Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today. Oct. 26:
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his weekly “risers and fallers” in the NFC West, and middle linebacker David Hawthorne checks in at No. 1 among the “risers.” Says Sando: “Eleven tackles, one sack and one interception constituted a rebirth for Hawthorne, who seemed to play more freely than at any point this season. I was tempted to list teammate Red Bryant in this spot after Bryant blocked two field goal attempts and provided strong run defense, but Bryant was already regarded as one of the most important players on the team. His stock was already high, in other words. Also, the penalty against Bryant for head-butting Browns tight end Alex Smith killed whatever fleeting hopes the Seahawks had for a last-minute comeback victory.”
Sando also has five observations from the Browns game, including: “Seattle’s wide receivers had not dropped a single pass heading into this game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Ben Obomanu and Doug Baldwin dropped passes Sunday. Throw in (tight end Anthony) McCoy’s two drops and Seattle suffered four in this game, one more than in the previous five games combined. Whitehurst targeted wide receivers 15 times, completing only four through a combination of errant throws and drops. Seattle had been much better in the passing game recently and I suspect they will be much better in the future. This was an unusually horrible game on that front.”
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the Seahawks offense against the Browns, or the lack of it. Offers O’Neil: “The Seahawks were starting over, so to speak, going back to the beginning of this season when it was hard to know what — if anything — this offense could rely upon. The Seahawks scored a total of 37 points in the first 14 quarters and were considered among the worst offenses in the NFL. The no-huddle offense had been Seattle’s salve for the previous game and a half. Seattle scored 57 points in the previous six quarters entering Sunday’s game while using a no-huddle, hurry-up offense almost exclusively. All the progress and promise of the past game and a half disappeared on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland when the Seahawks managed 137 yards of total offense, its second-lowest total in a game in the past 10 years.”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune also examines the Seahawks never finding their offensive rhythm against the Browns. Says Williams: “The Seahawks have to put this one behind them and quickly figure out how to establish some offensive rhythm with Cincinnati coming to town Sunday. The Bengals are a surprising 4-2 and have the No. 2-ranked defense in the league.”
Dave Wyman, writing on the mynorthwest.com blog at 710 ESPN, says not to overreact to Charlie Whitehurst’s performance against the Browns. Offers the former Seahawks linebacker: “Whitehurst certainly did not play well – I think we can all agree on that. But now some are asking for third-string quarterback Josh Portis. That’s Josh Portis, undrafted rookie free agent from Division II California University in Pennsylvania. I always say that the most popular player on any NFL team is the backup quarterback. But it’s a never ending cycle when you jump on that bandwagon. Makes me wonder how many quarterbacks there would have to be on the team before people stopped asking to ‘get the next guy in there.’ “
We also examine the disparity in the Seahawks’ past two performances; take look at this week’s opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals; and recap the day in Tuesday in Hawkville. If that’s not enough, there’s also Shelly Son’s touching story about Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Tony Ventrella’s video report from Marcus Trufant’s Bowling and Billiards Classic.
Mike Pereira at FoxSports.com takes a look at the controversial block-in-the-back call that cost the Seahawks what would have been Leon Washington’s 81-yard punt return for game-winning touchdown against the Browns. He has a bigger problem with Fox analyst, and former Seahawks coach, Jim Mora calling it a “phantom call” than the call itself. Says Pereira: “The other thing that makes it difficult is the fact you’re officiating on ground level and often looking through bodies. It’s so much easier when we see the game from television cameras at a higher vantage point. On this play, you could see contact between Cleveland’s James Dockery and Cox, but Dockery was falling down, which made it appear like it was a block in the back. Maybe I’ll buy my buddy Mora a dictionary so he can look up the word ‘phantom.’ Like I said, this wasn’t a ‘phantom call.’ “
The Seahawks came off their bye week looking for a second straight road win, this time visiting the Cleveland Browns.
PITTSBURGH – After practice Friday, coach Pete Carroll said defensive end Dexter Davis had “problems, definitely,” but that he didn’t know his status.
The Seahawks coach does now: Davis was placed on injured reserve today with a hip injury and will miss the rest of the season.
To fill his spot on the 53-man roster, cornerback Kennard Cox was re-signed.
Cox played in 11 games with the Seahawks last season and was with them this summer before being released on the roster cut to 53 players. He should be able to help immediately on special teams, where the Seahawks are missing co-captain Michael Robinson and rookie cornerback Byron Maxwell, the leading coverage tackler during the preseason; and no Davis. Robinson and Maxwell sprained ankles in last week’s loss to the 49ers. Davis did play in the opener.
Cox had three coverage tackles last season, as well as a forced fumble and a blocked punt.
Davis, a seventh-round draft choice last year, had six special teams tackles as a rookie and also eight on defense, including a sack.
The Seahawks have secured the services of another versatile role player by signing cornerback and special teams player Kennard Cox for the 2011 season.
Cox made the original 53-man roster last season, only to be released and signed to the practice squad in September. But he was added to the active roster in mid-October. Cox played in 11 games and his highlight play was blocking a punt in the Week 12 game against the Kansas City Chiefs that rookie Earl Thomas returned for a touchdown.
The punt block was the first by a Seahawk since D.D. Lewis got one in 2003, and Thomas’ scoring return was the first off a blocked punt since Alex Bannister in 2001.
Cox (6-foot, 191) also had seven tackles and broke up two passes while playing in situational roles on defense.
Rick Gosselin’s annual rankings of the league’s special-teams units for the Dallas Morning News proved something that was apparent all season: The Seahawks were among the best in the NFL.
The Seahawks finished in a tie for fourth with the Bears and Raiders (280 points), behind the Patriots (269), Titans (274) and Browns (277).
The rankings, which were published Sunday, are based on 22 special-teams categories.
The Seahawks led the league in one category with four blocked kicks – three field goals by Craig Terrill and a punt by Kennard Cox. The Seahawks also got three kickoff returns for touchdowns from Leon Washington; while ranking third in average starting position after kickoffs (30.2-yard line) and fifth in average starting position covering kickoffs (24.6-yard line).
You can view the rankings here, but might need to register first.
The Seahawks underwent a 45-minute walk-thru in their indoor practice facility at the VMAC today, as they made final preparations for Sunday’s NFC West showdown with the St. Louis Rams.
Seattle got back on the winning track against Carolina at Qwest Field, on a day the team officially retired the jersey of famed offensive lineman Walter Jones. A 31-14 over the Panthers moved the Seahawks back into a tie for first place in the NFC West.