Monday in Hawkville: Zach Miller’s one-handed catches really aren’t as easy as he makes them look

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 3, as the Seahawks kicked off the final week of their OTA sessions:

FOCUS ON: ZACH MILLER

Zach MillerThe Seahawks’ veteran tight end does so many things well that focusing on just one could be difficult. Except that when it comes to making one-handed catches, Miller is exceptional.

He had another during today’s OTA session, as well as a finger-tip grab of a pass after he got behind Pro Bowl-caliber strong safety Kam Chancellor. Miller also had a one-hander in the end zone last Wednesday that earned five-highs from several players – defensive, as well as offensive – and coach Pete Carroll. All three passes were thrown by quarterback Russell Wilson.

“I’ve always had a knack for just being able to get the big paw on it,” Miller said through a smile after the team’s sun-drenched session along the shores of Lake Washington. “It helps that I’ve got pretty big hands.”

But making the one-handers is mental as well as physical.

“You’ve got to understand what kind of passes you can catch like that,” Miller said. “If the ball is coming to you fast, you have no chance. So you’ve kind of got to pick your times to do that.”

While those catches can be uplifting for Miller, the QB who throws the pass and the other offensive players, they can have the reverse effect on the players who are covering Miller.

“If you make a one-hander, the defenders don’t like that,” he said. “They think they’ve got you. Then you stick a big paw out and you bring it in, they’re like, ‘Really, you caught that?’ ”

With Miller, the answer is a resounding “yes,” and comes with the tagline “again.”

PLAYER WATCH: MICHAEL BROOKS

The rookie defensive tackle has now practiced with the team twice since being claimed off waivers last week. But Brooks admits to feeling like the new kid who has entered a new school at midterm.

“I’m just trying to learn my way around right now and get with this new system,” said Brooks, who was signed by the Lions after April’s NFL Draft.

Brooks did things one way at East Carolina and was learning to do them another with the Lions. Now comes the way defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and line coach Travis Fisher teach their techniques.

“I was just getting used to the way they do things in Detroit, then I get here and I’ve got to switch it all over,” he said.

In his first two practices – Friday and today – Brooks has participated in the individual drills and then been tutored while on the sideline during the team portions.

“It’s been a pretty good transition. Everybody is helping out,” he said. “I’m just watching and trying to learn from the older guys. They’ve been in the system for a while and I’m just kind of feeling my way through.”

POSITION WATCH: RIGHT TACKLEBowie

With incumbent starter Breno Giacomini missing today’s session, rookie tackle Michael Bowie worked on the right side of the offensive line with the No. 1 unit that also included Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, veteran left guard Paul McQuistan, All-Pro center Max Unger and second-year right guard J.R. Sweezy.

Bowie also continued to work with the No. 3 line, along with left tackle Mike Person, rookie left guard Alvin Bailey and fellow seventh-round draft choices Jared Smith at center and Ryan Seymour at right guard.

The extra reps will only help Bowie as he works to earn one of the backup spots on the 53-man roster.

JOSH PORTIS CFL BOUND

Josh Portis, the quarterback released last month by the Seahawks, has signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, the team has announced.

Portis was the Seahawks’ No. 3 quarterback on 2011, when he was active for one game. He was released last August on the roster cut to 53 players, signed to the practice squad and then released in November. Portis was re-signed in April.

UP NEXT

The players will be back on the field Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as they complete the 10 OTA sessions allowed by the CBA that ended the 136-day lockout in 2011.

The Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field will kick off its grand re-opening weekend on Friday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. The ceremonial ribbon cutting will take place at 5:30, with Wilson and team president Peter McLoughlin doing the honors.

YOU DON’T SAY

“He’s ready to learn. He’s listening to everything. He’s asking questions. Which is exactly how you want your rookie to be. He’s making plays out. He’s having some good days. It’s what he’s got to do to be our second tight end. … And he has that speed that he can separate from guys pretty easily. He’s going to be a weapon for us on offense.” – Miller on Luke Willson, the tight end the Seahawks selected in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft


Josh Portis released

Josh Portis
Quarterback Josh Portis has been released, the team announced today.

Portis signed with the Seahawks as rookie free agent in 2011, when he made the 53-man roster as the No. 3 QB. He was inactive for 15 games and the backup in one because then-starter Tarvaris Jackson was injured. Portis was released from the practice squad last November and re-signed with Seattle on April 3.

Portis had been competing for a backup spot behind starter Russell Wilson with Brady Quinn, a former first-round draft choice by the Browns who was signed in free agency last month; and Jerrod Johnson, who also was signed last month.


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The Real Rob Report: Offseason Workouts

“The best way to kick off my appearance for the season is without a shirt on. I’m in a little bit better shape, right?”

If you’re a fan of Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson’s “The Real Rob Report” then it should be a pretty easy guess as to who’s behind that lighthearted quote that helps kick off his newest episode.

If you’re not yet a fan of the show, it’s about time you get in on all of the behind-the-scenes Seahawks goodness.

Robinson’s latest chapter features a look in at Phase 2 of the Seahawks’ offseason program at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. The familiar faces of Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, Winston Guy, John Moffitt, Max Unger, Josh Portis, Jermaine Kearse, and Phil Bates are all included, as well as the first “Real Rob Report” introductions with newcomers Percy Harvin, Cliff Avril, and Michael Bennett.

Remember, you can stay up to date on everything from the Real Mike Rob by following his show on Twitter and subscribing to his channel on YouTube. And be sure to check out Moffitt’s venture into the apparel business at moffittmerch.com, where like he said in the video above – he’s not “lining his pockets” with the proceeds – they help feed the homeless at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.


Seahawks sign free-agent QB Jerrod Johnson

Jerrod Johnson

The Seahawks added a fourth quarterback today, signing former Texas A&M passer Jerrod Johnson.

The 6-foot-5, 251-pound Johnson was not selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, but signed with the Eagles in July following the 136-day lockout. He was released on Aug. 18 and signed with the Hartford Colonials of the UFL. He then signed with the Steelers in January of 2012, but was waived on Aug. 31. Johnson then played for the UFL’s Sacramento Mountain Lions.

While at Texas A&M, Johnson completed 242 consecutive passes without an interception, and in 2009 passed for 3,579 yards and 30 touchdowns.

With the Seahawks, Johnson joins a QB situation where Russell Wilson is entrenched as the starter after his impressive rookie season; Brady Quinn was signed in free agency this month to be the backup, replacing Matt Flynn after he was traded to the Raiders; and Josh Portis, the team’s No. 3 QB in 2011, was recently re-signed.

Johnson tweeted the following earlier this afternoon, coupled with the picture below from his Instagram account:

Jerrod Johnson

 


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Josh Portis signs two-year deal

Josh Portis

Quarterback Josh Portis has signed a two-year deal with the Seahawks, the team announced this evening.

The Seahawks are familiar with Portis, who originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of California University (Pa.) on July 26, 2011.

The 6-foot-3, 211-pound Portis spent his rookie year on Seattle’s 53-man roster behind Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst. He saw action in the preseason and was active for one game during the regular season (10/23) when Jackson could not play due to injury, serving as a backup to Whitehurst in a loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Portis was released during the Seahawks’ final roster cut down in September before the 2012 season and then added to the team’s practice squad, where he spent time until he was released after the team’s Week 12 game against the Miami Dolphins. That move left Russell Wilson and Matt Flynn as the only two quarterbacks on Seattle’s roster.

Now, two days after Flynn has been traded to the Oakland Raiders, Wilson and Portis makeup the current players at the quarterback position for Seattle.


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Tuesday in Hawkville: Seeking a similar path to another road win in Chicago

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 27:

FOCUS ON

Red Bryant

Defensive end Red Bryant snags an interception and rumbles 20 yards into the end zone in a 38-14 victory over the Bears in Chicago last season.

Da Bears. In not quite 2¾ seasons under coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks are 6-16 on the road. During this same span, the Chicago Bears are 16-7 at home. But two of the Seahawks’ road wins have come at Soldier Field – 38-14 in Week 15 last year and 23-20 in Week 6 in 2010.

Has there been a common thread in the Seahawks claiming a third of their wins on the road at one location?

“I hope so. I hope so,” Carroll said with a laugh. “We do know the setting. … We’ve found some success. We know how to travel there. We know what it takes and all that. We’ll try to bank of that the best we can and make the most of it.”

That’s exactly what the Seahawks did during their wins in the Windy City the past two seasons.

Last year, the Bears played without the injured duo of quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte. Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown combined to complete 11 of 23 passes for 123 yards, but the Bears rushed for 132 yards and a 4.3-yard average with Kahlil Bell (15 for 65) and Hanie (5 for 34) picking up the slack for Forte.

The Bears defense held Marshawn Lynch to 42 yards on 20 carries, but the Seahawks’ Beast Mode back managed to get into the end zone twice. The defense also scored twice, as end Red Bryant (20 yards) and cornerback Brandon Browner (43) returned interceptions for touchdowns.

In 2010, Cutler and Forte played, but Cutler was tackled in the end zone for a safety and Forte was held to 11 yards on eight carries. Lynch, in his first game with the Seahawks after being obtained in a bye-week trade with the Bills, scored a TD. So did two players who no longer are with the team – running back Justin Forsett and wide receiver Deon Butler. Two other since-departed players also made big contributions, as Mike Williams caught 10 passes for 123 yards and Matt Hasselbeck was 25 of 40 for 242 yards.

This week, the Seahawks need a repeat performance from their current players to register another upset and atone for Sunday’s fall-from-ahead loss to the Dolphins in Miami, which dropped their road record to 1-5.

BATES BACK, PORTIS RELEASED

Wide receiver Phil Bates has been re-signed to the practice squad. Bates, a rookie free agent, was with the team during training camp but released on the roster cut to 75 players. He was signed to the practice squad on Oct. 31 and then released on Nov. 14.

To clear a spot, quarterback Josh Portis was released. Portis was on the 53-man roster last season. This year, he was released on the roster cut to 53 players and signed to the practice squad the next day.

STATS ’N STUFF

Lynch has slipped to third in the league in rushing (1,051 yards) after being held to 46 yards by the Dolphins. The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson still leads the NFL (1,236), while the Texans’ Arian Foster (1,064) leapfrogged Lynch. Peterson ran for 108 yards against the Bears on Sunday.

Lynch also is fifth in the league in total yards (1,189).

Jon Ryan is ninth in the league in punting average (47.7), but fifth in net average (42.1). He also tied a club record against the Dolphins by having six punts downed inside the 20-yard line. That gives him 22 for the season, which ranks fifth in the league.

With his 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Dolphins, Leon Washington increased his average to 31.9 yards, which ranks third in the league.

Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner continued to lead the team in tackles with 90.

As a team, the Seahawks rank fifth in the league in total defense (12th against the run, third against the pass) and 27th in total offense (eighth rushing, 31st passing).

STAT DU JOUR

How efficient and effective has rookie QB Russell Wilson been over the past seven games? Only two quarterbacks in the league have a better QBR, the rating system used at ESPN.com, and their names are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Here’s a look at the Top 10 since Week 5:

Player, team                             QBR

Tom Brady, Patriots                 84.7

Peyton Manning, Broncos      81.0

Russell Wilson, Seahawks       79.1

Drew Brees, Saints                   76.9

Josh Freeman, Bucs                 74.9

Robert Griffin III, Redskins     74.7

Matt Ryan, Falcons                  73.2

Aaron Rodgers, Packers          72.7

Andrew Luck, Colts                  72.3

Eli Manning, Giants                 71.3

UP NEXT

The players return from their “off” day to begin practicing for Sunday’s game on “Competition Wednesday.” Because the game is in Chicago, the team will leave on Friday for the second consecutive week and hold its Saturday walkthrough at a local high school.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Knee-jerk reaction: ‘Good teams don’t go 1-5 on the road. The Seahawks are a fraud. They’ll never make a dent in the playoffs as a wild-card team at this rate.’ Reality or not? ‘What did you expect, a 12-4 season? Seattle is building around one of the most impressive rookie QBs in the NFL. Simply reaching the playoffs should be enough.” – NFC West blogger Mike Sando in the weekly “Knee-jerk reaction” feature at ESPN.com


Thursday cyber surfing: Controlling Carolina; Wagner solid; Moffitt out

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 4.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times says that Carolina Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera and second-year quarterback Cam Newton know the path the Seahawks and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson are on, “They [The Seahawks] committed to a process that will include the peaks and valleys that come with someone learning on the job. Just ask Carolina coach Ron Rivera, who went with Cam Newton when he was a rookie a year ago. ‘A lot of highs and a lot of lows, that’s for doggone sure,’ Rivera said. There is no formula for this process, no manual that spells out the care of a rookie quarterback. There’s a lot of hope involved, some patience required, and resilience is an absolute must. ‘In this league, you’re going to have success, you’re going to have downfalls,’ Newton said. ‘But on those downfalls, you have to treat it like a speed bump and not a roadblock.’ “

O’Neil also brings us Wednesday’s injury report, which notes that guard John Moffitt has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game in Carolina.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune writes that Wilson is not the only one to blame for the Seahawks last-ranked passing offense, “Seattle’s pass blockers and receiving corps, as well as offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s play selection, also are taking some heat for the team’s failures in the passing game. For now, everyone involved is shouldering the blame and vowing to get things turned around starting Sunday at Carolina. …The Seahawks have just six passing plays of 20 yards or more, worst in the league. ‘The easiest thing is to protect the quarterback so we can have those longer-developing routes to get down field,’ [Zach] Miller said. ‘Once you do a good job there, then it’s about the receivers running good routes and getting open, and the quarterback finding the open guy and getting it to him. We had some chances in the game where there was some guys open. Sometimes it was either pressure – a guy coming up and Russell would have to scramble and wouldn’t get a chance to get it out, or he just didn’t have enough time. Other times he didn’t happen to be looking at that read at that particular time. So if we can hit those, those are the easy ones that can really open up an offense.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald highlights the play of rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner, who has quietly put together a solid first-quarter of the season and earned the respect of his new teammates, “Wagner had a team-high seven solo tackles in Sunday’s loss in St. Louis, and now is second on the team in tackles this season behind linebacker K.J. Wright. Wagner has proven to be a quick study since arriving in Seattle as a second-round pick out of Utah State. ‘I’m a lot more comfortable just because I’ve done it for four games and I’ve got the confidence and the players have backed me up,’ Wagner said. ‘… It’s gone pretty good. I thought it would go well, I just figured the faster I learned the defense, the faster I’d be making plays.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press also shares his impression of the impressive rookie Wagner, “Perhaps no Seattle defensive player is more prepared to face Newton and the Panthers’ offense than Wagner. Playing at Utah State in the Western Athletic Conference, Wagner regularly saw a number of hybrid offensive systems, including the zone-read offense Carolina uses. Wagner also played against Auburn, albeit a season after Newton led the Tigers to the national title and won the Heisman Trophy. Utah State opened the 2011 season at Auburn and while the plays were different without Newton calling the shots, the principles were similar. While it’s not exact, that experience gives Wagner and the Seahawks some idea of what to expect. ‘It’s going to be fun. I wanted to play him at Auburn and didn’t get a chance,’ Wagner said. ‘I get my chance now.’ “

Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com takes a look at the increased role that Seahawks practice squad quarterback Josh Portis will have in practice this week, as he imitates the play of the Panthers’ Newton on the service team, “Portis, the Seahawks’ practice-squad quarterback, ran some option offense in college and told me about the ingredients to make it a success. ‘You just key on one person coming off the line,’ he said. ‘If he comes up the field, give the ball up. If he crashes on the running back, just keep it, or pitch it.’ It sounds simple, especially when you have an incredible athlete like Newton at the controls. ‘He’s 6-5 and 250 pounds now,’ Portis said of Newton. ‘Not only is he a giant, but he can run. It will be a great challenge for us, but we have one of the best defenses in the league….’ “

mynorthwest.com also brings us Brock Huard’s latest “Chalk Talk,” in which Huard breaks down the blocking behind Marshawn Lynch’s 18-yard touchdown run against the St. Louis Rams in Week 4.

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com catches up with Seahawks radio analyst and Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon on his mentorship with Wilson, “Part of Wilson’s problem so far, Moon believes, is a game strategy that alternately fails to give Wilson enough responsibility at times, and then overcompensates by giving him too much. Projected through a full season, Wilson’s numbers would be startlingly low for a 16-game starter. A prorated line of 240 completions in 400 attempts for 2,376 yards, 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions might have worked in 1973, but in the modern game, more is asked of the quarterback, even in the most rudimentary offensive system. ‘I’ve told him that the team has to help you more — getting involved in the offense,” Moon said. “He can’t go down the field — boom, boom, boom, run-pass run-pass, and then run-run-pass. They’re putting him in all these third-down situations where they ask him to throw the football, and it’s tough to throw the football on third down. Especially when you’re not in a rhythm of throwing the ball. It’s hard to complete that third-down pass when everybody in the building knows it’s coming, and they’re all coming at you. He feels that he can do more and handle more than they’re giving him. You’ve got to remember — Pete’s a defensive coach, and he preaches, ‘Turnovers, and take care of the football.’ He tells his quarterback constantly, ‘Don’t turn the ball over.’ And you become … frigid about throwing the football, because you’re so worried about turning the ball over. Matt Hasselbeck complained about it when he was here, and Tarvaris Jackson was told that constantly last year. He played like a robot, and Russell is starting to do that. They’ve got to relax on that stuff.’ “

Ron Green Jr. of the Charlotte Observer has a look at Wilson’s personal ties to the state of North Carolina, where Wilson played football for three season at N.C. State, and notes how this will be a sort of homecoming game for the rookie quarterback, “Between his three seasons as N.C. State’s quarterback, the one month he spent playing baseball in Gastonia and his personal ties to the area, Wilson has been inundated with ticket requests for what will feel a bit like a homecoming game Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. Playing ticket broker is low on his priority list this week. ‘There were so many tickets (requested) I told people they may have to find their own,’ said Wilson, who will be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback when they face the Panthers Sunday at 4:05 p.m. He’s learning. Wilson estimates he’ll have at least 50 family members and friends in the stadium Sunday. However, his focus will be on continuing to grow into the job he won by acclimating in training camp, outplaying incumbent Tavaris Jackson and edging out high-priced free agent Matt Flynn to become just the sixth rookie quarterback drafted in the third round or later to start his opening game.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at injury situations around the NFC West, “The Seahawks have used eight starters on their offensive line, tied with Jacksonville for most in the NFL through Week 4. One of the eight, guard/center John Moffitt, will not be available against Carolina. Seattle listed him as out with a knee injury. James Carpenter’s return from 2011 knee surgery last week gives the team welcome flexibility. Carpenter started at left guard and survived an injury scare. Paul McQuistan will start at right guard for a second consecutive week. Cornerback Marcus Trufant (back) and defensive end Jaye Howard (foot) missed practice Wednesday. The team gave running back Marshawn Lynch the day off. Trufant’s role as the nickel corner gets him on the field for roughly 40 percent of the snaps, depending on the opponent. Carolina’s opponents have played with at least one additional defensive back about 60 percent of the time when the score was within eight points and 80 percent of the time otherwise, according to ESPN Stats & Information.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth also focuses on the rookie Wagner in his “Wednesday in Hawkville,” Tuesday, we tabbed the middle linebacker as our best rookie in the first quarter of the season. Today, coach Pete Carroll seconded that notion, and then some. ‘I think it’s worth noting at the quarter point of the season that there are a lot of good things that have happened, particularly for some of the young guys who have come on. Bobby is one of them,’ Carroll said of the Seahawks’ second-round pick in April’s NFL Draft. He’s really playing good football. He’s doing a terrific job of handling things. He’s shown up with big hits and he’s shown up covering well. He’s chasing the football. You can see the speed that he has.’ “

Farnsworth also notes the valuable play of running back Marshawn Lynch, and the praise he has garnered from opposing coaches and players around the League, “Ron Rivera, coach the Panthers and a former NFL linebacker, pointed to two elements on Wednesday, when he labeled Lynch ‘one of the premier backs in this league.’ First on Rivera’s list was Lynch’s combination of acceleration and vision. ‘He hits the creases and goes,’ Rivera said. ‘I think his acceleration is tremendous and he’s got great vision.’ … No. 2 on Rivera’s list is an external component that is a not-so-secret key to Lynch’s success – his personal escort, Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson. ‘His fullback is a terrific blocker,’ the Panthers’ coach said. ‘I like the toughness that Michael Robinson shows. I like his whole attitude, the way he plays the game.’ Rivera then added what might be considered an intangible, but is a very real reason for the Seahawks’ and Lynch’s success in running the ball. ‘Their offensive scheme reflects who their offensive line coach is,’ Rivera said, obviously referring to Tom Cable. ‘I think the whole of the way they play. They’re physical. They get after people.’ “

Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily“, with a look at how the Seahawks plan to contain the explosive offense of Newton and the Panthers, and how improvement on third down on both sides of the football will be a big emphasis through the week of practice.

We also bring coach Carroll and coach Bevell’s full press conferences from yesterday, and team photographer Rod Mar has a look at “Competition Wednesday” in photos.


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Monday cyber surfing: Making moves to 53; Practice squad forms

Good morning, and happy Labor Day. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks after a busy weekend of roster transactions. You can take a look at the Seahawks’ up-to-date roster here.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times speaks to the roster’s continuity this season from a year ago, “This season, the subtraction of tight end Kellen Winslow was the only real surprise as Evan Moore will be added to take his place. The fact that things are so much more settled this year speaks to the quality of the roster that coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider believe they’ve assembled over the past two and a half years. There’s not nearly as much turnover on this year’s team. Of the 53 players currently on Seattle’s roster, 15 were acquired over the offseason. Compare that to last season, when 24 of Seattle’s 53 players were in their first year with the team. The year before that, the number was 27, more than half the team.”

O’Neil has a look at the somewhat unexpected release of tight end Kellen Winslow, “The release of Winslow came after he declined to take a pay cut from the $3.3 million he was scheduled to earn. That salary may have been a point of discussion for months now. Seattle is expected to replace him with Evan Moore, a tight end who played the past three years in Cleveland. Moore is 6 feet 6 and caught 34 passes in 2011, scoring four touchdowns.”

Lastly from O’Neil, we have his look at Seattle’s cut to 53 players, which occurred Friday afternoon, “Just as significant as who is not on the 53-man roster, though, is one player who is: offensive lineman James Carpenter. He did not practice at all during training camp as he continued his recovery from a knee injury he suffered in practice last October. Carpenter was last year’s first-round pick, and he was on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list since training camp began. Had he been placed on that list to begin the season, he would not have counted against the 53-man roster limit, but also would have been ineligible to begin practicing with the team until after its sixth game.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune comments on the Seahawks’ 53-man roster, noting that Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s roster-churning days appear to have slowed down, “Currently, 37 of Seattle’s 53 players on the roster were with the team last season. Only six players on the roster remain from when Carroll took over the team after the 2009 season. And Seattle still has one of the youngest teams in the league, with only six players age 30 or older. Cornerback Marcus Trufant is the oldest at 31 – he turns 32 on Christmas Day. Linebacker Leroy Hill turns 30 on Sept. 14.”

Williams has a feature on rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who moved into the starting role this season with the departure of veteran David Hawthorne in free agency and has been making quick progress, “Bradley said he knew Wagner arrived when the headsets on the sidelines went down during the team’s first preseason game against Tennessee, the defensive coordinator had to signal in the calls. Wagner told Bradley he could read his lips from the sideline and get the calls that way. ‘I think for him the big thing is just getting used to using his hands,’ Bradley said. ‘He’s going to have linemen out on him, and he’s getting better at that, and attacking the line of scrimmage.’ “

Williams also comments on the Seahawks’ highly-touted secondary, who has been given the nickname ‘The Legion of Boom‘, “Seattle boasts one of best young secondaries in the league, with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, and cornerback Brandon Browner all making the trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season. Seattle finished No. 9 in total defense last season, the first time since 1997 the Seahawks finished in the top 10. While Seattle’s defensive front seven anchors the unit with its stout play against the run, the Legion of Boom creates turnovers, and plays with a ferocity befitting the name. ‘We all got that boom,’ safety Kam Chancellor said. ‘Whether it’s getting interceptions, talking trash, being a ballhawk or just knocking somebody out – it’s everything.’ “

Lastly from Williams, he details the release of Winslow and Seattle’s cut to 53.

John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune admires quarterback Russell Wilson’s attitude and drive to be “great”, but says that average will be just fine for Wilson in this offense, as he advises the rookie to not try to do too much, “Average will work on this offense. Good will be just fine. An average-to-good quarterback who avoids turnovers is a better fit for Pete Carroll’s system than a great quarterback prone to the occasional, inevitable mistake. Take last season’s road upset of the New York Giants. The Hawks beat the eventual Super Bowl champions because Charlie Whitehurst, relieving the injured Tarvaris Jackson in the third quarter, didn’t try to out-Eli Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Whitehurst completed only 11 passes in the second half, for 149 yards and a touchdown, but none of his 19 attempts ended up in the hands of the defense. Manning, meanwhile, finished the day with gaudy stats – 24-of-39 for 420 yards and three touchdowns – but undermined by three interceptions. On the best day of Whitehurst’s life – and helping the Seahawks to that 39-26 victory qualifies for the short list – he is not half the quarterback that Manning is. But again, sometimes less can be preferable to more.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald recaps the Seahawks’ roster reduction, and says wide receiver Braylon Edwards is out to prove critics wrong after a down season a year ago, “That guy you saw wearing Edwards’ jersey last year? That wasn’t him, he’ll tell you. But saying it is one thing, proving it while playing on your fourth team in the last five seasons? Well, let’s just say Edwards knows a strong training camp and a few nice catches in preseason games don’t mean he’s back to being the player who caught 53 passes for 904 yards as recently as two seasons ago. But just getting a chance to show what he can do is a pretty good start. ‘I feel great,’ Edwards said. ‘I feel like I’m full speed, I feel like I can jump however high I need to make plays and get around. I just feel like my athletic ability is there again. Last year I just wasn’t able really to jump, move, make certain cuts, so I’m a much different player this year than last year.’ “

Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network previews the Seahawks 2012 season, “Even before Wilson’s unexpected rise to the starting lineup and Carroll’s latest examples of unconventional wisdom, the Seahawks were being touted as a team potentially on the rise. Seattle went 5-3 over the second half of last year’s campaign, with the surge fueled by a string of productive games from running back Marshawn Lynch and a defense filled with relative unknowns gelling into one of the NFL’s better crews. And if preseason results can be used as an accurate measuring stick, the Seahawks may indeed be ready to take off in 2012. With Wilson leading the way, Seattle prevailed in all four of its warm-up contests and outscored the opposition by a convincing 122-44 margin.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report on the 53-man roster and release of Winslow.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his analysis of the Seahawks’ cut to 53 players, “Most significant move: The Seattle Seahawks emerged from last season with high hopes for Josh Portis as a developmental quarterback. The arrival of Matt Flynn in free agency and new starter Russell Wilson through the draft left Portis on the outside. The Seahawks released him, leaving Wilson and Flynn as the only quarterbacks on the initial 53-man roster. Some teams with rookie starters brace themselves for what they know will be a long season. The Seahawks think Wilson upgrades the position immediately. They appear unworried by rookie walls and all the other ominous metaphors that typically pop up with inexperienced players behind center. The team could always consider adding a third quarterback in the future, but the value wasn’t there given what Seattle thinks about its top two quarterbacks.”

Sando also has a breakdown of the Seahawks’ roster and practice available for download.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a position-by-position look at the newly-crafted 53-man roster.

Farnsworth also details what’s left at the tight end position after the release of Winslow, “Now what? The Seahawks still have Miller, and the coaches have been pleased with the more-consistent performance of third-year Anthony McCoy during training camp and the preseason. McCoy, a sixth-round draft choice in 2010, had six catches for a team-high 106 receiving yards during the just-concluded preseason. ‘Anthony has been a really good prospect,’ coach Pete Carroll said recently of the tight end he also coached at USC. ‘This was a great pick for us a couple years back. He’s really grown into a versatile tight end for us. He’s one of our best blockers. He’s not quite to Zach’s level, but he really does a great job on all the in-line blocking. He moves around well. He’s a great target to throw the ball to.’ “

And finally, to round things out this morning, Farnsworth looks at the seven familiar faces that make up the Seahawks practice squad, “The release-and-return move with [quarterback Josh] Portis is shrewd. Waiving him opened a roster spot for an extra position player, but he’ll still be around to continue developing his raw, but obvious, skills by getting some reps quarterbacking the scout team that works against the Seahawks’ defense in practice. Last year, Portis made the 53-man roster as a rookie free agent, but was inactive for 15 games.”


Portis heads practice-squad signees

Portis heads practice squad signees

The Seahawks have signed the following seven players to their squad:

QB Josh Portis

WR Ricardo Lockette

LB Korey Toomer

TE Sean McGrath

OL Rishaw Johnson

LB Allen Bradford

S DeShawn Shead

Portis, Lockette, Toomer, McGrath, Johnson, Bradford and Shead were waived by the Seahawks on Friday’s roster cut to 53 players.


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Tuesday in Hawkville: Flynn back in, in backup role

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Aug. 28:

FOCUS ON

Matt Flynn. The backup quarterback was able to throw more in today’s practice than he has since an inflamed muscle in the right elbow started acting up last week. Flynn took part in all phases of practice, a good sign that he’ll be able to play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field.

It also was Flynn’s longest on-field stint since coach Pete Carroll announced on Sunday that rookie Russell Wilson had won the starting job. So Flynn needs to begin taking advantage of whatever opportunities come his way.

“Matt came through in all ways,” Carroll said of Flynn’s performance in the QB competition that began in May – when just-traded Tarvaris Jackson also was part of equation. “He’s done everything he’s needed to do to lead us and show us he could do that. To show us that he understands the system, can use all aspects of it, can throw all the balls we wanted him to throw. He did everything just fine.

“Russell’s performance was just so far off the charts that we had to recognize it.”

Flynn was unable to play in the preseason game against the Chiefs in Kansas City on Friday night, when Wilson led six consecutive scoring drives in his first NFL start to all but settle the situation.

“The games did kind of decided the issue, but the work these guys have done and put in has been well carried out, highly competitive, fought throughout and we had to get to a point where we had to make a decision and we feel really good about the decision,” Carroll said.

Now, Flynn has to maintain his edge while working in a backup role to insure he’s ready if needed.

“I’m expecting Russell to play really well,” Carroll said. “But Matt is not going to take a knee on this thing. He’s going to go for it and keep battling, and when the opportunity comes I know he’ll be ready.”

ON THE FIELD

The 95-miunte practice concluded with each quarterback throwing a touchdown pass during a red-zone drill.

Wilson’s came on his first play, as he passed to wide receiver Sidney Rice after he had gotten a step on cornerback Richard Sherman. Flynn threw his scoring pass to wide receiver Ricardo Lockette on third down, after rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin pressured Flynn into an incompletion on first down. Josh Portis also threw a third-down TD pass to rookie wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei.

SEEING RED

Red Bryant has been listed among the blue-chip defensive ends in the league by Michael Lombardi at NFL.com. It’s overdue recognition for all the things – little and large – that Bryant has done, and continues to do.

Says Lombardi: “Those who are surprised that Bryant qualified as a blue-chipper should talk to any team that has tried to run the ball in his direction. He is a dominant player.”

He also lists Pro Bowl free safety as a “red-chipper,” adding, “Thomas is very close to joining the blue-chippers.”

On offense, running back Marshawn Lynch and center Max Unger were blue-chippers. “(Nick) Mangold might be the best, but (Alex) Mack and Unger are both close to his talent level,” Lombardi says.

IN ’N OUT

The number of players sidelined grew by two as tight ends Kellen Winslow (knee) and Cooper Helfet (unspecified) did not practice.

Still sidelined: wide receiver Doug Baldwin (hamstring), running back Marshawn Lynch (back), guard James Carpenter (knee), defensive linemen Jason Jones (knee) and Greg Scruggs (hamstring), linebacker Matt McCoy (knee) and defensive backs Chris Maragos (shoulder) and Walter Thurmond (leg).

Lynch was able to watch practice from the sideline today after spending Monday in the training room while the team was practicing.

UP NEXT

The players will have a walkthrough on Wednesday morning, their final on-field preparation for Thursday night’s preseason finale.

The 75-man roster must be trimmed to 53 players on Friday and the team can start compiling its eight-man practice squad on Saturday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Coach Sherm always says, ‘The best ability is dependability.’ I just want to make sure when I’m on the field I’m dependable.” – rookie running back Robert Turbin on position coach Sherman Smith, the franchise’s original running back


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