Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 9:
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the primary objective for the Seahawks’ defense in Monday night’s game against the Rams – stopping Steve Jackson: “The St. Louis Rams might have a question mark at quarterback, but the Seahawks have no doubt about their defensive priority on Monday night. It’s stopping Steven Jackson, first, second and even third down. That’s how it always is against St. Louis. ‘From seven years ago, when I first got in the league, day one, until today,’ linebacker Leroy Hill said, ‘to beat the Rams, you have to stop Steven Jackson.’ ”
Dave Boling at the News Tribune looks at the healthiest member of the Seahawks’ injury-depleted offensive line – center Max Unger: “And still, at the center of it all is Unger, in his third season out of Oregon. ‘Max has done a great job for us … a beautiful job for us, and he’s really improved during the season,’ (coach Pete) Carroll said. ‘He’s really taken charge of the front.’ Unger contends that the necessary shuffling up front has been smoothed by the fact that the fill-ins are well-versed in the system and the communication.”
Also at the News Tribune, Eric Williams looks at the sudden rash of turnovers the Seahawks have created: “They come in spurts, and right now turnovers are gushing for the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks have a plus-9 turnover differential over the past four games, helping them go 3-1. During that stretch, Seattle has eight interceptions and four forced fumbles to go against three Tarvaris Jackson interceptions. For the season, the Seahawks are plus-4 – tied for ninth in the league – after having not finished with a positive turnover differential at the end of the regular season since 2007.”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald checks in with Golden Tate, who made the most of his first NFL start against the Eagles: “In last week’s win over the Eagles, Tate made his first career start and finished with four catches for 47 yards. Another catch he made that game was ruled an eight-yard run because it was a backwards pass. Tate punctuated his best day as a professional with a spectacular leaping touchdown catch in the back of the end zone that was exactly the type of play he has made time and time again in practice. ‘That was a fantastic throw and catch on the touchdown pass,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘Great throw and a great catch and great body-control job of staying in bounds. It was a beautiful play. There are more of those in him. He’s got tons of those.’ ”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com looks at the projected draft order, a definite top-button topic for some fans: “Buffalo and Seattle would flip a coin to determine which one picked 13th instead of 14th. The chart shows the order, with strength of schedule listed when it applies to tiebreakers.” If, of course, the Seahawks don’t continue their current run that has seen them win three of their past four games.
Here at Seahawks.com, we know what Lemuel Jeanpierre is – the new starter at right guard – but we try to find out who he is: “Let’s start with the name. Both of them. Lemuel comes from The Bible, Proverbs 31: Sayings of King Lemuel. Jeanpierre comes from his grandfather, who was Haitian but settled in Louisiana. Put them together and … ‘When I was in school and the teachers would call roll, they’d say, ‘Oh, I’m going to have trouble with this one,’ ‘ Jeanpierre said with a smile. ‘I’d raise my hand and say, ‘That’s me.’ ” There’s also this from right tackle Breno Giacomini: “ ‘We call him Lem-opedia, because he’s so smart,’ Giacomini said. Now we’re getting somewhere. Jeanpierre majored in retailing at South Carolina and now is working on master’s degree in sports and entertainment management. That’s more media-guide stuff, but it’s relevant. Or maybe not. ‘When we say smart, we’re talking about football-wise,’ Giacomini said. ‘Another thing, just like all the guys on the O-line, we like to go to work every day. So Lem is obviously a hard worker. And the good thing is, as you’ve seen, he can adjust to any position.’ ”
Jim Trotter at SI.com ranks the QBs in the league and Tarvaris Jackson comes in at No. 24: “In a season that started with two rookies and a second-year pro in the offensive line, injured receivers who hindered their ability to work together in training camp, and a new offensive scheme, it’s a credit to Jackson that he has remained upright, let alone complete 60 percent of his passes with 10 TDs and 12 picks.”
And while we’re on the subject, Jason Cole at YahooSports.com ranks the Top 10 college QBs.
For a look at the rest of the league in Week 14, there’s John Clayton’s “First and 10” at ESPN.com.
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 8:
Eric Williams at the News Tribune checks in with Lemuel Jeanpierre, the new starter at right guard: “Last year, Seattle used 10 different starting offensive line combinations, and had to rely on a mishmash of journeyman veterans, such as Chester Pitts, Stacy Andrews and Tyler Polumbus, to plug holes up front. But now the Seahawks have developed enough depth behind their front-line starters that they’ve been able to weather losing three of the starting five offensive linemen to season-ending injuries this year. That’s where Jeanpierre comes in. The 24-year-old player out of South Carolina was signed to Seattle’s practice squad last season after being cut by Kansas City during final roster cut-downs in September. Jeanpierre spent most of his first season in Seattle on the practice squad learning the ropes but was moved up to the active roster for the final two playoff games last January, although he was not active for either game. However, the year on the practice squad helped prepare Jeanpierre for his role as the backup center and interior lineman this season. He’ll get his second start of the year on Monday at right guard, with Paul McQuistan moving from right guard to left tackle to replace Russell Okung – out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle.”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at NFL’s fine system and finds it to be inconsistent: “I’d say the league has me scratching my head over its disciplinary policies, but I’m afraid scratching my defenseless head too vigorously might result in a $20,000 fine. Many of the fines the NFL hands out are the result of the league trying to keep its athletes safe, and in theory that’s a great idea. The problem, as we’ve seen over and over again, is how inconsistently the punishment is handed out.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com has his weekly “Injuries Situations that Matter” in the NFC West: “Tarvaris Jackson’s apparent recovery from a pectoral injury has allowed him to practice fully the last couple weeks. That’s significant for an offense adjusting to frequently changing parts on the offensive line, and at receiver. Paul McQuistan goes from replacing the injured John Moffitt at right guard to replacing the injured Russell Okung at left tackle, a scenario the Seahawks never could have envisioned. Lemuel Jeanpierre steps in at right guard. All signs point to Seattle continuing its emphasis on the running game. On defense, David Hawthorne has been playing through knee problems. He was the NFC’s defensive player of the week after returning an interception 77 yards for a touchdown against Philadelphia. The injury prevented him from opening up and running full speed, however. K.J. Wright took practice reps at middle linebacker while Hawthorne rested. Rookie Mike Morgan stepped into lineup at Wright’s old spot. With no game till Monday, Hawthorne presumable has a good shot at playing.”
Also from Sando, a look at how the division could produce four 1,000-yard rushers: “One division has produced four 1,000-yard rushers in a season five times since divisional realignment in 2002. Each NFC West team’s leading rusher is on pace for at least 1,100 yards. Only one division, the AFC North in 2010, has produced four players with at least 1,100 yards since realignment.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we look at Leroy Hill, and how his steady play has been a steadying influence for the young defense: “But this has been a season of surprising, and even unexpected, events for Hill – starting with the team re-signing him in free agency. Then, Lofa Tatupu was releasing, opening a starting spot on the weak side for Hill because David Hawthorne moved inside the replace Tatupu. Then, Aaron Curry, the No. 4 pick overall in the 2009 NFL Draft, was traded to the Oakland Raiders, with rookie K.J. Wright stepping in for him. ‘This season means more, because I didn’t have football at all and it was tough,’ Hill said. ‘It’s that old thing where you don’t know how much you miss it until you haven’t got it. Then, you miss it even more when you know you can still play.’ So here Hill is, a leader on an improved and improving defense – on and off the field; from the locker room on the first floor of Virginia Mason Athletic Center to the coaches’ offices on the second floor. ‘It’s been very settling to have him,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s been a real confidence factor for our guys because he’s the real deal. He’s a hard-nosed, tough man and it’s good for the young guys to see how he is. He’s just been rock-solid, consistent throughout.’ ”
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 7:
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the latest changes on the offensive line after left tackle Russell was placed on injured reserve: “Paul McQuistan started at right guard the past three games. He’s now Seattle’s first-string left tackle. Lemuel Jeanpierre was Seattle’s backup center, and now he’ll be Seattle’s third starting right guard in five games. ‘Hopefully it’ll work out fine,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘Paul is not unfamiliar with playing tackle, so that helps, and Lem has played a little bit for us.’ ”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald also looks at the topic du jour, the ever-changing line: “McQuistan, who was signed in the offseason, played in this system under Tom Cable in Oakland. Cable is now the Seahawks’ offensive line coach. Jeanpierre, meanwhile, is well versed in the Seahawks offense despite limited game experience. Last year he was on Seattle’s practice squad as an undrafted rookie, and he made the 53-man roster this year as a backup guard and center.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com has his weekly NFC West “Stock Watch,” and one of the risers is Tarvaris Jackson: “Jackson appeared to be winding down for the season until he completed 13 of 16 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns during a 31-14 victory over Philadelphia. Marshawn Lynch certainly could have represented Seattle in this spot as well. He was phenomenal against the Eagles. Lynch’s stock was already quite high, however. Jackson’s enjoyed a higher percentage gain, for sure. This was probably his best game of the season even though the team lost Rice to injured reserve a few days before the game.”
Sando also has some thoughts on Rams QB Sam Bradford, who might or might not play against the Seahawks on Monday Night: “Bradford’s second season has been a disaster, by all accounts. His team ranks last in points per game. Bradford has taken far more sacks per pass play. The Rams are 2-10. An ankle injury has sidelined Bradford for three games.”
There’s also a look at wide receiver Golden Tate, and how the extra attention he gets from the coaches in practice is starting to translate into game-day production: “After one play, Pete Carroll confers with Golden Tate about the placement of his hands after the second-year receiver could not handle a low throw. After another, the Seahawks’ coach discusses with Tate the proper route adjustment on a hot read. After still another, Carroll approaches the receiver to give him a fist-bump because Tate had leaped over a cornerback to make a tough catch along the sideline. These practice-field exchanges between coach and player have been played out on a regular basis since the Seahawks selected Tate in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft, as Carroll tries to squeeze out every ounce of Tate’s potent potential and also smooth the rough edges from his ample game. Preaching, practice, potential and production converged in the south end zone at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night when Tate made a reaching grab of a pass from Tarvaris Jackson and then got his feet down for an 11-yard touchdown in the Seahawks’ 31-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. ‘I owe that to coach Carroll being on my butt, and Kip (receivers coach Kippy Brown) being on my butt,’ Tate said. ‘Even though in practice some people might think it doesn’t matter, but the small things like that create good habits. I remember one time in practice, I made the catch but I didn’t get my feet in. Kip and Pete were like, ‘Get your feet in. We know you can make this play.’ So just working hard all the time I think is going to help me succeed in this league.’ ”
This celebrity photo gallery from FoxSports.com features Warren Moon and Bill Russell attending NFL games.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 6:
The offensive line. The Seahawks have been forced to shuttle this unit again, with left tackle Russell Okung being placed on injured reserve today because of the torn pectoral he got in his right shoulder during the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s victory over the Eagles.
In today’s 75-minute bonus practice, Paul McQuistan moved from right guard to replace Okung, with Lemuel Jeanpierre stepping in at right guard. So the newest new-look line that is expected to start in Monday night’s game against the Rams at CenturyLink Field features – from left tackle to right – McQuistan, Robert Gallery, Max Unger, Jeanpierre and Breno Giacomini.
“We pretty much have to head in that direction,” coach Pete Carroll said. “The fact that these guys have been with us, we don’t have to go outside the organization and the system to get guys. It’s really very fortunate.”
Jeanpierre made his first NFL start in the Week 7 game against the Browns at center because Unger was sidelined. McQuistan has started at left guard (three games) and right guard (three games) because of injuries to Gallery and rookie John Moffitt, who is on injured reserved following knee surgery. McQuistan also played tackle during his time with the Raiders. Giacomini is starting because first-round draft choice James Carpenter also went on injured reserve because of a knee injury that required surgery.
“This speaks to the depth we started camp with,” Carroll said. “They’re familiar faces, anyway, instead of having to go some other way. Hopefully this will work out and we’ll be able to keep going.”
The Seahawks are riding a streak of five consecutive games with at least 100 rushing yards, their longest since 2005.
Tarvaris Jackson. The team’s QB surprised everyone last week by being able to participate in every practice during the short preparation period due to the Thursday night game, because of the strained pectoral in his right shoulder.
Today, Jackson took it to the next level.
“He looked totally different today,” Carroll said. “The signs have just been coming the last week or so that things are different for him. Today, he looked like normal. … An excellent, excellent sign today. We haven’t seen him throw the ball like this at one time for I don’t know however long it’s been.”
It has been almost 8½ weeks since Jackson injured his shoulder in the Week 5 upset of the Giants.
“He’s a whole step ahead of (last week) today,” Carroll said. “He has not thrown the ball at any time like this, in any of the games even. So it’s a great sign.”
IN ’N OUT
Offensive lineman Mike Gibson was re-signed to fill Okung’s spot on the 53-man roster. Gibson (6-3, 298) was with the Seahawks in training camp, but released on the final roster cut in September. He also was with the team in 2009 and 2010, and started eight games last season – five at left guard and three at right guard. Gibson also worked at center this summer, so his versatility is a plus.
The club also signed two players to its practice squad: defensive lineman Keith Darbut and running back Jay Finley.
Four players sat out practice: middle linebacker David Hawthorne, defensive end Raheem Brock and cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Kennard Cox.
With Hawthorne out, K.J. Wight moved into the middle and was replaced on the strong side by fellow rookie Mike Morgan.
STAT DU JOUR
The team with the best winning percentage in the history of “Monday Night Football”? It’s the Seahawks, who are 16-8 for a percentage of .667. Here are the top five:
Team Record Pct.
Seahawks 16-8 .667
Steelers 39-22 .639
Colts 21-12 .636
49ers 40-25 .615
Raiders 37-25-1 .595
The Seahawks also have a four-game winning streak on MNF:
Dec. 5, 2005 W, 42-0 at Philadelphia
Nov. 6, 2006 W, 16-0 Oakland
Nov. 27, 2006 W, 34-24 Green Bay
Nov. 12, 2007 W, 24-0 San Francisco
The Carroll calendar continues to collide with the regular calendar, as the players are off on Wednesday because of the Monday night game. They return Thursday, which will be Wednesday.
Tickets are available for the game against the Rams and can be purchased here.
YOU DON’T SAY
“They loved it. It was a great opportunity to get a break this late in the year. They feel so much different coming into practice today and they’ll get tomorrow off as well. So it’s just a good boost for everybody physically.” – Carroll on being able to give the players four days off because of the gap between playing on Thursday night and Monday night
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 15:
Right guard. In addition to putting together the game plan for Sunday’s matchup with the Rams in St. Louis today, the coaches also had to decide who will replace rookie John Moffitt at right guard.
Moffitt is out for the rest of the season after damaging two ligaments in his right knee on the Seahawks’ fourth play in Sunday’s upset victory over the Baltimore Ravens at CenturyLink Field.
The replacement options are Lemuel Jeanpierre, who played well after stepping in for Moffitt against the Ravens; and Paul McQuistan, who started three games at left guard earlier this season while Robert Gallery was out with a groin injury.
While Jeanpierre is a little more athletic, McQuistan has the edge in experience and knowledge of the Seahawks’ blocking scheme because he also played under assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable when both were with the Oakland Raiders.
Asked about Jeanpierre’s performance after the game, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson offered, “Right when he came in I didn’t have a doubt that he was going to get the job done. He’s always tuned in. He practices hard every day. I watch all the linemen, just to see exactly what guys can do, and when he came in at guard I felt he could get the job done just as well.”
Jeanpierre has started one game in the NFL, at center in Week 7 when Max Unger was out with a foot injury. McQuistan has started 15 – three in Weeks 3-5 this season and 12 in 2006-07, while with the Raiders.
“One of those two guys will be playing at right guard,” coach Pete Carroll said on Monday.
Whoever it is needs to help the Seahawks continue to take positive steps against a Rams’ defense that ranks last in the league at stopping the run, allowing an average of 150.6 rushing yards. After rushing for more than 100 yards twice in their first seven games, the Seahawks have done it in each of their past two games. After allowing 28 sacks in the first seven games, the Seahawks have yielded two in the past two games.
“We’ve distinctly moved ahead in the last couple weeks and so hopefully we can keep building on that,” Carroll said. “I think we’re going in the right direction.”
And with a new right guard.
MOFFITT TO IR
Moffitt was placed on injured reserve today because he’ll need surgery to repair the MCL and PCL in his right knee that were damaged in Sunday’s game.
To fill his roster spot, Paul Fanaika was re-signed. The 6-foot-5, 327-pound Fanaika began the season on the practice squad, but was released last week when wide receiver Patrick Williams was re-signed. Fanaika was on the 53-man roster for the final three games last season, after being signed off the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad. He was inactive for all three games.
STAT DU JOUR
Nose tackle Brandon Mebane doesn’t just anchor a Seahawks run defense that ranks 12th in the league in average yards allowed (106.4) and is tied for third in average per-carry (3.6). He is tied for the lead in tackles among NFC defensive tackles. Here are the top four:
Player Tackles (solo/assists)
Brandon Mebane, Seahawks 27 (18/0)
Ndamukong Suh, Lions 27 (20/7)
Cullen Jenkins, Eagles 24 (17/7)
Jay Ratliff, Cowboys 23 (16/7)
The players return from their “off” day to begin preparing for Sunday’s game against the Rams in St. Louis – the Seahawks’ only road game in a current five-game stretch that saw them play the Ravens at home last week and also features home games against the Redskins (Nov. 27), Eagles (Dec. 1) and Rams (Dec. 12).
Tickets are available for the games against the Redskins, Eagles and Rams and can be purchased here.
YOU DON’T SAY
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. So this video of Marshawn Lynch doing his thing against Ray Lewis in Sunday’s game is worth at least 10,000 words – and definitely another look.
A recap of the Seahawks’ 22-17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The obvious choice for player of the game is Marshawn Lynch, after he ran for 109 yards and caught a team-high five passes for another 58 yards. But let’s not be so obvious. Let’s include the offensive line and lead-blocking fullback Michael Robinson.
Yes, Lynch was in “Beast Mode,” but his blockers definitely helped unleash the beast – tackles Russell Okung and James Carpenter; guards Robert Gallery, John Moffitt and Lemuel Jeanpierre; and center Max Unger.
“I was really proud of the offensive line,” coach Pete Carroll said of a unit that hasn’t received many positive reviews this season. “I thought they played great, protected beautifully today. And when we needed it most, they were able to grab the running game and take five or six minutes off the clock.”
Carroll was referring to the blocker-led, Lynch-fueled final drive from the Seahawks’ 20-yard line to the Ravens’ 16 on the final possession of the game that began with 5:52 to play. Lynch touched ball on eight of the first 10 plays, including seven in a row, before quarterback Tarvaris Jackson took a knee twice to run the final seconds off the clock.
Lynch had 46 of his rushing yards in the fourth quarter and 23 in the third quarter, after getting 35 in the first quarter and only 5 in the second quarter.
Even the linemen had to admit they were inspired by how hard Lynch ran – and runs.
“It’s impressive,” Unger said of Lynch bringing the cliché “moving the pile” to life right before his eyes. “I mean, we know what he’s going to bring. Our play has to be elevated when we see stuff like that and just give it all out. He had a couple of very awesome runs there at the end.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Before Lynch took over on that final drive, Tarvaris Jackson made sure the drive would continue by threading a pass between two defenders to wide receiver Golden Tate for a 24-yard completion on a third-and-5 play. Tate was in the game because Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin had gone out with concussions, but Jackson did not hesitate to go his way with so much hanging in the balance.
Said Jackson, “Golden did a good job of getting open. I just tried to put the ball on him before the safety got there and he was able to make the catch, stay in bounds and keep the clock running.”
Tate, however, said his catch finished third on that completion behind, first, the play call by coordinator Darrell Bevell and, also, the throw by Jackson. And maybe even fourth, because Tate also credited the clearing route run by Mike Williams on the same side for allowing him to get open.
“Great call by coach Bevell,” Tate said. “Tarvaris made a great throw. I just did the easy job – catch the ball and secure the ball. We move the stakes and that was huge for us.”
Defense: The Ravens’ Joe Flacco put the ball up a career-high 52 times, so the Seahawks had ample opportunity to make big plays. But none was bigger than the pass that rookie strongside linebacker K.J. Wright tipped and middle linebacker David Hawthorne intercepted and returned 34 yards to the Ravens’ 4-yard line to setup a field goal that made it 22-7 early in the third quarter.
“Turnovers always are big,” Hawthorne said. “You win the turnover ratio, you’re going to win the game.”
Special teams: Steven Hauschka kicked five field goals, but let’s go with the last one because it tied the franchise single-game record that was set by Norm Johnson in 1987 and then tied by Johnson (1988), Todd Peterson (1999) and Olindo Mare (twice in 2010).
“I know it looks like five kicks was the difference in the game, but there are a lot of plays by a lot of different guys that helped make that happen,” Hauschka said.
The Seahawks lost six players during the game, but the most serious appeared to be knee injury Moffitt got in the first quarter. The rookie right guard is scheduled to have a MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the damage and how long he might be sidelined.
After Moffitt went out, Jeanpierre stepped in and played well.
In addition to the concussions that Rice (third quarter) and Baldwin (second quarter) got, strong safety Kam Chancellor (fourth quarter) also got one and backup safety Atari Bigby went out in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury. So Chris Maragos got ample snaps at safety late in the game.
Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove also injured a hamstring in the third quarter.
The Ravens had allowed nine 100-yard rushers in their past 92 games, but Lynch became the 10th.
Lynch carried a career-high 32 times – eight shy of Shaun Alexander’s franchise record – to get his 109 yards.
The Seahawks forced three turnovers – their second-highest total this season. In addition to Hawthorne’s interception, Michael Robinson and Malcolm Smith forced fumbles on kickoff returns that were recovered by Atari Bigby and Ben Obomanu.
The Seahawks won time of possession for the second consecutive week – and only second time this season – with a season-best 35:01.
Free safety Earl Thomas and linebacker Leroy Hill led the Seahawks with eight tackles.
The Seahawks got their hands on 10 of Flacco’s passes, including three by cornerback Brandon Browner.
Smith, a rookie linebacker, got the Seahawks’ only sack – his first in the NFL. He also had two tackles on special teams.
The Ravens averaged 6.3 yards rushing, but ran the ball just 12 times.
The Ravens’ Ray Rice ran for 27 yards, caught eight passes for 54 yards and also threw a 1-yard TD pass to tight end Ed Dickson, who had 10 catches for 79 yards.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’m glad we had a chance to celebrate with our fans today, and they were fantastic again. The 12th MAN was extraordinary today. It was a beautiful day working with them and playing with them. You can’t have more fun coaching football than when you’re coaching at this place. So it was really special.” – Carroll