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Friday cyber surfing: Wilson’s rise is no surprise

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 7.

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times brings us inside the Seahawks defense, a pseudo follow-up to yesterday’s piece on defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, “Thomas is just as excited about this defense as some of you are. ‘This defense has a certain feel about it,’ Thomas said. ‘This is how it’s supposed to be. All the pieces are here. The chemistry is great. We’re so close off the field, and that makes you want to work harder on the field because you’re playing for more than you.’ “

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that quarterback Russell Wilson’s rise to earning the starting job in Seattle comes as no surprise to those who know Wilson best, “Confidence. Charisma. Poise. Wilson embodies all of those high-minded concepts that get tossed around to describe the essence of a successful quarterback. In terms of intangibles, Wilson holds a full house, and someone who’s known Wilson since grade school just chuckles a little bit when asked about this quarterback who has turned Seattle on its ear. ‘He’s kind of done that everywhere he’s gone,’ said Charlie McFall, Wilson’s football coach at the Collegiate School in Richmond, Va.”

O’Neil also has his notes from Thursday’s practice.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times delves into Wilson’s former life as a professional baseball player, “The Rockies drafted Wilson in the fourth round in 2010 when he was still at North Carolina State — 140th overall, eight picks after the Mariners took left-handed pitcher James Paxton, one of their vaunted “Big Three” hurlers. John Manuel, editor-in-chief at Baseball America, remembers being ‘completely floored’ that Wilson was taken so high, because he had played only sporadically in college. Wilson was mainly a platoon player for the Wolfpack, starting almost exclusively against left-handers, mostly in the outfield, and even dabbling on the mound in 10 appearances his junior year (starting one game and earning a save in another). ‘Our people looked at Russell as a prospect, but we weren’t going to know until 1,500 at-bats,’ said Bill Schmidt, Colorado’s vice president of scouting. ‘It would probably be three years. I told Russell that. There were no guarantees, but he had a tremendous work ethic. He always told me his objective was to play in the NFL and major leagues.’ “

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps Thursday’s media and practice sessions, “Wilson said that he benefitted from facing Kansas City’s 3-4 defensive front in Week 3 of the preseason in preparation for Arizona this weekend. ‘It helped a lot,’ Wilson said. ‘A 3-4 defense is a little different than just your normal four down lineman that most teams run. So you have to be able to adjust, and understand what we’re trying to do. The offensive line is doing a great job of understanding what we need to do in terms of protection, and in terms of running the football. So I think that more than anything, just being on the same page throughout the game.’ “

Williams also details the Cardinals decision to go with John Skelton over Kevin Kolb as their starting quarterback for Week 1, “So even though Kevin Kolb will make $8 million in total compensation this season, John Skelton will start the season opener for the Cardinals against NFC West division-rival Seattle on Sunday in the desert. ‘Ultimately, in evaluating all of the factors and all of the different things that we looked at, we felt at this time that John gave us the best chance to win going forward, and that’s the decision that we made,’ [Arizona head coach Ken] Whisenhunt said during a conference call with Seattle-area reporters this week. ‘It was definitely a tough decision.’ “

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has a look at three key players who saw little preseason action, but could return this Sunday at Arizona – running back Marshawn Lynch, defensive tackle Jason Jones, and wide receiver Doug Baldwin.

Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s opener against the Cardinals, “Both 2011 encounters between these teams were decided by three points, and with each expected to play things rather close to the vest with quarterbacks that are either unproven or erratic, another narrow margin on the scoreboard seems like a good bet.”

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com has a look inside fullback Michael Robinson’s “The Real Rob Report”, “Robinson, the former Penn State quarterback, started doing what he called “The Rookie Report” after the San Francisco 49ers selected him in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL draft, and things really took off after he signed with the Seahawks in September 2010. Not only did he find a more defined football role in Seattle, but his interviewing skills flourished in Pete Carroll’s media-friendly world. ‘The fans, they don’t get to see our personalities,’ Robinson recently told 750 The Game in Portland. ‘And we wear helmets — it’s not like the NBA or baseball. I just want to give the fans a behind-the-scenes of what guys are doing. I think the mainstream media seems to always look for the negative — it seems like only the negative things are made into stories. I’m more interested in how they work  in the community, what they’re doing during the week, and how they get ready for games. I’ve noticed that most fans really aren’t concerned with the X’s-and-O’s part of the game — they want to see their favorite athletes, just talking in their natural settings. The Real Rob Report is giving you that, and it’s definitely been successful.’ “

Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has a look back at Thursday’s practice, “There was a new name on the injury report. Back up quarterback Matt Flynn was limited with right elbow soreness. Flynn missed the third preseason game with the same ailment. Offensive lineman James Carpenter was also limited in practice as he continues to make his way back from a knee injury. Defensive end Greg Scruggs (hamstring), receiver Golden Tate (knee) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (shoulder) did not participate in practice. Coach Pete Carroll had hoped Tate would be able to do some running in practice this week.”

Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, contributing to mynorthwest.com, writes that Head Coach Pete Carroll and General Manager John Schneider have built a contender with a band of misfits, calling the team that will take the field Sunday a, “…sort of Billy Bean-like ‘Money Ball’ experiment”, and points to oversized corners Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, the massive Red Bryant at defensive end, and defensive tackle turned right guard J.R. Sweezy as just a few examples of the team that Carroll and Schneider have unconventionally built.

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Thursday, including a note from offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell that the playbook actually shrinks on gameday with a specific plan of attack for that week’s opponent, a move that is likely to aid rookie quarterback Russell Wilson’s first regular season NFL start, “Wilson is already considered to have an outstanding work ethic in the amount of time he puts in on the job. Now he has time to specifically study the opponent he’ll see on the field Sunday and try to figure out the best ways to attack them. ‘It’s always good to have a game plan and have an understanding of what the defense is trying to do where you really have a set amount of plays that your focused on and trying to run,’ Wilson said. ‘It definitely helps you focus and stay on task with what you need to do.’ “

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com depicts Wilson’s ascension to the starting quarterback job, “From deep in the depth, he started as a freshman for North Carolina State and held the job for three years. After leaving to play minor league baseball, he returned cold to college football, transferring to Wisconsin, where he started every game his senior year. Now he’s a starter on his first NFL team by his first game. When the NASA rover Curiosity bumps into the Martian Football League, Wilson likely will be the first to start there.”

Here at Seahawks.com we bring you Russell Wilson’s full press conference from yesterday, as well as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s.

Clare Farnsworth has a recap of the day’s activities surrounding Thursday in Hawkville, with a focus on running back Marshawn Lynch, who was limited in practice, sort of, “Lynch took part in today’s two-hour practice, on a limited basis. But there was nothing limited about his efforts on the few touches he got before giving way to rookie Robert Turbin. Lynch displayed the explosive one-step-and-go style in getting through the line that is required to run in line coach Tom Cable’s system. There also were the multiple changes of direction, with accompanying dips and ducks, that were such a part of Lynch putting up career-high totals in rushing yards (1,204) and touchdowns (14) last season.”

Farnsworth also points to the historical significance that will come with Wilson’s start at quarterback against the Cardinals this Sunday, “Jim Zorn. Rick Mirer. And now Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ third-round pick in April’s NFL Draft is about to go where only two other rookie quarterbacks in franchise history have gone when he starts Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona. ‘I don’t get caught up in it,’ Wilson said Thursday when presented with what’s about to transpire. ‘I’m excited about the opportunity. It’s another football game in a place I’ve never played before. But it’s the same distance on the field. The good thing is just to be able to get on the football field with these guys again and to have the opportunity is very, very big in my life.’ “

Tony Ventrella has his Seahawks Daily, as he touches on the rapport that has developed between Wilson and Seattle’s receiving corps.

NFL Films previews the Seahawks matchup with the Cardinals in this short video.

And finally, if you are wondering where to watch, listen to, or otherwise follow Sunday’s season opener, we have a breakdown for you here.