Pass rushing defensive tackle Jason Jones has agreed to terms on a multi-year contract with the Detroit Lions, the Lions announced today.
Jones signed with Seattle on a one-year deal after entering the League in 2008 as a second-round draft pick by the Tennessee Titans. He played in 12 games for the Seahawks last season, recording 10 total tackles, 3.0 sacks, five QB hits, four passes defensed and a fumble recovery. He was placed on injured reserve on December 20, 2012 after suffering a knee injury that required surgery.
When Jones was placed on IR, head coach Pete Carroll noted, “We’re just not the same without Jason in there.”
His departure in free agency will place an even greater emphasis on the Seahawks’ need to add depth to their pass rush either via the draft or free agency.
Jones is set to return to his hometown of Detroit where he attended Lathrup High School (Southfield, Mich.) and played his college ball with the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, January 16.
Meg Wochnick of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps a Russell Wilson visit to Seattle Children’s Hospital, where Wilson met with 17-year-old cancer patient David Padilla, a senior baseball standout at Timberline High School, “Wilson, less than 48 hours removed from Sunday’s 30-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in an NFC divisional playoff game, spent almost an hour talking with Padilla and also autographing a handful of items for him, including a football and a photo. ‘He was busy,’ said Kari Padilla, David’s mother. They talked about everything from Padilla’s battle with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, to their love of baseball.”
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at the Seahawks defense and the struggles they had closing out several games this season, “You can’t say that Seattle’s defense was bad this year. The Seahawks allowed the fewest points in the league. They went two straight road games without allowing the opposing offense to score a touchdown, and they weren’t entirely unable to finish out games. The Patriots got the ball back with more than twice as much time as Atlanta had Sunday, and the Seahawks closed Tom Brady and his New England teammates out in four plays. Seattle had strong second-half showings against Minnesota and Buffalo, too. But those four blown saves were enough to constitute a trend that is fairly alarming. It wasn’t just that Seattle allowed points late, but the shockingly improbable ways it found to cough up the lead. … ‘I’m not worried about figuring it out,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s just a snap here or there, but it did happen this year. You can’t ignore that.’ ”
O’Neil passes along a transcript of his “Hawk Talk” chat here.
O’Neil also comments on the future of quarterback Matt Flynn, “…while you could make a case that Flynn is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the entire league, he might not be the best backup quarterback for Seattle. He is a quarterback whose biggest asset is timing and anticipation while Wilson is someone with a plus-arm by NFL standards and exceptional mobility. In that regard, Seattle might be better finding a backup quarterback who is capable of running some of the option plays Seattle has as opposed to a more accomplished passer like Flynn. Carroll was asked, specifically, if it was important to find a backup with traits similar to Wilson’s. ‘It’s a good point and we’ve talked a lot about that,’ Carroll said. ‘It would be nice to have another guy who might be able to be a factor in that way. There’s some really good kids out there. We’ll see.’ ”
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” discuss whether or not opposing defenses will catch up to the Seahawks’ use of the read-option with quarterback Russell Wilson in this short video.
Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” discuss who on the defensive side of the football can match Wilson’s level of leadership in this short video.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who coached Russell Wilson in his one season at Wisconsin, chats with 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” on what the future holds for the young quarterback.
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has a close look at five key players who will be unrestricted free agents this offseason, including defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Leroy Hill, cornerback Marcus Trufant, kicker Steven Hauschka, and defensive tackle Jason Jones.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “silver linings” from Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Atlanta Falcons, “Quarterback Russell Wilson completed 24 of 36 passes for 385 yards and two touchdowns. He also had seven rushing attempts for 60 yards and a touchdown. Wilson set an NFL rookie record for passing yardage in a playoff game. He became the first player in NFL history with at least 385 yards passing and 60 yards rushing in a postseason game. Wilson’s performance established him even more firmly as a franchise quarterback and one of the best young players in the NFL.”
Sando also has a look at Wilson’s potential path to the Pro Bowl next weekend in Honolulu, Hawaii, “Aaron Rodgers’ withdrawal from the Pro Bowl moves Seattle Seahwaks rookie Russell Wilson one step closer to playing in the game. Wilson was the third alternate for the annual all-star game. Rodgers, Robert Griffin III and Matt Ryan were the three quarterbacks named to the NFC roster. Griffin is already out while recovering from knee surgery. Ryan would be out if his Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl. Drew Brees was named to the game as the first alternate. Eli Manning was the second alternate. Wilson would be named to the NFC roster if Ryan were in the Super Bowl or if one of the other alternates skipped the game.”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has released his first mock draft of 2013 and has the Seahawks selecting 6-foot-3, 358-pound defensive tackle John Jenkins out of Georgia with the No. 25 pick in the first round, “Analysis: John Schneider and Pete Carroll showed great instincts in the 2012 draft, adding players they felt could help them immediately, even as analysts (myself included) questioned slot value. The defense was very good this past season, but I think an interior defender who can occupy blockers, occasionally penetrate and even wreck the pocket from the inside is a need. Jenkins was a little uneven at times in 2012, but has the upside of an impact interior lineman.”
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.
A recap of the events at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 17:
The obvious. It’s just that what’s obvious depends on who you’re talking to.
Obvious No. 1: The Seahawks are hosting the NFC West-leading 49ers on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field. After their impressive and then resilient performance in last night’s win over the Patriots in New England that pushed their record to 10-3-1, the 49ers can clinch the division title by beating the Seahawks; or the 9-5 Seahawks can keep their division-title hopes alive with a win over the 49ers.
Obvious No. 2: The Seahawks hold the No. 5 seed – or first wild-card spot – in the NFC playoff picture. But right behind them at 8-6 are the Bears, Giants, Cowboys and Vikings (The Redskins also are 8-6 but currently lead the NFC East). The Seahawks hold the tiebreaker against the Bears, Cowboys and Vikings because they beat each team this season. But the only way to insure making it to the postseason is to keep winning during the regular season.
Obvious No. 3: The Seahawks are one hot team, having won their past three games – two of them on the road – and in the past two weeks becoming the first team since 1950 to score 50 or more points in back-to-back games.
When each obvious item was broached during his weekly day-after Q&A session this afternoon, coach Pete Carroll smiled, and then offered his own version of the obvious.
“We ain’t done nothing yet,” he said when asked about the playoff patter. “When that happens, it happens. Every one of these games are championship matchups. Every one of them makes the statement that you’re still in it, or you’re finally in it and you get it.
“We’ve just got to go play this football game and play it really, really well. And if that’s the result, then that’s OK. We’ve got another game after that one, too. There’s still a lot of work to be done here. I don’t think it’s a factor, really. It shouldn’t be. We’ve got to go win a football game, regardless of whether there was something hanging out there or not.”
This attitude that each game is a championship game and the goal each week is to go 1-0 has served the Seahawks beyond well as they’ve won five of their past six games. But after Sunday’s 50-17 victory over the Bills at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, several players said that Carroll’s championship-game approach really applied to this week’s game. The 49ers beat the Seahawks 13-7 in San Francisco in Week 7, so there’s payback as well as postseason positioning on the line for the rematch.
And Carroll knows there will be no extra motivational work to be done this week.
“All we can do is really focus on this game right here. We’ll have no trouble focusing,” he said. “They’re a great team. And coming home and all that, it will be exciting to get ready.”
After this week, the Seahawks will host the St. Louis Rams on the 30th, while the 49ers will close their regular season by hosting the Cardinals.
“Coming home, with the last two games here at the stadium, it’s a great opportunity for our fans and we want to really play well in this setting,” Carroll said. “It’s an exciting way to come down, finishing in the division. And it starts with San Francisco this weekend.”
The ankle that defensive tackle Alan Branch sprained against the Bills is not as serious as first anticipated.
“He came out way better than we thought,” Carroll said. “We’ll rest him, probably until Friday. We’re thinking he might have a chance to make it back. So that’s very encouraging, because we thought after the game he would not be able to do that. We’ll see how that goes.”
Carroll said he also has his fingers crossed that cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant might be able to return this week. Trufant has missed the past three games and Thurmond sat out against the Bills – both with hamstring injuries.
Defensive lineman Jason Jones (sore knee) and leading receiver Sidney Rice (sore foot) also could be limited in practice this week.
PRACTICE SQUAD ROULETTE
Defensive end Monte Taylor has been signed to the practice squad. To clear a spot, wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei was released.
The 6-foot-5, 266-pound Taylor was signed by the Seahawks after the NFL Draft in April, but released in June and claimed off waivers by the Eagles.
STAT DU JOUR
Bobby Wagner had another game with double-digit tackles (12) against the Bills, his fifth of the season. In the past nine games, the rookie middle linebacker is averaging 10.3 tackles. With his first tackle in Sunday night’s game against the 49ers, Wagner will tie Keith Butler for the second-most tackles in a season by a Seahawks rookie. With 16 in the final two games, he will set a franchise record for most tackles by a rookie in a season. Here’s a look at where Wagner currently ranks:
Player (year) Tackles (solo/assists)
LB Terry Beeson (1977) 136 (110/26)
LB Keith Butler (1978) 122 (83/39)
LB Bobby Wagner (2012) 121 (77/44)
SS Kenny Easley (1981) 107 (79/28)
LB Lofa Tatupu (2005) 105 (86/19)
The players were “off” today for a “Victory Monday” and will have their usual “off” day on Tuesday. They will return on Wednesday to begin practicing for Sunday night’s game.
Center Max Under will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop.
YOU DON’T SAY
“A perfect game for Russell Wilson, just the way Wilson wants to play – running a lot, playing option football, playing from the pocket. ‘Whatever we call, we know something good can happen with Russell right now,’ said coach Pete Carroll after the 50-17 rout of Buffalo in Toronto. Wilson rushed nine times for 92 yards and three touchdowns on runs of 14, 25 and 13 yards. He completed 14 of 23 for 205 yards and a touchdown. Wilson’s been such a revelation that, week by week, it’s hard to fathom how good he’s become versus the image of what 90 percent of the NFL coaching and scouting community had of him before the draft.” – Peter King, in naming the Seahawks rookie QB as one of his offensive players of the week in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 30:
Marcus Trufant’s sore hamstring. Add the Seahawks’ nickel back to the list of injury concerns as the team makes its final preparations for Sunday’s game against the Bears in Chicago.
“At the end of practice yesterday, Marcus felt (something in) his hamstring,” coach Pete Carroll said after today’s practice. “He’s got an issue there that we’re going to have to deal with. We put him down as doubtful. We’re real surprised that popped up. It’s going to be hard for him to get back from that.”
With Trufant out, Walter Thurmond worked as the nickel back and likely will play in his first game of the season against the Bears.
Defensive end Red Bryant (foot) and linebacker Leroy Hill (ankle) sat out practice for the third consecutive day and Carroll said their status won’t be determined until Sunday.
“Red did not do much today,” Carroll said. “We’re going to take him all the way up to game time. He’s dying to play.”
On Hill, Carroll said, “Leroy ran and changed direction, did all that kind of stuff; had a legitimate workout today. We’ll check him out tomorrow and, again, take it all the way up to game day and see how that goes.”
GONE WITH THE WIND
The players practiced outside, in windy conditions and cool weather – exactly what they’re expecting on Sunday.
“We got a great day today,” Carroll said. “I would hope that this is pretty close to what we’re going to get. It was probably in the 50s and a good windy day here. We made good use of it.”
During last week’s game against the Dolphins, the Fox TV crew compared Russell Wilson to Fran Tarkenton, the make-plays-on-the-move, nine-time Pro Bowl QB during two stints with the Vikings (1961-66, 1972-78) and one with the Giants (1967-71).
Before being asked about the comparison, the Seahawks rookie QB was asked if he even knew who Tarkenton was.
“Of course I do,” Wilson said. “I’ve watched old clips of Fran Tarkenton play, so that’s definitely a compliment. But at the same time, I’m just trying to be Russell Wilson and just play the game the way that I think it should be played by getting the ball out and just continue to strive for greatness.
“That’s the way I always look at it, and to be compared to Fran Tarkenton is definitely a compliment for sure.”
The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:
CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)
DE Red Bryant (foot)
LB Leroy Hill (ankle)
WR Sidney Rice (calf)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
DE Greg Scruggs (oblique)
Malcolm Smith and Jason Jones continued to replace Hill and Bryant with the No. 1 defense. Rice, the team’s leading receiver, sat out the end of practice after feeling a twinge in his calf.
For the Bears:
WR/KR Devin Hester (concussion)
OG Chris Spencer (knee)
WR Alshon Jeffery (knee)
LB Lance Briggs (ankle)
RB Matt Forte (ankle)
TE Kellen Davis (ankle)
CB Charles Tillman (ankle)
DT Stephan Paea (shoulder)
OG Edwin Williams (shoulder)
STAT DU JOUR
Field position is crucial in every game, but Sunday it will start with the opening kickoff – and every kickoff that follows. That’s because the Seahawks and Bears are among the best in the league is averaging starting position receiving kickoffs, and also covering them. Here’s a look at where they rank in both categories:
Team Avg. start
Team Avg. start
The team flew to Chicago after a midday practice on “No Repeat Friday,” and the weekly Saturday walkthrough will be held at a local high school.
Following Sunday’s game, the last quarter of the Seahawks’ season includes three home games against the other teams in the NFC West – the Cardinals (Dec. 9), 49ers (Dec. 23) and Rams (Dec. 30).
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“We’re fired up for this matchup. It’s hugely important, as these road games continue to be for us. We’re going to see if we can turn this thing and get something done on the road before we come on back home. So this is a big deal.” – Carroll
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov 28:
Red Bryant. As his teammates prepared for their next step by practicing in the rain today, the team’s run-stuffing defensive end watched with a boot on his sore right foot.
Bryant has plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot that has forced him to sit out a day of practice for the past month.
“His foot is really bothering him,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s had it for a long time, but it’s kind of flared up here in the last couple of weeks. It’s affected him some – enough that we’ve got to slow him down in practice.”
With Bryant watching, Jason Jones worked in his place with the No. 1 line.
Asked if he expected Bryant to play in Sunday’s game against the NFC North-leading Bears in Chicago, Carroll said, “I don’t know that yet. We’ve got to wait and see.”
The Seahawks need him because the Bears rank 10th in the league is rushing offense, averaging 121.9 yards a game. And the running game, led by Matt Forte, sets up the Bears’ play-action passing game. Also, in the Seahawks’ 38-14 victory in Chicago last season Bryant returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown and helped limit the Bears to 221 offensive yards.
“You know me,” Bryant said. “I’m going to find a way to be out there.”
OKUNG MAN OF THE YEAR
Left tackle Russell Okung has been voted the Seahawks’ Man of the Year.
The honor goes annually to the player who represents stellar performance both on the field and in the community, and the list of past winners includes Jim Zorn, Dave Brown, Steve Largent, Jacob Green, Eugene Robinson (four times), Jon Kitna (twice), Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander and Marcus Trufant. Each player has a photo hanging in one of the hallways at VMAC.
“Truly an honor to be among these men and voted on as the 2012 Seahawks Man of the Year,” Okung said via Twitter. “Thank you to all that voted.”
A RARE HONOR FOR WASHINGTON
Players from losing teams usually don’t get selected for one of the weekly NFL honors, but Leon Washington is the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown against the Dolphins on Sunday.
Washington’s scoring return was the eighth of his career, which tied the NFL record.
How did Washington find out about the honor? “I just found that out. My wife tweeted me that,” he said.
“You want to win the game, but that just shows how much hard work we put into this thing. Early in the season, it wasn’t looking pretty. But the guys just stuck with it and after that bye week we self-scouted what we need to do. So we got back to what we do and it worked out big for us.”
Washington also won the weekly honor after he returned two kickoffs for scores in a 2010 game against the Chargers. The only other return specialist in franchise history to be honored twice was Charlie Rogers (1999 and 2001).
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
DE Red Bryant (foot)
LB Leroy Hill (ankle)
Limited in practice
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
DE Greg Scruggs (oblique)
Hill sat out to rest the ankle he sprained in Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, but Carroll expects him to be able to play against the Bears. Malcolm Smith subbed for Hill with the No. 1 defense.
James Carpenter and John Moffitt each got reps at left guard with the No. 1 offensive line, and Carroll said he has yet to decide which player will start against the Bears.
For the Bears:
Did not practice
LB Lance Briggs (ankle)
TE Kellen Davis (ankle)
WR Devin Hester (concussion)
WR Alshon Jeffery (knee)
OG Chris Spencer (knee)
CB Charles Tillman (ankle)
Limited in practice
RB Matt Forte (ankle)
DT Stephan Paea (shoulder)
OG Edwin Williams (shoulder)
STAT DU JOUR
In the past five games, a Seahawks defense that had been allowing an average of 70 rushing has yielded 775, or an average of 155. Of those 775 rushing yards, 607 have come against the 49ers (175), Vikings (243) and Dolphins (189). And 265 of those yards have come on nine runs – including a 74-yarder by the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson – for an average of 29.4 yards.
“The running game (defense) has not been as effective consistently,” Carroll said. “We’ve found our way into making fit errors on runs that there’s been a lot of big runs. The runs, one after another, we’re OK. But we’ve allowed explosive plays. … That’s enough to give them the yards that make it look like a big day.”
With that said, here’s a look at those “explosive” runs against the Seahawks:
Dolphins 22, 21 (Reggie Bush); 20 (Daniel Thomas); 19 (Ryan Tannehill)
Vikings 74, 28, 24 (Adrian Peterson)
49ers 37, 20 (Frank Gore)
“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to practice for Sunday’s game against the Bears.
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“I think that we’re very determined, and very disappointed in that outcome last week because we had a chance on both sides of the ball to win that football game. We’re disappointed that that didn’t get done. It was such a big opportunity for us. But we’ve spent time already – Monday and today – to get ready for today’s practice. I felt at the walkthrough that everybody was in it and we’re gone. We’re into the next plan. I think that’s what has to happen. So I feel we’ve responded well.” – Carroll when asked about the mood of the team after Sunday’s loss
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 21.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times details wide receiver Golden Tate’s emergence in his third year as a pro, “Tate has become the kind of explosive player that Seattle envisioned when it drafted him. He was the 60th choice overall, but the Seahawks thought so much of Tate that they had a first-round grade on him. In his third year, he’s starting to show why. ‘We want to get the ball in his hands as much as possible because he does things with it and he’s exciting,’ Carroll said. ‘It took longer than we hoped, but the fact that he’s going now and he’s a big part of it so we want to keep him involved.’ After two years of wondering when he would find success, Tate has a new challenge: sustaining it. ‘I’m still going to continue to work,’ Tate said. ‘I’m very happy with the patience this organization has had with me in sticking with me and finally it’s coming together, and I feel like I’m becoming an effective player for this team.’ ”
O’Neil also held a ‘Hawk Talk chat with Seahawks fans yesterday afternoon which is available for review here.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with Seahawks defensive tackle Jason Jones, who hopes to finish the season strong after being brought to Seattle as a free-agent on a one-year deal over this last off-season, “Jones has not produced eye-popping numbers, but Seattle head coach Pete Carroll has been pleased with the rangy defensive lineman’s ability to create consistent pressure from the interior of the line when he’s been in the game. ‘He has this way about him to get into cracks and stuff that helps everybody rush better,’ Carroll said. ‘Our pass rush is at our best when he’s out there, so hopefully we can get him going and allow him to be a factor.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald highlights the ability of Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond to keep a positive attitude over the years as he has dealt with injuries, and hints that he see action this Sunday in Miami, “How Thurmond will be used this weekend and for the rest of the season remains to be seen. Trufant has been playing in the nickel spot this season, a change for the veteran, and while he has handled the move well, the Seahawks view Thurmond as the long-term answer at the position. Thurmond also gives the Seahawks a very capable backup should starting cornerbacks Brandon Browner or Sherman suffer an injury. ‘We’ll see,’ Carroll said when asked how Thurmond will be used. ‘He’s been battling Tru at the nickel spot, but he’s been battling to play outside so we’ll see. He’s a special football player so we’d like to get him involved some. It might be in some dime situations as well, so we’re looking for a spot for him.’ Whatever his role, Thurmond can’t wait to see game action for the first time in 13 months. ‘I’m ready to get back out there,’ he said. ‘It’s been over a year now, so I’m trying to get back out there and actually get into some live action. I’m patiently waiting, and I have my pager waiting for the call.’ ”
Brock Huard of 710Sports.com and 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” says Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll and 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh have a very similar approaching to coaching, despite their very different outward appearances. You can listen to Huard explain why in this short video.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at the recent production of NFC West QBs.
The Seahawks come in at No. 10 on the AP Pro32’s latest rankings, and you can view several of their comments here.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has his latest NFL Power Rankings and the Seahawks move up two spots to No. 9 on his list, “They come off their bye with a real chance to be a playoff team. Now they have to prove they can play on the road.”
Don Banks of SI.com points to the Seahawks’ Week 13 matchup in Chicago and Week 16 matchup at home against San Francisco as key games to watch for playoff bubble teams down the stretch. On the Niners game, Banks writes, “With a 5-0 record at home, and three of their last four games to be played at CenturyLink Field this season, the Seahawks are in position for a December to remember. The division rival Cardinals, 49ers and Rams will all visit Seattle in the season’s final four weeks, with only a trip to Buffalo in Week 15 breaking up that run. So even if Pete Carroll’s guys should falter in their next two games at Miami and at Chicago, dropping to 6-6, Seahawks fans should keep hope alive. A 10-win season and a playoff berth will remain within reach.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his first look at the Miami Dolphins, brings a recap of “Tuesday in Hawkville“, and reviews the Seahawks’ ability to effectively utilize the zone-read option offense with quarterback Russell Wilson.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 15.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune passes along an interview Seahawks beat writer Eric Williams had with ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., who gave the Seahawks an overall grade of C- after their April 2012 draft. Now that the Seahawks stand at 6-4 and have received notable production from their top three draft choices, Williams asked Kiper to re-evaluate the Seahawks’ draft, “Overall: ‘They’ve got some production out of this draft, there’s no question about it. Now, ultimately down the road, it’s going to be Russell Wilson. Is he a quarterback that keeps progressing and ultimately becomes a top-10, top-12 quarterback? If he does, then it’s a phenomenal draft to get him in the third round. That’s ultimately going to determine it. And Certainly Irvin, to see how he continues to play. Right now he’s one dimensional. He’s on the field only in pass-rush situations. So we’ll how he develops. So I think the jury is still out to see how they’ve done, but they’ve gotten a lot of numbers. They’ve gotten a lot of guys who have made the team, a lot of guys who have competed and given them some production. So right now, it’s a little better than I thought it would be.’ ”
710 AM ESPN Seattle’s Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of “Bob and Groz” take a moment during the bye week to discuss who the Seahawks’ defensive MVP is in this short video.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, fresh off of being named the NFC’s Defensive Player of Week 10, joined NFL Network’s “NFL AM” in studio with former NFL cornerback Eric Davis to break down his big plays on the field.
Sherman also sat down with the crew of “NFL AM” to talk about the Seahawks’ season, the play of the secondary, and quarterback Russell Wilson.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com breaks down injury situations around the NFC West and offers a few notes on the Seahawks during their bye week, “The bye week gives guard James Carpenter and linebacker K.J. Wright additional time to recover from their concussions. Center Max Unger, safety Kam Chancellor, receiver Doug Baldwin, defensive tackle Jason Jones, running back Marshawn Lynch, defensive end Red Bryant and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald all appeared on injury reports recently. They’ll benefit from the down time as well. One question is whether or not cornerback Walter Thurmond will emerge from the bye as a contributor in the secondary. Veteran Marcus Trufant has been the nickel corner to this point. Thurmond was activated from the PUP list before the bye. He has not yet played, however.”
Sando has a look at where NFC West players stand in the NFL’s Pro Bowl voting, “Players ranking second at their positions include tight end Vernon Davis, tackle Joe Staley and defensive tackle Justin Smith of the 49ers, running back Marshawn Lynch and punter Jon Ryan of the Seahawks and inside linebacker Daryl Washington of the Cardinals. … third [at their position] from the NFC West: tackle Anthony Davis, running back Frank Gore and center Jonathan Goodwin of the 49ers and strong safety Kam Chancellor of the Seahawks. … The NFC West has eight players ranked fourth: fullback Bruce Miller, guard Alex Boone, outside linebacker Aldon Smith, kick returner Ted Ginn Jr. and punter Andy Lee of the 49ers, defensive end Chris Clemons and free safety Earl Thomas of the Seahawks and cornerback Patrick Peterson of the Cardinals. … Center Max Unger and kick returner Leon Washington of the Seahawks are ranked fifth at their positions. … Seven members of the NFC West blog’s all-division team do not rank among the top five at their positions in voting: defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Richard Sherman and special-teamer Heath Farwell of the Seahawks.”
Lastly from Sando, he has a few notes on Sherman’s big game that earned him player of the week honors.
Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth highlights Sherman’s rise in the secondary, “Sherman now leads the team with four interceptions – to go with the four he had while starting the final 10 games last season. That’s eight picks in 20 games. Sherman also leads the team with 14 passes defensed – to go with the 17 he had last season. That’s 31 PDs in the past 20 games. Sherman is seventh on the team with 38 tackles – to go with the 53 he had last season. That’s 91 in the past 20 games. To say that Sherman has become an impact player on a defense capable of impacting any game doesn’t do justice to the impression this guy is making. And remember, Sherman only found his way into the lineup at left cornerback last year after season-ending injuries to Trufant and Walter Thurmond. Sherman’s response to the biggest day of his still-young NFL career was typical – rapid-fire words, sprinkled with smiles and punctuated by laughs. ‘That’s a testament to the entire defense,’ he said when asked about the unit pitching a shutout (the Jets’ touchdown came on a fumble return). ‘The front seven played great. We tried to tackle well in the backend. I think everybody played a great game. Kam (Chancellor, strong safety) and Earl (Thomas, free safety) were tackling their behinds off. B.B. (cornerback Brandon Browner) was batting the balls down whenever they came his way. And the line, there wasn’t a lot of tackles to be had because of (Brandon) Mebane and (Alan) Branch and Big Red (Bryant) and Clem (Chris Clemons). They were getting on everything.’ ”
Finally, Tony Ventrella recaps the 9th annual Trufant Bowling Classic, a bowling fundraiser put on by Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant and the Trufant Family Foundation to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association.