The dominating performance of the Seahawks’ offensive line in Sunday’s victory over the Bills caught the Hall of Fame eye of John Madden, who has selected the unit for his weekly “Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award.”
“Seattle has done a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis,” Madden, who coached the Raiders before becoming an iconic broadcast analyst for NFL games, said in the release announcing the selection.
Left tackle Russell Okung, left guard John Moffitt, center Max Unger, right guard Paul McQuistan and right tackle Breno Giacomini paved the way for the Seahawks to score on their first five possessions – including three rushing touchdowns by quarterback Russell Wilson – in the 50-17 rout of the Bills at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Marshawn Lynch added a fourth rushing touchdown in the third quarter as the Seahawks ran for 270 yards – including 55 in the fourth quarter, when backup linemen Frank Omiyale, J.R. Sweezy and Lemuel Jeanpierre were on the field.
The Seahawks’ line, which is coached by Tom Cable, is now in the running for the fourth annual yearly award that recognizes what Madden calls “the backbone of every NFL team.”
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 13:
The rookie class. We’ve written a lot about the rookies, and for good reason. They’ve done so much to help the team already win more games this season (eight) than the Seahawks won in their first two seasons (seven) under coach Pete Carroll.
What’s news is how quickly the rookies realized they could be special.
“I knew that as soon as I got here for rookie minicamp,” rookie QB Russell Wilson said today of the first time the rookies gathered in May. “I had a great, great feeling about it. The passion and energy we brought to the practice every day. You wanted to see if that was going to continue into the summer and into the season.
“Everybody talks about that rookie wall. Well, we haven’t hit it. I really don’t believe we’ve hit it. We’re not even close and we’re ready to go.”
And the Seahawks can go to the postseason in the rookies’ first season, if they continue to take care of business one game at a time – starting with Sunday’s game against the Bills in Toronto.
While Wilson, a third-round draft choice, already has done things no other rookie QB in the history of the league has, first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin leads all rookies this season with eight sacks; second-round pick and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the team with 108 tackles; fourth-round pick Robert Turbin had his first 100-yard rushing effort in last week’s game against the Cardinals; and cornerback Jeremy Lane (sixth round), guard J.R. Sweezy (seventh round), defensive lineman Greg Scruggs (seventh round) and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (free agents) also played a lot, and made plays, against the Cardinals.
“That’s the great thing about it, our energy and our passion for the game and for this franchise is very, very high,” Wilson said. “So we want to do our best to represent very, very well.”
That opinion on the rapid, and continuing, impact of the rookies is not a one-man band.
“Probably the first day of OTAs,” Wagner said when asked when he realized these rookies could be something special. “I saw Russell flinging the ball, and Bruce rushing the passer, and just everything we were doing.”
Richard Sherman. This time, the view comes from a teammate – Wilson, who was with the free-spirited second-year cornerback when a group of players visited Seattle Children’s Hospital on Tuesday.
“Richard is a tremendous guy,” Wilson said. “He’s very, very intelligent. You can see that. He has this love for football, just like I do. He may express it in a little different way, but that’s not a bad thing. That’s his personality in terms of competing. He brings that fire to his teammates. He brings that compassion and fire to himself. That’s how he motivates himself. That’s great.
“It’s the National Football League, he’s just having fun.”
The off-field view of Sherman isn’t that much different.
“I think the biggest thing is, when we’re in Children’s Hospital and stuff like that, you can see his love for people and just how he likes to talk to kids,” Wilson said. “And that’s great. To be around a guy like Richard Sherman who, for sure in my opinion, is a Pro Bowl-type player, to see him be around young kids is pretty awesome.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
DE Red Bryant (foot)
SS Kam Chancellor (groin)
WR Sidney Rice (foot)
CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)
CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)
Limited in practice
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
WR Charly Martin (calf)
With Thurmond sitting out after injuring a hamstring in practice on Wednesday, Byron Maxwell and Lane split the reps at right cornerback. Bryant and Chancellor sat out for the second day and were replaced by Jason Jones and Jeron Johnson. Rice was out of the walking boot he was wearing on Wednesday.
For the Bills:
Did not practice
LB Nick Barnett (knee)
RB Fred Jackson (knee)
C Eric Wood (knee)
Limited in practice
S Jairus Byrd (shin)
DE Marcell Dareus (shoulder)
DT Spencer Johnson (knee)
CB Leodis McKelvin (groin)
DT Kyle Williams (ankle)
DE Mark Anderson (knee)
CB Ron Brooks (hip)
TE Scott Chandler (groin)
OG Andy Levitre (knee)
CB Justin Rogers (foot)
TE Lee Smith (knee)
OG Kraig Urbik (knee)
LB Chris White (thumb)
WR Donald Jones (calf)
S Da’Norris Searcy (hand)
RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder)
CB Aaron Williams (knee)
DE Mario Williams (wrist)
TAKE THE PLEDGE TO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE
It’s OK to text. It’s OK to drive. It’s just not OK to do both at the same time. Just ask Wilson, who is partnering with Verizon to reward the high school that gets the most pledges from students to not text and drive.
“I have an awesome partnership with Verizon Wireless, it’s ‘Save it Seattle,’ ” Wilson said. “Basically, we’re trying to get as many pledges as we can from all the high schools and all the high schoolers to not text and drive.
“I’ve texted and driven before, and you don’t want to do that. I’ve made that pledge myself.”
The school that gets the most pledges by next Wednesday will get a visit from Wilson.
STAT DU JOUR
With three games left in the regular season, the Seahawks’ postseason opportunities run the gambit from claiming the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs to not even making playoffs. How’s that for disparity in a league that loves parity?
How can the Seahawks leapfrog from the top wild-card spot, which they currently hold, to the No. 1 seed? It starts with the Seahawks beating the Bills, 49ers and Rams to finish with 11 wins. It also would entail the top-seeded Falcons (11-2) losing their three remaining games; the 49ers (9-3-1) losing two of their remaining three; the Packers (9-4) finishing with no more than 11 wins, because the Seahawks hold the tiebreaker with their Week 3 victory over Green Bay; and the Giants (8-5) losing another game.
How can the Seahawks leapfrog the 49ers to win the NFC West? This dare-to-dream scenario is more intriguing, and also closer to reality. If the Seahawks beat the Bills and the 49ers lose to the Patriots (10-3) in Foxboro on Sunday night, the Seahawks could move into first place with a win over the 49ers next Sunday night at CenturyLink Field – and then clinch with a win over the Rams at CenturyLink on the 30th.
What’s the fallback scenario? The Seahawks win two of their final three to earn a wild-card spot with 10 wins.
What’s that last option? We don’t want to find out.
The team will fly to Toronto on Friday afternoon following a midday practice, and then hold its Saturday walkthrough in the Canadian city.
YOU DON’T SAY
“You’ve always talked about how coach Carroll was such a great inspiration to you, can you elaborate on that?” – Carroll, sticking his head into Wilson’s weekly Q&A session to ask a mock question, and make Wilson laugh
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 7:
Getting healthier. The Seahawks’ defense got two XXXL pieces of good news today when end Red Bryant and strong safety Kam Chancellor returned to practice after sitting out on Thursday.
Bryant did not practice on Wednesday, either, to rest his sore right foot. He is listed as probable for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field.
“It looks like he’s in good shape to go,” coach Pete Carroll said after the team practiced outside for second time this week.
Chancellor has a groin injury, but he’s also listed as probable.
“We gave him a day off yesterday,” Carroll said. “But he was out there in limited fashion, so he’s probable to play as well.”
WEATHERING THE ELEMENTS
It was cold, breezy and raining during practice, which made for the perfect warm-up for Sunday’s game – when the forecast is calling for temperatures in the 40s and a 50-percent chance of rain. It was even colder and windier, and rained more, during Wednesday’s practice.
“We don’t know what we’re going to get on game day and we had a good day of work yesterday inside, so we got a little bit of the elements out there,” Carroll said. “It was good. It worked out fine.”
Right guard. Rookie J.R. Sweezy and John Moffitt both worked at the spot with the No. 1 offensive line today and each is ready to play against the Cardinals.
“J.R. practiced with the (No. 1 line) quite a bit this week to make sure he’s prepared,” Carroll said. “He and John will play the spot. We’re in good shape there.”
The right guard spot is open because Paul McQuistan has moved back to the left side to replace James Carpenter, who was played on injured reserve this week because of soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.
The Cardinals’ defense. Asked after practice what concerned him more – a few players or the scheme – Carroll opted for both.
“Darnell Dockett is really, really a big-time football player,” he said. “Patrick Peterson is as exceptional an athlete as you can get. Adrian Wilson. Those guys are great football players that make things happen and they make game-changing plays.”
And what defensive coordinator Ray Horton is doing with the Pro Bowl end (Dockett), cornerback (Peterson) and Pro Bowl safety (Wilson) allows them to be even more effective. The Cardinals are plus-7 in turnover differential because they have 27 takeaways, including 18 interceptions. They lead the NFC and are third in the league in red-zone defense. They rank No. 7 in total defense.
“The scheme that they have lets those guys get active and get involved,” Carroll said. “The linebacking crew is really fast and aggressive and you’ll see them blitz all day long. It’s a very tough scheme. Their numbers show it.”
The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:
CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)
LB Leroy Hill (ankle)
DE Red Bryant (foot)
SS Kam Chancellor (groin)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
WR Sidney Rice (head)
C Max Unger (hip)
Trufant was ruled out today because of the pulled hamstring that also forced him to sit out last week’s game against the Bears in Chicago. Walter Thurmond replaced Trufant as the nickel back against the Bears, but he will move to right cornerback this week to replace Brandon Browner, who was suspended four games by the NFL on Wednesday for violating the league policy on performance enhancing substances. Rookie Jeremy Lane will be the nickel back against the Cardinals.
Hill practiced on a limited basis, and Carroll said his status will be a game-day decision. He did not play against the Bears and was replaced by Malcolm Smith.
For the Cardinals:
DE Ronald Talley (ankle)
DE Calais Campbell (calf)
QB Kevin Kolb (ribs)
WR Andre Roberts (knee)
RB Chris Wells (knee)
CB Justin Bethel (shoulder)
WR Early Doucet (ribs)
LS Mike Leach (back)
LB Paris Lenon (shoulder)
S Kerry Rhodes (quadriceps)
CB Greg Toler (knee)
LB Reggie Walker (knee)
Talley did not practice today, while Campbell, Kolb, Roberts and Wells were limited.
STAT DU JOUR, PLAYER EDITION
Against the Bears, rookie QB Russell Wilson ran for 71 yards, the most by a quarterback in franchise history. The effort also left him 45 yards behind Rick Mirer for the most rushing yards in a season by a QB. Here’s a look at where Wilson ranks in both categories:
Player (year) Att. Yards Avg.
Russell Wilson (2012) 9 71 7.9
Jim Zorn (1978) 6 63 10.5
Matt Hasselbeck (2002) 6 62 10.3
Player (year) Att. Yards Avg. TD
Rick Mirer (1993) 68 343 5.0 3
Russell Wilson (2012) 66 298 4.5 0
Jim Zorn (1978) 59 290 4.9 6
STAT DU JOUR, TEAM EDITION
The Seahawks have traveled an erratic path to reach their 7-5 record. The seven teams that have beaten have a combined record of 45-39. The five teams they have lost to are a combined 26-32-2. Here’s a look at the records of those teams:
The players will have a walkthrough on Saturday morning, their final on-field session before Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.
The Seahawks are holding their annual Toys for Tots drive at Sunday’s game and asking fans to donate new, unwrapped toys that will be distributed to children for Christmas as part of the nationwide event sponsored by the Marine Corps.
YOU DON’T SAY
“We take them as very, very dangerous. Think about how hungry that football team is to get a win. They’ll do whatever it takes and they have a lot of big-time players that can change games for them. So we respect the heck out of this team.” – Carroll on the Cardinals, who have lost their past eight games
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 4:
Ignore the noise. That’s how Russell Wilson always has dealt with the criticism and praise that comes with playing the quarterback position, and it’s serving him well this week because of the external backlash created by his three-interception performance in Sunday’s six-point loss to the Rams in St. Louis.
“I ignore the noise, man,” Wilson said today, when the team continued to prepare for this week’s game against the Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. “No matter how good I’m doing or how bad I’m doing. I learned that lesson a long time ago. I try to stay away from it as much as I can, just to stay humble during the good times and stay humble during the bad times and realize that it’s a humbling game no matter how good or how bad you’re doing.
“So you always have to stay focused on what you’re doing and just keep learning from your mistakes and keep going.”
This week, Wilson’s focus is on improving the passing game, in general, and the Seahawks’ performances on third down and in the red zone, specifically. The passing game ranks last in the NFL, averaging 130.8 yards per game. The Seahawks also are converting 28 percent on third downs (14 of 50) and have scored three touchdowns in 11 trips into the red zone.
Wilson’s background as a baseball player has helped him in being able to ignore the noise during the early struggles for the offense.
“In baseball, when you go 3 for 10 and you’re a Hall of Famer,” he said. “In football, that’s no good. So I think the main thing is just having amnesia, like I always say. Just remain humble during the good times and remain humble during the bad times, and just keep fighting and keep working to be great.
“Don’t ever let that change. And that’s one thing I’ll never do. I’ll never let my desire to be great ever waver.”
Sunday’s game is a homecoming of sorts for Wilson. He played at North Carolina State for three seasons and grew up in Richmond, Va., which is a five-hour drive from Charlotte. He is expecting 50 family members and friends to be at the game.
“I’m looking forward to going back there to North Carolina and playing in a big game,” Wilson said. “My focus is: How can we win? How can we play at a high level and do what we need to do?”
And continue to ignore the noise.
Jon Beason. Fullback Michael Robinson built his Pro Bowl season last year with a season-long string of strong performances against some of the best middle linebackers in the game: the Ravens’ Ray Lewis, 49ers’ Patrick Willis (twice), Bears’ Brian Urlacher and Redskins’ London Fletcher. In those five games, Marshawn Lynch ran for 402 of his 1,204 yards and scored four of his 12 rushing touchdowns – with Robinson leading the way with a series of impressive lead blocks.
Now comes Beason, the Panthers’ middle linebacker who was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
“Beason is a really, really good player,” Robinson said. “He’s explosive at the point of attack. He definitely is a player you’ve got to keep your eyes on the entire game. He’s very, very fast and he runs sideline to sideline. And again, he’s very explosive at the point of attack.”
Robinson then cracked the slightest of smiles before adding, “He’s a guy that I look forward to dealing with.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
OG John Moffitt (knee)
Did not practice
CB Marcus Trufant (back)
DT Brandon Mebane (calf)
DE Jaye Howard (foot)
RB Marshawn Lynch (rest)
Trufant did some running and agility work on a side field during practice and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said, “Hopefully Tru is ready to go.” If he isn’t, recently signed Danny Gorrer has been getting a lot of work as the nickel back this week. “His experience of playing the position before has helped,” Bradley said. “Now he’s just learning how we term things. … But you can see he has some of the skillset – the speed and the quickness – that we’re looking for.”
Mebane was given the day off to rest a sore calf, so Clinton McDonald work at nose tackle with the No. 1 defense. Lynch participating in all drills after the NFL’s leading rusher was limited on Wednesday.
For the Panthers:
Did not practice
LB Jon Beason (knee)
CB Chris Gamble (shoulder)
OG/C Geoff Hangartner (knee)
S Colin Jones (shoulder)
OG/C Mike Pollak (shoulder)
DE Antwan Applewhite (knee)
DE Frank Alexander (back)
Beason and Gamble did not practice for the second consecutive day. Beason leads the Panthers in tackles (38), while Gamble is their best cover corner.
STAT DU JOUR
The Seahawks have used eight starting offensive linemen in four games, which ties for the most in the NFL with the Jaguars (thanks to ESPN.com’s Mike Sando for this nugget) — Russell Okung, Frank Omiyale, Paul McQuistan, James Carpenter, Max Unger, J.R. Sweezy, John Moffitt and Breno Giacomini. Here’s a look at the combination the Seahawks have used to reach that number:
Opponent LT LG C RG RT
Cardinals Okung McQuistan Unger Sweezy Giacomini
Cowboys Omiyale McQuistan Unger Moffitt Giacomini
Packers Okung McQuistan Unger Moffitt Giacomini
Cardinals Okung Carpenter Unger McQuistan Giacomini
One long day, as the team will fly to Charlotte on Friday after the players have a midday practice. They will hold their Saturday walkthrough in Charlotte.
YOU DON’T SAY
“All 11.” – Bradley, laughing, when asked how to attack Panthers QB Cam Newton
ST. LOUIS – Greetings from the Edward Jones Dome, where the Seahawks will be looking to start 3-1 for the first time since 2007 when they meet the Rams today.
This also is a chance for the Seahawks to pick up their first road win, after they fell to the Cardinals in Arizona in their season opener. But this also is a place where wins have been tough to come by for the Seahawks, even though they’re 6-1 here since 2005. Those six victories have come by six, two, five, three, 10 and 17 points.
There are key elements to consider if the Seahawks are to emerge with another victory today, but first let’s give some overdue credit to Paul McQuistan. With John Moffitt not expected to play today, McQuistan will slide to right guard – with James Carpenter making his 2012 debut at left guard, where McQuistan started the first three games.
But Carpenter cannot be expected to play the entire game, so rookie J.R. Sweezy should get some time, as well. He started the season opener at right guard. If he plays on the right side today, McQuistan will move back to the left here.
Here, there, wherever. McQuistan was become a valuable commodity for the Seahawks since being signed to a future contract in January of 2011. Last season, he started at left guard (three), right guard (three) and left tackle (four).
“Paul is ready to go on both sides,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice on Friday. “We’ve given Carp all of the work (at left guard) to get him ready, but Paul has worked all of the drills to go back and jump in that spot if John Moffitt is not ready.”
Talk about the more things you can do.
“Paul really can play both tackle spots and both guard spots,” Carroll said. “It’s a great bonus for us knowing that. He’s just been a real flexible guy. A lot of guys get tied up going from one side to another. It hasn’t happened for him.”
It helps that McQuistan played for line coach Tom Cable when both were with the Raiders. That was in 2007, the last time McQuistan started a game in the NFL before joining the Seahawks – and rejoining Cable.
“His experience and time with Tom Cable before has helped,” Carroll said. “So he’s a valuable guy for us in that regard.”
In regards to today’s game, the Seahawks need to:
Move forward – The fallout from events of Monday night lingered deep into the week, because of the way the Seahawks’ 14-12 victory over the Packers ended. The players have to leave that in the past, because a loss today will offset that win. The Seahawks are 5-12 on the road under Carroll, and they need get win No. 6 today to start this stretch where they’ll play four of their next five games on the road.
Pop the “lid” on the passing game – Carroll admits that the Seahawks’ 32nd-ranked passing game is rooted in him having “a lid” on things because the offense is still developing under rookie QB Russell Wilson. The Rams play aggressively on defense, so Wilson needs to hit some quick passes early to back them off a bit, and open things up for Marshawn Lynch.
No team in the league has thrown fewer passes than the Seahawks (75), while only one back has more carries that Lynch (72). The Seahawks also are the only team in the league that averages more yards rushing (141.3) than passing (127.7).
“You can play Lynch and stuff him for 10 straight plays, and he’s running just as hard on play 11,” James Laurinaitis, the Rams’ middle linebacker and leading tackler, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He trusts his ability that much. He’s that kind of player.”
Play defense as well on third downs as they do on first and second downs – The Seahawks are ranked No. 4 in the league in average yards allowed and No. 1 in average points allowed. But on third downs, they’re allowing opponents to convert 44.7 percent of those pivotal situations. Only nine teams in the league are allowing a higher percentage of conversions on third downs.
Enjoy the game, with kickoff set for 10 a.m. PDT. Televised coverage is available on Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area) and radio coverage on 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM.
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.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 13.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his report from Wednesday’s practice and coach Pete Carroll’s press conference, “Guard John Moffitt is expected to start at right guard Sunday against Dallas after he was inactive for last week’s game recovering from elbow surgery. Rookie J.R. Sweezy started Week 1 at that spot. ‘The fact that John has a chance to come back, he’s ready to play again,’ Carroll said. ‘John was starting before he got hurt, and so we’ll see how this goes, and we feel like we have two guys that can play. Sweezy has done a remarkable job to get this far.’ He has indeed, considering he’s not only in his first year, but is transitioning to offensive line after playing defensive tackle in college. In Sunday’s season opener, Sweezy found himself not so much overmatched physically, but a overwhelmed with the real-time decisions as Arizona sent more than four pass rushers on more than half of Seattle’s offensive plays.”
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times has a look at Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who the Seahawks will see this Sunday at CenturyLink Field, “…many Cowboys fans still tend to focus on the fourth-quarter gaffes and playoff disappointments that have occasionally marked Romo’s tenure in Dallas. So far, Romo has just one playoff win, and fully recognizes that — like LeBron James, to whom he is sometimes compared — until he leads the Cowboys to a title, the criticism won’t stop. And Romo says he embraces that point of view. ‘I don’t think I get an undue amount (of criticism),’ Romo said in a conference call Wednesday. ‘Every quarterback in the league is judged by winning and losing. That’s the way it should be. Our job is to help our football teams win, and eventually win a Super Bowl for the team we’re playing for. I think that’s warranted.’ “
With the news that John Moffitt is expected to start at right guard this Sunday against the Cowboys, Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune details the Seahawks shuffling of their offensive line, “Moffitt, Seattle’s third-round selection last year, started nine games at right guard as a rookie but finished 2011 on the injured reserve with two ligament tears in his left knee. Moffitt was healthy in time for training camp but missed most of the exhibition season because of an elbow injury that required surgery. It forced offensive line coach Tom Cable to get Sweezy ready sooner than expected. Although Moffitt played in Seattle’s final exhibition game against Oakland, he was inactive for the season opener at Arizona. ‘We didn’t have any choice when you look at it,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said about Sweezy. ‘I thought he was just outstanding. He did everything beyond our expectations, and we just kept hoping that he would be able to be settled and comfortable in the first game. It wasn’t quite that, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t tough or physical or any of that. There was a lot happening, and he just needs more time.’ “
Williams and Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, team up for their Seahawks Insider podcast for Week 2.
Williams also recaps a media session with Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who met with reporters after Wednesday’s practice, “I asked Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell how he felt rookie quarterback Russell Wilson handled Arizona’s intense pass rush on Sunday in his first NFL game. And as you would expect, Bevell said Wilson had an uneven performance. ‘I think he did a nice job at times,’ Bevell said. ‘And I there were a couple times we said that there are times you need to sit there – where he still had good protection and he maybe took off early. And of course, some of them were designed for him to get out as well. So there was probably a mix of all of that.” I then followed up with the question of did the Seahawks move Wilson outside the pocket enough, and received an interesting answer ‘We’re not saying he’s a running quarterback,’ Bevell said. ‘That’s really not what we’re trying to do. Obviously it’s a long season, and he’s going to take his hits and stuff. But we’re not really trying to design the thing for him to run. What’s probably been best about him is when he’s moved, he moved with merit. And then when he’s moved in the passing game, he’s moved to throw down the field and make explosive plays. That’s what we need to continue to do.’ “
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune rehashes Romo’s infamous fumble on a game-winning field goal attempt during a wild-card playoff game against the Seahawks in Seattle back in January of 2007, “The snap was fine, but Romo lost the handle, then scrambled to his left, where he was stopped short of the goal line by Jordan Babineaux, whose play helped earn him the nickname ‘Big-Play Babs.’ The Seahawks lost in overtime the next week at Chicago. [Dallas Cowboys coach Bill] Parcells retired from coaching, and Romo set about living down the mistake. ‘I take responsibility for messing up at the end there,’ he said after the game. ‘I cost the Dallas Cowboys a playoff win, and it’s going to sit with me a long time.’ So … did it? ‘I think any time you lose the last game of the season, it’s really hard in the National Football League,’ Romo said. “’Really, every team but one has a bad taste in the mouth, but that’s why you go back to work.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that this Seahawks team cannot sit on the Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, “Now, Carroll has to see how his young team recovers. There are plenty of things the Seahawks need to do to beat the Cowboys this week — contain an explosive Cowboys offense, improve their pass protection against another dangerous blitzing team, lower the number of penalties. Yet having a short memory could be the biggest key to avoiding an 0-2 start. ‘You can’t dwell on the past, you can’t dwell on the last play,’ linebacker Leroy Hill said. ‘I’ve figured that out. I’ve done that and come back and had a bad game myself. … You have to move forward. You can’t let a single game get you twice or three times.’ “
Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, contributing to mynorthwest.com, relates to Seattle rookies Russell Wilson and J.R. Sweezy, who made their first NFL starts a week ago in Arizona, “It’s tough enough making the adjustment from college to pro without the added complication that both Wilson and Sweezy faced in Arizona. Starting as a rookie in the first game of the season on the road at quarterback, the hardest position to master, is perhaps the most difficult challenge an NFL player can face. That is, unless you’re a rookie offensive guard who was playing defensive tackle last year at this time … in college. So welcome to the NFL, rooks. Just as [former NFL linebacker Keith Butler] Butts passed down his wisdom to me, I will pass it on to any rookie who will listen. Everybody gets their butt kicked. I remember a string of bad games during my first year that landed me on the bench in the middle of a game in Cleveland. I sat on the sidelines and thought, ‘What happened? I thought I was good. Do I suck?’ This is part of the physical, psychological and emotional assault an NFL season has on your psyche. Sweezy may be thinking these very things since coach Pete Carroll announced Wednesday that John Moffitt will replace him in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Cowboys. The key is to get back to work, learn from your mistakes and move on.”
Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has his notes from Wednesday’s practice, “A couple surprises on the official practice report: receiver Sidney Rice did not participate due to a sore knee. Coach Pete Carroll did not mention Rice during his Monday or Wednesday press conferences. Carroll told us earlier in the week that running back Marshawn Lynch came out of the Arizona game fairly healthy. Lynch was limited in the Wednesday session due to his persistent back issues.”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Wednesday’s practice, including a video interview with right guard John Moffitt, “The line struggled to deal with the exotic blitz schemes of Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Ray Horton and struggled with communication issues. Rookie G J.R. Sweezy notably stuggled as well. Offensive line coach Tom Cable said it wasn’t a matter of the game being too physical for him, but rather struggling to make the correct decisions in the heat of the moment. ‘You’ve got to get him better prepared. That’s on me,’ Cable said. ‘He’ll grow so much from this one the next time out.’ Cable praised the way Sweezy played in handling DT Darnell Dockett in one-on-one situations, but said the pressures Arizona brought caused problems. With the struggles from Sweezy, head coach Pete Carroll said G John Moffitt is expected to return to the starting lineup at right guard this week.”
Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com says that the Seahawks have no need to panic after their Week 1 loss to the Cardinals, “Player on the spot: Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson earned a first-team spot in the preseason, but he didn’t generate much downfield against Arizona. Wilson also was sacked three times, although that number would be higher if not for his mobility. With highly-paid backup Matt Flynn waiting in the wings, Wilson isn’t guaranteed a starting spot if the Seahawks don’t start winning some early-season games. Something to feel good about: Running back Leon Washington provided a major special-teams lift with kickoff and punt returns of 83 and 52 yards respectively. The defense also held Arizona to only 253 total yards. What’s next: Dallas at Seattle (4:05 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX). The Cowboys have four extra days to prepare for this scrum, but the Seahawks will enjoy the benefit of a raucous home crowd. Wilson could be in for a long day if left tackle Russell Okung (bruised knee) isn’t back to try and nullify Cowboys pass-rushing stud DeMarcus Ware.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at injury situations in the NFC West.
Yahoo Sports goes “Outside the Game” with a look at Michael Robinson’s “The Real Rob Report” in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth checks in with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, and has a look at Moffitt’s move back into the starting lineup. Tony Ventrella has his Seahawks Daily, as he looks ahead to Sunday’s matchup with the Cowboys, and team photographer Rod Mar has a look at Wednesday’s practice in photos.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 12:
Doug Baldwin. The Seahawks’ second-year wide receiver has had surgery on each of his shoulders and both knees, but the pain of those injuries and surgical procedures was nothing compared to having his two front teeth knocked in while trying to make an end-zone catch in the closing seconds of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals in Arizona.
“That was by far the worst pain I’ve ever felt,” Baldwin said today, when he was sporting temporary teeth while his permanent replacements are being made.
If you think the injury looked gruesome from the outside, you should have seen it from the inside.
“I don’t even know what happened,” Baldwin said. “First thing I know, I had the ball in my hands. The next thing I know, I’m looking up and there’s blood on my shield (on his helmet) and I just feel this rush of pain. And I’m trying to figure out what happened.”
What happened was that Cardinals nickel back Mike Adams jammed Baldwin in the face mask, which then went into his teeth as he fell into the end zone on his lunging attempt to corral a pass from Russell Wilson on second-and-10 from the Arizona 13-yard line.
What followed was 4½ hours of surgery on Monday, when he had double root canals. But it didn’t prevent him from attending a function at an elementary school on Tuesday, or participating in today’s two-hour practice. And last year’s leading receiver is expected to play in Sunday’s home opener against the Dallas Cowboys at CenturyLink Field.
True to his off-the-charts competitive nature, Baldwin feels he should have made the catch – and given the Seahawks a victory.
“It was an opportunity that I had. I had the ball in my hands,” he said. “Technically, according to NFL stats, it’s not a drop. But for me, it’s a drop. For what I want to do in my career and where I want to be, I need to make that play.
“I’m upbeat about it now, because there’s nowhere to go but up from here.”
Right guard. John Moffitt, the incumbent starter, is moving back in to replace rookie J.R. Sweezy, who started Sunday’s opener as well as the last three preseason games while Moffitt was sidelined following surgery to remove particles from his left elbow.
“It’s good to have him back in,” coach Pete Carroll said. “If he makes it through the week solid and healthy, then we’ll get a chance to see John come back for us. Which will be great.”
Moffitt, a third-round draft choice last year, started the first nine games before getting a season-ending knee injury.
But Sweezy, a seventh-round draft choice this year who was playing defensive tackle at North Carolina State a year ago, remains a factor at what Carroll calls “a very competitive position.”
“J.R. did a great job for us,” Carroll said. “All the way throughout, he’s been growing and getting better. He had a hard game this last week. … We feel like we have two guys that can play. ‘Sweez’ has done a remarkable job to get this far. He can only continue to improve and get better with every experience.”
The official report, as released by the team:
WR Charly Martin (chest)
Did not practice
OT Russell Okung (knee)
WR Sidney Rice (knee)
Limited in practice
TE Zach Miller (foot)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
WR Golden Tate (knee)
DE Greg Scruggs (hamstring)
CB Byron Maxwell (shoulder)
Frank Omiyale worked at left tackle for Okung, just as he did in Sunday’s game when Okung went out after the ninth play on the Seahawks’ final 18-play drive. Ben Obomanu filled in at flanker for Rice. With Lynch and Miller limited, rookie running back Robert Turbin and recently signed tight end Evan Moore got a lot of work with the No. 1 offense.
For the Cowboys:
Did not practice
C Phil Costa (back)
S Matt Johnson (hamstring)
NT Jay Ratliff (ankle)
S Gerald Sensabaugh (concussion)
LB DeMarcus Ware (hamstring)
WR Austin Miles (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)
STAT DU JOUR
Sunday’s game will feature two of the 10 youngest starting defenses in the league. The Seahawks rank sixth and the Cowboys are 10th, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Here’s a look at the Top 10:
Team Avg. age
Titans 25 years, 9 days
Buccaneers 25 years, 286 days
Browns 25 years, 326 days
Patriots 26 years, 58 days
Saints 26 years, 126 days
Seahawks 26 years, 141 days
Rams 26 years, 249 days
Chiefs 26 years, 287 days
Bills 26 years, 291 days
Cowboys 27 years, 107 days
The Seahawks’ starters and their ages: Red Bryant (28), Brandon Mebane (27), Alan Branch (27), Chris Clemons (30), Leroy Hill (29), Bobby Wagner (22), K.J. Wright (23), Brandon Browner (28), Richard Sherman (24), Kam Chancellor (24) and Earl Thomas (23).
The players will have a midday walkthrough and afternoon practice on “Turnover Thursday,” as they continue to prepare for Sunday’s home opener.
YOU DON’T SAY
“This is a really special setting. It’s fun. It’s great to be there and feel it. We also want to take advantage of our home crowd and play well for them, and try to build momentum. … It’s as good a place as you can play in the world.” – Carroll on returning to CenturyLink Field.
Head coach Pete Carroll spoke with reporters this afternoon at Virginia Mason Athletic Center as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference, and offered a few interesting nuggets of knowledge before his team hits the practice field today at 1:30 for “Competition Wednesday.”
Carroll said that wide receiver Charly Martin, who suffered a bruised lung in last Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, has been ruled out for this weekend against the Dallas Cowboys. Carroll called the injury “fairly serious” and they will monitor Martin’s status through next week.
With Martin out, Carroll was asked if the team will make a move to add a wide receiver to the active roster, to which Carroll replied there is no plan to do so at this time.
Wide receiver Golden Tate, who missed Week 1 while resting a knee injury, is expected to practice today.
John Moffitt is set to get the start at right guard Sunday against the Cowboys, replacing J.R. Sweezy, who got the start in Week 1. Carroll called the right guard position, “a very competitive spot” and he expects Sweezy to see playing time in Week 2, despite not being named the starter.
Left tackle Russell Okung, who left the season-opener against Arizona with a bruised knee, will not practice today. Carroll is hopeful Okung will be ready by weekend, but in his place will be veteran tackle Frank Omiyale.
“Frank is an equipped player,” said Carroll. “He’s started on both sides [of the line]. We won’t change much there if he goes instead of Russell [Okung].”
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin will practice in full today after receiving dental work to repair his two front teeth that were knocked loose when Baldwin dove for a ball in the end zone against the Cardinals in Week 1.
“His smile looks remarkable,” Carroll said. “A couple of days ago he looked like a sawtooth guy.”
Backup quarterback Matt Flynn will be limited in today’s practice with a sore elbow on his throwing arm. Carroll noted that Flynn is not 100 percent quite yet.
Seahawks Insider Clare Farnsworth will be back with more following today’s practice.
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Greetings from University of Phoenix Stadium, where some of the Seahawks already are on the field preparing for today’s regular-season opener against the Cardinals.
This is, as you’ll recall, the same venue were the Seahawks closed the 2011 season with a 23-20 overtime loss to the Cardinals. But several things have changed since the Seahawks played here on New Years’ Day.
The most obvious, as well as most discussed and dissected, difference is Russell Wilson taking over at quarterback for Tarvaris Jackson – who was traded to the Bills last month. The rookie won the starting job with an impressive and productive preseason. The speed of the game increases during the regular season, so Wilson will have to deal with that – as well as an Arizona defense that batted 18 passes incomplete last season, which was the third-highest total in the league. It would indicate a mismatch for the 5-foot-11 Wilson, but his height – or lack of it – was not an issue at the University of Wisconsin last season and has not been since he joined the Seahawks after being selected in the third round of the NFL Draft.
The best thing the Seahawks can do for Wilson is to continue running the ball – regardless of how much leading rusher Marshawn Lynch plays because of the back spasms that have sidelined him since the second preseason game and limited him in practice during the week. The Seahawks averaged a league-high 178.3 rushing yards during their unbeaten preseason run, no matter who was carrying the ball or who was blocking for them.
Speaking of blockers, J.R. Sweezy’s remarkable story continues as the rookie will start at right guard today. A defensive tackle at North Carolina State, the Seahawks decided it was worth taking a chance in the seventh round of the draft on an athlete they felt eventually could make the switch to the O-line. Eventually has arrived ridiculously early, as Sweezy got a chance to start when incumbent starter John Moffitt was sidelined with an elbow injury. Sweezy stepped in for the final three preseason games and won the job.
Another new wrinkle: Robert Turbin. The rookie has shown he can be the physical presence in the running game to spell Lynch, and step in and start when Lynch can’t play.
On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks are better equipped to pressure the passer – a season-long problem last season – after adding rush-end Bruce Irvin in the first round of the draft and signing rush-tackle Jason Jones in free agency. Both moves were made to improve a pass rush that generated only 22 sacks in 2011 by players not named Chris Clemons, who has had 11 sacks in each of his two seasons with the Seahawks. The target of their attention will be John Skelton, the 6-6 QB from Fordham who won the Cardinals’ starting job and drew comparisons to the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger from the Seahawks players and coaches during the week.
Skelton was 5-2 as a starter last season, and he’s 5-0 as a starter at home the past two seasons.
The primary target for Skelton will remain Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who caught eight passes for 148 yards in the second half and overtime in the finale last season after the Seahawks held him to one catch for 1 yard in the first half.
There’s even a new wrinkle there, with Marcus Trufant, the long-time starter at left cornerback, moving into the nickel back role.
The Seahawks don’t just want this one; they need it, what with the Cowboys coming to CenturyLink Field next week for the home opener and then the Monday night matchup in Seattle with the Packers on Sept. 24.
So sit back and enjoy the opener, with kickoff set for 1:25 p.m. PDT on Fox TV (KCPQ/13) and 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM.