Tuesday cyber surfing: Training camp dates, battles and schedule analysis

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 3.

Last night the  Seahawks announced 13 Bing Training Camp dates that will be open to the general public. Practices that are open to the public will begin on July 28 and end on August 15. Those interested in attending must register through Seahawks.com beginning on July 13 and registration is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Also here at Seahawks.com, Tony Ventrella chats with Seahawks General Manager John Schneider about the Seahawks 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin. According to Schneider, the Seahawks rated Irvin in their top-three among all defensive players on draft day.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times dissects the regular season schedule for NFC West teams. On the Seahawks, O’Neil notes that in 2012 they will face five opponents coming off playoff appearances, five opponents coming off 10 or more wins and six opponents coming off of losing seasons.

Additionally, O’Neil breaks down the Seahawks 2012 strength of schedule, noting that the Seahawks face opponents who went a combined 129-127 last season, a collective winning percentage of .504 that is tied for the 11th-highest among the NFL’s 32 teams. There’s a catch, however, as O’Neil is quick to point out, “That doesn’t mean the Seahawks will be playing the 11th-toughest schedule in the league, though. That depends entirely upon what those teams on the docket do this year. For example, a year ago, the Seahawks were seen to have one of the easiest schedules in the league. Their 16 opponents in 2011 had a combined record of 125-131 the year before, which ranked No. 23. The schedule turned out to be much more difficult in large part because of the improvement of San Francisco and Arizona in the NFC West.”

Last week, ESPN Insider KC Joyner named Brandon Browner one of his seven most overrated players in the NFC, which prompted this discussion from Brock Huard and Mike Salk at mynorthwest.com. In a follow up video today, Huard talks about cornerback Richard Sherman and gives his opinion as to why the cornerback who saw success when he entered the starting lineup as a rookie in Week 8 last season may be one of the Seahawks most underrated players.

Mike Sando at ESPN.com takes a look at four NFC West training camp battles, and it is little surprise that the battle Sando touches on for the Seahawks is quarterback-themed, as he writes, “The Seahawks face a dilemma. [Matt] Flynn, [Russell] Wilson and Josh Portis are the quarterbacks they would ideally keep for the long term, but [Tarvaris] Jackson is the only one with meaningful experience. Jackson is the only one they know for sure they could trust to keep the team competitive right now. Flynn and Wilson will earn roster spots. Jackson could win one, too. He could even start, but so could Flynn or Wilson.” After adding some additional analysis of Wilson and Flynn, Sando closes with, “This should be a fascinating battle once training camp begins.” I think the rest of us would agree.


Carroll calls an audible

Week Two of Phase 2 in the Seahawks’ offseason program ended with coach Pete Carroll changing things up.

Rather than the full-squad workouts the veterans went through on the outdoor practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, each unit did its own thing today – including quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Josh Portis throwing to the wide receivers and tight ends in the indoor facility.

“They’ve worked really hard. They’ve been busting their tails throughout all the workouts,” Carroll said. “So it’s recognition of that, and also I want them to stay strong for next week, too.”

This week couldn’t have gone much better. The players continued to be attentive, and attacked what was presented to them by the coaches. The weather even cooperated.

“This is exactly what we’re looking for, is for the guys to answer the call and compete every day,” Carroll said.  “And they’re doing it.”

That’s why they were deemed reward-worthy.

“We’re moving quickly with what we’re doing installation-wise, and all that, so we could afford to do this and keep them strong,” Carroll said. “It’s a long haul here, this offseason, and I want to make sure we’re keeping them fresh and keep building.”

Did the players appreciate Carroll’s gesture? You had to see the smiles on the faces of Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman to appreciate just how much they appreciated the change in the schedule.

Now, it’s the rookies turn. The vets went four consecutive days this week – rather than getting their usual Wednesday off – to clear the fields for the rookie minicamp that includes practices on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The rookies, including the team’s 10 draft choices and 10 free agents who signed after the April 26-28 draft, are scheduled to take their physicals today.

What is Carroll eager to see from a group that includes first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin, a pass-rushing defensive end from West Virginia; Utah State middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, a potential starter who was selected in the second round; and Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson, the team’s intriguing third-round pick.

“I want to see everything, and everybody,” Carroll said. “This is not going to be our time to really play winning football so much, it’s about evaluating. So we need to see these guys. So hopefully we’ll get a good look at them and get a good sense for what they can do.”


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Seahawks ‘building momentum’

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 9:

We’ve always liked Clark Judge – first as a fellow beat writer when he was covering the Chargers and 49ers; then as someone who shares the same birthday; and now as a friend. But we really like what he has to say about the Seahawks in his latest offering at CBSSports.com. Judge picks them as one of five teams that failed to make the playoffs last season that could advance to the postseason in 2012: “There are few teams building more momentum than Seattle, which quietly put together a defense that could rival San Francisco for intensity, ferocity and opportune play. OK, so the Seahawks lost linebacker David Hawthorne, their leading tackler the past three seasons. They acquired linebacker Barrett Ruud and defensive lineman Jason Jones, retained defensive lineman Red Bryant and added Bruce Irvin, a first-round pick who has a ton of issues but whom scouts describe as the best edge pass rusher in the draft. Seattle is chasing San Francisco in the NFC West, and the last time they met – late last season – they fell just short, losing by two points after quarterback Tarvaris Jackson fumbled with a little more than a minute left. Those Seahawks played great defense but didn’t have enough offense. These Seahawks think they fixed the problem with the acquisition of quarterback Matt Flynn, and maybe they’re right. Flynn has only two NFL starts, but he was marvelous in both. I don’t know, but this looks like a carbon copy of the 49ers’ blueprint, a club that can hammer you with defense and put just enough points on the board – largely thanks to its running game. It worked for San Francisco. Why not here?”

John Clayton at ESPN.com has a photo gallery of his picks for the 10 draft choices that will have the biggest impact during their rookie season, and Irvin makes the cut at No. 6: “Maybe Irvin isn’t a starter and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll eventually will be criticized for drafting a backup at No. 15. But Irvin is probably the draft’s best pass-rusher and should put up double-digit sack numbers early in his career.”

Also at ESPN.com, Mike Sando offers his comments on Clayton’s Top-10 selections: “Irvin should benefit from the Seahawks’ very specific plans for him. The team got nine sacks in zero starts from Raheem Brock in 2010. Irvin will play a similar role and a similar percentage of the snaps, giving him a very good chance to eclipse Brock’s total – if he’s talented enough to produce those numbers. Brock played about 50 percent of the snaps for Seattle in each of the last two seasons.”

Marc Sessler at NFL.com also has an assessment of Irvin, and his selection in the first round: “The immediate prognosis was uncharitable: Pete Carroll and Co. officially reached on the pick. Sure, Irvin turned heads at West Virginia, but off-the-field issues soiled his allure as a rare pass-rushing talent. Ignored amid a flurry of melting tweeters and talking heads was the obvious: The Seahawks weren’t caught off-guard here. This wasn’t a case of general manager John Schneider lounging in the war room, picking a random name out of a hat, with cheerful piñatas dangling from the ceiling. The organization mined Irvin’s past and felt a connection to his story. Where draftniks pick him apart, Seattle saw a unique, moldable talent. ‘Look, he has had a rough background,’ Schneider told the National Football Post. ‘He was so desperate. He dropped out of school. He basically was living on the street. But he was able to pick himself up, get his GED, get into a junior college (Mount San Antonio College), then get a scholarship (with the Mountaineers).’ “

Don Banks at SI.com offers some positional battles to keep an eye on the offseason programs and minicamps continue. The Seahawks’ QB situation is included, of course, but with a twist – Tarvaris Jackson vs. Russell Wilson to be Matt Flynn’s backup: “My way of thinking, if the Seahawks were happy with what they got out Jackson as their starter for 14 games last season, they wouldn’t have signed Matt Flynn in free agency or drafted Wilson in the third round. So I’m not buying it’s a three-man quarterback competition in Seattle. It’s last year’s starter against this year’s rookie to see who earns the No. 2 job, behind Flynn. Jackson has seen this movie before, in Minnesota, and he knows the advantage always goes with the new option, because there’s no taint or stain of defeat on the quarterback who just walked through the door. The sense is that Pete Carroll and Co. are intrigued with Wilson’s skill set and will find ways to get him on the field, perhaps even using him in a Wildcat role. Jackson clearly enters with the edge in experience, and his knowledge of the offense should give him a healthy advantage. But if Wilson proves himself a quick study, don’t be surprised if he’s only relegated to the team’s No. 3 quarterback role for a little while this season.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune provides a roster analysis, including this assessment of the most-talked about spot – quarterback: “This position experienced an extreme makeover from last season, with Seattle adding what it hopes are significant upgrades in (Matt) Flynn and (Russell) Wilson to increase the overall performance from this position. My opinion is even though (Tarvaris) Jackson is in the final year of his contract, if he does not win the starting job the Seahawks likely will keep him. Seattle believes this team is on the cusp of a deep playoff run, and you can’t do that without having two veteran quarterbacks that can step in and win games for you. I think this will be mostly a learning year for Wilson. And don’t count out (Josh) Portis; the organization still likes him as a player and he’ll be given a chance to prove he can be a part of the equation moving forward.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a closer look at sixth-round pick Winston Guy, who could become the third safety in the big nickel defense: “With (Lawyer) Milloy finally retired after 15 NFL seasons and (Atari) Bigby joining the San Diego Chargers in free agency, someone had to fill the third safety spot. And the coaches think they’ve found just the safety. ‘All those things where we used Atari, this kid fills those roles very well,’ Carroll said just after the draft had been completed. ‘He’s a versatile player. They moved him around in the kind of fashion that we like moving our guys around. We’re very excited about him. He’s a very aggressive kid. He plays a lot like Atari.’ ”

We’ve got a look at the wide receivers from Tuesday’s offseason program workout: “But today, after another offseason program workout that was held in warm, sunny conditions and on the manicured outside practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, (Tarvaris) Jackson said he liked the team’s current group of wide receivers. It’s an eclectic mix that includes (Sidney) Rice and Mike Williams, the on-the-mend incumbent starters; Doug Baldwin, who led the team in receiving as a rookie last season and has switched to his college number (89) so (Matt) Flynn could have No. 15; veteran Ben Obomanu, who GM John Schneider recently called “one of the more underrated receivers in the league”; and the promising quartet of Golden Tate, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham. ‘That’s what makes those guys work harder, because they know they’re unproven and they’re trying to prove themselves,’ Jackson said. ‘When you’ve got guys that are hungry like that, and willing to work, that makes things a lot better.’ ”


Tuesday cyber surfing: Everybody’s talking about the draft

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, April 24:

General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll met with the media for a pre-draft Q&A session on Monday.

Marc Sessler at NFL.com passes along his five-pack of thoughts on what Carroll and Schneider had to say, including: “An initial observation: Carroll and Schneider are highly comfortable around each other. We’ve seen our share of prickly coach-GM pairings, but not here. More than once, they veered off topic into inside-joke territory, much like two friends at the bar, with Schneider at one point doing his Homer Simpson impression.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at how the flexibility of the coaching staff has helped the Seahawks play younger players under Carroll: “ ‘We want to have enough flexibility to be able to embrace and encompass a guy’s uniqueness,’ Carroll said. ‘… We’re going to find a way to fit that guy in if we think he’s that special. You’ve seen it in really good examples — ‘Deuce’ (Thomas) and with Kam Chancellor. They couldn’t be on more opposite ends of the spectrum, physically, but both those guys are flourishing in our system because we’re asking them to do things that they can do. So if we said, ‘We want big safeties’ we would have never taken ‘Deuce’, and vice versa. I would like to think that’s a real strength of ours and it’s an openness to try and find a way to get a guy on our club that gives us something that other people can’t.’ So even though plenty of people have an idea of what needs the Seahawks have and what type of players they may be looking for to fill those needs, don’t be surprised if a pick or two leaves you wondering just how the Seahawks will make that player fit in. ‘We might surprise you a little bit with some of our thoughts in that regard,’ Carroll said.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune offers some of the newsier elements, starting with the injury status of just-acquired linebacker Barrett Ruud “Carroll told reporters during a pre-draft press conference Monday that Ruud is recovering from groin, knee and shoulder injuries suffered last season, but is expected to be fully healthy by training camp. Ruud played in only nine games in his only season with Tennessee last year, landing on the season-ending injured reserve with a groin injury. ‘He is working out, he’s doing a lot of stuff,’ Carroll said. ‘But we’re going to be very careful with him in bringing him back. He’s never been hurt before. This is the first year he’s ever had anything and he has three things that are bothering him, so he’s getting them all fixed.’ ”

Williams also looks at the offensive linemen and tight ends in this year’s draft class, focusing on Oregon tight end David Paulson who’s from Auburn: “Paulson is riding the wave of the proliferation of pass-catching tight ends playing a larger role in the league. ‘It helps because teams that have used the tight end are a little more versatile and have had some success with them,’ Paulson said. ‘And now other teams would like to do similar things, so I think I can fit into that role.’ ”

 
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times examines the Seahawks’ ongoing search for a younger quarterback: “ ‘Each guy’s kind of got his own individual makeup and niche,’ Carroll said. ‘It has been a challenge in that regard. They’re all unique, but we think that there’s really good players and there’s almost one for everybody.’ Even the Seahawks? They signed Matt Flynn to a three-year contract earlier this year, and they still have Tarvaris Jackson, whom Carroll said will compete for the starting spot. And don’t forget Josh Portis, who showed promise as an undrafted rookie last year. Would Seattle still be willing to pick a quarterback, even though there’s not an obvious vacancy on the depth chart? ‘Every year we’re after quarterbacks,’ Carroll said. ‘They’re such a rare commodity that we have to do everything we can to entertain the thought that if any one of those guys comes to us, what would we do?’ “

But Art Thiel at sportspress northwest advises against talking a QB too high, with the team having more pressing needs: “Didn’t they just fix quarterback with the free-agent signing of low-mileage, high-performance veteran Matt Flynn last month? Won’t they have a substantial backup in Tarvaris Jackson, who exceeded most expectations as the starter in 2011? Is it against the Carroll house rules to have on the roster a player more than one season removed from his training wheels? I know the circumstance is tough on Carroll. Here he is, in his third draft in Seattle, and he hasn’t taken a quarterback yet. And I’ll admit to some bias on the topic. I was around for the Seahawks selections in the 1990s of Rick Mirer, Dan McGwire and Kelly Stouffer, and I remember Ryan Leaf at Washington State. First rounders, all. Football Hindenburgs.”

The divisional bloggers at ESPN.com held a mock draft, and Mike Sando worked a trade for the Seahawks with the Patriots. So instead of picking No. 12 they drop to No. 27 and select Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones: “Trading back was the plan all along. Jones has the length Seattle covets in its players on defense (think Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright, Kam Chancellor, etc.). Jones also fills an obvious need for a pass-rushing defensive end. Trade details: Patriots sent 27 and 31 to Seattle for 12 and 106.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at coach Pete Carroll’s desire – and plan – to continue building a more competitive roster through the draft: “Pete Carroll would like to reach the point where it will be very difficult for a draft choice to crack the Seahawks’ starting lineup, or even earn playing time. But in his third year as coach, Carroll knows his team is not there yet as the Seahawks finalized their preparation for this year’s NFL Draft – with the first round set for Thursday night, rounds two and three being conducted on Friday and the process being completed Saturday with the final four rounds. ‘That’s what we’re hoping for – we want the roster so competitive that really good draft picks are fighting for play time,’ Carroll said Monday, when he and general manager John Schneider had a pre-draft Q&A session with reporters at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. ‘That means the guys ahead of them are better. That’s what John has been advocating since we got together – getting this roster young and competitive and we’d see the benefits of it.’ ”

We also check in with Ruud, as the players move into Week 2 of Phase 1 in the offseason program: “Ruud, 28, brings experience, familiarity with the scheme – he and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley were in Tampa together from 2006-08 – and proven productivity. He registered 100-plus tackles from 2007-10, averaging 128 over the four seasons. ‘The connection with Gus was very key to me coming here,’ said Ruud, a second-round draft choice by the Bucs in 2005. ‘Unfortunately, I was pretty banged up last year. So you kind of have to have somebody that vouches for you, has been around you a lot and knows how you can recover and how you prepare. So knowing Gus and Todd Wash (the Seahawks defensive line coach who also came from the Bucs), those guys know I work pretty hard to recover from things and they have confidence in me.’ ”

Peter King has a lot about a lot in his latest “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com, including: “One of the things you’re going to hear in the run-up to Thursday night’s first round of the draft is how badly the Jacksonville Jaguars want to trade down from No. 7, which is true. And last night, one of the stories hatching around the league was that Seattle would move from 12 to seven — ahead of Miami at eight — to pick Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill. I think it’s unlikely, and not just because the Seahawks just bought a quarterback, Matt Flynn, in free agency, last month. Seattle doesn’t want to use up two of its three choices in the top 100 of a draft they like a lot for a quarterback they might be able to pick sitting at 12. Think of it: There’s one team that might take Tannehill between five and 11 — Miami at eight. Let’s say Seattle GM John Schneider feels there are multiple holes not at quarterback he needs to fill, and let’s say he had to throw in his third-round pick, 75th overall, to be able to draft Tannehill. That means, after taking a quarterback in free agency and budgeting $15.5 million over the next two years for Flynn, he’d have used the 12th and 75th picks to procure another quarterback. Knowing Schneider and his love of building the roster through the draft, I’m dubious. From what I heard over the weekend, the trade market up to seven is comatose, unless Jacksonville’s asking price is downright minuscule.”


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Free agency and the Draft

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Feb. 8:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com takes a look at the Seahawks who are scheduled to become free agents: “The Seahawks’ top priorities in free agency appear clear, at least when it comes to their own players. Re-sign running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant.”

Sando also has a NFC West “Draft Primer,” and has this to say about the Seahawks: “Finding a long-term quarterback remains the top priority for the Seahawks, but once again the planets appear reluctant to align for them. Parting with Matt Hasselbeck and passing over Andy Dalton have left Seattle with Tarvaris Jackson and developmental quarterback Josh Portis. Chasing after Peyton Manning could make sense for the Seahawks. They have good young players. Adding a front-line quarterback could put them over the top in the division. Linebacker has replaced the offensive line as a primary need for the Seahawks. That should not be the case, in theory, because the team had so much invested in a couple of relatively young linebackers. Aaron Curry and Lofa Tatupu are gone, however, and David Hawthorne is a free agent. The team could move K.J. Wright into the middle.”

Former NFL executive Jeff Diamond at SI.com takes a look at both in this offseason assessment of the Seahawks: “Team Needs: QB, T, DE. The Seahawks want to find a potential elite QB to replace Tarvaris Jackson, but they’re in a tough spot. Picking at 11 or 12 in the first round, it’s too far to trade up for one of the top two. Perhaps they can get a shot at Ryan Tannehill, the third-ranked QB. In free agency, they would have interest in Matt Flynn, but Miami (with Joe Philbin) has a leg up unless the Dolphins can sign Peyton. The Seahawks also must improve their pass protection after giving up 50 sacks, so they will draft offensive linemen in the early rounds. A better possibility in the first round is a pass-rushing DE to play opposite Chris Clemons (such as Melvin Ingram of South Carolina or perhaps a trade up for Quinton Coples). The Seahawks also should seek a vet WR from the strong free agent class. And they may have to franchise Marshawn Lynch after his strong season (1,204 rushing yards, 12 TDs).”

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com has a new mock draft at CBSSports.com, but a familiar pick for the Seahawks: “Devon Still, DT, Penn State. Many expect the Seahawks to consider a quarterback to compete with incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson with this selection but in beating the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens last year, and matching up well with division champion San Francisco, the club may not be willing to reach to fill a perceived need. Don’t be surprised if Seattle instead turns its attention to a bounty of talented defensive linemen likely to be selected in the top 15. Still, a 6-4, 310-pound defensive tackle, showed his talent and despite all of the distractions in Happy Valley last year, was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year. Still could help inside at defensive tackle as well as provide the Seahawks with some flexibility at the five technique defensive end position should incumbent starter Red Bryant be heavily pursued in free agency.”

Whatever happened to Randall Morris? We catch up with the former running back here at Seahawks.com: “Morris, 49, owns Final Clean, a company that prepares just-constructed buildings so the tenants can move in. ‘I never left the Seattle area,’ he said. ‘I’m from Long Beach, Calif., and I didn’t want to raise my family down there. This is a much nicer place.’ ”

We also have a look in photos of the Top 10 moments from the 2011 season, as well as a video report of Walter Thurmond, Kris Durham, John Moffitt, Matt McCoy, Jameson Konz and Brandon Mebane delivering “baskets of hope” at Children’s Hospital.

 


Cyber surfing: Tuesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Nov. 29:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has his “Silver Linings” from the Seahawks’ loss to the Redskins on Sunday, including this one: “Seattle’s offensive line generally played well, helping to limit the Redskins’ Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan to a half-sack between them.”

Sando also wonders if the Seahawks should take a look at No. 3 QB Josh Portis before the end of the season, something several on our game-day online chat also have asked about. Says Sando: “This season was about discovery at the quarterback position and building other positions before drafting a QB in 2012. The Seahawks have seen enough from backup Charlie Whitehurst, who likely will not be back next season. Tarvaris Jackson proved he’s tough and capable enough to serve as a bridge to the team’s next starter. Portis’ talents have intrigued the coaching staff. When else will the team have a chance to give Portis a look in real games?”

Speaking of Jackson, Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times says Jackson’s sore shoulder could put the Seahawks in a bind with the short week to prepare for Thursday night’s game against the Eagles: “His passing yardage has declined in each of the past four games, and his health will be a central issue when the Seahawks play the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday. That’s the day Jackson has just begun throwing in practice the past couple of weeks. Forget all the questions concerning Seattle’s quarterback of the future, because there’s a question of how long Jackson can stay in the pocket in the present.”

O’Neil also has “Three Things we Learned” from Sunday’s loss, including this one: “Three yards in a cloud of dust has its risks. The Seahawks have established a formula for winning, which includes a heaping helping of Marshawn Lynch and a gob of defense thick enough to choke out the opponent. Lynch surpassed 100 yards rushing for the third time in four games, but when the Seahawks gave up two touchdowns on third-down plays in the span of 3 minutes, 33 seconds in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks were in a position where they had to throw and they simply couldn’t. Having an offense that is as repetitive and as run-based as Seattle’s has been leaves a team very vulnerable should it fall behind. To repeat: If Seattle is put in a position where it has to throw, it’s in trouble.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald also looks at Jackson’s situation: “At this point, no one can question Tarvaris Jackson toughness, his desire, or his dedication to the team. What Sunday’s loss to Washington showed we can question, however, is if the Seattle Seahawks quarterback should still be playing. That’s not to say Jackson is the primary reason why the Seahawks lost. His receivers let him down by repeatedly dropping passes, the defense gave up some unforgivable big plays, and penalties on both sides of the ball again played a big role. But what was evident watching Jackson play Sunday is the Seahawks quarterback is playing hurt, and that the pectoral injury is affecting his play.”

Also at the Herald, Scott Johnson continues his “The Game of My Life” series with a look at Keith Simpson: “Atop the desk of Keith Simpson’s office at his Houston-area home, a photograph greets him each morning. The black-and-white, unframed photo is a keepsake of a time when young football players were in the prime of their lives, when they felt indestructible. In the picture, four men celebrate arm in arm after their Seattle Seahawks recorded a dominating win and made history in the process. Two of the men, Pro Bowl safety Kenny Easley and defensive backs coach Ralph Hawkins, are beaming with pride. The others, cornerbacks Keith Simpson and Dave Brown, are too tired to even grin. Easley and Simpson hold a football under their arms, signifying the touchdowns they scored that afternoon. Brown, he has a pair of footballs, having made it to the end zone twice. And Hawkins grins like a proud father: These are my guys. Four men, having the time of their lives.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at the Seahawks’ penalty problem, and how it’s not a new problem for coach Pete Carroll: “According to statistics compiled by the Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen, during his time at USC (2004-09), Carroll-led teams were the fourth-most penalized team in the Pacific-10 Conference, averaging seven penalties per game for 61.44 yards. The Trojans led the Pac-10 in penalties in 2007 and 2008, with an average of eight a game. USC finished a combined 23-3 those two seasons largely because the Trojans had more talent than the rest of the Pac-10.”

Here at Seahawks.com, in our “Monday metatarsal musings” we take another look at Red Bryant’s block party on Sunday and exactly what’s going on: “It’s the scheme, of course, as special teams coach Brian Schneider and assistant Jeff Ulbrich have devised ways to allow Bryant to come free for those blocks. It’s also team work, as Raheem Brock, Anthony Hargrove and David Hawthorne have to do their assignments properly to allow Bryant to do his thing. ‘For that entire group, it’s become extremely important to them,’ Ulbrich said on Monday. ‘You look around the league and a lot of defenses take that snap off. But these guys have really approached it like it’s the most important defensive play.’ It’s also Bryant, too. A 6-foot-4, 330-pounder with long arms, he has the ability and agility to wedge his body through the slightest of gaps and a drive that borders on the demented. ‘Obviously Red is very talented,’ Ulbrich said. ‘He has great get-off and then he has great length. That makes a big difference.’ ”

We’ve also got a look at this condensed week in “Monday in Hawkville,” and a look back at Sunday’s game in Tony Ventrella’s video review.


Cyber surfing: Friday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for Nov. 18:

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the latest loss for the Seahawks’ offensive line, rookie right tackle James Carpenter: “There is something so incredibly unfortunate and downright fluky about Carpenter’s injury that it merits pause. The first-round pick was hurt during a one-on-one drill that is among the most basic for an offensive lineman. It’s an exercise he has done perhaps a thousand times this year alone, a drill that (Tom) Cable has coached for 25 years. ‘I’ve never lost a guy in a (pass-protection) drill, Cable said.”

Also at the Times, Earl Thomas did a live chat yesterday. The free safety answered a variety of questions, including this one about finding a good nickname for him: “People on the team already call me Deuce. It comes from Gus (Bradley), the defensive coordinator. He wanted to name his son Deuce, so he tried it out on me. Everybody calls me Deuce.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at the longer-term impact of losing both Carpenter and rookie right guard John Moffitt to knee injuries in the same week: “Now Seattle’s two promising rookie linemen will miss out not just on the experience of seven more games, but likely some of the team’s offseason workouts. And Carpenter and Moffitt, like all other rookies in the league, were already behind coming into the season when they missed out on offseason workouts thanks to the NFL lockout. These injuries will only further stunt the growth of two players the Seahawks expect to be a big part of their future. ‘It’s tough on them, because every day they do something that is part of their development,’ offensive line coach Tom Cable said. ‘They didn’t have the offseason, so the offseason would be valuable for them, as would the second half of the season, so we’re going to lose all that.’”

Eric Williams at the New Tribune looks at the future of running back Marshawn Lynch – physical and fiscal: “Lynch is one several top-flight backs who are playing for new contracts, along with Chicago’s Matt Forte, Buffalo’s Fred Jackson, Houston’s Arian Foster and Baltimore’s Ray Rice. An Oct. 23 game in which Lynch was a last-minute scratch because of lower back spasms might have proved how much the hard-running Lynch means to Seattle offensively. In a very winnable game against Cleveland on the road, the Seahawks mustered only 68 rushing yards and lost, 6-3, while Lynch watched from the sideline.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com looks at something that is missing from Steve Jackson’s resume – a 100-yard rushing effort in 14 previous games against the Seahawks by the Rams running back: “He has reached 100 yards in 30 career games and is riding a three-game streak with at least 128. But with the Seahawks coming to the Edward Jones Dome in Week 11, that streak appears in danger.”

Sando also looks at the opportunities for the pass-rushers in the NFC West as the divisions four teams matchup up on Sunday, including the Seahawks’ Chris Clemons: “Clemons had two sacks at St. Louis last season and 2.5 against the Rams overall. He has no sacks in his last three games. The Rams’ Sam Bradford took a season-low one sack against Cleveland last week. The Rams’ running game has improved recently, helping Bradford, but Seattle is strong against the run. Rodger Saffold has struggled with injuries and hasn’t taken a step forward following a promising rookie season. This matchup should favor Clemons.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the changing of the guard – and tackle – on the right side of the Seahawks’ line in this story, as well as “Thursday in Hawkville”: “Today was the first practice with Breno Giacomini and Paul McQuistan working at right tackle and right guard to replace the rookie tandem of James Carpenter, who tore the ACL in his left knee during a pass-rush drill on Wednesday; and John Moffitt, who damaged two ligaments in his right knee in Sunday’s win over the Ravens. Giacomini and McQuistan will join left tackle Russell Okung, left guard Robert Gallery and center Max Unger in this week’s game against the Rams in St. Louis as the Seahawks look to continue the upward trend that has seen them rush for 100-plus yards in back-to-back games for the first time since Weeks 6-7 last season and allow just one sack each in the games against the Cowboys in Dallas and the Ravens at CenturyLink Field. ‘I felt like we were on the right path,’ assistant head coach/line coach Tom Cable said after the 105-minute practice that was held in the indoor practice facility. ‘We were kind of heading in the right direction.’ ”

There’s also Tony Ventrella’s video recap, as well as his weekly “Seahawks Inside” that feature QB Josh Portis.

For a look at the injury situation around the league, Reid Forgrave at FoxSports.com has this rundown: “So the preseason predictions of the pundit-ocracy — that the lockout-shortened training camps would cause NFL injuries to skyrocket — must have been right. Right? Wrong. A recent study by Kevin Meers of the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective shows that the number of NFL injuries up to this point in the season is almost exactly the same as at this point last year. Moreover, the study indicates that the severity of these injuries has increased only slightly over a year ago. And at the midway point of the season, 44 fewer players were on the season-ending injured reserve than at the same point the year before. Instead, the perceived injury explosion in the NFL has more to do with who has been injured, not how many have been injured.”


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Tuesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 25:

FOCUS ON

Robert Gallery. The veteran left guard who was signed in free agency didn’t just return to the starting lineup in Sunday’s game against the Browns in Cleveland, he looked like a different player.

More active. More agile. More physical.

“Robert looked good,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We noticed it during the week. I thought he was better than he was a month ago.”

That’s when Gallery had surgery to repair a groin injury, a procedure that forced him to miss three games and the team’s bye-week practices. If his performance against the Browns was any indication, the wait to get him back was worth it.

“He had an existing issue that … was hampering him and he was playing through it,” Carroll said, before repeating, “He looked better.

“He looked quicker and looked flexible, and for his first time playing in five weeks he played well. He came out (of the game) OK, to, so that’s good for us.”

STAT DU JOUR

Chris Clemons had a career-high 11 sacks in his first season with the Seahawks and the “Leo” defensive end leads the team again with six sacks in six games this season. Those 17 sacks put Clemons at No. 7 for the most in the league since the start of last season. Here’s the Top 10:

Player, team                                     Sacks

LB DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys        23.5

DE Jared Allen, Vikings                    22.5

DE Jason Babin, Titans/Eagles       19.5

LB Cameron Wake, Dolphins         19.0

LB Tamba Hali, Chiefs                     18.5

DE Charles Johnson, Panthers       17.5

DE Chris Clemons, Seahawks         17.0

LB LaMarr Woodley, Steelers        17.0

LB Clay Matthews, Packers            16.5

DE Osi Umenyiora, Giants              16.5

Ware, Allen, Babin, Wake, Woodley and Matthews were voted to the Pro Bowl either last season or in 2009 – or both.

PRO BOWL BALLOTING

Speaking of the Pro Bowl and Clemons, fan voting for this season has begun at NFL.com. You can cast your vote here.

UP NEXT

The players return from their “off” day on Wednesday to begin preparing for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field. Wednesday’s practice will be pivotal for several players who are trying to return from injuries: quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral), center Max Unger (foot), running back Marshawn Lynch (back) and cornerback Roy Lewis (knee).

YOU DON’T SAY

“He’s a backup is what he is. Josh has a long way to go. We really like the progress he’s made and all, but he’s not close to being ready to push for the job. He’ll be a backup going into the game and we wouldn’t hesitate using him if we had to use him – we’d run the offense in a limited fashion – because he’s an exciting player. But he just has not had the background to catch up yet.” – Carroll when asked if No. 3 QB Josh Portis was a viable factor this week if Jackson cannot play


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Cyber surfing: Thursday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 13:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has five observations from the Seahawks’ upset victory over the Giants. There was an obvious one: “Chris Clemons was a big problem for the Giants. Seattle’s best pass-rusher gave Giants linemen Will Beatty and David Diehl problems, and not just when he was sacking Eli Manning and forcing a fumble. One highlight: Diehl tackled Clemons on one play, drawing a penalty for holding. Clemons got up, realized Manning still had the ball and hit the quarterback from behind just after the throw. It’s pretty clear Clemons has put behind him the ankle troubles that have bothered him at times. The bye week should only help him along those lines.” But there also was a not-so-obvious: “Steve Hauschka played an important role. The kicker? Really? Yes. Hauschka had only one touchback on his nine kickoffs through the first three weeks of the season. He has eight touchbacks in 12 kickoffs over the past two weeks. Those touchbacks have helped Seattle ease lingering concerns over a kickoff coverage unit that had struggled amid injuries for a stretch. The Giants returned three kickoffs in this game, all from inside the end zone. Two of those produced drive starts inside the 20. Hauschka also made a 51-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.”

At PI.com, they have the story – or tweets – on Pete Carroll calling LeBron James’ bluff about wanting to play in the NFL, complete with a James Seahawks jersey. Including this exchange: Carroll: “Hey @KingJames are you aware of what the League’s rookie minimum is?” James: “Yeah, more than what I’m making now Coach.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at Josh Portis, the rookie free agent who has Carroll’s support if it comes down to needing the No. 3 QB because of Tarvaris Jackson’s strained pectoral. Says Carroll: “Josh is a very talented kid and if he’s in the No. 2 spot, I’m going to get him ready to play. I’m not going to have any hesitation putting him in the game. I’ve seen enough of him. I know what he can do.”

We’ve also got Wednesday’s practice, the final of the team’s bye week, covered in words and video. The Hawkville report includes Brandon Browners’s surprise at breaking a 32-year-old club record: “The team’s extra-large cornerback wasn’t aware his 94-yard interception return for a touchdown to ice Sunday’s upset of the Giants had broken the franchise record until someone told him on Tuesday morning. That was good enough, but discovering when that record had been set left Browner shaking his head. It was 1979, when linebacker Sammy Green returned an interception 91 yards for a score in an Oct. 7 game against the 49ers. ‘I wasn’t even born then,’ Browner finally said with a smile. “That’s great. That’s big.’ Browner, in fact, wasn’t born until 1984.”


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Cyber surfing: Monday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 5:

Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times has the story on Brandon Browner, who spent the past four seasons in the CFL but likely will be the starting right cornerback when the Seahawks open their regular season against the 49ers in San Francisco on Sunday. Says Kelley: “As he slowly unspooled the tape from his hands after Friday’s final exhibition game, Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner barely allowed himself a slight, satisfied smile. After all he’s been through, all of the disappointments – after four seasons in the Canadian Football League; after tryouts with a half-dozen NFL teams, including an earlier trial with the Seahawks; after being told he was too tall or too slow to play cornerback in the National Football League, Browner had made it. He would start this season on the Hawks’ 53-man roster and probably start at corner in the season opener Sunday in San Francisco. He could have allowed himself a minute to scream at the top of his lungs and celebrate the culmination of a journey. He could have cried or roared. But Browner, 27, has been around too long and heard too much bad news to allow this one shining moment to consume him. He knows that in the NFL, especially the Pete Carroll NFL, the starting position you earn on opening day could be gone by Week 2.”

Also at the Times, Danny O’Neil has the round down on the latest roster moves from Sunday. Offers O’Neil: “The Seahawks claimed four players off waivers on Sunday, changing kickers, swapping out both backup defensive tackles and acquiring a fifth offensive tackle. So much for things being settled, huh?”

Eric Williams of the New Tribune has a Q&A with coach Pete Carroll. Here’s his response when asked about leadership on the team after the departures co-captains Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu: “Here’s the deal. If you don’t have anybody who can carry the message for you, then the coach has to do it. And the assistant coaches have to do it. And I’ve always said that. I don’t want to be a coach that says, “Well, we would have had a really good year if we had better leadership.  There’s so many guys on this team that are great character guys that care so much about this game, it’s just a matter of just working the message and getting to the side and letting them go. So I’m not worried about it one bit.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald also has a recap of Sunday’s moves. Says Boyle: “Saturday was the NFL’s cut day. Sunday its league-wide swap meet. And for the second straight season, the Seattle Seahawks used the day after cut day to peruse the list of newly available players and make a few changes to their roster. Seattle claimed off waivers defensive tackle Landon Cohen, defensive tackle Al Woods, kicker Steven Hauschka and tackle Jarriel King, all of whom were cut-day casualties a day earlier.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got – what else – a look at the roster moves made on Sunday: “If (Steven) Hauschka’s name sounds familiar, he kicked a game-winning 52-yarder for the Broncos in their third preseason game against the Seahawks. He signed with the Vikings as an undrafted rookie in 2008, but was waived and spent two seasons in Baltimore, hitting 10 of 15 field goals – including 54-yarder on his first NFL attempt. After spending from late December of 2009 to mid-August of 2010 with the Falcons, Hauschka (6-4, 210) was on the Lions’ practice squad for two games in 2010, when he also kicked for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the Arena League. He signed with the Broncos last December, hitting 6 of 7 field goals attempts, but was waived on Saturday.”

Also, Matt Gaschk of Sounders.com has the story on running back Justin Forsett working out with Mexico’s Club America. And what was that like? “I was out of my element,” laughed the jovial Seahawks running back.

Peter King at SI.com has a rundown on what each team did Sunday, including this note about the Seahawks: “… Kicker Jeff Reed goes. Quarterback Josh Portis, of California (Pa.), stays. Did you see Portis at all this camp? Once he learns the playbook, he’s going to be an interesting prospect for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to work with. Good arm, good runner, seems fearless.”


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