Game at a glance

A recap of the Seahawks’ 20-3 victory over the Oakland Raiders in their preseason finale at CenturyLink Field on Friday night:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Golden Tate. The last time the second-year receiver played at CenturyLink Field, he dropped two passes – including one that went off his hands, was intercepted and returned for a touchdown in a 20-7 loss to the Vikings.

That was two weeks ago. But Friday night was a redemptive outing for Tate. He had a 43-yard reception to set up the Seahawks’ first field goal among his five catches and 79 yards. He returned a punt 43 yards and a kickoff for 34 yards.

Was this a springboard effort for last year’s little-used second-round draft choice?

“I don’t think there’s any question that it can be,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I think that he needed to have a good game where he had a chance to get going. That’s why I think whether this could be a turning point, it could be for him. It’s not in my mind. I already know what he can do.”

In this game, Tate showed everyone else, as well.

“He just has good stuff,” Carroll said. “The open field breaks that he made in the kicking game, and he made a couple of great catches tonight and stole a bunch yards away. The returns were great. That will also show up in the catch-and-run, too.”

PLAYS OF THE GAME     

Offense: Carroll called it the “immaculate reception,” and what Leon Washington as able to do with a Charlie Whitehurst pass that was batted into the air as Tate and Raiders cornerback Joe Porter were battling for the ball was, well, pretty immaculate. Washington not only picked the ball out of the air, he ran for 32 yards to the Raiders’ 15-yard line. The Seahawks eventually scored their first touchdown, but it wouldn’t have happened without Washington’s heads-up play on third down.

Defense: There were a lot to choose from, especially considering that each of the Raiders’ final three possessions ended on downs. But let’s go with the last one, as rookie safety Mark LeGree tipped a Kyle Boller pass incomplete on fourth-and-10 from the Seahawks’ 35-yard line.

Special teams: Tate’s 43-yard punt return. It happened late in the first half and gave the Seahawks a shot at kicking a 53-yard field goal on the final play of the half. Except that the Raiders’ Porter blocked that kick.

INJURY REPORT

Left guard Robert Gallery and defensive lineman Jimmy Wilkerson left the game with sprained knees, and each is scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging test on Saturday to determine the extent of the damage and how long they might be out.

The Seahawks also played without six starters: running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle), wide receivers Sidney Rice (shoulder) and Mike Williams (toe), left tackle Russell Okung (ankle), middle linebacker David Hawthorne (knee) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (foot). Carroll said Okung could have played, but it was decided to rest him for another game, and added that Rice’s injury is the only one that could be a problem for next week’s regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco.

THIS ’N THAT

Former Raiders Zach Miller and Gallery were appointed captains for the game.

Rookie middle linebacker K.J. Wright, who started for Hawthorne, had a team-high five tackles to finish the leading tackler in the preseason.

Defensive lineman David Howard had 1½ sacks.

Thomas Clayton rushed for 42 yards on 11 carries to finish as the Seahawks’ leading rusher in the preseason.

The Seahawks converted 7 of 13 third-down situations, but they also had nine penalties for 105 yards.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It felt amazing, man. But honestly, that just goes to the offensive line, you know what I mean? I don’t take any credit for that. That’s the offensive line all the way.” – Clayton, on scoring his second TD of the preseason

 


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A little Q&A

Some of you asked questions in the live blog during Saturday night’s game against the Broncos in Denver that deserved more than a quick answer. So let’s turn those into a Q&A:

Q: Do you think Doug Baldwin could be our version of Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson and the Patriots’ Wes Welker? – Stevenhawk

A: I like Doug Baldwin. A lot. But I’m not ready to anoint him a Jackson or Welker clone. Even using their names in the same sentence seems like putting an entire herd of horses before the cart. Jackson has exceptional quickness and speed, while Welker has been ridiculously productive in the slot. Baldwin needs to make the 53-man roster, first – which I think he will. He also needs to find a role. As good as he has been on kickoff returns, do you take the ball out of Leon Washington’s hands? I don’t think so. As productive as he has been in the slot, does he move ahead of Golden Tate and Ben Obomanu? But Baldwin has the potential and, more importantly, the work ethic and mental makeup to develop into versatile role player for the Seahawks.

Q: What do you think of Mark LeGree? – Seafan16

A: A better question: What do the coaches think of the fifth-round draft choice from Appalachian State? He was very productive in college and drafted with the thought that he could play free safety in the nickel and dime packages, allowing Earl Thomas to step up and cover a slot receiver. But Josh Pinkard and even free agent Jeron Johnson have been better in that role during training camp and the preseason. LeGree has the potential to develop into the player the coaches expect him to be. He’s just not there yet.

Q: Are they going to keep Pep Levingston? – BeerBoy

A:  The best way to answer that is to point out that the seventh-round draft is making it difficult not to keep him. He has shown why they call him Pep (his given name is Lazarius Cortez) by collecting two sacks against the Broncos and recovering a fumble against the Chargers in the opener. He is very active. But the Seahawks also have been active in acquiring other D-tackles – signing Alan Branch and Jimmy Wilkerson in free agency and re-signing Brandon Mebane and Junior Siavii.

Q: Where did the Seahawks special teams rank last season? – Dylan

A: The league does “officially” rank the special teams on overall performance, but Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News has come up with rankings based on production in 22 categories that the special teams in the league use. The Seahawks tied for fourth in those rankings last season.

Q: What does Pete Carroll see in Tarvaris Jackson? – several people

A: I’ll let the Seahawks coach handle that one: “We think Tarvaris has got a great future. … Tarvaris gives us a real good asset in his mobility. He does have very good mobility and he’s very strong in the pocket. He can really stand up against the rush, get banged around and still be standing. He’s a very physical kid. We hope that will be an asset for him.” It certainly has been to this point, because Jackson has had little time in the pocket. Jackson has a strong arm, as well. But Carroll also likes that Jackson is familiar with the system offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is installing, because both spent the past five seasons together in Minnesota. It’s that continuity, as well as Jackson’s upside, that prompted Carroll to name him the starter before Jackson had even practiced with the team.


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Cyber surfing: Friday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Aug. 12:

The Seahawks opened their preseason with a half-not-so-good, half-very-good effort against the Chargers in San Diego, pulling out a 24-17 victory. So that’s obviously the topic du jour.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times leads with the ankle injury that sent left tackle Russell Okung to the locker room on the first series of the game. Says O’Neil: “But stats don’t mean nearly as much as the potential absence of a player like Okung. He suffered an ankle injury last August, too. That was his right ankle, and a high ankle sprain forced him to miss the final two exhibition games and first three regular-season games. He hurt his left ankle on Oct. 24 against Arizona, causing him to miss three more games.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune also went with the obvious, because it’s news and more meaningful than the “young pups,” as coach Pete Carroll called them, rallying for the win. But there were other angles. Offers Williams: “Playing against his former team for the first time since arriving in Seattle in a trade with San Diego (0-1) last year, reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst took the majority of the snaps, playing the second and third quarters. Whitehurst was efficient, completing 14 of 20 passes for 115 yards with no interceptions.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we made it three-for-three on the Okung angle. As for the other angles, Carroll dedicated this game to the younger players in the team meeting on Wednesday night: “But Carroll was just as obviously pleased with the effort of his younger players in the second half. In the team meeting on Wednesday night, Carroll dedicated the game to the them and they responded by scoring 24 second-half points after the Chargers had taken a 10-0 lead at the half. ‘It was really great to see them finish the game,’ Carroll said after they had done just that. ‘They won on defense and knocked the winning touchdown in with the third group in there and all those young pups in there. So it was really exciting to see that happen.’ ”

We’ve also got a “game at a glance” recap of the game, with Thomas Clayton as the “player of the game,” and Tony Ventrella’s video review.

Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his thoughts. Says Sando: “Rookie linebacker K.J. Wright recognized a screen play quickly and tracked down the receiver for a decisive tackle. Two other Seattle rookie draft choices, linebacker Malcolm Smith and safety Mark LeGree, provided bit hits. Smith chased on his play and finished strong. LeGree broke up a pass with his hit. LeGree also secured Seattle’s victory by breaking up a pass in the end zone on the Chargers’ final play.”


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Camp Carroll: Day 6

A recap of the afternoon practice at Seahawks training camp on Tuesday:

FOCUS ON

Earl Thomas and Mark LeGree. When the Seahawks selected LeGree in the fifth round of the April NFL Draft, coach Pete Carroll talked about using the rookie from Appalachian State in the nickel so they could feature Thomas’ ample talents in other ways.

The talk has turned to action, as LeGree and Thomas continued to work in those roles during this afternoon’s 2½-hour practice.

“We want to put Earl in places where he can be really active because he’s such an incredible player,” Carroll said between practices. “So that’s part of the thinking, to get a ranging safety that can play back there.

“LeGree is a ball-hawk guy, that’s why he fits that role for us. There were other guys you could look at, but that was the guy we thought was the best fit.”

Thomas, the 14th pick overall in last year’s draft, intercepted five passes last season to tie the club rookie record and also contributed 71 tackles to rank fifth on the team. LeGree led the nation with 10 interceptions in 2008 and finished with 22 for his career.

PLAYER WATCH

Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks had big plans for the big strong safety from Virginia Tech when they selected the 6-foot-3, 232-pound Chancellor in the fifth round of the draft last year. After playing in situational roles as a rookie, Chancellor is making big strides now that he’s working with the No. 1 defense at the spot where veteran Lawyer Milloy started last season.

Today, the full complement of Chancellor’s talents was on display. First, he blitzed and got to running back Leon Washington in the backfield. Then, he intercepted a pass in the end zone that was intended for tight end John Carlson. Later, he lifted and dropped Golden Tate after the wide receiver had caught a pass.

ROOKIE WATCH

Doug Baldwin. It’s not just that the rookie wide receiver made a half dozen catches in practice, it’s that Carroll came over to the free agent from Stanford after each one to give him a way-to-go pat.

If you’re going to catch people’s eye, it might as well be those in power. And it wasn’t just today.

Earlier in camp, GM John Schneider was asked about Ricardo Lockette, another rookie wide receiver, and included Baldwin in his response.

“We were able to sign some rookie free agents we’re real excited about in Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette,” Schneider said. “We’re really excited about that group.”

PLAYS OF THE DAY

Tempo-setting play: A new day, but the same results, as middle linebacker David Hawthorne stepped into the hole to put a big hit on running back Marshawn Lynch on the first play of the first team period. Hawthorne opened practice with a similar play Monday, but this one packed even more of a punch.

Offense: Charlie Whitehurst passing to a wide-open Carlson for a touchdown on the final play of practice, to the approval of the 859 fans who attended practice.

Defense: Strong-side linebacker Aaron Curry leaping to bat down a screen pass.

Special teams: Wes Byrum hitting a 43-yard field goal, which prompted Carroll to slap high-fives with the rookie kicker.

COMING, AND GOING

The big addition today was Raiders Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller agreeing to terms with the Seahawks, an acquisition that Carroll called “a fantastic move for us.”

Carroll also confirmed the signings of two other free agents: cornerback Kelly Jennings, a former first-round draft choice who started 14 games for the Seahawks last season; and defensive tackle Jimmy Wilkerson, who was with the Saints last season but also played for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and line coach Todd Wash in Tampa.

Running back Chris Henry has left camp. Henry spent time on the team’s practice squad last season and was on the 53-man roster for one game.

THIS ’N THAT

University of Washington football coach Steve Sarkisian and several members of his staff watched practice. Sarkisian coached for Carroll at USC, as did defensive coordinator Nick Holt … Also on hand for practice was former QB Dave Krieg, who is in the team’s Ring of Honor. … Among the VIP guests were cornerback Marcus Trufant’s family, including his youngest brother – Desmond, a cornerback for the Huskies. … Cornerback Walter Thurmond, defensive end Dexter Davis and defensive lineman Jarrett Crittenton sat out practice with minor injuries, while defensive end Chris Clemons was limited because he had ankle surgery during the offseason.

UP NEXT

The players have Wednesday off before returning Thursday for a 9 a.m. practice and an afternoon walk-thru.

Thursday will be the first time the free agents the team has signed in the past week can practice, a group that includes six projected starters – QB Tarvaris Jackson, wide receiver Sidney Rice, guard Robert Gallery, defensive tackles Brandon Mebane and Alan Branch and linebacker Leroy Hill.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I think he makes us a more versatile offense. We’ll be able to use he and John (Carlson) in so many different ways. They’ll be on the field at the same time a ton. Thrilled about that flexibility.” – Carroll on Miller


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Cyber surfing: Tuesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 19:

 

Mike Sando at ESPN.com dips into his mailbag and addressed the pros and cons of the Seahawks re-signing quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

Sando on why the Seahawks should retain Hasselbeck: “The shortened offseason will make it tougher for teams to install new schemes. Hasselbeck worked previously under Seattle’s new coordinator, Darrell Bevell. He could step in quickly and run the offense. The team has taken steps to upgrade its ground game. As the playoff game against New Orleans showed, Hasselbeck can still play at a high level when backed by a strong running game. And it’s not like Seattle will find a long list of superior options available once the signing period opens. The Seahawks might as well keep Hasselbeck until they have someone better. Hasselbeck should finish his career in Seattle, anyway.”

Sando on why the Seahawks should go in another direction: “Why stick with a 35-year-old quarterback during a rebuilding phase? (Charlie) Whitehurst ideally would have played more last season. He was 1-1 as a starter and hasn’t had a fair chance. The Seahawks gave Hasselbeck additional chances after shaky moments early in his career. Besides, Hasselbeck has the NFL’s lowest passer rating since 2008 among the 19 quarterbacks with at least 35 regular-season starts during that time, according to Pro Football Reference. Hasselbeck’s rating during that time is 71.4, more than 10 points lower than Carson Palmer’s rating, which ranks 18th among the 19 quarterbacks.”

 

Eric Williams of the News Tribune takes a closer look at safety Mark LeGree, the Seahawks’ fifth-round choice in April’s NFL Draft. Says Williams: “If you’re looking for a comparison, think about what Ryan Clark does for Troy Polamalu in Pittsburgh, serving as a safety valve for the talented USC product to play instinctive football, and I think you get an idea of what LeGree could do in Seattle.”

 

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times is taking at look at the NFC West teams, with an assist from beat writers around the division. Here’s a look at the Arizona Cardinals by Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.

Says Somers: “Both impending doom and great opportunity await the Cardinals when the lockout ends. The team needs a starting quarterback. Its three interior offensive linemen are un-signed as is starting receiver Steve Breaston. Most of the “star” defensive players are coming off disappointing seasons, a factor in Ken Whisenhunt’s decision to hire Ray Horton as his third defensive coordinator in five seasons. Horton, a disciple of Steelers’ coordinator Dick LeBeau (and former Washington Husky), will bring that high-pressure philosophy to the Cardinals. But that effort has been hampered by the lockout. Many of the key players have the defensive playbook, but they haven’t worked on it as a unit.  The Cardinals needed a full offseason as much as any other team in the NFL. Plans to acquire a new quarterback have been on hold, and the team is going to have to move quickly to find one. Look for the club to immediately attempt to trade for Eagles backup Kevin Kolb. He is the first choice, but the Cardinals don’t want to give up a ransom for him. They also have interest in the Broncos’ Kyle Orton, who is under contract. The path of least resistance would be to simply sign Marc Bulger, a free agent, and let John Skelton back him up.”

 

Neither Russell Okung nor Earl Thomas made the ESPN.com Dream Team of Tomorrow. They were the only Seahawks up for consideration, but Thomas lost out to the Chiefs’ Eric Berry at free safety and the tackle spots went to the Dolphins’ Jake Long and the Browns’ Joe Thomas rather than Okung.

 

Michael Fabiano, Fantasy editor at NFL.com, takes a look at the most-targeted tight ends in the league last season. The Seahawks’ John Carlson is conspicuous by his absence in the rankings, a definite indication that the coaches need to get him more involved in the passing game – as a receiver, not a blocker.

 

For the give-us-this-day-our-daily-labor-update item, Albert Breer at NFL.com is reporting that the days for this cyber-surfing entry could be numbered as the owners and players move closer to agreeing to new CBA. Says Breer: “The owners’ objective is to have a completed deal to vote on at their meeting Thursday in Atlanta. In a memo sent Monday to all 32 teams, the league said that if all goes to plan, it will stage a ‘labor seminar’ to educate clubs on the terms of the new deal, starting 90 minutes after ratification Thursday and continuing Friday at another hotel in Atlanta. Each team can have four reps, plus its owner, at that meeting”.

 

But Jason LaCanfora, Breer’s colleague at NFL.com, breaks down the issues that still need to be resolved for that vote to actually take place on Thursday.

 

Here at Seahawks.com, we continue of series of articles profiling the members of the 35th Anniversary team with Kenny Easley – the Hall of Fame-caliber strong safety who didn’t play long enough to get his bust in the Hall. Yet. Easley admits he wasn’t expecting to play for the Seahawks, and didn’t want to play the position he redefined.

 


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Cyber surfing: Tuesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” – and was “out there” over the holiday weekend – on the Seahawks for May 31:

ESPN’s John Clayton, who hosts a Saturday morning show on 710 ESPN, interviewed Mark LeGree, the safety the Seahawks selected in the April NFL Draft. The rookie has had limited exposure to coach Pete Carroll because of the lockout. But he seems to already know the drill, offering, “Even if I don’t get a starting spot, I’m going to make the guy ahead of me work for his spot. On special teams? I love special teams. I know how big a part of the game it is; it can change a game in just one play. I am looking forward to the opportunity to be able to start. I’m a playmaker and I can go get that ball.”

Clayton also lists new offensive line coach Tom Cable at No. 9 in his Top 10 coaches being hit hardest by the lockout. Clayton’s reasoning for the ranking: “The former Raiders coach took over the Seahawks’ offensive line, which is trying to replace three starters. The Seahawks used their first two draft choices on offensive linemen James Carpenter and John Moffitt, and they’ve got to find another guard in free agency. Starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is unsigned and has to decide whether he wants to return to what will be the league’s youngest and – until the lockout is over – most un-coached offensive line.”

Jim Corbett of USA Today has five burning questions about the Seahawks as they wait to prepare for the coming season. No. 1, of course, is who will quarterback the team. Says Corbett: “Still, the longer the lockout goes, the better the chance that Hasselbeck could return.”

It’s difficult to not second that notion.

Carl Eller played the final season of his Hall of Fame career with the Seahawks in 1979. Prior to that, he was dominating defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings. Now, Eller, in his role as president of the Retired Players Association, has become a spokesman for that faction in the labor dispute between owners and players. Eller wrote this piece for Sporting News Today, offering: “It is just as much in the interests of the retired players as it is the fans to create a resolution so that we have football played in 2011 – remember, we are now fans, too.

Chester Pitts, a free-agent-to-be offensive lineman for the Seahawks, has had a lot to say during the lockout. Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com catches up with Pitts to get his reaction to Kurt Warner’s recent comment about the players eventually “giving in.” Said Pitts: “There were a lot of players I spoke to who were stunned by what he said. I was disappointed. Disappointed is a good word, but disheartening is a better word.”

And for our give-us-this-day-our-daily-labor-update item, we offer this bullet-point overview by Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. He puts the likelihood of games being lost at 70 percent.

Here at Seahawks.com, we continue our look at the players voted to the 35th Anniversary team with a profile of kickoff returner Steve Broussard – as well as a look at current kickoff returner Leon Washington and his place in team history after only one season.


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Cyber surfing: Wednesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks:

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has the latest on Matt Hasselbeck, including a link to a report from 710 ESPN’s Liz Matthews that the unsigned quarterback does have a playbook – he got it from teammates, who got them from new offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell during the brief break in what is now the longest work stoppage in NFL history. Hasselbeck also has been throwing to running back Justin Forsett and tight end John Carlson.

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com weighs in on the safeties selected in the NFL Draft, and how they might fit with their new teams. He had this to say about Mark LeGree, the Seahawks’ fifth-round pick: “LeGree, a free safety at Appalachian State, could be asked to play a hybrid safety in Pete Carroll’s scheme as the Seahawks used the No. 14 overall pick last year on another free safety – Earl Thomas – and loved his playmaking skills as a rookie. LeGree, who intercepted 22 passes and was a three-time All-American at Appalachian State, has similar ball skills as Thomas and good speed. He could play the deep middle and free up Thomas to attack the line of scrimmage as the Steelers do with Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu. Like Keo, LeGree simply offered too much value in the fifth round (No. 156 overall) to fall further.

And of course there is the latest on the labor front, after the two sides completed two more days of mediation on Tuesday. In this report, Dan Wetzel of YahooSports.com says “a measure of progress was reached.” But Barry Wilner of the Associated Press says the players are not panicking after the latest ruling in the courts favored the owners.

The word of the day at Qwest Field on Tuesday was “solar,” as the Seahawks and SoundersFC are getting their green on by installing energy-saving panels on the roof of the Event Center.

Here at Seahawks.com, we also caught up with former wide receiver Bobby Engram, who was voted to the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team. Engram is now an offensive assistant with the San Francisco 49ers.


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Seeing is believing

You’ve heard and read all about the nine players the Seahawks selected in the NFL Draft – from first-round pick James Carpenter to Malcolm Smith, the 242nd pick overall. But seeing is believing.  Check out some of the top YouTube videos (mostly fan made) from this year’s draft class.

First-round pick: James Carpenter, OT, Alabama

Did you know? His favorite meal is macaroni and cheese – his mother’s macaroni and cheese.

You don’t say: “I wouldn’t have drafted him if he was finesse. That’s not my style. I thought he was a very physical presence at Alabama in a tremendous league against a lot of very talented defensive ends in that league.” – line coach Tom Cable

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Seahawks add safety LeGree in fifth round

The Seahawks added another player to their secondary with their second pick in the fifth round, selecting Appalachian State safety Mark LeGree.

The 6-foot, 211-pound LeGree led the nation in interceptions and was a Buchanan Award finalist in 2008, when he started 13 games at free safety. Last season, he started at strong safety. He had 22 career interceptions.

Pro Football Weekly on LeGree: “Finesse free safety with speed and ball skills to warrant a look as a centerfielder, but average athletic ability and instincts limit his ceiling.”

With the Seahawks, he adds depth at a spot where Earl Thomas, a first-round draft choice last year, is the starter at free safety and Kam Chancellor has a chance to replace Lawyer Milloy at strong safety.

The Seahawks’ remaining picks:

Sixth round (1) – 8th pick, 173rd overall

Seventh round (2) – 2nd pick, 205th overall; 41st pick, 242nd overall


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