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Friday cyber surfing: Make that ‘Fantasy’ Friday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 22:

A panel at ESPN.com has listed its “fantasy sleepers” for the coming season and NFC West blogger Mike Sando offers his reactions for the selections from the division, including those of Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate and QB Matt Flynn. Sando on Tate: “Tate made progress last season. He had 35 receptions, three for touchdowns, with no drops. A hand injury has sidelined him recently. There are still questions about Seattle’s passing game in general. Coach Pete Carroll will want to feature the ground game. Tate stands out to me as a player to watch, but I’d be a little nervous about relying upon him for consistent fantasy production, particularly over more established alternatives. Seattle also could funnel more passes through its tight ends, Zach Miller and Kellen Winslow. Doug Baldwin is a big factor. Sidney Rice will become a bigger one, health permitting.” Sando on Flynn: “Carroll wants to run his offense through Marshawn Lynch. Flynn has yet to win the starting job. I’d consider him for the later rounds.”

The panel also picked some potential “fantasy busts,” with the Seahawks’ defense/special teams and Lynch on the list. But Sando doesn’t necessarily agree. Sando on the defense/special teams: “Seattle was pretty good in this area last season. I see no reason to expect a big drop in performance. The pass rush should improve with Bruce Irvin and Jason Jones joining Chris Clemons. Seattle already has Pro Bowl-caliber players throughout its secondary. Improving the pass rush should create more turnovers. I was surprised to see the Seahawks listed in the potential bust category for fantasy defense/special teams.” Sando on Lynch: “It’s tough to know how a potentially mercurial player will respond to receiving financial security through a long-term contract. That would be my only concern for Lynch. He’s going to get the football. The Seahawks are going to build their offense around the run. Lynch topped 1,200 yards despite a slow start to the season. I’d be surprised if he did not approach that total again.”

Also at ESPN.com, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky looks at the impact of former Seahawks guard Steve Hutchinson on the Titans’ offensive line: “ ‘He’s the glue of that offensive line right now,’ offensive coordinator Chris Palmer said. ‘He’s a veteran that’s played a lot of snaps, he knows how to play the game and I think he settles everyone down up front…’ In 12 seasons with Seattle and Minnesota, he’s seen it all. He’s a standard-setter at practices already. He’s helped solve communication troubles. And the team hopes that he can help (Eugene) Amano the way Kevin Mawae (another former Seahawk) did, back when Mawae was the veteran center and Amano played guard. Working under two Hall of Fame offensive linemen, (Mike) Munchak and line coach Bruce Matthews, Hutchinson will now work to spread their messages.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the field trip that the team’s draft choices will make to the NFL Rookie Symposium: “ ‘The symposium is a great thing, because it helps all the rookies kind of understand what you go through as a rookie – certainly financially, media-wise and just in terms of everything that you have to deal with as a rookie,’ (quarterback Russell) Wilson said. ‘It will be a good experience, just because you get to see all the draft picks again. So that will be great.’ ”


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And the best second-round pick is …

Sherman Smith. Terry Beeson. Keith Butler. Brian Blades. Terry Wooden. Kevin Mawae. Lofa Tatupu. John Carlson.

Each was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft by the Seahawks. Each delivered results befitting a first-round pick. But which player was the best second-round pick in franchise history?

Smith, a quarterback at Miami of Ohio, was a member of the team’s initial draft class in 1976. After switching to running back in his rookie training camp, all he did was lead the team in rushing five times, including the Seahawks’ first four seasons. Beeson, a middle linebacker, came in the second draft in 1977 and led the team in tackles in each of his first three seasons – including a still franchise-record 153 in 1978. The following year delivered Butler, another linebacker who was the team’s all-time leading tackler when he left after the 1987 season.

In 1988, Blades was the team’s top draft choice because the Seahawks had used their first-round pick to select linebacker Brian Bosworth in the 1987 supplemental draft. But Blades led the team in receiving five times, remains No. 2 on the team’s all-time list in receptions (581) and receiving yards (7,620) behind Hall of Famer Steve Largent, was voted to the Pro Bowl in 1989 and elected to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team.

Wooden, an outside linebacker, was part of the 1990 draft that was headlined by the trade to acquire Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy with the third pick overall and also included running back Chris Warren and strong safety Robert Blackmon – aka “The Rookie Club.” Wooden started 87 games in seven seasons, led the team in tackles in 1991 and 1995 and also finished second twice. Mawae started at guard as a rookie in 1994 and also 1995 before moving to center in 1996 and 1997.

Carlson, a tight end who arrived in 2008, holds the franchise single-season records for the position receptions (55 in ’08), receiving yards (627 in ’08) and TD catches (seven in 2009).

But the best-of pick has to be Tatupu, who arrived in 2005 – just in time to help lead the Seahawks’ run to the Super Bowl. The middle linebacker is the only player in franchise history to lead the team in tackles four consecutive seasons (2005-08) and also was voted to three Pro Bowls.

Tatupu was released last year, Carlson spent the season on injured reserve and each is with a new team – the Falcons and Vikings, respectively. But their impact is undeniable, as each was voted to the 35th Anniversary team.

And Steve Raible definitely deserves honorable mention. A second-round pick in 1976, an injury ended Raible’s career after only six seasons, but he has remained with the Seahawks as first the analyst and now play-by-play man for team’s radio broadcasts.


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Cyber surfing: Wednesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 20:

With the end of the lockout reportedly in sight, Dave Boling of the New Tribune is expecting a hectic few weeks as the Seahawks forge ahead with free agency and re-signing their own free agents before the start of training camp. Says Boling: “One thing working in the Seahawks’ favor is that the constant turnover of the past year has them accustomed to making changes on the fly and pulling a quick trigger on personnel deals. So we may presume that (GM John) Schneider is already loosening up his dialing digits and clearing his throat for action.”

The end of the lockout must be at hand, because Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com doesn’t just have his first power poll, it’s a four-pronged affair – at least that’s what he’s calling it, even though there are five categories. He not only ranks the teams (the Seahawks are tied for 28th), he also rates the QBs (Matt Hasselbeck is 27th), the pass-rushers (Chris Clemons is 20th), the cornerbacks (Marcus Trufant is 27th) and the tackles (Russell Okung is 25th).

Also from CBSSports.com, Will Brinson has put together a cast for a movie about the lockout. Really. It’s right here. Only Colts QB Peyton Manning gets to “play” himself.

Brinson also provides the give-us-this-day-our-daily-labor-update item, by checking in with NFLPA president and former Seahawk Kevin Mawae. Offers Mawae: “We’re not tied to a timeline of July 21. Our timeline is to get the best deal for our players. We’re not going to agree to any deal unless it’s the right deal for all the players.”

Keeping with this giddy the end-is-near trend, John P. Lopez at SI.com has a post-lockout shopper’s guide for NFC teams. Here’s his take on the Seahawks: “Money is no object: The Charlie Whitehurst era looks set to begin, with Matt Hasselbeck one of the premier QB free agents likely to depart. Whitehurst needs someone to either push him or take the job. Matt Moore of Carolina or Trent Edwards should be the players targeted. Smart shopper: Pete Carroll likes to go off the grid sometimes. If a Moore or Edwards is not signed, why not Vince Young, the player who beat Carroll for the 2005 NCAA national championship? Carroll has a knack with players searching for a new identity or rebirth and VY definitely fits the bill.” Not sure we care for any of those options. Here’s his take on the AFC teams.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times continues his trip through the NFC West with a look at the San Francisco 49ers through the words of Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. Offers Miaocco: “There might not be another team in the NFL that was more negatively impacted by the lockout than the 49ers. Jim Harbaugh is one of eight new NFL head coaches, but the 49ers’ coaching staff is at a distinct disadvantage with a shortened timetable to implement their systems. … If there’s one advantage to the work stoppage, it’s that the coaching staff had plenty of time to watch film and get familiar with the rest of the NFL. Harbaugh also handed unsigned quarterback Alex Smith the playbook, PowerPoint material and video cutups of the West Coast system when the lockout briefly lifted on April 29. Smith organized two weeks of structured workouts that included installation meetings and on-field practices at San Jose State. Twenty-five of the team’s offensive players took part in the get-togethers that were dubbed ‘Camp Alex.’ ”

The Seahawks are scheduled to play the Rams twice this season – Nov. 20 in St. Louis and Dec. 12 at CenturyLink Field – and Sporting News Today has a preview of the Seahawks’ NFC West rival. Offers correspondent and longtime Rams beat writer Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “It’s possible St. Louis could play better, yet have the same record it did in 2010. That’s because the schedule, particularly the first six weeks of the season, could be crushing. In order to succeed, the Rams’ run blocking must improve and the receivers have to step up. To truly be a playoff contender, the Rams need to produce one more TD per game than they did in 201. And that’s asking a lot.”

Vinnie Iyer at Sporting News Today offers predictions on where some of the big-name players might end up after the lockout, and he has Bengals QB Carson Palmer being reunited with Pete Carroll, his former college coach, in Seattle – despite Cincinnati owner Mike Brown saying repeatedly that he will not trade Palmer.

The roof at the stadium where the Seahawks play their games has been repainted after CenturyLink took control of Qwest. Here’s a look at the new roof at CenturyLink Field – or least half of it – courtesy of KIRO-TV’s Chopper 7.

Here at Seahawks.com, we continue our series of stories on the team’s first 35 seasons with a look at 1981 – when linebacker Michael Jackson led the team in tackles, but remembers very little about it. We’re also extending the voting to determine your choice for the best player in franchise history: Steve Largent or Walter Jones. As of 8 o’clock this morning, Jones had jumped into a 28-vote lead over Largent (617-589). Largent had a three-vote lead yesterday at 5 p.m. You can cast your vote here.


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