On this date: Julius Jones signed to replace Shaun Alexander

Julius Jones

A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on March 10:

2008: Julius Jones is signed in free agency to replace all-time leading rusher Shaun Alexander. Jones would lead the Seahawks in rushing in each of his first two seasons, but never surpassed 700 yards.


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On this date: Players’ strike begins

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Sept. 13:

1987 – The players’ strike begins, forcing the cancellation of one game and teams to play with replacement players in three others. The Seahawks replacement team goes 2-1, helping the club finish 9-6 to clinch an AFC wild-card playoff spot.

2009 – The Seahawks win their first game under coach Jim Mora, 28-0 over the Rams at CenturyLink Field. Matt Hasselbeck passes for three touchdowns – two to tight end John Carlson – and Julius Jones breaks a 62-yard scoring run. The Rams get into Seahawks’ territory only three times, and fail to score by missing a field goal and turning the ball over on downs as three Marc Bulger passes fall incomplete inside the Seattle 8-yard line.


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Thursday cyber surfing: Two weeks until the NFL Draft

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, April 12:

Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com offers his draft needs for the Seahawks, in the website’s on-going examination of all 32 teams: “When league scouts talk about the Seahawks, they all say the same thing: Loads of young talent, but what about the quarterback? Under coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks have tried Charlie Whitehurst (failed) and Tarvaris Jackson (grade incomplete) as quarterbacks they acquired to fill a glaring need. Now comes Matt Flynn. The Seahawks signed Flynn as a free agent from the Green Bay Packers. Flynn started two games in four years with the Packers, so his signing is risky. Carroll said that Flynn and Jackson will compete for the job, but it’s probably Flynn’s to lose. If Flynn can prove to be more than just a manage-the-game passer, Seattle will push for the NFC West title. If not, they might be looking again next spring.”

Todd McShay goes deep in his fifth mock draft at ESPN.com, offering multiple options for teams. It’s an Insider feature, so requires registration and a fee. But here’s what he has to say about the Seahawks: “Scenario 1: Take (Luke) Kuechly and bring some stability to a linebacker corps that has seen the likes of Julian Peterson, Aaron Curry, David Hawthorne and others come and go in recent years. Scenario 2: With Kuechly gone, (Quinton) Coples becomes a value pick at this point and will add a versatile presence who can both pressure the quarterback and hold up against the run when his motor is running high. Scenario 3: Look to need areas elsewhere on offense with (David) DeCastro or (Michael) Floyd.”

Also at ESPN.com, former Colts GM Bill Polian, now an NFL Insider for the website, examines some possible trades in the draft: “In the weeks leading up to the draft, general managers and personnel directors around the NFL will turn their attention to a process called draft management – NFL insider speak for predicting how the draft will unfold. It’s through this process that a team anticipates where its draft targets may come off the board and ensures the selection of one of its top choices. While teams are never 100 percent accurate with these predictions, they have been able to project the first round with a high degree of certainty in recent years. That said, every draft has certain pivot points, spots where the draft veers from its anticipated path and proceeds in a new, unexpected direction. Sometimes the impetus for these moments is an off-the-radar selection, but more often it’s a trade. There are several reasons to believe the first big pivot point of the 2012 draft could come with a potential trade of the No. 3 overall pick from the Vikings to the Dolphins.”

Don Banks at SI.com has his fifth mock draft, but his selection for the Seahawks sounds familiar: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina. “There’s a lot to love about the young defense the Seahawks are assembling, but they’ve got to create more pressure on opposing passers. Coples could drop well into the teens, but he’s got double-digit sack talent if Pete Carroll and Co. can figure out how to keep his intensity and effort level high at all times.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we begin our series of articles previewing the NFL Draft with a look at the team’s situation, through the eyes of general manager John Schneider: “ ‘There are tons of mock drafts, and I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t look at them,’ Schneider said. ‘But it’s not that easy. We build our (draft) board based on our team and what we have currently. So we compare these players to our current roster, and that’s how we build our board. We don’t build our board for the league, per say.’ And definitely not to appease those who compile mock drafts. ‘So while people in a mock draft might feel like we need a certain position or a specific player, it’s just really who has the highest grade – and if it fills a specific need, that’s great,’ Schneider said. ‘But it’s a grade comparable to what our team is and how we see our own players at each position. That’s why it’s so important to know your team and evaluate your team first and foremost.’ ”

The do-over draft series at NFL.com has reached 2009, when the Seahawks made Aaron Curry the fourth pick overall. In the do-over, Jason Smith gives them Clay Matthews: “All you need to know here is that after just two seasons the Seahawks shipped Curry to the Raiders for a seventh-round pick and a conditional selection. (And this guy was actually in the mix to be No. 1 overall for a little while!) How much more teeth would there be in that Seahawks defense with Matthews? A Pro Bowler all three years in the league and he was first-team All Pro in 2010. And that hair, my gosh, I would’ve re-done the pick if I was just getting that part of him. I know, why not Foster? Well, Seattle thought they had their RB situation under control after having just added Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett. And now they have the Skittles Beast, so they’re all set there.”

Also at NFL.com, Chad Reuter looks at the players in this year’s draft class that could spark interest from teams looking to trade up in the first round to get them: “Due to the lack of suspense surrounding the landing points of (Andrew) Luck and (Robert) Griffin, a lot of attention has been placed on the new home of the draft’s third-rated passer, Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins are the odds-on favorites to select the athletic and strong-armed, if inexperienced (19 collegiate starts at QB after playing receiver his first two-plus seasons on campus), passer because of their extreme need at the position. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Miami’s new offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, was Tannehill’s head coach at A&M.”

Former Seahawks right tackle Sean Locklear has signed with the Giants, and Aaron Wilson at Scout.com has the report: “The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder played last season for the Washington Redskins and played in eight games with four starts after spending the previous seven years with the Seattle Seahawks. Locklear has played in 105 regular-season games with 82 starts.”


On this date: Jones signed

A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on March 10:

2008: Julius Jones is signed in free agency to replace all-time leading rusher Shaun Alexander. Jones would lead the Seahawks in rushing in each of his first two seasons, but never surpassed 700 yards.


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Rambling on about Seahawks’ running game

Another Wednesday. Another conference call with the opposing coach. Another gush-fest about the Seahawks’ emerging running game.

Last week, Ravens coach John Harbaugh labeled Marshawn Lynch “definitely a Top 2 or 3 running back in the National Football League.” Lynch then went out and ran like it, gaining 109 oh-so-tough yards in the Seahawks’ 22-17 upset victory on Sunday.

Today, it was Steve Spagnuolo, whose Rams host the Seahawks on Sunday.

“We’re about to face, I think, one of the better rushing teams in the league,” the Rams’ third-year coach said. “It’s been evident that they’ve shown what they can do as a rushing team in the last two weeks. And if we don’t find a way to somehow control that it will be a very long day for us.”

The Rams rank last in the league in rushing defense, allowing an average of 150.6 yards. They’re also giving up 5.1 yards per carry, with only the Raiders and Saints allowing a higher average (5.2).

Asked about the “little bit of a struggle” his run defense has had in the team’s 2-9 start, Spagnuolo laughed and offered, “You’re very kind with the ‘a little bit of a struggle.’ I appreciate that. It hasn’t been good. It’s some we take a lot of pride in.”

Sunday, the Rams will be butting helmets with Lynch, who is coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances for the first time in his career – and the first for a Seahawks back since Julius Jones did in 2008, including a 140-yard game against the Rams; and a Seahawks offense that has gone for 100-plus rushing yards in consecutive games for the first time since Weeks 6-7 last season.

“The two things that jump right out at me is they’re getting in a groove running the football,” Spagnuolo said. “So we have a tremendous amount of respect for that.”

No. 2 on his list? “As soon as you turn on their defensive tape, it seems every time I watch the sideline view I see the line of scrimmage being reestablished on the other side of the offense. They are, in my opinion, very stout, active and aggressive up front. I think that’s how you play good defense. I think they do a good job of it.

“So we’ve got a great deal of respect for those two phases.”


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Wednesday in Hawkville

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 9:

FOCUS ON

Deon Butler. Now that the third-year wide receiver has been activated off the physically unable to perform list, the question has switched from when Butler would return to how the Seahawks will use him now that he has.

“Well, we’re going to work him in,” coach Pete Carroll said when asked just that question. “We know he’s a tremendous speed player and a guy that has come through and made a lot of things happen for us last season, so we’re anxious to fit him back in.

“Right now, it’s still part of the process to get him situated. I’m not sure how much we can play him yet, but it’s good to get him back on the roster.”

Butler was activated on Tuesday, and he got reps with the Seahawks’ offense as well as the scout team that works against the Seahawks’ defense in today’s 100-minute practice that was held outside and in full pads as the team prepared for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens at CenturyLink Field.

Butler had practiced the past three weeks, but today was the first time he got extensive snaps with the offense.

Whatever the role, Butler is eager to grab it after a long rehab that followed breaking his right leg so severely in Week 14 last season that he needed surgery to insert a steel rod.

“It feels good,” Butler said. “I’ve been working hard, practicing and just kind of getting back into shape. It feels good to finally get activated. It took awhile, but I knew it was going to be a business process.”

Just how good is good? “I feel good,” he said. “I’ve been running around. I’ve been hitting the ground probably more than I should in practice, but it’s going to get me ready for a game – whenever that time comes.”

OPPONENT WATCH

Ray Lewis. We gushed about the 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker yesterday in the “star power” portion of our “Up Next” look at the Ravens. Today, it was Carroll’s turn.

“He is an individual player who’s probably set the tone for an entire franchise,” he said. “And he’s done it in extraordinary fashion. He’s a really instinctive football player. He has great knack for where the ball is going. And in that, he has great knack for being at the right place at the right time to make big plays.

“He’s a dramatic football player. He’ll make the big hit. He’ll make the big coverage or the big sack in timely fashion. He’s going to be a shoo-in Hall of Fame player as soon as they can let him in. He’s just done that for so long. That comes from his great knack. He’s always been physical and all that to go along with it, and he can run well and all of that kind of stuff.”

And that just about says it all. Just about.

“He’s an amazing package of all the elements that make up a great player,” Carroll added.

IN ’N OUT

The official injury report:

Did not practice

WR Sidney Rice (foot)

TE Cameron Morrah (toe/knee)

LB David Vobora (concussion)

Limited in practice

QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)

“The gains are very slight,” Carroll said when asked about Jackson continuing to play with a strained pectoral in his right shoulder. “It’s all about how he feels every day, one to the next. His strength is there, which is a really good sign right off the bat coming back.

“But it’s really a day-to-day thing. We’re not out of the woods on this thing yet. But he’s managing it as well as it could possibly be managed and his attitude is great about it.”

Also, defensive end Pierre Allen was signed to the practice squad. He fills one of the spot that opened Tuesday when defensive tackle Pep Levingston was added to the 53-man roster from the practice squad.

Cornerback Walter Thurmond, who had surgery last week to repair the left ankle he fractured in the Week 7 loss to the Browns in Cleveland, watched practice from the sidelines on crutches.

For the Ravens:

Did not practice

C Matt Birk (neck)

Limited in practice

RB Anthony Allen (thigh)

LB Brendon Ayandadejo (head)

LB Dannell Ellerbe (thigh)

WR Lee Evans (ankle)

TE Kris Wilson (calf)

Full participation

CB Chykie Brown (knee)

STAT DU JOUR

Last week, Marshawn Lynch became the first Seahawks running back to score touchdowns in four consecutive games played in since Shaun Alexander in 2005. This week, Lynch will attempt to become the first Seahawks back to post back-to-back 100-yard rushing efforts since … (pause to allow you a guess or two) Julius Jones in September of 2008. Here’s a look at Jones’ back-to-backers, and the team’s other 100-yard rushers since then:

Back (date, opponent)                                No.   Yards   Avg.  TD

Julius Jones (9-14-2008, 49ers)                 26      127     4.9      1

Julius Jones (9-21-2008, Rams)                 22      140     6.4      1

Maurice Morris (11-23-2008, Jets)           29      116     4.0      0

Maurice Morris (12-21-2008, Redskins)  14      102     7.4      0

Julius Jones (9-13-2009, Rams)                  19      117    6.2      1

Justin Forsett (11-15-2009, Cardinals)      17      123    7.2      1

Justin Forsett (11-29-2009, Rams)             22      130    5.9      2

Marshawn Lynch (11-6-2011)                     23      135    5.9      1

UP NEXT

“Turnover Thursday,” on the Carroll calendar, and that has been a talking point for the Seahawks coach all week. The Seahawks are minus-5 in turnover ratio, which ties them for 23rd in the league. They have forced 11 turnovers (eight interceptions, three fumbles), which ties them for 17th; and turned the ball over 16 times (10 interceptions, six fumbles), which ties for the second-most in the league.

Tickets are available for Sunday’s game and can be purchased here.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Obviously, it starts with Marshawn. … He’s definitely a Top 2 or 3 running back in the National Football League. He’s a violent runner. You go back and look at that playoff game against the Saints last year when he took the game over with his running style. It’s just incredible.” – Ravens coach John Harbaugh on Lynch when asked about the talent on the Seahawks roster


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