the first rookie QB to win his first five home games since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970.
Jon Ryan is third in the league in punting average (49.0) and fourth in net average (42.5), while Leon Washington is eighth in kickoff return average (28.3).
Cornerback Richard Sherman is tied for third in interceptions (four), while ends Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin are tied for 10th in sacks (seven). Irvin, who had two sacks against the Jets, leads all NFL rookies.
Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner continues to lead the team in tackles (81), while Heath Farwell has 10 coverage tackles to lead the special teams.
STAT DU JOUR
With 1,005 rushing yards after 10 games, Lynch is on pace for the third-best season total in franchise history (1,608). The only back with more yards in a single season is all-time leading rusher Shaun Alexander, who had a club-record 1,880 in 2005 and 1,696 in 2004. Here’s how Lynch’s 10-game totals compare to those of Alexander in ’04 and ’05:
Player (year) Att. Yards Avg. 100 TD
Marshawn Lynch (2012) 212 1,005 4.7 6 5
Shaun Alexander (2005) 232 1,229 5.3 7 19
Shaun Alexander (2004) 224 1,151 5.1 5 10
With the players off until next Monday, Hawkville also will go on hiatus for the rest of the week.
While the focus needs to remain on the Dolphins, Carroll stressed, he is aware of what awaits the team after its post-bye trips to Miami and Chicago – not only three of four at home to close the regular season, but three games at CenturyLink Field against the NFC West rivals who beat the Seahawks on the road in the first seven weeks of the season.
“It’s going to be a great finish in terms of the division,” Carroll said. “Because of our failures early, each one of those games is going to mean a ton to us as we finish the season.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“Marshawn Lynch, 27 carries for 124 yards. And we hardly noticed. We take his greatness for granted too much.” – Peter King in the “What I Liked” section of his Monday Morning Quarterback at SI.com
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 7:
Leon Washington. Yes, it was the Jets who traded the returner/running back to the Seahawks in a draft day deal in 2010. Yes, it’s the Jets who are coming to CenturyLink Field on Sunday. And yes, Washington would like to do you-know-what against his former team.
“Would I like to return a touchdown against the Jets? Yes,” Washington said today, punctuating the obvious statement with a huge smile before adding, “Would I like to return a touchdown against the Rams? Yes. Would I like to return a touchdown against the 49ers? Yes.”
Washington has returned seven kickoffs for touchdowns in his NFL career that began in 2006, when the Jets selected him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Only one player in the 92½-year history of the league has returned more – the Browns’ Josh Cribbs with eight.
But it’s been a while since Washington has found the end zone with a kickoff or punt return – Week 14 of his first season with the Seahawks, and against the 49ers. That’s too long, as he views the situation. So why not end the drought against the team he used to play for, and represented in the Pro Bowl as the AFC returner after the 2007 season.
“We’re right on target,” Washington said. “We feel like we execute very well in practice. We just have to take advantage of opportunities during the game. Second half of the season, I remember last year we got really good. So I feel like we’re going to do the same thing this year.”
During the Seahawks’ 5-4 start, Washington has averaged 29.1 yards on 15 kickoff returns, which ranks sixth in the league. His punt return average, once as high as 14.5 yards, has dipped to 8.5, which ties him for 13th in the league.
And yes, playing in Seattle is different than playing in New York.
“Our fans here are passionate about their team, but it seems like the fans there, they feel like they own the team,” Washington said with a chuckle.
Marshawn Lynch. But this time, it’s through the eyes of Jets coach Rex Ryan, who also faced Lynch when he was running for the Bills and even sat in on a pre-draft visit with Lynch in 2007 when he was coming out of Cal and Ryan was defensive coordinator for the Ravens.
“He’s a tough dude, let’s just put it that way,” Ryan said today during a conference-call interview. “He’s one tough, tough rascal.
“Having to go against him – I’ve gone against him several times – he’s a guy that really is a physical back. … He’s a very powerful, physical runner and you never assume that this kid’s down.”
As for Lynch’s visit with the Ravens, Ryan said, “As he left, we were going back and forth. I said, ‘You come here, you’re going to get your butt kicked in practice.’ He’s like, ‘Man, I’ll show you.’ But I really liked him. As soon as he left, I’m like, ‘Oh, I hope we get that kid.’ ”
MARTIN RETURNS; THURMOND ACTIVATED
Wide receiver Charly Martin rejoined the team midway through practice, and cornerback Walter Thurmond was activated to the 53-man roster.
Martin was released from the 53-man roster on Tuesday and re-signed to the practice squad today after he had cleared waivers. Thurmond, who began the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, takes the roster spot that opened when Martin was released. The club had until Monday to add Thurmond to the roster.
Martin fills the practice squad spot that opened Tuesday when rookie wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei was released.
MORE MIDSEASON HONORS
Eight Seahawks landed on the All-NFC West midseason team selected by NFC blogger Mike Sando at ESPN.com: defensive end Chris Clemons, nose tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas on defense; center Max Unger and Lynch on offense; and returner Leon Washington and coverage man Heath Farwell on special teams.
In what Sando labeled his “tough call,” the 49ers’ Alex Smith was the choice over the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson at quarterback: “Alex Smith edges Russell Wilson at quarterback based on a stronger start to the season and his nearly perfect game against Arizona in Week 8. Wilson is gaining ground and looks like he could become the best quarterback in the NFC West quickly. He already has a better feel for the pocket. I’ll be surprised, at this rate, if Wilson isn’t the choice for the season-ending all-division team. There is still time for Sam Bradford to factor in as well.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
DE Red Bryant (foot)
OG James Carpenter (concussion)
SS Kam Chancellor (quadriceps)
WR Braylon Edwards (knee)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back/wrist)
DT Clinton McDonald (groin)
LB K.J. Wright (concussion)
Limited in practice
DT Jason Jones (ankle)
WR Doug Baldwin (ankle)
OG John Moffitt (knee)
C Max Unger (finger)
Wright and Carpenter were scheduled for more tests today, which they must pass before being cleared to return to practice. Mike Morgan and John Moffitt continued to replace them at strongside linebacker and left guard, as they did in Sunday’s game against the Vikings. Robert Turbin worked for Lynch, Greg Scruggs took over for Bryant and Jeron Johnson stepped in for Chancellor in practice.
Jones returned to practice after missing the past two games with an ankle injury.
For the Jets:
Did not practice
DT Kenrick Ellis (knee)
RB Joe McKnight (ankle)
Limited in practice
TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist)
C Nick Mangold (ankle)
OG Brandon Moore (hip)
DT Sione Pouha (back)
RB Bilal Powell (shoulder)
LB Bart Scott (toe)
S Eric Smith (knee)
DT Mike DeVito (finger)
WR Clyde Gates (shoulder)
S LaRon Landry (heel)
LB Calvin Pace (shin)
QB Mark Sanchez (back)
OG Matt Slauson (knee)
STAT DU JOUR
No back in the NFL has more 100-yard rushing games than Lynch, who is second in the NFL in rushing (881 yards) to the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson (957). Here’s a look at Lynch’s five triple-digit efforts, when he also has scored his four rushing touchdowns:
Opponent (week) No. Yards Avg. TD
Vikings (Week 9) 26 124 4.8 1
Cowboys (Week 2) 26 122 4.7 1
Rams (Week 4) 20 118 5.9 1
Lions (Week 8) 12 105 8.8 1
49ers (Week 7) 19 103 5.4 0
Who’s chasing Lynch? Peterson, the Texans’ Arian Foster and Patriots’ Stefan Ridley each have four 100-yard games.
“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to prepare for Sunday’s game.
The Seahawks are even in turnover differential, with 13 takeaways and 13 giveaways; while the Jets are minus-1. Only 11 teams have turned the ball over more than the Jets (14).
YOU DON’T SAY
“We have to fix ourselves before we really worry about who we’re playing. Now with that being said, this week is probably about as difficult of a challenge as a team can face. Here’s a team that’s 4-0 at home, with wins over Dallas, Minnesota, Green Bay and New England. It starts with the running game, of course. But, oh by the way, the quarterback has a 120 rating at home, which would be the best in the National Football League. So that’s certainly going to be a challenge. And on defense, they’re the fourth-rated defense in the National Football League. They’re a big, physical group with some guys that can really rush the passer. So it’s definitely a huge challenge for us.” – Ryan
YOU DON’T SAY, PART II
“Oh he definitely likes it. I like them, too. Every pass he’s thrown I’ve called.” – offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on wide receiver Sidney Rice throwing the ball, which he did for a 25-yard completion – and a 118.8 passer rating – to tight end Zach Miller against the Vikings
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 7.
There was a couple of roster moves that came late Tuesday afternoon, when the team announced the release of wide receiver Charly Martin from the active roster, and the release of wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei from the practice squad. As of this morning, no move had been made to fill either spot.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at how much better Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has become since the start of the season, “No one is calling for Matt Flynn to start for Seattle anymore. At least not loud enough to hear, and certainly not like it was in September when the Seahawks’ offense was about as potent as the Mariners’. But over the first nine games, the most important trend for Wilson has been the way he eliminates flaws in his performance. Halfway through his first season, the most important thing is to judge not how good he is, but how much better he has become. And only by looking at that process step by step, following three critical improvements, can you see how he’s reached this point of leading Seattle’s offense to 54 points in the past two games and holding the league’s 11th-best quarterback rating.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with the Trufant family, as brothers Marcus and Isaiah are set to square off against each other when the New York Jets comes to town on Sunday at CenturyLink Field, and younger brother Desmond – a senior cornerback at the University of Washington – will play against Utah on Saturday night, also at CenturyLink Field, “Lloyd Trufant said he had a jersey specifically made for the game, with a Marcus Trufant Seahawks jersey on the front and an Isaiah Trufant Jets jersey on the back. ‘We’re pretty pumped up about it,’ Lloyd Trufant said. ‘It should be pretty cool to see both of them on opposing teams. … I have all three of my boys at the same stadium on the same weekend, so that should be cool.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald notes where the Seahawks’ recent run defense struggles may be coming from, “More than anything, Carroll thinks the team’s struggles are the result of young players trying to do too much. In addition to a stout defensive line, one of the most important elements of run defense is the ability of linebackers and safeties to stay disciplined and focus on their responsibilities, not everyone else’s. With a rookie starting at middle linebacker (Bobby Wagner), a second-year strongside linebacker (K.J. Wright) and safeties who are in their third year (Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor), youthful mistakes can happen. It also didn’t help the Seahawks that Wright missed all but three plays of Sunday’s win over the Vikings because of a concussion. ‘I do think we’re over-trying a little bit,’ Carroll said. ‘I think in general guys are trying to live up to the expectations and we’re trying really hard, and at times that takes you out of your game. That’s something we’re really concerned about. We just want to play the way that we’re capable of playing. Sometimes, guys try to go beyond their responsibility to make a play and they get in a bad situation. That’s just because they want to do really well and they’re trying really hard and all of that. It’s a young bunch of guys getting together, so you can fluctuate a little bit there.’ “
Dave Grosby and Dave Wyman of 710Sports.com say the Seahawks defense is going to be OK, and they attempt to ease the fears of fans in this short video.
Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com brings us his Midseason All-Underrated offensive team, and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson tops the list, “San Francisco’s Alex Smith almost made this spot, but after looking at a few key numbers for both quarterbacks — efficiency in third-down, red-zone, and fourth-quarter situations — the third-round rookie from Wisconsin gets the nod. Wilson, who wasn’t expected to start this season and got all kinds of pre-draft scouting dings as a result of his 5-foot-10 5/8 stature, has become the epicenter of the Seahawks’ offense in the last few weeks. It’s an impressive feat for a team that’s been run-based and centered around Marshawn Lynch. But as head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell have taken the training wheels off of late, Wilson has responded with great production. His three-touchdown performance against the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday was the sixth-best of the week among quarterbacks per Football Outsiders’ efficiency rankings, and we have a feeling that the best is yet to come. Wilson has more passing touchdowns than any other rookie quarterback (yes, more than Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III), and only Griffin has a higher passer rating. Near-Misses: Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers/Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his All-NFC West midseason team and defensive end Chris Clemons, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Richard Sherman, and free safety Earl Thomas make the cut for the defense, while center Max Unger and running back Marshawn Lynch represent the offense. Linebacker Heath Farwell tops all division specialists and running back Leon Washington is named the top return man.
Sam Farmer of the LA Times highlights Seahawks team statistician Todd Nielson, “Nielson gathers and crunches numbers, studies probabilities, looks for any sliver of data concerning the Seahawks or opposing teams that could give Seattle an edge. That includes drawing up statistical reports for Coach Pete Carrolland his assistants, documenting plays and coverages during games, and even analyzing officiating crews for their specific tendencies. ‘You look at it, and eventually it’s going to pop off the paper at you,’ said Nielson, who spends much of his day at his modest cubicle, sleuthing tendencies. ‘My interaction with Coach Carroll is very limited,’ he said. ‘I go in his office when he’s not there, and I drop a piece of paper on his desk with what he calls ‘the orange stuff’ on it, which is the highlighted stuff.’ Throughout the week, Nielson fields requests from coaches — for instance, compile all the New York Jets’ runs in goal-to-go situations — then creates a written report, complete with corresponding video. ‘The stats tell you the when and the where,’ he said. ‘The video tells you the how and the why.’ “
Farmer also offers a behind-the-scenes look into the life of Carroll and his coaching staff at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, “In a sense, the 5-4 Seahawks mirror their coach. They are energetic, competitive, and have concentration issues resulting in a string of close losses on the road. The team that is 4-0 at CenturyLink Field is 1-4 away from home. Seattle has the NFL’s third-youngest roster — including rookie Russell Wilson starting at quarterback — and the second-oldest head coach, which seems like a mismatch. But few coaches are as youthful as the 61-year-old Carroll, who seldom stops moving around the sprawling facility and always looks as if he’s about to break into a jog. There’s no hint in his stride of his recent knee replacement. ‘It’s constantly surprising to see somebody who’s older than my dad have that kind of energy,’ said Carroll’s right-hand man, Ben Malcolmson, 27, who won acclaim at USC when he went from student journalist to walk-on receiver. ‘Everyone has their ups and downs, times they just want to chill and relax. With him, it’s never, ‘Hey, I’m going to take a nap for 15 minutes.’ It’s nonstop.’ “
The AP Pro32 has some comments about the Seahawks, who they rank from No. 11 to 12. You can view several of their comments here.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth touches base with the Trufant family, who as we mentioned above will have a busy weekend at CenturyLink Field.
Farnsworth has his “Tuesday in Hawkville“, with a focus on Pro Football Weekly’s Midseason All-Pro list, which features free safety Earl Thomas, running back Marshawn Lynch, and cornerback Richard Sherman.
Lastly, Farnsworth has his first look at the New York Jets, who are up next on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 6:
Midseason All-Pros. That would be Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, as selected by Pro Football Weekly.
The Seahawks’ leading rusher, left cornerback and free safety were tabbed by the online publication today for their obvious efforts in the first eight games of the season. Here’s what PFW had to say in selecting each, with additional statistical information:
Lynch – “Lynch’s ‘Beast Mode’ style has set the tone for Pete Carroll’s physical Seahawks, who have held their own in a bruising NFC West. Always falling forward and rarely losing yards, Lynch is on pace to crack 1,500 rushing yards for the first time in his career, gaining a personal-best 97.9 yards per game.”
Entering Sunday’s game against the Jets at CenturyLink Field, Lynch ranks second in the league in rushing to the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, the other back on the PFW midseason All-Pro team. He’s also third in the league in total yards (991).
Sherman – “A very tall, very physical press corner, Sherman declared himself ‘Optimus Prime’ in challenging Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson in Week 8, and effectively limited the Lions’ top threat to 3-46-0 receiving. Sherman occasionally can have penalty problems, but this converted wide receiver plays with a swagger and is very tough to beat.”
Sherman has three interceptions to share the team lead with fellow cornerback Brandon Browner, and leads the defense with 11 passes defensed.
Thomas – “Another huge part of the Seahawks’ ‘Legion of Boom’ secondary, Thomas is a punishing hitter who also shows great range, rarely getting beaten over the top. He’s incredibly fast but also very strong for his size, and while his numbers haven’t been incredible, he has the tools to pile up interceptions in a hurry.”
Thomas was voted the starting free safety on the NFC West Pro Bowl team last season, and this season he has two interceptions.
STATS ’N STUFF
Jon Ryan is third in the league in punting average (50.0) and fifth in net average (42.6), while Leon Washington is sixth in kickoff return average (29.1).
Russell Wilson’s passer rating of 87.2 ranks 11th in the league. Both are up from 79.5 and No. 22 just two weeks ago. Completing 69 percent of your passes (41 of 59) for 409 yards with five TD passes and one interception in the past two games will do that.
Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the team in tackles with 72, while Heath Farwell remains the leader in coverage tackles on special teams with nine.
As a team, the Seahawks rank fourth in the league is total defense (11th rushing, seventh passing) and 29th in total offense (seventh rushing, 31st passing).
STAT DU JOUR
Wilson has become the sixth rookie quarterback since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970 to start 4-0 at home. Here’s a look at the select company he has joined, and those who rank ahead of him:
Quarterback, team (year) Start
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (2004) 7-0
Chris Chandler, Colts (1988) 6-0
Russell Wilson, Seahawks (2012) 4-0
Joe Ferguson, Bills (1973) 4-0
Mike Kruczek, Steelers (1976) 4-0
Matt Ryan, Falcons (2008) 4-0
The players return from their off day on Tuesday to begin practicing for Sunday’s game on “Competition Wednesday.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“(Darrell) Bevell called an excellent game against his former team. He is playing to the strengths of the offense and his quarterback specifically. Seattle has mixed deep passes with short throws with zone runs with quarterback options to keep defenses guessing. This was a diverse offense on display against the Vikings.” – ESPN blogger Mike Sando, listing the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator among the “Rising” in his weekly NFC West Stock Watch
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 30:
Russell Wilson. Looking for a reason to be optimistic about the second half of the Seahawks’ season? Look to the team’s rookie quarterback, and let coach Pete Carroll be your tour guide.
“One of the big focuses in looking at the quarterback position – you all ask those questions, ‘How’s he doing?’ and all – he’s had a very prosperous first half of his first year,” said Carroll, the team’s third-year coach. “In that he’s grown, he’s been attacked, he’s been under the gun in so many games.
“And Russell has shown his ways and his character and his athleticism. He’s done some great stuff first time around.”
At the top of Wilson’s great-stuff list was his performance in Week 6 against the Patriots and Tom Brady. It was Wilson, and not Brady, who threw two TD passes in the final 7½ minutes to rally the Seahawks to a 24-23 victory.
At the bottom of Wilson’s not-so-great-stuff list was his performance four days later, when he completed 9 of 23 passes in a 13-6 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco.
But Wilson bounced back from that effort to lead the Seahawks to a go-ahead TD with 5½ minutes to play in Detroit on Sunday. The Lions then drove 80 yards to a score that won the game, but it didn’t diminish Wilson’s play in the 12-play, 87-yard drive that ended with his 16-yard TD pass to tight end Zach Miller.
“But he needs to get better,” Carroll said. “Just like everybody does. He’d be the first to tell you that. We need to improve and keep getting things moving in a positive direction. We need to be better on third downs and continue to fight to be better in the red zone.”
Entering Sunday’s game against the Vikings at CenturyLink Field, Wilson is completing 61.4 percent of his passes (129 of 210) for 1,466 yards, with 10 touchdown passes and eight interceptions, for a passer rating of 82.4 that ranks second in the league among the rookie starters – Redskins’ Robert Griffin III (97.3); but well ahead of the Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill (75.8), Colts’ Andrew Luck (74.6) and Browns’ Brandon Weeden (70.8).
OBOMANU TO IR
Ben Obomanu’s seventh season with the Seahawks has come to an unlucky end. The veteran wide receiver was placed on injured reserve today because of the wrist injury he got in Sunday’s loss to the Lions in Detroit.
Obomanu, a seventh-round draft choice in 2006, caught four passes for 58 yards and a team-high 14.5-yard average.
With Obomanu out for the remainder of the season, rookie wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was signed off the practice squad and rookie Phil Bates, who was with the team in training camp, was added to the practice squad.
The team also released cornerback Danny Gorrer and used his roster spot to sign tackle Mike Person off the practice squad.
STATS ’N STUFF
Leon Washington is second in the NFC and fifth in the NFL in kickoff return average (29.8), while Jon Ryan is second in the NFC and third in the NFC in punting average (50.2) and third in the NFC and seventh in the NFL in net average (41.9).
Marshawn Lynch is second in the conference and league in rushing yards (757) and total yards (841) to the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson (775 and 914).
Richard Sherman has three interceptions to tie for fifth in the league, while Chris Clemons has seven sacks to tie for seventh.
The Seahawks rank fifth in the league in total defense and rushing defense, and 13th in passing; while the offense is 30th overall, eighth in rushing and 31st in passing.
Linebacker K.J. Wright continues to lead the team with 63 tackles, one more than rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Heath Farwell (eight) and Chris Maragos (seven) lead the special teams in coverage tackles.
STAT DU JOUR
Lynch has surpassed 100 rushing yards 10 times for the Seahawks in the past 17 games. But his 77-yard touchdown run against the Lions on Sunday allowed him to reach triple digits in the fewest carries. He’s a look at his 100-yard games, ranked not by most yards but fewest carries – with the top two coming in the past two games:
Opponent (date) No. Yards Avg.
Lions (Oct. 29, 2012) 12 105 8.8
49ers (Oct. 18, 2012) 19 103 5.4
Rams (Sept. 30, 2012) 20 118 5.9
49ers (Dec. 24, 2011) 21 107 5.1
Eagles (Dec. 1, 2011) 22 148 6.7
Cowboys (Nov. 6, 2011) 23 135 5.9
Rams (Dec. 12, 2011) 23 115 5.0
Redskins (Nov. 27, 2011) 24 111 4.6
Cowboys (Sept. 16, 2012) 26 122 4.7
Ravens (Nov. 13, 2011) 32 109 3.4
The players return from their off day to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Vikings on “Competition Wednesday.”
Wide receiver Braylon Edwards will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. today at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop.
YOU DON’T SAY
“For all of the young guys that are starting and playing a great deal right now, this is the end of their college season. So they’ve got to get the second wind and get back with it and make sure that we can continue to improve.” – Carroll
With the Seahawks reaching the midway point of their season, here’s a look at the best from their 4-4 start:
MVP: Marshawn Lynch. Four 100-yard rushing games. At least 85 rushing yards in seven of the eight games. A career-best 4.8-yard average. No. 2 in the league is rushing, 18 yards behind the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson. A combined 170 touches with only 12 minus-yardage plays, offset by 14 runs of 10-plus yards. As lead-blocking fullback Michael Robinson put it, “If we know anything, we know the dude can run the ball.” And just when you thought you’d seen the entire Lynch portfolio, he breaks a career-long 77-yard touchdown run in Sunday’s game against the Lions. “He doesn’t generally run straight that long,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s usually moving everywhere. So it was fun to kind of watch him run in a straight line for once. And he looked pretty darn good.”
Best defensive player: Brandon Mebane. Chris Clemons and his seven sacks deserve mention, but the team’s nose tackle has been the best and most consistent player on the Seahawks’ No. 5-ranked defense. Mebane had the glitch game of his season in San Francisco, when the 49ers ran for 175 yards – 88 more than the next-highest total the Seahawks have allowed. But he also bounced back in a big way on Sunday against the Lions with his third sack of the season and six tackles. Mebane also had tipped three passes and recovered a fumble.
Best offensive player not named Marshawn Lynch: Max Unger. As hard as Lynch runs, and as difficult as he is to bring down, he’s also the first to point out that he couldn’t do all the things he does without the help of his blockers – and Unger is in the middle of everything at the center spot; flanked on the left side by tackle Russell Okung and guard James Carpenter and on the right side by tackle Breno Giacomini and guard Paul McQuistan. Unger has been solid from his first snap of the season, and also earns bonus points with the job he has done in helping rookie QB Russell Wilson go over and understand the pass protection each week.
Best special teams player: Heath Farwell. Punter Jon Ryan and Chris Maragos deserve honorable mention. But the most consistent member of the Seahawks’ consistently good special teams has been Farwell, who leads the units with eight coverage tackles. But with the special teams co-captain, it’s not just what he does; it’s also what he sees. Prime example numero uno: The play he read and then made on kickoff coverage in the Week 4 game at St. Louis. “On the field, Heath alerted everybody, ‘Hey watch the reverse,’ ” special teams coordinator Brian Schneider said. “Sure enough, they did a reverse and Heath made the tackle on the 5-yard line.” Farwell was the NFC Pro Bowl special teams player in 2009 while with the Vikings. He’s playing well enough to deserve another Pro Bowl berth this season.
Best rookie: Bobby Wagner. No one was sure just how quickly the second-round draft choice would be able to handle all the duties of three-time leading tackler David Hawthorne, who was allowed to leave in free agency. Well, first Wagner won the starting job in training camp. Then, he took over calling the plays in the huddle. Last month, he moved into the sub packages used on passing down. Now, he’s second on the team with 62 tackles – one behind strongside ’backer K.J. Wright.
Most improved offensive rookie: Russell Wilson. And not just because the rookie QB is coming off his best game in Sunday’s loss to the Lions. In addition to completing 71 percent of his passes (25 of 35) for 236 yards and two touchdowns, it was the poise and command Wilson displayed in doing it. But his numbers from the first four games to the next four games jumped in every positive category – completions (69, from 60); passing yards (872, from 594); TD passes (six, from four); and especially passer rating (90.4, from 73.5).
Most improved defensive rookie: Wagner. A bit redundant perhaps, but what he’s done is worth repeating. In the past three games, Wagner has 12, eight and 14 tackles. Like Wilson, he seems to be getting better with each start.
Best free-agent addition: Jason Jones. His value was never more apparent than when he wasn’t able to play against the Lions because of an ankle injury. Without Jones in the middle of the nickel defense line, Matthew Stafford had way too much time while completing 34 of 49 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Jones has 2.5 sacks but, as Carroll says, his real value is in the things he does that helps others make plays. And that’s why he was signed.
Joe Nash Award (or, what would they do without him): Leroy Hill. This went to McQuistan at the quarter pole, and could again as he has moved from left guard to right guard without missing a beat – or many blocks. But Hill continues to produce as the elder starter on the defense. He picked up his first sack of the season against the Lions, and his tackle total (29) isn’t a true indication of his impact.
Best trend: A 3-0 record at home. The Seahawks found ways to upset the Cowboys, Packers and Patriots in the first half of the season. It needs to continue, as they will play five of their final eight games at CenturyLink Field – including rematches with the other three teams in the NFC West, who already have beaten the Seahawks in the away portion of their home-and-home series.
Worst trend: Third downs. It’s tempting to opt for the 1-4 record on the road, but the Seahawks’ inability to get off the field on third downs and prolong possessions by converting third downs plays directly into the road woes. A defense that is capable of doing so many other things well, is allowing opponents to convert 43.9 percent on third downs – 46.0 percent in the four road losses. An offense that is looking to gain more consistency is converting 32.7 percent on the pivotal down.
Best offensive play: Wilson’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice with 78 seconds remaining against the Patriots in Week 6. As good as Lynch’s 77-yard TD run was against the Lions; Wilson’s timely toss to Rice won that game.
Best defensive plays: This is plural, because it was Clemons collecting four sacks in the second quarter of the Week 3 upset of the Packers.
Best special teams plays: Again, it’s plural because of Ryan’s quartet of punts against the Patriots, as he became the third player in NFL history – and the first since 1946 – to average 60-plus yards on four kicks. Ryan hit it right at 60.0, with four punts for 240 yards, with a long of 66.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 23:
Pro Bowl voting. The polls are open, so let the debates begin.
Fan voting for the NFC and AFC squads has begun at NFL.com, and you can cast your votes here. But who deserves your vote among the Seahawks?
Earl Thomas was voted the starting free safety on the NFC team last season, while strong safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Brandon Browner were first alternates and added as injury replacements. Each is playing a big role on the Seahawks’ No. 5-ranked defense.
Marshawn Lynch also was a first alternate last year who was added to the team as an injury replacement. This season, he is second in the NFC and tied for third in the league with 652 rushing yards and second in the NFC in total yards with 735.
Chris Clemons already has seven sacks, which ties the Seahawks’ “Leo” end for second in the NFC and third in the league.
Richard Sherman, the fourth member of the Seahawks’ secondary, has three interceptions, which ties the second-year cornerback for fourth in the NFL, and he also leads the team with 11 passes defensed.
Nose tackle Brandon Mebane is in the middle of everything the defense does, and has 26 tackles to pace the linemen. He also has a pair of sacks and has deflected three passes.
Fullback Michael Robinson was another first alternate last season who was added to the squad as an injury replacement, and he continues to provide Lynch with lead blocks against some of the best middle linebackers in the game.
Center Max Unger also draws high marks – and praise – for his efforts in anchoring the line and opening holes for Lynch.
Heath Farwell, who led the league with 21 coverage tackles in only 11 games last season, has eight in seven games.
Punter Jon Ryan is second in the NFC in average (50.4) and fifth in net average (41.4) – putting him on pace to break the club records that he already holds in each category.
Fan balloting, which concludes Dec. 17, counts one-third toward selecting the Pro Bowl squads. The other two thirds will be provided when the players and coaches vote in December. The NFC and AFC teams will be announced De. 26.
Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ QB has become the first rookie since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970 to throw two game-winning touchdown passes in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.
The first was a 24-yarder to Golden Tate on the final play of the Monday night win over the Packers. The second was a 46-yarder to Sidney Rice with 78 seconds left in the win over the Patriots. Both came at CenturyLink Field.
“I think he’s done some pretty extraordinary things,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I think he’s played within the format that we have setup for him well. … He’s grown. He’s corrected things. And he’s totally in control, poise-wise, in the game and in the situation.
“I think he can do special things. There are just not very many kids that are as well prepared to take on the workload, and the stress of it, and the pressure and all of that, as he is.”
STATS ’N STUFF
In addition to the Seahawks’ No. 5 ranking in average yards allowed, the defense also is No. 6 against the run and No. 8 against the pass. The offense ranks No. 30 overall, No. 8 rushing and No. 31 passing.
The Seahawks also rank second (12.9) in the league to the Bears (10.7) in average points allowed by the defensive unit.
Strongside linebacker K.J. Wright has regained sole possession of the team lead in tackles with 52 – two more than rookie middle linebackers Bobby Wagner, who has 43 of his 50 tackles in the past five games.
Leon Washington is fourth in the league in kickoff return average (31.7).
Lynch also is tied for 10th in the league in first downs produced with 33 (28 rushing, five receiving).
STAT DU JOUR
Rice leads the Seahawks with 22 receptions and, not surprisingly, also is the leader in targets. Here’s a look at the targets and catches by the Seahawks’ top nine receivers, ranked by number of times the ball has been thrown their way:
Player Targets Catches
Sidney Rice 38 22
Golden Tate 27 13
Doug Baldwin 19 11
Zach Miller 18 14
Braylon Edwards 15 8
Anthony McCoy 15 8
Marshawn Lynch 12 10
Robert Turbin 10 9
Ben Obomanu 9 4
The players return from their off day to continue practicing for Sunday’s game against the Lions in Detroit. This game marks the conclusion of a five-week stretch where the Seahawks played on the road four times.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The biggest issue I have with our team right now is we’ve got to get the football away from our opponents. They’ve gone quiet a little bit on the turnover thing. I know that we’ll do better at home, we have historically. But here we go on the road again. We’ve got to get the football away from our opponent, which gives us field advantages, shorter opportunities to get into scoring zones and all that kind of stuff.” – Carroll on the Seahawks forcing four turnovers in their three homes games compared to six in their four road games; but turning the ball over nine times in their four road games compared to twice in their three home games