Free safety Earl Thomas drops by the set of “NFL Total Access” to talk about NFC West rivalries and which club has the best secondary in the League
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Wednesday, June 19, about your Seattle Seahawks:
Free safety Earl Thomas joined NFL.com’s Dave Dameshek Football Program. Dameshek’s segment with Thomas begins at the 22-minute mark of the podcast below:
NFC West blogger Mike Sando of ESPN.com looks at the percentages of 2012 game snaps remaining on the Seahawks’ 90-man roster. According to Sando, the team’s current roster logged 87.4 percent of offensive and defensive snaps last season – the highest percentage in the division, reflecting a high player-retention rate year-over-year. The team has come a long way since those 284 roster transactions head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider made during their first year together in 2010.
Sando also passes along notes from ESPN’s fantasy football comparison of Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and Seahawks wideout Percy Harvin.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin joined Sports Radio 950 KJR AM for a conversation with Dave “Softy” Mahler yesterday afternoon, the podcast of which can be found below:
Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com discusses the 2013 outlook for quarterback Russell Wilson.
Here at Seahawks.com, team president Peter McLoughlin is seeking 12 season ticket holders to join his new Fan Advisory Council to assist the club in the overall 12th Man experience. If you meet the requirements, feel free to apply here. All applications are due by July 12.
Clare Farnsworth’s Tuesday feature reacquainted us with 2012 fifth-round draft pick Korey Toomer, the uber-athletic linebacker out of the University of Idaho who spent his rookie season on the practice squad before moving to injured reserve after having shoulder surgery early in the year. Toomer has worked at strong-side linebacker with the No. 2 and No. 3 defenses during the team’s nine sessions of Organized Team Activties (OTAs) this spring, as well as during last week’s three-day minicamp, and will look to factor in at the position come training camp in late July.
Wide receiver Golden Tate showed up for the fourth time on NFL AM’s countdown of the Top 100 Plays of 2012, when his 32-yard grab from quarterback Russell Wilson in Week 10 against the Miami Dolphins was highlighted at No. 34 on the list. Of the 67 plays unveiled to this point, the Seahawks are featured in eight of them.
And USA Football will host a Heads Up Football Player Safety Coaches clinic this Saturday at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, where master trainer Tom Bainter – head coach at Bothell High School – will educate more than 70 Seattle-area coaches.
The Seahawks have signed 10 players to future contracts, including eight who spent time on the practice squad this season – wide receivers Phil Bates and Bryan Walters, cornerbacks Chandler Fenner and Ron Parker, running back Derrick Coleman, tight end Cooper Helfet, linebacker Kyle Knox and defensive tackle Myles Wade.
Also signed were linebacker Korey Toomer, a fifth-round draft choice last year; and wide receiver Stephen Williams, who was with the Cardinals in training camp last summer but waived/injured in August.
These future signings can be insignificant moves. But in the past two years, players signed by the Seahawks in January included cornerback Brandon Browner, who has become a starter and played in Pro Bowl last year; guard Paul McQuistan, who started all 16 games this season and 10 last season; and wide receiver Charly Martin, who played in four games this season before being placed on injured reserve.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 18:
Frank Omiyale. After being a last-minute replacement for left tackle Russell Okung in Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, Omiyale’s performance against sack-specialist DeMarcus Ware was greeted with a chorus of, “Wow, look what he was able to do.”
Omiyale’s reaction? It was more, “Whoa, this is what I’m here to do.”
The plan all week was that Okung would be able to play, despite bruising his left knee in the season opener. But when he simply wasn’t mobile enough in pregame warm-ups, Okung was inactive and Omiyale moved in against the hyperactive Ware.
The Seahawks’ plan for Ware? “Our plan was to hope he didn’t kill us,” coach Pete Carroll said after the game.
Omiyale helped make sure that didn’t happen, by simply going about his business in the Seahawks’ 27-7 victory.
“That’s definitely why I’m here,” he said today, when the players had meetings but did not practice in between off days because this week’s game is on Monday night against the Packers.
“I have starter’s ability. But I’m just glad that I could show up for the team when they needed me.”
Omiyale has started in the league before – 31 games the past three seasons with the Bears; and he also has played for line coach Tom Cable before – in 2006, his second NFL season, while with the Falcons.
It was that combination of familiarity with what it takes to be a starter in the league and what Cable demands from his linemen that brought Omiyale to Seattle in free agency during the offseason.
“That’s a statement I couldn’t wait to get at in the locker room because it’s going to happen at other positions throughout the year,” Carroll said on Monday. “You expect guys to jump in there and do their best. We need them to holdup the same level of play.
“Frank did that. He got knocked around a little bit at times playing against a great player. But he held his own. He had a credible game and we’re thankful he could get that done.”
Cornerback Danny Gorrer was added to the 53-man roster today, while linebacker Korey Toomer and guard Rishaw Johnson were re-signed to the practice squad.
To clear spots, running back Kregg Lumpkin was released from the 53-man roster and wide receiver Ricardo Lockette and linebacker Allen Bradford were released from the practice squad.
Gorrer entered the league as a rookie free agent with Saints in 2009, and also has spent time with the Rams and Ravens. He made his only start in 2009 with the Rams and played in 11 games last season with the Ravens.
STAT DU JOUR
Guess who has the best winning percentage in the history of “Monday Night Football”? The Seahawks, whose 17-8 record makes for a winning percentage of .680.
Here are the best winning percentages on MNF:
Team Wins Losses Pct.
Seahawks 17 8 .680
Steelers 39 23 .629
49ers 41 25 .621
Colts 20 13 .606
Giants 38 25 .602
The players have their second off day of the week on Wednesday, before returning Thursday to start practicing for Monday night’s game.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’ve been around some great backs – Warrick Dunn in Atlanta and (Matt) Forte in Chicago – but I’ve never been around a back like Marshawn.” – Omiyale on Marshawn Lynch, who had 100 of his 122 rushing yards against the Cowboys in the second half
Defensive back Danny Gorrer has been signed by the Seahawks.
The 6-foot, 180-pound Gorrer entered the NFL in 2009 as a rookie free agent with the Saints. He also has spent time with the Rams, starting one game in 2009; the Saints again in 2010; and the Ravens in 2010 and 2011, when he played in 11 games.
To clear a roster spot, running back Kregg Lumpkin was released.
The club also made practice squad moves, re-signing linebacker Korey Toomer and guard Rishaw Johnson and releasing linebacker Allen Bradford and wide receiver Ricardo Lockette. Toomer, a fifth-round draft choice this year, was released on the roster cut to 53 players, signed to the practice squad the next day and then released last Thursday. Johnson, a rookie free agent, also was with the team during training camp.
Portis heads practice squad signees
The Seahawks have signed the following seven players to their squad:
QB Josh Portis
WR Ricardo Lockette
LB Korey Toomer
TE Sean McGrath
OL Rishaw Johnson
LB Allen Bradford
S DeShawn Shead
Portis, Lockette, Toomer, McGrath, Johnson, Bradford and Shead were waived by the Seahawks on Friday’s roster cut to 53 players.
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for Aug. 9:
Depth. Three starters did not participate in today’s two-hour practice, but it was difficult to tell because the backups who stepped in also stepped up.
Veteran guard Deuce Lutui, who was signed in free agency, took over at right guard for John Moffitt. Third-year cornerback Phillip Adams was at right cornerback for Brandon Browner. Veteran defensive lineman Jason Jones, another free agent addition, was the three-technique tackle spot for Alan Branch.
“That’s one of our key things in training camp, to develop depth,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “Look what happened last year at corner, we lose a couple guys so some younger guys have to step up. So we know those things are going to happen.”
Last year, after veteran cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond were lost to season-ending injuries, rookie Richard Sherman took over on the left side and played well enough that he remains the starter. When since-departed leading tackler David Hawthorne couldn’t play in the opener, rookie K.J. Wright started and played so well that the coaches decided he had to play more – so former first-round draft choice Aaron Curry was traded to the Raiders to open the strong-side spot for Wright.
“That’s great when younger guys can do that, and that was the case today,” Bradley said.
Bradley has been waiting to see more of Adams – and from Adams – and today it was with the starters.
“We’re putting a lot on his plate,” Bradley said. “And so far he’s handling it. We always tell the guys, ‘The more that you can do. It just makes your value go up.’ ”
Korey Toomer. The fifth-round draft choice from Idaho has been toiling in the shadows of first-round pick Bruce Irvin, a blur of a pass-rusher; and second-round pick Bobby Wagner, who is pushing to be the starting middle linebacker.
But Toomer is beginning to show that he also is worth keeping an eye on in Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Titans at CenturyLink Field. Today, he flashed as a pass rusher, forcing Matt Flynn to scramble, flushing Josh Portis from the pocket and also getting to Portis for what would have been a sack. Toomer stopped rookie running back Robert Turbin after a 2-yard gain. He was all over a short completion to running back Kregg Lumpkin. He basically was a wrench in the rhythm the offense was trying to establish.
“He’s a guy that’s just learning,” Bradley said of Toomer. “He’s playing multiple positions. We’re stretching him, just to see what he can handle. You’re seeing flashes from him. Some things he does really well, some things he’s a ways away.
“But he’ll keep getting better.”
PLAYS DU JOUR
Offense: We went into practice determined to not write anything more about Terrell Owens, who has dominated camp coverage since being signed on Monday. But the future Hall of Fame wide receiver canned that plan on the final play of only his second practice with the team.
Owens went over Trufant to tip a pass from rookie QB Russell Wilson in the end zone and then controlled the ball as he was falling out of bounds against tight coverage. Touché, Terrell.
“Terrell made a great catch,” Wilson said. “He came down with the football, and that’s the main thing.”
But with Owens, it’s obviously not the only thing.
“It is kind of surreal that I get to play with Terrell Owens,” Wilson said. “Obviously he’s a very, very talented receiver and I grew up watching a lot of his games. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He comes in to work every single day and he’s doing a great job.”
Defense: Let’s go with the first two plays of practice, as Brandon Mebane – yes, 311-pound nose tackle Brandon Mebane – was all over Flynn’s screen pass to Marshawn Lynch and then veteran linebacker Leroy Hill got to Turbin several yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Bradley saluted the double-whammy by yelling, “Two-for-two, men. That’s two-for-two.”
IN ’N OUT
Tight end Kellen Winslow and linebacker Jameson Konz returned to practice. Winslow’s practice time is being monitored because of a chronic knee situation, while Konz was back after missing several days to rest a sore knee.
Sitting out, in addition to Browner, Moffitt and Branch: wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette; tight end Cameron Morrah; linebackers Matt McCoy and Allen Bradford; and offensive lineman James Carpenter and Thurmond, who remain on the physically unable to perform list.
LANE’S OLYMPIC MOMENT
Rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane, a sixth-round draft choice from Northwestern (La.) State, has a signature move when the players move from pre-practice stretching to their first drill. He pops a flip, in shoulder pads and a helmet.
“I just like to do it to checkout my legs,” he said. “If I get real high, I feel my legs are fresh and it just starts my day.”
He started flipping out during practice last season, after a friend did it and encouraged Lane to give it a shot.
“He said, ‘You’ve got a high vertical. Just try it,” Lane said. “I trusted him. I stood there and I just flipped. I’ve been doing it ever since.”
But there’s nothing like that first time.
“It was very scary the first time,” he said, smiling. “My football career could have been over. But after I did it once I wasn’t scared anymore. I just got better and better at it.”
The players will practice on Friday, their final tune-up before Saturday night’s preseason opener. After the game, they will get their third off day of camp on Sunday.
JOIN THE CROWD
A crowd of 1,812 fans watched today’s practice. Only two more practices are open to the public before camp breaks next Thursday – those next Tuesday and Wednesday. You can register here to attend.
JOHN MOFFITT, TRAFFIC REPORTER
You may have heard that state routes 520 and 167 will be closed this weekend, but you haven’t really heard until you watch this advisory from Moffitt.
Because of the closures, traffic will be heavier than usual on I-5 and I-90, so the club is asking fans heading to the game to plan accordingly.
STUFF THE BUS
Fans attending Saturday’s game are asked to bring backpacks stuffed with school supplies for the team’s annual Stuff the Bus drive to benefit Communities In Schools of Seattle. Your donations will be distributed to students at 32 schools.
“Seahawks All Access” returns tonight on Root Sports. The weekly show that features player interviews and analysis from Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon airs at 10:30 tonight and will be replayed Saturday at 5 p.m. The first show spotlights defensive end Red Bryant and wide receiver Golden Tate.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing it. I hear so much negative stuff about me it’s kind of good to hear some positive stuff sometimes. I think that’s what separates me from a normal defensive end; I’m real fast and explosive.” – Irvin, when asked if he ever tires of hearing people gush about his speed off the edge as a pass rusher
Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 9.
From KFDM Channel 6 in Beaumont, Texas, we have this feature on Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who during the downtime before training camp returned to his hometown of Orange, Texas to host a free football camp for Southeast Texas kids. “Growing up here not too many people came back,” said Thomas. “It kind of made me mad, so I said if I ever made it I’d be the first one to come back and help out.”
Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson shares another installment of his video series “The Real Rob Report”, this time catching up with rookie QB Russell Wilson at the end of the Seahawks minicamp in mid-June.
Here at Seahawks.com, we wrapped up our Rookie Spotlight segment over the weekend as GM John Schneider offered his thoughts on fifth round draft pick Korey Toomer, sixth round draft picks Jeremy Lane and Winston Guy, and seventh round draft picks J.R. Sweezy and Greg Scruggs.
At MyNorthwest.com Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of the “Bob and Groz” show follow up on a guest appearance by former NFL QB Kurt Warner, as they discuss the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition and how big of an advantage Tarvaris Jackson’s familiarity with the Seahawks offense and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell can be come training camp.
Andy Behrens over at YahooSports.com takes a look at the Seahawks from a fantasy perspective, as he shares his thoughts on Marshawn Lynch and the running game, the Seahawks quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends, and had this to say about the Seahawks ‘D’, “Seattle’s defense should be a solid option this season, as they finished among the top-10 teams last year in fewest points and yards allowed (19.7, 332.2). This group ranked fourth in the league in interceptions (22) and they scored four defensive TDs, so they were obviously a decent fantasy commodity. The IDPs to target here are DE Chris Clemons (11.0 sacks), plus safeties Earl Thomas (98 tackles) and Kam Chancellor (97 tackles). First-round DE Bruce Irvin and second-round LB Bobby Wagner might just sneak into the IDP discussion, too.”
Lastly, over at NFL.com we have a photo gallery highlighting the Hall of Fame Class of 2012, which includes a 16-photo spread of Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 4.
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 25:
Dave Boling at the News Tribune offers some “camp concerns” as the players and coaching head into their extended break before training camp opens in late July, including: “The young linebackers. K.J. Wright played like a veteran late in his rookie season, but it’s fair to remember he’s still in just his second year. Rookie Bobby Wagner looks to have the lead at middle linebacker, while fellow rookie Korey Toomer made a number of noticeable plays during OTAs, as well. Vet Leroy Hill looks fit and sound, but the rest of them still need to ripen into an effective unit.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com revisits the situation at quarterback, which hasn’t changed much since coach Pete Carroll decided it would be a three-player competition: “ESPN’s John Clayton noted over the weekend that Tarvaris Jackson would take the initial first-team reps when the Seahawks open training camp. This could seem a bit confusing for those following the team’s quarterback situation from afar. It’s natural to wonder why Matt Flynn wouldn’t open camp as the starter after signing a three-year deal averaging $6.5 million per season. The reason: Jackson is the incumbent, coach Pete Carroll wants a legitimate competition and the order wasn’t going to change during non-contact practices in the offseason.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with wide receiver Sidney Rice, who’s completing the rehab after having surgery on both shoulders and also adding weight: “The hope is that with all that (rehab) almost behind him, Rice can work on getting stronger, and therefore more durable, for the coming season. He already has added 13 pounds – of muscle, he is quick to point out – and now weighs 212. Rice wants to report to training camp at 215 or 216. ‘I’m planning to play around 209 to 212 this year,’ said Rice, who weighed 202 pounds last season. More of Rice is better, because the importance of having him – and having him healthy – can’t be overstated. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell summed up the enormity of that fact in seven little words: ‘We really need to get him back.’ ”
There’s also the final Real Rob Report of the offseason, as Pro Bowl fullback Michael Robinson makes his way through the locker room – video camera in hand – one last time. For more on how – and why – Robinson started doing this, click here.
Jason Smith at NFL.com is at it again, this time with look-alike actors who could portray NFL players. Included is Matt Damon as Matt Flynn: “Flynn signs with the Seahawks as a quarterback, but he’s also a spy who’s attempting to ferret out a huge NFL conspiracy. He breaks legs, arms and heads regularly – but those are just with his passes in practice. Can he win the big game and save the world at the same time? Bonus casting: Richard Gere as Pete Carroll. WORKING TITLE: BIRD OF PREY
Also at NFL.com, their Top Defensive Plays of the 2011 season in this video report. There’s at least one omission: Brandon Browner’s interception and club-record 94-yard TD return to ice the Seahawks’ upset of the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants in Week 5.
For a look around the rest of the league, there’s Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com, which this week is written by NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith because King is on vacation.
Kellen Winslow, the tight end who was acquired Monday in a trade with the Buccaneers, will wear No. 82. So tight end John Nalbone, who had been wearing that number, switched to No. 84.
Three other players also are wearing new numbers:
Tackle James Carpenter is now No. 77 (he was No. 75)
Linebacker Korey Toomer is now No. 59 (he was No. 47)
Defensive end Cordarro Law is now No. 47 (he was No. 70)
|SPECIAL IS AS SPECIAL DOES|
|Heath Farwell made tackles on special teams in only eight games for the Seahawks last season after being signed at midseason, but he made enough to lead the NFL with 21. Here’s a look at his special contributions in his first season in Seattle:Browns: 1 tackle on a kickoff return.
Bengals: 3 tackles, all on kickoff returns.
Ravens: 2 tackles, including one after a 5-yard gain on a punt return.
Rams: 2 tackles, on punt returns after 6- and 9-yard gains.
Eagles: 3 tackles, all on kickoff returns.
Rams: 4 tackles, all on kickoff returns.
Bears: 3 tackles, including one after a 9-yard gain on a kickoff return; and he also downed a punt at the 3-yard line.
49ers: 0 tackles, but he blocked a punt in the Week 16 game that setup a 4-yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch – making Lynch the first player to score a rushing touchdown against the 49ers last season.
Cardinals: 3 tackles, including one after a 4-yard gain on a punt return.
Note: Opponents averaged 11.5 yards on punt returns against the Seahawks last season, but 6.2 yards on the five where Farwell made the tackle; and 26.0 yards on kickoff returns, but 23.3 yards on the 16 where Farwell was in on the tackle.
The coaches are limited to 45 minutes on the practice field with the players during Phase 2 of the Seahawks’ offseason program. But each session includes, and ends with, a special teams period.
“It’s pretty cool,” said linebacker Heath Farwell, who led not only the Seahawks but the entire league with 21 coverage tackles last season. “We’re out here working hard. Guys just want to get better, that’s the thing. We’ve got one goal in mind, and that’s to win.”
It’s a sign of just how much emphasis coach Pete Carroll puts on the too-often overlooked last third of the three-part equation to playing winning football. And the special teams were just that for the Seahawks last season. Red Bryant set franchise records by blocking two field goals in a game and four kicks during the season. Jon Ryan led the NFL and tied a club record with 34 punts downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, broke his club single-season records for average (46.6 yards) and net average (39.3) and also got off the longest punt (77 yards) in franchise history. Steven Hauschka tied club records by kicking five field goals in the upset victory over the Ravens and converting at least one three-pointer in 12 consecutive games. Doug Baldwin blocked a punt that Michael Robinson returned for a touchdown, while Farwell also had a blocked punt to set up a TD. The Seahawks ranked 10th in the league in kickoff (24.8) and punt return (11.0) average, thanks to Leon Washington (25.2 and 11.3).
The special teams, under the direction of coordinator Brian Schneider and first-year assistant Marquand Manuel, should only be better – or faster, at the very least – with the infusion of speed from this year’s draft class.
“The two young linebackers look fast and athletic,” Farwell said of second-round pick Bobby Wagner and fifth-rounder Korey Toomer – who have run the 40-yard dash in 4.47 and 4.54 seconds. “That’s going to be a big part of special teams.”
There’s also first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin (4.50 seconds) and sixth-rounders Jeremy Lane (4.48) and Winston Guy (4.53).
But as Farwell as shown in his career, it takes more than just speed to be successful on special teams. He came to the Seahawks at midseason last year after five seasons in Minnesota, where he had 113 coverage tackles to tie for fourth on the Vikings’ all-time list. He led the Vikings in special teams tackles in 2010 (19), 2009 (24), 2007 (32) and 2006 (25), and was voted to the Pro Bowl as the NFC special teams player in 2009.
“It’s the want to make the plays and the want to make the tackles. It’s the effort,” a reluctant Farwell offered when asked the secret to his success. “I don’t know, it’s just something I work at. And I pride myself on it, and outworking everybody and making sure I put more time in than everybody else.”
The players were off today, but return Thursday and Friday to complete Phase 2 of the offseason program.