Audio file – General Manager John Schneider on 950 KJR AM:
Seahawks general manager John Schneider joined 950 KJR AM’s Mitch in the Morning show with host Mitch Levy yesterday to discuss an array of offseason topics – the trade for Percy Harvin, the free agent signings of defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, and what the future holds for backup quarterback Matt Flynn.
If case you missed the interview, we’ve embedded the entire segment between Schneider and Levy above, but one of the more newsworthy pieces to come out of the conversation was on Bennett, who ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently reported had been diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff.
“It is true,” Schneider told Levy of the report. “I do know he [Bennett] played every game last year with [the injury], that’s the understanding. Our medical staff felt comfortable with it, especially on a one-year deal.”
Schneider went on to say that Bennett’s injury would need to be repaired at some point, but not anytime in the near future. He fully expects Bennett to play with the injury as he did throughout 2012, when he racked up 9.0 sacks and three forced fumbles while playing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“The majority of them were as an inside rusher,” Schneider said of Bennett’s 2012 sack total. “It’s how we’re going to use him, like a three-technique inside rusher.
“Michael had been here before, so he’s very close with Red Bryant and a number of guys on the team. He had a strong interest in coming here and playing for coach Carroll and [defensive coordinator] Dan Quinn.”
NFL.com Around the League writer Chris Wesseling has ranked what he believes to be the NFL’s five strongest rosters, and after the recent acquisitions of wide receiver Percy Harvin and defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, the Seattle Seahawks have claimed the top spot on his list.
The Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots rank No. 2-5, respectively, on Wesseling’s list. His comments on the Seahawks’ current squad and 2013 NFL Draft needs are outlined below:
Adrian Peterson’s reaction to the Percy Harvin trade speaks volumes about a dynamic player who could tip the balance of power in the NFC West. It’s easy to forget that Harvin was a more valuable player than Peterson prior to his season-ending ankle injury in Week 9 of last season.
Russell Wilson’s offense averaged 32.4 points per over the final 10 games of the 2012 season (including the playoffs). It gets even better with Harvin, recently described by NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell as ‘a movable chess piece that advances the continuing evolution of NFL offense.’
To a defense that led the NFL in fewest points per game, the Seahawks have added effective pass rushers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett on the cheap.
Draft Needs: This might be the one team with the luxury of selecting the best player available regardless of need throughout the entire draft. The Seahawks could use depth at linebacker and the offensive line, but the most glaring weak spot is kicker, with Steven Hauschka unsigned.”
Russell Wilson was in a corporate meeting at Virginia Mason Athletic Center last week, but John Schneider felt compelled to interrupt the session. And who could blame him? The Seahawks had just completed a trade to acquire Percy Harvin and the team’s general manager figured the team’s quarterback should be among the first to know.
“John Schneider knocks on the window and pulls me aside,” Wilson recalled today during a promotional event for the Verizon Wireless “Save it Seattle: Pledge to Stop Texting & Driving” program. “He said, ‘Hey, come in. I need to talk to you real quick.’ He tells me we added Percy Harvin to the football team.”
That’s Percy Harvin the versatile and productive receiver/returner/runner from the Vikings who fills several needs for a Seahawks offense that only got better as last season progressed with Wilson as the rookie QB.
Wilson’s reaction? As understandable as it was predictable.
“He’s a guy that’s very, very competitive. A guy who’s been one of the top receivers in the National Football League. He’s very, very explosive. He’s a great kick returner. He’s going to help our football team,” Wilson said.
Wilson looks at Harvin as a complement to the receivers already on the roster who can enhance what Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin bring to the passing game.
“It’s so exciting to see what we have on the table,” Wilson said. “I know that feeling of losing last year (to the Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs), and it doesn’t feel good. So we have to do whatever it takes to win. And I definitely believe our football team is mentally and physically ready, and spiritually as well.
“It’s a battle and we can’t wait to get out there and add Percy and the rest of the guys that we have added as well.”
That would be Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, the defensive linemen who were signed in free agency last week – after Harvin was acquired in the trade.
Pro Bowl kick returner Leon Washington, who was released by the Seahawks on Tuesday, has signed with the Patriots.
The move is a return to the AFC East for Washington, who was acquired by the Seahawks in a trade with the Jets during the 2010 NFL Draft. Washington became expendable after the Seahawks obtained Percy Harvin in a trade with the Vikings this week.
But Washington’s three-season stay in Seattle was memorable, and productive. He returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in 2010 and added another last season – the eighth of his career to tie the NFL all-time record. Washington also led the NFC in kickoff return average (29.0) last season, when he was voted to the Pro Bowl.
“This is the hard part. These are people’s lives,” general manager John Schneider said of releasing Washington. “We have a very special place in our hearts for him. The hardest part of the business is calling somebody and telling them that we’re going to go in a different direction.
“Leon did a phenomenal job here. The fans love him. He’s such a pro; he really handled himself with extreme class. He understood what we were doing. The first thing you could say about him is he’s a pro.”
With the Patriots, Washington joins a team that has advanced to the playoffs in nine of the past 10 seasons, but averaged 21.2 yards on kickoff returns in 2012 to rank 25th in the league.
To say the national reaction to the Seahawks acquiring Percy Harvin has been positive doesn’t begin to tell just how well the trade for the wide receiver/kickoff returner/runner is being received.
After Harvin was obtained Tuesday in a deal with the Vikings Don Banks at SI.com offered, “For a franchise that has rapidly become known for its fearless, unconventional thinking on personnel matters, Seattle’s trade for disgruntled receiver-return man Percy Harvin is another bold step. One that again reinforces the perception that Seattle is comfortable operating outside the box and rapidly gaining confidence in its methods.”
Sure, the Seahawks gave up three draft choices to get Harvin, including their first-round pick next month. But as Banks wrote, “This is a win-now move for a team ready to challenge San Francisco for supremacy in the NFC, and Harvin gives Seattle another dynamic and unconventional player who threatens a defense on multiple fronts, having scored multiple touchdowns as a receiver, rusher and return man. Harvin at his best creates pressure on a defense that few players can match, and it’s not often you can pick up a fifth-year talent with a fairly unique skill set while that player is very much in his prime.”
Mike Silver at YahooSports.com also likes the move, and what it does to the dynamic in the NFC West: “Two words to describe the ever-escalating rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks: It’s on.”
As for the trade, he wrote: “I completely understand why (coach Pete) Carroll and Seahawks general manager John Schneider felt good about taking this big swing. For one thing, they have positive associations with such a move, having reaped the benefits of a 2010 trade for Marshawn Lynch that was considered a gamble at the time. Further, Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had the same job with the Vikings during Harvin’s first two NFL seasons, and obviously there’s a familiarity and comfort level that helped convince the team this was a worthwhile move.”
And at CBSSports.com, Clark Judge lists Harvin among his “five biggest winners” from the first day of the NFL free-agency period.
Richard Sherman appeared on the NFL Network’s NFL AM this morning, and the Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback had a lot to say on several topics.
Here’s a transcript of the interview:
On the San Francisco 49ers trading for wide receiver Anquan Boldin:
“That was a great move. I was really surprised they got him for a sixth-round pick. I thought the way he played in the postseason and the way he played all season he was worth a lot more than that. But that was a great move by San Francisco and they got a great player who still has a lot of football left.”
On the areas the Seahawks need to address this offseason:
“We have a pretty solid team as we stand; we have a lot of playmakers. Obviously with (Chris) Clemons going down last year with a knee injury, they’re going to probably try to secure that and get some depth there. We let Jason Jones go into free agency so I think the defensive line is where we’re going to pick up some pieces. We have great depth at linebacker and at defensive back. I’ve heard rumors of us picking up a defensive back or two, and obviously I’m always happy for more competition. My teammates are too; whatever makes us better. We just picked up a great weapon on offense but I’m sure Pete (Carroll) and John (Schneider) are going to do whatever they think is best for the team. They’ve done a great job so far.”
On if he expects the Seahawks the highest paid cornerback in the league when he becomes an unrestricted free agent:
“To tell you the truth, I’m not sure. I don’t think I’m the one to comment on that. All I can do is play to the best of my abilities. We have a lot of great players on our team who are obviously going to want the same thing. We have Russell Okung, Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Brandon Browner – we have a lot of great players who are also going to need to make their money and to get compensated for everything they’ve done. Pete (Carroll) and John (Schneider) will do a great job making sure we all stay in Seattle, and whatever that means – if that means me being the highest paid corner – then that’s what it means. If not, then it is what it is.”
On what would interest him the most about the free agency process:
“You see other teams all of the time; you play against them. But you never see organizations for what they are internally. You hear about them through other players and you see them through osmosis; how they treat other players and how they deal with other players. The Seahawks have one of the best organizations and one of the best teams in the way they treat the team and the way they develop our chemistry and treat us like more of a college family atmosphere. That’s why a lot of players who are currently here enjoy playing for Pete (Carroll) and those guys because it’s such a great environment. It’s almost like you’re not in the NFL; we haven’t been exposed to that side of it as much as other players have. I’m appreciative for that and I’m kind of not looking forward to seeing that part of the game.”
The boys from NFLDraftScout.com and CBSSports.com have updated their mock drafts after attending the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Each now has the Chiefs taking an offensive tackle with the first pick in April’s NFL Draft, and they also project the Seahawks going with a defensive lineman at No. 25 in the first round.
Rob Rang: He has the Chiefs taking Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel at No. 1, but still has the Seahawks going for UCLA defensive lineman Datone Jones at No. 25.
“The camaraderie forged between Pete Carroll’s coaching staff and the scouting staff under general manager John Schneider has resulted in several surprising but ultimately successful draft selections in recent years. The 6-4, 280-pound Jones will be viewed by some as a ‘tweener but he might possess the combination of strength, length, burst and passion to aid as an interior pass rusher in Seattle’s hybrid front.”
Dane Brugler: He also has the Chiefs going for a tackle with the top pick, but it’s Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher. At No. 25, he projects Florida State defensive end Cornellius “Tank” Carradine for the Seahawks.
“The Seahawks have one of the better defensive fronts in the NFC, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add some depth, especially at pass rusher. Carradine still isn’t 100% healthy from his knee injury, but Pete Carroll and John Schneider will recognize the value of snagging him this late.”
Will Brinson: He’s also got Fisher to the Chiefs and Jones to the Seahawks.
“The Seahawks have made it known they want to upgrade their pass rush this offseason, and while giving Russell Wilson an additional weapon or two wouldn’t hurt, Jones can step in and help impact Seattle’s ability to get after the passer.”
Pete Prisco: He too has Joeckel to the Chiefs, but is thinking bigger when it comes to a D-lineman for the Seahawks – Ohio State tackle Johnathan Hankins (6-3, 320).
“Alan Branch is a free agent and they need big bodies in the middle of their defense.”
Clark Judge: Make it one more vote for Joeckel to the Chiefs and one more option for the Seahawks – North Carolina D-tackle Sylvester Williams (6-3, 313).
“With Alan Branch unsigned, the Seahawks could use more help in the middle.”
INDIANAPOLIS – Richard Sherman’s good-natured “feud” with Darrelle Revis over who is the best cornerback in the league has become can’t-avoid TV here at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Seahawks general manager John Schneider was distracted during his podium stint on Thursday by a graphic on the NFL Network comparing the stats of the team’s All-Pro corner to those of the Jets’ Revis. Friday, it was Pete Carroll’s turn, as the Seahawks’ coach was asked about Sherman taking his case to Twitter, TV and seemingly everywhere else.
“It’s obvious that Richard’s got a lot of free time on his hands,” Carroll cracked when asked about Sherman in the hallway at Lucas Oil Stadium after completing his Q&A session in the media center.
Asked if he agreed with Sherman’s contention, Carroll offered, “I haven’t read one word that he’s said. I just see the pictures with the mouth open and I know what’s going on.”
After the laughter subsided, Carroll added, “Richard knows what he’s doing. He’s having fun playing with the whole thing. He had a tremendous season. So he’s got something to stand on right now.”
Like his league-high 24 passes defensed and eight interceptions, which tied for second in the NFL. Then there’s that All-Pro berth.
“It’s better than when he used to talk when he didn’t,” Carroll said with a smile.
Asked again if he thought Sherman was the best corner in the league, Carroll said, “I think he’s a great corner. I think he’s playing tremendous football. I think not enough people know about him yet, although he’s working on that.”
Carroll then admitted he has never known how you gauge who is the “best corner” in the league, adding, “But he’s up there in consideration.”
INDIANAPOLIS – Spoiler alert: If you’re tired of reading gushing accounts of Russell Wilson’s rookie season, do not continue.
But if you’re not, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll heaped more effusive praise upon the quarterback who did so much during the 2012 NFL season.
It was after Carroll had completed his podium stint at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday. A few reporters followed Carroll into the hallway at Lucas Oil Stadium and one asked about Wilson being the best player on the field during the Seahawks’ playoff victory over the Redskins and their playoff loss to the Falcons.
“I do agree with that,” Carroll said. “I do agree that at the time and those places, I thought he was the best player on the field. What’s really exciting about that is that’s what John (Schneider, the GM) came to me and said during the early part of his senior college season, ‘This guy is the best player on the field. Wherever he goes, he’s going to be the best guy, just by his command of the game and his style and athleticism and all of that.’
“It was really exciting. From the second half of the season, there were many games where he was essentially the best guy out there.”
What’s really exciting moving forward is how good Wilson can become.
“He’s got a lot of room to grow,” Carroll said. “He’s just getting started. So it’s really an exciting time for us and for Russell as well.”
INDIANAPOLIS – It happened on an almost-weekly basis during the 2012 NFL season. Ask the opposing coach what impressed him about a Seahawks defense that would end up allowing the fewest points in the league and rank No. 4 in average yards allowed and the response would be, “They’ve got a couple of giants playing cornerback.”
That would be 6-foot-4 Brandon Browner on the right side and 6-3 Richard Sherman on the left side. And at the NFL Scouting Combine this week, the talk isn’t just about how well they played, but how they were obtained.
Sherman was a fifth-round pick in the 2011 draft, while Browner was signed that same year – to a future contract in January, no less – after spending four seasons in the CFL.
As Pat Kirwan, a former NFL scout who is now an analyst for CBSSports.com, put it, “Every team in the NFL is trying to build what the Seattle Seahawks have created with four big secondary players who are physical and can take away the passing game in man-coverage schemes. The four corners at the top of this draft all have Seahawk size, but can they run like the guys out in the Northwest?”
The rest of the Seahawks’ secondary is comprised of 6-3 strong safety Kam Chancellor and All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas. Thomas (first round) and Chancellor (fifth round) were selected in the 2010 draft, the Seahawks’ first under GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll.
Included among those top four corners that Kirwan mentioned is Desmond Trufant, the University of Washington product and brother of Marcus Trufant, the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 2003 who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next month.