The Seahawks concluded Phase 1 of their offseason program today, and it proved to be a win-win experience.
“The thing that I really believe is that they came in better prepared this offseason than they had in previous offseasons,” said head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle, who came to the Seahawks from USC with coach Pete Carroll in 2010.
“It goes to the type of guys coach Carroll and (GM) John Schneider are bringing in. They’re bringing in not only five-star athletes, but they’re bring in five-star people that understand what it takes and what they need to do to prepare at the highest level. Then the competition is so good on this team, they know they’ve got to come in ready to go because we’ll bring in 10 more guys with this rookie class that will be ready to go. That’s a big factor in the current players coming in ready to go.”
The players concurred with Carlisle’s assessment of the past two weeks, when Carlisle and his staff oversaw the conditioning aspects four days each week and the assistant coaches also had classroom time with the players to prepare for Phase 2 – which kicks off Monday and allows the players to be on the practice fields with the coaches.
“The first phase went really well,” linebacker K.J. Wright said. “As for the workouts with Coach C, I feel I got in better condition and more toned up. And it was also good to see all the guys back. So it went real well.”
Phase 1 was important for the defensive players because it gave them an introduction into the schemes that will be used by first-year coordinator Dan Quinn, the team’s D-line coach in 2009-10 who has returned after two years as the coordinator at the University of Florida.
“We had install sessions, and had to get all that taken care of,” Wright said. “Coach Quinn did a really good job of teaching us and we have a good grasp of it.”
Phase 2 will include four non-OTA (organized team activities) workouts for the next three weeks, as well as the rookie minicamp May 10-12. Phase 3 begins May 20 and will include 10 OTA workouts and conclude with the mandatory minicamp June 11-13.
Mike Sando, the NFC West blogger at ESPN.com, has turned Matt Williamson’s positional rankings for the division’s four teams into a series of informational and entertaining “conversations” with the website’s resident scout.
Williamson ranks the Seahawks as the second-best team in the NFC West behind the conference champion 49ers, but the Seahawks come out No. 1 at quarterback, running back, defensive line, cornerback and safety. They are No. 2 at wide receiver, offensive line, linebackers and head coach, and No. 3 at tight end.
It’s worth checking out the rankings and the dialogue on each:
Williamson: “If I were starting a team, (Colin) Kaepernick and (Russell) Wilson would rank among my top five picks. The upside for Kaepernick is so great. I don’t expect him to take a step back. I just don’t think he is as far along as Wilson in the fundamentals of quarterback play. Wilson coming into the league was ahead of Kaepernick in terms of being a pocket passer, reading defenses, not relying on his physical gifts so much and just in the mental side of things.”
Williamson: “Seattle has the best back in the division in Marshawn Lynch, and Robert Turbin is a heckuva backup. It’s not a knock on (Frank) Gore. I like LaMichael James and like Kendall Hunter, too. So, the 49ers have three guys to talk about instead of two for Seattle.”
Williamson: “I’ll take (Percy) Harvin every day over (Michael) Crabtree and that is not a knock on Crabtree. Harvin is more dynamic, more versatile. He frightens defenses way more. You can do so much more with him. He has big-play ability and is just a better football player. When I rank the wide receivers in this division, it goes Larry (Fitzgerald), Harvin and Crabtree, but Harvin is closer to Fitz than Crabtree is to Harvin.”
Sando: “The Cardinals were the only NFL team without a touchdown reception from a tight end last season. Bad quarterback play had quite a bit to do with that, of course.”
Williamson: “Breno (Giacomini) has been serviceable. Marshawn Lynch has room to run. I think they have two good players (Max Unger and Russell Okung) and then a bunch of guys. I do think the whole is greater than sum of the parts. There is some truth to that in Seattle, which goes to coaching (by Tom Cable).”
Williamson: “They have a wide skill set, which I like, too. (Bruce) Irvin and (Red) Bryant are totally different players at defensive end. Irvin, (Chris) Clemons, (Cliff) Avril and Bryant give you versatility. For the Rams, (William) Hayes is an important part of that equation. He had seven sacks last year. (Robert) Quinn and (Chris) Long are questionable against the run. Hayes can be a base run defensive end. Plus, he moves inside and can be a quality rusher there.”
Sando: “The Seahawks found one starter in the second round (Bobby Wagner) and another in the fourth (K.J. Wright). They plan to use Cliff Avril at strong-side linebacker in some situations. But with Leroy Hill apparently having run his course in Seattle, the team figures to draft a weak-side linebacker to compete with Malcolm Smith.”
Sando: “Seattle is really the only team in the division appearing set at safety for now. I could still see the Seahawks drafting one for insurance in case they have a hard time re-signing Kam Chancellor. In the meantime, Earl Thomas might be the best safety in the league. At least I’m assuming you’d agree in saying he’s moved past Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, who were long considered the standards.”
Williamson: “Seattle to me has the best set of corners in the league, clearly (in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner). And then (Antoine) Winfield might be the best slot corner in the league. It’s almost unfair.”
Williamson: “(The Rams’ Jeff) Fisher is a heckuva coach, but he is behind two of the top five in the league (Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll) when it comes to ranking head coaches in the NFC West.”
Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, the draft experts at ESPN and ESPN.com, have posted their second mock drafts with the Seahawks selecting Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (Kiper) and LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery (McShay) with the 25th pick in the first round of April’s NFL Draft.
Their mock drafts are an Insider feature, so they require registration and a fee. But here’s what each had to say about his selection for the Seahawks:
Kiper on Hankins (6-3, 335): “Another good spot for someone to call and trade up. As for the pick, if Seattle wants a penetrator on the interior of the D-line, Hankins really isn’t that guy. He doesn’t have the burst to split gaps and create havoc behind the line of scrimmage. What he can do is occupy multiple blockers, help other rushers find space and better matchups and make the Seahawks more difficult to run against as he holds up blockers intent on getting a body in front of Seattle’s tandem of great LBs in K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner. Hankins is an impact guy when his motor is running and will particularly make a run defense sturdier immediately.”
McShay on Montgomery (6-4, 245): “Seattle’s defense was strong overall in 2012, but DE Chris Clemons tore his ACL late in the season and Bruce Irvin is at his best as a sub-package rusher. Montgomery has the size and strength to start opposite Red Bryant and help beef up Seattle’s run defense.”
McShay also has only five “skill position” players going in the first round, with only one in the Top 10 – West Virginia QB Geno Smith to the Bills at No. 8; Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson to the Rams at No. 16; Alabama running back Eddie Lacy to the Bengals at No. 21; Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen to the Texans at No. 27; and Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter to the 49ers at No. 31.
Kiper has six “skill position” players in his first round, including a pair of tight ends – Patterson to the Dolphins at No. 12; Stanford tight end Zach Ertz to the Giants at No. 19; Allen to the Rams at No. 22; Lacy to the Packers at No. 26; LSU wide receiver Quinton Patton to the Texans at No. 27; and Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert to the Falcons at No. 30.
TORONTO – A recap of the Seahawks’ 50-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills at the Rogers Centre on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. Like last week’s 58-0 shellacking of the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field, this could be a full squad selection because so many players made contributions and everyone got to play. But what the rookie QB did was special.
Wilson became the first QB in franchise history to rush for three touchdowns in a game – on runs of 14, 25 and 13 yards. He threw for a fourth – on a 4-yard pass to tight end Zach Miller. He carried nine times for 92 yards, giving him 402 for the season to break the club record of 343 by Rick Mirer in 1993. His 10.2-yard rushing average was the third-best in franchise history behind the efforts of Marshawn Lynch in the past two games – 11.6 against the Cardinals last week and 11.3 against the Bills on Sunday.
He also completed 14 of 23 passes for 205 yards and did not throw an interception, which made for a passer rating of 104.4.
All in a day’s work as the kid QB continues to grow in the offense, and allow the offense to grow because of him.
“You saw him out there,” said right tackle Breno Giacomini, who more than did his part by holding Mario Williams to no sacks and one QB hit after the Bills defensive end entered the game with 10.5 sacks. “He’s getting better by the week. His preparation is there. He just keeps getting better and we just keep getting better with him.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: It wasn’t a touchdown run, but Lynch’s 54-yarder in the second quarter to setup Wilson’s TD pass to Miller definitely proved a point. It was the Bills who made Lynch the 12th pick overall in 2007 NFL Draft. It was the Bills who traded Lynch to the Seahawks in 2010 for next-to-nothing. On that run, as on just about all of Lynch’s runs, he showed his strength, determination and more speed and shiftiness than anyone gives him credit for.
It also allowed Lynch to finish with 113 yards on just 10 carries, for his eighth 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
Defense: Earl Thomas didn’t just make a diving interception of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the third quarter, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl free safety returned it 57 yards for a touchdown. And it was another of those uh-plays, where Thomas’ speed makes it appear that everyone else on the field has stopped running because he is running so fast.
“It was a great feeling,” Thomas said of his third interception of the season. “As soon as I caught the ball, I was thinking end zone – especially this season. I could have had eight or nine picks this season. But this was just a great play, gave our defense a lift and kept the momentum on our side.”
Special teams: The Seahawks had practiced a fake punt during the week and called it on Sunday, despite leading 47-17 at the time. The snap from Clint Gresham went to Chris Maragos, rather than punter Jon Ryan. Maragos handed the ball off to Michael Robinson, who ran 29 yards to the Bills’ 14-yard line.
Coach Pete Carroll explained that they were just trying to pick up a first down, and apologized if it looked like they were kicking the Bills when they already were down. But the play did slap an exclamation point on the 17-yard, 88-yard drive that allowed the Seahawks to hold the ball for more than nine minutes of the fourth quarter and setup Steven Hauschka’s third field goal of the day.
Turning point: It might sound crazy to say there was a turning point in this game. But after the Bills had scored 10 points in the final 70 seconds of the first half to cut the Seahawks lead to 31-17, Stevie Johnson made a leaping one-handed grab of a pass from Fitzpatrick on the third play of the third quarter – a third-and-20 play, no less – for a 25-yard gain and a first down at the Buffalo 39. But on the next play, linebacker K.J. Wright picked Fitzpatrick and returned the interception 24 yards to setup Lynch’s TD that pushed the Seahawks lead to 37-17.
“We knew we just had to come out and stop them,” Wright said. “Somebody had to do something, and fortunately I was able to come up with the turnover.”
Defensive tackle Alan Branch sprained an ankle and Carroll said he wasn’t sure how severe the injury was. Other than that, the postgame report included nothing more than bumps and bruises.
The Seahawks became the NFL’s third team to score 50 points in consecutive weeks, joining the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants, who both did it in 1950, according to STATS Inc. And the 108 combined points over two weeks matched the NFL’s third-highest total. The New England also scored 108 points in consecutive games last month.
With 2.5 sacks, Chris Clemons upped his season total to a career-high 11.5 – half a sack more than he produced in each of his first two seasons with the Seahawks. It also made the Leo end the first Seahawk to have double-digit sacks in three consecutive seasons since Michael Sinclair (1996-98).
Rookie Jeremy Lane made his first NFL start at right cornerback for Walter Thurmond, who injured a hamstring in practice Wednesday. Lane was all over Fitzpatrick’s long – and incomplete – throw to T.J. Graham on the Bills’ first pass play of the game and finished with three tackles.
While Wilson continued to make his case for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner continued to do the same for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He had a game-high 12 tackles, the fifth time this season he has posted double digits.
The Seahawks had three plays for 40-plus yards – Lynch’s run, as well as Wilson’s 44-yard pass to Golden Tate and a 41-yarder to Sidney Rice. The 44-yarder came after Wilson pitched the ball to Lynch, who threw the ball back to Wilson, who then completed the pass to Tate.
Despite the lopsided score, the Bills had a 100-yard receiver (Johnson with 115 on eight receptions) and a 100-yard rusher (C.J. Spiller with 103). They also had only one less first down (21) than the Seahawks (22).
Hauschka had another busy week, with three field goals, six PATs (one was blocked) and 10 kickoffs. Last week against the Cardinals, he had 21 kicks.
YOU DON’T SAY, NATIONAL-EXPOSURE EDITION
“I watched a lot of tape and it was probably the most physical game I’ve watched all year.” – former Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison, on the pregame show for Sunday night’s 49ers-Patriots game, discussing the Seahawks-49ers game in Week 7
YOU DON’T SAY, LOCKER-ROOM EDITION
“I’ve never been a part of something where two weeks in a row we’re able to put up so many points.” – Miller on the back-to-back 58-0 and 50-17 victories, the first time since 1950 that an NFL team has done that
On 12-12-12, here’s a look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Dec. 12:
1976: The Seahawks close their inaugural season with a 27-10 loss to the Eagles at the Kingdome that leaves them 2-12, which will be the worst record in franchise history until the 1992 team goes 2-14. Steve Largent catches seven passes for 98 yards and the Seahawks’ only touchdown.
1982: Jim Zorn runs for one touchdown and passes for another, while Steve Largent catches eight passes for 111 yards, in a 20-14 victory over the Bears at the Kingdome.
1993: The Raiders take a 27-9 lead in Los Angeles and then hold on for a four-point victory as Rick Mirer runs for one touchdown and passes for another in the final 6½ minutes.
1999: The Seahawks take their first lead of the game on a Jon Kinta-to-Derrick Mayes touchdown pass in the third quarter, but John Carney kicks two fourth-quarter field goals to give the Chargers a 19-16 victory at the Kingdome. The loss is the third in a four-game losing streak that follows the Seahawks’ 8-2 start in their first season under Mike Holmgren.
2004: Josh Brown kicks field goals in the third and fourth quarters to give the Seahawks a 27-23 victory over the Vikings in Minnesota. Rashad Moore recovered a fumble at the Vikings’ 26-yard line to set up Brown’s fourth quarter field goal and Michael Boulware then intercepts a Randy Moss pass in the end zone to ice the win. Before the late heroics by the defense, Matt Hasselbeck passes for three touchdowns, Darrell Jackson catches 10 passes for 135 yards and Shaun Alexander runs for 112 yards.
2011: The Seahawks pick up win No. 2 in what will become a three-game winning streak with a 30-13 victory over the Rams in a “Monday Night Football” game at CenturyLink Field. Michael Robinson gets the rout rolling by returning a Doug Baldwin blocked punt for a touchdown and before it’s over Tarvaris Jackson passes for one TD and runs for another, while Marshawn Lynch rushes for 115 yards and a TD and Steven Hauschka kicks three field goals. Linebacker K.J. Wright leads the defensive effort with eight tackles, a sack, two other tackles for losses and a tipped pass.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 28.
Randall Liu, the NFL’s Director of NFC Communications, announced on Twitter this morning that Seahawks return-specialist Leon Washington has been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his Week 12 effort against the Miami Dolphins. Washington had a 98-yard kick-return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that tied Josh Cribbs’ NFL-record of eight career kick returns for touchdowns.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks defense needs to stand up on the road, “Statistically, Seattle still has one of the top defenses in the league. The Seahawks are No. 3 in points allowed per game (16.8), No. 5 in the league in total defense (309.4 yards per game) and No. 12 in rushing defense (108.6 yards per game). However, when the game is on the line, Seattle’s playmakers on defense — including safety Earl Thomas, cornerback Richard Sherman, linebacker K.J. Wright and defensive ends Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin — have been unable to create game-changing plays to help Seattle solve its road woes. At 6-5 overall, and with two road games left on the schedule, including at Chicago on Sunday, the Seahawks might need to win at least one of those, along with sweeping three home games, in order to make the playoffs.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has a closer look at quarterback Russell Wilson’s Week 12 performance against the Dolphins, “At one point he completed 16 consecutive passes, setting an NFL rookie record while falling one shy of Warren Moon’s franchise record. The incompletion that broke that streak was a well-placed, over-the-shoulder throw that Doug Baldwin could have caught. Wilson made plays with his legs, too. He finished with a season-high 38 yards on five carries, including one that went for 20 yards. One one play, he spun to avoid pressure then rolled to his left and delivered an accurate, across-the-body throw to Sidney Rice for a 26-yard gain. On his first touchdown pass, he avoided two pass-rushers before escaping the pocket and finding Anthony McCoy in the corner of the end zone. He did it all despite a running game that uncharacteristically struggled. ‘He did a great job yesterday to give us a chance to be in that football game, not just the consecutive balls that he completed but just the way he created and made things available to us,’ Carroll said.”
Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” discuss the Seahawks’ offensive identity and play-calling in this short video.
Huard also has his latest “Chalk Talk” as he breaks down Miami running back Daniel Thomas’ touchdown run that occurred one play after a roughing the passer call near the end zone on Seahawks safety Earl Thomas last weekend.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his first look at the Chicago Bears, remembers what the Seahawks have done in each of the last two seasons in Chicago in his “Tuesday in Hawkville“, and catches up with Washington after his record-setting kick return for a touchdown, “Washington isn’t just a kickoff returner. He also returns punts. He also plays running back. And when Leon Washington the kickoff returner gets the ball in his hands, he becomes Leon Washington the running back – because it all starts with vision, regardless of why you might have the ball in your hands. ‘Exactly,’ Washington said. ‘And that’s why I take pride in taking my reps during the running back periods in practice. It’s just like a running play. I’ve got my linemen in front of me, Lem and Frank. I’ve got Mike Rob (Robinson) back there, just like my fullback. So it’s like a running play – hit the hole, and don’t hesitate.’ One of Washington’s biggest smiles came when asked about making the kicker miss. ‘It’s like getting chase by that dog in the neighborhood that you never liked,’ he said. ‘You can’t let him catch you.’ Now that he has caught Cribbs, Washington has his sights set on No. 9. And beyond. ‘It just says a lot, after what I’ve been through in my career, after the things I’ve bounced back from,” he said of No. 8. “So I’m ecstatic. But I’m humble at the same time, because we can want nine, 10, 11 and 12.’ “
Lastly, the Seahawks made a roster move yesterday, releasing quarterback Josh Portis from the practice squad and signing wide receiver Phil Bates in his place.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for Thanksgiving Day, November 22.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times highlights two former Canadian Football League stars – Miami’s Cameron Wake and Seattle’s Brandon Browner – who will meet at the NFL level this Sunday, “Wake, 30, ranks fifth in the NFL with 9 ½ sacks and is regarded as a candidate for defensive player of the year. The defensive end earned a Pro Bowl berth with a 14-sack season in 2010. Browner, 28, made the Pro Bowl last year after leading the Seahawks with six interceptions and setting the franchise’s season record for return yards (220). Now, in his second year starting at cornerback, Browner has become an anchor in one of the NFL’s best secondaries. Both players are testaments to perseverance in the face of obstacles, and also to the vagaries of evaluating football players.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune details the weekend’s matchup between Wake and Michael Robinson – two former college teammates at Penn State, “Wake said he’s looks forward to getting to hit Robinson, who was usually off limits in practice as a quarterback at Penn State. ‘He’s an athlete obviously,’ Wake said. ‘But if you would’ve told me back then this guy is going to be a fullback in the NFL and you guys are going to play each other, I probably would’ve told you that you were crazy.’ Robinson, who still calls Wake by the first name that he went by at Penn State — Derek — says bring it. ‘He had a chance (to hit me in college),’ Robinson said. ‘He missed — for real. I’m serious. Go watch some tape. Ask some people.’ “
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says Sunday’s matchup in Miami is a good time to compare the play of rookie quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill, “The 6-foot-4 Tannehill was taken with the eighth overall pick in the draft, following No. 1 Andrew Luck (6-4) and No. 2 Robert Griffin III (6-2). Cleveland also took a tall quarterback at No. 22 (6-4 Brandon Weeden). Wilson waited until the third round to be picked by the Seahawks, a lengthy delay caused not by his skills, attitude nor collegiate performance, but because of his 5-105/8 stature. ‘I don’t pay attention, really,’ Wilson said of the efforts of his fellow rookie quarterbacks. ‘I see it on ESPN or whatever and all that, but I’m so focused on our football team and what we can do and what we can control and what I can control to help our team win.’ As it turns out, Wilson can control a whole lot more than almost everybody expected. Through 10 games, Wilson has the second highest passer rating of any of the rookie quarterbacks, his 90.5 trailing only Washington’s Robert Griffin III. He’s thrown 15 touchdown passes with eight interceptions. Tannehill has a 70.8 rating with six touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Most relevant, the Seahawks’ 6-4 record with Wilson starting is matched only by Luck’s Colts as the best among rookie starters.”
The Sports Network’s John McMullen previews Sunday’s game in Miami, “It’s hard to imagine either team lightning up the scoreboard here. Wilson hasn’t shown anything on the road yet while Tannehill has been struggling mightily and will be facing off against one of the NFL’s best secondaries. Expect a late Dan Carpenter field goal to get Miami back in the win column here. ‘I haven’t slept as well as I’d like to be sleeping (during the losing streak),’ [Miami coach] Philbin said. ‘But at the same time you have to have faith and belief in something, and we’re going to stick to this process that we have in place. There’s a lot of football left to be played and most importantly excited about this opportunity against Seattle.’ Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Dolphins 20, Seahawks 17″
Like Stone, John Boyle of the Everett Herald has a look at Seattle and Miami’s Canada connection, “It’s rare that a player makes the leap from the CFL to the NFL and has a lasting impact. It’s even less common when they do what Wake and Browner have both done by not just winning starting jobs, but playing at a Pro Bowl level. Wake signed with the Dolphins in 2009 after spending two years with the Lions. In an odd twist, Browner and Wake both worked out for the Dolphins at the same time back in 2009, though only one landed a job. ‘When he got signed to Miami, I was down there and it was down to me and him,’ Browner said. ‘They told both of us, ‘We’re going to sign of one of you guys.’ And they took him.’ Wake wasn’t a starter in his first season with the Dolphins, but he still managed 5.5 sacks. He then enjoyed a breakout year in 2010, piling up 14 sacks while earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors. Browner took a similar route, proving himself in Calgary before the Seahawks and coach Pete Carroll, who coached against Browner when the cornerback was at Oregon State, brought him in for a look prior to last season. Browner finished his first NFL season with six interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, and went to the Pro Bowl. And when Wake and Browner both take the field Sunday it will be a reminder of just how inexact a science talent evaluation can be in football.”
Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, contributing to 710Sports.com, describes his experiences playing on the road in the NFL, and offers some explanation as to why the Seahawks struggle away from home, “‘ll give you this: it’s a little more difficult to go to sleep at midnight when it’s only 9 o’clock back home and it definitely sucks getting up at 8 a.m. when your body clock is telling you it’s 5 a.m. But once you’re up and going, that never enters your mind. Here’s what I’ve always said about the time change: it doesn’t matter what time it is back home – right here and right now, it’s time to play. Linebacker K.J. Wright offered one solution to the problem on the air with me and Colin Paisley on Monday. K.J. brought up the fact that crowd noise bothers the offense on the road but has no effect on special teams or defense: ‘If you can get those two things going, defense and special teams, they control the game and they’ll get us rolling.’ “
Liz Matthews of 710Sports.com has her practice report from Wednesday, noting the return of offensive guard James Carpenter, who sat out of the club’s “Bonus Monday” practice earlier this week as he had not yet cleared concussion testing, “Carpenter cleared the mandated concussion protocol testing in order to return to the field. Carpenter was inactive the last two games and was unable to practice last Monday following the bye. Head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday he was uncertain whether Carpenter would start Sunday in Miami. ‘We’ll see,’ Carroll said. ‘We’ll see how the week goes and what happens. I just want to take it one day at a time and see how that goes.’ Carroll did say that John Moffitt, who has started at left guard in Carpenter’s absence, is ready to go if needed.”
Tim Booth of the Associated Press highlights the reunion between head coach Pete Carroll and Dolphins running back Reggie Bush. Bush played for coach Carroll while the pair was at USC, “Carroll believes Bush has matured as a runner, no longer just rushing as fast as he can to the line of scrimmage, but displaying more patience for running lanes to open up. ‘Reggie has really found his tempo coming to the line of scrimmage and seeing things and using his quickness and darting and using his quickness into open spaces. He looks like a more mature runner now,’ Carroll said. ‘He used to run it up in there as fast as he could and hit it hard and it wasn’t to his advantage all the time in his career, but he’s really on it now.’ “
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Wednesday’s practice session, “Wilson has played 14 games this season going back to the preseason, more than any of his seasons in college. Yet, Wilson always played baseball in the spring and is used to always playing a sport at a competitive level. It’s kept Wilson fresh for the final six game stretch of the regular season. ‘My body feels tremendous, actually,’ Wilson said. ‘It feels like I haven’t even played a game yet. …I feel great. The bye week definitely helped but I’ll be ready to go.’ The bye came at a perfect time for the Seahawks as it allowed everyone to get healthy. Seattle had everyone back at practice Wednesday as the team began game-week preparations for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his updated “MVP Watch“, where Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has climbed two spots to No. 5 on his list of 10 potential candidates, “Lynch still ranks second in rushing yards following the Seahawks’ bye week. He now faces a Miami Dolphins defense that has ceded 132.2 yards rushing per game and 4.7 per carry over its past five games. That is up from 61.4 yards per game and 2.7 per carry over the first five games. Doug Martin recently passed Lynch for second in yards after contact. Miami has given up 366 yards after contact, the eighth-fewest in the NFL.”
Sando also breaks down the play of rookie QBs Wilson and Tannehill heading into Sunday’s matchup, “Tannehill and Seattle’s Russell Wilson are both starting despite preseason expectations they would serve as backups first. It would have seemed unfathomable when free agency began to think Matt Flynn would be backing up Wilson heading into a Week 12 matchup featuring the Tannehill-led Dolphins. That is indeed the case even though Flynn visited both teams in free agency after playing for Philbin and Seahawks general manager John Schneider in Green Bay. ‘We certainly like our quarterback,’ Philbin told reporters Wednesday. ‘I think Seattle’s quarterback is playing very well.’ Both have made positive impressions overall, particularly in light of rookie expectations. Wilson is outperforming Tannehill by leading statistical measures as the Seahawks and Dolphins prepare to face one another for the first time since 2008.”
The crew at NFL Films previews the Seahawks’ Week 12 matchup with the Dolphins in this short video.
Yesterday, the Seahawks added wide receiver Charly Martin from their practice squad to their 53-man roster, and brought in rookie Corbin Louks out of Nevada to take Martin’s place on the practice roster.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth recaps “Wednesday in Hawkville“, with a focus on running back Marshawn Lynch.
Farnsworth also notes the return of second-year linebacker K.J. Wright, who missed the club’s Week 10 game against the New York Jets with a concussion, “It’s impossible to overstate what getting Wright back can mean to the NFL’s No. 3-ranked defense as the Seahawks prepare for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins in Miami. He was, after all, leading the team in tackles before getting his concussion. ‘It’s a huge get-back,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘K.J. comes back to us and he brings savvy and awareness in our system. He’s a great communicator on the field. He helps the guy up front. He helps Bobby (Wagner, the rookie middle linebacker). It’s just a big deal. ‘Plus, he’s a terrific playmaker for us. So it’s a big boost for us to get him back out there.’ “
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily“, recapping what coach Carroll called “one of the most important practices of the year.”
Finally, team photographer Rod Mar has a look at yesterday’s practice in photos.
Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s 1:30 p.m. practice and preparations for their Week 12 road matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
Asked about the status of offensive guard James Carpenter, who had not cleared concussion testing as of Monday of this week after missing the team’s Week 10 game against the New York Jets, Carroll said the second-year lineman will practice today.
“He’s been cleared,” Carroll said. “We’re anxious to see how he handles it.”
Carroll was asked if Carpenter will move back into the starting lineup and replace fellow second-year lineman John Moffitt, and the coach said he will take a “wait and see” approach to that move as they continue to evaluate the week of practice.
“We’ll see how the week goes and take it one day at a time,” he said.
Second-year linebacker K.J. Wright was back during Monday’s bonus practice session. Wright had also missed the team’s Week 10 game against the Jets with a concussion. On Wright, Carroll said he brings a savvy, awareness and advanced level of communication to the rest of the defense.
“It’s a big boost to get him back out there,” said Carroll.
Carroll called today’s practice one of the most important practices of the year, and it is easy to understand why. The club is back from the bye week and has everybody healthy, according to Carroll. Carroll said it is important to take advantage of the remaining padded practices, as under the new CBA players are limited to a certain number of padded practices as a nod toward improving player safety. With everybody expected back and with everybody expected to be in pads, Carroll said the focus of today’s session will be on controlling the line of scrimmage, with plenty of hitting involved.
Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. And in case you missed it, stay tuned to Seahawks.com for Carroll’s full video press conference.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 20.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story as the Seahawks returned from their bye week yesterday afternoon, “The Seahawks were one of the last four teams in the NFL to get a week off, their bye coming later than it had in any season since 2000. Players reported back to the team’s headquarters at noon Monday and took the field to practice at 2 p.m., followed by a team meeting. ‘They came back with a lot of energy,’ Carroll said. ‘They feel really like you’d expected. You could tell. You could tell just by the way they ran around today that they had a lot of spring in their step.’ “
O’Neil says offensive guard James Carpenter has yet to be cleared to return to practice from a concussion he suffered over two weeks ago, “He was the only player absent from Monday’s workout as linebacker K.J. Wright and defensive linemen Clinton McDonald and Greg Scruggs were back after missing Seattle’s last game. Carroll was asked if he was optimistic Carpenter would be cleared to resume playing. ‘Let’s wait and find out,’ Carroll said. ‘I hope so. He’s had a lot of time to break. We just want to make sure we had everything squared away. We’ll see what happens.’ “
O’Neil also does his best to rank the seasons of the five rookie quarterbacks starting in the NFL this season.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune comments on the good health of the Seahawks as they return from the bye, “Carroll said that he and general manager John Schneider finally got a chance to put together a more comprehensive approach to preparing players mentally and physically for the season, with director of health and player performance Sam Ramsden leading the charge. ‘We’ve done a lot of things this year that are different to what we’ve done in the past,’ Carroll said. ‘We’ve taken a more holistic look at the athletes in general – everything from their rest, to their eating habits, to the way we bring them back – in every phase of it. … I don’t know if that has anything to do with it at all, but we’ve tried to take care of these guys from the time they came back to us in OTAs (organized team activities) throughout in a little different manner.’ “
Williams also has his notes following Monday’s practice session, “Carroll said the team used this extra day of practice to look at a couple ideas they had to on both offense and defense and experiment with those schemes. The coaching staff also used the extra reps to get some of the younger players more turns working with the first and second units during team drills. Carroll also said he and the coaching staff took a close look at what the issues are on third down, both on offense and defense, during the break. ‘I think both sides of the football can benefit from better execution and successes on third down,’ Carroll said. ‘We’re not right on our numbers. For as good as we can play on defense at times, to be at 40 percent, that’s not good enough for us. We need to knock that thing down. And we’re still at low 30s on offense, and we’ve got to get that taken care of.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald details the Seahawks’ return from the bye, “…so often the difference between a mediocre season and a very good one can be as simple as health. Were the 49ers a very talented team last year? Absolutely, but part of their amazing turnaround was the fact that they placed four players on injured reserve all of last year. ‘It’s a tremendous difference,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s who you’re playing with when you finish the season. The teams you’re playing against, you’re not always playing against the same guys that you might’ve played earlier in the year. The teams that have good health usually have the best chance of being consistent.’ “
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com takes a look at how coach Carroll spent his bye week, as he recaps the latest conversation between coach and 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk”, “Carroll and his coaching staff took a step back to do some self-scouting, something he said is difficult to do during a normal week. The Seahawks’ own tendencies were a focus. Improving on third down – on both sides of the ball – was a priority. ‘You don’t get that clear thought to step back in that sense until you get to the bye week,’ Carroll said. Same goes for watching games on television. Carroll, a defensive-minded coach, was impressed by how Stanford held Oregon’s prolific offense to 14 points in an upset win over the top-ranked Ducks. ‘I thought that was one of my favorite games that I probably will see all year,’ he said. ‘I can’t wait to get the film. I want to watch the Stanford-Oregon game. I want to see how they did it and what they did to get it done.’ “
The staff at SportsPressNW.com highlights the Seahawks’ return from their week off, “The Seahawks, who won their last two, defeating Minnesota (30-20) and the New York Jets (28-7), will play the next two on the road. After meeting Miami, which has lost three in a row, Seattle plays in Chicago against the Bears, who were crushed 32-7 by San Francisco on Monday Night Football. ‘It’s fun to be back,’ Carroll said. ‘These guys really appreciated the break, they’re fired up about our prospects of being able to do something good here, and they came back with a lot of energy.’ “
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday, “Carroll said that he believes CB Walter Thurmond will be ready to go for them this week. Thurmond has practice the last three weeks and was activated to the 53-man roster from the physically unable to perform list prior to the Jets game, though he was inactive for the game. ‘I think he is ready to go. I would hope that Walter would be involved this week,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s been battling Marcus Trufant at the nickel spot, but he’s been battling to play outside so we’ll see. He’s a special football player so we’d like to get him involved some. It might be in some dime situations as well so we’re looking for a spot for him.’ “
Mike Sando of ESPN.com shares the how the ESPN staff voted in their latest NFL Power Rankings, and the Seattle Seahawks sit at No. 12 on their list.
The staff at NFL.com debates who will take hold of the final wild-card playoff spot in the NFC, and several analysts like the Seahawks’ chances. From NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal: “I picked the Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West before the season started, and I have not given up on that possibility. Seattle (6-4) remains undefeated at home, where it will get one more shot at the division-leading San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1). San Francisco, meanwhile, has games against the Saints, Chicago Bears and New England Patriots. Seattle has the toughest defense to prepare for in football and a rapidly improving rookie quarterback. In short, I like the Seahawks to stay ahead of all of the wild-card contenders. But don’t be surprised if the Niners, and not the Seahawks, wind up taking that last wild-card spot.”
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily“, recapping the club’s “Bonus Monday” practice session.
We have coach Carroll’s full video press conference from yesterday available here.
Finally, our team photographer Rod Mar has a look at Monday’s practice in photos.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 19:
The day after having the bye week off. The Seahawks held their first full practice since Nov. 9, a “Bonus Monday” session where they began focusing on Sunday’s game against the Dolphins in Miami.
They were refreshed, rested and energized. And it showed.
“It was fun to be back,” coach Pete Carroll said. “These guys, I think, really appreciated the break. They’re fired up about our prospects of doing something good here. They came back with a lot of energy and they feel really good, like you would expect.
“You could tell. You could tell just by the way they ran around today that they had a lot of spring in their step.”
The Seahawks now need to use the rest from the bye week, coupled with the momentum gained from winning their past two games, as a springboard toward “doing something good here,” as Carroll put it.
And that was the emphasis in his message to the players as they gathered for a team meeting at noon.
“We need to take advantage of the beak by coming back and practicing really well this week and getting all the little things done,” Carroll said. “One of the things that can get lost is that you have all your discipline and you have all of the timing down, just because you might feel like you do.
“I don’t want to take that for granted. So the discipline that we execute this week, starting on Wednesday – it started today – is crucial. We’ve got to go out and play really good football and we want to continue to do that. Which means the timing. That means the line of scrimmage. That means penalties. That means taking care of the football. All of those things are really what’s at hand right now.”
There was that thought in the locker room after the pre-bye win over the Jets that the Seahawks were on a roll and the week off might interrupt the momentum. But to a player, they agreed today that the break and the rest that came with it were needed and beneficial.
“It can throw you off. You can get thrown out of whack because you’re in those routines, and though they’re routines hopefully they’re good routines and habits,” Carroll said. “So I’m not taking it for granted that we’ve just got it nailed and we’re back in full steam again.
“I want to make sure that this is a very strict week and very disciplined week to make sure that we recapture the timing and the things we’ve been doing.”
Left guard James Carpenter was the only player who did not participate in today’s practice, which was held in the indoor practice facility for obvious reasons. Carpenter still has more tests to take, Carroll said, before he can he cleared to return to practice.
“We’ll find out Wednesday if he’s cleared to go,” Carroll said.
Strongside linebacker K.J. Wright was back after missing the pre-bye game against the Jets as well as most of the game against the Vikings the week before because of a concussion.
“We’re very fortunate right now,” Carroll said. “We’re very fortunate to be this healthy at this point. Hopefully we’ll make the most of it.”
STATS ’N STUFF
The Seahawks didn’t play over the weekend, but some things didn’t change.
Marshawn Lynch remains No. 2 in the league in rushing with 1,005 yards – 123 behind Adrian Peterson of the Vikings, who also had their bye. Buccaneers’ rookie Doug Martin did close the gap and now is just 5 yards behind Lynch. Peterson (1,283) and Lynch (1,142) slipped to second and third in total yards behind Martin (1,319).
Russell Wilson also remained No. 12 in the league is passer rating (90.5), and is No. 6 in fourth-quarter passer rating (96.2).
Jon Ryan is No. 4 in punting average (49.0) and third in net average (42.5), while Leon Washington is tied for seventh in kickoff return average (28.3).
Richard Sherman is tied for fourth in interceptions (four), while Bruce Irvin continues to lead all rookies in sacks (seven).
The Seahawks actually improved one spot in total defense to No. 3, allowing an average of 296.8 yards. They are No. 2 against the pass and No. 12 against the run. They also are No. 6 in rushing offense, but No. 26 overall because they’re last in passing offense.
STAT DU JOUR
This one comes from NFC West blogger Mike Sando at ESPN.com and it’s even a day old, but it also definitely is worth repeating: Wilson is the only non-offensive lineman in the NFC West to play every offensive snap for his team this season.
The players will have their usual off day on Tuesday before returning on Wednesday to continue preparing for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.
Looking even farther down the week, the Sunday forecast in Miami is calling for a high of 76 degrees with zero percent chance of precipitation.
YOU DON’T SAY
“In a copy-cat league where personnel decisions and play-calling never gets very far out of the box, (GM John) Schneider and Carroll buck traditional, safe decision-making and do what they believe in. If you have no other reason to root for the Seahawks, there’s a good place to start.” – former Seahawks linebacker and now 710 ESPN analyst Dave Wyman in this piece posted