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Friday round-up: Pete Carroll’s Top 5 most significant wins

On the Seahawks #12Tour, Doug Baldwin and Red Bryant surprise David Libby of the United States Army at his home in honoring his service and sacrifice as a Wounded Warrior.

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Friday, July 12, about your Seattle Seahawks:

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com ranks the Top 5 most significant wins under head coach Pete Carroll. O’Neil’s No. 1 ranked win under Carroll may not be one that your mind would immediately gravitate toward, as he picks the Seahawks’ 22-17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on November 13, 2011 – Carroll’s second season with the club.

On that game, O’Neil writes:  “The significance is apparent only in retrospect. Seattle was 10-16 under Carroll entering this game, including the playoffs. Lynch had rushed for 100 yards in only two of those games and the Seahawks had a total of 19 rushing touchdowns. The Seahawks are 17-9 in all games since, Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards in 16 games and the Seahawks have 29 rushing touchdowns. Seattle may not have taken off until Wilson was put under center, but the sign of the turnaround can be traced to the midway point of Carroll’s second season.”

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times continues his countdown to training camp blog, answering the question – who will win the Seahawks backup quarterback job?

Speaking of backup quarterbacks, NFL.com Around the League writer Marc Sessler ranks the NFL’s backup quarterbacks, and Seahawks backup Brady Quinn comes in at No. 18.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune joined Sports Radio 950 KJR AM’s Ian Furness to talk about the Seahawks defense and which players need to step up come training camp at the end of July:


Former NFL quarterback and Tacoma, Wash. native Jon Kitna joined 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” to talk about quarterback Russell Wilson’s development, as well as Wilson’s No. 12 ranking in ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski’s ranking of the League’s 32 quarterbacks:


ESPN’s John Clayton discusses 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin’s potential move from defensive end to outside linebacker on 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Wyman, Mike and Moore.” Clayton notes the move shows confidence that defensive end Chris Clemons could be available earlier in the season.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth throws it back to strong safety Jeron Johnson’s time as a middle linebacker at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif.

Along with team partner Alaska Airlines, Wilson led a pledge for 605 urban youth to stay in school and accomplish their goals. We also have photos from the event here.

And in some news around the rest of the League, no players were selected in yesterday’s 2013 supplemental draft.


Is it football season yet?

Zach Miller Days until Kickoff

Don’t worry, Jeron. So was I.

With rookie minicamp, Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and the club’s mandatory minicamp officially in the books, most of the team’s veteran players have dispersed until the start of training camp in late July. Rookies will be around for workouts over the next week-and-a-half and the coaches will take their break one week from today.

The next month is likely to be the slowest of the offseason, but if it’s any consolation we’re now just 86 days away from the Seahawks’ regular season opener against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

Like Kam Chancellor, we’re all itching for some football right now, so here’s a look at what’s going on next week, June 16-22, with your Seattle Seahawks:

Sunday, June 16:

  • Holiday: Father’s Day. Consider this your final reminder to go out and grab a little something for your pops.

Monday, June 17:

  • Seahawks rookies will report for workouts at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
  • Wide receiver Charly Martin will participate in the NFL’s three-day broadcasting boot camp at the NFL Films office in Mt. Laurel, N.J. He’ll be joined by former Seahawks Chad Brown, Ricky Watters, and Jeff Feagles. We’ll have some reaction from Martin next week on the blog.

Tuesday, June 18:

  • Seahawks rookies will report for workouts at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

Wednesday, June 19:

  • No team activities are scheduled

Thursday, June 20:

  • Seahawks rookies will report for workouts at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

Friday, June 21:

  • Seahawks rookies will report for workouts at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
  • A summer break for Seahawks coaches begins

Saturday, June 22:

  • No team activities are scheduled

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Is it football season yet?

Earl Thomas

In case you missed last week’s edition of “Is it football season yet?” I’ll quickly fill you in on what we’re out to accomplish with these weekly blog entries.

Last Friday marked 100 days from the Seahawks’ September 8 regular season kickoff against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. To help the days and weeks prior to that date move along a little quicker, I’m here to deliver you all of the Seahawks happenings for the week to come. From team activities to community events and from player birthdays to national holidays, think of this as your one-stop-online-shop for keeping in touch with all of the Seahawks’ offseason activities.

We’re now just 93 days away from the 2013 regular season, but before we dive into the schedule for next week, we’ll touch on some events to keep an eye on tonight, when a pair of Russell Wilson sightings will take place around Seattle’s SoDo district.

Wilson, joined by Seahawks president Peter McLoughlin, will first take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand re-opening of the Seahawks Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field. Following that event, Wilson will march a half-mile south along Occidental Avenue to Safeco Field, where he will toss out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Seattle Mariners game against the New York Yankees.

Here’s a quick look at some of Wilson’s pre-first-pitch preparation, courtesy of strong safety Kam Chancellor:

Now, here’s what’s going on next week, June 9-15, with your Seattle Seahawks:

Sunday, June 9:

  • No team activities are scheduled, but the Seahawks Pro Shop grand re-opening festivities continue, as Sea Gals Alicia and Hannah stop by the stadium location from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Seahawks Blue Thunder will also be on hand, entertaining from 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Monday, June 10

  • Week No. 9 of the team’s Offseason Program begins at VMAC. Players will report to the team facility for physicals.

Tuesday, June 11:

  • The club’s mandatory three-day minicamp begins. The team is currently scheduled to practice from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Coaches and players will be available to the media following the day’s session.Jeron Johnson

Wednesday, June 12:

  • The club’s mandatory three-day minicamp continues. The team is currently scheduled to practice from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Coaches and players will be available to the media following the day’s session.
  • Seahawks strong safety Jeron Johnson celebrates his 25th birthday. Send some birthday wishes his way on Twitter @Jus_Showoff

Thursday, June 13:

  • The club’s mandatory three-day minicamp concludes. The team is currently scheduled to practice from 11:30 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Coaches and players will be available to the media following the day’s session.

Friday, June 14:

  • The team’s Offseason Program officially wraps up and the break for veteran players begins. The rookies will report for workouts the following week.
  • Holiday: Flag Day – the day calls for a celebration of the adoption of the flag of the United States, but who says you can’t proudly fly your 12th Man flags alongside our nation’s colors? We do it every day here at VMAC.

Saturday, June 15:

  • Seahawks All-Pro Varsity Skills Camp for youth ages 9-14 will take place at VMAC. Participants will work with trained coaches on both offensive and defensive drills and wide receiver Doug Baldwin will be in attendance. Spots are still available for the camp’s second session, set to run from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. You can register here.

Seahawks’ special teams rank among best in NFL

Not that we needed someone to tell us this, but the Seahawks’ special teams were among the best in the NFL during the 2012 season.

The Seahawks’ units that are coordinated by Brian Schneider finished fifth in the rankings compiled by Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. He ranks each of the 32 teams in 22 categories, awarding points on those rankings – one for the best, 32 for the worst.

In Gosselin’s rankings, the Seahawks had 302 points to finish behind the Vikings (253.5), Bengals (276), Ravens (277) and Dolphins (296) – who were the only team among the Top 5 that did not advance to the postseason.

The Seahawks’ special teams scored 24 points, to tie the Titans for most in the league. And the Seahawks’ four scores came from four different facets as Richard Sherman returned a field goal that was blocked by Red Bryant 90 yards for a touchdown in Week 16 against the 49ers; Malcolm Smith recovered a muffed punt as he was crossing the goal line for a TD in Week 14 against the Cardinals; Jeron Johnson returned a punt that was blocked by Smith for a score in Week 3 against the Cowboys; and Leon Washington returned a kickoff 98 yards for a TD in Week 12 against the Dolphins.

“We were very consistent this season,” Schneider said. “Very consistent. We had the big plays, but the thing that jumped out at me was the consistency.”

Schneider’s units also were ranked No. 3 by Football Outsiders, who factor five elements in their rankings – field goals and PATs, kickoffs, kickoff returns, punts and punt returns. The Seahawks had ranked No. 16 in 2011.

“This thing could be going on for a while,” punter Jon Ryan said. “It’s not a flash-in-the-pan type thing, where it’s just a one-year fluke that we played well on special teams. We’re going to just keep building on this and keep on working on that goal of owning the NFC West.”


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Friday in Hawkville: Marcus Trufant looking to add to his playoff memories

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 11:

Marcus Trufant, Doug Baldwin

Cornerback Marcus Trufant (left) defends wide receiver Doug Baldwin (right) during practice this week.

FOCUS ON

Marcus Trufant. No one on the Seahawks’ 53-man roster has played in more postseason games (10) than the veteran nickel back. And no one grew up watching this team longer than the Tacoma-born Trufant, either.

So, as the team puts in its final preparations for Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta, who better to lead us through a trip down Postseasons Past?

We asked Trufant for his favorite team memory from the six playoff teams he has been on, and his selection was the obvious.

“The (NFC) Championship game we played during our Super Bowl run (in 2005) was pretty big,” he said of the 34-14 victory over the Panthers. “To be able to do it at home, be able to do it in front of the fans, it was a pretty good feeling.”

Especially for a player who followed the team as a kid growing up.

“It does kind of hit you like that,” Trufant said when asked if there was a moment in that game where it hit home that he had just helped his hometown team get to the Super Bowl. “But it’s just one of those things. It is football. And if you do right and your team is hitting on all cylinders, then the opportunity is there.”

Just as it for this season’s playoff team, which is one victory from a return to the NFC Championship game.

“For us now, that’s what we’ve got to do,” Trufant said. “We’ve just got to fight to be right. Try to do everything well and just try to practice hard and get better every day.”

We also asked Trufant for his favorite individual postseason memory, and his response was very telling for a player who has been a team-first, individual-accolades-a-distant-second warrior since the Seahawks selected the cornerback from Washington State University if the first round the 2003 NFL Draft.

“You know what? After a while a lot stuff just seems to run together,” said Trufant, who had a 78-yard interception return for a touchdown to ice a wild-card win over the Redskins in 2007.

“So I’m about being in the present. I’m just trying to help out the team to get another victory. We want to take it one step at a time and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

LONGWELL, CHUKWURAH READY

Kicker Ryan Longwell and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah just joined the team this week to replace the injured duo of Steven Hauschka and Chris Clemons. Coach Pete Carroll said after practice that both are ready for Sunday’s game.

“I thought Longwell did a good job,” Carroll said. “He hit his kicks and fit together nicely with (holder) Jon Ryan to get the timing down. … He’s a seasoned vet. He’s been through it. If anybody can handle it, he will be able to handle all the buildup to it.”

As for Chukwurah, who last played in an NFL game in 2007, Carroll said, “Pat did fine. He’s in a backup role for us. But he showed enough that he’s going to be dressing for the game.”

INJURY REPORT

The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:

Doubtful

CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)

Questionable

S Jeron Johnson (hamstring)

Probable

RB Marshawn Lynch (foot)

WR Sidney Rice (knee)

Lynch practiced on a limited basis today after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday to rest a sprained foot. “He’s fine. He’ll be alright,” Carroll said. Johnson also got his first work of the week, on a limited basis. Maxwell and Rice did not practice, but Rice is expected to be ready of the game after practicing fully on Wednesday and Thursday.

For the Falcons:

Out

CB Christopher Owens (hamstring)

Questionable

DE John Abraham (ankle)

S Charles Mitchell (calf)

Probable

S William Moore (hamstring)

CB Dunta Robinson (head)

Abraham, who leads the Falcons with 10 sacks, has been limited all week.

STAT DU JOUR

Last week, the Seahawks allowed the Redskins to drive 80 yards to a touchdown on their first possession, but managed to come back and win the game. That’s not advisable this week, because the Falcons have been almost unstoppable when they score a TD on their opening drive. Here’s a look at what the Falcons did on their opening drives during the regular season, and how that worked out for them:

Opponent, outcome                        First drive

Chiefs, W, 40-24                               Touchdown

Broncos, W, 27-21                            Touchdown

Chargers, W, 27-3                             Touchdown

Panthers, W, 30-28                           Punt

Redskins, W, 24-17                           Punt

Raiders, W, 23-20                             Interception

Eagles, W, 30-17                               Touchdown

Cowboys, W, 19-13                          Punt

Saints, L, 31-27                                  Touchdown

Cardinals, W, 23-19                          Interception

Buccaneers, W, 24-23                      Field goal

Saints, W, 23-13                                Touchdown

Panthers, L, 30-20                             Punt

Giants, W, 34-0                                  Touchdown

Lions, W, 31-18                                  Punt

Buccaneers, L, 22-17                         Punt

In the games where they’ve scored TDs on their first possession, the Falcons are 6-1 and the wins came by an average of 17 points. In their other two losses, they opened with punts. In their other seven wins, when they opened with five punts, a field goal and an interception, the average margin of victory was five points.

“We just don’t want to get too caught up in that,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “We want to play the whole game fast and explosive, regardless of what happens the first series. So we know we’re going to have to make some adjustments as this game goes on. But the biggest thing is to keep our poise with the crowd noise and things like that – nothing that our guys haven’t come across before.”

UP NEXT

The team flew to Atlanta following today’s practice and will hold its Saturday walkthrough there.

The winner of Sunday’s game will meet either the 49ers or Packers in the NFC Championship game next Sunday. The Packers and 49ers play in San Francisco on Saturday night.

YOU DON’T SAY

“The big thing is having the corners that allow us to be aggressive. But the other thing is having a guy that can play the middle third that cover from redline to redline. You really need those three components.” – Bradley in discussing the virtues of cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner and Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas in matching up against the Falcons’ trio of Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez


Thursday in Hawkville: Sunday proved to be a very happy birthday for Clinton McDonald

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 10:

Clinton McDonald

FOCUS ON

Clinton McDonald. So, what do you get a guy who already has so much for his birthday? How about a fumble recovery to ice the team’s first road playoff victory since 1983?

That was the case for McDonald on Sunday, which just happened to be his 26th birthday, when he fell on a fumbled snap by Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III with 6½ minutes to play in the Seahawks’ 24-14 victory. And McDonald’s reaction was typical of why the nose tackle has become such a popular player in only his second season with the team.

“I told him, ‘That’s a great birthday present.’ And he said, ‘It’s a birthday present for the team,’ ” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said after practice, which was held in the indoor practice facility. “That’s really his mentality. Like a lot of our guys, it’s whatever they can do to help us play at the highest level.”

Because of the win, and McDonald’s play, the Seahawks will play at a higher level – Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta, with the winner advancing to the NFC Championship game.

And this week, McDonald will be anchoring a nickel line that won’t have sack leader Chris Clemons, who will have surgery next week to repair the knee ligament and meniscus he tore in the game last Sunday. So the rush-end opposite first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin could be rookie Greg Scruggs; or perhaps outside linebacker Mike Morgan; or even Patrick Chukwurah, who was signed to fill Clemons’ roster spot on Wednesday but hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2007; or a combination of the three.

The given is that McDonald will continue to be the leader of that group.

“He is really, I don’t know if inspirational is the right word, but the guys really rally around him,” Bradley said. “He does a great job with that group of bringing everybody together – the young guys, the older guys, he kind of meshes between them both.”

There is the risk of trying to do too much to make up for the loss of Clemons, who has had double-digit sacks in each of his three seasons with the Seahawks. So McDonald also will be into risk management this week.

“I don’t feel like there’s extra pressure,” he said. “I just feel like we’ve got a man down and guys are made to step up in this situation. So we’ve just got to show what we know.”

Just as McDonald and Irvin, who had a fourth-quarter sack of RGIII, did after Clemons went out in the third quarter against the Redskins.

“I wouldn’t say I’m worried,” McDonald said. “We know what we’re missing in Chris Clemons. But at the same time, we’ve still got a game to play. We’ve still got to take that field and go out and produce.”

Patrick Chukwurah

PLAYER WATCH

Chukwurah. The just-signed defensive end and special teams player did more today than during his first practice with the team on Wednesday. He’ll likely do even more on Friday. It’s all part of trying to get him ready for some spot action against the Falcons.

“It’s tough,” Bradley said. “He’s been lifting (weights) in gyms and riding ellipticals. This is going to be a little bit different. But some of the third-down situations, if he’s a rusher, get 15-16 reps. That’s what we’re looking at.”

As well as special teams. “He’s been very good on special teams in the past,” said Bradley, who was with the Buccaneers when Chukwurah played with them in 2007. “They’re taking a look at him there to see where he is conditioning-wise, what he can handle.”

RUSSELL WILSON UP FOR ANOTHER AWARD

Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ rookie quarterback, is a finalist for the Vizio Top Value Performer award as someone who has performed above and beyond expectations.

“Overlooked by the majority of the league, Wilson lasted until the third round of the 2012 draft. Earning $390,000 in 2012, he completed 252 passes for 3,118 yards and 26 TDs, tying a league record for passing TDs by a rookie. Exceeding all expectations, he’s an ideal choice for the Vizio Top Value Performer award,” is what they said about Wilson in naming him a finalist.

You can vote here for Wilson.

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Did not practice

S Jeron Johnson (hamstring)

RB Marshawn Lynch (foot)

CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)

No change for the Seahawks, as Lynch, Johnson and Maxwell sat out for a second consecutive day to rest injuries that have sidelined them at times during practice in previous weeks.

For the Falcons:

Did not practice

CB Christopher Owens (hamstring)

Limited participation

S William Moore (hamstring)

DE John Abraham (ankle)

S Charles Mitchell (calf)

Full participation

CB Dunta Robinson (head)

The only change for the Falcons was Mitchell being limited after sitting out on Wednesday.

STAT DU JOUR

Lynch rushed for 99 yards in the second half of Sunday’s win over the Redskins, after having 33 in the first half. It was just the sixth time in 17 games this season, and the first in the current six-game winning streak, that Lynch has had more yards in the second half than the first. Here’s a look at his half-and-half performances, starting with the season opener against the Cardinals:

                                    First half       Second half

Opponent                  No.-Yards     No.-Yards

Cardinals                     10-40            11-45

Cowboys                     10-22            16-100

Packers                        16-71               9-27

Rams                            10-62            10-56

Panthers                        7-28            14-57

Patriots                          9-26              6-15

49ers                              9-55            10-48

Lions                               7-80              5-25

Vikings                          11-55           15-69

Jets                                14-39           13-85

Dolphins                          9-12           10-34

Bears                                7-51           12-36

Cardinals                          8-69             3-59

Bills                                    9-100           1-3

49ers                                12-64          14-47

Rams                                   8-66          10-34

Redskins                              8-33         12-99

UP NEXT

“Turnover Thursday” gives way to “No Repeat Friday” as the team will hold its final full practice before flying to Atlanta for Sunday’s game. The Saturday walkthrough will be held in the Atlanta area.

Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas got into the Thursday theme by picking off two passes, while cornerback Richard Sherman also had an interception.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Most significant NFL Wednesday injury report line: “ATL – DE John Abraham (ankle), limited.” He’d better not be limited Sunday, two weeks after what looked to be worse than the apparently nasty ankle sprain Abraham suffered in the last game of the season. Not quite sure why, with Seattle missing its best pass rusher (Chris Clemons, torn ACL on the FedEx cow pasture last week) and Abraham likely not at full health, I pick only 30 points to be scored here. I think both secondaries will play stout and smart, and the physicality of the Seattle back four (or five, or six) will have a big impact on the game.” – Peter King in predicting a 17-13 Seahawks victory at SI.com


Wednesday in Hawkville: Ryan Longwell, Patrick Chukwurah relish joining team for playoff run

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 9:

Ryan Longwell

FOCUS ON

The new guys. That would be kicker Ryan Longwell and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah, who were signed today to replace the injured duo of Steven Hauschka and Chris Clemons.

That these two are joining the Seahawks as they’re preparing for Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta only heightens the storybook nature of their returns to the NFL. Longwell last kicked in league in 2011 for the Vikings, while Chukwurah hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2007 with the Buccaneers.

Longwell is here because Hauschka strained a calf in the wild-card win over the Redskins on Sunday and would not have been able to kick off against the Falcons. Chukwurah was signed because Clemons will need surgery to repair the ligament and meniscus he tore in his left knee in that game. Each was signed after going through a workout on Tuesday, and Hauschka and Clemons were placed on injured reserve to clear roster spots.

For Longwell, it’s a homecoming. He was born in Seattle, grew up in Puyallup and fondly remembers going to Seahawks game at the Kingdome with his grandfather – before his family moved to Bend, Ore., when he was in the ninth grade.

“It’s an awesome opportunity and I feel really blessed to be here,” said Longwell, who also kicked for the Packers (1997-2005) before joining the Vikings in 2006. “It’s kind of an honor to put on the helmet that you grew up watching.”

What had Longwell be up to? “To be dead honest with you, my wife was probably the happiest person that I got called into work,” he said. “Because we were actually training all fall for the Disney Marathon this Sunday. Got her out of that, and got me out of it, too.”

Patrick Chukwurah

For the Nigerian-born Chukwurah, he figured a return to the NFL was out of the question after he had played two seasons in the UFL and was out of the football the past three seasons.

“It’s pretty much one of those stories you don’t think will ever happen,” said Chukwurah, who had played for the Vikings (2001-02) and Broncos (2003-06) before going to the Bucs. “I was at home, working from home, and I just got a call from my agent and he was like, ‘Hey, you want to go to Seattle and play for a couple of weeks?’ I’m like, ‘No, you’re not serious.’

“So I just came here with the mindset if this this is going to be my last shot, just to give it all I’ve got and leave it out there.”

Longwell will handle all the kicking chores against the Falcons, but coach Pete Carroll said he wasn’t sure what Chukwurah’s role would be on Sunday. In addition to playing defensive end, he’s also a special teams player.

Whatever comes his way, Chukwurah plans to be prepared as well as ready.

“To me, it’s a blessing,” he said. “I never would have thought this would happen. The fact that it’s happened, and it’s happened so fast, you’ve got to take it in stride and just be grateful that you get an opportunity and make the best of it.”

OPPONENT WATCH

Tony Gonzalez. What more can be said about the most-productive tight end in NFL history? In his 16th NFL season, and fourth with the Falcons, Gonzalez caught 93 passes for 930 yards and eight touchdowns.

Falcons coach Mike Smith got his turn to sing the praises of Gonzalez today during a conference-call interview.

“Tony has beaten father time,” Smith said. “To watch this guy, at his age (36), perform how he has performed this year and the three previous years, he’s been a great mentor to all of our young guys on our team. Not just the offensive players.

“Tony has got an outstanding work ethic. Probably nobody works harder than he does in taking care of his body and working on the fine points of the skillset that it takes to play the tight end position. And I think that’s the thing that most of our guys have taken from Tony. He’s one of the first guys out there, and he’s going to make sure that he’s catching balls. And now everybody is out there catching balls early and in between drills. Defensive linemen are out there early hitting the sled. And I think a lot of that has to do with watching Tony Gonzalez and the success that he’s had.”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Did not practice

S Jeron Johnson (hamstring)

RB Marshawn Lynch (foot)

CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)

That’s it. Everyone else participated in the session that was held in the indoor practice facility. And Lynch, Johnson and Maxwell sat out to rest injuries that have sidelined them at times during practice in previous weeks.

For the Falcons:

Did not practice

CB Christopher Owens (hamstring)

S Charles Mitchell (calf)

Limited participation

S William Moore (hamstring)

DE John Abraham (ankle)

Full participation

CB Dunta Robinson (head)

The Falcons used their bye week to self-scout practice, but also to heal up.

“I think it was good for our guys,” quarterback Matt Ryan said during a conference-call interview. “Every team has guys that are nicked up at this point of the year. For us to get a chance to get those guys some rest and to get them a little bit healthier is good for us. I think one of the good things that Coach Smith does, that he did this past week, was we were in here the entire week. We were working and staying in that rhythm and I think that’s helped us.”

PARCTICE SQUAD MOVE

Defensive tackle Myles Wade was signed to the practice squad. To clear a spot, defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga was released.

The 6-foot-1, 300-pound Wade, a rookie from Portland State, was with the Buccaneers during training camp.

 

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks already have faced four players who finished among the Top 5 in the NFL in receptions. Now comes the Falcons’ trio of Gonzalez (No. 9) and wide receivers Roddy White (tied for 10th) and Julio Jones (tied for 18th). Here’s a look at how the other top-ranked receivers did against the Seahawks, their season totals and their averages against the rest of the league:

Calvin Johnson, Lions

                                             No.   Yards

Season                               122    1,964

Vs. Seahawks                        3          46

Avg. vs. rest of NFL           7.9    127.9

Brandon Marshall, Bears

                                             No.   Yards

Season                               118    1,508

Vs. Seahawks                      10       165

Avg. vs. rest of NFL           7.2      89.5

Wes Welker, Patriots

                                              No.    Yards

Season                                118     1,354

Vs. Seahawks                       10        138

Avg. vs. rest of NFL            7.2        81.1

Jason Witten, Cowboys

                                               No.   Yards

Season                                  110   1,039

Vs. Seahawks                           4         58

Avg. vs. rest of NFL              7.1      65.4

UP NEXT

“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to prepare for Sunday’s game against the Falcons.

YOU DON’T SAY

“He’s playing his style. Has he crossed the line? I don’t think so. He’s hanging on that line at times. But that’s who he is. Our guys respect Richard Sherman. They know whatever he might put out there he can back up. And he’s done that.” – Carroll when asked about the second-year cornerback “crossing the line” with his physical style of play


Friday in Hawkville: Trufant and Thurmond questionable

A recap of the events at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 21:

Walter Thurmond

FOCUS ON

Cornerbacks. Those who returned to practice, as well as the one who wasn’t at today’s practice.

Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond got some reps with the No. 1 defense. Trufant has missed the past three games, while Thurmond sat out last week’s game – both with hamstring injuries. Is it possible they could be ready for Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the NFC West-leading 49ers at CenturyLink Field?

“They made it through this day,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We’ll go all the way to game time with those guys. They’ve got to show us they can play.

“We’ve got to make sure we make a good decision on that. They have been out for a couple of weeks. But it’s good to just get them close to getting back.”

Trufant and Thurmond are listed as questionable for Sunday night’s game.

Richard Sherman, who leads the team with six interceptions, will be able to play against the 49ers, Carroll said. Sherman was excused from practice today and Thursday because he is appealing his four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.

“I’m anticipating that we’ll have him,” Carroll said. “I have heard nothing else at this point.”

Missing practice time is not ideal, especially heading into such an important matchup, but Carroll said, “He is as smart a football player as we have on our team. He’s totally into everything that we’re doing. We can tell when he’s not out here, because he is so sharp and he communicates to other guys. He knows when he left that he was preparing to miss a couple of days. We sent him with a bunch of stuff, so he should be fine.”

In the meantime, second-year corner Byron Maxwell and rookie Jeremy Lane got most of the work with the No. 1 defense.

INJURY REPORT

The official end-of-the-week status report, as released by team:

Questionable

S Jeron Johnson (groin)

WR Sidney Rice (foot)

CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)

CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)

Probable

DT Alan Branch (ankle)

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

CB Richard Sherman (not injury related)

RB Robert Turbin (illness)

RB Leon Washington (illness)

Branch practiced for the second consecutive day. “We’re surprised we got Alan Branch back,” Carroll said. “He’s going to go.”

Rice was limited today after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday. “We’re still going to make sure he can run on game day,” Carroll said. “He feels pretty good right now. But we’ve got to get to game day and run him and see how he can tolerate it. He thinks he’s playing. He feels like he’s going to.”

Johnson was rested because of the groin injury he got in practice this week. “We don’t think it’s bad at all,” Carroll said. “There’s a really good chance he’s playing.”

For the 49ers:

Doubtful

LB Clark Haggans (shoulder)

Questionable

DT Justin Smith (elbow)

LB Tavares Gooden (ribs)

WR Mario Manningham (shoulder)

DT Will Tukuafu (concussion)

Probable

K David Akers (pelvis)

OG Alex Boone (knee)

LB NaVorro Bowman (shoulder)

LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder)

CB Tarell Brown (shoulder)

S Dashon Goldson (foot)

RB Frank Gore (wrist)

OG Mike Iupati (shoulder)

RB Bruce Miller (shoulder)

CB Carlos Rogers (knee)

LB Aldon Smith (shoulder)

S C.J. Spillman (illness)

LB Patrick Willis (shoulder)

Carroll is planning on having to face Justin Smith. “He’s a tremendous football player,” Carroll said. “I think he’s going to play. If there’s ever a guy that’s going to fight through whatever, he’s going to make it. I’d be surprised if he didn’t. He must really be hurt if he doesn’t play, because he’s going to get out there. He’s a fantastic competitor.”

STAT DU JOUR

Almost lost in everything else going on in Sunday night’s game is the impact that Gore has had on this series since entering the league in 2005. In the games where Gore has rushed for more than 100 yards, the 49ers are 4-0. When the Seahawks hold Gore to fewer than 100 yards, the 49ers are 3-6. Here’s a look at what he’s done against the Seahawks:

Triple-digit games (4-0)

Year      Att.  Yards    Avg.

2006     24     212      8.8

2006     29     144      5.0

2009     16     207    12.9

2012     16     131      8.2

Double-digit games (3-6)

Year (W-L)      Att.   Yards    Avg.

2005 (L)           2         5         2.5

2007 (L)         16      79        4.9

2007 (L)         13      72        5.5

2008 (W)       19      61        3.2

2008 (L)         18      94        5.2

2009 (L)           9      25        2.8

2010 (L)         17      38        2.2

2011 (W)       22      59        2.7

2011 (W)       23      83        3.6

UP NEXT

The players will have a walkthrough on Saturday, their final on-field preparation for Sunday night’s game. And remember, the game starts at 5:20 p.m. because it was flexed into the primetime spot on NBC.

YOU DON’T SAY, PLAYER EDITION

“Yeah, we definitely talk about it. It’s a championship game. That’s the way we approach it this week – it’s a championship game. We’re going to have to prepare and play like it. We know it will be a great one.” – quarterback Russell Wilson when asked if the players have allowed themselves to talk about clinching a playoff berth with a win over the 49ers

YOU DON’T SAY, COACH EDITION

“I’m really looking forward to it. I know our guys are. It’s been really like a celebration of being a football coach and a player when you get here. It’s just that much fun at CenturyLink. The way that the fans respond so consistently and they love it so much, it is a factor. I mean, I can feel it. It changes the energy level. So hopefully we can perform up to that. We don’t have to do much about it, but show up and play well. And they’ll be doing their thing. It is a boost and we’re excited to be finishing up here at home.” – Carroll when asked about the final two regular-season games being played at CenturyLink Field


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Game at a glance: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20

A recap of the Seahawks’ 30-20 victory over the Vikings at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Russell Wilson. With all due to respect to Adrian Peterson, who ran for 182 yards, Wilson wins this one 3-2 – as in touchdown passes to rushing touchdowns.

Every time Peterson scored – on 1- and 4-yard runs in the first half – Wilson answered. The Seahawks’ rookie quarterback threw TD passes of 6 yards to Golden Tate and 11 yards to Sidney Rice in the first quarter, after Peterson scored his 1-yarder. After Peterson’s 4-yarder pulled the Vikings even in the second quarter, Wilson gave the Seahawks the lead for good with his 11-yard TD pass to Tate with 44 seconds left in the first half.

“We talked about that during the week, being able to try and contain him,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said of Wilson. “That’s what happens when he scrambles, he is able to make some plays. He made some plays today when he scrambled out of the pocket.”

That Wilson did. He scrambled for 4 yards and also picked up a yard on keeper on a fourth-and-1 play in the 12-play, 80-yard drive to his third TD pass. In the third quarter, Wilson had back-to-back plays where he ran for 8 and 2 yards on the nine-play, 72-yard drive to a 3-yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch. As the Seahawks were running out the clock in the fourth quarter, Wilson scrambled for 13 yards.

But his bottom-line contributions were the three TD passes, giving him nine in four home games – with no interceptions.

“Russell played really well, did a great job of handling all the situations and the different players and the thing that we did,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He fit us together nicely.”

And that makes it fitting for Wilson to get this honor, even on a day when Peterson ran wild in the first half.

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: There was Peterson’s 74-yard run on the second play of the game, but cornerback Brandon Browner pulled him down a yard short of the goal line. So let’s go with the second TD pass from Wilson to Tate, as style points put it over the top. And speaking of over the top, that’s how Tate got the ball across the goal line – by going up and over Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson and then extending an arm.

“He made a spectacular play,” Wilson said. “He has a great desire to get into the end zone, which is pretty awesome. Luckily, the ball was across the line there before it got knocked out.”

Luckily, indeed. “I’m just glad we got the ball,” Tate said. “On the way back (to the sideline it was), ‘Congratulations.’ ‘Good job.’ ‘Make sure you’re on the ball.’ That’s one of the things we really stress in this organization – protect the ball. It’s all about the ball. Defense. Offense. Special teams. We always want to get the ball, or maintain possession of the ball. So that was very important. And I’m going to practice on a pad.”

Defense: While Browner had an interception with 5½ minutes to play to seal the deal, nickel back Marcus Trufant turned in a two-fer play when the Seahawks really needed it in the first quarter. The Vikings already had scored on the opening possession of the game, and then forced the Seahawks to punt. But on third-and-10, Trufant forced Percy Harvin to fumble and then recovered the ball. Three plays later, Wilson passed 6-yards to Tate for a game-tying TD.

“He made a nice cut, I was coming across the middle and just trying to make a tackle,” Trufant said. “I ended up getting my shoulder, hand or something on the ball. I saw it pop up and I was just trying to get on the ball before anybody else got to it.”

It was the kind of play that dominated the conversation during the week in the meetings rooms at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

“All week, it’s been about getting the ball out,” Trufant said. “So you’ve got to take the practice plays and bring them to the field.”

Special teams: Steven Hauschka’s 40-yard field goal with 6½ minutes to play. Yes, Vikings’ rookie Blair Walsh kicked a 55-yarder. And yes, the Vikings’ Kevin Williams blocked Hauschka’s PAT after Wilson’s third TD pass. But Hauschka’s late kick gave the Seahawks a 10-point lead.

INJURY REPORT

Linebacker and leading tackler K.J. Wright went out in the first quarter with a concussion and did not return. He was replaced by second-year ’backer Malcolm Smith in the base defense and veteran ’backer Leroy Hill in the nickel defense.

Center Max Unger went out with a hand injury in the third quarter, but returned on the Seahawks’ next possession. Lemuel Jeanpierre stepped in for Unger on the final five plays of the drive that ended with Lynch’s TD run.

John Moffitt, who had missed the past five games with a knee injury, started at left guard because James Carpenter was ruled out for Sunday’s game on Saturday. Carroll said that Carpenter had not been feeling well all week, and they didn’t know if it was caused by him getting a flu shot on Monday or a concussion he got in last week’s game or Wednesday’s practice.

“It’s usual the way it came about,” Carroll said. “I’m glad we held him out. We’ll figure out what it is by next week and see where we stand.”

WORTH NOTING

The Seahawks held Harvin to 73 combined yards – 24 on four carries, 10 on two receptions and a 39-yard kickoff return. He had been averaging 159.3 in his triple-threat role.

The Seahawks have scored 24 and 30 points in back-to-back games, and 24, 24 and 30 in three of their past four games. The 30 points against the Vikings were a season high.

The Seahawks held the Vikings to 3 of 10 on third-down situations, after allowing their first eight opponents to convert 43.9 percent.

The Seahawks scored touchdowns on their first four red-zone possessions, and added a field goal on their fifth. In last week’s loss to the Lions in Detroit, they had two touchdowns and a field goal in three red-zone possessions.

Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had a team-high 10 tackles to take over the club lead from Wright. Wagner also had his second sack of the season.

Safety Jeron Johnson and rookie lineman Greg Scruggs also had sacks, while Hill and rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin each had half a sack.

Because they held the ball for more than 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and nine minutes in the third quarter, the Seahawks had a hefty advantage in time of possession – 36 minutes to 24 minutes. The Seahawks also ran 18 more plays than the Vikings with a season-high 71.

YOU DON’T SAY

“There were a couple of times I said to myself, ‘Nice move, nice cut or whatever.’ He does a great job of being physical, and that’s what I’m all about. So he has my utmost respect.” – Peterson on Lynch


Week 4 – The Real Rob Report

Fullback Michael Robinson brings us another episode of “The Real Rob Report”, this time catching up with longtime Seahawks equipment manager Erik Kennedy, who details his equipment team’s seven-day-a-week responsibility.

Mike Rob also talks with kicker Steven Hauschka, stands by as cornerback Brandon Browner and safety Jeron Johnson debate the greatest rapper of all-time, showcases guard John Moffitt’s new mustache, and catches a discussion between cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Winston Guy on the qualities of good hair vs. bad hair.

Stay tuned to Seahawks.com for more updates from “The Real Rob Report” and be sure to subscribe to Robinson’s YouTube channel for his latest video features.


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