Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, January 17.
Gil Brandt, a senior analyst at NFL.com, has his first 2013 NFL Mock Draft, and has the Seahawks selecting Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins with the 25th overall pick, “The Seahawks have very good young players at most positions, though they could use a receiver who can get some separation. Hopkins might be a bit of a reach, but he’s quick.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com passes along his thoughts on the Seahawks after viewing Mel Kiper Jr.’s first 2013 NFL Mock Draft, in which Kiper projects the team taking Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins, “The Seahawks have recently given big contracts to defensive linemen Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Chris Clemons. They used the 15th choice in the 2012 draft for pass-rushing defensive end Bruce Irvin. Seattle has also gotten mostly good play from defensive tackle Alan Branch. Despite all the investments in the defensive line, I do think the Seahawks would be wise to address the position early in the draft if value warrants the pick. Adding Jenkins’ 358-pound body to the line might help shore up a run defense that ranked 30th in yards per carry allowed from Week 7 through the end of the season. Improving the pass rush should stand as Seattle’s No. 1 offseason priority, however. Clemons is 31 years old and suffered a torn ACL during the Seahawks’ playoff victory at Washington. His status for the 2013 season is in question. Irvin’s longer-term future was at Clemons’ position. Perhaps Clemons’ injury accelerates the transition. Pass-rushing defensive tackle Jason Jones, a free agent in 2013, also finished the season on injured reserve. Seattle could have used a stronger pass rush late in games against Chicago, Detroit, Miami and Atlanta. Addressing that deficiency in the draft seems like a must even though Irvin and fellow rookie Greg Scruggs showed promise.
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com recaps a conversation with 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” and Seahawks general manager John Schneider, in which the trio talks about backup quarterback Matt Flynn, “In the absence of any glaring needs outside of a pass rusher, and with only two starters set to become unrestricted free agents, the Seahawks’ decision on Flynn will be a leading offseason story line. ‘We’re going to do what’s best for the organization, period,’ Schneider said. ‘This isn’t like, ‘Well, now that Russell’s done so well, what are you going to do with Matt?’ We have two guys under contract that are good.’ ”
Sarah Spain of ESPN.com highlights Seahawks tight end Sean McGrath as part of her “NFL 53rd Man” series, “He didn’t make the 53-man roster after training camp, but he found a home on the practice squad — for two days. Then he was re-signed five days later, then cut again two and a half weeks later. Each time the team would release him, they’d tell him to stick around, he’d be re-signed in a few days. Those days off were tough for McGrath, who got antsy sitting around waiting. But the success of other practice-squad players gave him something to hold on to. ‘First guy who gets called up off the practice squad, Jermaine Kearse. As soon as he gets pulled up we’re like ‘Man, this is real! They’re really doing it,’ McGrath said. ‘Then another guy gets pulled up. All these guys get pulled up and it just gives a light at the end of the tunnel.’ McGrath had to wait a while, but he finally got to that light.”
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 12-12-12:
The Power of 12. Matt Flynn wasn’t really plugged into the energy generated by the 12th Man crowd at CenturyLink Field on game days when he signed with the Seahawks as a free agent in March.
Now, he is – especially after the backup QB saw his first action of the regular season in a 58-0 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday, when he completed 5 of 9 passes for 68 yards and directed a six-play, 62-yard drive to the final touchdown.
“Obviously it’s a huge advantage for us, noise-wise,” Flynn said today, when he and teammates shifted their focus to this week’s game against the Bills in Toronto. “And they’re smart fans. They know when to get loud and when to be quiet.
“I didn’t really know much about the Seahawks when I came up here. But they’ve opened my eyes and made me a fan of them.”
Cornerback Richard Sherman is sure the Seahawks have the best fans in the league, and says they’re deserving of any and all tributes that come their way on the numerical significant day.
“I’ve seen fans with tattoos of player’s faces,” he said. “They’re so passionate about the Seahawks around here it’s incredible. So I think it’s an incredible tribute to them. I would be happy to do anything we can to give back to the fans because they give a lot to us.”
C.J. Spiller. Not surprisingly, the Bills’ suddenly fulltime feature back is no stranger to Pete Carroll. The Seahawks coach tried to recruit Spiller while coaching at USC when he came out of Union County High School in Lake Butler, Fla. Spiller opted for Clemson, but Carroll definitely remembers him.
“I have tremendous respect for C.J. Spiller,” Carroll said. “I saw him as one of the great players we ever came across. And boy, he has really torn it up. They build the offense around him and he’ll get even more activity now. That means you have a chance for them to score on every play, run or pass.
“So it’s a big deal for our defense to get ready for that.”
The Seahawks will see a lot more of Spiller on Sunday because Fred Jackson is out with a sprained right knee. The two had been splitting time, but Spiller and his league-leading 6.6-yard per carry average are now front and center.
“We want to make sure that we respect the heck out of that, because we know that he’s such a great player,” Carroll said.
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
DE Red Bryant (foot)
SS Kam Chancellor (groin)
WR Sidney Rice (foot)
CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)
Limited in practice
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)
Rice was in a walking boot today after waking up Monday with a bruised foot. “He improved quite a bit from game day,” Carroll said. “But he’s got a pretty sore foot.” Carroll added that tests of Rice’s foot found nothing that should keep him from playing against the Bills.
Trufant has missed the past two games and Carroll said he’s still in process of returning from his injury.
Chancellor and Bryant sat out to rest injuries that have limited them in practice in previous weeks. Jeron Johnson and Jason Jones filled in for them. With Thurmond limited, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell worked at cornerback.
For the Bills:
Did not practice
LB Nick Barnett (knee)
S Jairus Byrd (shin)
DE Marcell Dareus (shoulder)
RB Fred Jackson (knee)
DT Spencer Johnson (knee)
CB Leodis McKelvin (groin)
DT Kyle Williams (ankle)
C Eric Wood (knee)
Limited in practice
DE Mark Anderson (knee)
CB Ron Brooks (hip)
TE Scott Chandler (groin)
OG Andy Levitre (knee)
CB Justin Rogers (foot)
TE Lee Smith (knee)
OG Kraig Urbik (knee)
LB Chris White (thumb)
WR Donald Jones (calf)
S Da’Norris Searcy (hand)
RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder)
CB Aaron Williams (knee)
DE Mario Williams (wrist)
NO MORE PADS
The players practiced without pads today and will for the rest of the season because the team has utilized the allotted number of padded practices allowed under the CBA that ended the 136-day lockout in 2010.
“This is the first ‘Competition Wednesday’ that we cherish so much that we aren’t in pads,” Carroll said. “I talked at length with the guys about that so we still gear and get our tempo and our speed and all the things we need to get done and still compete.
“This is a bit of a transition, so it’s a huge day. There’s a change coming up, so I’m concerned about it and want to get this thing started right.”
CLOSE, BUT …
Lynch and Sherman were nominees for NFC Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, but the selections were Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Panthers rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Peterson rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the Vikings’ win over the Bears, while Lynch had 128 yards and three TDs – on 11 carries – in the Seahawks win over the Cardinals. Kuechly had a career-high 16 tackles in the Panthers’ upset of the Falcons, while Sherman returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown and also recovered a fumble against the Cardinals.
The Seahawks have had four players selected this season: quarterback Russell Wilson (last week), defensive end Chris Clemons (Week 4), Sherman (Week 10) and kick returner Leon Washington (Week 12).
WHICH SEAHAWKS DESERVE YOUR PRO BOWL VOTE?
Fan balloting for the Pro Bowl ends on Monday, so you’ve only got a few days left to rock the vote for the worthy Seahawks.
Lynch is second (431,114) among the NFC running backs to Peterson (668,942), but there are others who need your help – including center Max Unger, nose tackle Brandon Mebane, free safety Earl Thomas, Chancellor, Sherman, punter Jon Ryan and special teams standout Heath Farwell.
You can cast your vote here.
Fan balloting counts one third toward selection of the NFC squad, with the coaches and players scheduled to cast their votes Dec. 20-21.
STAT DU JOUR
Staying with this 12-thing, the 12th Man helped prod three false-start penalties out of the Cardinals on Sunday, raising the league-leading total at CenturyLink Field to 119 since the start of the 2005 season. For those not in the stadium to see the scoreboard graphic that ticks off the false starts as they occur, here’s a look at the league leaders in that category during that span:
Stadium (team) False starts
CenturyLink Field (Seahawks) 119
Metrodome (Vikings) 115
Ford Field (Lions) 107
Edward Jones Dome (Rams) 102
“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to practice for their final road game of the regular season. With the game in Toronto, the team will travel on Friday following a midday practice and hold its Saturday walkthrough in Toronto.
YOU DON’T SAY
“He’s just totally out of character. I don’t know where that’s coming from. But, keep running.” – fullback Michael Robinson on the pile-moving Lynch bouncing outside to score on a 33-yard run and then hurdling a couple of fallen players on a 20-yard TD run against the Cardinals
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks one day after their 58-0 performance over the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his game story from Sunday, “The Seahawks are 8-5, assuring they won’t finish with a losing record for a fifth successive season. And this time, Seattle found a way to win without any doubts. ‘We’ve been having a lot of close battles this whole year,’ safety Earl Thomas said. ‘It just feels great when you get a win and you don’t really have to fight. We just stayed disciplined the whole game and really didn’t give them any life.’ ”
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times highlights the play of cornerback Richard Sherman and the Seahawks defense in Sunday’s win, “This was the kind of performance the Seahawks defense needed after several weeks of struggles. They didn’t hemorrhage yards and then save themselves with turnovers. They shut down the Cardinals completely. Arizona gained 154 yards, compared to the Seahawks’ season-high 493. The Cardinals never really threatened to score. ‘It was unbelievable,’ Sherman said. ‘It was a total team effort.’ ”
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times has his reaction after Sunday’s rout, “There is something special about this team. It has a certain resolve and an ability to move past a bad loss. For more than three months now, the Hawks have shown their resilience. They’re deep, talented and hungry. ‘Our resolve is embodied in our quarterback (Russell Wilson),’ [Michael] Robinson said. ‘Everything was going against him. He was too short. He couldn’t play in this league. Whatever the case may be. He keeps proving the critics wrong. And people tell us we can’t win on the road. People tell us we can’t beat some of the elite teams. Hopefully we’re trying to prove all that wrong. But we don’t want to think about the big picture right now. We want to finish and then look back and say, ‘Wow, look at what we just did.’ ‘ Fifty-eight to nothing. Wow, look at what the Seahawks just did. And look at all that still is possible for them.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps Sunday’s 58-0 Seahawks victory, “The Seahawks are now 6-0 at home — two wins away from going 8-0 at home for the first time since the team’s Super Bowl season in 2005. Seattle players aren’t taking the way they played for granted. ‘It shows us when we finish (a) game, and when we finish plays and we work all the way through the whistle, good things happen — for whatever reason,’ fullback Michael Robinson said. ‘And we have to keep it up. We’re in finish mode right now — fourth quarter.’ Added safety Earl Thomas: ‘It’s just a stepping stone. I think we’re getting hot at the right time. It’s getting late in the season, and we’re ready for this push to the playoffs.’ ”
Williams also writes about rookie running back Robert Turbin’s day, “Turbin finished with 20 carries for 108 yards, the first time he topped the 100-yard mark in his pro career. ‘It really helped a lot,’ Turbin said. ‘To finally not just get flashes of carries here and there, but to just get consecutive carries and get a feel for the defense for my own self. That’s a lot of what Marshawn does. You guys talk about that all time — he doesn’t break a lot of his big runs until the second half. Well, that’s a part of him feeling the game. And I was able to kind of feel the game myself.’ ”
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks’ saw their “next man up” philosophy pay dividends on Sunday, “[Walter] Thurmond was a little down on himself for not getting an interception on his dramatic tipped ball, but credited Wagner with a nice return. He was in no way rusty in his first start this season, he said, and he was not in the least surprised by the play of the young apprentices who were thrust into action. ‘We’ve got a lot of depth,’ Thurmond said, explaining that the results of this have benefits in practice as well as in games. ‘We’ve got a lot of competition every day in practice; that’s why we get better every week. And then when we get in game situations, we can capitalize and make plays.’ ”
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune details Sherman’s heroics on Sunday, “When the pummeling got to the point of wishing the NFL had a mercy rule for blowouts, Sherman even danced while on the bench. By that time the score was 51-0, and another afternoon — two interceptions, three passes defended, a fumble recovery and too many gesticulations to count — was in the books for the Seahawks’ Most Voluble Player. ‘Richard Sherman is a little bit crazy; everybody knows that,’ safety Earl Thomas, Sherman’s ‘Legion of Boom’ colleague, said in the Seahawks locker room. ‘But he’s a hell of a player. I’m glad he’s on our team.’ ”
Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune notes that tight end Anthony McCoy’s dropped passes seem to be in the past, “McCoy appeared in two games in 2010 and didn’t make a catch. Last season, he played in all 16 games, making 13 catches for 146 yards. But it was the catches he didn’t make that were the problem. McCoy had a habit of dropping passes. ‘I have grown a lot from my first year,’ McCoy said, crediting former teammates John Carlson and Chris Baker and current teammates Zach Miller and Cameron Morrah with helping him. ‘I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of dropped balls, and it’s something I really harped on in the offseason, and I think I fixed it for the most part.’ It seems that way. McCoy has 16 catches for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and has one drop this season. ‘He has so much speed and so much ability,’ Wilson said. ‘He’s like a receiver in terms of the way he runs.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his game recap from yesterday, “Seattle’s running game was so dominant, totaling 284 yards, the fourth most in franchise history, that the Seahawks managed to put 58 points on the scoreboard with just 209 passing yards. ‘I don’t think I’ve seen (a blowout like this). I’ve never been a part of something like that, but a lot of crazy plays happened out there today,’ receiver Sidney Rice said.”
Boyle also rehashes the dominance that was on display in the Seahawks’ win, “The lopsided nature of this victory is nearly impossible to repeat in the NFL, but the way the Seahawks exerted their will, the way the defense dominated at home, the way they didn’t let a bad team hang around, bodes well for a team that gets to play two of its final three at home. It has its only remaining road game against the 5-8 Bills on a quasi-neutral field in Toronto. ‘We have so much more to do and our goal is to do a lot of great things and to bring a lot of great things to this city and our franchise,’ quarterback Russell Wilson said. Two weeks ago after a forgettable afternoon in Miami, greatness seemed like a pipe dream. After their past two victories, however, the Seahawks are a team nobody can ignore.”
Todd Fredrickson of the Everett Herald has a look at the Seahawks’ ability to contain Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, “For Sherman and Walter Thurmond, who stepped in for Browner, that meant a careful study of Cardinals all-everything wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Their performance exceeded even their own wildest fantasies. Fitzgerald caught only one pass, a completely harmless reception in the fourth quarter that went for just two yards. ‘You don’t come into a game ever expecting to hold Larry to one catch. He’s one of the best receivers in the world, probably top five or six in the history of the game,’ Sherman said. ‘To hold him down is a testament to our entire defense, everybody playing disciplined, everybody doing their job. It’s not just me,’ he said. ‘It’s everybody.’ ”
Mike Salk of 710Sports.com details the Seahawks’ “killer instinct” in putting away the Cardinals on Sunday, “It doesn’t matter how poorly your opponent plays, you have to put them away and the Seahawks did exactly that. So now we know the Hawks are capable of a blowout. Cool. But does that mean we should expect more of them? I say no. This team is still built to play defense, run the ball, and win close games. That recipe does not lend itself to many blowouts. The NFL is too evenly matched to see even comfortable wins very often. But does it mean that we need to start expecting ‘bigger’ things for this team? It sure might. I’m not as much impressed that the Seahawks won by 58 as I am that they played so well in Week 14. The NFL is such a grind that often the best team in the regular season is not playing the best in January. But a team hitting its stride in December can set itself up perfectly for a January run. The Seahawks seem to be one of those teams playing its best at the perfect time. Now we’ll see if they can make the most of it.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has several “quick hits” following Sunday’s Seahawks win, “The lead. The Seahawks improved to 8-5 with an absolutely dominant performance against the lowly Cardinals, forcing eight turnovers and scoring in seemingly every way imaginable. Seattle’s 58 points broke the franchise record of 56, set in 1977 against Buffalo. The win ensures the Seahawks at least a .500 regular season for the first time under coach Pete Carroll. More importantly, it strengthens the Seahawks’ hold on a playoff spot. Seattle remains a game and a half back in the NFC West standings as San Francisco beat Miami.”
Henderson covers backup quarterback Matt Flynn’s regular-season Seahawks debut, “Flynn finally made his Seahawks debut during Sunday’s 58-0 rout of the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field, a game so one-sided that Seattle pulled Wilson one series into the third quarter. ‘It’s been really hard for Matt to have to sit back and watch this,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He came here to be the starter and it hasn’t worked out, but he’s a fantastic football player and he deserves to play. I’m thrilled that we got to get him some significant playing time today.”
Henderson also recaps the Seahawks’ dominant defensive performance, “Skelton completed 11 of 22 passes for 74 yards and the four interceptions. He was replaced in the second half by rookie Ryan Lindley, who didn’t look much better while going 8 of 17 for 59 yards. This marked the third time this season that Seattle’s defense hasn’t allowed any points. The Seahawks also kept St. Louis and Carolina from scoring on offense, but neither of those performances could match this one. Seattle held Arizona to 154 yards in all, an abysmal total even for a Cardinals offense that ranks last in the NFL ‘Ass kicking. That’s the only thing you can say,’ Skelton said when asked to put the game into words.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com has his reaction following the Seahawks’ convincing victory, “For Seahawks fans, that is the exciting part — growth led by Wilson that has spread throughout the lineup. Overshadowed by the quarterback’s improvement has been another rookie, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Like Sherman, he had two picks (Arizona’s premier wideout, Larry Fitzgerald, had one catch for two yards) and led the team with eight tackles and two passes defensed. He is in command of the defense in the same way Wilson runs the offense. To have two rookies in the pivot positions leading a 58-0 triumph in the NFL stretches credulity. It is a major salute to GM John Schneider to have identified these talents and a major salute to coach Pete Carroll to have the guts to go so young when more experienced players could have been put in charge. ‘It’s a reward for all the hard work,’ Carroll said of having a blowout after so many taut, final-possession outcomes. ‘You work so hard and so often, the games don’t (often) afford you the opportunity. For everybody to play, for everybody to contribute — so many guys can get on the stat sheets — it’s really very positive.’ ”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com deciphers how the Seahawks win affects the rest of the NFC West, “The division race might yet come through Seattle, where the Seahawks have yet to lose in six chances this season. San Francisco and St. Louis (6-6-1) still must play at CenturyLink. Seattle plays its lone road game, against Buffalo, indoors at Toronto. The 49ers have been the best team in the division most of the season, but they haven’t been able to run away. Among NFC West teams, Arizona still owns the longest winning streak this season, at four games. St. Louis’ current three-game winning streak, its longest since 2006, stands second. Seattle and San Francisco have yet to win more than two in a row, but there’s still time. The NFC West fun is only beginning.”
Sando also has his “Rapid Reaction” after yesterday’s Seahawks-Cardinals game, “What I liked: Both defenses showed up early, consistent with how NFC West games have been played over the past year or so. Seattle’s Bobby Wagner picked off John Skelton’s fourth attempt. Linebacker K.J. Wright broke up a pass for Larry Fitzgerald, and cornerback Walter Thurmond dove under the ball to tip it up in the air. Wagner caught it and headed the other way, the first of two picks for him. Arizona’s defense then held Seattle to a field goal, sacking Russell Wilson on third down. Wilson, pressured into ineffective play during a 20-16 defeat at Arizona in Week 1, had answers this time. That became apparent late in the first quarter when Wilson quickly dumped off to Anthony McCoy to beat a five-man pressure for a 21-yard gain. McCoy had three catches for 105 yards. Fellow tight end Zach Miller had a 24-yard touchdown grab. Wilson played very well again. His lone pick came on a tipped pass while Seattle held a 31-0 lead in the second quarter.
Lastly, the Seahawks’ defensive performance yesterday sparked NFL.com to take a look back at the most fantasy football points scored by defenses since 2002. Yesterday’s defense nabbed 41 fantasy points – good for second-most since 2002. The leader? The Seattle Seahawks of 2005, whose defense racked up 44 fantasy points in a 42-0 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks one day after their 23-17 overtime victory on the road against the Chicago Bears.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times highlights the impressive play of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, “The Seahawks couldn’t lose this one because Wilson was too spectacular. He completed 23 of a season-high 37 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns. He ran nine times for 71 yards. And he didn’t commit a turnover against the NFL’s greatest ballhawking defense. At last, the Seahawks went deep into their offensive repertoire. Wilson handled a more pass-centric attack with his usual efficiency and a little extra flair, displaying an electricity in his performance that we had only seen on occasion since the preseason. He beat the Bears with his arm, his legs and his will. And, at last, the Seahawks stopped their road woes. They entered the game with a 1-5 road record. Games away from CenturyLink Field have been full of frustration this season. Every one has come down to the final possession. The defense has saved its mistakes for the fourth quarter. And the offense has been a dropped pass or stumbling receiver away from winning.”
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his recap of yesterday’s Seahawks win, “The Seahawks had their two longest drives of the season, including a 97-yarder in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter. And then — even after Seattle failed to finish off the Bears in regulation — Seattle won the coin toss to start overtime with the ball and never turned back, driving 80 yards in 12 plays for a victory that just might turn out to save the Seahawks’ season. ‘It was on the road, and it was against the Bears,’ fullback Michael Robinson said. ‘Da Bears! Playing at Soldier Field, our backs were against the wall, and we kept marching. Boom, boom, boom, boom. And all of a sudden, the crowd is silent.’ But not the Seahawks, having made a statement. They are 7-5 with three of their final four games at home.’It’s a powerful demonstration for a young bunch of guys that it can happen,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘This is how it does happen. It has been long in coming.’ ”
O’Neil has his “Two-Minute Drill” where he names Wilson and Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught 10 passes for 165 yards, his players of the game.
O’Neil revisits his “Keys to the Game” for the Seahawks and Bears, “…3. Don’t get too conservative in crunch time. Scouting report: The Seahawks had the ball, first-and-10 at the Miami 40 on their final possession in Week 12 when coach Pete Carroll tried to grit out field-goal position with a a handoff and a screen pass. The Seahawks would have been better off putting the game in Russell Wilson’s hands there at the end, and letting him try to throw Seattle into field-goal range. Result: Wilson threw 37 passes, his most in any game this season. He was 7-for-10 passing on Seattle’s final drive of the fourth quarter, throwing for 77 yards. But Seattle ran most of the way to a victory in overtime, throwing only three passes during the 80-yard touchdown drive. Conservative? Perhaps. Effective? No doubt.”
O’Neil also takes a look at the struggles of the Seahawks fourth-quarter defense, “It was the fourth time this season the Seahawks defense lost a lead in the fourth quarter. Seattle led 16-13 with nine minutes left in the opener at Arizona only to have the Cardinals drive 80 yards for the winning touchdown. Detroit and Miami each came back from fourth-quarter deficits to beat Seattle in the Seahawks’ previous two road games. In Chicago, though, Seattle’s offense and quarterback Russell Wilson — along with the fact backup quarterback Matt Flynn won the coin toss — gave the Seahawks a victory despite the defense giving up that late lead. ‘We had our stops, but we’ve got to finish better,’ [safety Earl] Thomas said. ‘Hats go off to Russell and the offense, and all the players that were in on the key plays that ended in the result we had today.’ ”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his game story from Sunday, “The Seahawks won the toss in overtime. This time, Wilson used his legs instead of his arm to move the ball down the field, running three times for 28 yards to help Seattle get into field- goal position. But Carroll didn’t want to give the Bears another chance to win the game. ‘We were trying to win the football game there,’ Carroll said. ‘We weren’t thinking about just kicking the field goal.’ So on first-and-10 from Chicago’s 13-yard line, Wilson used a play-action fake to freeze the defense, rolled to his left and hit Rice on a crossing route, with the wiry receiver plowing into the end zone for the game-winning score.
Williams also breaks down the battle that took place between the Bears’ Marshall and Seahawks cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, “Seattle’s cornerback duo of Browner and Richard Sherman had held Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and Carolina’s Steve Smith all under 100 yards receiving. But the two struggled to keep Marshall contained. Sherman said that he and Marshall were focused on playing football, so there wasn’t a whole lot of trash talking between the two. ‘We were just having casual conversation – there wasn’t too much bad talking,’ Sherman said. ‘It’s always fun to compete with a guy like that, who has a high motor and plays hard. Even Cutler, a great quarterback who talks a little, it makes the game fun for both sides, and we had a nice battle today.’ ”
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune features Sunday’s play of Wilson in his latest column, “Three months ago, the book on the Seahawks was that if the kid QB is efficient, it will be sufficient: Give the ball to Marshawn Lynch, throw some high-percentage passes to receivers running slant routes. Otherwise? Kinda stay out of the way, R-Dub. Don’t go changing; we like you just the way you are. Except there are times – Sunday in Chicago, for instance – when a quarterback must exude more than simple efficiency. There are times when a quarterback breaks a huddle at his team’s 3-yard line, late in the game, needing to score a touchdown because a field goal won’t cut it. Wilson not only marched the Seahawks down the field during that gut-check drive, he marched them down the field after the Bears’ gut-wrenching field goal, and it’s not unreasonable to wonder: Was this the work of the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year?
Mike Salk of 710Sports.com comments on the play of Wilson and the Seahawks offense, “It seems like every time the offense performs, I rave about the read option. And why not? It is the play that best takes advantage of their skills. It allows Wilson to use his decision-making prowess by reading the defensive end and either keeping the football or allowing the running back to slide underneath the end. If he keeps, his legs have been key – to the tune of 71 yards in this one. And two of the biggest plays of the game (the third-and-10 completion to Baldwin and the final touchdown to Sidney Rice) both came off the same read-option look. Teams will likely adapt to the play; NFL coaches are too smart not to adjust. But that adjustment should come as Wilson grows more and more comfortable in the traditional passing game. What I’m saying here is what we already know: the Seahawks have their franchise guy in Wilson. The win in Chicago alone didn’t prove it, but it was another important piece of evidence.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has several notes following the Seahawks 23-17 win on Sunday, “Seattle’s receivers, inconsistent this season, had one of their better games. Tate made another sensational play to set up the Seahawks’ first touchdown, making defenders miss on a 49-yard reception up the sideline. His touchdown in the fourth quarter was even more impressive. He found his way into the end zone on a 14-yard pass, avoiding several defenders before diving across the goal line. Doug Baldwin and Rice had key receptions, including Rice’s game-winner. Baldwin had a key block on Marshawn Lynch’s touchdown run. Tight end Zach Miller made a 7-yard catch on fourth-and-3 to extend the fourth-quarter touchdown drive.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com recaps the Seahawks’ Week 13 win in Chicago, and has a look at how Rice’s game-winning touchdown unfolded, “Wilson said he and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell saw the Bears overloading on the read-option again, and made a play-call adjustment at the line. ‘The staff was doing a tremendous job with the calls when needed,’ Wilson said. ‘Coach Bevell did great job recognizing what they were trying to do. I saw the same thing. So we faked the read option and Sidney Rice made a great move to come open in front of the defense.’ Rice, who fooled ace cornerback Charles Tillman into thinking he was blocking him, caught Wilson’s dart at the Chicago 4 and lunged low for the goal line. He took a massive hit to the head and shoulders, enough to knock the ball loose, but a moment after Rice crossed the plane that drew a signal of a touchdown.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “Rapid Reaction” following the Seahawks’ overtime win at Chicago, “What it means: The Seahawks strengthened their positioning in the chase for a playoff berth by finally breaking through on the road. This game showed Seattle could beat a winning team away from CenturyLink Field without getting many breaks. Quarterback Russell Wilson was again stellar as Seattle improved to 7-5 while dealing a costly defeat to the Bears. Seattle had suffered close defeats on the road recently when its defense faltered late. Wilson did not let it happen this time, leading go-ahead drives late in regulation and again in overtime.”
Sando also recounts Wilson’s Week 13 performance and has a look at how the rookie has matured to date, “Scouts from other teams were watching from the press box. I heard one of them use the word “monster” in describing the 75th player chosen in the 2012 draft. This was not a one-time thing, either. What Wilson did Sunday was consistent with what he’s been doing for a while, except it was more dramatic and there was no defensive collapse to spoil it. After a slow start to the season, Wilson entered Sunday trailing only Tom Brady in Total QBR after Week 5. He was seventh in passer rating over that span. He had beaten Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Tony Romo. He had put his team in position to beat Matthew Stafford and Ryan Tannehill as well, but both times the Seattle defense couldn’t hold fourth-quarter leads on the road. There would be no late defensive stand this time, either. Wilson made sure Seattle would not need one. ‘Everybody realizes in our locker room that the kid playing quarterback is an amazing kid,’ Carroll said.”
Tony Ventrella has his game recap video feature, catching postgame reaction from Carroll, Wilson, Thomas, Tate, and Zach Miller following yesterday win at Chicago.
Team photographer Rod Mar has a look at Sunday’s win in photos here.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 23.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times details the Seahawks’ ability to utilize the zone-read option with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, “The Seahawks typically run the play out of the shotgun formation like they did on the final play of the third quarter in their Week 10 victory against the Jets. Wilson kept the ball that time, running outside for an 18-yard gain after Jets linebacker Bart Scott committed wholesale to chasing Lynch. ‘I wouldn’t call him a running quarterback but he has the ability to run,’ offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. ‘Then it just gives you another dimension. Any time you put the ball in front of Marshawn or any of our backs, they have to honor that.’ ”
O’Neil also has Thursday’s practice report, noting that defensive end Red Bryant sat out with a sore foot.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with backup quarterback Matt Flynn, “Flynn signed a three-year, $19.5 million deal with the Seahawks, including $10 million guaranteed. But, as Flynn admits, Seattle coach Pete Carroll was upfront in telling him that he would have to earn the job as the starter. ‘They told me I’d be coming in and competing,’ Flynn said. And a surprising thing happened during training camp – the five-year veteran was beaten out by third-round draft pick Russell Wilson. Flynn has not played a single snap for his new team in a regular-season game. But Flynn said he does not have second thoughts about his decision to move to Seattle. ‘I try to have the motto of living life with no regrets,’ Flynn said. ‘I wouldn’t take anything back. I think I look back at the things I looked at, and the personal things I decided on, and I think I wouldn’t take anything back. I don’t have any regrets about it, but it was a tough decision, for sure.’ ”
Liz Mathews of 710Sports.com has her practice report from Thursday, “In just his second day of practice, guard James Carpenter was a full participant. Carpenter was limited on Wednesday after missing two games with a concussion. Carroll said he will wait and see how Carpenter performs throughout the week before deciding if he will get the start at left guard on Sunday against the Dolphins. Running back Marshawn Lynch, still listed with a back injury, continues to be a full participant in practice. Carroll was asked about Lynch’s durability during the Wednesday press conference. ‘Our guys have managed him real well on our days, and building him back up each week,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s looked fit and fast and everything looks great. He looks like he’s in great shape right now. So it’s going fine and I’m not worried about it at all honestly. I told him we’re going to give it to him more.’ ”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at injury situations around the NFC West, and has a few notes on the relatively healthy Seahawks, “Guard James Carpenter has been cleared to return from a concussion. He could start at left guard against Miami. Carpenter was limited Wednesday. Seattle, like San Francisco, appears mostly healthy following a recent bye. The team continues to list running back Marshawn Lynch (back) on its participation report. He practiced fully. Linebacker K.J. Wright is back at practice after missing time with a concussion. He’s expected to start against the Dolphins.”
Sando also picks the Seahawks to win by four over the Miami Dolphins this Sunday, “Seattle Seahawks at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. ET My theory is that Russell Wilson has been playing better regardless of venue and it will show late in the season. More on that in our “Final Word” item later Friday. The Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill has one touchdown pass with six interceptions on third down this season. Sando’s best guess: Seahawks 24, Dolphins 20.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his recap of “Thanksgiving Day in Hawkville“, and chats with free safety Earl Thomas about his new daughter, Kaleigh Rose, “Kaleigh Rose was born Sept. 24, just before kickoff on the Monday night when the Seahawks hosted the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field. Needless to say, life has not been the same since for Thomas or Nina, Kaleigh Rose’s mother. ‘It’s just crazy to see her grow every day,’ Thomas said. ‘It seems like something changes every day. She looks just like me, and I didn’t ever think I could create something beautiful like that. It’s just a blessing.’ ”
Tony Ventrella has his Thanksgiving Day-themed “Seahawks Daily”, talking with defensive end Red Bryant, quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Leon Washington on what the day means to them.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 14.
The NFL’s Director of NFC Football Communications Randall Liu announced on Twitter that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his effort against the New York Jets. Sherman had an interception in the end zone to prevent a Jets scoring attempt (his 4th of season and tied for 3rd in the NFL). He added a sack (the first of his career) and forced fumble that was recovered by Seattle and led to a touchdown. Sherman also had three tackles and three passes defensed for a defense that did not allow a score on the day, as the Jets’ only touchdown was on a sack-fumble and fumble return for a touchdown.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his Tuesday ‘Hawk Talk session available for review here. O’Neil will step away from his blog the rest of the week and return along with the Seahawks players on Monday, November 19.
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune notes the similarities between the University of Washington Huskies football team and Seahawks, “The Huskies are 6-4 and riding a two-game winning streak, as are the Seahawks. The Huskies have won five at home and one on the road. So have the Seahawks. When this year’s schedule was announced, the Huskies had reason to fear October – with games against Stanford, Oregon and USC – as a brutal month. Those fears turned out to be legitimate. The Seahawks must’ve winced, too, when they pondered an October stretch that included a home game against New England, followed by road games at San Francisco and Detroit. Those fears turned out to be legitimate. Despite a rash of injuries to their offensive line, the Huskies have assembled a ground attack around running back Bishop Sankey, playing his second season at the UW. Sankey has rushed 210 times, for 1,011 yards. Injuries have also forced the Seahawks to piece together an offensive line of movable parts, anchored by the dependably durable Max Unger – their version of the Huskies’ Drew Schaefer. The ground attack relies on Marshawn Lynch, playing his second season in Seattle. Lynch has rushed 212 times, for 1,005 yards.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has a look at the major contributions the Seahawks are getting from their 2012 draft class, “Irvin leads all rookies in sacks with seven, which puts him in a tie for the team lead with Chris Clemons. New England’s Chandler Jones, the 21st overall pick, is next among rookies with six … Wagner, Seattle’s second-round pick, leads the team in tackles with 81, fourth-most in the NFL. That total is tied for the second-most among rookies with Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David, who was taken 11 spots after Wagner. Carolina’s Luke Kuechly, the ninth overall pick, ranks third in the NFL with 87 tackles. Wagner also has two sacks … Wilson, taken in the third round, leads all rookie quarterbacks with 15 touchdown passes, which is tied for 10th-most in the NFL. His 90.5 QB rating is 12th in the league, second only to Washington’s Robert Griffin III (the second overall pick) among rookie quarterbacks.”
Mike Salk and Brock Huard of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” discuss whether or not Wilson looks like a franchise quarterback in this short video.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his latest “MVP Watch” and Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch gets a bump in Sando’s standings from a week ago, “Lynch has 1,005 yards in 10 games, joining Peterson as the only players with at least 1,000 yards rushing to this point in the season. Lynch is averaging a career-high 4.7 yards per carry thanks in part to a career-long 77-yard scoring run against Detroit. Lynch now has 2,209 yards in his last 25 games with Seattle. He’s riding a streak of four consecutive 100-yard games and has scored a touchdown in the Seahawks’ last three. His production has remained consistent across venues and game situations, such as whether Seattle is winning or losing. He averages 5.0 yards per carry on first down.”
Sando says the play of NFC West QBs is mostly on the rise lately, “Seattle Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson has seven TD passes with one interception over his past three games.”
Sando details NFC West offensive and defensive ranks thru Week 10, “The Seahawks have scored between 24 and 30 points in each of their past three games after doing so only twice in their previous seven. Quarterback Russell Wilson has ranked fifth in NFL passer rating (105.3) and sixth in Total QBR (79.1) among regular starters since Week 6. The St. Louis Rams’ Sam Bradford has ranked 10th (92.2 passer rating) and 11th (71.6 QBR) over that time.”
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah breaks down who has the best backup plan at quarterback around the League, and the Seahawks’ Matt Flynn is near the top of his ranks, “Flynn has only started two games in his career, but he put up huge numbers for the Green Bay Packers in those contests. He doesn’t have a big-time arm, but he’s smart, accurate and makes good decisions.”
NFL.com wants your help in naming three of the best plays from Week 10, and wide receiver Golden Tate’s touchdown toss to wide receiver Sidney Rice is one of their three plays. You can help name the play here.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth highlights the Seahawks’ first three draft choices from the 2012 NFL Draft, “Bruce Irvin – The selection of the rush-end from West Virginia with the 15th pick overall caught more than just a few by surprise. But after collecting two more sacks in Sunday’s 28-7 thumping of the New York Jets at CenturyLink Field, Irvin has seven to lead all NFL rookies and share the team lead with “Leo” end Chris Clemons. Bobby Wagner – When the team decided against re-signing three-time leading tackler David Hawthorne in free agency, the plan for filling the hole in the middle of the defense was to sign a veteran and also draft a middle linebacker. The Seahawks could have just fast-forwarded to second part of that plan, as Wagner won the job so convincingly that veteran Barrett Ruud was traded in August. All the rookie from Utah State has done is lead the team in tackles with 81 and also contribute two of the Seahawks’ 28 sacks – which is five fewer than they had all of last season; which is why getting Irvin in the first round was Priority One. Russell Wilson – The QB from Wisconsin and North Carolina State is still “too short,” but it hasn’t stopped him from producing some tall-order statistics. Like 5-0, his record at CenturyLink Field, making Wilson the first rookie since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970 to win his first five at home. Like 11 and 0, his touchdown pass and interceptions totals in those five games. Like 90.5, his passer rating, which ranks 12th in the league and is No. 2 behind the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III (93.9) among the five rookie QBs who are starting. Like 96.2, his passer rating in the fourth quarter, when his five TD passes have won two games – should have won another – and sealed the deal on a third.”
Lastly, we have “Salute to Service”-specific photos from our Week 10 victory over the New York Jets available here.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 7.
There was a couple of roster moves that came late Tuesday afternoon, when the team announced the release of wide receiver Charly Martin from the active roster, and the release of wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei from the practice squad. As of this morning, no move had been made to fill either spot.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at how much better Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has become since the start of the season, “No one is calling for Matt Flynn to start for Seattle anymore. At least not loud enough to hear, and certainly not like it was in September when the Seahawks’ offense was about as potent as the Mariners’. But over the first nine games, the most important trend for Wilson has been the way he eliminates flaws in his performance. Halfway through his first season, the most important thing is to judge not how good he is, but how much better he has become. And only by looking at that process step by step, following three critical improvements, can you see how he’s reached this point of leading Seattle’s offense to 54 points in the past two games and holding the league’s 11th-best quarterback rating.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with the Trufant family, as brothers Marcus and Isaiah are set to square off against each other when the New York Jets comes to town on Sunday at CenturyLink Field, and younger brother Desmond – a senior cornerback at the University of Washington – will play against Utah on Saturday night, also at CenturyLink Field, “Lloyd Trufant said he had a jersey specifically made for the game, with a Marcus Trufant Seahawks jersey on the front and an Isaiah Trufant Jets jersey on the back. ‘We’re pretty pumped up about it,’ Lloyd Trufant said. ‘It should be pretty cool to see both of them on opposing teams. … I have all three of my boys at the same stadium on the same weekend, so that should be cool.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald notes where the Seahawks’ recent run defense struggles may be coming from, “More than anything, Carroll thinks the team’s struggles are the result of young players trying to do too much. In addition to a stout defensive line, one of the most important elements of run defense is the ability of linebackers and safeties to stay disciplined and focus on their responsibilities, not everyone else’s. With a rookie starting at middle linebacker (Bobby Wagner), a second-year strongside linebacker (K.J. Wright) and safeties who are in their third year (Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor), youthful mistakes can happen. It also didn’t help the Seahawks that Wright missed all but three plays of Sunday’s win over the Vikings because of a concussion. ‘I do think we’re over-trying a little bit,’ Carroll said. ‘I think in general guys are trying to live up to the expectations and we’re trying really hard, and at times that takes you out of your game. That’s something we’re really concerned about. We just want to play the way that we’re capable of playing. Sometimes, guys try to go beyond their responsibility to make a play and they get in a bad situation. That’s just because they want to do really well and they’re trying really hard and all of that. It’s a young bunch of guys getting together, so you can fluctuate a little bit there.’ ”
Dave Grosby and Dave Wyman of 710Sports.com say the Seahawks defense is going to be OK, and they attempt to ease the fears of fans in this short video.
Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com brings us his Midseason All-Underrated offensive team, and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson tops the list, “San Francisco’s Alex Smith almost made this spot, but after looking at a few key numbers for both quarterbacks — efficiency in third-down, red-zone, and fourth-quarter situations — the third-round rookie from Wisconsin gets the nod. Wilson, who wasn’t expected to start this season and got all kinds of pre-draft scouting dings as a result of his 5-foot-10 5/8 stature, has become the epicenter of the Seahawks’ offense in the last few weeks. It’s an impressive feat for a team that’s been run-based and centered around Marshawn Lynch. But as head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell have taken the training wheels off of late, Wilson has responded with great production. His three-touchdown performance against the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday was the sixth-best of the week among quarterbacks per Football Outsiders’ efficiency rankings, and we have a feeling that the best is yet to come. Wilson has more passing touchdowns than any other rookie quarterback (yes, more than Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III), and only Griffin has a higher passer rating. Near-Misses: Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers/Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his All-NFC West midseason team and defensive end Chris Clemons, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Richard Sherman, and free safety Earl Thomas make the cut for the defense, while center Max Unger and running back Marshawn Lynch represent the offense. Linebacker Heath Farwell tops all division specialists and running back Leon Washington is named the top return man.
Sam Farmer of the LA Times highlights Seahawks team statistician Todd Nielson, “Nielson gathers and crunches numbers, studies probabilities, looks for any sliver of data concerning the Seahawks or opposing teams that could give Seattle an edge. That includes drawing up statistical reports for Coach Pete Carrolland his assistants, documenting plays and coverages during games, and even analyzing officiating crews for their specific tendencies. ‘You look at it, and eventually it’s going to pop off the paper at you,’ said Nielson, who spends much of his day at his modest cubicle, sleuthing tendencies. ‘My interaction with Coach Carroll is very limited,’ he said. ‘I go in his office when he’s not there, and I drop a piece of paper on his desk with what he calls ‘the orange stuff’ on it, which is the highlighted stuff.’ Throughout the week, Nielson fields requests from coaches — for instance, compile all the New York Jets’ runs in goal-to-go situations — then creates a written report, complete with corresponding video. ‘The stats tell you the when and the where,’ he said. ‘The video tells you the how and the why.’ ”
Farmer also offers a behind-the-scenes look into the life of Carroll and his coaching staff at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, “In a sense, the 5-4 Seahawks mirror their coach. They are energetic, competitive, and have concentration issues resulting in a string of close losses on the road. The team that is 4-0 at CenturyLink Field is 1-4 away from home. Seattle has the NFL’s third-youngest roster — including rookie Russell Wilson starting at quarterback — and the second-oldest head coach, which seems like a mismatch. But few coaches are as youthful as the 61-year-old Carroll, who seldom stops moving around the sprawling facility and always looks as if he’s about to break into a jog. There’s no hint in his stride of his recent knee replacement. ‘It’s constantly surprising to see somebody who’s older than my dad have that kind of energy,’ said Carroll’s right-hand man, Ben Malcolmson, 27, who won acclaim at USC when he went from student journalist to walk-on receiver. ‘Everyone has their ups and downs, times they just want to chill and relax. With him, it’s never, ‘Hey, I’m going to take a nap for 15 minutes.’ It’s nonstop.’ ”
The AP Pro32 has some comments about the Seahawks, who they rank from No. 11 to 12. You can view several of their comments here.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth touches base with the Trufant family, who as we mentioned above will have a busy weekend at CenturyLink Field.
Farnsworth has his “Tuesday in Hawkville“, with a focus on Pro Football Weekly’s Midseason All-Pro list, which features free safety Earl Thomas, running back Marshawn Lynch, and cornerback Richard Sherman.
Lastly, Farnsworth has his first look at the New York Jets, who are up next on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
With the players off and the coaches preparing the game plan for Sunday’s matchup against the Panthers in Carolina, we figured it was a good time to hand out some quarter-season awards:
MVP: Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks’ Beast Mode back leads the NFL in rushing (423 yards) and the NFC in total yards from scrimmage (473). But even more impressive than his yardage totals is the effort that goes into compiling them. Not surprisingly, Lynch also leads the league in yards after contact (199), according to ESPN stats and information. He definitely is the leader the offense needs to follow as it continues to find its way under rookie QB Russell Wilson.
Best defensive player: Brandon Mebane. Can you say Pro Bowl? You can if you’ve watched Mebane’s efforts in the first four games. If Lynch is the tempo-setter for the offense, than Mebane is the disruptive metronome for the league’s No. 2-ranked defense. He has been a force from the nose tackle position by stuffing running plays and also picking up a couple of sacks.
Best special teams player: Jon Ryan. Oh, Canada. The team’s Saskatchewan-born punter has picked up where he left off last season. Ryan is second in the NFL in net average (44.2) and sixth in average (50.3). He also has gotten off a 73-yarder and had six of his 18 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. His franchise records in those categories are 39.3 (net), 46.4 (average), 77 (longest punt) and 34 (punts inside the 20). Honorable mention to co-captains Heath Farwell and Michael Robinson, for their efforts covering kicks but also for their leadership on the team’s most consistent units; and Leon Washington, who has returns of 83 and 69 yards on kickoffs and a 52-yard punt return.
Best rookie: Bobby Wagner. Despite leaving the field when the defense goes to it sub packages, the always-active middle linebacker is third on the team with 22 tackles and showing that he was very much worth the second-round draft choice the club used to acquire him as a more-athletic replacement for three-time leading tackler David Hawthorne, who signed with the Saints in free agency.
Best free-agent addition: Matt Flynn. Say what? He has yet to throw a pass in the regular season after Wilson won the starting job during the preseason. But the class and professionalism Flynn has displayed through this disappointing development deserves recognition. Besides, after the win over the Packers on “Monday Night Football,” several defensive players praised Flynn’s spot-on efforts during practice in portraying Aaron Rodgers – the QB he backed up the past four seasons – as a key element in their preparation.
Joe Nash award (or what would they do without?): Paul McQuistan. He started the first three games at left guard, because James Carpenter was completing his rehab from the severe left knee injury he got during practice last November. With Carpenter back last week, McQuistan slid to right guard to replace John Moffitt, who could miss at least another week because of a knee injury. Heck, in Sunday’s game against the Rams, McQuistan played both spots as Carpenter had to leave for a few plays after tweaking his right knee. But then McQuistan did start 10 games last season – at three different positions.
Best play: Make that most-memorable play and it’s a no-brainer – Golden Tate wrestling the ball from Packers safety M.D. Jennings in the end zone on the final play to give the Seahawks’ their two-point win over Green Bay. The NFL news cycle whirled incessantly for 48 hours on this one before the lockout ending for the real officials pulled the focus in another direction.
Best performance in one quarter: Chris Clemons collecting four sacks of Rodgers in the second quarter of the Monday night game. It was a career-high total for Clemons and tied the franchise single-game record.
Best performance in one half: The Seahawks generating eight sacks of Rodgers in the first half of the Monday night game, with rookie Bruce Irvin and Mebane each getting a pair to supplement Clemons’ onslaught.
Best trend: The play of the defense, especially against the run. While the Seahawks rank No. 2 overall in average yards allowed (275.8), they are No. 2 against the run (62.8) – and also No. 2 allowing 2.99 yards per carry despite facing the Rams’ Steven Jackson, the Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray and the Packers’ Cedric Benson, who rank among the Top 12 in the NFC in rushing.
Most unsettling trend: Third downs. While the defense is allowing opponents to convert 43.1 percent of the time, the offense is converting 28 percent of the time. That’s a combination that cannot continue. By getting off the field in three downs more often (the Seahawks have forced 13 three-and-outs in 43 possessions by their opponents), the defense can give the offense some needed field position. By sustaining more drives on third downs (the Seahawks have 11 three-and-outs on their 41 possessions), the offense can give the defense a longer rest – and Lynch more chances to produce more first downs.
With all that said, Hawkville will return to its normal format tomorrow, when the players return from their off day to begin preparing for Sunday’s game against the Panthers in Carolina.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 2.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times says that Head Coach Pete Carroll is standing by quarterback Russell Wilson after the rookie threw three interceptions in the team’s 19-13 loss at St. Louis over the weekend, “Wilson remains Seattle’s starting quarterback heading into this week’s game against Carolina, and one-quarter of the way through this season, Seattle’s coach tried to take a big-picture perspective on his rookie’s performance. ‘He’s a first-time starter,’ Carroll said. ‘He has been in every game and had a chance to win ’em. He’s won one of them, and two of them got away from us at the end there.’ All true. Seattle has had the ball in the opponent’s half of the field with a chance to win in the two road games it lost.”
O’Neil also has a look at what we learned and what we’re still trying to figure out after Sunday’s loss in St. Louis, “Seattle’s defense isn’t entirely impregnable.
St. Louis entered the game having completed five passes of 20 yards or more, fewest in the league. Well, not only did the Rams have a 52-yard pass against Seattle — the longest play from the scrimmage the Seahawks allowed this season — but St. Louis converted five third downs that required 10 yards or more. The Seahawks’ defense didn’t allow a touchdown, and played well enough to win, but there is some room for improvement when it comes to getting off the field.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune clarifies the health of quarterback Matt Flynn, who Carroll said yesterday in an interview 710 KIRO AM is not an option to replace Wilson as the starting quarterback because of a sore elbow, “Carroll later clarified his comments during his regular interview session with reporters Monday afternoon. ‘Matt’s ready to play,’ Carroll said. ‘We just don’t know what’s going to happen when he gets a lot of work. He might be all right. But we don’t know that. We have not taken him there yet. But he’s ready to play in every game, and he’s ready to go in the very next play we need him, and so the competition goes on, in my mind, as it does in every position on our football team. Our guys continue to compete. But he has not had the opportunity, because we give the starter all the reps. And with a young guy for the first time, we’re giving him every single snap we can.’ Carroll said that Flynn has not aggravated the elbow injury, which he described as tendinitis when it occurred. He did not rule out the possibility of Flynn having to deal with the elbow issue for the rest of the year. But if Carroll needed to use Flynn later this season as the team’s starter, he has plenty of experience monitoring an injured quarterback during the week’s practices to make sure he’s available to play on Sunday. That’s exactly what Carroll did for nine games last season when Tarvaris Jackson suffered a torn pectoral muscle, but only missed the Cleveland game.”
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune debates and defends Carroll’s decision to stay with Wilson at quarterback, “Here are some evaluation tools to consider, on both sides of the matter: There’s been so much talk about Wilson’s lack of height that it has obscured the reality that he’s more lacking in experience. He’s a rookie. He makes rookie mistakes and it’s to be expected if you decide to start one. Matt Hasselbeck came to Seattle after two seasons in Green Bay as an understudy to Brett Favre, and in his first five starts, he completed 51 percent of his passes and had two touchdowns and five interceptions. That’s far shakier than the pace Wilson is on. The thing you have to consider when deciding the worth of weathering the learning curve of a young quarterback is if you’re certain you’ll come out the other side with a winner.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald points out that according to Carroll, Wilson would still be the team’s starter at quarterback even if the uncertainty surrounding Flynn’s sore elbow was made clear, “But regardless of the unknowns about Flynn’s elbow, Wilson would still be the team’s starter, Carroll said. That was the case after three games when the Seahawks had won two straight, and it remains true even after a loss that saw the passing game continue to struggle. ‘We’re going with Russell, and he’s working his tail off to get it right,’ Carroll said. ‘While all of the focus goes to the quarterback position, there are a lot of guys who figure into what’s going on, and he’s one of them. We’re just trying to get better.’ ”
Tim Booth of the Associated Press writes about Carroll’s decision to stick with Wilson at quarterback and offers some analysis on the Seahawks’ third-down struggles – on both offense and defense – that occurred Sunday in St. Louis, “Third down was one of the glaring areas where the passing game struggles were noticeable. Wilson missed all three pass attempts on third down and was sacked two other times. Seattle’s only two third-down conversions in the loss came when Wilson ran for 2 yards and Lynch rumbled for 8, both in third-and-1 situations. But the third-down problems weren’t limited to the offense. Defensively, the Seahawks gave up five third-down conversions to the Rams, but all five were of at least 10 yards or more. All five of the third-and-long conversions came on St. Louis drives that eventually led to points. Notes: Carroll said they do not expect G John Moffitt (knee) to be ready for Sunday’s game at Carolina. … The Seahawks released OL Allen Barbre on Monday. Barbre spent the first four week of the season on the suspended list.”
Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com looks at some of the reasoning behind Carroll’s decision to stick with Wilson after the rookie quarterback threw three picks in a 19-13 loss to the Rams, “Wilson threw for 160 yards, three interceptions and no touchdowns on Sunday. Carroll defended some of Wilson’s mistakes, saying he wasn’t entirely responsible for two of his interceptions. The first came on a first-quarter pass that was thrown slightly behind Doug Baldwin, going in and out of the receiver’s hands before it was caught by Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson. ‘He could have thrown the ball a little better to Doug but Doug had a chance at that ball and the guy (Johnson) makes an amazing play to get that ball off his back hip,’ Carroll said. Carroll also excused Wilson’s third interception – which he threw on the Seahawks’ final drive when tight end Anthony McCoy slipped as the ball was in the air – but said his second pick was the result of holding onto the ball too long. Wilson was looking for Sidney Rice during a third-quarter drive but he was hit as he threw and the ball popped up into the air. ‘That ball should have come out [sooner]. We should have got rid of that football. We had guys wide open,’ Carroll said. ‘It was a double-corner-type-of-blitz and so there was a lot of spacing out there. But we got distracted on it and Russell didn’t let the ball go.’ ”
Dave Grosby and Bob Stelton of “Bob and Groz” discuss the importance of eliminating costly penalties in this short video from mynorthwest.com.
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Carroll’s Monday media sessions, “The team is averaging just 130.8 yards per game through the air. Despite completing 17 of 25 passes for 160 yards, QB Russell Wilson threw three interceptions and failed to convert some critical third downs to helped sink the Seahawks in a 19-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. ‘We’re going with Russell right now and he’s working his tail off to get it right,’ head coach Pete Carroll said Monday. ‘There are a lot of guys that figure into what’s going on, and he’s one of them. So we’re just trying to get better.’ ”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com says Carroll’s decision to hang with Wilson at quarterback is the right call, “Team record: The Seahawks are 2-2. That is a reasonable record for them given the schedule to this point. The season is not slipping away. Offensive philosophy: Carroll is the one choosing to play conservatively on offense. Why replace Wilson without giving him a chance to do more than manage the game? Has Wilson failed, or has the offense failed? It’s only four games: Back in 2010, about half the season went by before Carroll and veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck reached a comfort level with one another. Carroll wasn’t comfortable opening up the offense. ‘It took some time for us to get together in our thinking, Matt understanding us and us understanding Matt,’ Carroll said following a Week 11 game that year. ‘I think we have cut him loose.’ The dynamics are different now, but there’s still a process involved. Late-game promise: Seattle has trailed in the final minutes of three games this season. Wilson moved the team downfield in every case. Better play from his receivers might have made the difference at Arizona. Wilson was moving the team effectively in the late going Sunday when McCoy tripped, leading to the pick.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnworth breaks down the fantastic play that two former Cal Bears – Marshawn Lynch and Brandon Mebane – had against the Rams on Sunday, discusses the Seahawks’ need for improvement on third-down, and focuses on guard James Carpenter, who excelled in his return to game-action Sunday at St. Louis.
Finally, we have Carroll’s full video press conference from Monday available here.