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Monday cyber surfing: Reaction to big win over “Big D”

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times recaps the Seahawks 27-7 win over the Cowboys, “What Seattle demonstrated in the second half is that these are not the same old Seahawks. Seattle’s running game is built to wear down an opponent while its defense won’t wear out. Seattle hadn’t had a scoring drive longer than 52 yards over the first six quarters of the season. The Seahawks drove 90 yards for a touchdown on the second possession of the third quarter, rushing six of the eight plays on the drive that ended with tight end Anthony McCoy’s 22-yard touchdown catch. They drove 88 yards for a touchdown the next time they had the ball, nine of those 12 plays were rushes capped by Marshawn Lynch’s 3-yard scoring run. ‘We found our stride a little bit,’ coach Pete Carroll said.”

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times describes Russell Wilson’s performance in his first career win with two words, “Stealthy good. He wasn’t electric. He was just efficient. He complemented a power run game with his accuracy, poise and patience. For a young quarterback who has already earned so much respect and fame, Wilson managed to operate with an offensive lineman’s slyness in the Seahawks’ 27-7 victory over Dallas. He was invisibly effective for most of the game. At opportune moments, he flashed his talent and impacted the outcome. He made mostly inconsequential mistakes. And that, folks, is Pete Carroll’s dream situation for a quarterback. ‘I thought he played a really cool game for us,’ said the Seahawks coach, who is always striving to make the quarterback’s difficult job easier.”

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times writes that Sunday’s win is the ideal way this Seahawks team wants to play the game, “This was a win that was all wallops and welts. The Seahawks made Dallas look like Portland State. They were more aggressive, more energetic. ‘This is the way we’d like to do it,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘We took care of the football all day. Special teams jumped on it and got something started in beautiful fashion for us. And then we just started pounding away.’ The Seahawks played as if their season depended on it. ‘It was something we had to have,’ Robinson said. ‘I called it before the game. It was a must-win for us.’ “

John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune says that Golden Tate’s block of Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee in the fourth quarter yesterday is one that will be remembered as part of the wide receiver’s legacy, “Tate is blessed with quick feet and soft hands, two attributes necessary for somebody paid to catch passes. And yet on the longest gain of a pivotal drive that put the Seahawks beyond the reach of the Dallas Cowboys, Tate used neither of them. The receiver wasn’t in a receivership mode when he turned toward Dallas linebacker Sean Lee and impersonated a wrecking ball. Tate stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 202 pounds. Lee is listed at 6-2, 245. But the blocker enjoyed a substantial advantage: he knew where he was going and what he wanted to do when he got there. ‘The first half of the play, I was just trying to get open,’ said Tate, whose cold-blooded collision with the unwitting Lee sprang quarterback Russell Wilson for a 14-yard gain in the fourth quarter of the Seahawks’ 27-7 victory. ‘And when I realized Russell was going to run, I looked for somebody to block, and somebody happened to be right there. Either I’d hit him hard, or he’d hit the quarterback hard. So I hit him.’ “

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune points to the success of backup left tackle Frank Omiyale, who started in place of the injured Russell Okung, in dealing with Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware, “Omiyale started 14 games at left tackle for Chicago in 2010. The grizzled, eight-year veteran came into the game with 32 career NFL starts. Omiyale said the Sea-hawks didn’t do anything special to contain Ware. ‘I don’t know if it was a big strategy,’ Omiyale said. ‘As far as I know, they called regular plays. We slid to him. We slid away. So I felt like we stayed with our offense pretty well.’ But other teammates noticed Omiyale’s effort. ‘Frank came in without any idea of (Okung) not starting and he did a great job,” Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch said. “That goes to show the depth of those guys and the work they put into it.’ “

Meg Wochnick of the Tacoma News Tribune credits the ‘Hawks defense for setting the tone in the victory, “Nearly a full season after Seattle’s defense allowed 442 yards of total offense in a 23-13 loss to Dallas in Week 6, the Cowboys got a completely different showing from the Seahawks on Sunday. The difference? A second-half defensive adjustment — holding Dallas to eight yards rushing, limiting running back DeMarco Murray to 44 yards on 12 carries, and causing all sorts of problems for a Cowboys team that seemed to have trouble finding an offensive rhythm. ‘They did a great job of neutralizing us and we needed to do some things to make some plays and we just didn’t do it,’ Dallas quarterback Tony Romo said.”

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says that Wilson showed good progress in the win yesterday, “Russell Wilson was exactly that quarterback Sunday, completing 15 of 20 passes with a touchdown for a passer rating of 112.7 in the Seahawks’ 27-7 upset of the Dallas Cowboys at CenturyLink Field. As we urged fans to be patient with premature judgments on Wilson’s long-range potential after his ordinary statistics in a season-opening loss to the Cardinals, it’s fair to again withhold his deification after the win over Dallas. But it certainly looked as if the rookie from Wisconsin grew up – as an NFL quarterback if not in physical stature – in the second half against Dallas. The best thing about his contributions? They were proportional. And they were in the context of what the team needs from him. He took nothing away from Marshawn Lynch’s rushing; he did not put the defense in bad situations because of turnovers. He put the club in position to win.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that the ‘Hawks second-half adjustments made up for a less-than-stellar first half, “In the second half, however, Wilson and the offense found their rhythm. And with the defense locking down the Cowboys — Dallas had just 85 yards in the second half, 51 of which came in garbage time on the last drive of the game — that was a formula for a blowout. ‘Our special teams spotted us 10 points, but we just weren’t clicking offensively,’ said fullback  Robinson. ‘Second half, we stayed true to our game plan and it worked in our favor.’ “

Mike Salk of mynorthwest.com says that the Seahawks were dominant in the 27-7 win, “The running game was awesome. The passing game was, in the context of their plan, awesome. The special teams were awesome. And the defense was, in the second half especially, nearly perfect. They lived up to their physical identity.”

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com has his take on the win over Dallas, “Wilson had what was nearly a perfect game from Carroll’s perspective: 15 completions in 20 attempts for 151 yards and no turnovers (passer rating 112.7), including a 22-yard pass for a TD to Anthony McCoy. That completed a 90-yard drive in eight plays, only two of which were passes. The next time they had the ball, the Seahawks went 88 yards in 12 plays over nearly eight minutes, a massive example of scrimmage control. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever been part of 88- and 90-yard drives back-to-back,’ said center Max Unger. ‘We rotated through seven guys (through the O-line) and kept the communication going, which is something we didn’t do last week.’ “

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com says that the Seahawks defensive backfield – the “Legion of Boom” – lived up to their name yesterday, “Safety Kam Chancellor, who was bringing the hits all day long, said after the game that the way his defense played against the Cowboys was the idea all along. Like many on Pete Carroll’s young team, the third-year starter had to match his acumen with his athleticism, and it was obvious in this game that Chancellor and his teammates had done just that. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound safety delivered on anything over the middle, and eventually, even tough veterans like tight end Jason Witten appeared unsure of just what they might be in for on slants and drags. ‘That happened a couple of times,’ Chancellor told me after Seattle’s decisive win. ‘Guys remember the same play from earlier — they think you’re about to hit them again, so they’re trying to hurry up and turn around and face up without catching the ball first … Once that ball comes over the middle and somebody catches it, all I’m thinking about is lights out.’ “

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from yesterday’s victory, “Russell Wilson was efficient and completed 15-of-20 passes for 151 yards and a score for the Seahawks (1-1), who dropped their opener to the Arizona Cardinals. ‘We can’t hurt ourselves, that’s what we did last week,’ Wilson said. ‘We had great communication today. We messed up a few times, but that’s going to happen. We really have to focus in and not make any mistakes, that’s our goal. We weren’t quite perfect, but it was way better than last week.’ Tony Romo was 23-of-40 for 251 yards with a touchdown and interception for Dallas (1-1), which defeated the New York Giants last Wednesday. Miles Austin caught five balls for 63 yards and a score, while DeMarco Murray was limited to 44 yards on 12 carries in defeat. The Seahawks, who led 13-7 at halftime, outscored Dallas 14-0 over the final 30 minutes.”

Don Banks of SI.com touches on the physicality Seattle displayed in yesterday’s defeat of the Cowboys, “At its most fundamental and basic, football is about imposing your will on an opponent. You can do that at times schematically or mentally in the course of a game, but it’s always the most fun, players say, when you do it physically. At least for the winning team. Exhibit A on this Sunday was the Seattle Seahawks’ 27-7 victory over the visiting Dallas Cowboys at CenturyLink Field — nicknamed in these parts, and wonderfully so, “The Clink.” The Seahawks didn’t just beat the previously high-riding Cowboys in this one, they beat on them, and beat them down until their will to win broke. And they did it with a style of physicality and aggressive brand of football that has not really been a trademark of Seattle football for quite some time.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his wrap-up from yesterday, “What I liked: Malcolm Smith’s blocked punt and Jeron Johnson’s return bought needed breathing room for Seattle after the Seahawks drove to a field goal on their opening drive. Those are the types of plays that get a home crowd going. They can make the difference for teams with strong defenses. Seattle contained DeMarco Murray (3.7 yards per carry, long run of 9 yards) and Tony Romo. Romo had gone 3-2 in his past five road starts, tossing 12 touchdown passes with only two interceptions during those games. Seattle picked him off early and prevented him from getting comfortable.”

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth says that all three phases – offense, defense, and special teams – excelled in yesterday’s victory, and he names Lynch his player of the game. Tony Ventrella recaps the win, we bring you highlights from yesterday, and a look at the day in photos.


Monday cyber surfing: Making moves to 53; Practice squad forms

Good morning, and happy Labor Day. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks after a busy weekend of roster transactions. You can take a look at the Seahawks’ up-to-date roster here.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times speaks to the roster’s continuity this season from a year ago, “This season, the subtraction of tight end Kellen Winslow was the only real surprise as Evan Moore will be added to take his place. The fact that things are so much more settled this year speaks to the quality of the roster that coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider believe they’ve assembled over the past two and a half years. There’s not nearly as much turnover on this year’s team. Of the 53 players currently on Seattle’s roster, 15 were acquired over the offseason. Compare that to last season, when 24 of Seattle’s 53 players were in their first year with the team. The year before that, the number was 27, more than half the team.”

O’Neil has a look at the somewhat unexpected release of tight end Kellen Winslow, “The release of Winslow came after he declined to take a pay cut from the $3.3 million he was scheduled to earn. That salary may have been a point of discussion for months now. Seattle is expected to replace him with Evan Moore, a tight end who played the past three years in Cleveland. Moore is 6 feet 6 and caught 34 passes in 2011, scoring four touchdowns.”

Lastly from O’Neil, we have his look at Seattle’s cut to 53 players, which occurred Friday afternoon, “Just as significant as who is not on the 53-man roster, though, is one player who is: offensive lineman James Carpenter. He did not practice at all during training camp as he continued his recovery from a knee injury he suffered in practice last October. Carpenter was last year’s first-round pick, and he was on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list since training camp began. Had he been placed on that list to begin the season, he would not have counted against the 53-man roster limit, but also would have been ineligible to begin practicing with the team until after its sixth game.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune comments on the Seahawks’ 53-man roster, noting that Pete Carroll and John Schneider’s roster-churning days appear to have slowed down, “Currently, 37 of Seattle’s 53 players on the roster were with the team last season. Only six players on the roster remain from when Carroll took over the team after the 2009 season. And Seattle still has one of the youngest teams in the league, with only six players age 30 or older. Cornerback Marcus Trufant is the oldest at 31 – he turns 32 on Christmas Day. Linebacker Leroy Hill turns 30 on Sept. 14.”

Williams has a feature on rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who moved into the starting role this season with the departure of veteran David Hawthorne in free agency and has been making quick progress, “Bradley said he knew Wagner arrived when the headsets on the sidelines went down during the team’s first preseason game against Tennessee, the defensive coordinator had to signal in the calls. Wagner told Bradley he could read his lips from the sideline and get the calls that way. ‘I think for him the big thing is just getting used to using his hands,’ Bradley said. ‘He’s going to have linemen out on him, and he’s getting better at that, and attacking the line of scrimmage.’ “

Williams also comments on the Seahawks’ highly-touted secondary, who has been given the nickname ‘The Legion of Boom‘, “Seattle boasts one of best young secondaries in the league, with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, and cornerback Brandon Browner all making the trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl after the 2011 season. Seattle finished No. 9 in total defense last season, the first time since 1997 the Seahawks finished in the top 10. While Seattle’s defensive front seven anchors the unit with its stout play against the run, the Legion of Boom creates turnovers, and plays with a ferocity befitting the name. ‘We all got that boom,’ safety Kam Chancellor said. ‘Whether it’s getting interceptions, talking trash, being a ballhawk or just knocking somebody out – it’s everything.’ “

Lastly from Williams, he details the release of Winslow and Seattle’s cut to 53.

John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune admires quarterback Russell Wilson’s attitude and drive to be “great”, but says that average will be just fine for Wilson in this offense, as he advises the rookie to not try to do too much, “Average will work on this offense. Good will be just fine. An average-to-good quarterback who avoids turnovers is a better fit for Pete Carroll’s system than a great quarterback prone to the occasional, inevitable mistake. Take last season’s road upset of the New York Giants. The Hawks beat the eventual Super Bowl champions because Charlie Whitehurst, relieving the injured Tarvaris Jackson in the third quarter, didn’t try to out-Eli Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Whitehurst completed only 11 passes in the second half, for 149 yards and a touchdown, but none of his 19 attempts ended up in the hands of the defense. Manning, meanwhile, finished the day with gaudy stats – 24-of-39 for 420 yards and three touchdowns – but undermined by three interceptions. On the best day of Whitehurst’s life – and helping the Seahawks to that 39-26 victory qualifies for the short list – he is not half the quarterback that Manning is. But again, sometimes less can be preferable to more.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald recaps the Seahawks’ roster reduction, and says wide receiver Braylon Edwards is out to prove critics wrong after a down season a year ago, “That guy you saw wearing Edwards’ jersey last year? That wasn’t him, he’ll tell you. But saying it is one thing, proving it while playing on your fourth team in the last five seasons? Well, let’s just say Edwards knows a strong training camp and a few nice catches in preseason games don’t mean he’s back to being the player who caught 53 passes for 904 yards as recently as two seasons ago. But just getting a chance to show what he can do is a pretty good start. ‘I feel great,’ Edwards said. ‘I feel like I’m full speed, I feel like I can jump however high I need to make plays and get around. I just feel like my athletic ability is there again. Last year I just wasn’t able really to jump, move, make certain cuts, so I’m a much different player this year than last year.’ “

Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network previews the Seahawks 2012 season, “Even before Wilson’s unexpected rise to the starting lineup and Carroll’s latest examples of unconventional wisdom, the Seahawks were being touted as a team potentially on the rise. Seattle went 5-3 over the second half of last year’s campaign, with the surge fueled by a string of productive games from running back Marshawn Lynch and a defense filled with relative unknowns gelling into one of the NFL’s better crews. And if preseason results can be used as an accurate measuring stick, the Seahawks may indeed be ready to take off in 2012. With Wilson leading the way, Seattle prevailed in all four of its warm-up contests and outscored the opposition by a convincing 122-44 margin.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report on the 53-man roster and release of Winslow.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his analysis of the Seahawks’ cut to 53 players, “Most significant move: The Seattle Seahawks emerged from last season with high hopes for Josh Portis as a developmental quarterback. The arrival of Matt Flynn in free agency and new starter Russell Wilson through the draft left Portis on the outside. The Seahawks released him, leaving Wilson and Flynn as the only quarterbacks on the initial 53-man roster. Some teams with rookie starters brace themselves for what they know will be a long season. The Seahawks think Wilson upgrades the position immediately. They appear unworried by rookie walls and all the other ominous metaphors that typically pop up with inexperienced players behind center. The team could always consider adding a third quarterback in the future, but the value wasn’t there given what Seattle thinks about its top two quarterbacks.”

Sando also has a breakdown of the Seahawks’ roster and practice available for download.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a position-by-position look at the newly-crafted 53-man roster.

Farnsworth also details what’s left at the tight end position after the release of Winslow, “Now what? The Seahawks still have Miller, and the coaches have been pleased with the more-consistent performance of third-year Anthony McCoy during training camp and the preseason. McCoy, a sixth-round draft choice in 2010, had six catches for a team-high 106 receiving yards during the just-concluded preseason. ‘Anthony has been a really good prospect,’ coach Pete Carroll said recently of the tight end he also coached at USC. ‘This was a great pick for us a couple years back. He’s really grown into a versatile tight end for us. He’s one of our best blockers. He’s not quite to Zach’s level, but he really does a great job on all the in-line blocking. He moves around well. He’s a great target to throw the ball to.’ “

And finally, to round things out this morning, Farnsworth looks at the seven familiar faces that make up the Seahawks practice squad, “The release-and-return move with [quarterback Josh] Portis is shrewd. Waiving him opened a roster spot for an extra position player, but he’ll still be around to continue developing his raw, but obvious, skills by getting some reps quarterbacking the scout team that works against the Seahawks’ defense in practice. Last year, Portis made the 53-man roster as a rookie free agent, but was inactive for 15 games.”