Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 20.
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times tells us which questions have been answered through the Seahawks first two preseason games, and which questions remain, “1. You can’t proclaim the pass rush fixed. At least, not yet. The Seahawks have one sack in each of their two exhibition games, and for all the playing time rookie Bruce Irvin got Saturday in Denver, he didn’t spend all that much time near the quarterback. He did get one clear pressure, knocking the quarterback down, and he showed his speed in chasing plays down from behind. He didn’t show much in terms of getting around blockers, though. The Seahawks didn’t play Jason Jones, the defensive tackle they’re expecting to be a big part of their nickel pass rush, and August isn’t the time teams typically put their best pass-rush plans on display. But for all the talk this offseason about improving Seattle’s pass rush, it hasn’t been exhibited so far this month.”
O’Neil also has a look at Saturday night’s game and the play of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, who shined again with the second unit, “Wilson completed 10 of 17 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 33 yards before Josh Portis was summoned to play the game’s final 3 minutes. Yes, Wilson was playing against Denver’s backups. No, Flynn did not have Seattle’s full array of receivers. Still, after playing the first half in two consecutive games, Flynn has yet to lead Seattle to a touchdown while Wilson has thrown for three and run for another. ‘He’s doing really well,’ Carroll said of the first-year player from Wisconsin. ‘We’re ecstatic about it. To have a guy coming off the bench like that and play two halves back-to-back and really play football, it’s great for our team.’ “
Eric Williams at the Tacoma News Tribune takes a look at Deon Butler, claiming the fourth-year wider receiver has made the biggest impact this preseason, “Fourth-year pro Deon Butler has been working mostly at slot receiver because Doug Baldwin has been nursing a hamstring injury the past two weeks. Butler has just four receptions for 26 yards through the first two games, but three of his four catches have resulted in first downs. Quarterback Matt Flynn has looked to the Penn State product in critical stretches of the games.”
Williams has his story and notes from Saturday night’s 30-10 victory over the Denver Broncos, “While Wilson sizzled, Flynn sputtered in the first half, completing 6 of 13 passes for 31 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions in Seattle’s 30-10 win over the Denver Broncos on Saturday evening at Sports Authority Field. ‘It was really hard on him,’ Carroll said about Flynn, who was sacked once. ‘We didn’t protect him very well. We held a little bit. He couldn’t even get started, I feel. At this point it’s really hard to evaluate the quarterback, because I need to see all that happened.’ “
Williams also has a look at safety Jeron Johnson, who forced a fumble and picked off Peyton Manning Saturday night at Denver, “Johnson earned significant time with the starting defensive unit, playing in place of safety Kam Chancellor at times in the first half. And Johnson made the most of it, corralling one of two Peyton Manning interceptions. Johnson also stuffed Denver running back Lance Ball behind the line of scrimmage and stripped him of the ball, with linebacker Leroy Hill recovering the fumble. ‘That’s huge for two turnovers by a kid,’ Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. ‘But all along he’s really improved from last year. And he’s playing some good ball for us. It’s exciting to see him in there.’ “
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune calls for head coach Pete Carroll to start Russell Wilson at quarterback this week at Kansas City, “If Wilson struggles against a legitimate defense, while Flynn thrives against the temps, the conclusions you make will be difficult. But they’ll also be informed. Just know this, Pete: Russell Wilson hasn’t struggled on an athletic field since the last time he geared up to hit a fastball that arrived as a curve.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com shares the same sentiments as McGrath, calling for Wilson to start at Kansas City, “If Russell Wilson doesn’t start the Seahawks third exhibition game Friday in Kansas City, it will be an abdication of coach Pete Carroll’s strategy in camp, as well as his coaching beliefs. Wilson has earned his chance to fail. If he does fail, then we know, for now.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at three things from Saturday night’s matchup with the Broncos, as he revisits the Seahawks quarterback competition, the addition of Terrell Owens, and a look at Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.
Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com says it’s time for the Seahawks to make a decision at quarterback, “Seattle looks close to their decision — with Matt Flynn winning the job (for now) and rookie Russell Wilson right behind him and Tarvaris Jackson on the way out. Flynn needs as much practice time as he can get from here on out because he has only two career starts.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his story from Saturday night, and also a look at the play of safety Jeron Johnson, “Johnson definitely took advantage of the situations as they presented themselves. ‘I had an opportunity to get in early and just tried to make plays,’ he said in the locker room, flashing a smile as bright as the light on the TV camera that was focused on him. On the third play of the Broncos’ first possession in the second quarter, Johnson jarred the ball from 215-pound running back Lance Ball and linebacker Leroy Hill recovered the fumble at the Denver 46-yard line. ‘I just tried to take care of my gap and the blocker kind of fell off of me,’ Johnson said. ‘I hit the running back and when I tackled him my hand already was on the ball. I just stripped it out and the ball came loose.’ “
DENVER – A recap of the Seahawks’ 30-10 victory over the Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Saturday night:
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The Seahawks defense. From backup strong safety Jeron Johnson, who had an interception and a fumble-forcing hit in the first half; to Pro Bowl strong safety Kam Chancellor, who had a game-high six tackles before giving way to Johnson in the second quarter; to the unlikely tandem of 330-pound end Red Bryant and 6-foot-4 linebacker K.J. Wright, who deflected and intercepted a Peyton Manning pass with the Broncos on the Seahawks’ 9-yard line; to rookie defensive lineman Greg Scruggs, who had a fourth-quarter sack.
The Seahawks faced Manning in his Mile High debut and stared down the future Hall of Fame QB.
Three of the Broncos’ six first-half possessions ended in turnovers and another was a three-and-out. In the second half, after Manning and the Seahawks’ No. 1 defense had called it a night, the Broncos’ first three possessions were three-and-outs and they were held to one first down and 37 yards.
You get the picture. As good as rookie QB Russell Wilson was in the second half – again – the defense was even better from start to finish.
“I thought the defense played really well in the first half,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We really were getting after the football. And in the second, our guys didn’t give up anything but one first down and really were able to keep them down in great fashion.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Defense: So many from which to choose. But let’s go with perhaps the most-timely of the turnovers. The Broncos had the ball at the Seahawks’ 9-yard line after blocking a punt. But Bryant got up to deflect a Manning pass and Wright made the interception and a 24-yard return. That led to the first of Steven Hauschka’s three field goals and gave the Seahawks a 3-0 lead.
Offense: Again, Wilson did so many things well. But on a third-and-17 play on the first possession of the second half, he found tight end Anthony McCoy for a 26-yard completion to the Broncos’ 35-yard line. Five plays later, Kregg Lumpkin scored on a 16-yard run and the rout was on.
Special teams: Hauschka’s hat-trick, especially when you consider that last year he kicked the game-winner in overtime here – for the Broncos.
Carroll reported no serious injuries from the game, but several players were not in uniform while watching the game from the sideline – wide receivers Doug Baldwin, Sidney Rice and Ben Obomanu, defensive lineman Jason Jones and defensive back Roy Lewis.
YOU DON’T SAY
“We were terrible in that regard. … We have to play penalty free.” – Carroll, on the Seahawks’ seven penalties for 75 yards that included unnecessary-roughness calls against offensive linemen Breno Giacomini and Deuce Lutui
A recap of the activities on the final day of Bing training camp for Aug. 16:
Camp breaks. The Seahawks’ third training camp under coach Pete Carroll officially broke after this morning’s practice. It’s just that’s hard to tell, because things won’t change much even with camp over.
The players will continue to practice only once a day, under the new guidelines in the CBA that ended last year’s 136-day lockout. They will do it at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. And many of the players will continue to live in the hotel all the players called home during camp.
The grind of two-a-day practices in draining heat, living in a dorm room at Eastern Washington University and then beating a hasty retreat from Cheney on this day are just a memory – and then only for the players who have been around long enough to remember it.
“Camp is camp,” cornerback Marcus Trufant said as he was leaving the field at the conclusion of his 10th training camp. “It’s always going to be hard work. It’s been work, but this year’s camp is a little bit different.
“I don’t think the young guys are really able to appreciate it. But a guy like me, who’s seen a few training camps, it’s been a good deal for us. It really works out in the players’ favor, so I think it’s pretty big time for the young players.”
Like J.R. Sweezy, the rookie who was making the transition from college defensive tackle to NFL guard in his first NFL camp.
“I never got to be a part of the old stuff,” Sweezy said. “But this was good. We got our rest at night, came ready to go the next day and we got everything out of the day. So it was a good schedule.”
One the players basically will continue to follow even though camp has officially ended.
Terrell Owens. Despite having practiced with the team only six times, the 38-year-old wide receiver is scheduled to play in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Broncos in Denver.
“He’s going to play some. He’s ready to go,” Carroll said. “He had two good weeks of work and he came in great shape, so he’s going to play some. I’m not going to say how many plays that will be; we’ll see how it goes. But he’s going to play early in the game.”
Owens caught a half dozen passes today, including one where he got behind Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Browner and another where he fought his way through being jammed by rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane.
Owens is playing flanker, although Carroll has said he’d also like to look at the 6-foot-3, 224-pound Owens as a possible replacement Mike Williams at split end.
PLAYS OF THE DAYS
Offense: Rookie wide receiver Phil Bates making a falling, fingertip grab of a Tarvaris Jackson pass along the sideline despite tight coverage from cornerback Byron Maxwell.
Defense: Trufant, who was lined up as the nickel back, tipping a Josh Portis pass that was intended for wide receiver Ricardo Lockette. Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas then intercepted the deflection.
Special teams: After an uncharacteristically rough day Wednesday, Steven Hauschka hit each of his four field goals attempts in the special teams portion of practice – including a 43-yarder.
Pre-practice: While the players are stretching, several of the assistant coaches use to time to see if they can put a pass into a trash can that is roughly 25 yards away. Today, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell “canned” one. Bevell was a four-starter starter at quarterback for the University of Wisconsin.
Former USC center Kris O’Dowd was signed after being given a tryout yesterday and was on the field for today’s practice. The club needs another center because right guard John Moffitt, who has been working as the backup center, and incumbent backup Lemuel Jeanpierre are sidelined with elbow and groin injuries.
Rookie Rishaw Johnson will backup starter Max Unger against the Broncos on Saturday night.
“Kris is a good, smart, tough football player,” Carroll said. “When you work a guy out, there’s a lot of stuff you don’t know. But about this guy in particular, he played as a freshman for us, so I know everything there is to know about the kid. So we’ll see if he fits.
“Right now, he’s an emergency guy for us.”
O’Dowd signed with the Cardinals last year but was released in September. He spent time with the Jets this spring before being released in May.
To clear a spot on the 90-man roster for O’Dowd, rookie kicker Carson Wiggs was released for the second time this camp.
IN ’N OUT
Wide receiver Golden Tate, tight end Anthony McCoy and defensive end Pierre Allen returned to practice today, but defensive linemen Jason Jones and Pep Levingston and wide receiver Ben Obomanu did not practice.
Still sidelined: Tight end Zach Miller, who got a concussion in the preseason opener; tight end Cameron Morrah, defensive end Cordarro Law, linebackers Matt McCoy, Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan, cornerbacks Ron Parker and Walter Thurmond, and offensive lineman James Carpenter, as well as Moffitt and Jeanpierre.
ANYBODY KNOW THE DOMINGUEZ HIGH FIGHT SONG?
The second-year duo of cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Jeron Johnson also were teammates at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif. It’s just that Johnson wasn’t playing the same position he is now.
“He played middle linebacker for us,” Sherman said.
The 5-10, now 212-pound Johnson playing middle linebacker? No he didn’t.
“Yes he did,” Sherman said. “Our whole back seven was the same size. We were all about 6-1, 6-2; 175. We were just fast and played nothing but man coverage.”
The players will practice tomorrow morning before the team flies to Denver for Saturday night’s preseason game. The players will be off on Sunday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I think I like ‘Legion of Boom.’ Because they play that ‘Here Comes the Boom’ song in the stadium, and we always act like they’re talking to us.” – Sherman, when asked which of the nicknames that have been hung on the secondary he likes best
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for July 30:
Brandon Mebane. The pads came on for the first time in camp, and the team’s nose tackle came out smokin’.
The 311-pound Mebane was dominating in the 9-on-7 run drill, starting with the first play when he put some extra “ex” in explosive by blowing through a gap between the center and guard to get to the running back well behind the line. Mebane then provided replays of his disruptive quickness on back-to-back plays and also recovered a muffed exchange between the center and quarterback.
In another drill, when rookie quarterback Russell Wilson dropped an unexpected shotgun snap – after a defensive player had jumped offside – Mebane was there again to fall on the loose ball.
Despite his obvious physical prowess in the first padded practice, Mebane said the impressive performance was more about the improved mental aspects of his ample game.
“The older I get the more knowledge I gain,” he said. “It’s about experience, playing with the guys and learning other things from (defensive line coach Todd) Wash. I learned things from pretty much all my position coaches I’ve had in the past.”
It’s strange to hear the 27-year-old Mebane talk about his age and experience, but on this defense only linebacker Leroy Hill has played more games for the Seahawks among the current starters. Since being a third-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, Mebane has played for three head coaches and three position coaches – Mike Holmgren and Dwaine Board (2007-08), Jim Mora and Dan Quinn (2009) and now Pete Carroll and Wash.
“I’ve taken something from each of them,” Mebane said of his position coaches. “Knowledge is power and just picking up little things from each of them has helped me. I’m trying to just keep going to the next step, next step.”
Mebane definitely stepped up last season, when he was moved to the nose fulltime, by posting a career-high 56 tackles to lead all interior linemen in the NFC.
If today’s performance was any indication, Mebane is ready to pick up not only where he left off but take his game that is as much as about disruptive quickness as it is power to an even higher level.
The defense. Mebane’s early efforts proved to be the metronome for two hours of big plays – and even bigger pops.
Second-year linebacker K.J. Wright dropped rookie running back Robert Turbin with a solid shot. Rookie safety Winston Guy put a lick on Turbin after he caught a pass that forced a fumble. Wright put veteran wide receiver Antonio Bryant on his derriere with another shot on one of the last plays of practice.
“It was good,” rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said when asked about putting on the pads for the first time. “Now we get to hit, and I enjoy it.”
The session even included a matchup that Wagner used to get asked about when he and Turbin were at Utah State.
“It’s funny, because I never really got a chance to hit Turbin – ever,” Wagner said with a smile. “It was kind of funny when I tackled him to see who it was.
“At school, everybody always used to ask what would happen. I guess they’re finding out now.”
PLAYS DU JOUR
Offense: Ricardo Lockette had one catch that produced the wow-factor, as he tipped a pass from Matt Flynn and then controlled the carom as he was falling into the end zone. But the better effort for a second-year receiver who is working on honing his route-running and pass-catching skills came when Lockette made a fingertip grab – in stride and between cornerback Phillip Adams and safety DeShawn Shead – of another Flynn pass for another touchdown.
Defense: Safety Jeron Johnson’s interception of a Josh Portis pass that was tipped first by safety Chris Maragos and Adams.
Special teams: Steven Hauschka using that smooth stroke of his to convert a 55-yard field goal. He also hit a 53-yarder.
IN ‘N OUT
Ten players did not practice, as tight end Anthony McCoy, defensive linemen Jason Jones, defensive backs Ron Parker and Donny Lisowski and linebacker Matt McCoy joined the five players who also sat out Sunday – defensive tackle Alan Branch and defensive end Jameson Konz; and offensive lineman James Carpenter, cornerback Walter Thurmond and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, who are on the physically unable to perform list.
Offensive lineman Allen Barbre returned after missing the first two days of camp because of a family situation.
The players have a walkthrough this afternoon and will practice at 10:15 a.m. tomorrow. They will have their first off day on Wednesday.
JOIN THE CROWD
It’s tempting to say that “only” 915 fans attended practice, until you consider that it was a cloudy and unseasonably cool Monday morning following a weekend when more than 4,400 packed the berm adjacent to the fields for two practices. Ten more practices are open to the public and you can register here to attend – including the final weekend practices of camp this Saturday and Sunday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Nobody knows who I am. No coaches. No fans. They draft guys, so they have an idea who you are and they have an idea of what you can become. With Marshawn, his whole thing is, ‘Man, you’ve got to show people who you are.’ And that’s kind of how he plays. He doesn’t like to talk, and I don’t really like to talk much, either. But he’s a guy that just likes to show who he is by how he plays. That’s what he tells me.” – Turbin, when asked what advice he has gotten from leading rusher Marshawn Lynch
Good morning, and happy Fourth of July. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks on this holiday.
Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com explores how travel disparity may affect NFL teams. He specifically references the Seahawks and the NFC West division, noting that their distance traveled each season outpaces the rest, “The Steelers played 15 of their 16 games in the Eastern time zone, with a lone trip to the Central time zone waiting for them against the Titans in Week 16. Part of that is a lucky out-of-division schedule, but the Steelers also benefit by playing in a division with three opponents who each reside within 260 miles or so of Pittsburgh. Seattle, meanwhile, plays in a ‘West’ division that places its teams in three different time zones. Pittsburgh accrues about 1,122 miles in traveling to and from its divisional rivals, while Seattle’s round-trips to their NFC West brethren clock in at a whopping 7,024 miles.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com takes a look at some recent stadium rule changes that should ensure home teams enjoy a more formidable advantage. The Wall Street Journal reported, “Stadiums will now be free to rile up crowds with video displays, and public-address announcers will no longer be restrained from inciting racket when the opposing offense faces a crucial third down.” Sando points out how these changes might benefit Seattle’s already boisterous 12th Man crowd, “It’s unclear how much louder CenturyLink Field can become, but a few well-timed highlights featuring knockout hits from Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor should help us find out. Likewise, shots of Tony Romo’s infamous botched hold against Seattle in the playoffs years ago should come in handy when Romo is breaking the huddle at CenturyLink for the Seahawks’ home opener this year.”
Sando also continues with his pre-camp analysis – this time with the Seahawks defense and special teams – breaking down who he feels are the safest bets, leading contenders and those who face longer odds to earn roster spots come the end of training camp. On the Seahawks secondary, Sando had this to say, “Three of the four starters went to the Pro Bowl last season; [Richard] Sherman arguably should have gone. [Marcus] Trufant’s conversion to a nickel role has the potential to upgrade Seattle’s coverage. Injuries sidelined Trufant and [Walter] Thurmond last season. Both can contribute at a reasonably high level if healthy. It’s tough to bank on either one, however. Don’t forget about [Byron] Maxwell. He impressed in camp as a rookie, only to fade from the picture after suffering an ankle injury. Seattle likes its depth at corner. [Jeron] Johnson should be ready to take a step forward at safety. The Seahawks like what they’ve seen from [Winston] Guy as well.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we continue with our Rookie Spotlight segment as Seahawks General Manager John Schneider takes a couple of minutes to talk with Tony Ventrella about Seahawks second round draft pick LB Bobby Wagner out of Utah State.
Finally, in the spirit of the holiday, NFL.com asked their staff the question, ‘Which 2012 NFL game should become a national holiday?’ The question sparked some interesting responses, but the unanimous choice was the New England Patriots October 7 game with the Denver Broncos, or as many will see it – Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. “This is an easy one,” said NFL Network’s Ian Rapport. “On Oct. 7, the New England Patriots play the Denver Broncos in a game the entire country should be forced to sit down and watch. The NFL was robbed last year of the its 13th meeting of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, but not this year. Sure, sure, Manning is playing for Denver now, but the key elements of the NFL’s best quarterback rivalry are still there. Brady and Manning will still be matching right arms in a battle to reach 40 points, with this contest taking place at Gillette Stadium. If history is any indicator, it’ll go down to the wire.”
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 6:
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times says that despite another busy cut-down weekend for the Seahawks, don’t expect the constant roster turnover of a year ago – when the club made 284 transactions. Offers O’Neil: “And while this week’s moves may feel similar to last season, that is where the comparison to 2010 will end, according to coach Pete Carroll. ‘I feel very confident that there won’t be a lot of moves from this point forward,’ Carroll said. ‘We’re strongly committed to the guys that we’ve chosen.’ ”
Eric Williams of the News Tribune was among the reporters gathered around Mike Williams after practice on Monday, and the team’s leading receiver from last season defended his new QB. Says Williams (Mike, not Eric): “It’s kind of unbelievable. If it’s overwhelming for a teammate, then it has to be enough for him. I just kind of want to tell everybody, ‘Back the hell up.’ Let him play. Let him have his shot to work and go out here and do his thing.”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald focuses on rookie James Carpenter getting work at left guard in practice, with Robert Gallery sidelined by a sprained knee. Says Boyle: “If Gallery can’t play, one of the options to replace him is apparently first-round pick James Carpenter, who up until Monday has strictly worked at right tackle, where he is projected as a starter. Carpenter saw action at guard, a position he played some in college, as well as his usually tackle spot Monday. The Seahawks also have Paul McQuistan and Lemuel Jeanpierre as options at guard.”
Also at the Everett Herald, former beat writer Scott Johnson is doing a series of features on Seahawks looking back at the “The Game of My Life.” It starts with defensive end Jacob Green, who picks a game against the Raiders on Dec. 22, 1984. Says Green: “My father had died that week, and I dedicated that game to him. I wasn’t in town for practice, and the coaches didn’t know if I was going to play. I didn’t even know if was I was going to play. But I played, and we beat the Raiders 13-7. I had 2½ sacks. I was out there for my father, and I played like I was possessed for that particular reason. I was really playing. We had Kenny Easley on defense and all these other people playing well: Jeff Bryant, Joe Nash, all those guys. But that was my day.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com, prompted by a reader’s question, “defends” the NFC West. Says Sando: “Having a division winner with a losing record cannot overcome a one-game upset. The NFC South went 13-3 against the NFC West last season. I won’t be surprised if the Dallas Cowboys exceed expectations this season in part because they’re paired against this division. The NFC West needs to win non-division games more regularly to change perceptions. This division should improve in 2011.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got a bodacious recap of Monday’s practice, as well as a feature on what a weekend it was for rookie free agent safety Jeron Johnson and new kicker Steve Hauschka. There’s also Tony Ventrella’s video report and Rod Mar’s photos from practice. And because it was Monday, there’s also the Monday metatarsal musings.
Michael Lombardi at NFL.com compiles his own “dream team,” with a salary cap. There are no Seahawks on it, but it’s an interesting premise and project nonetheless. Says Lombardi: “Watching all the teams this weekend make cuts and set their 53-man rosters gave me the itch to build a team of my own. With players from all 32 teams serving as my candidate pool and working under the constraints of the $121 million salary cap, I put together my own 53-man roster. I used the base salaries of the players for the 2011 season and not their cap number, which gave me a little more flexibility in assembling my team. My point of emphasis for building this team was to make sure I had top players at what I believe to be four critical positions: 1. Quarterback; 2. Left tackle; 3. Defensive end; 4. Cover corner.”
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 2:
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look at the bubble players as the Seahawks prepare to play their preseason finale tonight against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field and then cut their 80-man roster to 53 players on Saturday. Offers O’Neil: “Safety Jeron Johnson packed for an entire season. Receiver Doug Baldwin brought enough clothes for about three days. Johnson has at least 20 pairs of sneakers in his hotel room. Baldwin has all of one jacket. While they packed differently, the two undrafted rookies share an objective: earning one of the 53 roster spots available when the Seahawks’ season opens. Friday’s exhibition game against Oakland at 7:30 p.m. is their chance to make a closing statement.”
Eric Williams at the New Tribune checks in with second-year wide receiver Golden Tate, who has been outplayed by Baldwin in the preseason. Says Williams: “Tate, a second-year receiver out of Notre Dame, certainly has had his share of struggles during exhibition play, including a pair of costly drops – one that turned into an interception return for a touchdown against Minnesota. But coach Pete Carroll lauded Tate before training camp started as one of the players he had high expectations for this season, and he doesn’t appear ready to give up on the team’s second-round pick from last year. Carroll expects Tate to play a lot in the league’s final exhibition game tonight against Oakland.”
Dave Boling at the News Tribune has a blog item asking about the Seahawks’ best catch ever, and prompted by the one rookie free agent Ricardo Lockette made in practice on Wednesday. Says Boling: “Ricardo Lockette may not even make this team or ever play in an NFL game. He has some amazing physical talents, though. But for one afternoon, the guy made some jaws drop with the best catch I’ve ever seen.”
Christian Caple at PI.com offers five things to watch in tonight’s game, including right tackle – where first-round draft choice James Carpenter and Breno Giacomini have been splitting time practice this week and likely will share the duties tonight. Says Caple: “James Carpenter has nothing to worry about when it comes to making the team. That’s obvious. But what the rookie right tackle still must prove is that he belongs in the starting lineup, as well. Carpenter, the team’s first-round draft pick this year, was dubbed the starting right tackle the day he was selected. But poor play against Denver last week and some struggles in practice have led to some questions about whether he’s ready to battle first-team defenses in the NFL just yet. That’s why Breno Giacomini has been splitting reps with the first-team offense at right tackle.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com has five things to know about the Seahawks, including this one: “4. Leroy Hill lives: A year or two ago, it would have been unthinkable to hold up Hill as the Seattle linebacker whose future with the team appeared brighter than the futures of (Lofa) Tatupu or Aaron Curry. Tatupu had been to three Pro Bowls. Curry was the fourth player chosen in the 2009 draft. Hill was coming off a serious injury and multiple off-field incidents. Tatupu is gone. A restructuring for Curry chopped off two years from his rookie deal and made 2011 quite possibly his final one with the team. Hill, meanwhile, has recaptured the aggressive, borderline violent form that made him a potential rising star a few years ago.”
Pat Kirwan at NFL.com takes a look at the NFC West, including the tough schedule awaiting each of the four teams: “All four teams have to face the NFC East and the AFC North. Of the eight teams in those two stacked divisions, the only one that had a losing record in non-conference games last season was the Bengals. Every NFC West team will now face the Steelers, Ravens, Eagles and Giants, who had a combined record of 44-20 last year.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the rookie free agent class that had GM John Schneider excited from the day the team signed them and those left who continue to impress coach Pete Carroll. Says Carroll: “It has been a really good group of guys. We’ve been excited about the quarterback, for sure, in Josh; and Baldwin’s had a great camp; Ricardo Lockette’s done stuff consistently for us; Mike Morgan has played well for us on the defensive side. There have been a number of guys. It’s really added to the draft class and made it a very competitive group. And it’s been exciting from the beginning.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. The Broncos’ pass-rushing tandem gave a demented meaning to “pressure off the edge.” They combined for 3½ sacks and six QB hits, and it seemed like twice that.
Their efforts made for a long evening for rookie right tackle James Carpenter, and stopped what the Seahawks were trying to do on several plays before they could even get started.
As Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of a Broncos’ defense that produced five sacks of Tarvaris Jackson, “They ran right through us.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: In a game dominated by the Broncos’ pass rush and decided by the special teams units, let’s go with the longest offensive play of the game – a 42-yard completion from Broncos QB Kyle Orton to Eddie Royal.
Defense: In his preseason debut – and on the Broncos’ sixth play of the game – defensive end Chris Clemons intercepted an Orton pass that was intended for Brandon Lloyd. Not on a pass that was tipped at the line, but one were Clemons was in coverage. And not on a zone blitz.
“It’s actually not a zone blitz,” Clemons explained. “It’s just a coverage that we have we put in to take away the No. 1 receiver. When I got there, he had just released the ball. So it was a matter of me just catching it.”
Special teams: There definitely were several that deserve recognition, starting with Steve Hauschka’s 51-yard field goal to win it as time expired and also including a 57-yarder by the Broncos’ Matt Prater and 53- and 52-yarders by the Seahawks’ Jeff Reed. But the nod goes to rookie Doug Baldwin, who returned a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown.
“After the first wave, the hole was enormous,” Baldwin said, giving ample credit to his blockers. “Then, I had to make one guy miss.”
The Seahawks got out of the game without any injuries of note, Carroll said. But they played without six injured starters: running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle), left tackle Russell Okung (ankle), tight end John Carlson (shoulder), middle linebacker David Hawthorne (knee), cornerback Kelly Jennings (hamstring) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (foot).
THIS ‘N THAT
Rookie defensive lineman Pep Levingston had two sacks.
Veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant had a sack – for 15 yards – among his game-high six tackles.
Jon Ryan got off kicks of 66- and 63-yarders while averaging 51.1 yards on seven punts.
Rookie Byron Maxwell had three coverage tackles on special teams and fellow rookie Jeron Johnson has two.
There were 19 penalties – 10 against the Seahawks for 67 yards and nine against the Broncos for 73.
The Seahawks averaged 1.4 yards on their 27 offensive plays in the first half, when they were outgained by the Broncos 204-39.
YOU DON’T SAY
“He’s been very, very effective in this preseason so far. There’s really been nothing that he’s been asked to do that he can’t do.” – Carroll on Baldwin, who had two receptions to go with his kickoff return for a TD
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Aug. 25:
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has the story on Mike Williams as the Seahawks’ leading receiver begins the second season of his return to the NFL. Just don’t call it a comeback. Offers O’Neil: “The story line isn’t nearly so simple for Williams’ second season as a Seahawk. The question is no longer whether he can reclaim his football career, but how far he can take it. He was the feel-good story of last season’s Seahawks. The former first-round pick who had spent two seasons unemployed only to rebound from that abyss to a starting job, 65 catches and a three-year extension. It was a tidy little tale of perseverance and determination that detailed the 30-some pounds he lost, mentioned his always impressive size at 6 feet 5 and praised his more professional approach to coaching. The result was a story that fit neatly into the traditional trilogy of an athlete’s rise, precipitous fall and ultimate redemption. Except the comeback wasn’t the conclusion to Williams’ story.”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune checks in with Doug Baldwin, the wide receiver from Stanford who has been the valedictorian of this year’s rookie free agent class by not only making the grade but exceeding expectations as receiver and kick retruner. Says Williams: “At 5-foot-10, 189 pounds, the Stanford graduate doesn’t have the prototypical size coach Pete Carroll looks for in a pass catcher. But what Baldwin does have is craftiness and the ability to get open in the middle of the field, similar to one of the best slot receivers ever to play for Seattle – Bobby Engram. ‘One (of) my strengths is my creativity in the slot,’ Baldwin said, ‘being able to be witty and creative matched up against a nickel corner or a (weakside) linebacker, so just being able to be creative in there, getting open and getting separation.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald profiles Jeron Johnson, another rookie free agent who has been impressive. Says Johnson, a safety from Boise State who admits to having a chip on his shoulder: “That chip has always been there, honestly. Coming out of high school I didn’t get recruited too much, and going to Boise State we had to play with a chip on our shoulder. So at Boise we played with a chip on our shoulder, and I’ve got to carry that over.”
Christian Caple of PI.com reviews what was one impressive practice on Wednesday by cornerback Walter Thurmond, who is returning from a high ankle sprain. Says Caple: “The extra sprints Walter Thurmond ran up the hill next to the Seahawks’ practice field on Wednesday were an indication of two things: That Thurmond needs the conditioning after missing most of training camp with a high ankle sprain. And that Thurmond’s ankle is finally healthy enough to run on.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com looks at the quarterbacks in the NFC West during the preseason, including the disparity between the numbers generated by Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst for the Seahawks. Says Sando: “Seattle has the closest thing to a quarterback competition in the division, but Jackson is the starter. Coming into camp, the team felt as though Jackson would benefit from stability and support. His career had hit bumps in Minnesota as the team continually courted Brett Favre. Jackson hadn’t shown much improvement. The Seahawks thought he had potential to grow as a quarterback in the right environment. They don’t want to jerk him around this early in the process even though Charlie Whitehurst has made strides. Jackson could use better pass protection as much as anything right now.”
Sando also has a rundown on the division’s first-round picks in the 2008 NFL Draft, and two have come through Seattle – Kentwan Balmer, who was released on Wednesday; and Lawrence Jackson, who was traded to the Lions last year.
At NFL.com, Bucky Brooks and Steve Wyche discuss the Seahawks’ chances of defending their title in the NFC West with Williams.
Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got the story on Maurice Fountain and how he was able to make plays in Saturday night’s preseason game after flying to Seattle from Atlanta on Friday and rejoining the team on Saturday morning. Says Fountain: “I had committed to the Locos (of the Arena League), and I was supposed to be there today,” the aptly named Fountain said after Tuesday’s two-hour practice in full pads, as sweat was pouring from every pore. “Fortunately, Seattle called me Thursday night. So, it’s a dream come true. It was good to have a backup plan, but my ultimate goal was to come to Seattle.”
We’ve also got Wednesday’s practice covered in words, with even more details on Thurmond’s impressive afternoon; and video, as Tony Ventrella takes a look at the defense. And if you missed this video report on the players going go-kart racing, you need to check it out.
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Aug. 13:
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a review of the preseason opener against the Chargers and started with the obvious topic: The durability of left tackle Russell Okung, who sprained his left ankle on the first series of the game. Says O’Neil: “While there was no update Friday on his status, the fact the injury occurred in what coach Pete Carroll characterized as a non-contact play causes concern over whether Okung will stay healthy enough to be the cornerstone the team expects at left tackle.”
Eric Williams of the News Tribune looks back at how some of the younger players performed, especially when they stopped the Chargers on their final possession. Said veteran CB Marcus Trufant: “I think that was big for them to be down there in the red zone, on the goal line and then to come up with a stop. I think that’s real big for confidence and for teaching purposes. And they had a good showing. They came out on top.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com revisits “three things” from the opener. One was the youth movement on defense. Says Sando: “The young linebackers and safeties were active. Strong safety Kam Chancellor was aggressive against the run, as advertised. He had a tackle for loss. Safety Mark LeGree got credit for no passes defensed on the stat sheet. I saw him play a role in a couple of incomplete passes, however. Jeron Johnson broke up two passes and had one tackle for loss. Another rookie, linebacker K.J. Wright, led the team in tackles with seven, including a couple after short gains. Officials flagged him for a horse-collar tackle. Pass-rusher Jameson Konz, a project as a former receiver and tight end, collected a sack.”
Nancy Gay of FoxSports.com was at training camp last week and has this overview of how coach Pete Carroll set about adding needed players in free agency after the lockout ended. Offers Gay: “Carroll, it seems, was crafting an interesting master plan to overcome the lockout-truncated NFL offseason. He would encourage his proven offensive coaching staff — (Darrell) Bevell from Minnesota and line coach Tom Cable, the former Raiders head coach — to bring in free agents they knew, players they trusted who could master their schemes quickly and assume leadership roles immediately.”
Here at Seahawks.com, Ben Malcolmson has his “From the Sidelines” look at the opener. Offers Malcolmson: “It all started in the same location about three hours earlier, when the players gathered together in the locker room just before taking the field. Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane had a simple set of inquiries for his teammates.’The question is — are we ready to play?’ Mebane yelled out to all the players encircling him.’Are we ready to hit them in the mouth?’ ”
We also have a closer look at Jeron Johnson, the rookie free agent from Boise State who had some big plays in the NFL debut: “In the 24-17 victory, Johnson had two tackles, including one for a loss, and also broke up two passes – the second coming into the end zone on a fourth-and-3 play with less than a minute to play and the Chargers at the Seahawks’ 5-yard line. Not a bad night’s work, especially when you consider it came in half-a-night – and the half the Seahawks dominated, outscoring the Chargers 24-7. ‘Coming in and having to wait for your number to be called, it was a little difficult at first,’ Johnson said in the locker room after the game. ‘But once I got in I had a ball.’ ”