Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, January 16.
Meg Wochnick of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps a Russell Wilson visit to Seattle Children’s Hospital, where Wilson met with 17-year-old cancer patient David Padilla, a senior baseball standout at Timberline High School, “Wilson, less than 48 hours removed from Sunday’s 30-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in an NFC divisional playoff game, spent almost an hour talking with Padilla and also autographing a handful of items for him, including a football and a photo. ‘He was busy,’ said Kari Padilla, David’s mother. They talked about everything from Padilla’s battle with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, to their love of baseball.”
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at the Seahawks defense and the struggles they had closing out several games this season, “You can’t say that Seattle’s defense was bad this year. The Seahawks allowed the fewest points in the league. They went two straight road games without allowing the opposing offense to score a touchdown, and they weren’t entirely unable to finish out games. The Patriots got the ball back with more than twice as much time as Atlanta had Sunday, and the Seahawks closed Tom Brady and his New England teammates out in four plays. Seattle had strong second-half showings against Minnesota and Buffalo, too. But those four blown saves were enough to constitute a trend that is fairly alarming. It wasn’t just that Seattle allowed points late, but the shockingly improbable ways it found to cough up the lead. … ‘I’m not worried about figuring it out,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s just a snap here or there, but it did happen this year. You can’t ignore that.’ “
O’Neil passes along a transcript of his “Hawk Talk” chat here.
O’Neil also comments on the future of quarterback Matt Flynn, “…while you could make a case that Flynn is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the entire league, he might not be the best backup quarterback for Seattle. He is a quarterback whose biggest asset is timing and anticipation while Wilson is someone with a plus-arm by NFL standards and exceptional mobility. In that regard, Seattle might be better finding a backup quarterback who is capable of running some of the option plays Seattle has as opposed to a more accomplished passer like Flynn. Carroll was asked, specifically, if it was important to find a backup with traits similar to Wilson’s. ‘It’s a good point and we’ve talked a lot about that,’ Carroll said. ‘It would be nice to have another guy who might be able to be a factor in that way. There’s some really good kids out there. We’ll see.’ “
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” discuss whether or not opposing defenses will catch up to the Seahawks’ use of the read-option with quarterback Russell Wilson in this short video.
Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” discuss who on the defensive side of the football can match Wilson’s level of leadership in this short video.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who coached Russell Wilson in his one season at Wisconsin, chats with 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” on what the future holds for the young quarterback.
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has a close look at five key players who will be unrestricted free agents this offseason, including defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Leroy Hill, cornerback Marcus Trufant, kicker Steven Hauschka, and defensive tackle Jason Jones.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “silver linings” from Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Atlanta Falcons, “Quarterback Russell Wilson completed 24 of 36 passes for 385 yards and two touchdowns. He also had seven rushing attempts for 60 yards and a touchdown. Wilson set an NFL rookie record for passing yardage in a playoff game. He became the first player in NFL history with at least 385 yards passing and 60 yards rushing in a postseason game. Wilson’s performance established him even more firmly as a franchise quarterback and one of the best young players in the NFL.”
Sando also has a look at Wilson’s potential path to the Pro Bowl next weekend in Honolulu, Hawaii, “Aaron Rodgers’ withdrawal from the Pro Bowl moves Seattle Seahwaks rookie Russell Wilson one step closer to playing in the game. Wilson was the third alternate for the annual all-star game. Rodgers, Robert Griffin III and Matt Ryan were the three quarterbacks named to the NFC roster. Griffin is already out while recovering from knee surgery. Ryan would be out if his Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl. Drew Brees was named to the game as the first alternate. Eli Manning was the second alternate. Wilson would be named to the NFC roster if Ryan were in the Super Bowl or if one of the other alternates skipped the game.”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has released his first mock draft of 2013 and has the Seahawks selecting 6-foot-3, 358-pound defensive tackle John Jenkins out of Georgia with the No. 25 pick in the first round, “Analysis: John Schneider and Pete Carroll showed great instincts in the 2012 draft, adding players they felt could help them immediately, even as analysts (myself included) questioned slot value. The defense was very good this past season, but I think an interior defender who can occupy blockers, occasionally penetrate and even wreck the pocket from the inside is a need. Jenkins was a little uneven at times in 2012, but has the upside of an impact interior lineman.”
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 11:
Marcus Trufant. No one on the Seahawks’ 53-man roster has played in more postseason games (10) than the veteran nickel back. And no one grew up watching this team longer than the Tacoma-born Trufant, either.
So, as the team puts in its final preparations for Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta, who better to lead us through a trip down Postseasons Past?
We asked Trufant for his favorite team memory from the six playoff teams he has been on, and his selection was the obvious.
“The (NFC) Championship game we played during our Super Bowl run (in 2005) was pretty big,” he said of the 34-14 victory over the Panthers. “To be able to do it at home, be able to do it in front of the fans, it was a pretty good feeling.”
Especially for a player who followed the team as a kid growing up.
“It does kind of hit you like that,” Trufant said when asked if there was a moment in that game where it hit home that he had just helped his hometown team get to the Super Bowl. “But it’s just one of those things. It is football. And if you do right and your team is hitting on all cylinders, then the opportunity is there.”
Just as it for this season’s playoff team, which is one victory from a return to the NFC Championship game.
“For us now, that’s what we’ve got to do,” Trufant said. “We’ve just got to fight to be right. Try to do everything well and just try to practice hard and get better every day.”
We also asked Trufant for his favorite individual postseason memory, and his response was very telling for a player who has been a team-first, individual-accolades-a-distant-second warrior since the Seahawks selected the cornerback from Washington State University if the first round the 2003 NFL Draft.
“You know what? After a while a lot stuff just seems to run together,” said Trufant, who had a 78-yard interception return for a touchdown to ice a wild-card win over the Redskins in 2007.
“So I’m about being in the present. I’m just trying to help out the team to get another victory. We want to take it one step at a time and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
LONGWELL, CHUKWURAH READY
Kicker Ryan Longwell and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah just joined the team this week to replace the injured duo of Steven Hauschka and Chris Clemons. Coach Pete Carroll said after practice that both are ready for Sunday’s game.
“I thought Longwell did a good job,” Carroll said. “He hit his kicks and fit together nicely with (holder) Jon Ryan to get the timing down. … He’s a seasoned vet. He’s been through it. If anybody can handle it, he will be able to handle all the buildup to it.”
As for Chukwurah, who last played in an NFL game in 2007, Carroll said, “Pat did fine. He’s in a backup role for us. But he showed enough that he’s going to be dressing for the game.”
The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:
CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)
S Jeron Johnson (hamstring)
RB Marshawn Lynch (foot)
WR Sidney Rice (knee)
Lynch practiced on a limited basis today after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday to rest a sprained foot. “He’s fine. He’ll be alright,” Carroll said. Johnson also got his first work of the week, on a limited basis. Maxwell and Rice did not practice, but Rice is expected to be ready of the game after practicing fully on Wednesday and Thursday.
For the Falcons:
CB Christopher Owens (hamstring)
DE John Abraham (ankle)
S Charles Mitchell (calf)
S William Moore (hamstring)
CB Dunta Robinson (head)
Abraham, who leads the Falcons with 10 sacks, has been limited all week.
STAT DU JOUR
Last week, the Seahawks allowed the Redskins to drive 80 yards to a touchdown on their first possession, but managed to come back and win the game. That’s not advisable this week, because the Falcons have been almost unstoppable when they score a TD on their opening drive. Here’s a look at what the Falcons did on their opening drives during the regular season, and how that worked out for them:
Opponent, outcome First drive
Chiefs, W, 40-24 Touchdown
Broncos, W, 27-21 Touchdown
Chargers, W, 27-3 Touchdown
Panthers, W, 30-28 Punt
Redskins, W, 24-17 Punt
Raiders, W, 23-20 Interception
Eagles, W, 30-17 Touchdown
Cowboys, W, 19-13 Punt
Saints, L, 31-27 Touchdown
Cardinals, W, 23-19 Interception
Buccaneers, W, 24-23 Field goal
Saints, W, 23-13 Touchdown
Panthers, L, 30-20 Punt
Giants, W, 34-0 Touchdown
Lions, W, 31-18 Punt
Buccaneers, L, 22-17 Punt
In the games where they’ve scored TDs on their first possession, the Falcons are 6-1 and the wins came by an average of 17 points. In their other two losses, they opened with punts. In their other seven wins, when they opened with five punts, a field goal and an interception, the average margin of victory was five points.
“We just don’t want to get too caught up in that,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “We want to play the whole game fast and explosive, regardless of what happens the first series. So we know we’re going to have to make some adjustments as this game goes on. But the biggest thing is to keep our poise with the crowd noise and things like that – nothing that our guys haven’t come across before.”
The team flew to Atlanta following today’s practice and will hold its Saturday walkthrough there.
The winner of Sunday’s game will meet either the 49ers or Packers in the NFC Championship game next Sunday. The Packers and 49ers play in San Francisco on Saturday night.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The big thing is having the corners that allow us to be aggressive. But the other thing is having a guy that can play the middle third that cover from redline to redline. You really need those three components.” – Bradley in discussing the virtues of cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner and Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas in matching up against the Falcons’ trio of Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, January 10.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times rehashes defensive end Bruce Irvin’s path to the NFL – a path that has led him into the starting lineup this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons, “Irvin didn’t start this season, but was more than a backup. He was a situational pass-rusher on the field for about half of Seattle’s defensive snaps. He had eight sacks this season, more than any other rookie in the NFL. Sunday in Washington, after Clemons was injured, Irvin had a sack of quarterback Robert Griffin III that demonstrated just how fast Irvin is. ‘It’s his great asset,’ Carroll said. That quickness has carried him all the way to the NFL. And now, 10 years after he was headed toward a dead end in Georgia, Irvin is returning to the town where he grew up — for the first starting assignment in a career that is just beginning. ‘He can be a double-digit sack guy for a long time once he gets going,’ Carroll said.”
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times says that for everything Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has accomplished in four seasons in the NFL, he has still yet to win a game in the playoffs, “This year, Ryan has received MVP chatter for leading the Falcons to the best record in the NFC. His coach, Mike Smith, said Wednesday that ‘individually, it’s been his best year in terms of most of the markers you look for in a quarterback.’ Except one, and therein lies the paradox. In three playoff games over the previous four seasons, Ryan has yet to produce a victory. He has thrown for less than 200 yards in all three of those games, and has more interceptions (four) than touchdowns (three). His playoff QB rating of 71.2 pales in comparison to his regular-season mark of 90.9. It’s getting dangerously close to being a legacy-killer for the quarterback selected third overall out of Boston College in the 2008 draft (15 spots ahead of Joe Flacco, who already has six playoff wins with the Ravens). But rectify that omission to his resume, and Ryan will be celebrated both as the man who led the Falcons out of the wilderness of a 4-12 record the season before he arrived, and the one who can take them to the next level.”
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says head coach Pete Carroll’s decision making as a head coach has improved, “It’s not that the coach is arrogant. He often gambles within games because he’s too hopeful. Carroll is the ultimate optimist. And during his USC tenure, that optimism often resulted in dramatic success. ‘I got going for nine years straight of going for it every single chance you get — forever,’ Carroll said. But he is learning that, in the NFL, being conservative is both a virtue and a life-saver. ‘I think we’ve cleaned things up,” Carroll said. “We’ve got a good formula for doing it. It’s interesting: It hasn’t come up as much. We haven’t had that many dramatic opportunities to go for it or not.” You get the feeling that, if the Seahawks advance far enough in the playoffs, Carroll will have to make some tough choices under great scrutiny. Will he continue to play it safe? Or will the riverboat gambler in him sneak out?”
Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times checks in with newly-signed kicker Ryan Longwell, “Longwell beat out three other kickers who were invited to try out Tuesday, heading into Sunday’s divisional playoff game at Atlanta. ‘It’s kind of an honor to put on the helmet that you grew up watching,’ he said. Changing kickers at this point of the season is “a big deal to us,” coach Pete Carroll said, but Longwell’s experience — winning a Super Bowl with Green Bay in 1998 — helped earn him the job, not to mention a 55-yard field goal in Tuesday’s workout. ‘When you look at Ryan’s background, the great experience he’s had, the time he’s had in playoff situations and all of that, to make this transition for a younger guy might be more of an issue, and we think he can handle that,’ Carroll said.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald has a look at the signing of defensive end Patrick Chukwurah, “The 33-year-old Chukwurah, who most recently played two seasons in the UFL before that league folded, hasn’t played organized football of any sorts for more than a year. Yet he was impressive enough in a tryout Tuesday that the Seahawks signed him over other better-known defensive ends, a result that even he had a hard time believing. ‘Honestly, no,’ Chukwurah said when asked if he still thought an NFL comeback was realistic. ‘I was really set on moving on and starting the next chapter, so it’s definitely a blessing.’ “
Boyle also writes that the Seahawks are not letting the playoff pressure get to them, “Any player you ask will tell you a Super Bowl title is the team’s goal. But it has been clear the last two weeks that this young team, which has gotten better faster than most expected, isn’t tensing up now as the stakes become higher. ‘This team is in a real good place,’ said veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant. ‘It’s good for us that we can focus and just kind of take the challenges as they come, and not get too high or too low. We’re just trying to stay the course, and that’s been good for us.’ Seattle’s levelheadedness has led to pretty consistent play all season — the Seahawks have not lost a game by more than seven points all year — and keeping things the same in the postseason has helped a young team from succumbing to the pressure of the playoffs. ‘It’s very important to just maintain the same routine,’ said fullback Michael Robinson. ‘(Head coach) Pete (Carroll) does a great job of keeping practice the same.’ “
Tim Booth of the Associated Press says defensive end Bruce Irvin is ready to step in for the injured Chris Clemons, “For most of his rookie season, Irvin has thrived being used on passing downs as a rush end opposite Clemons. Getting pressure from both sides on quarterbacks has worked well for Seattle with Clemons getting 11 1/2 sacks and Irvin having another eight in the regular season to set a franchise rookie record. Now that Clemons is out, Irvin will be called on not only to pressure the quarterback, but also be stout in the run game. ‘I’m still depressed that (Clemons) is down. He’s like an older brother to me. He showed me a lot, man,’ Irvin said. ‘Next year, I’ll be in this same role, me and (Clemons) rotating and whatever. I’m not looking to come in here and ball out and take over (Clemons’) spot. I’m not looking for that. My time will come and when it’s that time it will all handle itself.’ “
Liz Matthews of 710Sports.com has her report from Wednesday’s practice – a practice running back Marshawn Lynch sat out with a foot injury, “Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch did not participate in practice. Unlike most weeks when he is given a rest day for his balky back, Lynch was listed on Wednesday’ practice report with a foot injury.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com passes along a conversation with NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes, who believes that if the Seahawks can secure an early lead over the Falcons on Sunday, “it’s over”, “The Falcons, Seattle’s divisional-round opponent, have one of the league’s better passing attacks, ranking sixth in passing yards and fifth in touchdown passes during the regular season. Despite that, NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes doubts their ability to come back if they were to fall behind to the Seahawks. ‘If they get up early, it’s over. Have a nice day, Atlanta Falcons,’ Dukes told “Bob and Groz” on Wednesday. ‘The Falcons’ line is not built to handle that pressure.’ ” Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” share their thoughts in this short video.
The staff at SportsPressNW.com passes along several notes from Atlanta head coach Mike Smith’s Wednesday press conference.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com passes along QBR ranks from Wild Card weekend, “Wilson made positive contributions, impressing those who have watched mostly from afar to this point. The visuals were all there: Wilson flipping a touchdown pass to fullback Michael Robinson, Wilson running interference downfield so his running back could gain additional yardage, Wilson firing downfield strikes to Doug Baldwin and Sidney Rice. If tight end Anthony McCoy hadn’t dropped a pass deep in Redskins territory, Seattle might have fared better than its 1-of-6 showing in the red zone. On the whole, however, this performance from Wilson was hardly consistent with the ones that separated him from Robert Griffin III and made him second to Peyton Manning in Total QBR from Week 8 through regular season’s end.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson joined ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike”, and you can listen to the full audio podcast here.
ESPN The Magazine has a look into Wilson’s past as a professional baseball player, sharing conversations with the scouting supervisor of the Colorado Rockies, Wilson’s baseball coach at North Carolina State, the editor of Baseball America, and more.
Gregg Easterbrook of ESPN.com says Russell Wilson may be the best young quarterback in the League, “If Russell Wilson is too short, give me short! Facing Baltimore, first overall selection Andrew Luck wilted under a steady blitz. Experienced quarterbacks want to be blitzed — if Baltimore tries the same at Denver, Peyton Manning will eat the Ravens’ lunch. But Luck is just a rookie, and looked like one during his first-round exit. Facing Seattle, second overall selection Robert Griffin twisted his knee late in the first quarter, lost his amazing quickness, then lost the game. RG III throws himself at a defense, taking big hits. Experienced quarterbacks avoid big hits. But Griffin is just a rookie, and looked like one during his first-round exit. Then there was Wilson. Washington blitzed him hard, and by the fourth quarter, he wanted to be blitzed, because he was beating this tactic like a veteran — see more below. Wilson ran for 67 yards, including the game’s longest rush, but whenever a defender had him in his sights, he stepped out of bounds, slid or threw the ball away. Wilson played like a seasoned veteran. One reason is that he had the most college starts of the young-gun quarterbacks. Wilson started 50 games in college, versus 40 for Griffin and 38 for Luck. Add another dozen starts to RG III and he will avoid big hits. Add another dozen starts to Luck and he’ll be looking forward to the blitz. Wilson already has these skills.”
And Chris Burke of SI.com offers an X’s and O’s break down Sunday’s matchup between the Seahawks and Falcons, “Will Seattle continue to use Irvin off the left edge this coming Sunday? Carroll said only that Irvin will start at the “Leo” spot — a position in Carroll’s defense reserved for a fast rusher, almost like a 3-4 outside linebacker. Irvin, as mentioned, has done a lot of his work from left end, but will the Seahawks try to play the matchups? Playing Irvin on the left means he’ll deal with Clabo; on the right is Baker. Neither is a slouch, but Clabo, a 2010 Pro Bowler, may be the stiffer test of the two.”
When: Sunday, 1:30 p.m. PT, FedExField, Landover, Md.
Records: Seahawks were 11-5 during the regular season to finish second in the NFC West and clinch the No. 5 seed in the playoffs; Redskins were 10-6 to win the NFC East and clinch the No. 4 seed.
Significance: The winner advances to the divisional round of the playoffs next weekend
TV: FOX (KCPQ/13 in the great Seattle area), with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver
Radio: 710 AM ESPN Seattle and KIRO Radio 97.3, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the NFC: Vikings (10-6) at Packers (11-5) on Saturday night; Falcons (13-3) and 49ers (11-4-1) have first-round byes
Seahawks’ middle linebacker Bobby Wagner vs Redskins’ running back Alfred Morris: It will take more than one tackler to contain Morris, who ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns last week in the victory over the Cowboys that clinched the NFC East title. But Wagner is a good place to start in this battle of Rookie of the Year candidates. Wagner led the Seahawks in tackles during the regular season (140) and set a club rookie record in the process. He averaged 10 tackles during the five-game winning streak to close the regular season. But he’s far from a one-trick pony. Wagner also collected three interceptions and two sacks to force his way into the discussion for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. But his primary focus on Sunday will be Morris, a sixth-round draft choice who finished second in the League with 1,613 rushing yards and ran for 13 touchdowns to make himself a candidate for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
One to watch
Redskins’ linebacker London Fletcher vs Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch: This is the flip side to Wagner vs Morris. Or the more-seasoned version, if you will. Fletcher is 37 and in his 15th season, but you’d never know. He leads the Redskins in tackles (139) and, as Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson put it this week, “He will make, literally, every single tackle if you don’t block him.” Fletcher also led the Redskins in interceptions (five) and had a pair of sacks against the Cowboys. But again, his primary focus on Sunday will be the Beast Mode-running Lynch, who finished third in the league in rushing with a career-high 1,590 yards, scored 11 rushing touchdowns and had four of his 10 100-yard rushing games the past four weeks. It’s Lynch’s presence that sets up the play-action passing game. It’s Lynch presence that has made the zone-read runs so effective during the team’s five-game winning streak.
Fun to watch
Seahawks’ QB Russell Wilson vs Redskins’ QB Robert Griffin III: This one includes apologies to both rookie QBs, who stressed this week that they are not playing against one another but the respective defenses in this game. But come on, it’s the most-discussed matchup in a much-discussed matchup between team that have won their past five (Seahawks) and past seven (Redskins) games. While RGIII set an NFL rookie record for passer rating (102.4), Wilson tied the rookie record for touchdown passes (26) that was set in 1998 by Peyton Manning and also had a passer rating (100.0) that bettered the old mark (98.1 by the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger in 2004). Griffin ran for more yards (815 to 489 for Wilson), but Wilson led his team to one more victory. Any way you slice and dice the numbers these two put up, it’s impressive-squared. The rookie QB who plays the least like a rookie on Sunday will go a long way in determining which team advances to the divisional round.
One tough task
Seahawks’ cornerback Marcus Trufant vs Redskins’ wide receiver Santana Moss: Trufant returned last week after missing four games with a hamstring injury and made a couple of huge plays in the seven-point victory over the Rams. But Moss will present a different challenge than the receivers Trufant faced coming out of the slot against the Rams. Moss leads the Redskins with eight touchdown catches among his 41 receptions, including a 77-yarder. So with Moss, it’s not just covering him, it’s also containing him once he makes the catch. Trufant returned an interception 78 yards for a TD to ice the Seahawks’ win over the Redskins in a 2007 wild-card game in Seattle.
The Redskins are in the playoffs for the first time since 2007, when they were eliminated in the Wild Card round by the Seahawks in Seattle. … The Redskins won the NFC East title for the first time since 1999, which is why they’re hosting a team that finished with a better record. … The Seahawks have won their past three Wild Card playoff games – 41-36 over the defending Super Bowl champion Saints in 2010; 35-14 over the Redskins in ’07; and 21-10 over the Cowboys in 2006. But all three games were played in Seattle. … During their five-game winning streak, the Seahawks have outscored their opponents 193-60. … The Redskins were third in the league with a plus-17 turnover differential. They turned the ball over a league-low, and club record, 14 times (eight interceptions and losing six of their 26 fumbles). … The Seahawks tied for fifth in the League with a plus-13 turnover differential. They had 31 takeaways (18 interceptions, 13 fumble recoveries), which tied for fifth in the league. … The Seahawks ranked No. 4 in total defense, while the Redskins were No. 5 in total offense and led the League in rushing for the first time since 1933. … The Seahawks’ Leon Washington ranked second in the League in kickoff-return average (29.0). … Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tied for second in the League with eight interceptions.
A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 5:
2008: Marcus Trufant (78 yards) and Jordan Babineaux (57 yards) return interceptions for touchdowns and D.J. Hackett caps his six-catch, 101-yard day with a 20-yard TD catch – all in the fourth quarter – as the Seahawks post a 35-14 victory over the Redskins in a Wild Card playoff game in Seattle. The linebacking crew of Leroy Hill (13), Lofa Tatupu (12) and Julian Peterson (10) combine for 35 tackles and two sacks as the Seahawks host a playoff game for the fourth consecutive season after hosting three in their first 28 seasons.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 2:
Keeping the playoffs from becoming THE PLAYOFFS!!! The Seahawks began practicing today for Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the Redskins at FedExField. But part of their preparation will involve embracing being in the postseason, without allowing that fact to distract from their preparation.
“It’s a fine line,” said veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant, one of the 19 players on the 53-man roster with playoff experience and the one with the most (nine games). “I don’t think you want to make the task bigger or greater than it is. We’ve got to play our way of ball and try to do a lot of the same stuff we’ve actually been doing in playing well these last few weeks.
“So I think we focus on us. We focus on our ball.”
It’s something coach Pete Carroll already has addressed with the team.
“This is really an exciting time for us,” he said. “We’ve worked really hard to get here. As we look forward to representing this season in the NFL playoffs, which is really a cool thing to be a part of, guys are really looking up for it.
“We have a young bunch of guys that haven’t been in the playoffs before. All the natural questions are: ‘Hey, what are you going to do?’ ‘What’s this mean to you?’ We have talked all year, and for a couple of years now, about every game is a championship game. And you play it like that. And you approach it like that. So that when it comes time, the mentality and the conversation and the language and the focus and the intensity has already been at hand. So we’ll see what happens.
“I’m anxious to see how we put it together.”
Then there are those players who never have been to the postseason, which includes 64 percent of the 53-man roster.
“To tell you the truth, I don’t even know. I’m not too excited to be in (the playoffs),” second-year cornerback Richard Sherman said. “It’s just another ball game, another week to play the game – play a disciplined football game. Then if you win, you play another week of disciplined football. And then if you win, you play another week of disciplined football. The game doesn’t change.”
A BRISK PRACTICE
The players practiced outside, which provided a good tune-up for the conditions they can expect on game day. It was 44 degrees along Lake Washington this afternoon, and the forecast is calling for 44-degree weather at FedExField on Sunday.
London Fletcher. The Redskins’ inside linebacker is 37, in his 15th NFL season and has spent the second half of the season playing on a sore ankle. But you’d never know any of this by the way he’s playing. Fletcher leads the Redskins with 139 tackles, and had a nine-tackle, two-sack effort in Sunday’s win over the Cowboys that clinched the NFC East title.
“He’s a true pro,” is the way Redskins coach Mike Shanahan put it today during a conference-call interview. “His preparation, what he does in the offseason, what type of shape he’s in, how hard he studies. He gets ready for each game like it’s the Super Bowl. That’s how much time he spends watching film, taking care of himself. And that’s why he’s lasted as long as he has.”
WAGNER TABBED FOR ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
Mel Kiper Jr. has selected his NFL All-Rookie team, and the ESPN Draft analyst picks the Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner as one of his inside linebackers.
Says Kiper: “A really good get at a draft spot where at the time I thought Seattle could have gotten even more value, Wagner led one of the NFL’s best defenses in total tackles with 140 and should be a fixture for years to come. With him and second-year man K.J. Wright in place at linebacker, the Seahawks are set for the foreseeable future. Dont’a Hightower was a close third here (behind Luke Kuechly and Wagner).”
Kiper went with the Colts’ Andrew Luck at quarterback, over the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and Redskins’ Robert Griffin III. But Kiper does include them in the discussion: “This could have gone to either Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson, and it wouldn’t offend most close observers. But if it offends you, before you leap to the comments to have your say, let me make my case for Luck. The rookie record for passing yardage (4,374 yards) is nice, as is that he ran for five touchdowns to go with 23 touchdown passes. But he gets the most juice here because no team in history has had this kind of a turnaround after drafting at No. 1, and Luck was the greatest reason the Colts turned it around. Folks around the NFL will tell you the same thing. … RG III was exceptional, too, but loses slight ground because he has a better supporting cast (Washington beat the Giants twice in 2011) and didn’t play in one of the huge wins of the season, when Kirk Cousins led the team to a win in Cleveland, which kept Washington’s playoff hopes alive. Wilson has been exceptional, but the defense carried the Seahawks early in the season as he got comfortable. Luck wins here based on his body of work over the course of the season, which spearheaded Indy’s stunning turnaround. But they’re all great.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
Limited in practice
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
We didn’t omit a category here. This is the extent of the Seahawks’ injury list. As Carroll said, “We are very fortunate right now. We’re in very good shape right now.” Linebacker Leroy Hill, who has missed three of the past five games with ankle and hamstring injuries, was back and split time with Malcolm Smith.
For the Redskins:
Did not practice
QB Kirk Cousins (illness)
LB London Fletcher (ankle)
CB Dominique Johnson (knee)
OG Kory Lichtensteiger (ankle)
Limited in practice
S DeJon Gomes (knee)
LB Lorenzo Alexander (shoulder)
DE Stephen Bowen (biceps)
WR Pierre Garcon (foot)
QB Robert Griffin III (knee)
CB DeAngelo Hall (elbow)
LB Ryan Kerrigan (ankle)
C Will Montgomery (knee)
WR Josh Morgan (hand, foot)
S Jordan Pugh (ankle)
P Saverio Rocca (right knee)
S Madieu Williams (elbow)
STAT DU JOUR
The Redskins’ Alfred Morris and Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch finished 2-3 in the league in rushing behind the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson. In fact, Morris’ 200-yard effort against the Cowboys on Sunday night pushed the rookie past Lynch. Here’s a statistical comparison of the two:
Category Morris Lynch
Rushing Yards 1,613 1,590
Rushing attempts 335 315
Average 4.8 5.0
Long run 39 77
Rushing touchdowns 13 11
100-yard games 7 10
Consecutive 100-yard games 3 4
Most yards in a game 200 128
Receptions 11 23
Receiving yards 77 193
Total yards 1,690 1,786
Totals touchdowns 13 12
First downs 86 79
“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to practice for Sunday’s wild-card playoff game.
And speaking of turnovers, the Seahawks were plus-13 in turnover differential, which tied for fifth in the league; while the Redskins committed 14 turnovers, fewest in the league and also a club record, to finish third in the NFL at plus-17.
Sherman got a jump on “Turnover Thursday” by intercepting two passes during today’s practice, while Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas added a third.
YOU DON’T SAY
“That’s ancient history. Just a part of Seahawks history. If you focus on things in past, sometimes you let things slip in the present.” – Trufant, when asked about his 78-yard interception return for a touchdown in a 2007 wild-card victory over the Redskins in Seattle
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 28:
Blue Sunday. The Seahawks are turning their regular-season finale against the Rams at CenturyLink Field into a fan appreciation day, and no one appreciates the team’s 12th Man following more than coach Pete Carroll.
“It’s been a great, great season here and the fans have been fantastic,” Carroll said after practice. “The response, the spirit the whole area as expressed to our crowd; the 12th Man has just continued to answer the call.
“Everybody talks about them and how big-time they are, and then we get to Sunday night football (last week) and they (the commentators) are talking about they’ve never heard anything like that.”
For Sunday’s game against the Rams, fans are encouraged to wear blue – turning the stadium into a blue wave. There also will be random selections of fans and entire sections for prizes – from Seahawks beanies to round-trip tickets anywhere in the 48 contiguous states or Canada.
As Carroll views it, the fans deserve it all, and more.
“The 12th Man is playing well right now at the end of the year,” Carroll said. “They’re doing a good job. So we’ll celebrate one more time and see if good fortunate hits and we get another shot at it. And if we do, they’ll answer the call. They’re not done yet.”
The Seahawks already have clinched a playoff spot. They can win the NFC West title, and host a first-round playoff game, if they beat the Rams and the Cardinals beat the 49ers in San Francisco.
For the second time in two weeks, wide receiver Deon Butler has been re-signed by the Seahawks.
Butler was with the team the past three seasons, but was released in August on the roster cut to 53 players. He was re-signed on Dec. 15, the day before the Week 15 game against the Bills in Toronto, but released on Monday. Butler was re-signed again this morning.
To clear a roster spot, cornerback Ron Parker was released. Parker was with the Seahawks for two games last season, but was released in August on the roster cut to 75 players. After spending time on the Panthers’ practice squad, Parker was re-signed on Dec. 5.
Steven Jackson. The battering-Ram of a back is no stranger to the Seahawks. Sunday will be the 17th time Jackson will have played against the Seahawks during the regular season. He has 33 100-yard rushing performances in his career, but none against the Seahawks – although he has come close with 93 yards in 2006, 91 in 2008 and 90 in 2007.
But this time, Jackson is chasing history. He needs 10 rushing yards to become the sixth player in league history to have eight consecutive 1,000-yar seasons. The others? Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin, Thurman Thomas and LaDainian Tomlinson.
“The last four games that we’ve watched, Steven Jackson has really been taking off,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “In the Tampa game, I think that he really showed up. He’s running harder. I mean, he always runs hard. But it seems like he has stepped it up the last couple of games and is running like a different person.”
Jackson had 81 yards against the Bucs last week, and averaged 5.6 yards per carry the week before against the Vikings.
The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:
CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)
OT Breno Giacomini (elbow)
LB Leroy Hill (hamstring)
DE Red Bryant (foot)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
TE Anthony McCoy (back)
WR Sidney Rice (knee)
WR Golden Tate (illness)
FS Earl Thomas (ankle)
CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)
Trufant got the most work at nickel back that he has since returning last Friday from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the past four games. “Tru did well,” Carroll said. “He’s ready to play. It’s great to have him back.”
Giacomini participated in all phases of practice today after being limited on Thursday and sitting out on Wednesday. Hill was limited today after not practicing on Wednesday or Thursday. “We’re not sure if he’s full speed yet,” Carroll said of Hill.
On Thurmond, Carroll said, “It hasn’t been as smooth as we’d like. He’s really been pushing, and just hasn’t been able to get out of the discomfort with the hamstring. You’ve got to comeback feeling nothing. You can’t be nursing it or you’re too vulnerable. So he’s still feeling it and that’s not a good sign for this week, obviously. And it’s going to be hard for him to get back next week, too, I would think.”
For the Rams:
S Craig Dahl (knee)
CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh)
RB Steven Jackson (illness)
LB James Laurinaitis (back)
WR Austin Pettis (shoulder)
CB Scott Wells (knee)
STAT DU JOUR
The 2012 Seahawks are attempting to go where only two other teams in franchise history have: Finishing unbeaten at home during the regular season. Here’s a look at the Seahawks’ top home-victory teams:
Year Home record Overall record
2003 8-0 10-6
2005 8-0 13-3
2012 7-0 ?-?
1984 7-1 12-4
1986 7-1 10-6
2007 7-1 10-6
“To have a championship team you have to dominate at home,” Carroll said. “You have to. There’s no other way to get it done. Over the long haul, you have to be great at home. You have to finish great, as well, but you’ve got to be great at home.”
After holding their final full practice of the regular season outside today, the players will have a walkthrough on Saturday.
Monday, cornerback Brandon Browner is eligible to return from his four-game suspension, just in time for the playoffs.
“It’s kind of like putting the band back together next week,” Carroll said. “It will be good back there.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’m still here with a vengeance.” – cornerback Richard Sherman when asked if he was back with a vengeance after winning his appeal of a league-imposed four-game suspension
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 27.
Yesterday, five Seahawks were selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl – left tackle Russell Okung and center Max Unger were named starters at their positions, running back Marshawn Lynch and free safety Earl Thomas are designated backups, and Leon Washington will serve as the conference’s kick returner.
Defensive end Red Bryant has been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 16, according to Randall Liu, the NFC’s Director of Football Communications, who made the announcement on Twitter this morning. Bryant blocked a San Francisco 49ers field goal early in the second quarter that cornerback Richard Sherman picked up and ran back 90 yards for a touchdown.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times highlights the Seahawks’ five Pro Bowl selections and says the Seahawks are not giving up on the chance to claim the NFC West title, “So, you’re saying there’s a chance? Technically, yes. If Seattle beats St. Louis on Sunday and San Francisco loses a second consecutive game for the first time under coach Jim Harbaugh, the Seahawks would be the NFC West champions and play host to a playoff game. Barring that, Seattle will be the No. 5 seed in the NFC, playing on the road against the winner of the regular-season finale Sunday between Washington and Dallas.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his story on the Seahawks named to the Pro Bowl, “In addition to the five players named to the NFC team, the Seahawks also had eight players named Pro Bowl alternates. Cornerback Richard Sherman, defensive end Chris Clemons and fullback Michael Robinson were named first alternates; safety Kam Chancellor, punter Jon Ryan and special teamer Heath Farwell were named second alternates; quarterback Russell Wilson was named a third alternate and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane was named a fourth alternate.”
Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, contributing to 710Sports.com, has a look at the Seahawks playoff scenarios heading into Week 17, “The most likely outcome of this weekend, assuming that the Seahawks take care of the Rams on Sunday, is a trip to the nation’s capital to face the Washington Redskins in the first round of the playoffs. If the Redskins can beat the Dallas Cowboys at home, we’ll be watching two of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL go head to head. A Russell Wilson vs. RGIII matchup would pit two of the top Rookie-of-the-Year candidates against one another. Certainly the Redskins are a force and rank No. 9 in ESPN’s power ranking, but again I would expect the Hawks to beat them on the road.”
Liz Matthews of 710Sports.com has her report from Wednesday’s practice, noting the return of veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant, “Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant practiced for the first time in nearly a month on Wednesday. Trufant had missed the last four games, recovering from a hamstring injury. ‘Tru is going to go today. It will be great to have him out there,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘He’ll be jumping in at the nickel spot and see how he does there. We’ll see how he handles it, and each day will tell us a new story. We can’t project how he’s going to make it for the game. We don’t know that.’ “
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Wednesday, “Carroll praised the play of CB Jeremy Lane and CB Byron Maxwell, who have been forced to step into bigger roles due to the suspension of CB Brandon Browner and injuries at the position. Carroll said they are playing better than even he imagined they could. ‘They really are, they have really come through well,’ Carroll said. ‘They’re athletic, so I knew that they would athletically be okay, but they have played very consistent and stayed on top on the deep balls.’ “
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com details the impressive play of rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane and offensive guard J.R. Sweezy, who have been forced into increased playing time.
Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com has a look at head coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks following last Sunday’s win over the Niners.
Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com breaks down Russell Wilson’s scramble run with 12:56 left in the third quarter of Sunday’s win over the 49ers, “…this amazing play brings a larger point home — as
the 10-5 Seahawks prepare for this Sunday’s regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams, Wilson might be the one rookie quarterback nobody wants to deal with right now. Seattle has scored 150 points and allowed just 30 in its last three games. In the month of December, Wilson has a 110.1 quarterback rating — only Cam Newton and Tony Romo are better in that department for the month among signal-callers with four starts — and he’s thrown for eight touchdowns against two interceptions. Add in the three rushing touchdowns he bagged against the Buffalo Bills two Sundays ago, and it’s pretty clear that Wilson gives the Seahawks a playoff edge few other quarterbacks present at this particular point in time.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his Pro Bowl analysis on the NFC West and names rookie quarterback Russell Wilson the division MVP in his “NFC West wrap“, “Division MVP: Russell Wilson. Raise your hand if you thought the Seattle Seahawks’ rookie quarterback would become the best quarterback in the NFC West and the No. 1 reason Seattle would challenge for the NFC West title. OK, you can put your hand down now, Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. You were about the only analyst I can recall being bullish enough to go all-in for Wilson back in August. ‘I think Russell Wilson is going to be great,’ Williamson said back on Aug. 30. ‘I very much believe Russell Wilson will have the best year of any quarterback in the division. … Wilson puts up a ton of points at every level — N.C. State, Wisconsin, the preseason with Seattle. There is no down side to him, except he’s short. But he knows how to get around that.’ “
Sando also has a look at injury situations around the NFC West, “The Seahawks held out from practice receiver Sidney Rice (knee), tight end Anthony McCoy (back), tackle Breno Giacomini (elbow), running back Marshawn Lynch (back), linebacker Leroy Hill (hamstring), cornerback Walter Thurmond (hamstring) and defensive end Red Bryant (foot). Cornerback Marcus Trufant and defensive tackle Alan Branch practiced. Both have been injured recently.”
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” as the team begins preparations for the final week of the regular season.
Lastly, our team photographer Rod Mar has photos from yesterday’s “Competition Wednesday” practice available here.
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 17 matchup with the St.Louis Rams on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Carroll said veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant will practice today, returning from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the last four games.
“We’ll see how he handles it,” Carroll said of Trufant’s return to the practice field at the nickel position. “We don’t know how it’ll affect his game status for Sunday yet.”
Third-year cornerback Walter Thurmond is still nursing a hamstring injury of his own and Carroll said he will not practice today. Thurmond has missed the club’s last two games.
On weakside linebackers Leroy Hill (hamstring) and Malcolm Smith (groin) Carroll said the pair will be dealing with their injuries they suffered in Sunday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers throughout the week and will not practice today. If neither player is available by Sunday, second-year linebacker Mike Morgan is the expected backup at the position.
Wide receiver Sidney Rice, who was dealing with a foot bruise and knee injury heading into last week’s game, and defensive end Red Bryant, who has been managing a foot injury, will not practice today. Carroll expects the two to be fine for Sunday’s game against the Rams, but their practice time will be managed throughout the week.
Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. Until then, be sure to check out coach Carroll’s full video press conference below:
Good 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.