Wednesday cyber surfing: Club continues to play with edge; Pro Bowl rosters to be announced

Red BryantGood morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 26.

The NFL notes that 2013 Pro Bowl rosters will be announced today at 7 p.m. ET on a special edition of “NFL Total Access.”

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at the improvement of quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense, “Wilson’s yards per attempt — a metric that helps gauge how aggressively a team looks downfield — is up nearly 2 yards over the past three games, a significant bump. What has really exploded is Wilson’s rushing numbers, the game plan becoming focused upon accentuating Wilson’s talents. It’s not just running beyond the line of scrimmage, but moving in the pocket. He’s got license to scramble, evading defenders with maneuvers that are at times almost comical. Earlier in the season, Seattle was trying to grind out victories while grooming a rookie quarterback. Now, the Seahawks are trusting that same rookie to see how far he will take them. ‘We have a front-line, first-rate quarterback going out there in these games and you’re seeing it,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s balling. We trust him in his decision-making because he’s proven worthy of that.’ “

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune rehashes the race for offensive rookie of the year, making a case for Wilson, “Since Week 5, Wilson has thrown for 2,274 yards, completing 65 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions. During that same stretch Wilson has a 106.9 passer rating, the second best in the league over that span behind only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (110.8). In the red zone, Wilson has completed 56 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 105.6 passer rating, which is fourth-best in the league.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes about how Carroll and the Seahawks are handling their recent success, “No longer are the Seahawks, the team playing in the NFL’s most remote outpost, the plucky little team that could. They’re quickly turning into bullies. Apparently, three wins by a combined margin of 150-30 tends to make people take notice. So is there any concern the Seahawks could lose their edge now that they’ve clinched a playoff berth and are being called the NFL’s hottest team? ‘Yeah, sure, there is always concern for that,’ Carroll said. ‘That’s what my job is, to not let that happen, so I better be concerned about that. I’m very confident about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and the language that we use and the way we talk, the way they’re talking. I love to hear their comments at this point and how they’ve dealt with the last few weeks. They’re right on point.’ “

Boyle also notes a roster move from Monday, December 24, as the club released wide receiver Deon Butler from the 53-man roster to make room for the addition of rookie strong safety Winston Guy, who had been serving a four game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Jim Litke of the Associated Press tries to make sense of the sound level exhibited by the 12th Man at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, “[Sunday Night Football producer Fred] Gaudelli and his crew hatched a plan to demonstrate that by having sideline reporter Michele Tafoya speak into a microphone as the sound reverberated, then take a step back and try again. When they ran through it before the game, he had a stadium staffer simulate the crowd noise over the PA system. At the point Tafoya’s words were drowned out the system was cranked to 50 percent of volume. ‘So I asked the guy, is it really going to be that loud? He looked at me,’ Gaudelli chuckled into the phone, ‘and said, ‘Double it.’ The guy was right. That much was apparent at the start of the broadcast, when Tafoya interviewed Carroll – remember, the game hadn’t even begun – and didn’t dare stand anywhere but uncomfortably close. Uncomfortable might be the right word to describe the 49ers as well, at least in the early going, when they had to burn timeouts as relatively inexperienced quarterback Colin Kaepernick was having trouble getting the play calls from his sideline. Right about then, he probably wished the 49ers had devoted more time to mastering their silent snap counts. ‘The crowd’s explosive, it really is,’ Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. ‘They love us so much, and it brings so much energy to our football team. They keep us in the game, obviously, and they keep us alert.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press has reaction from Carroll on the club’s hope to continue to play with an edge, “The blowout of the 49ers grabbed the kind of attention the Seahawks have wanted. ‘The chip on the shoulder? That’s not something we just manufactured for the sake of getting fired up. The guys in this room feel that. Almost every one of these guys has their reasons. I feel like that myself. We just kind of share in that chip and we don’t even have to pass it around,’ Carroll said. ‘We all have one. That’s just kind of how it’s been. Just look, we’re up here in the Northwest and they like talking about us after they talk about everybody else. And that’s OK. That’s just the way it is. It doesn’t amount to much but sometimes it does fuel you a little to keep you going. It works for us so we’ll stay with it.’ “

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com says last Sunday’s victory over the 49ers was “extra special” for wide receiver Doug Baldwin, “As if beating his college coach in lopsided fashion wasn’t sweet enough, Baldwin had his finest game of the season in the win. He had receiving touchdowns of 4 and 6 yards, making difficult catches on each. He made a bobbling catch on a 46-yard gain that set up the Seahawks’ second touchdown. Baldwin finished with four catches for 53 yards. It was the first multi-touchdown game of his career. Then again, big games against the 49ers are nothing new for Baldwin. Four of his seven career touchdowns have come against San Francisco.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has updates from Carroll’s Monday presser, “Carroll said they emerged from the game fairly healthy with only a few issues. He said LB Leroy Hill has a hamstring injury that needs to be looked at. He also said Hill’s backup, LB Malcolm Smith, might have a groin issue as well. It’s something they need to check out. If neither would be available to play, LB Mike Morgan would be the backup at the weakside linebacker spot. Carroll said WR Sidney Rice and DE Red Bryant came out of the game feeling better. Rice had been dealing with a foot bruise and a knee injury heading into last week’s game. Bryant has been dealing with a plantar fascia injury in his foot. CB Marcus Trufant is expected to return to practice on Wednesday from a hamstring strain that has kept him out the last four games. Carroll said they still weren’t sure if CB Walter Thurmond would be able to practice Wednesday. He has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain as well.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his latest “MVP Watch” where Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch show up on his list, “Wilson now ranks seventh in NFL passer rating (98.0) and eighth in Total QBR (70.0) for the season. He ranks third in both categories — 101.5 rating, 75.6 QBR — from Week 2 to present. Much gets made of Wilson’s success at home. He ranks among the NFL’s top five in road QBR after Week 1 (78.8). Only Ryan (85.4), Brady (81.5) and Manning (80.2) rank higher among quarterbacks with more than four road starts during that time. Ben Roethlisberger (72.8), Drew Brees (69.9), Rodgers (69.8) and Robert Griffin III (69.6) are next. Wilson needs one touchdown pass against St. Louis in Week 17 to tie Manning’s rookie record of 26, set in 1998. Manning also had 28 interceptions that season. Wilson has 10, including one on a dropped pass.”

Sando has his most recent “Stock Watch” item as well, and the Seahawks’ coach and GM – Carroll and John Schneider – along with the Seahawks’ receiver and strong safety Kam Chancellor represent three of his four units that are on the rise, “Seahawks’ receivers. Dropped passes doomed Seattle’s offense during a 13-6 defeat at San Francisco in Week 7. Outstanding catches played an important role in Seattle sprinting to a big lead against the 49ers in the rematch Sunday night. Baldwin’s juggling catch in the rain for a 43-yard gain was the longest play for either team. Baldwin added two scoring receptions. Rice made a leaping grab along the sideline. Seattle converted 11 of 12 times on third down while Wilson was in the game.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth catches up with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, cornerback Richard Sherman, and special teams co-captain Heath Farwell on some of their favorite Christmas memories growing up.

We also have coach Carroll’s full video press conference from Monday available here.


Christmas Eve in Hawkville: Making the playoffs just a step in the journey

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 24:

FOCUS ON

Christmas Eve Eve. For Pete Carroll, Sunday night began with him holding his grandson, Dillon, on the sideline before the Seahawks’ game against the 49ers. It ended with the team’s third-year coach embracing a playoff berth after a beyond-convincing 42-13 victory.

But Carroll is not satisfied. Far from it.

“My goal has never been the playoffs,” he said today during his weekly day-after Q&A session with reporters. “It’s try to win the division, because that puts you in the playoffs at home. And that’s what you want. The second season starts, but you want to position yourself in the best spot that you can get it.

“So we never say around here, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get to the playoffs.’ I never thought that. That isn’t good enough.”

That’s still out there for the Seahawks, if they beat the Rams at CenturyLink Field this Sunday while the Cardinals are beating the 49ers in San Francisco. But regardless of where the Seahawks finish, they’ve made it apparent that they can make some noise in the postseason.

To say they’re are on a roll does not do justice to just what the Seahawks have done during their four-game winning streak. Starting with the fourth quarter of their overtime win against the Bears in Chicago in Week 13, the Seahawks have scored on 24 of their 32 full possessions – not counting when the clock expired at the end of the first half or they kneeled to run out the clock at the end of the second half. And that doesn’t include the four touchdowns scored by the defense and special teams.

“We have to take care of our business first,” Carroll said. “What’s most important right now is we maintain consistency, and we maintain the level of play, and the focus to the details, and the discipline it takes to practice each day with intent, and do things right. And put together another good week so we can play well again.

“We’ve been playing well for quite a while. I can feel it in the room and the guys understand it. But that doesn’t mean anything unless we go do it again.”

GUY BACK, BUTLER GONE

The Seahawks have activated rookie safety Winston Guy, who returned last week with a roster exemption after serving a four-game suspension.

Guy, a sixth-round draft choice, was inactive for eight of the first 10 games before his suspension.

To clear a roster spot, wide receiver Deon Butler was released. Butler was re-signed Dec. 15.

INJURY UPDATE

Leroy Hill (hamstring) and Malcolm Smith (groin) came out of Sunday night’s game with injuries, and the next-man-up at weakside linebacker is Mike Morgan, who started one game and played most of the second on the strongside for K.J. Wright earlier this season.

Carroll expects Marcus Trufant to practice on Wednesday after missing the past four games with a hamstring injury. But he is not sure if Walter Thurmond will be able to return by then. Thurmond has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury.

PLAYER WATCH

Jermaine Kearse. Signed as a free agent in April after the NFL Draft, the rookie free agent from the University of Washington was released Aug. 31 on the roster cut to 53 players. He was then signed to the practice squad (Sept. 3), released from the practice squad (Sept. 8), re-signed to the practice squad (Sept. 11) and then signed to the 53-man roster (Oct. 30).

Sunday night, Kearse caught a 17-yard pass from Russell Wilson on a third-and-8 play to sustain a 15-play, 68-yard drive that ended with Wilson’s first TD pass to Doug Baldwin and also had two coverage tackles on special teams.

“Oh man, this is a lot of fun,” Kearse, who also went to Lakes High School, said in the locker room after the game. “Especially being in this environment, my rookie year, being with this team, in my hometown; it’s a ton of fun. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Especially because he’s playing for a coach who rewards those players who work hard. Kearse is just one example of a rookie – and a practice-squad rookie, at that – who has reaped the Carroll-bestowed chances.

“Coach has given be a great opportunity to be part of this team,” he said. “Whether it’s special teams or offense, whatever opportunity I get I’m going to run with it. I felt good about today. It was a great team win and I’m happy to be part of this organization.”

PLAYOFF PATTER

If the season ended today, which of course it doesn’t, the Seahawks would play the Redskins in Washington in the first round. That, of course, could change because the only playoff spots not settled involve the NFC West, NFC East and NFC North.

The Seahawks and 49ers are both in, with the 49ers winning the division if they beat the Cardinals on Sunday; or the Seahawks winning it if the 49ers lose and they beat the Rams. One wins the division, while the other gets the No. 5 seed.

In the East, the Cowboys play at the Redskins on Sunday with the winner taking the division and No. 4 seed. With a loss, the Redskins are the No. 6 seed, if the Vikings and Bears also lose. If the Cowboys lose to the Redskins, they’re out. Then it’s the Vikings for the No. 6 seed, if they beat the Packers; or the Bears, if they beat the Lions and the Vikings lose; or the Giants, if they beat the Eagles and Cowboys, Vikings and Bears all lose.

POWERING UP

The Seahawks have made a pre-Christmas move in two of the power rankings that have surfaced early in this Christmas week. Here’s a look at where they rank, and what they’re saying:

No. 3 in Peter King’s “Fine Fifteen” at SI.com: “A tour de force victory Sunday night over the big, bad wolf of the NFC West that stamped the Seahawks as a real Super Bowl contender. No team has a bigger home-field advantage than the Seahawks (7-0 at CenturyLink this year). Too bad the ‘Hawks will likely have to win three straight on the road to get to the Super Bowl.”

No. 6 in ESPN.com’s Power Rankings: “The Seahawks are on a 100-13 scoring run at home and have put up 150 over the past three weeks.”

STATS ’N STUFF

After rushing for 176 yards against a 49ers defense that was allowing an average of 91.1, the Seahawks rank No. 2 in the league in rushing offense. They have spiked their per-game average (161.7) by averaging 226.5 in their four-game winning streak.

The Seahawks also are plus-12 in turnover differential, which ties for sixth in the league.

Marshawn Lynch remains second in the league in rushing (1,490) and is tied for fourth among non-kickers with 72 points. He’s also fifth in total yards (1,672) and first downs (75).

Richard Sherman is tied for second in the league with a career-high seven interceptions, one behind league-leader Tim Jennings of the Bears; while Chris Clemons is tied for seventh in sacks (11.5).

Wilson’s passer rating of 98.0 is seventh in the league, and second among rookie QBs behind the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III. Wilson’s 101.5 passer rating in the fourth quarter is seventh in the league and his 92.4 rating on third downs in eighth. With 25 TD passes, he is ninth in the league, tops among rookie QBs and one shy of Peyton Manning’s league record for a rookie QB.

Leon Washington remains second in the league in kickoff return average (30.1), while Jon Ryan is sixth in the league in net punting average (41.6) and tied for 10th in punts inside the 20 (28).

Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the team with 130 tackles, which is six shy of the single-season club record for a rookie set by Terry Beeson on 1977. Special teams co-captains Heath Farwell (15) and Michael Robinson (10) lead the team in coverage tackles.

STAT DU JOUR

Calvin Johnson surpassed Jerry Rice’s single-season NFL record for receiving yards on Saturday night, which only makes the job the Seahawks did against the Lions’ Megatron wide-out in Week 8 that much more impressive. Here’s a look that game, and what Johnson has done since then:

Opponent                Rec.  Yards

Seahawks                  3         46

Jaguars                      7       129

Vikings                     12      207

Packers                      5      143

Texans                       8      140

Colts                         13      171

Packers                    10      118

Cardinals                 10      121

Falcons                    11      225

UP NEXT

Christmas Day, of course. And this year it just happens to fall on the players’ usually day off. They will return on Wednesday to begin practicing for this week’s game against the Rams at CenturyLink Field.

YOU DON’T SAY

“The amazing thing Sunday night was, that was no Jacksonville or Kansas City they beat up 42-13. That was the San Francisco 49ers, who’d entered the game first in the NFL in scoring defense. Russell Wilson had the first four-touchdown-pass day of his exploding career, Marshawn Lynch rushed for 111 yards, and the Seahawks, with a crowd so loud that NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya had to scream into Pete Carroll’s ear to be heard before the game, continued on the NFL’s best three-game offensive run since 1950.” – King in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com


On this date: Largent, Tez play final games

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Dec. 23:

Steve Largent, Sue Stewart

Seahawks receiver Steve Largent receives a hug from his mother Sue Stewart during a special ceremony in the Kingdome in Seattle prior to the start of the final NFL game of his 14-year career, against the Washington Redskins, Dec. 23, 1989. (AP Photo/Duncan Livingston)

1989: In Steve Largent’s final game, the Seahawks are shut out 29-0 by the Redskins on a Saturday afternoon at the Kingdome as former Washington State University QB Mark Rypien completes 22 of 31 passes for 290 yards and a TD. Largent catches two passes for 41 yards and Eugene Robinson has 12 tackles and an interception, but the Redskins control the ball for 41 minutes.

1990: Derrick Fenner scores on a 1-yard run on the first play of the third quarter and the Seahawks hold on for a 17-12 victory over the Broncos at the Kingdome. Eugene Robinson and Melvin Jenkins intercept John Elway passes and Jacob Green gets to the Broncos’ QB for 1.5 sacks.

2000: The Bills roll up 579 yards on a rain-swept Saturday night at Husky Stadium in taking a 42-23 victory in Cortez Kennedy’s final game. Doug Flutie passes for three touchdowns and 366 yards, while Antowain Smith runs for 147 yards and three scores.

2001: Shaun Alexander scores on a 29-yard run and with a 16-yard pass and John Randle recovered a fumble in the end zone to stake the Seahawks to a 24-17 lead, but Kerry Collins throws a 7-yard touchdown pass to Ike Hilliard with 20 seconds left to give the Giants a 27-24 victory over the Seahawks at Giants Stadium.

2007: Matt Hasselbeck throws touchdown passes to Shaun Alexander and Nate Burleson, and Leroy Hill returns a fumble for a score in a 27-6 victory over the Ravens in Seattle that runs the Seahawks record to 10-5.


Friday in Hawkville: Thurmond out, so Maxwell and Lane are in

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 14:

Jeremy Lane, Byron Maxwell

Cornerbacks Jeremy Lane (pictured left) and Byron Maxwell (pictured right)

FOCUS ON

Next man up. Again. With Walter Thurmond being ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Bills in Toronto, Byron Maxwell and rookie Jeremy Lane will take over at right cornerback.

Thurmond stepped in two weeks ago to replace Marcus Trufant as the nickel back, and then slid to the right side last week after Brandon Browner was suspended four games for violating the league’s performance enhancement policy – with Lane moving in as the nickel back. But Thurmond injured a hamstring in practice on Wednesday. Trufant will miss his third consecutive game, also because of a hamstring injury.

“He’s not going to make it. Unfortunately he’s not going to be there,” coach Pete Carroll said after today’s practice when asked about Thurmond. “We’ll play those guys in rotation – that would be Jeremy Lane and Bryon.”

Both will play a lot, because the one who is not at right corner will be the third corner in the nickel defense.

Maxwell, a sixth-round draft choice last year, is ready – because he has to be; and prepared – because he got a lot of snaps in the second half of last week’s 58-0 win over the Cardinals.

“It was great just to get out there and help the team,” said Maxwell, who got time at cornerback in one game last season and his first game this season against the Cardinals. “We were up by so much that they took Sherm (left cornerback Richard Sherman) out and it was just the young guys in there – me and J-Lane – getting some experience under our belts.”

It allowed Maxwell to get into the flow of the game, which was important because in most games his contributions are limited to the one snap dash-and-bash that is playing special teams.

“Which is important,” Maxwell said. “There’s nothing like game-time experience.”

Outside? Inside? Does Maxwell have a preference?

“It doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “I just want to be on the field.”

MARTIN TO IR

Wide receiver Charly Martin has been placed on injured reserve and will miss the remainder of the season after pulling a calf in practice on Thursday.

OPPONENT WATCH

Scott Chandler. Stevie Johnson leads the Bills with 61 receptions, but it’s Chandler who has caught a team-high six touchdown passes – on 37 catches. And the production by the sixth-year tight end has not escaped Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.

“It’s another real threat, especially in third-down situations,” Bradley said. “He’s one of the top receiving threats on third down. It’s a matchup that we’ve got to take a look at and see the threat he is. You’ll see Chandler with a lot of special routes or a lot of deep-developing routes. So they obviously feel pretty good about him getting away from defensive backs and linebackers.

“The NFL is such a matchup league, and offenses are looking for matchups. So we’ve always got to be aware of that.”

The 6-foot-7, 263-pound Chandler also is averaging 13.2 yards, tops on the team among receivers with more than five receptions.

INJURY REPORT

The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:

Out

CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)

CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)

Probable

DE Red Bryant (foot)

SS Kam Chancellor (groin)

WR Sidney Rice (foot)

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

Rice, Bryant and Chancellor practiced today for the first time this week and Carroll said he expected all the play against the Bills.

Linebacker Leroy Hill will return to the starting lineup after missing the past two games because of a sprained ankle, but Malcolm Smith also will play, Carroll said. Smith started the past two games on the weakside for Hill.

For the Bills:

Out

RB Fred Jackson (knee)

C Eric Wood (knee)

Questionable

LB Nick Barnett (knee)

S Jairus Byrd (shin)

DE Marcell Dareus (shoulder)

DT Spencer Johnson (knee)

CB Leodis McKelvin (groin)

DE Mark Anderson (knee)

OG Andy Levitre (knee)

CB Justin Rogers (foot)

WR Donald Jones (calf)

Probable

DT Kyle Williams (ankle)

DB Ron Brooks (hip)

TE Scott Chandler (groin)

OG Kraig Urbik (knee)

LB Chris White (thumb)

S Da’Norris Searcy (hand)

RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder)

CB Aaron Williams (knee)

DE Mario Williams (wrist)

STAT DU JOUR

Bobby Wagner, as we wrote last Friday, is putting up numbers worthy of NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. The Seahawks’ middle linebacker is third among rookies in the league in tackles and tied for third in interceptions – the only player among the Top 3 in both categories:

Tackles

Player, team                                    No.

LB Luke Kuechly, Panthers           130

LB Lavonte David, Buccaneers     117

Bobby Wagner, Seahawks            108

Interceptions

Player, team                                     No.

CB Casey Hayward, Packers             5

S Tavon Wilson, Patriots                   4

LB Bobby Wagner, Seahawks           3

CB Alfonzo Dennard, Patriots          3

CB Janoris Jenkins, Rams                  3

CB Leonard Jackson, Buccaneers    3

S Harrison Smith, Vikings                  3

UP NEXT

The team flew to Toronto after the players had a midday practice. Saturday’s walkthrough will be in Canada’s largest city.

YOU DON’T SAY

“They’re very explosive. There’s a little bit of an emphasis that we’re going to see (C.J.) Spiller more. If you look at his numbers, you can see why they would do that. He’s got great numbers in the running game and the passing game. That doesn’t help us any. So we have to really tune in to him. He’s the factor that can really change them. The perimeter stuff that he does is very dangerous. He has extraordinary speed and it shows up on the field. That’s a big deal for us.” – Carroll on Spiller becoming the feature back for the Bill with Fred Jackson out


Carroll: Rice to sit out Wednesday’s practice with sore foot

Paul Poliak

Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s 2:00 p.m. practice and preparation for their Week 15 road matchup with the Buffalo Bills.

Coach Carroll was quick to recognize original season ticket holder Paul Poliak, age 92, who is on hand at Virginia Mason Athletic Center today as part of the Seahawks celebration of the 12th Man on December 12, 2012 (12.12.12), or #12Day. Poliak raised the 12th Man flag at the facility prior to today’s practice. Carroll transitioned to the announcement that the club will debut their all wolf grey jerseys this Sunday before getting into discussion of the week ahead.

Carroll made the point that this weekend’s game against the Bills, which will actually be played in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as part of the Bills Toronto series, is the final opportunity of the regular season for the club to go on the road and get a win.

“We need to see if we can carry some momentum into this last road opportunity,” he said. “It’s a big chore. We have tremendous respect for C.J. Spiller and their offense, he has really torn it up.”

Carroll noted that veteran linebacker Leroy Hill will return to practice on a regular load this week. Hill did not play in the team’s Week 14 58-0 win over the Arizona Cardinals, but was available if needed. In Hill’s place, second-year linebacker Malcolm Smith out of USC saw playing time, and played well.

“He can do everything,” Carroll said of Smith. ” He’s a well-rounded athlete, potentially he’s always had everything. This is the best he’s looked since I’ve known him.”

Carroll said Smith will split time with Hill during the week and that the competition is on at the position.

Carroll also noted that wide receiver Sidney Rice will not practice today while resting a sore foot. Carroll said the foot has been a bother most of the season, but flared up on Monday of this week. Rice’s status for Sunday’s game is unknown at this point.

On cornerback Marcus Trufant, Carroll said the veteran defensive back is still not ready to return from a hamstring strain and will not practice today.

Today’s practice marks the first Wednesday practice without pads, per the NFL Player Association rules on how many padded practices teams are allowed in a season.

Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. And in case you missed it, stay tuned to Seahawks.com for Carroll’s full video press conference.


Comments Off

Monday in Hawkville: Dwelling on Week 14, rather than focusing on Week 15, would be a Cardinal sin

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 10:

Pete Carroll

FOCUS ON

The challenge of winning big, and losing big. The Seahawks are coming off their most lopsided victory in franchise history after Sunday’s 58-0 rout of the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. But coach Pete Carroll also has been on the other end of lopsided games, like the 41-7 loss to the Giants in his first season as coach in 2010.

What’s the difference?

“It’s the same challenge,” Carroll said during his weekly day-after Q&A session with the media. “Each game, because of the dynamics of it, has a story to it; it’s got different issues that you deal with.”

The issue this week is enjoying a rare romp in the NFL, then putting it into perspective – as well as behind you – as the team prepares for this week’s game against the Bills in Toronto.

“I’ve tried to be consistent in telling you, I think it’s just as impactful when you lose as when you win – potentially, if you don’t handle it properly,” Carroll said. “So yeah, you’ve got to put it in perspective, you’ve got to put it behind you. There’s kind of a mechanism and a language and a routine that should kick us right back into this next week.

“At this time of year, we’re counting on that.”

An overcautious coach just being overcautious? No. Carroll had a point the day after his team scored all those points. Yes, the Bills are 5-8. Yes, this “home” game is being played in Canada. But the Seahawks already have lost on the road to the Cardinals, Rams, Lions and Dolphins – teams with a combined record of 19-32-1.

And don’t be talking to Carroll about anything beyond Sunday’s game at the Rogers Centre, either. Not the fact that one more win will give the 8-5 Seahawks their first winning record since 2007. Not the possibility of securing the top wild-card spot in the NFC playoffs, or challenging the 49ers for the division title – as they must play against the Patriots in New England next Sunday night before coming to Seattle for a Sunday night game on Dec. 23. The 49ers have a 1½ games lead over the Seahawks, so the math that matters is eighth grade Sewickley.

“All of that stuff doesn’t mean anything,” Carroll said. “We haven’t done anything yet. We haven’t accomplished a darn thing at this point.

“It’s still out there in front of us. So we just keep pushing all the storylines from behind to the back and keep moving forward. There’s a discipline to that, and I take a lot of pride in trying to make this work for us because we want to be consistently moving up all the time.”

The Seahawks have accomplished one thing. With their eighth victory, they already have their best record in three seasons under Carroll. But you tell him.

Malcolm Smith

PLAYER WATCH

Malcolm Smith. The second-year linebacker from USC had another strong outing against the Cardinals in his second game replacing sore-ankled veteran Leroy Hill on the weakside.

“He played well again,” Carroll said. “He did a nice job. He was really active, around the football a lot. This is the best I’ve seen Malcolm over the years. He’s the most confident that he’s been and he playing aggressively and tough and chasing really well.

“He’s kind of got a nose for the football. Things happen when he’s around it, that’s kind of always been the case.”

That was indeed the case on the muffed punt he recovered for a touchdown against the Cardinals. Returner Patrick Peterson, teammate Jeremy Lane and the Cardinals’ Rashad Johnson got a hand or foot on the ball before Smith snagged it as he was crossing the goal line.

Hill was active Sunday, but Carroll was hoping we would not have to play him to give the ankle another week to mend.

“We’re in good shape with either one of those guys playing right now,” Carroll said.

INJURY UPDATES

Safety Chris Maragos strained a muscle against the Cardinals, but Carroll said the injury is not considered serious.

Veteran nickel back Marcus Trufant has missed the past two games with a pulled hamstring. This is the week the coaches were expecting to get him back, but Carroll said that Trufant’s status remains wait-and-see.

49ERS GAME FLEXED TO PRIMETIME

Not surprisingly, the Seahawks’ Dec. 23 game against the 49ers has been moved into the Sunday night slot on NBC. The game was scheduled for a 1:25 p.m. kickoff on Fox, but now will start at 5:20. It replaces the Jets-Chargers game that was slated for primetime.

Asked about the switched, Carroll fained surprise and offered, “We’re going to play them this Sunday?”

His actual reaction is rooted in the same philosophy he discussed above. “What does that mean?” he said. “We’ll just stay in the hotel a little bit longer and then go play.”

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks are going international for the third time in franchise history with Sunday’s game in Toronto, but the first time during the regular season. The other two were American Bowl preseason games. Here’s a look at how those games went:

Year     Site                               Outcome

1990    Tokyo                           L, Broncos, 10-7

1998    Vancouver, B.C.         L, 49ers, 24-21

UP NEXT

Carroll gave the players today off as a “Victory Monday,” and they’ll have their usual “off” day on Tuesday. They will return on Wednesday to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Bills.

Nose tackle Brandon Mebane will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop. Click here for a look at what Mebane has been up to this season.

YOU DON’T SAY

“For Defensive Rookie (of the Year), three linebackers stepped in from day one and became tackling machines – Carolina’s Luke Kuechly, Seattle’s Bobby Wagner and Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David. Cornerback Casey Hayward of the Packers has been a star from about Week 4. Linemen Chandler Jones of New England (outside) and Derek Wolfe of Denver (inside) have provided consistent pressure since Week 1. Safety Harrison Smith of Minnesota is already one of the most instinctive safeties in the league. For now, for the wins and the leadership and filling a gaping hole, I’ll take Wagner of the Seahawks.” – Peter King in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com


Comments Off

Game at a glance: Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0

A recap of the Seahawks’ 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:

Chris Clemons

PLAYERS OF THE GAME

The entire Seahawks team. With a franchise-record 58 points, there was one for each of the 46 players who were active – with bonus points for leading rusher Marshawn Lynch (three touchdowns), cornerback Richard Sherman (two interceptions and a fumble recovery) and rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (two interceptions and a team-high eight tackles).

“This was the true definition of a team victory,” is the way second-year linebacker Mike Morgan summed it up.

We obviously agree, in part because it would be too difficult to select Sherman over Lynch; Lynch over Wagner; Wagner over Sherman. All are deserving, but so are so many others because of the way the Seahawks won this game to up their overall record to 8-5 and their record at CenturyLink Field to 6-0.

“It’s a reward for all of the hard work,” coach Pete Carroll said after the Seahawks secured one more win than they had in their first two season under him – and look like a shoo-in to post the franchise’s first winning record since going 10-6 in 2007.

“You work so hard, and so often the games don’t afford you that opportunity. For everybody to play, everybody to contribute, so many guys can get on the stats sheets and all that stuff – and contribute – it’s really very positive.”

Marshawn Lynch

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: The last, and longest, of Lynch’s three touchdown runs. It came on a third-and-4 play early in the second half. It covered 33 yards. It allowed him to tie his career-best for TDs in a game. It was the last of his three carries in the seven-play, 86-yard drive, when he gained 59 of his 128 yards. It was his last carry of the game, and put him at 1,266 for the season – surpassing his single-season rushing best from last year (1,204).

“Marshawn broke a personal record or something today, which is great,” Carroll said.

Defense: Sherman’s first interception, which he returned 19 yards for the Seahawks’ first defensive touchdown of the season. Cardinals QB John Skelton was going to Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, but instead found Sherman.

“I got my head around and they threw a quick fade,” Sherman said. “Skelton threw the ball with a little lower trajectory. I think he was trying to throw a back-shoulder fade and I happened to get a foot in the ground. Once I got my hands on it, Earl (Thomas, the free safety) did a great job of blocking and then it was just full speed.”

Said Skelton, “It’s a tight window, that is really the one place to go with the ball. I could have helped Larry by putting the ball into his chest. (Sherman) was coming inside, so if I led him he gets hit. It’s a play Larry usually makes. We expect him to make it. But it’s not an excuse for me.”

Special teams: Malcolm Smith’s TD play, which went down as a fumble recovery in the end zone, but actually was a midair pick of a muffed punt by the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson. Peterson couldn’t handle the ball, which hit the foot of rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane. That’s when Smith snagged the ball for the score.

“I don’t know how I ended up with the ball,” Smith said. “I know the ball was flipping around. Jeremy Lane tipped it up. It tipped off of someone’s hand. And then there was like three of us going for it. It was like a jump ball and I tipped it my way caught it. I guess I was in the end zone.”

Peterson later fumbled a punt return, and the Seahawks had a feeling they’d be able to separate him from the ball.

“We knew that Patrick Peterson was going to give us one, he’s been trying to force a lot of plays,” Morgan said. “It was just one of those things where the ball muffed out. It was big time.”

INJURY REPORT

Lynch left the game in the first half with what was called a back injury. But he not only returned, he ran for that 33-yard TD on the seventh play of the second half.

Veteran linebacker Leroy Hill was active after missing last week’s game because of a sprained ankle, but Smith started on the weakside and finished with three tackles as well as the touchdown on the recovery of the muffed punt in the second quarter.

“He was ready to play,” Carroll said of Hill. “He had a good workout before (the game), so we dressed him in case we needed him. But we would rather hold him, if we could. I don’t know how Malcolm did, but I think he did pretty well again. He looked like he was active.”

WORTH NOTING

The 58 points scored by the Seahawks were the most in franchise history and only the third time they’ve scored more than 50. They had 56 against the Bills in 1977 and 51 against the Chiefs in overtime in 1983.

The 58-0 score also is the largest margin of victory in franchise history, topping 45-0 against the Chiefs in 1984 and 42-0 against the Eagles in 2005.

The Seahawks’ six takeaways in the first half was a franchise record and their eight for the game ties for second-most behind the 10 they had against the Browns in 1981.

With Lynch rushing for 128 yards and rookie Robert Turbin adding 108, the Seahawks had two 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time since 2005 – when Shaun Alexander (141) and Maurice Morris (104) did it against the Texans.

The Seahawks’ 284 rushing yards were the fourth-highest total in franchise history. They had 320 in that 2005 game against the Texans; 319 in a 2001 game against the Raiders; and 298 in a 1986 game against the Broncos.

Lynch’s 100-yard effort was his seventh of the season, one more than his previous high from last season.

With his 128 yards coming on only 11 carries, Lynch also set a franchise record for rushing average (11.6). The previous record was held by Sherman Smith, who now coaches the team’s running backs. He averaged 8.9 yards in a game against the Falcons in 1976.

With his 20th TD pass of the season, Russell Wilson tied the mark for third-most by a rookie QB. Peyton Manning had 26 and Cam Newton 21. Andy Dalton and Dan Marino also threw 20. And Wilson has three games left.

Wilson’s second-quarter interception was his first at home this season.

Tight end Anthony McCoy not only surpassed 100 receiving yards for the first time in his three-year career, his three-catch, 105-yard day was the first 100-yard outing by a Seahawks receiver this season. He also became the fourth tight end in franchise history to surpass 100 receiving yards – joining Charle Young (140 in 1983), Itula Mili (119 in 2002) and John Carlson (105 in 2008).

The Seahawks passed the ball only 22 times – 7 of 13 by Wilson and 5 of 9 by Matt Flynn, who saw his first action of the season.

The Seahawks were penalized 10 times for 97 yards. “It was crazy stuff that happened,” Carroll said. “Other than that, that was really the only thing that we didn’t get done today.”

 YOU DON’T SAY

“My feelings were hurt, he hit me so hard.” – wide receiver Sidney Rice, who took a vicious shot from safety Rashad Johnson in the fourth quarter but held on and got up to spin the ball for emphasis.


Friday in Hawkville: Bryant, Chancellor return to practice

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 7:

Red Bryant, Kam Chancellor

FOCUS ON

Getting healthier. The Seahawks’ defense got two XXXL pieces of good news today when end Red Bryant and strong safety Kam Chancellor returned to practice after sitting out on Thursday.

Bryant did not practice on Wednesday, either, to rest his sore right foot. He is listed as probable for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field.

“It looks like he’s in good shape to go,” coach Pete Carroll said after the team practiced outside for second time this week.

Chancellor has a groin injury, but he’s also listed as probable.

“We gave him a day off yesterday,” Carroll said. “But he was out there in limited fashion, so he’s probable to play as well.”

WEATHERING THE ELEMENTS

It was cold, breezy and raining during practice, which made for the perfect warm-up for Sunday’s game – when the forecast is calling for temperatures in the 40s and a 50-percent chance of rain. It was even colder and windier, and rained more, during Wednesday’s practice.

“We don’t know what we’re going to get on game day and we had a good day of work yesterday inside, so we got a little bit of the elements out there,” Carroll said. “It was good. It worked out fine.”

POSITION WATCH

Right guard. Rookie J.R. Sweezy and John Moffitt both worked at the spot with the No. 1 offensive line today and each is ready to play against the Cardinals.

“J.R. practiced with the (No. 1 line) quite a bit this week to make sure he’s prepared,” Carroll said. “He and John will play the spot. We’re in good shape there.”

The right guard spot is open because Paul McQuistan has moved back to the left side to replace James Carpenter, who was played on injured reserve this week because of soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.

OPPONENT WATCH

The Cardinals’ defense. Asked after practice what concerned him more – a few players or the scheme – Carroll opted for both.

“Darnell Dockett is really, really a big-time football player,” he said. “Patrick Peterson is as exceptional an athlete as you can get. Adrian Wilson. Those guys are great football players that make things happen and they make game-changing plays.”

And what defensive coordinator Ray Horton is doing with the Pro Bowl end (Dockett), cornerback (Peterson) and Pro Bowl safety (Wilson) allows them to be even more effective. The Cardinals are plus-7 in turnover differential because they have 27 takeaways, including 18 interceptions. They lead the NFC and are third in the league in red-zone defense. They rank No. 7 in total defense.

“The scheme that they have lets those guys get active and get involved,” Carroll said. “The linebacking crew is really fast and aggressive and you’ll see them blitz all day long. It’s a very tough scheme. Their numbers show it.”

INJURY REPORT

The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:

Out

CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)

Questionable

LB Leroy Hill (ankle)

Probable

DE Red Bryant (foot)

SS Kam Chancellor (groin)

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

WR Sidney Rice (head)

C Max Unger (hip)

Trufant was ruled out today because of the pulled hamstring that also forced him to sit out last week’s game against the Bears in Chicago. Walter Thurmond replaced Trufant as the nickel back against the Bears, but he will move to right cornerback this week to replace Brandon Browner, who was suspended four games by the NFL on Wednesday for violating the league policy on performance enhancing substances. Rookie Jeremy Lane will be the nickel back against the Cardinals.

Hill practiced on a limited basis, and Carroll said his status will be a game-day decision. He did not play against the Bears and was replaced by Malcolm Smith.

For the Cardinals:

Doubtful

DE Ronald Talley (ankle)

Questionable

DE Calais Campbell (calf)

QB Kevin Kolb (ribs)

WR Andre Roberts (knee)

RB Chris Wells (knee)

Probable

CB Justin Bethel (shoulder)

WR Early Doucet (ribs)

LS Mike Leach (back)

LB Paris Lenon (shoulder)

S Kerry Rhodes (quadriceps)

CB Greg Toler (knee)

LB Reggie Walker (knee)

Talley did not practice today, while Campbell, Kolb, Roberts and Wells were limited.

STAT DU JOUR, PLAYER EDITION

Against the Bears, rookie QB Russell Wilson ran for 71 yards, the most by a quarterback in franchise history. The effort also left him 45 yards behind Rick Mirer for the most rushing yards in a season by a QB. Here’s a look at where Wilson ranks in both categories:

Single-game rushing

Player (year)                         Att.   Yards   Avg.

Russell Wilson (2012)           9       71       7.9

Jim Zorn (1978)                     6       63      10.5

Matt Hasselbeck (2002)       6      62       10.3

Single-season rushing

Player (year)                        Att.   Yards    Avg.   TD

Rick Mirer (1993)                68      343      5.0       3

Russell Wilson (2012)         66      298      4.5       0

Jim Zorn (1978)                    59      290      4.9       6

STAT DU JOUR, TEAM EDITION

The Seahawks have traveled an erratic path to reach their 7-5 record. The seven teams that have beaten have a combined record of 45-39. The five teams they have lost to are a combined 26-32-2. Here’s a look at the records of those teams:

Victories

Team (record)

Cowboys (6-6)

Packers (8-4)

Panthers (3-9)

Patriots (9-3)

Vikings (6-6)

Jets (5-7)

Bears (8-4)

Losses

Team (record)

Cardinals (4-8)

Rams (5-6-1)

49ers (8-3-1)

Lions (4-8)

Dolphins (5-7)

UP NEXT

The players will have a walkthrough on Saturday morning, their final on-field session before Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.

The Seahawks are holding their annual Toys for Tots drive at Sunday’s game and asking fans to donate new, unwrapped toys that will be distributed to children for Christmas as part of the nationwide event sponsored by the Marine Corps.

YOU DON’T SAY

“We take them as very, very dangerous. Think about how hungry that football team is to get a win. They’ll do whatever it takes and they have a lot of big-time players that can change games for them. So we respect the heck out of this team.” – Carroll on the Cardinals, who have lost their past eight games


Comments Off

Thursday in Hawkville: Smith ready to step in again, if needed

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 6:

Malcolm Smith

FOCUS ON

Malcolm Smith. When veteran weakside linebacker Leroy Hill could not play against the Bears in Chicago on Sunday because of a sprained ankle, Smith stepped in and played what coach Pete Carroll labeled “a terrific game.”

Hill is practicing on a limited basis this week, as the Seahawks prepare for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field, so Smith continues to get a lot of work.

“You’re always waiting for the opportunity to show what you can do,” said Smith, a seventh-round draft choice in 2011 who tied for second on the club in special teams tackles as a rookie but saw limited action on defense.

“I prepare like a starter and want to play, so when the opportunity comes you just do it.”

Smith had two tackles against the Bears, but the one that stood out was when he ran Matt Forte down from behind for a 2-yard loss. He also stopped fullback Evan Rodriguez for no gain on a pass play. Each play showcased Smith’s speed.

“We’ve become faster with him on the field,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said.

Getting all the reps with the No. 1 defense in practice last week also helped Smith answer the challenge on Sunday.

“Definitely practice reps help a lot,” he said. “But you’ve still got to capitalize.”

Which Smith definitely did against the Bears, and plans to do this week if he’s needed against the Cardinals.

“When Leroy couldn’t play, we could have been lamenting, ‘Oh gosh, we’re going to lose an experienced player.’ And we hate to miss him,” Carroll said. “But Malcolm just did a remarkable job of making plays and doing his assignments and playing hard. That’s what you hope happens.”

OPPONENT WATCH

Larry Fitzgerald. The Seahawks began their season facing the six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver in their opener against the Cardinals in Arizona. Since then, they’ve also gone against the Lions’ Calvin Johnson, Patriots’ Wes Welker, Cowboys’ Miles Austin, Packers’ Greg Jennings, Rams’ Danny Amendola, Panthers’ Steve Smith, Vikings’ Percy Harvin and Bears’ Brandon Marshall with varying degrees of success.

Where does Fitzgerald rank in this show of good hands?

“He’s right up there, there’s no doubt,” Bradley said. “He’s hurt us in the past.”

Like in last year’s season finale, when Fitzgerald “kind of took over the game,” as Bradley put it, with eight catches for 148 yards in the second half after the Seahawks had held him to one catch for 1 yard in the first half.

“He made some great catches,” Bradley said. “You go back and look at tape over the last couple of years and see some of the catches he’s made, and on extra-effort plays. We put together a tape on just how to tackle him because he’s so good in open space.

“He’s something to deal with.”

The Cardinals are making him more difficult to deal with by moving Fitzgerald around. While he used to lineup primarily as the split end, he’ll now be at flanker, in the slot and even in the backfield on any given snap.

“We have to have great awareness of where he is on the field,” Bradley said. “It’s just better overall awareness of the style of receiver he is, the routes that he likes to do.”

PRACTICE SQUAD ADDITION

Chandler Fenner, a 6-foot-1, 189-pound defensive back, has been added to the practice squad. A rookie free agent from Holy Cross, he signed with the Chiefs after the NFL Draft and was released in August. Fenner fills the spot that opened when defensive back DeShawn Shead was added to the 53-man roster on Wednesday.

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Did not practice

DE Red Bryant (foot)

SS Kam Chancellor (groin)

CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)

Limited in practice

LB Leroy Hill (ankle)

C Max Unger (hip)

Full participation

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

WR Sidney Rice (head)

With Chancellor sitting out, Jeron Johnson was at strong safety with the No. 1 defense. As they did in Wednesday’s practice, Jason Jones stepped in for Bryant and Smith worked for Hill in the drills the veteran linebacker did not participate in.

For the Cardinals:

Did not practice

WR Andre Roberts (ankle)

DE Ronald Talley (ankle)

Limited in practice

DE Calais Campbell (calf)

QB Kevin Kolb (ribs)

CB Greg Toler (hamstring)

RB Chris Wells (knee)

Full participation

CB Justin Bethel (shoulder)

WR Early Doucet (ribs)

LS Mike Leach (back)

LB Paris Lenon (shoulder)

S Kerry Rhodes (quadriceps)

LB Reggie Walker (knee)

STAT DU JOUR

We’re flat-out lifting this one from ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando, who compares the performances of the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and the Colts’ Andrew Luck against seven common opponents this season – the Bears, Vikings, Packers, Dolphins, Patriots, Lions and Jets. We think you’ll agree that this look at the rookie QBs is worth repeating:

Category           Luck        Wilson

Record               4-3            5-2

Attempts          327            190

Completions    177            123

Comp. pct.       54.1           64.7

Pass yards      2,333        1,537

TD passes           13              16

Interceptions     12                1

Passer rating   74.9       115.6

Rushes                18             39

Rush yards         95           214

Rushing TD           1               0

First downs           8            15

UP NEXT

“Turnover Thursday” gives way to “No Repeat Friday” as the players will have their final full practice before Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.

The Seahawks are holding their annual Toys for Tots drive at Sunday’s game and asking fans to donate new, unwrapped toys that will be distributed to children for Christmas as part of the nationwide event sponsored by the Marine Corps.

YOU DON’T SAY

“The challenge is we’re playing a great team. Arizona’s record doesn’t show how great their defense is. They make a lot of the plays. They do a lot of things on defense. They’re very experienced. So we’re going to have to play our best game.” – Wilson, pooh-poohing any thought that the Seahawks might overlook a Cardinals team that has lost eight in a row after starting 4-0


Comments Off

Thursday cyber surfing: Embracing the next-man-up mentality

Walter Thurmond

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 6.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story on the suspension of Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, who violated the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances, “[Walter] Thurmond will start in Browner’s place at right cornerback, with rookie Jeremy Lane expected to play when Seattle uses formations with five defensive backs. Veteran Marcus Trufant did not practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury that caused him to miss Sunday’s overtime road victory over Chicago. ‘The focus goes for us right to the guys who are stepping up,’ Carroll said. That was how Seattle approached the absences of linebackers K.J. Wright, who was replaced by Mike Morgan last month after suffering a concussion, and Leroy Hill, who missed Sunday’s game with a sore ankle and was replaced by Malcolm Smith. ‘It’s like (Browner) got injured, really, is what it amounts to,’ Carroll said.”

O’Neil also has his report from Wednesday’s practice session, “Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant did not practice on Wednesday, resting the sore foot that kept him out of practice all last week. But last week is an important measurement because Bryant was still able to play after sitting out the week, which bodes well for his availability this week. ‘He was better Monday than he was last Monday,’ coach Pete Carroll said, ‘so we anticipate he’s going to be OK to play. That was really a surprise. It was a big surprise that he made it back and played and played well. We limited his reps, but Red did a very, very good job in this game, helping us. We anticipate we can count on that again this week.’ “

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his story on Browner’s suspension news, and a few notes on Walter Thurmond – the next man up, “Thurmond played for the first time this season last week against Chicago, replacing an injured Marcus Trufant as Seattle’s fifth defensive back in passing situations. The University of Oregon product also has experience as a starter. A fourth-round selection by Seattle in the 2010 draft, Thurmond has started four games for the Seahawks. ‘That’s just the NFL,’ Thurmond said about his starting job. ‘If somebody goes down, you have to be able to come in and step up. It’s like that all over the league, and you just have to make the most of the opportunity when you get your chance.’ “

Williams recaps a media session with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and the club’s decision to rely on the zone-read option attack in the final drives in the road win against the Chicago Bears last Sunday, “Bevell said he planned to run some read option against Chicago last week, but mostly stayed with in the overtime because it proved so effective in getting to the edges of the Bears’ defense. ‘I told coach that was our overtime plan,’ Bevell said. ‘We did it six times in the overtime. No, it was definitely something we wanted to use going in. We started with it going into the overtime. Then I put a different a formation on it, and then when we did it, I kind of liked the matchup a little better. On the first time I think we got it on (Israel) Idonije rather than (Julius) Peppers. And a couple times early it was on Peppers, and he’s a pretty good athlete and can change directions. So then I saw that the first time, so we ran that three straight times to start the overtime (against Idonije), and it ended up being pretty good for us.’ “

Williams also brings notes from a conference call interview with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, “About the Cards’ quarterback instability: ‘I don’t think it’s really our position to be worried so much about that, we have to do our job. My job is to be able to get open against press coverage and make my plays and do my job. Our quarterbacks have to make their throws, the offensive linemen have to make their blocks, when the running backs get the opportunity to get the ball they’ve got to make guys miss. That’s what it comes down to; the game is won by individual matchups. You look last week and you saw the game they won in Chicago, it’s because of plays by Sidney Rice and the extra effort of Golden Tate and those guys on defense causing turnovers. It’s about the individual matchups and guys stepping up and making plays in key moments. We have to match that intensity and turn it up a little bit.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald reminds readers that before he got injured cornerback Walter Thurmond was ahead of fellow corner Richard Sherman on the depth chart, “While there is no arguing the importance of cornerback play in Seattle’s defense, the Seahawks do feel like they have the depth to handle Browner’s absence. Thurmond was ahead of Sherman on the depth chart last season, and briefly took over as a starter for an injured Marcus Trufant, only to break his leg in his third start of the season. Sherman didn’t just fill in admirably, he grabbed a hold of a starting job and never let go, and this year has developed into one of the league’s best shutdown corners. ‘Trufant went down and I had to step in, then I went down,’ Thurmond said. ‘We just have a lot of depth on the team.’ Thurmond won’t necessarily jump in and play at a Pro Bowl level, but he should at least give Seahawks fans some level of confidence that this regime knows how to find and develop talented defensive backs.”

Boyle also has his notes from Wednesday’s practice and media availabilities, “Pete Carroll said Wednesday that receiver Sidney Rice has been cleared to return to action after taking a nasty-looking shot to the head on the final play of Sunday’s win in Chicago. Rice wrote on Twitter that night that he was fine and had been cleared, but Carroll said the next day that Rice would go through the league’s concussion protocol as a precaution. Rice apparently got through that fine, and while Carroll said his leading receiver would be limited in practice today, he is expected to play against the Cardinals this weekend.”

Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com takes an in depth look at Russell Wilson’s recent performances and what they have meant for the Seahawks’ success, “It was a crucial road win for the Seahawks [against the Bears], who have now won three of their last four games and now have, according to Football Outsiders, an 87.4 percent chance of making the playoffs. Wilson’s improvement has been cited as the key factor in that winning streak, and that’s something worth looking at: Has Seattle’s rise coincided with a dramatic leap in Wilson’s play? Is there some particular aspect of Wilson’s performance that has driven that improvement? And is that sustainable? Is this the real new Russell Wilson?”

Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” discuss the Seahawks’ cornerback situation in this short video.

Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com says the club’s secondary depth will be put to the test in the coming weeks, but they should be able to handle it, “Another man with roots in the state of Oregon will make his first Seahawks start in more than a year. Walter Thurmond took over for and injured Trufant early last season, only to break his leg against Cleveland and have Richard Sherman step in for him. ‘Everyone on this team is pushing each other to get better,’ said Thurmond, a former Oregon Duck. ‘You have to watch your back in practice every day and can’t slack off because someone behind you is ready to play and waiting for an opportunity as well. I think the depth on the team is very great, especially the defensive back group.’ “

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com recounts a conversation with ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando, who joined “Brock and Salk” yesterday to discuss rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, “Wilson’s numbers from inside the pocket, according to Sando, are comparable if not better than those from outside the pocket. Inside the pocket: 14 touchdowns against seven interceptions, a 95.2 passer rating and a 77.4 score (out of 100) in Total QBR, ESPN’s metric for quarterbacks. Outside the pocket: five touchdowns against one interception, a 95.1 passer rating and a 60.8 QBR. ‘To say that he is dependent on getting outside the pocket for a lot of his gains would really be inaccurate,’ Sando said. As Sando noted, it would be easy to come away with the wrong impression about Wilson having only watched him play against Chicago. He was particularly effective while outside the pocket, especially on the two late touchdown drives. He threw the game-winner to Sidney Rice while rolling to his left. As for the batted down passes, those haven’t been much of a problem for Wilson. According to Sando, he’s had just five of them this season. Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck, who is 6-foot-4, is tied for the league lead with 15.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Wednesday, “Despite being placed on the non-football illness list, head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday [James] Carpenter’s knee injury was the leading factor to his season coming to an end. ‘It’s still knee related and it’s just overcoming of getting back,’ Carroll said. ‘He had a real twinge and something happened this week. It’s not something that requires surgery, but it’s going to hold him out for a while and we can’t tell how long it’ll take to get him back. It is related to what happened last year and we just think he needs some time to get back and get right and it’s going to take a while to do that.’ “

Doug Kretz of ESPN.com breaks down the Seahawks’ Sunday matchup with the Cardinals. You must have an ESPN Insider subscription to view the entire article, but he likes the Seahawks by nine points, “Seahawks 19, Cardinals 10: Two solid defenses should help to keep this a low-scoring affair. Seattle’s ability to generate an offense with a solid ground game mixed in with a big-play passing game should provide the difference.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at injury situations around the NFC West, with a few nuggets on the Seahawks, “Starting left guard James Carpenter is finished for the season. His absence requires an adjustment, but the change could produce an upgrade in the short term. Carpenter wasn’t healthy and it showed in his play. John Moffitt is a natural candidate to start. Seattle has had eight linemen start this season. That is tied for third-most in the NFL behind Philadelphia (nine) and St. Louis (nine). The Seahawks held out defensive end Red Bryant, who surprised the coaching staff by playing — and playing well — against the Bears despite a foot injury. Bryant wore a boot on his foot in the locker room after the game in Chicago. Cornerback Marcus Trufant also missed practice. He has a hamstring injury. It sounds like the team will try Jeremy Lane at nickel corner while Trufant recovers. Walter Thurmond is expected to play right corner while Brandon Browner serves a four-game suspension. It’s possible Thurmond could play inside as well. Receiver Sidney Rice does not have a concussion, according to the team, but he was listed as limited with a head injury after absorbing a hard hit while making the winning touchdown catch Sunday. Leroy Hill (ankle) was limited. Coach Pete Carroll sounded excited about Hill’s replacement, Malcolm Smith.”

Sando also adds Wilson to his latest “MVP Watch“, “Wilson has three comeback victories in fourth quarters or overtime. Seattle had zero last season, one of the main reasons the team finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs. Wilson, who leads the NFL in QBR after Week 5, has 14 touchdowns with two picks in his past seven games. He has a passer rating in triple digits for four games running. He’s also a team leader already and the leading reason Seattle is getting its money’s worth from Sidney Rice and Golden Tate, who lead the NFC West with seven receiving touchdowns apiece.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth highlights Thurmond’s return to the starting lineup, and recaps “Wednesday in Hawkville” with a focus on last year’s leading receiver Doug Baldwin, “The Seahawks host the Cardinals in a rematch at CenturyLink Field on Sunday. When asked about his memories of that first game, Baldwin didn’t have to ponder the question at all. ‘Not only do I remember, but it’s a constant reminder – my two teeth are missing,’ he said. ‘These are fake ones I have in now.’ Baldwin lost his teeth trying to make a fourth-quarter catch in the end zone in that 20-16 loss to the Cardinals on Sept. 9. The teeth might be missing, but Baldwin has returned as a major factor in the passing game after dealing with injuries that forced him to miss the entire preseason (hamstring) and then two regular-season games (shoulder and ankle). After catching eight passes in his first seven games, last year’s leading receiver has eight in the past three – and half of those came in Sunday’s big win over the Bears in Chicago.”

Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” video feature rehashing the team’s latest roster moves and opportunities that have arisen in the secondary.

We bring you coach Carroll and coach Bevell’s full video press conferences from yesterday.

And our team photographer Rod Mar has 29 frames from yesterday’s “Competition Wednesday” practice available for viewing here.