On this date: Hamlin goes out, Manuel steps in

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Oct. 17:

Marquand Manuel

Marquand Manuel

2005: Free safety Ken Hamlin suffers season-ending head injuries during an altercation outside a Seattle club following the team’s 42-10 victory over the Texans. With Hamlin out, Marquand Manuel steps in to start the final 11 regular-season games and finishes third on the team in tackles during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl run. Manuel is now the team’s assistant special teams coach.

1976: The Seahawks win the Expansion Bowl with a 13-10 victory over the Buccaneers in Tampa. Linebacker Mike Curtis preserves the win by blocking a field goal with 42 seconds to play.


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Special attention

SPECIAL IS AS SPECIAL DOES
Heath Farwell made tackles on special teams in only eight games for the Seahawks last season after being signed at midseason, but he made enough to lead the NFL with 21. Here’s a look at his special contributions in his first season in Seattle:Browns: 1 tackle on a kickoff return.

Bengals: 3 tackles, all on kickoff returns.

Ravens: 2 tackles, including one after a 5-yard gain on a punt return.

Rams: 2 tackles, on punt returns after 6- and 9-yard gains.

Eagles: 3 tackles, all on kickoff returns.

Rams: 4 tackles, all on kickoff returns.

Bears: 3 tackles, including one after a 9-yard gain on a kickoff return; and he also downed a punt at the 3-yard line.

49ers: 0 tackles, but he blocked a punt in the Week 16 game that setup a 4-yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch – making Lynch the first player to score a rushing touchdown against the 49ers last season.

Cardinals: 3 tackles, including one after a 4-yard gain on a punt return.

Note: Opponents averaged 11.5 yards on punt returns against the Seahawks last season, but 6.2 yards on the five where Farwell made the tackle; and 26.0 yards on kickoff returns, but 23.3 yards on the 16 where Farwell was in on the tackle.

The coaches are limited to 45 minutes on the practice field with the players during Phase 2 of the Seahawks’ offseason program. But each session includes, and ends with, a special teams period.

“It’s pretty cool,” said linebacker Heath Farwell, who led not only the Seahawks but the entire league with 21 coverage tackles last season. “We’re out here working hard. Guys just want to get better, that’s the thing. We’ve got one goal in mind, and that’s to win.”

It’s a sign of just how much emphasis coach Pete Carroll puts on the too-often overlooked last third of the three-part equation to playing winning football. And the special teams were just that for the Seahawks last season. Red Bryant set franchise records by blocking two field goals in a game and four kicks during the season. Jon Ryan led the NFL and tied a club record with 34 punts downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, broke his club single-season records for average (46.6 yards) and net average (39.3) and also got off the longest punt (77 yards) in franchise history. Steven Hauschka tied club records by kicking five field goals in the upset victory over the Ravens and converting at least one three-pointer in 12 consecutive games. Doug Baldwin blocked a punt that Michael Robinson returned for a touchdown, while Farwell also had a blocked punt to set up a TD. The Seahawks ranked 10th in the league in kickoff (24.8) and punt return (11.0) average, thanks to Leon Washington (25.2 and 11.3).

The special teams, under the direction of coordinator Brian Schneider and first-year assistant Marquand Manuel, should only be better – or faster, at the very least – with the infusion of speed from this year’s draft class.

“The two young linebackers look fast and athletic,” Farwell said of second-round pick Bobby Wagner and fifth-rounder Korey Toomer – who have run the 40-yard dash in 4.47 and 4.54 seconds. “That’s going to be a big part of special teams.”

There’s also first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin (4.50 seconds) and sixth-rounders Jeremy Lane (4.48) and Winston Guy (4.53).

But as Farwell as shown in his career, it takes more than just speed to be successful on special teams. He came to the Seahawks at midseason last year after five seasons in Minnesota, where he had 113 coverage tackles to tie for fourth on the Vikings’ all-time list. He led the Vikings in special teams tackles in 2010 (19), 2009 (24), 2007 (32) and 2006 (25), and was voted to the Pro Bowl as the NFC special teams player in 2009.

“It’s the want to make the plays and the want to make the tackles. It’s the effort,” a reluctant Farwell offered when asked the secret to his success. “I don’t know, it’s just something I work at. And I pride myself on it, and outworking everybody and making sure I put more time in than everybody else.”

The players were off today, but return Thursday and Friday to complete Phase 2 of the offseason program.


Wednesday cyber surfing: Staff additions

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Feb. 15:

Remember Marquand Manuel? One of the unexpected stars of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl run in 2005 is back as the new assistant special teams coach on Pete Carroll’s staff and we’ve got the story at Seahawks.com: “In 2005, Marquand Manuel stepped in and helped the Seahawks reach the Super Bowl. Now, the former free safety is stepping in as the assistant special teams coach on Pete Carroll’s staff. Manuel replaces Jeff Ulbrich, who left to become the special teams/linebackers coach at UCLA. The club also announced four other moves Tuesday: Keith Carter has been added as an offensive quality control coach; Rocky Seto’s title has been changed to defensive passing game coordinator; John Glenn has been hired as a coaching assistant/special teams; and Kenechi Udeze will be a coaching intern/defensive line.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times and Eric Williams at the News Tribune also have the word on the additions to Carroll’s staff.

The Associated Press has the word on Jim Zorn remaining with the Chiefs as their quarterbacks coach, despite the Seahawks’ original QB being passed over for the offensive coordinator position in KC: “Brian Daboll was hired recently to run the offense, which led many to question whether Zorn would be back. He was retained along with assistant head coach Maurice Carthon, tight ends coach Bernie Parmalee, strength coach Mike Clark, wide receivers coach Nick Sirianni and virtually the entire defensive staff.”

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com has updated his mock draft at CBSSports.com, but has the Seahawks making a familiar selection: “Devon Still, DT, Penn State: Many expect the Seahawks to consider a quarterback to compete with incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson with this selection but in beating the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens last year, and matching up well with division champion San Francisco, the club may not be willing to reach to fill a perceived need. Don’t be surprised if Seattle instead turns its attention to a bounty of talented defensive linemen likely to be selected in the top 15. Still, a 6-4, 310-pound defensive tackle, showed his talent and despite all of the distractions in Happy Valley last year, was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year. Still could help inside at defensive tackle as well as provide the Seahawks with some flexibility at the five technique defensive end position should incumbent starter Red Bryant be heavily pursued in free agency.”

Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com also has a mock draft at CBSSports.com and sticks with a defensive lineman for the Seahawks. But not the same one as Rang: “Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina: The Seahawks will be looking for a pass-rushing defensive end this offseason and Coples falling would be the ideal scenario for Seattle. Coples has the ability to be as good as he wants, but questions about his passion and work ethic have raised flags, especially after a subpar senior season in Chapel Hill. Coples’ natural skills set and pro upside will force NFL teams to do their due diligence and homework before they invest a top-12 pick in him.”

As for the give-us-this-day-our-daily-Peyton-Manning item, Jim Corbett at USA Today looks at a half-dozen landing spots for the Colts’ iconic QB, including the Seahawks: “The situation: Inconsistent Tarvaris Jackson is the incumbent, with Charlie Whitehurst the backup. Why it would work: Manning could consider the NFC West the path of least resistance to the Super Bowl by comparison to the NFC East and AFC East. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell worked with Favre with Green Bay and the Minnesota Vikings and would tailor the offense to Manning. Why it wouldn’t work: Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have gone young, so much so that Manning might feel more like he’s reliving his past with the University of Tennessee than his NFL prime with the Super Bowl-winning 2006 Colts.”

Speaking of Manning, as well as Randy Moss, John McGrath at the News Tribune says the Seahawks need to just say no to aging stars: “Whatever the score, wherever they stood in the standings, the Hawks almost always exerted a 60-minute effort. Moss still is blessed with transcendent ability – even (Cris) Carter acknowledges as much – but the last thing the 2012 Seahawks need is key a player with a “quit mechanism” that’s huge. Furthermore, (Pete) Carroll and general manager John Schneider have displayed a vision in their retooling of a roster that’s been turned over from established veterans to younger guys with hungry hearts. It’s a vision that precludes the presence of Moss and another veteran guaranteed enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, Peyton Manning.”

Speaking of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Peter King at SI.com wades into the growing conversation about the selection committee that gathers annually on the Saturday before the Super Bowl to determine that year’s class for the Hall. King has been on the committee for 20 years, I was on it for only two – but can relate to his concerns. In the Tuesday edition of his “Monday Morning Quarterback,” King addresses one emailer who pooh-poohs the selection this year of former Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy: “Does it matter to you that (Chris) Doleman has 39 more sacks/forced fumbles/recovered fumbles in his career than Michael Strahan, and had a 15-sack season at age 37? Or that Kennedy was the Defensive Player of the Year on a 2-14 team, and two noted coaches have told me he is the toughest linemen their interior line had to block, ever?”  Atta boy, Peter. As Tom Petty would put it, “Well I won’t back down; no I won’t back down.”


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