Linebacker Allen Bradford, who had been on the practice squad, was signed to the Seahawks’ 53-man roster this afternoon.
To clear a roster spot, defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo was released.
Bradford also finished last season on the practice squad and was signed to a future contract in January. He was released in August on the roster cut to 53 players and signed to the practice squad the next day. He was then released two more times, and re-signed again, before finally joining the practice squad for good on Sept. 21.
A running back at USC under Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Bradford has played predominantly at linebacker on the practice squad.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 21.
The club made a few roster moves yesterday, sending defensive lineman Jason Jones to injured reserve and signing defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo off of the team’s practice squad. In Fangupo’s place, the team signed wide receiver Bryan Walters, a native of Kirkland, Wash., to fill out the practice squad.
Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times has the story on the move of Jones to injured reserve, “Defensive tackles that could see an expanded role for the Seahawks are Clinton McDonald, rookie Jaye Howard (who has been inactive most of the year) and Hebron Fangupo, a 6-foot-1, 323-pound player signed to the active roster Thursday. Rookie Greg Scruggs, a seventh-round pick out of Louisville, is also expected to see more time on the defensive line against a physical 49ers offense. ‘My biggest thing has been waiting for my opportunity and my chance, and so it’s come,’ said Scruggs, who has two sacks. ‘Now I just have to apply everything that I’ve been doing. You thrive on the opportunity to perform under pressure. One of the biggest knocks on me was I always had potential in college to be a first-round pick, but when big games came around, it was almost as if it was a slump. I’ve been fighting that my whole life and I think that this is an opportunity for me to go out and really show that I can play on the big stage and I can play under pressure.’ ”
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh share the same philosophy on football, but differ in terms of personality, “Carroll has never met an interview he can’t talk around, while Harbaugh hasn’t found a conversation he can’t make agonizingly, haltingly awkward. But someone who has played for both coaches said that as different as they were to play for, there is a common ground between the two head coaches in Sunday’s game between the top two teams in the NFC West. ‘Their personalities are completely different,’ said Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin, who played for Harbaugh in college. ‘Coaching style is completely different. But there’s a strategic way that they go about running their teams. Obviously, they both love to run the ball. Passing is not necessarily at the forefront of the offense. It’s all running, and then you build the pass off the run. That, I guess you could say is comparable. Defense as well. You’ve got to have a strong defense to back everything up.’ ”
O’Neil also has Thursday’s injury report for both the Seahawks and 49ers, noting the Seahawks got a boost with the return of defensive tackle Alan Branch to practice.
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says that it’s a good weekend to be a Seattle sports fan, with the Washington Huskies squaring off against Boise State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, and the Seahawks battling the 49ers on Sunday Night Football, “Sunday, of course, is the Almost-Game-of-the-Century between the Seahawks and San Francisco at CenturyLink Field. Games like this are why we’re sports fans. Games this good have a way of briefly galvanizing communities, which is part of why we build stadiums to house them. Sure, the Niners took some of the starch out of it with their win over New England in Foxborough last week, virtually assuring their second straight NFC West title, but this night still will have all the heat, passion and noise of a playoff game. CenturyLink will be lit up.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with Fangupo after the move of Jones to injured reserve, “Fangupo is stout against the run, and could help plug up the middle of the defense against San Francisco’s potent running attack. ‘I’m just excited, man,’ Fangupo said. ‘I know what I can do, I’ve just been waiting. On game days it’s hard to watch, so I just try and sit back and wait for my opportunity to play. The best way to do that is by practicing, working my butt off to get the offensive line ready. And now that I have my shot, I’ve got to do the best I can.’ ”
Williams also has a look at the increasing popularity of the read-option offense, “The option puts defenses at a disadvantage. Stack the box to stop a bruising runner like Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch or Washington’s Alfred Morris, and the quarterback pulls the ball out and takes off untouched down the sideline. Spread out to protect the perimeter, and the big back gashes you inside. ‘It just becomes a numbers game,’ San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. ‘Your typical run, the quarterback hands off and it’s now their 10 against your 11. Now, when he’s a potential runner, it’s their 11 against your 11 and they’re not even blocking one of the guys at the point of attack, so it actually becomes 11 against 10 if they do it right. So, the numbers are flipped.’ ”
Michael Rushton of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s matchup with the Niners, “Seattle has much more on the line than San Francisco, but that doesn’t seem to matter to Kaepernick, who is looking to perfect his game heading into the postseason. He even refused to classify his win over New England as any kind of statement. ‘It really isn’t going to mean too much if we don’t come out and win this week. So, that’s what we’re focused on right now,’ he said. Even Seattle’s perfect home record might not save it as San Francisco is 11-4 on the road under Harbaugh since 2011. Sports Network Predicted Outcome: 49ers 20, Seahawks 13”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald dissects what Jones’ move to injured reserve means for the rest of the defensive line, “Rookie Greg Scruggs is the likely candidate to take over Jones’ pass-rushing role, but things would get more complicated in the event that Branch were to be out or even limited by his ankle injury. Clinton McDonald, who normally plays in pass-rushing situations, could take over for Branch in the base defense, or Scruggs could see some time in that role. The Seahawks could also work rookie Jaye Howard into that rotation, or even undrafted rookie Hebron Fangupo, who was signed off the practice squad to fill Jones’ roster spot. ‘We get a chance to take a look at some of the younger guys now,’ said Seattle’s ever-optimistic defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. ‘Some of those guys may have an opportunity now.’ ”
Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, contributing to 710Sports.com, offers a look at running back Marshawn Lynch, whose production has received less attention than normal – just the way Lynch likes it – because of the success of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, “The last time I remember hearing from Lynch was after the Miami game, a loss in which he only rushed for 46 yards. There was no scowling or harsh answer during the interview and he was gracious with both his time and himself. He’s much more likely to talk to the media after a game like that than after a victory in which he runs for over 100 yards. He’s not there for that. He just wants to win and is willing to pick his teammates up after a loss. He reminds me of Lofa Tatupu in that way. It was well known in the media that if you want one- or two-word answers, ask Tatupu about himself. If you want sentences that turn into paragraphs, ask him about his coaches and teammates. Like Tatupu, Lynch has a level of selflessness that plays well with his teammates … and ex-linebackers.”
Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com has his report from Thursday’s practice, “There was some positive injury news Thursday. Defensive tackle Alan Branch (ankle) was a full participant. With Seattle placing defensive lineman Jason Jones (knee) on injured reserve, the team is taking a closer look at young backups. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said rookies Greg Scruggs and Jaye Howard are both getting lots of work and could be in the rotation along with veteran Clinton McDonald. I spoke with Scruggs before practice and he assured me he is ready for this prime-time, nationally televised game. Scruggs believes he didn’t step up his game in college and it cost him a chance to be a first-round draft pick. He has practiced at all four defensive line positions for Seattle.”
Jim Moore of 710Sports.com previews the Seahawks-Niners matchup, “The 49ers have the slightly better team, but I said it last week, and I’ll say it again: if I’m going to blather on and on about the Seahawks being Super Bowl contenders, I have to ride them to the finish, and you’ve gotta love ’em at home. Prediction: Seahawks 27, 49ers 21”
Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” discuss why they believe Sunday night’s contest will be decided by which coaching staff outsmarts the other in this short video.
Curtis Crabtree, writing for the Associated Press, says this Sunday the Seahawks will try to overcome several missed chances that plagued them in their first matchup with the Niners back on October 18, “Wilson was just 9 of 23 for 122 yards and an interception against the 49ers. His 38.7 passer rating against San Francisco is his lowest mark this season. Yet Wilson doesn’t see the point of dwelling on a missed opportunity. ‘There’s times where you’re like, ‘Oh man I wish he caught it’ … You have emotions but the key is staying even-keeled as possible, I think,’ Wilson said. ‘I let the receivers know I’m coming right back to them. You don’t think that they’re not going to catch the next one, so you’ve got to keep playing.’ Seattle’s offense has greatly improved since the initial meeting in October. Wilson has a passer rating of 111.3 over the seven games following the loss to the 49ers. Wilson has thrown 13 touchdowns to just two interceptions and Seattle is 5-2 since then.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com notes several similarities between the Seahawks and 49ers on a statistical level:
- Each team has scored 25 red zone touchdowns on 47 chances.
- Each team has converted about 36 percent of its third-down opportunities.
- Each team averages 6.8 yards per pass play.
- The teams are within 30 yards of one another in total rushing yards: 2,280 for the 49ers and 2,250 for the Seahawks.
- The teams are within one total touchdown of one another: 40 for the 49ers, 41 for the Seahawks.
- The teams have committed about the same number of penalties, 99 for San Francisco and 95 for Seattle.
Sando also offers up his prediction for the Sunday night matchup between the two clubs, “Here we go. The main event. My feeling going into Week 15 was that San Francisco would go 1-1 against the Patriots and Seahawks. I didn’t have the guts to pick the 49ers at New England, unfortunately. The slate is clean this week. If the 49ers win prime-time road games on opposite coasts against two of the NFL’s best teams in an eight-day period, they’re even better than I realized when ranking them No. 1 on my latest power rankings ballot. Should be a great game either way. Sando’s best guess: Seahawks 23, 49ers 21.”
Doug Kretz of ESPN.com details “What to watch” in Sunday night’s matchup between the Seahawks and Niners. You must be an ESPN Insider to view this piece, but here is a small sample, “Key positional battle — Seahawks’ O-Line vs. 49ers’ D-Line: Seattle’s offensive line has been dominating up front the past couple of games and has been creating huge run lanes for Lynch and the ground game. These blockers are great road-graders who fight for everything they get and refuse to back down. San Francisco’s defensive linemen are also powerful and are great fighters. They are the league’s third-ranked run defense and hold opponents to 3.61 yards per carry….These are two evenly matched teams, and the position advantage could go either way at multiple spots. The ’12th Man’ advantage should provide the difference as Seattle pulls this one out.” Kretz likes the Seahawks by a score of 20-17.
NFL Films previews our Week 16 Sunday night matchup with the Niners in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth highlights rookie tight end Sean McGrath, who was recently promoted to the active roster from the practice squad earlier this week after the release of tight end Evan Moore, and recaps the activities surrounding “Thursday in Hawkville“, with a focus on the play of the rookies Wilson and Bobby Wagner.
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” with reaction from the club as they look forward to a challenging weekend against the Niners.
Finally, our team photographer Rod Mar has an updated look at the week of practice in photos.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 20:
Rookies of the Year. There’s no question that quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner have been the Seahawks’ offensive and defensive rookies of the year.
You would have to consider their production heading into Sunday night’s bigger-than-big rematch with the NFC West-leading 49ers at CenturyLink Field as beyond impressive for seasoned vets. Wilson has passed for 21 touchdowns, run for 402 yards and three scores and taken the offense to unprecedented heights. Wagner leads the league’s No. 3-ranked defense with 121 tackles and has developed into a productive every-down player, as evidenced by his three interceptions and two sacks.
Not surprisingly, Wilson, who was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft, and Wagner, a second-round pick, have played their way into contention for the league rookie honors as well. And each definitely has noticed the contributions of the other to the Seahawks’ 9-5 record.
Wilson on Wagner: “Bobby Wagner has done a tremendous job. He’s one of our leaders on our defense, for him to be able to play at such a high level. He can run around. He can make all the plays. He’s come up with several interceptions already. What he’s doing as a rookie and how he approaches the game, in terms of just getting here early and doing what he needs to do to be successful on Sunday and lead, is really exceptional.”
Wagner on Wilson: “I think Russell should win it. I feel like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin, they were kind of deemed rookie of the year before they even set foot on the field or even proved themselves. The stuff Russell has been doing, going out there and performing every week, I feel like he has the numbers. So you can’t be biased just because the hype before those other guys got here. For me it’s like, the first-round guys, you expect them to do that. You didn’t expect Russell to come in and do what he’s done.”
But this stumping for Wilson and Wagner transcends VMAC. In his weekly rookie rankings at ESPN.com, Matt Williamson has elevated Wilson into the top spot (up from No. 3 last week) and lists Wagner at No. 10 – and as the third defensive player behind Packers cornerback Casey Hayward (No. 6) and Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (No. 9).
Williamson on Wilson: “Led by Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and an extremely talented and opportunistic defense, the Seahawks are simply on fire right now. Wilson’s Seahawks have amazingly scored 108 points over the past two weeks, after dismantling the Bills in Toronto. Wilson was his usual efficient self throwing the ball, but he also ran for 92 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries. Wilson must be strongly considered for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors – and he is now quarterbacking the best team of any of this year’s rookie signal-callers.”
Williamson on Wagner: “Wagner has been on and off the Top 10 all season, and he is an excellent candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year. What Seattle’s defense has done of late is nothing short of remarkable, and Wagner is a key component to that great success. Against Buffalo, Wagner had 12 tackles, 10 of them solo. He is an exceptionally productive every-down linebacker on one of the elite defenses in the NFL.”
The fans balloting for the Pro Bowl concluded on Monday, and the Seahawks players and coaches cast their votes today. Each segment counts one-third toward selecting the NFC squad for the NFL all-star game on Jan. 27 in Honolulu.
After the fan voting, Marshawn Lynch is second among the NFC running backs (534,073 votes) to the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson (828,225). Richard Sherman is third among the cornerbacks (169,404) to the Bears’ duo of Tim Jennings (312,595) and Charles Tillman (221,364). Leon Washington is third among the kick returners (68,151) behind the Packers’ Randall Cobb (131,626) and Bears’ Devin Hester (102,688).
Kam Chancellor is fourth among the strong safeties (83,310). Jon Ryan is fourth (81,208) among the punters. Max Unger is fifth (116,135) among the centers. Chris Clemons is fifth (159,088) among the defensive ends. Earl Thomas is fifth among the free safeties (63,585).
Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the top vote-getter in fan balloting with 993,045.
The NFC and AFC squads will be announced next Wednesday on the NFL Network.
LYNCH, OKUNG HONORED
Lynch and left tackle Russell Okung have been selected by their teammates as the Seahawks’ NFLPA Pulse Award winners.
The NFL Players Association recognizes players each year for their community service. From the field of team winners, five finalists will be selected and from that group will come the recipient of the Byron Whizzer White Award – the highest honor the NFLPA can bestow on a player. The White Award winner will be announced during a press conference at the Super Bowl in New Orleans.
Also among the team winners are four former Seahawks: Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (Titans), wide receiver Nate Burleson (Lions), defensive lineman Cory Redding (Colts) and linebacker Aaron Curry (Raiders).
JONES OUT, FANGUPO UP, WALTERS IN
With defensive lineman Jason Jones being placed on injured reserve earlier today, it opened a spot on the 53-man roster for practice-squad lineman Hebron Fangupo, which opened a spot on the practice squad for wide receiver Bryan Walters.
“He’s really strong inside,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said of the 6-foot-1, 293-pound Fangupo. “It will be exciting to see, if he has a chance to play.”
Walters, who went to Juanita High School in Kirkland, played in four games for the Chargers last year and was with the Vikings in training camp this summer before being released.
“It’s pretty fun to be able to just be a part of the team you grew up watching and rooting for,” Walters said. “Even when I was on other teams, I was looking at the scoreboard to see the Seahawks’ score.”
The official report, as released by team:
Did not practice
WR Sidney Rice (foot)
CB Richard Sherman (not injury related)
CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)
CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)
Limited in practice
S Jeron Johnson (groin)
RB Robert Turbin (illness)
DT Alan Branch (ankle)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
RB Leon Washington (illness)
With Trufant and Thurmond still out and Sherman excused from practice, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell worked at the corners with the No. 1 defense and Ron Parker joined them as the third corner in the nickel.
Branch and Washington returned after not practicing on Wednesday, while Lynch took part in all phases of practice after being limited on Wednesday.
For the 49ers:
Did not practice
LB Clark Haggans (shoulder)
DT Justin Smith (elbow)
Limited in practice
LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder)
CB Tarell Brown (shoulder)
LB Tavares Gooden (ribs)
WR Mario Manningham (shoulder)
RB Bruce Miller (shoulder)
LB Aldon Smith (shoulder)
DT Will Tukuafu (concussion)
K David Akers (pelvis)
OG Alex Boone (knee)
LB NaVorro Bowman (shoulder)
S Dashon Goldson (foot)
RB Frank Gore (wrist)
OG Mike Iupati (shoulder)
CB Carlos Rogers (knee)
LB Patrick Willis (shoulder)
Justin Smith did not practice for the second consecutive day because of the elbow he injured in Sunday night’s win over the Patriots in New England.
STAT DU JOUR
Among Wilson’s mounting accomplishments has been his impressive performance in the red zone. The Seahawks’ rookie QB has the NFC’s fifth-best passer rating inside the oppositions’ 20-yard line. Here’s a look at his numbers, and those who rank ahead of him:
Player, team Att. Comp. Pct. Yds. TD Int. Rating
Aaron Rodgers, Packers 52 33 63.5 216 18 0 111.9
Drew Brees, Saints 81 50 61.7 359 25 0 111.6
Jay Cutler, Bears 39 22 56.4 160 10 0 105.8
Robert Griffin III, Redskins 38 23 60.5 100 9 0 104.6
Russell Wilson, Seahawks 51 27 52.9 198 13 0 102.0
“Turnover Thursday” gives way to “No Repeat Friday” as the players will hold their final full practice before Sunday night’s game. And don’t forget, the kickoff against the 49ers is 5:20 p.m., not the originally scheduled 1:25 p.m., after the game was flexed into the primetime spot on NBC.
YOU DON’T SAY, LOCAL EDITION
“It’s going to be a blast. And we know it’s going to be a battle all the way to the very end of the game. We’re excited about that opportunity.” – Wilson on Sunday night’s game
YOU DON’T SAY, NATIONAL EDITION
“The Seahawks are playing fast-break football in December, and they don’t seem to know they’re not supposed to be hanging a Hawaii 5-0 on opponents. But this week is the ultimate test. If Seattle can put up a stupid number against the 49ers’ stout defense (kind of the way the Patriots did in the second half), then a case of legitimate Super Bowl fever may break out in the Pacific Northwest.” – Don Banks in listing the Seahawks at No. 7 in his weekly NFL power rankings at SI.com
Defensive lineman Jason Jones was placed on injured reserve today, ending his first season with the Seahawks.
To fill Jones’ spot on the 53-man roster, Hebron Fangupo was signed off the practice squad. To fill Fangupo’s spot on the practice squad, wide receiver Bryan Walters, who attended Juanita High School in Kirkland, was signed.
Jones, who signed with the Seahawks in free agency, had three sacks among his 11 tackles. He also tipped four passes, recovered a fumble and had three other QB hits. But his impact on the team’s improved pass rush went beyond statistics.
As coach Pete Carroll put it, “We’re just not the same without Jason in there.”
Jones missed two games at midseason because of a sprained ankle. But it was a knee injury that ended his season.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 14.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that stopping the Dallas Cowboys blitzes will be key this Sunday, and the Seahawks know they have to give quarterback Russell Wilson better protection, “But rookie quarterback Russell Wilson is also going to be looking for opportunities, because the likelihood of steady Dallas blitzes will create some chances. ‘They bring different types of pressure just like Arizona did,’ Wilson said. ‘We just have to be prepared for it, and when we have that opportunity to block it up, there’s a lot of green grass behind it so we have to capitalize on it.’ ”
O’Neil also says that according to an appearance by head coach Pete Carroll on 97.3 KIRO FM yesterday, wide receiver Sidney Rice is expected to practice today after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune believes that the Seahawks could be in for a repeat of last week in terms of the amount of pass rush that the Cowboys will bring, “The twin brother of New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan is in his second season with Dallas. And similar to Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Ryan doesn’t mind dialing up a blitz or two. ‘These guys are out to come after you,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said about the Dallas defense. ‘The Ryan family is pretty famous for blitzing, so we’re not going to be surprised if that happens.’ ”
Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s Seahawks-Cowboys matchup, “While the defense and a raucous home crowd should give a reasonable chance to avoid an 0-2 start, the offense will have to produce more than the 254 total yards it did a week ago and execute better within the red zone — where Seattle scored just one touchdown in four trips against Arizona — to make that scenario a possibility.”
Alejandro Dominguez of the Everett Herald introduces us to Seahawks fan Colleen Storm, who was visited by a pair of Sea Gals in her room at the Marysville Care Center.
Liz Matthews of mynorthwest.com catches up with wide receiver Golden Tate, who hopes to add a spark to the Seahawks offense this Sunday after missing the regular season opener with a knee injury, “Tate was unavailable against Arizona, still recovering from a knee injury sustained in the preseason. He didn’t travel with the team and watched the game from home. ‘It was painful just because I’m around these guys every single day,’ he said. ‘I’m with these guys, whether it’s hanging out at home or even here. Just to see those guys take the field and play without me it, it hurt me personally. I could not wait to get back and motivate me and just to rehab so much harder to get back.’ ”
Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has his notes from Thursday’s practice session, “Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley told us following practice the Seahawks have great respect for Dallas running back DeMarco Murray, who stung Seattle’s defense last year. ‘They create some leverage issues for us and force to get those things corrected,’ he said. Bradley is also concerned about quarterback Tony Romo’s ability to keep pass plays alive with his footwork. ‘We saw a play against Pittsburgh where he got hit, spun around, and threw the ball with his left hand,’ Bradley said. ‘Our guys have to keep him in the pocket, don’t let him get out and make plays on the run.’ ”
Jim Moore of mynorthwest.com predicts a 24-17 Seahawks victory over the Cowboys on Sunday, expecting improvement in Wilson’s second start, “My biggest concern revolves around the pass-rushing Ware, who could have his way with second-string left tackle Frank Omiyale if Russell Okung doesn’t play. Other than that, I feel like Wilson will play better this week at home than he did on the road. Why? Do I have some sort of football sabermetrics I can reference as rationale? Heck no, I don’t have any of that stuff. I’ve got a gut feeling that he’ll play better at home in his second start. Defensively, the Seahawks will be super-charged by the 12th Man, offsetting the many advantages Dallas has on offense. Frankly, Romo scares the hell out of me – he’s one of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL as far as I’m concerned, but he’ll be inconsistent at the deafening Clink.”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his notes from Thursday, including thoughts on Wilson, “QB Russell Wilson was calm and collected as he took to the field with the Seahawks trailing by four in the closing minutes. The moment wasn’t too big for him as his preparation and past experiences from his time in college at Wisconsin and North Carolina State let him know what to expect. Wilson led the Seahawks on an exhaustive 18-play drive to give Seattle a chance to win in the rookie’s debut as an NFL starter. However, a pass sailed through the hands of WR Braylon Edwards on fourth-down as the Seahawks lost 20-16 to the Arizona Cardinals in the season opener…Wilson has already shifted his focus to the next game and the Dallas Cowboys, who come to Seattle for the Seahawks’ home opener on Sunday. ‘I’m past that now, that was the first game, now it’s on to the next one and staying focus on what we can do to win the game. I think that’s got to be our focus,’ Wilson said.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com says that John Moffitt’s return to right guard should help the communication along the offensive line, “Moffitt isn’t exactly an ocean of experience himself, starting as rookie a year ago but lasting only nine games until a knee injury cost him the rest of the season. Then he had a minor elbow operation that kept him out of most of preseason. But he knows more the Sweezy, and everyone in Renton knows the Cowboys are better than the Cardinals.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com points to an area of concern for the Seahawks – the health of wide receiver Sidney Rice and left tackle Russell Okung, “One game into the season, Rice and Okung are not right. A knee injury kept Rice from practicing Wednesday and Thursday. Okung practiced Thursday on a limited basis after a bruised knee suffered in the opener kept him out Wednesday. How the Seahawks list both players Friday — probable, questionable, doubtful or out — will be of interest.”
Here at Seahawks.com we bring you Russell Wilson’s full press conference and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s full press conference from yesterday, Tony Ventrella rehashes Thursday’s storylines in his Seahawks Daily, and Clare Farnsworth talks with newly signed practice squad player Hebron Fangupo, and also details Wilson’s approach to Sunday’s home-opener with the Cowboys.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 13:
Hebron Fangupo. The massive Mormon has followed the path less traveled to the Seahawks’ practice squad.
While his college career took Fangupo from Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) Junior College, to USC for two years, to BYU for his final season in 2011, the 6-foot, 319-pound defensive tackle took a different road long before that. Born in Orange County, Calif., he moved to Tonga when he was still an infant and spent much of his childhood there.
“I loved it, growing up in the islands,” he said of a childhood filled with sun and sand.
Fangupo eventually returned to the mainland, but did not start playing football until his sophomore year at Century (Calif.) High School. Then he took his two-year Mormon mission to the Philippines. That’s why he’s a 27-year-old rookie free agent.
As for his move from USC to BYU, he offered, “It was the safest thing for my family to move out of L.A.”
Then there’s his first name. The Tongan version is Hepeloni, a Biblical site in Jerusalem where the prophet Abraham was buried. That led to the nickname Loni, so why Hebron?
“My boss/wife prefers Hebron,” he said.
Fangupo, who had been with the Texans, was signed on Tuesday. In the first two practices with his new team, he has been a two-fer addition – playing nose tackle on defense and center on offense.
“Whatever they need me to do, I’ve got to do,” he said. “Just trying to feed my baby and wife.”
DeMarco Murray. After he ran for 139 yards against the Seahawks last season, coach Pete Carroll said the Cowboys’ rookie back surprised his defense. But don’t count defensive end Red Bryant among those who was caught off-guard by Murray’s combination of speed, power and ability to make tacklers miss.
“He didn’t surprise me, because I played against him when he was at Oklahoma,” Bryant said today, when the Seahawks continued to prepare for Sunday’s rematch with Murray and the Cowboys in their home opener. “So I knew what type of runner he was and what he brought to the table.”
Bryant, who played at Texas A&M, said the inability of a defense that entered that game allowing averages of 77.7 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry to contain Murray (6.3 yards per carry) was more about how the Cowboys blocked for him.
“They attacked us on the edges, so they had a real good scheme against us,” Bryant said. “It gave us a little bit of trouble.”
Now, no one is surprised by what Murray is able to do. In the Cowboys’ opener against the Giants, he rushed for a NFC-high 131 yards while averaging 6.6 yards per carry.
“We definitely know he’s a tough runner and we have to get his cleats off the ground,” Bryant said. “We’re looking forward to this opportunity. It’s a great opportunity for our defense.”
The official report, as released by the team:
WR Charly Martin (chest)
Did not practice
WR Sidney Rice (knee)
TE Zach Miller (foot)
Limited in practice
OT Russell Okung (knee)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
WR Golden Tate (knee)
DE Greg Scruggs (hamstring)
CB Byron Maxwell (shoulder)
Okung got his first work of the week after bruising his left knee on the final drive of Sunday’s opener against the Cardinals, but it was limited to individual drills and Frank Omiyale continued to work at left tackle. With Miller going from limited work on Wednesday to no work today, recently signed tight end Evan Moore got even more reps with the No. 1 offense. With Rice still sidelined, Ben Obomanu filled in at flanker.
For the Cowboys:
Did not practice
C Phil Costa (back)
S Matt Johnson (hamstring)
NT Jay Ratliff (ankle)
LB DeMarcus Ware (hamstring)
WR Miles Austin (hamstring)
WR Andre Holmes (knee)
CB Mike Jenkins (shoulder)
RB Felix Jones (ribs)
S Danny McCray (neck)
RB DeMarco Murray (wrist)
LB Kyle Wilber (thumb)
TE Jason Witten (abdomen)
S Gerald Sensabaugh (concussion)
PRACTICE SQUAD ROULETTE
The addition of Fangupo is just one move the club has made in turning over half its eight-man practice squad in the past three days.
Today, linebacker Allen Bradford was re-signed and tackle Mike Person also was added. Bradford was with the team during training camp, released on the roster cut to 53 players, signed to the practice squad the next day and then released Sept. 6. Person (6-4, 299) was a seventh-round pick out of Montana State by the 49ers in April’s NFL Draft. He also was released on the final roster cut.
To clear spots for Bradford and Person, linebacker and fifth-round draft choice Korey Toomer and rookie free-agent guard Rishaw Johnson were released.
Tuesday, former University of Washington wide receiver Jermaine Kearse also was re-signed. He had been released on the cut to 53, signed to practice squad two days later and released Sept. 8.
The players will have a midday practice on Friday, their final full session before Sunday’s home opener.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I can’t wait for the 12th Man. I know it’s going to be a wild atmosphere. I know there is going to be enthusiasm in the stadium. That is going to help us for sure, and I’m so fired up to get out there again and play at CenturyLink.” – rookie QB Russell Wilson on playing his first regular-season home game
Jermaine Kearse was re-signed to the practice squad today; just four days after the former University of Washington wide receiver had been released.
Also added to the eight-man practice squad was defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo, a 6-foot, 319-pound rookie free agent who had been with the Texans. The 27-year-old Mormon served a two-year mission in the Philippines after high school and then attended Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) Junior College and USC before transferring to BYU for his final season in 2011.
Tackle Tommie Draheim and tight end Gabe Miller were released to clear spots for Kearse and Fangupo.