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Thursday round-up: Unveiling Seahawks all-time underrated, overrated players

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Thursday, July 11, about your Seattle Seahawks:

NFL.com’s Zach Schwartz unveils his list of all-time underrated and overrated players in Seahawks franchise history. Former quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, guard Steve Hutchinson, wide receiver Joey Galloway, kick returner Leon Washington and current strong safety Kam Chancellor make up his all-time underrated list.

We’re about two weeks away from the start of Seahawks training camp, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has started a 15 days, 15 questions feature – counting down one question each day until the start of camp. In his first entry, Condotta clarifies 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin’s reported position switch from defensive end to strongside linebacker with comments from head coach Pete Carroll.

In the podcast below, Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” chat with Seahawks 2013 second-round draft pick running back Christine Michael about his draft process and acclimation to life in the NFL:


Tom Pelissero of USA Today outlines the NFL’s new padding requirements, which mandates all players wear thigh and knee pads. Several wide receivers, cornerbacks and more have chosen not to wear these pads in the past, but choosing to do so this season will not only result in a fine for the player, but NFL referees could also pull that player from the game.

The Seahawks have advanced to Round 3 in NFL.com personality Dave Dameshek’s bracket to determine the greatest uniform in League history. You can cast your vote for the Seahawks’ current digs here, as they square off against the current unis of the New Orleans Saints. Voting for Round 3 ends on Sunday, July 14 at 3 p.m. PT.

ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando has his daily look around the NFC West and will hold a SportsNation chat at 10 a.m. PT.

Sando also notes that quarterback Russell Wilson landed at No. 12 (there’s that number again…) on ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski’s rankings of the League’s 32 signal callers.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth delves into the connection between new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and his hand-picked defensive line coach Travis Jones.

Running back Marshawn Lynch’s Bay Area charity weekend kicks off today.

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin joined KPUG AM 1170 to talk about the 12 Tour Belingham in the podcast below:


Andy Prest of Vancouver, B.C.’s North Shore News also talks with Baldwin, as he previews his 12 Tour visit with our neighbors to the north. Baldwin lands in B.C. with defensive end Red Bryant and cornerback Richard Sherman on Saturday, July 13 for a full weekend of Seahawks-themed activities.

And Australia’s Queensland Maroons rugby squad recently hosted Seahawks 2013 fifth-round draft pick defensive tackle Jesse Williams – an Australia native – at a team scrimmage.


Wednesday round-up: 2013 running back, D-line & special teams previews

Brock Huard and Danny O’Neil of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” discuss the Seahawks’ new additions along the defensive line and look ahead at how the position group projects heading into 2013

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Wednesday, July 10, about your Seattle Seahawks:

In anticipation of NFL.com’s feature set to run later today naming the most overrated and underrated players in Seahawks history, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times takes his own stab at guessing who might make their list.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says offseason addition Cliff Avril will be counted on to “carry the load” as the team’s top pass rusher.

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com continues his positional preview series with a look at the loaded Seahawks backfield, and O’Neil also hosted his latest “Hawk Talk” chat yesterday afternoon, the full transcript of which can be found here.

O’Neil and co-host Brock Huard of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” caught up with former Seahawks quarterback and current Indianapolis Colts signal caller Matt Hasselbeck, who is currently vacationing in Eastern Washington, in the podcast below:


We also have the podcast from O’Neil and Huard’s Seahawks roundtable discussion with ESPN’s John Clayton and NFC West blogger Mike Sando. The foursome talks about what to expect from the club offensively heading into the new season:


NFL.com Around the League writer Marc Sessler ranks the NFL’s Top 8 deepest backfields, and the Seahawks’ quartet of Marshawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, Christine Michael, and Derrick Coleman comes in at No. 2.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth wraps up his 2013 positional preview series by highlighting the club’s special teams unit.

In news around the rest of the League, NFL.com columnist Adam Schein labels the New Orleans Saints as 2013′s most-fascinating team – Schein pegged the Seahawks in that same position last year. The Saints and Seahawks square off in Week 13 (Dec. 2) this season on ESPN’s Monday Night Football at CenturyLink Field.

NFL.com Around the League writer Chris Wesseling takes a look at which NFL records could be broken in the season ahead.

In a lighthearted piece at NFL.com, Henry Hodgson – the site’s “exclusive supplemental draft expert” – has his seven-round mock of Thursday’s 2013 supplemental draft.

NFL.com’s NFL Total Access crew ranks the Top 10 greatest touchdown celebrations of all-time in this short video feature.

And for a bit of off-the-field news, club chairman Paul Allen’s album “Everywhere At Once” is set for an August 3 release, but you can preview 13 tracks from Allen and the Underthinkers here.


Monday round-up: Profiling John Nordstrom; Richard Sherman audio; Seahawks Mt. Rushmore

Seahawks insider Tony Ventrella talks with two of the newest members of the Seahawks, Luke Willson from Canada and Jesse Williams from Australia.

Good morning, and I hope everyone had a good Father’s Day weekend. Here’s what’s “out there” for today, Monday, June 17, about your Seattle Seahawks:

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has a position-by-position breakdown of where the Seahawks stand heading into training camp, offering his own comfort level (on a scale of one to 10) on how comfortable fans should feel with each group.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune profiles former Seahawks owner John Nordstrom, which provides some very interesting background on the start of the franchise.

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com has a look at three things we learned and three things we’re still trying to figure out now that the Seahawks have wrapped up Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and minicamp workouts. O’Neil also says free safety Earl Thomas might be “the best player” on the team.

Brent Stecker of 710Sports.com recaps cornerback Richard Sherman’s weekend appearance on The John Clayton Show. You can listen to the podcast of Sherman with Clayton here:


Curtis Crabtree, writing for the Associated Press, details how third-round draft pick Jordan Hill and fifth-round draft pick Jesse Williams are fitting in along Seattle’s defensive line.

NFC West blogger Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a closer look at what might happen if the Seahawks need to make a switch to their backup quarterback – Tarvaris Jackson or Brady Quinn. Sando also has his NFC West-chat transcript from Friday here.

You, the readers of Seahawks.com, voted former quarterback Matt Hasselbeck as the fourth head on a Seahawks-themed Mount Rushmore, as he joined consensus mountain-locks Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones. It was an exercise precluding one over at ProFootballTalk.com, where former running back Shaun Alexander recently beat out Hasselbeck, Mike Holmgren and the 12th Man as the mountain’s fourth face in their “Faces of the Franchise” feature.


Taking the fourth: It’s Matt Hasselbeck

Matt Hasselbeck

Remember when we asked for your input on who should join Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones on a Seahawks’ Mt. Rushmore? Yeah, we’d almost forgotten, too.

But the readers of Seahawks.com have spoken – or voted – and the winner is …

Matt Hasselbeck. The only quarterback to lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl, as well as the franchise’s career leader in completions and passing yards, garnered 28.6 percent of the votes. Hasselbeck also won 69 games, one less than Dave Krieg.

Also getting more than 20 percent of the votes were strong safety Kenny Easley (20.9), the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1984; and running back Shaun Alexander (20.5), the franchise’s all-time leader rusher and the only Seahawk to be voted league MVP (in 2005).

Rounding out the votes were coaches Mike Holmgren (15 percent) and Chuck Knox (6.4) and all-time sack leader Jacob Green (8.5).


Brian Urlacher calls it a career

Brian Urlacher

Since being released by the Bears on March 20, the question has been: Where will Brian Urlacher play next?

Today, Urlacher supplied the answer by tweeting and issuing a statement that he was retiring after 13 of the most-productive seasons by any middle linebacker in NFL history.

“Although I could continue playing, I’m not sure I would bring a level of performance or passion that’s up to my standards,” Urlacher said in the statement.

And what standards the Pasco-born Urlacher set, as we recalled in this item from the day he was released:

There’s not much to not like about the way Urlacher plays the game, other than the fact that he’s played against the Seahawks on a far-too-regular basis in recent seasons.

For the just-how-does-he-play-the-game follow to that statement, I’ll defer to Michael Robinson, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl-caliber fullback and lead blocker for Marshawn Lynch – a job that has forced Robinson’s path to veer directly into Urlacher on many occasions the past three seasons. Robinson joined the Seahawks in 2010, so he played against Urlacher twice that season (regular season and postseason, both in Chicago); again in 2011 (regular season, again in Chicago); and last season (regular season, and yet again in Chicago).

“He’s a very, very difficult guy to block,” Robinson said before the Week 15 game against the Bears in 2011, with Urlacher’s then 1,556 career tackles as proof – a total that has since grown to 1,779. “He’s very, very smart. He knows where the ball carrier wants to go and he’s all about the ball. He doesn’t like dealing with lead blockers, and the guys in front of him make it difficult for you to get on him, too.”

Before there was Robinson, there was Matt Hasselbeck – the former Seahawks QB who used to engage in some memorable pre-snap games of cat and mouse with the Bears’ middle linebacker.

“Urlacher does a great job of audibling as a middle linebacker,” Hasselbeck said before that regular season game against Urlacher in 2010. “He’s a great player and he’s well-coached. He’s been playing in this scheme a long time and you’ll see when an offense checks – a quarterback checks – he’ll check. Or, if he gets the sense that you’re pretending to check, then he’ll call it off.

“It’s one of those things where you make eye contact with him, you’re making a check, and he’s like, ‘No. No. No. Let’s just leave this one on.’ Or other times, he’ll be like, ‘Yeah, let’s check.’ And so he’s a great player.”

Urlacher, who was raised in New Mexico, has been NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (2000) as well as NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2005). He also was voted to eight Pro Bowls.

In eight games against the Seahawks – two in the postseason, six in the regular season – Urlacher had 56 tackles, or an average of seven. And his consistency was uncanny, as he never had more than eight or fewer than six.

Urlacher missed the final four games last season with a hamstring injury, so his final NFL game was played against the Seahawks on Dec. 2, when he had eight tackles and forced a fumble.

That was then, when it seemed Urlacher would play somewhere in 2013. This is now, when it ultimately came down to this for Urlacher: “After spending a lot of time this spring thinking about my NFL future, I have made a decision to retire,” he said in his statement.

The game, and definitely the Seahawks’ rivalry with the Bears, won’t be quite the same without him.


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Saturday in Hawkville: Chris Harper catching the ball ‘beautifully’

Chris Harper

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 11 during the second day of the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp:

FOCUS ON

Chris Harper. When it comes to a show of hands, the Seahawks’ fourth-round draft choice is showing great hands.

It was after Friday’s first practice that coach Pete Carroll offered, “Chris caught to ball beautifully. He really has great hands.”

Harper felt he played even better in the second practice.

“It went way better today than yesterday,” he said. “Yesterday, you just kind of didn’t know what to expect and just didn’t get into the flow and the pace because this is a lot different pace than what you’re used to in college.”

Better yet, receivers coach Kippy Brown agreed with the assessments made by Carroll and Harper.

“Chris has really strong hands and for a big guy he’s very athletic,” Brown said. “It’s just a matter of him learning. We’ve thrown a lot at these guys in two days’ time. I’m sure their heads are swimming. My head was swimming when I first got here.

“But he’s studying hard and he’s getting it. As he gets more comfortable with it, he’ll play faster and that’s what we’re looking for.”

For Harper, it continues to be an exercise in working on his transition game. He was, after all, originally a quarterback at the University of Oregon before switching positions and schools (to Kansas State).

“I’ve still got a long ways to go,” he said. “I’ve only been playing wide receiver for almost three years now, so I can learn from everybody.”

If today’s practice was any indication, things are progressing nicely. The highlight of Harper’s day was his over-the-shoulder catch of a pass from Jerrod Johnson after he had gotten behind cornerback O’Hara Fluellen. But Harper also worked himself free to make other catches, and when he wasn’t open he used his 234-pound body to make himself open.

“The fact that he’s 230-something pounds is what we liked,” Carroll said.

Asked about his bulk, Harper offered, “It helps me a lot, because DBs aren’t used to seeing guys that are like 230 playing receiver. So it gives me an advantage, as far as at the point of attack when the ball is in the air. When they want to get into pushing matches, I’ll usually come out on top of those.”

TRYING TO CATCH ON

Justin Veltung. The receiver/returner from the University of Idaho and Puyallup High School is one of the three dozen players at this camp on a tryout basis. And Veltung is making the most of the opportunity.

He was one of the players the Seahawks had in for a pre-draft visit. Veltung showed enough that they invited him back for this camp.

“He’s a smart guy and he knows what to do,” Brown said. “He doesn’t make very many mistakes and so far he’s been real reliable catching the football. So we’ll see.”

Veltung began his second practice by making a nice falling catching of a pass that looked to be beyond his reach. But before it was over he also had worked his way around a defender to catch a pass on the sideline; caught another pass in traffic over the middle; and reached back while in full stride to grab yet another.

As Veltung was making that last catch, The Heavy’s “How You Like Me Now?” was blaring from the speakers along the sideline. Talk about right on cue.

CALLING PETER NGUYEN

Peter Nguyen, a 5-foot-7, 179-pound running back from Bellevue High School and the University of Montana, was added to the list of tryout players today.

Another back was needed because Darrell Scott, another tryout player, injured himself in the first drill on Friday.

THE SKINNY ON SCRUGGS

Second-year defensive lineman Greg Scruggs had surgery Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his right knee. A seventh-round draft choice last year, Scruggs was injured during a workout in the veterans’ offseason program.

“He stumbled coming out of a bag drill … tried to catch himself and hyperextended his knee,” Carroll said. “It was just a drill by himself and it’s unfortunate that he hit just exactly wrong.”

Scruggs had two sacks among his six tackles as a rookie, when he played in 11 games.

“He’ll come back quickly from this, but it’s still a long haul for him,” Carroll said.

GIANTS ADD SOME CURRY TO THE MIX

Aaron Curry has found a new NFL home. Another new NFL home.

The former Seahawks’ linebacker and fourth pick overall in the 2009 NFL Draft has signed with the Giants, and ESPNNewYork.com has the details.

Curry started 12 games as a rookie and 16 in 2010 for the Seahawks. But he lost the starting job on the strong side to K.J. Wright in 2011 and was traded to the Raiders for a seventh-round draft choice in 2012 and a fifth-round pick in 2013 – which the Seahawks used to select guard J.R. Sweezy (last year) cornerback Tharold Simon (this year).

Curry played in 11 games for the Raiders in 2011 and two games last season before being waived in November.

“We think we have a good opportunity for him to see if he can re-invent himself a little bit and bring something to our linebacking corps,” Giants GM Jerry Reese said. “If he didn’t work out well for us, we wouldn’t be fooling around with this.

“He’s the fourth pick in the draft a few years ago. Obviously, we think he has some talent. We had him graded high back then. We will see what happens.”

MT. RUSHMORE UPDATE

This camp is all about the present, and hopefully future, for the rookies in attendance. But let’s take a moment to revisit the past.

Last week, we asked you to vote on who should be the fourth “head” on a Seahawks Mt. Rushmore, joining Steve Largent, Cortez Kennedy and Walter Jones. So far, Matt Hasselbeck is leading with 28 percent of the votes, followed by Shaun Alexander (20.9), Kenny Easley (20), Mike Holmgren (15.9), Jacob Green (8.7) and Chuck Knox (6.6).

It’s not too late to cast your vote.

UP NEXT

The rookie minicamp will conclude Sunday with a morning practice. Monday, the veterans return to begin the final week in Phase 2 of their offseason program.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It’s pretty similar, minus the music. I don’t think coach (Nick) Saban would like that.” – defensive tackle Jesse Williams, when asked about the pace of these practices compared to those at Alabama


Who should be the fourth head on Seahawks’ Mt. Rushmore?

Cortez Kennedy, Steve Largent

The folks at Pro Football Talk will launch a 32-part series next month that features a Mt. Rushmore for each of the NFL teams, and they’ll eventually be asking for reader input on the Seahawks.

Why wait for them to get around to the Seahawks?

The first three faces for the Seahawks’ Mt. Rushmore are slam-dunk selections. As with most things Seahawks, the best place to start is with Steve Largent. He was not only the first career-long member of the team to be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (in 1995), but when Largent retired after the 1989 season he held the NFL career records for receptions (819), receiving yards (13,089) and touchdown catches (100).

No other player in franchise history can come close to making such a claim. Then there is this trifecta of facts: He was the first player to have his uniform number (80) retired; the first inductee into the team’s Ring of Honor (1989); and each season since 1989 the Steve Largent Award has been presented to the person “who best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and integrity of the Seahawks.”

Walter JonesThe other obvious Rushmore-worthy players are defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who joined Largent in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and is the most-decorated defensive player in franchise history; and left tackle Walter Jones, who was voted to a franchise-record nine Pro Bowls, selected the best player in the NFL in 2006 by The Sporting News and should be a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection in 2015.

But who should join this impressive trio as the fourth cornerstone in franchise history – and fourth face on the Seahawks’ Mt. Rushmore? You make the call (from this list that was compiled with a little help from a friend):


Al Harris retires as a Packer, nine years too late for Seahawks

Al Harris

Al Harris has decided to retire as a member of the Packers, according to this report on the team website.

That’s about nine years too late for Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks. Harris, you surely remember, is the Pro Bowl cornerback who was involved in one of the most infamous plays in Seahawks history.

It came on the sixth snap of the Seahawks’ second overtime possession in a wild-card playoff game at Lambeau Field on Jan. 4, 2004. The temperature was 20 degrees, with a wind-chill of 7, and it was Harris who iced the Packers’ 33-27 victory.

On a third-and-11 play, Hasselbeck went to wide receiver Alex Bannister along the left sideline, but instead found Harris, who returned the interception 52 yards for a touchdown.

Harris’ pick-six followed Hasselbeck’s even-more infamous line after winning the coin-toss to open the overtime period: “We want the ball and we’re going to score.”

Hasselbeck intended the line to be heard only by Packers kicker Ryan Longwell, who he had become friends with while playing in Green Bay. But the official’s microphone was on, so the whole world heard what he had to say.

And yes, the announcement on the Packers’ website regarding Harris’ retirement includes a picture of him making his memorable play.


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Nothing but net nets Matt Hasselbeck No. 8, Chandler Harnish $8,000

Matt Hasselbeck switched to No. 8 when he was acquired by the Seahawks in a 2001 trade with the Packers. He made the number his in 10 record-setting seasons in Seattle.

Hasselbeck continued to wear No. 8 the past two seasons with the Titans, who released him last month. But when Hasselbeck signed with the Colts after his release, backup QB Chandler Harnish had it.

Heavy emphasis on “had.” Hasselbeck said he would give Harnish $8,000 – and recoup his uniform number – if “Mr. Irrelavent” from last year’s NFL Draft could make a half-court shot. Harnish did just that, as you can see in the video above.

Matt Hasselbeck posted the photo below on his Instagram account, @hasselbeck:


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Backup QBs on the move

Matt Flynn

The QB carrousel in the NFL has been working overtime, especially when it comes to backups.

While the moves of Alex Smith (49ers to Chiefs), Carson Palmer (Raiders to Cardinals) and Matt Flynn (Seahawks to Raiders) into likely starting jobs have generated the most interest, even more interesting is the activity when it comes to the No. 2 spot at the No. 1 position.

Check out these teams that have made moves with their backups:

Team                  Backup was                             Backup is

Cardinals            Kevin Kolb/John Skelton       Drew Stanton

Falcons               Luke McCown                         Dominique Davis

Buffalo               Tyler Thigpen                          Tarvaris Jackson

Bengals               Bruce Gradkowski                 John Skelton/Josh Johnson

Browns               Colt McCoy                              Jason Campbell

Bears                   Jason Campbell                      Josh McCown

Colts                    Drew Stanton                         Matt Hasselbeck

Chiefs                  Brady Quinn                           Chase Daniel

Jets                      Greg McElroy                         David Garrard

Vikings                Joe Webb                                Matt Cassel

Saints                  Chase Daniel                           Luke McCown

Steelers              Charlie Batch                           Bruce Gradkowski

49ers                   Alex Smith                               Colt McCoy

Seahawks           Matt Flynn                               To be determined

Buccaneers        Dan Orlovsky                           To be determined

Titans                  Matt Hasselbeck                    Ryan Fitzpatrick

Which teams improved themselves the most in all this shuffling? Don Banks at SI.com weighs in with his rankings, which have Fitzpatrick, Cassel, Hasselbeck, Garrard and Campbell in the Top 5 – and in that order.


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