Wednesday cyber surfing: Offseason activities

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 11.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times follows up his Seahawks wide receivers breakdown from yesterday with a closer look at one wide receiver in particular – Mike Williams. The former first round draft pick and USC alum enjoyed a breakout season with the Seahawks in 2010, leading the team in receiving with 65 catches for 751 yards after being out of the NFL completely for two years. Last year, for whatever reason – injuries, a new offense, or a new quarterback – Williams’ production fell off. O’Neil wonders how Williams will respond in 2012, “Well, that depends on Williams’ readiness both in terms of his recovery from injury and his mindset. Does he focus on the decline of his numbers last season as a sign the offense in general — and quarterback in particular — didn’t involve him to the same degree as 2010? Or does he see that as a speed bump that he can overcome? [Head Coach Pete] Carroll has always liked big, physical wide receivers, and there isn’t a bigger receiver on Seattle’s roster. Now, it’s up to Williams to show he can still be a sizeable factor in the offense.”

Bob Heist of the Pensacola News Journal catches up with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who is working out in his hometown at his old Gulf Breeze High campus with Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn in preparation for the start of training camp at the end of this month. Heist tells us, “The workout lasted more than an hour as Baldwin and Flynn ran through different routes, exchanging ideas on timing, field positioning and general likes and dislikes specific to executing certain patterns. ‘The neat thing about all this, Doug appreciates every second he has in the NFL,’ said Gulf Breeze coach Chris Nemith. ‘It’s an inspiration for anybody that says this is what you want to do and has the courage and resolve to stick with it. And those two guys out there today, this shows they care about the Seahawks and what they’re doing individually. You can see the self-respect they have in themselves and the mutual respect for each other. This really was outstanding to see.’

Sticking with the wide receiver theme, here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues with his positional breakdown, as he takes a look at Seattle’s wide receiver position heading into 2012. Farnsworth notes that the unit should improve significantly as a whole if they can get, and stay, healthy, “With the return of [Sidney] Rice and the addition of [Kellen] Winslow, the passing game should be in good hands. But their practice reps will need to be monitored to make sure they’re ready when needed most – on game days. Their presence also should make it possible for [Doug] Baldwin to be even more productive from the slot. But the offense also needs [Golden] Tate and [Kris] Durham to play to their potential, more consistency from [Ricardo] Lockette and a return to form by [Zach] Miller – who caught 66 and 60 passes for the Raiders in 2009 and 2010.”

Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities chats with Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who is in Minnesota at Larry Fitzgerald’s annual offseason workouts. Pelissero asked Jackson about the competition at the team’s quarterback position, to which Jackson responded, “You only know what coaches tell you. Coaches have been pretty straightforward about the competition. It’s all you can ask. Just let me know where I stand. That’s all you can really ask for — know the truth and let the best man win.” Pelissero also noted that Seattle running back Leon Washington and wide receivers Ricardo Lockette and Golden Tate joined Jackson at the Fitzgerald workouts.

Over at SI.com, Chris Burke breaks down the Seahawks offseason. Burke points to the competition at quarterback, the health of the offensive line and the development of first round draft pick DE Bruce Irvin as three things to watch going forward, as he offers up a season outlook, “Because the Seahawks were more or less out of the playoff picture by the 2011 season’s midpoint, they kind of flew under the radar late. Which means that a lot of people now fail to grasp how close this team was to contending. Assuming one of the QBs steps up, the offensive line stays upright and someone — anyone — breaks through at wide receiver (don’t count Seattle out as a player for WR Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft), the offense could be pretty solid. The defense has question marks at linebacker with [Barrett] Ruud, K.J. Wright and Leroy Hill expected to start, but the front four and secondary are stout. Carroll may need one more year to fully implement his plan, but Seattle is on the upswing.”


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Monday cyber surfing: Father’s Day memories, and quarterbacks

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

To celebrate Father’s Day, we wondered what it was like growing up with Pete Carroll as your father. So we asked Nate Carroll, a defensive assistant on the Seahawks’ coaching staff headed by his father: “On this Father’s Day what better way to salute the father figure of the Seahawks than by taking a stroll down memory lane with the youngest of coach Pete Carroll’s three grown children. Growing up the son of a football coach also can make for some less-than-fond memories, because the occupation can easily lead to preoccupation. But that’s not how Nate remembers it ‘When he came home, it wasn’t ‘head coach dad,’ it was dad,’ said Nate Carroll, now 25 and a defensive assistant on his father’s staff. ‘He could flip the switch when he came home, which was awesome.’ For example? ‘I don’t like saying this, but as a child I used to think my dad wasn’t all that smart because he used to play dumb for me,’ Nate said. ‘I was always too smart for my own good, so I was like, ‘My dad’s just not that smart.’ But I came to realize he was just trying to relate to me as much as possible. It was awesome, and I thank him for that.’ ”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald not only looks at the Seahawks’ three-man QB competition, he warns readers of that fact: “Warning: You are about to read about the Seahawks’ quarterbacks competition. This is not the first time you have read about this topic, nor will it be the last. You will continue to read/see/hear countless stories about Seattle’s three-way QB competition between now and September. So, if you’re already tired of this quarterback talk, well, sorry. Things are only going to get worse in the coming months. Much worse.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we also look at the continuing competition between Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson: “One by one, Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson continued to take their turns quarterbacking the No. 1 offense at the Seahawks’ just-concluded three-day minicamp. One at a time, they stepped to the podium this week for post-practice Q&A sessions, where they said all the right things but also made it clear there will be no backing down before coach Pete Carroll and his offensive staff decide just which QB will lead the team in the 2012 season. But no one has yet to take a discernible lead in this arms race. ‘I can’t tell you that there’s anything that’s happened other than to say we’ll stay with the same format going into (training) camp,’ Carroll said Thursday. ‘I don’t think that will change. T-Jack will go first and away we go. But other than that, let the games begin. We’ll be really excited to see what happens.’ ”

We’ve also got a look at how the Seahawks became the Seahawks in our “On This Date” series: “It happened in 1975, when ‘Seahawks’ was selected from 1,741 different names that were suggested by 20,365 entries. ‘It’s overwhelming, simply overwhelming,’ then-managing general partner Herman Sarkowsky said at the time. ‘We expected only about one-tenth this many entries.’ ”

Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. ranks his 10 most versatile players in the NFC, and Leon Washington checks in at No. 10. It’s an Insider feature at ESPN.com, so requires registration and a fee, but here’s what he says about the Washington who plays in Washington: “Entering his eighth season in the NFL, Washington is still a productive player in a lot of areas for the Seahawks. He is most dangerous as a returner (as an outlet receiver, he had a modest 10 receptions), and as a backup running back, he rushed for 248 yards on 53 carries. He is a shifty guy with good open-field elusiveness and dependable hands. He will likely fill in as a third-down back and see more touches in 2012.”

NFL.com celebrated Father’s Day with a photo gallery of fathers and sons, including a three-generation picture of Seahawks tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., his Hall of Fame father and his son, Jalen; and a 2002 photo of Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy and his daughter, Courtney.

Len Pasquarelli of the Sports Xchange is reporting that Chris Clemons has “politely declined” the Seahawks’ offer on a contract extension, which is why the defensive end was not at last week’s mandatory minicamp in an under-the-radar move for a player who has produced 11 sacks in each of his first two seasons with the team: “That might have something to do, of course, with the fact that Seahawks play in a part of the country to which many fans don’t pay much attention, and which merits only modest media scrutiny. Or it might be because Clemons, a nine-year veteran who had started only three games with three different franchises in the seven seasons before he arrived in Seattle in 2010, isn’t particularly well-known. That said, it was a fairly significant storyline, especially for a Seattle team that could quietly challenge for a title in the relatively unleavened NFC West.”

But GM John Schneider said in an interview on 950 KJR on Saturday that talks are continuing with the Clemons: ‘ “What I can share with you guys is that we’ve had dialogue with Chris and his agent,’ Schneider said. ‘It’s all been positive. You know, he elected not to come to the camp, that’s his prerogative. He’s got a year left on his contract, he’s very talented, he’s a very important part of what we’re doing. And we’ll try to do what’s in the best interest of the organization. I think the fans recognize that he’s an important part of what we do on defense, and the 12th Man has really helped his game, too, in terms of being filled out at the stadium and allowing him to jump off the ball. Obviously we’d like to extend a number of different guys. We have several unrestricted free agents coming up that we’d like to start working on and he’s a priority.’ ”

And Eric Williams at the News Tribune cites a team source as saying Clemons’ declining the offer never happened: “However, a club source close to the situation contradicted the report, saying the Seahawks have not received a formal rejection on any deal, and the two sides continue to negotiate.”

For a look at the rest of the league, including LaDainian Tomlinson signing with San Diego so he can retire a Charger, there’s Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com. He’s also got more on Brian Banks, the linebacker who had a tryout last week with the Seahawks, including: “When the Chiefs worked out Brian Banks this month, they put him through a scouting combine type of workout, designed to see exactly what kind of athlete he was and potential he had. Banks measured at 6-2 ½ and 239 pounds. He ran a 4.77-second 40-yard dash. There were 33 linebackers at the Scouting Combine in February; 29 ran the 40-yard dash. Banks, who hadn’t worked out seriously before being exonerated May 24 because he never thought he’d ever have a chance to play pro football after 10 years away from the game, ran a faster 40 than eight of the 29 prospects, including running faster than five of the inside linebackers running for their NFL lives in Indianapolis.”


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Friday cyber surfing: Observations aplenty from minicamp

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 15:

The Seahawks wrapped up their three-day minicamp on Thursday, and Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his observations, including: “The Seahawks are loading up rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner with play calls, same as they did for K.J. Wright last season. Wright has been expected to handle the calls this season even though Wagner projects as the middle linebacker in the base defense. That might not be the case, however. Wright smiled and shook his head when asked about continuing to handle all the calls. He’s heard and read the reports suggesting that will be the case. But Wright said Wagner is making the calls. Wright said he expects Wagner to make the calls this season. The Seahawks have options, but for now at least, they want to see what Wagner can handle. Hand strength is one of Wagner’s biggest assets – and an important one for middle linebackers, who must continually operate in heavy traffic.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at the continuing competition for the starting quarterback job: “For now, (coach Pete) Carroll said incumbent Tarvaris Jackson, high-priced free agent addition Matt Flynn and third-round draft pick Russell Wilson will continue to compete for the starting job once the team reconvenes for the opening of training camp in late July. ‘It’s going to take us until we start playing games to see something happen, I think,’ Carroll said. ‘At this point, they’re doing everything they can do with the opportunities. And they look good. I can’t tell you that there’s anything that has happened, other than we’ll stay with the same format going into camp, I don’t think that will change. T-Jack (Jackson) will go first, and away we go. Other than that, let the games begin.’ ”

 
Williams also offers some observations from the final practice: “(Russell) Wilson looked more comfortable working with the first unit offense today. He made a couple impressive throws, but missed on others, including a diving interception by Richard Sherman, who went up high to pull down the ball on a go-route over the outstretched arms of Kris Durham. Wilson also appeared in control, sometimes correcting veteran receivers like Kellen Winslow if he didn’t feel the route was run correctly, something you seldom see a rookie quarterback do.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times also looks at Wilson’s “turn” to run the No. 1 offense: “Russell Wilson was in the closer’s role Thursday. The rookie quarterback worked with the Seahawks’ first-unit offense on the final day of a mandatory minicamp. He was also the last player off the field after that final practice. ‘I always try to stay after practice,’ Wilson said. ‘Twenty-five more throws, 30 more throws, just to really focus on the throws that I think I either missed that day or things that I can always work on.’ ”

Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson offered his assessment of Wilson in this interview on 710 ESPN: “ ‘You don’t look at him as a rookie,’ said Robinson, who finished fifth in Heisman voting and led Penn State to an Orange Bowl win as a senior in 2005. ‘You get the sense that he’s been around for a while, and I think that’s gonna help him going down the road.’ ”

Dan Hanzus at NFL.com has the latest on Brian Banks, the exonerated linebacker who had a two-day tryout with the Seahawks: “Banks tweeted Thursday night his next stop is San Francisco, where he’ll take part in the 49ers’ minicamp.”

Doug Farrar of Shutdown Corner takes a longer look at Banks’ two days with the Seahawks at YahooSports.com: “The most impressive thing about Banks from a purely competitive perspective was that after so long away from the game, he looked like an undrafted free agent who would probably come up short on first cuts. That is to say, he didn’t appear to be some schlub who hadn’t played football in years. Banks ran to the ball with average speed in non-contact drills, he showed decent speed and flexibility in his drops, and he certainly appeared to be a step late to the action at times … but given the circumstances, it was pretty darned impressive.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the conclusion of the minicamp, which also happened to be the conclusion of the offseason program: “(Coach Pete) Carroll is hoping – no, planning – that the improved play down the stretch last season, coupled with an offseason and the infusion of some new talent, will make for a better start to the 2012 season. ‘There’s a good feeling about where we’re going, and we’re excited about it,’ Carroll said. ‘We’re young, and the young guys who started for the first time last year don’t feel like young guys anymore. And that’s a big deal to us, because we need to grow. Being the youngest starting team (in the NFL) last year gives us a chance to really make a big step forward, and we can feel it. There’s a lot of energy about it and it’s a good place to be right now.’ ”

We also take a look at the final practice in our Hawkville recap: “After (Kellen) Winslow made the first of his trio of catches, the veteran tight end had a few choice words for the rest of the defense that was standing along the sideline as he made his way back to the huddle. ‘It’s amazing. He’s definitely brought a different element out there,’ Sherman said. ‘And I think we appreciate it on defense. He makes it real lively out there. When he makes a catch you can hear him. We finally have somebody to go back (and forth) with, because sometimes we’re kind of going back with ourselves – it’s kind of one-sided. They’ll make a catch, then there’ll be a little bit of talk. But it won’t be the kind like we’re doing. But Kellen, we’ll bring some of the trash. … He plays with a lot of swagger, and I like that. I like his style of play.’ ”

There’s also Tony Ventrella’s video recap, as well as video of the Q&A sessions with Carroll, Wilson and Sherman.


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Thursday in Hawkville: QB competition to continue in training camp

A recap of the activities on the third – and final – day of the Seahawks’ Bing minicamp:

FOCUS ON

Quarterbacks. After the team’s last practice before training camp opens in late July, reporters had one last chance to ask coach Pete Carroll about the three-armed race for the starting job at the pivotal position.

The best way to continue summing up the situation? To be continued.

“It’s going to take us until we start playing games to see something happen,” Carroll said, referring to the preseason schedule that begins Aug. 11 with a game against the Titans at CenturyLink Field.

“At this point, they’re doing everything they can do with the opportunity. And they look good. So I can’t tell you that there’s anything that’s happened, other than we’ll stay with the same format going into camp.”

That means a rotation involving incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson, free-agent addition Matt Flynn and rookie Russell Wilson – in that order, just as it has been since Wilson threw himself in the competition during the rookie minicamp last month.

Today, it was Wilson’s turn to run the No. 1 offense, after Jackson did it on Tuesday and Flynn had his turn on Wednesday.

Carroll wouldn’t say that he’ll stick with the daily rotation plan, but he did offer, “It’s worked out OK to give them an even shot. That’s the point, is to really make it as evenly competitive as we possibly can. We’ve done that to this point.”

DONNY ON THE SPOT

In a practice filled with impressive plays, none was better than the interception turned in by Donny Lisowski. The rookie cornerback from Montana and Seattle’s O’Dea High School tipped a Flynn pass that was intended for wide receiver Ricardo Lockette near the goal line and then controlled the carom as he was falling to the turf.

“It was press coverage and our No. 1 rule is to stay on top,” said Lisowski, who was signed after getting a tryout at the rookie minicamp. “I stayed on my man after 15 yards. I knew he wasn’t running a comeback, so I turned my head and just made a play on the ball.

“I was just going for the knockdown and I ended up tipping the ball straight up to myself.”

Lisowski’s heads-up play was greeted by hoots and hollers from the No. 1 defense.

Among the other notable efforts: on back-to-back plays, rookie defensive end Cordarro Law got to running back Vai Taua for a 2-yard loss and then produced a rush on third down that forced the play to be whistled dead as a sack; rookie kicker Carson Wiggs drilling a 47-yard field goal; tight end Kellen Winslow flashing open over the middle and then going up to make nice grab of a pass from Flynn; Wilson threading a pass between a pair of defenders to Winslow; Jackson and Winslow hooking up on a 23-yard completion; defensive lineman Pep Levingston tipping a pass incomplete; and cornerback Richard Sherman intercepting a Wilson pass that was intended for wide receiver Kris Durham.

WOOFIN’ ’N BARKIN’

After Winslow made the first of his trio of catches, the veteran tight end had a few choice words for the rest of the defense that was standing along the sideline as he made his way back to the huddle.

“It’s amazing. He’s definitely brought a different element out there,” Sherman said. “And I think we appreciate it on defense. He makes it real lively out there. When he makes a catch you can hear him. We finally have somebody to go back (and forth) with, because sometimes we’re kind of going back with ourselves – it’s kind of one-sided.

“They’ll make a catch, then there’ll be a little bit of talk. But it won’t be the kind like we’re doing. But Kellen, we’ll bring some of the trash. … He plays with a lot of swagger, and I like that. I like his style of play.”

INJURY UPDATES

Carroll said second-year offensive lineman James Carpenter is the only player among the 11 who didn’t practice during this minicamp who is likely to remain sidelined when training camp opens.

“I don’t think he’s going to make it for the start of camp,” Carroll said of Carpenter, who had season-ending knee surgery nine games into his rookie season. “We’re not going to push him for that. That’s not important to us. We want to get him back when he’s right. He’s making good progress at this time. But it will be somewhere down the road from there.”

Third-year cornerback Walter Thurmond “has a chance,” Carroll said, to be ready for the start of camp. Thurmond remains sidelined because of the leg he broke in late October.

THE NORTON AFFECT

Carroll might wield the whistle that controls practice, but the voice that often serves as the metronome for practice belongs to linebackers coach Ken Norton as he praises and also prods “his” players as well as those from other position groups.

Brian Banks, the story-unto-himself linebacker who’s at this camp on a tryout basis, is getting his first taste of the Norton Affect.

“I was waiting for that,” Banks said when asked how it felt to have his position coach, well, yelling at him. “I don’t want anybody to take it easy on me out here. I know I have a lot of work to do and if that’s what’s required, then definitely give it to me. I’m ready for it.”

Banks not only had heard of Norton, he arrived for his workout last week that led to this week’s tryout holding the former Pro Bowl linebacker in the highest regard.

“I’ve heard of his coaching style,” Banks said. “It wasn’t until that day of the tryout that I was on the way up here with one of the (scouts) and he was like, ‘I want to let you know, coach Norton, he’s no joke,’ ” said Banks, smiling. “But you know what? I like that intensity. I like that style of coaching.

“If it’s not right, tell me it’s not right. And if it needs fixing, tell me it needs fixing and let’s fit it together. We’ll get it done. I appreciate that.”

THIS ’N THAT

Former Seahawks and University of Washington safety Lawyer Milloy watched practice from the sideline. … Carroll said no decisions have been made on the six players who attended this camp on a tryout basis, including Banks and veteran wide receiver Antonio Bryant. … Former CFL offensive lineman Edawn Coughman was added to that group today. … Practice ended with two linemen attempting PAT-range field goals. Rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin made his; veteran offensive guard Deuce Lutui did not.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I’m not scared to face anybody.” – Sherman, laughing, when asked which of the three QBs he was most “scared” to face


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Wednesday in Hawkville: An ‘overwhelming’ experience for Banks

A recap of the activities on the second day of the Seahawks’ three-day Bing minicamp:

FOCUS ON

Brian Banks. The latest stop on his exoneration tour was a return to Virginia Mason Athletic Center, where Banks began a two-day tryout with the Seahawks after he worked out for the team last Thursday.

“I didn’t even know if I was going to have a number or a jersey,” said Banks, who was wearing No. 43. “I didn’t know what to expect when I first got here. I got to my locker and saw that there was a jersey in it and I just wanted to take a picture of it just for myself.

“It was amazing just to see my name on the back of it. It’s just an honor. It’s an honor to be taken serious and to be given this opportunity.”

In between trips to Seattle, Banks worked out for the Chargers on Friday and the Chiefs on Tuesday. It’s all part of trying to regain his life – and his love for football – after spending 62 months in prison for being wrongly accused of rape.

Today, Banks worked at middle linebacker with the No. 3 defense, flanked by Mike Morgan and Kyle Knox – who, like Banks, is at this minicamp on a tryout basis.

“This is the NFL – the best of the best – so it’s going to be really tough for him,” linebackers coach Ken Norton said. “Just the fact that he came out here and gave it a shot and didn’t shy away from it, you’ve got to give him a plus for that.

“But again, this is the best of the best, the highest level of athlete, and he’s been out of it for 10 years. So it’s going to be really, really tough. … Right now, he has a chance. But it’s going to be really, really tough.”

That’s all Banks is asking: An opportunity to make up for lost time. So today was a huge step for him.

“It was more overwhelming than I thought,” Banks said. “I had high hopes and dreams of being out here today. And then just to finally be out here, to have this helmet on, to have my name on the back of this jersey, to be a part of this team for a day, it’s more than I could ever imagine.”

What’s next for Banks? Another practice, as the Seahawks conclude their minicamp on Thursday. After that?

“What I take from it all, the advice that I appreciate the most, is just enjoy the moment,” Banks said. “Enjoy the moment – if it’s for one day, if it’s for the whole season, if it’s for however long. Just enjoy the moment.

“I’ve already won. I have my freedom. That’s what’s most important to me. Making this team is just an additional blessing to this freedom.”

POSITION WATCH

Quarterback. Today was Matt Flynn’s turn to run the No. 1 offense in the three-way competition for the starting job that also includes Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson.

Flynn admitted that while it is a competition, it’s not a cut-throat situation as he vies with Jackson, the incumbent starter; and Wilson, who was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft.

“I don’t think we look at it like we’re going against each other,” said Flynn, who was signed in free agency after serving as Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay the past four seasons. “We’re trying to help each other out. If they made a good throw, I’m the first one there telling them good job. So it’s not like any bad blood coming out here – where we’re on the field and I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m going against you.’

“It’s not like that. Everybody’s trying to compete. Everybody’s trying to get better. And everybody’s trying to make the team better. I think that’s really the overall goal.”

SECONDARY THOUGHTS

Flynn got a taste of just how much closing speed Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas processes. It happened on a deep throw to wide receiver Deon Butler that instead ended up in the hands of Thomas.

“I got first-hand experience to see how fast Earl was today,” Flynn said. “I get a two-minute situation and I’ve Deon streaking down and I throw it. I’m thinking, ‘That might be a touchdown.’ Then all of a sudden I see this flash like come across.

“I don’t think I’ve had a DB back there, especially at safety, with that kind of speed.”

LOOKING GOOD

In addition to Thomas’ out-of-nowhere interception, other practice highlights included nickel back Marcus Trufant slapping away a pass intended for wide receiver Doug Baldwin; wide receiver Charly Martin going up between cornerback Ron Parker and safety Winston Guy to pull down a touchdown pass from Wilson; Guy making a last-second tip of a pass just as it was settling into the hands of wide receiver Phil Bates; tight end Kellen Winslow grabbing a low pass from Jackson for an 18-yard gain; defensive lineman Pep Levingston getting to running back Robert Turbin for a 1-yard loss; and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner reaching around running back Marshawn Lynch to deflect a pass.

ON THE MEND

Eleven players are not practicing as they continue their rehabs from offseason surgeries or more recent injuries: wide receivers Golden Tate, Mike Williams and Jermaine Kearse; offensive lineman James Carpenter; defensive lineman Monte Taylor; linebackers Barrett Ruud, Malcolm Smith and Jameson Konz; and defensive backs Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell and Chris Maragos.

Tate has what coach Pete Carroll calls “a very slight, little crack” in a bone on his right hand, adding the left-handed Tate could play if there was a game this week. Williams is “close” to returning, Carroll said, and should be ready for the start of training camp at the end of July. Ruud is “very close,” in Carroll’s words, and he also should be ready for training camp.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I can’t even imagine. So I wouldn’t be doing justice if I talked about it because I can’t imagine what he’s been through and what he’s feeling just being out here now.” – Flynn, when asked his thoughts on Banks’ situation


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Wednesday cyber surfing: That’s Turbin, as in ‘Turbinator’

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

Dave Boling at the News Tribune came away from Tuesday’s minicamp practice rightfully impressed with Robert Turbin, the rookie running back from Utah State: “Interviews with 22-year-old athletes don’t ordinarily produce profound messages or perspectives on life and its meaning. But we might come to expect the extraordinary from Robert Turbin. The Seattle Seahawks’ rookie running back is a marvel of mass and velocity, with a quick burst to the line and biceps stolen from an animated action hero. He’s winning fans already with his play. After an impressive breakaway during Tuesday’s minicamp, teammates started yelling their approval: ‘The Turbinator,’ they called him. Regardless how this team progresses this season, Robert Turbin deserves that kind of support.”

The only player not at the mandatory camp – defensive end Chris Clemons – drew most of the coverage. Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times, Eric Williams at the News Tribune, John Boyle at the Everett Herald and Tim Booth at the Associated Press provide updates on his situation.

Williams also provides some observations from practice, including the latest on the QB competition: “Pete Carroll complimented Tarvaris Jackson on the way he threw the ball, and said his incumbent starting quarterback played with confidence in the team’s opening day of minicamp this afternoon. Jackson mostly worked with the first unit today. It will be Matt Flynn’s turn to work with the first unit on Wednesday, as Carroll continues to rotate those two and rookie Russell Wilson with the first unit. ‘He’s doing very well,’ Carroll said about Jackson. ‘He looks really healthy and strong, and very confident in what we’re doing. And he’s making it hard on these guys.’ ”

 
Brian Banks is scheduled to begin his tryout with the Seahawks today, but NFL.com reports that Tuesday he was in Kansas City and also drawing attention from the Vikings: “ ‘I know in talking to (general manager) Rick (Spielman) and the scouting staff, that’s something we’ve talked about and there’s a good chance that he may be coming in,” (Vikings coach Leslie) Frazier said.”

With the Kings winning their first Stanley Cup on Monday night, Gregg Rosenthal at NFL.com wonders which NFL team is closest to winning its first Super Bowl. He lists the Seahawks among his “sleeper” picks: “We like what Pete Carroll is doing with the Seahawks defense and think they will be playoff contenders for a while.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with recently acquired tight end Kellen Winslow: “Moments after walking off the field at the conclusion of the Seahawks’ minicamp practice on Tuesday, Kellen Winslow was asked how his impact on the offense might increase once he’s healthy. Winslow’s response was as exact as it was honest. ‘If I was healthy, which I never will be again, I would be Aaron Hernandez and (Jason) Witten together,’ he said. ‘Really?’ the questioner asked. ‘Yeah,’ Winslow said, punctuating the assessment with a laugh. ‘But, hey, I do what I can out there with the situation I have.’ The former Pro Bowl tight end the Seahawks acquired last month in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers never will be 100 percent healthy because of the serious knee injury he got in 2005 while playing for the Cleveland Browns, and the staph infection that followed in 2008. ‘It was the hardest thing that ever happened to me – the accident and then the staph infection on top of that,’ he said.”

We’ve also got a recap of practice in Tuesday in Hawkville, including a look at rookie safety Winston Guy: “The safety from Kentucky continues to wear a red jersey, but the sixth-round draft choice would stand out even without the non-contact apparel. ‘He’s doing a really cool job. I really like this player,’ Carroll said. ‘He brings more than we had hoped, maybe, at this early time.’ The plan when the Seahawks drafted Guy was to use him as a third safety in the “big nickel” defense, which would allow either Thomas or strong safety Kam Chancellor to play closer to the line. ‘His speed is very good. His instincts are excellent,’ Carroll said of Guy. ‘He’s got a lot to learn. But he’s going to play for us and be a part of what we’re doing.’ ”

For a peek at the day’s activities, there’s Tony Ventrella’s video report, as well as the Q&A sessions with Carroll and Jackson.

Elaine Thompson at the Associated Press also has a photo gallery from practice that’s available at PI.com.


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Baldwin’s beauty

The Seahawks not only wrapped up the second week of their OTA practices today, Doug Baldwin wrapped a bow around the drizzle-drenched session with a one-handed catch that had to be seen to really appreciate.

Since that can’t happen, an explanation will have to suffice.

“It was a regular corner route,” said Baldwin, the team’s leading receiver as a rookie last season. “The nickel corner that was playing me (rookie Jeremy Lane) kind of leaned to the outside, so I had to go over the top of him and Matt (Flynn) put the ball in a place where only I could get it.”

Even more impressive was why Baldwin made the one-handed grab for a 35-yard gain.

“You use these practices like a project, so sometimes you do things you wouldn’t normally do to try and make yourself better,” he said. “So I’m working on my ability to go up in different ways to catch the ball.”

The QB rotation system continued, with rookie Russell Wilson up first in the two-hour practice, followed by Flynn and then incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson.

Wilson kicked off one of the team drills with a nice throw that followed an even better read on a play that produced an up-the-seam touchdown pass to tight end Anthony McCoy. Wilson later completed six of seven passes and also scrambled for a couple of first downs in a drive that started at the 12-yard line to get the offense in a first-and-goal situation at the 8. But the drive stalled when free safety Chris Maragos and linebacker K.J. Wright made impressive plays on a pair of 1-yard gains and tight end Kellen Winslow couldn’t get both feet down on a third-and-6 pass into the end zone.

Other highlights included rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and rookie safety Winston Guy intercepting passes and Steve Hauschka drilling a 47-yard field goal.

The players are off until Monday, when they return for the final four OTA practices next week.


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Friday cyber surfing: Reflections on the Winslow trade

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 1:

John Clayton at ESPN.com writes about a topic we’ve been wondering about: How the heck did the Seahawks acquire Kellen Winslow for a seventh-round draft choice? Says Clayton: “(Buccaneers) coach Greg Schiano wanted to show that he is control of his new team. Knowing Winslow missed the first week of voluntary OTAs and wouldn’t be able to practice much during the season because of knee problems, Schiano shipped Winslow to the Seahawks for a seventh-round choice. Winslow for a seventh? It was a no-brainer for Seattle, and it leaves the Bucs’ tight end position in question. Despite six knee operations, Winslow is a 28-year-old tight end who can catch 70 to 80 passes a season. Seattle coach Pete Carroll couldn’t turn down such a deal.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the Seahawks’ approach to free agency under Carroll and GM John Schneider: “When Schneider arrived in 2010, he inherited a team that was bearing the salary-cap burdens of players like (Deon) Grant, (T.J.) Houshmandzadeh and (Patrick) Kerney, and while the Seahawks have spent millions in free agency since then, the deal for (Jason) Jones shows that Seattle has changed not only the demographics of the players it targets in free agency, but also the way they’re paying those players.”

Former Seahawks QB turned 710 ESPN host Brock Huard offers his impressions from Wednesday’s OTA practice, including: “Lastly, enough about Russell Wilson’s height. Like Barack Obama’s birth certificate, can we end this nonsense that he is shorter than what the combine listed him? Danny Fortson went from 6-feet-9 in college to 6-feet-6 for the Sonics for a reason: basketball guys exaggerate their height. Heel to heel, toes out, the combine doesn’t lie. Wilson is just under 5-feet-11. Just like the story isn’t about Obama’s birthplace but about his productivity, the same measure should be made about Wilson. Wilson had a very solid day, throwing more accurately than he did a week ago and flashing the “resourcefulness” that Carroll covets from the position. While Jackson continued to show why he is average and Matt Flynn actually missed a few targets, Wilson was steady. While the job won’t be won in May or June, this practice film will be dissected and studied in the months ahead, and the corresponding stats taken from the film will play a role in assembling the depth chart down the road.”

Chris Burke at SI.com takes a look at the NFC West rival Cardinals, who host the Seahawks in their regular-season opener: “The Cardinals have one of the league’s best weapons on offense in wide receiver (Larry) Fitzgerald, and the dynamic (Patrick) Peterson gives them hope for a similar game-changer on defense. This team is also not all that far removed from the one that captured back-to-back division titles in 2008-09 and made a Super Bowl run. The main difference is under center, where Arizona has traded in Kurt Warner for (Kevin) Kolb and, to a lesser extent, (John) Skelton. Alex Smith and the 49ers proved last season that you can win without consistently great quarterback play, but the Cardinals need one of their two guys to step up and grab the bull by the horns. If that happens, there’s no reason this team can’t compete. Don’t be surprised if Arizona walks away with the NFC West in 2012.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the continuing growth of first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin, who definitely made an impact on one play in Wednesday’s OTA practice: “From the moment the Seahawks selected Bruce Irvin in the first round of the NFL Draft last month, the most impressive – and most talked about – element of his game has been speed. It’s understandable. From the rookie minicamp earlier this month, to the on-going OTA practices, the pass-rushing end from West Virginia has been a blur coming off the edge. But that changed Wednesday, with one I-don’t-believe-what-I-just-saw blow that dropped Breno Giacomini in his tracks. That’s 6-foot-7, 318-pound Breno Giacomini, who anchors the right side of the offensive line like a weight-bearing column. It was a “Down goes Frazier” moment that was as stunning as it remains improbable. As effective as Irvin’s move was, the practice-field countermove that preceded it showed that Irvin’s still-evolving game is more than just speed. ‘That’s the first time that’s ever happened,’ Giacomini said Thursday, after the team had completed a two-hour OTA session in the indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. ‘It was all about timing on that one. But hey, that was a good move. He caught me.’ ”

We’ve also got a look at the soldiers who visited Wednesday practice in this video report by Tony Ventrella.


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Thursday cyber surfing: Two tight ends are better than one

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 31:

The team’s OTA practice on Wednesday was open to the media. Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his impressions, including a look at the role of tight end Zach Miller: “While the Seahawks hope (Kellen) Winslow can provide a receiving threat, that doesn’t necessarily mean Miller will spend all his time blocking in the shadows, either. ‘They want me to get out more on some routes moreso than last year, when I was in protection a lot,’ Miller said following practice Wednesday. ‘Then I’ll be in protection sometimes as well. And then with Kellen, I don’t know if you saw him out there today, but he’s such a good receiver, he makes plays on the ball. He is going to be great for us to run in two-tight end packages.’ ”

Dave Boling at the News Tribune checks in with Breno Giacomini, who stepped in at right tackle at midseason last year and is still there: “Giacomini was one of the Seahawks’ success stories last season. Having been picked up off the Green Bay practice squad in 2010, he came in and started eight games last season, including the final seven once first-round rookie James Carpenter was lost for the season. When Giacomini was in the lineup during the second half of the season, the Seahawks’ rushing game became one of the most productive in the league. And Giacomini’s knack for physically dominant play perfectly suited the team’s burgeoning aggressive mentality. ‘That’s what we want to do as offensive linemen – not just me, all the O line – is to play really nasty,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s a pass play or run play. And, yeah, sure, I want to be known as that guy.’ ”

Also at the News Tribune, Eric Williams looks at Jason Jones, the free-agent defensive lineman who grew up with Hoop Dreams: “For Detroit native Jason Jones, basketball was his first love. But football served as his ticket to the big stage. ‘Oh yeah, I was hoops,’ Jones said. ‘I grew up — my dad grew up watching Michael Jordan, so watching M.J. all the time. I grew up with the ‘Bad Boys,’ the Pistons, Isiah Thomas and all those guys.’ ”
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times also looks at Jones’ hoop roots: “Jason Jones primarily played basketball in high school, and as a power forward he understands the importance of rebounding. That’s good because the defensive lineman signed a one-year contract with Seattle hoping for a bounce-back year. ‘That’s the mind frame going into it,’ Jones said. ‘Last year was kind of an off year for me.’ ”

O’Neil also has the word on the team confirming that it will give Brian Banks a tryout next week: “Banks, 26, has tryouts lined up with six teams, the first of which will be Carroll’s Seahawks. ‘This is what I have dreamed about my entire life,’ Banks said in a statement released by California Western School of Law. ‘I am ready to show the NFL what I am capable of doing. I want as many opportunities with as many NFL teams who are willing to give me a shot.’ ”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald also looks at Jones’ background in basketball: “But while basketball was Jones’ passion, football, a sport he took up in the 11th grade, was the sport that netted him a college scholarship at Eastern Michigan. That was Jones’ only scholarship offer, which made picking a college easy, but after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Tennessee Titans, who drafted him in second round of the 2008 draft, Jones had a lot more options when it came to picking his next destination. In the end, Jones, who was one of the top free agent defensive lineman this offseason, signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks. ‘Really, they showed me the most love out here,’ Jones said.

First-round draft choice Bruce Irvin did an interview with Bob and Groz on 710 ESPN, and the co-hosts came to the conclusion that has been apparent watching him in practice – Irvin will have an impact, whether he starts or not.

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the first thing that sticks out about Jones – his length: “What part of Jones’ game stands out most? ‘He’s real long,’ center Max Unger said after the two-hour practice. ‘A guy with long arms can create a bunch of issues, especially inside where you usually have a little more compact type of player. So with a guy like that, who’s real long, it’s a different set of rules you’ve kind of got to follow when you’re blocking somebody like that.’ Did someone say long arms? Jones’ are that, and then some. They were measured at 36 3/8th inches at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2008, when he was selected in the second round of the draft by the Tennessee Titans.”

We also focus on Winslow’s impressive practice in Wednesday in Hawkville: “The former Pro Bowl tight end caught a half dozen passes during the two-hour practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center – in only his third practice with the Seahawks after being acquired in a trade last week with the Buccaneers. His best play came during a two-minute drill, when he not only made a lunging grab of a Matt Flynn pass along the sideline but got out of bounds to stop the clock. The effort prompted linebackers coach Ken Norton to holler, ‘Helluva catch.’ ”

And, we also look back at Carroll’s inaction with fans at a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday night: “The man of the evening, however, was Carroll, who was greeted by impromptu chants of ‘Let’s go Seahawks’ before he could even welcome the choir he was preaching to. Suddenly, the West Club Lounge was a locker room and Carroll was coaxing everyone to, well, ‘Do it better than it’s ever been done before.’ As he would in a game-day situation, Carroll played to his strengths. Not surprisingly, the coach definitely connected. ‘It was awesome,’ said Sue Jessup, a longtime fan from Kirkland. ‘Something like this was necessary years ago – years ago. This doesn’t seem like a lot of effort to make a lot of people get onboard.’ That was exactly the point of the event. ‘I just wanted to be available for them and be here for their questions and just kind of have some fun with them,’ Carroll said after his Q&A session. ‘And also to get a sense for where they’re coming from. They’re obviously very, very supportive and energetic and all that. It was a fun night.’ ”

But wait, there’s still more: Tony Ventrella’s video recap of practice; as well as video of the Q&A sessions with Jones and Unger.


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Wednesday in Hawkville: Winslow catching up, catching on

A recap of the Seahawks’ OTA practice for May 30:

FOCUS ON

Kellen Winslow. Focus on? It was impossible not to watch the sure-handed Winslow today because he made play after play.

The former Pro Bowl tight end caught a half dozen passes during the two-hour practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center – in only his third practice with the Seahawks after being acquired in a trade last week with the Buccaneers.

His best play came during a two-minute drill, when he not only made a lunging grab of a Matt Flynn pass along the sideline but got out of bounds to stop the clock. The effort prompted linebackers coach Ken Norton to holler, “Helluva catch.”

Winslow later made another sideline grab on a pass from rookie Russell Wilson, as well as one over the middle on a pass from Tarvaris Jackson with a defender draped all over him.

“With Kellen coming in, he’s a difference-maker. He really makes things happen,” coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday night during a Town Hall meeting with fans at CenturyLink Field. “We’re going to use the heck out of him.”

But not at the expense of Zach Miller, another former Pro Bowl tight end who was added in free agency last year.

“Zach is a really good football player,” Carroll said. “He’s tough as nails. He does everything right. He knows his stuff. He has a variety of different things that he adds.”

Winslow and Miller might play the same position, but they don’t play it the same way.

“They’re totally different styles,” Carroll said. “Zach’s got his deal. Kellen’s got his deal. … We need to utilize them effectively to do those things. If we do that well and balance it out right, then they’ll be big factors for us.”

ROOKIE WATCH

Rishaw Johnson. During his Town Hall gathering, Carroll also sang the praises of the 6-foot-3, 313-pound guard from California (Pa.) University.

“I want you to watch Rishaw Johnson, now,” Carroll said. “This guy is an exciting football player.”

Today, Johnson was working at right guard with a No. 1 line that also included left tackle Russell Okung, left guard Paul McQuistan, center Max Unger and right tackle Breno Giacomini.

How did the rookie do? “I’d say really well,” Unger said.

Johnson was at right guard with the first unit, because John Moffitt was playing center on the second and third lines. Moffitt was joined on the No. 2 line by – from left tackle to right – Alex Barron, Allen Barbre, Deuce Lutui and Paul Fanaika. The tackles on the No. 3 line were Frank Omiyale and Giacomini, while the guards were rookie J.R. Sweezy and Lemuel Jeanpierre. James Carpenter, last year’s first-round draft choice, took part in some individual drills today as he continues his rehab from the knee injury that ended his rookie season after nine games.

It’s a group of linemen that is vastly improved, not to mention a lot deeper, from Carroll’s first season in 2010.

“The first year we were here, we could not get a seventh guy on our roster,” Carroll said. “We weren’t sure who we’d put on the roster that year of the guys that were in (training) camp.

“It’s not like that anymore. It’s a viciously competitive battle in there for who’s going to make the team, who’s going to help us. We need quality depth to last. And also, it would allow us to play more guys and not just play the front five guys. So that guys can share the playtime and share the work load and they’ll last longer.”

YOU DON’T SAY

“I’m not sure if that story is true or not. He said it was for a period of time. What does that mean? I’m a vegan right now. I haven’t eaten in three hours.” – Unger, when asked about Lutui adopting a mostly vegan diet


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