McGrath back, Kearse gone

The Seahawks made a practice-squad move this morning, adding tight end Sean McGrath and releasing wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.

McGrath was with the team during training camp and the preseason, when he caught five passes for 64 yards. Kearse, who played at the University of Washington, also was with the team this summer and caught one pass for 37 yards during the preseason. Each of the rookie free agents had been released on last Friday’s roster cut to 53 players.

In a procedural move, linebacker Matt McCoy was released from the injured reserve list with an injury settlement.


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Thursday cyber surfing: Reaction to Unger’s extension

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 26.

Yesterday the Seahawks announced a contract extension for 2009 second-round draft pick and starting center Max Unger. Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com has the story on Unger, who expressed his excitement to Farnsworth in regards to his new deal, “I am very happy about this new deal,” Unger said. “We have a developing young line that had some success last year that we can build upon this season. It’s a good deal for both of us and I couldn’t be happier to be in Seattle.”

As the NFL’s Hall of Fame class of 2012 prepares for their enshrinement into the NFL Hall of Fame on August 4 in Canton, Ohio, Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com begins a “Countdown to Canton” series for Seahawks inductee Cortez Kennedy. In his first installment, Farnsworth catches up with former Seahawks safety, special teams standout and coach Paul Moyer, who offered his first impression of ‘Tez, “It wasn’t until we got him in camp, where he was going against other people with the same athletic ability or likeness, that you went, ‘Wow. OK, he’s not the same athletic ability. He’s stronger. He’s faster. He’s a better player.’ ”

One day after his contract extension was made official by the team, Farnsworth takes a look inside defensive end Chris Clemons’ 22.0 sacks in his two seasons with the Seahawks. Farnsworth notes that Clemons has made a habit of sacking St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (6.5 sacks in four games), and that Clemons has had more success in the sack department on the road (15.5 sacks) than at CenturyLink Field.

Also here at Seahawks.com we talk with defensive back and former University of Washington standout Roy Lewis in our Seahawks Insider with Tony Ventrella. Lewis talks about his high hopes for the team in 2012 season, how he has found success at the NFL level, and offers some thoughts on the Huskies 2012 football season.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times gives us his take on Unger’s extension, “The timing [of the extension] is important to note, too, coming before Unger starts the final year of a four-year contract he signed after being drafted out of Oregon in 2009. He is the only Seahawks offensive lineman to arrive before Pete Carroll became coach in 2010.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald gives his two cents on the Unger extension, as he writes how the move solidifies the Seahawks projected offensive line for the foreseeable future, “With Unger getting a new contract, every offensive lineman projected to open the season as a starter — Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan, Unger, John Moffitt and Breno Giacomini — plus tackle James Carpenter, who is likely to open the year on the physically unable to perform list, are under contract through at least the 2013 season.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune asks five questions in advance of the Seahawks 2012 season, including the question of who will replace David Hawthorne – who departed to the New Orleans Saints in free agency – at Seattle’s middle linebacker position. Williams points to second-round draft choice Bobby Wagner as the obvious choice, but also mentions other candidates should Wagner struggle, “They could move second-year pro K.J. Wright to middle linebacker. Wright started the 2011 regular-season opener against San Francisco in the middle when Hawthorne was hobbled with a knee injury, and trained there most of last season’s training camp. Barrett Ruud and Matt McCoy are also veteran options to man the middle.”

John Clayton of ESPN.com comes at us with 10 hot training camp storylines, and it’s no surprise that the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition gets a mention, “Pete Carroll has only 20 practices to resolve a three-way quarterback battle among Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson. Delaying a decision in this competition could prevent the winner from getting enough time to get his offense ready for the early part of the season.”

Also at ESPN.com, Mike Sando reflects upon the Unger extension, “While the Seahawks have been known for making wholesale personnel changes under coach Pete Carroll, this deal affirms their willingness to build around select players inherited from the team’s previous leadership. A long-term deal for defensive end Red Bryant provides another example. The Seahawks probably wouldn’t sign an offensive lineman to a meaningful extension without strong support from assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable. Unger obviously fits the Cable mold.”

Pete Prisco of CBSsports.com gives us his preseason power rankings, and the Seahawks find themselves at No. 20 on his list, noting that Seahawks quarterbacks Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson just don’t get him very excited about the quarterback position. Sitting atop Prisco’s list – like many other lists of this nature – are the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers, and the New England Patriots.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com picks the Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West in 2012, citing strong defensive play and improvement at the quarterback position as reasons to like the Seahawks over the 49ers in the division, “The Seattle Seahawks will win the NFC West. Their defense can be just as dangerous as the San Francisco 49ers’ vaunted unit. The quarterback play can be better with Matt Flynn. San Francisco, meanwhile, must deal with a much tougher schedule and heightened expectations. Pete Carroll’s boys might not “Win Forever,” but winning nine to 10 games is a doable goal. That should be enough to take the division.”

Seahawks 2012 seventh-round draft pick defensive end Greg Scruggs out of Louisville participated in a Pro Football Camp for youth in Colorado Springs and shared this interview after the camp’s completion. Scruggs discusses the importance of how a man in his position can have a positive impact on area youth.


Monday cyber surfing: Banks to attend minicamp

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 11:

Brian Banks, who had a workout with the Seahawks last Thursday, will attend the team’s minicamp this Wednesday and Thursday. Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times has the update: “Banks is a 6-foot-2, 239-pound linebacker who participated in a solo audition for the Seahawks last week, performing well enough that coach Pete Carroll invited him back to continue his tryout during Seattle’s final minicamp. Banks will do just that as soon as he gets back from Kansas City, where he will audition for the Chiefs on Tuesday. From there, Banks will head back to Seattle, his agent, Bruce Tollner, confirmed.”

Tim Booth at the Associated Press also has the word on Banks returning to Seattle: “Following the workout, (coach Pete) Carroll said he wanted to bring Banks’ back for the minicamp and see him on the field. Banks initially hesitated saying he needed to speak with his agent about his other options, causing Carroll to joke that he needed to recruit Banks yet again.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at the QB situation as the team moves into its only full-squad minicamp, which remains an open competition: “(Tarvaris) Jackson also has the most experience in a group that includes Matt Flynn, who’s made two NFL starts, and rookie Russell Wilson. The 29-year-old Alabama State product has a 17-17 record in 34 NFL starts. ‘Russell and Matt both have ground to make up because they’re learning new systems,’ Carroll said. ‘And they both are doing exceedingly well at that, but they have more ground to make up. T-Jack has more familiarity after all the years he was with Bev (Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who coached Jackson while both were in Minnesota).’ ”

Tom Cable was on 710 ESPN with Bob and Groz and Brady Henderson has the highlights from the interview with the team’s offensive line coach at mynorthwest.com: “ ‘I’m personally disappointed in how we protected the quarterback, and we’ve made that a big emphasis to clean it up,’ Cable said.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has three under-the-radar moves for the Seahawks this offseason, including re-signing their own players: “Seattle spent the previous two offseasons adding “name” players from elsewhere. Sidney Rice, Robert Gallery and Zach Miller were examples in 2011. Keeping your own guys doesn’t always feel like progress, but it’s part of the building process. (Red) Bryant and Marshawn Lynch were the big re-signings. Paul McQuistan, Michael Robinson, Leroy Hill, Matt McCoy and Heath Farwell re-signed as unrestricted free agents. Bringing back Marcus Trufant could factor into the equation as well. Might the long-time starter be reborn as a nickel corner?”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at rookies Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin, teammates at Utah State and once again with the Seahawks: “Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin were walking out of a class at Utah State last fall when the conversation turned to the inevitable: Their imminent NFL careers. And who could blame them. Wagner was the leading tackler for the Aggies, while Turbin was in the process of fashioning a 1,517-yard, 23-touchdown season. The NFL wasn’t just calling this productive duo, it was screaming. ‘We talked for like an hour about what we were going to do when we got to the NFL,’ Wagner recalled this week, cracking the slightest of smiles. ‘We didn’t know we’d end up here together. I just knew that no matter which team he went to I was going to root for him, and he was going to root for me.’ As it turned out, these two would end up sharing more than a first name and an alma mater. The Seahawks selected Wagner in the second round of the NFL Draft to compete for the starting middle linebacker spot that open when three-time leading tackler David Hawthorne signed with the New Orleans Saints in free agency. The club then added Turbin in the fourth round, to supply the physicality required in the running game on those occasions when leading-rusher Marshawn Lynch needs a breather or can’t play. ‘We’ve talked about that, too; just how crazy it is that we ended up in the same spot,’ Wagner said. ‘We’re going to try and put Utah State on the map. I don’t think we could have asked for it to turn out any better.’ ”

For a look at the rest of the league, there’s Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com, which includes this note on the Seahawks: “I think I can’t get too fired up about the Seahawks losing two June practices because of contact during sessions that were supposed to be non-contact. As former player and now media maven Ross Tucker said: ‘It reminds me of recruiting violations against a college football power. Pretty much everybody does it to some extent and the only question is which college powerhouse, or in this case NFL team, gets this year’s slap on the wrist. The only way NFL teams get caught is if a player turns the team in to the NFLPA or there is something as egregious as a couple of injuries and a fight breaks out that the media is there to report on, which is what happened in Seattle. Plus, live contact during OTAs is inevitable. As long as the cameras are on, the coaches are evaluating and forming opinions. If coaches are forming opinions, players will continue to increase their intensity so that they look good until it escalates to an unacceptable level per the CBA rules.’ ”


Special attention

Day Two of the Seahawks’ offseason program included some agility drills, a lot of lifted weights and one large smile from Jon Ryan.

Why is the team’s record-setting punter so happy? Take a look at the club’s transactions in free agency, and look beyond the additions of quarterback Matt Flynn and middle linebacker Barrett Rudd and re-signings of leading rusher Marshawn Lynch and run-stuffing defensive end Red Bryant.

In the past few weeks, the Seahawks also have retained the players who were voted special teams captains the past two seasons – fullback Michael Robinson last season and cornerback Roy Lewis in 2010; and the linebackers who have led the units in coverage tackles – Heath Farwell, who had a league-high 21 in only 11 games last season, and Matt McCoy, who had 19 in 2010.

“When you have a special teams unit and those are your four core guys, most teams would love to have one of those guys,” Ryan said today as he sat in front of his cubicle in the locker room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. “We have all four and each one of them is a potential Pro Bowl special teams player.”

The combined efforts of Farwell, McCoy, Lewis and Robinson, among others, are very important to Ryan. The Canadian-born punter led the league in punts downed inside the 20-yard line last season with 34, and already has broken – and re-broken – the franchise records for career average (45.0 yards), single-season average (46.6 last season), single-season net average (39.3 last season) and longest punt (77 last season) in his first four seasons with the Seahawks.

As easy as Ryan has made it look, players like Farwell, McCoy, Lewis and Robinson definitely make his job easier.

“The guys we got back are big-time guys,” Ryan said. “They’re not going to be on the ticker on ESPN, but they’re big-time to us – especially on special teams.”

The Seahawks’ special teams got off to a rough start last season, when the 49ers’ Ted Ginn returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns in the final four minutes of the opener to turn a two-point game into a 16-point victory for San Francisco. They also gave up a punt return for a touchdown in a Week 8 loss to the Bengals. But as the season progressed, the special teams got better and better.

“That game in San Francisco put us behind the eight-ball from the start with those two returns,” Ryan said. “After that, we kind of hit our stride and we were a pretty solid special teams unit. So with these guys coming back, we can continue on. Rather than starting over, we can pick up where we left off.”

For Farwell and McCoy, that would be racing down the field to drop those trying to return Ryan’s punts and the kickoffs of Steven Hauschka.

“They bring a lot,” Ryan said. “They bring an attitude to our special teams. Other teams, when they watch us on tape, those guys really jump off the tape. They’re guys you have to be careful with, because they can really hurt you.”

One last question: Now that Robinson is a Pro Bowl fullback, does he beg off his special teams duties?

“No,” Ryan said before the question could be completed. “We won’t let him.”

After getting Wednesday off, the players will continue Phase 1 of the offseason program Thursday and Friday, and then follow the same schedule next week.


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Monday cyber surfing: Launching Ben’s Fund

Good morning. Here’s what’s out about the Seahawks for today, April 16:

Steve Kelly at the Seattle Times has the story of Ben Schneider, the 10-year-old son of Seahawks GM John Schneider and his wife, Traci: “Ben was diagnosed with autism, a disease that affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. ‘Once you get the diagnosis, it really kind of rocks your world,’ John said. ‘I didn’t know much about the disease. I thought it was like ‘Rain Man.’ But we had to kind of gather ourselves and figure out how to fix it.’ Thursday, at El Gaucho Bellevue, the Schneiders will be hosting ‘Prime Time,’ a celebrity waiter event that will raise seed money to launch Ben’s Fund, which in partnership with Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) of Washington will provide grants to families to help them cover the cost of medical bills and therapies.”

Also at the Times, Danny O’Neil looks at the Seahawks’ sudden infusion of linebackers: “Of the 10 linebackers currently on Seattle’s roster, four of those are entering their eighth year in the league. Of the six linebackers entering either their second or third season, only K.J. Wright has experience as a starter. I expect Seattle to look to the draft for young legs to improve the speed of the defense. The presence of (Leroy) Hill and (Barrett) Ruud provides veteran insurance so to speak. Seattle doesn’t head into the draft feeling the pressure to draft a player ready to step in as a starter right away, but the fact that Ruud, (Matt) McCoy and Hill are all on one-year deals shows that Seattle isn’t beholden to the idea that they will be long-term starters.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has the word on ex-Seahawks QB and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer tabbing his former team as one of the possible surprises in the NFC this season and links to the video: “Dilfer, Chris Mortensen and Mel Kiper Jr. focused on several other potential surprise teams in the ‘On the clock’ video above. Dilfer explained his thinking on the Seahawks later in the segment. He likes Matt Flynn’s addition and Seattle’s ability to play pass coverage.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we continue our draft series with a look at the running backs – and their diminishing value in the league: “The position has become “devalued,” as Bucky Brooks puts it. Brooks, the former NFL wide receiver and scout for the Seahawks, is an analyst for NFL.com. Part of the he’s-not-worthy predicament is the increase in passing around the league, but it also has to do with the short shelf life for backs. Just how many 300-carry seasons does one back have? Last season, there were two 300-carry backs in the league, and each led his conference in rushing – Maurice Jones-Drew of the Jacksonville Jaguars (343 carries for 1,606 yards) and Michael Turner of the Atlanta Falcons (301 for 1,340). That’s down from seven 300-carry backs in 2010, which was down from 10 in 2005 – when the Seahawks’ Shaun Alexander led the NFL in carries (370) and rushing yards (1,880).”

There’s also a closer look at this year’s prospects, as well as a Q&A with Oregon’s LaMichael James.

Speaking of the draft, in general, and running  backs, in particular, Peter King touches on Trent Richardson in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com: “Jeff Fisher loves Trent Richardson, and the impact of the Rams ending up with the Alabama running back would be huge. First, the Rams would presumably either trade or release Steve Jackson if this happens. I don’t see them paying Jackson $7 million in 2012 to share the job with a player certain to eclipse him soon. And that big number takes some logical teams (Steelers, Giants) out of the running for Jackson. Now, I view this scenario as unlikely anyway, because the Rams simply have to get receiver help for Sam Bradford. But if Justin Blackmon is gone here and Richardson’s still there, he’s logical for the Rams. Of course, Cleveland likes Richardson a lot, and rookie Tampa coach Greg Schiano does too, so I don’t see Richardson making it to six.”

In this week’s issue of SI, there’s a profile on Leigh Steinberg and the former superagent’s recovery from alcoholism: “When Steinberg appears in front of his new Irvine offices on a sun-drenched afternoon, he grins and spreads his arms wide, joking, ‘Welcome to our luxurious digs!’ Self-deprecation is his preferred approach to his station — he’s standing by a Dumpster in a parking lot — but it lasts only so long. Wearing white sneakers, jeans and a long-sleeve polo shirt that, on inspection, is inside out, Steinberg walks down a dim hall and reminisces about how his old memorabilia-laden practice, on Newport Beach’s Fashion Island, doubled as ‘a museum where people would just come and stare.’ Today, if those same people could locate Steinberg Sports & Entertainment, they would stare for a different reason. SSE is currently just a DBA (‘doing business as’), not yet an official company. Steinberg occupies a small office with Tom Van Voorst, a fellow recovering alcoholic and lawyer who is also his roommate. The two met at a Sober Living facility in 2010 and now share an apartment in Laguna Niguel. Van Voorst runs errands in Steinberg’s maroon Mercury Mountaineer and fields phone calls. ‘I don’t pay him,’ Steinberg says, ‘but he gets use of the car, which you’d be totally screwed in Southern California without. And he does the cooking!’ “


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Friday cyber surfing: Hill returns, once again

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, April 13:

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the significance of Leroy Hill agreeing to re-sign with the team on Thursday: “Leroy Hill is back with the Seahawks. Then again, he has never actually left, which is nothing short of shocking considering all that has happened the past four years. He has been injured, he has been arrested and he has entered the open market as an unrestricted free agent in three of the previous four offseasons and returned to the Seahawks every time.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com says even with Hill and Matt McCoy agreeing to one-year contracts on Thursday, the Seahawks still need to address linebacker in the NFL Draft: “Veteran Barrett Ruud, signed from Tennessee in free agency last week, provides insurance at middle linebacker after starter David Hawthorne left for New Orleans. It’s an upset, however, if the Seahawks do not seek a starting linebacker at some point in the draft.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune and John Boyle at the Everett Herald also weigh-in on Hill’s return.

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at how Hill’s continuing presence on the roster is somewhat of a surprise to him: “For Leroy Hill, the 2010 NFL season was a mix of second chances and double takes.The Seahawks’ veteran linebacker did not re-sign with the team that selected him in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft until July 29 and he then watched in amazement – and amusement – as middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu was released two days later and fellow outside linebacker Aaron Curry was traded in October. ‘It’s crazy. It’s unreal,’ Hill said at the time, with a smile and then a laugh, as he tried to figure out how he was still around while Tatupu and Curry were gone. ‘But it is what it is. It’s a crazy business – and I think me still being here and Lofa being gone proves it.’ ”

Also at Seahawks.com, we continue our draft series with a look at the quarterbacks, through the eyes of Jon Gruden: “Gruden is now in his fourth year as an analyst for ESPN, and doing his “Gruden’s QB Camp” where he sits down annually with the top passers in the draft class. So, who better to discuss the position as teams prepare for the April 26-28 NFL Draft? And that’s exactly what Gruden did during a conference-call interview on Wednesday. ‘There are criteria, I think, that most general managers, most head coaches, most quarterback coaches have always looked for,’ Gruden said. ‘Winning is No. 1. At No. 2, you look at durability. No. 3 is playing experience. Those are very important things to study, and you want a quarterback that has won, that’s been durable and productive. Those are the things everybody is looking for. … This class of quarterbacks, every one of these young men has unique traits.”

There’s also a closer look at the position, as well as a Q&A with Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson.

One thing the Seahawks have not addressed in free agency is coach Pete Carroll’s desire for a pass-rusher. Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com has his risers and fallers in the draft class at CBSSports.com and lists USC defensive end Nick Perry among the risers: “After Quinton Coples and Melvin Ingram, the next pass rusher off the board is anyone’s guess, but a name to keep an eye on in the top-20 is Southern Cal’s Nick Perry. His wasn’t a name usually found in most first round mock drafts after he declared early for the 2012 NFL Draft, but he has been rising in draft circles since the Combine. In Indianapolis Perry turned heads with 4.58 40-yard dash, 38.5″ vertical, 10’4″ broad jump and 35 reps of 225-pounds. He is a tad tightly wound, but has an excellent blend of speed and strength to beat blockers and disrupt the pocket off the edge. Perry, who led the Pac-12 in sacks last season with 9.5, was recruited to play for the Trojans by Pete Carroll and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Seahawks take him as high as the 12th overall selection.”

The do-over draft series at NFL.com has reached 2010, and Bucky Brooks gives the Seahawks center Maurkice Pouncey with the No. 6 pick rather than tackle Russell Okung: “Interior blockers are not traditionally selected within the top 10, but Pouncey has emerged as a top talent at the position (with the Steelers). He is a unique athlete with exceptional strength, quickness and movement skills, and his ability to control the middle sets the tone for the offense. While the Seahawks would love to have a premier blocker on the edge, Pete Carroll would embrace an elite talent at the pivot.”

Also at NFL.com, Jason La Canfora continues to track the activity in free agency.

Joe Vitt, an assistant coach with the Seahawks from 1982-91, will take over for suspended Saints coach Sean Payton. The Associated Press has the story: “ ‘It is important that we keep Sean Payton’s philosophy front and center during this season,’ Saints GM Mickey Loomis said Thursday. ‘Sean has been the driving force behind the tremendous success our team has enjoyed during the past six years, his leadership will be missed. But we need to set a course of action that gives us the best chance to win this season without our head coach. … We considered a number of great options to handle Payton’s duties both internally and externally, but believe this will provide the most seamless transition for our players and our coaching staff, allowing our offensive and defensive staffs to remain intact with the fewest changes.’ ” Loomis worked in the Seahawks’ front office before going to the Saints.


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Hill, McCoy agree

The Seahawks added quality and depth to their linebacker corps today, when veteran starter Leroy Hill and special teams standout Matt McCoy agreed to terms on one-year contracts.

Hill, a third-round draft choice in 2005, has started 77 games – including the first 16-start season of his seven-year career in 2011, when he finished fourth on the team with 89 tackles. Retaining Hill is significant, after middle linebacker David Hawthorne signed with the Saints in free agency last week.

McCoy led the Seahawks with 19 special teams tackles in 2010 and was getting work as a situational linebacker last season before being placed on injured reserve with a knee injury after four games.


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Free agency and the Draft

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Feb. 8:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com takes a look at the Seahawks who are scheduled to become free agents: “The Seahawks’ top priorities in free agency appear clear, at least when it comes to their own players. Re-sign running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant.”

Sando also has a NFC West “Draft Primer,” and has this to say about the Seahawks: “Finding a long-term quarterback remains the top priority for the Seahawks, but once again the planets appear reluctant to align for them. Parting with Matt Hasselbeck and passing over Andy Dalton have left Seattle with Tarvaris Jackson and developmental quarterback Josh Portis. Chasing after Peyton Manning could make sense for the Seahawks. They have good young players. Adding a front-line quarterback could put them over the top in the division. Linebacker has replaced the offensive line as a primary need for the Seahawks. That should not be the case, in theory, because the team had so much invested in a couple of relatively young linebackers. Aaron Curry and Lofa Tatupu are gone, however, and David Hawthorne is a free agent. The team could move K.J. Wright into the middle.”

Former NFL executive Jeff Diamond at SI.com takes a look at both in this offseason assessment of the Seahawks: “Team Needs: QB, T, DE. The Seahawks want to find a potential elite QB to replace Tarvaris Jackson, but they’re in a tough spot. Picking at 11 or 12 in the first round, it’s too far to trade up for one of the top two. Perhaps they can get a shot at Ryan Tannehill, the third-ranked QB. In free agency, they would have interest in Matt Flynn, but Miami (with Joe Philbin) has a leg up unless the Dolphins can sign Peyton. The Seahawks also must improve their pass protection after giving up 50 sacks, so they will draft offensive linemen in the early rounds. A better possibility in the first round is a pass-rushing DE to play opposite Chris Clemons (such as Melvin Ingram of South Carolina or perhaps a trade up for Quinton Coples). The Seahawks also should seek a vet WR from the strong free agent class. And they may have to franchise Marshawn Lynch after his strong season (1,204 rushing yards, 12 TDs).”

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

Whatever happened to Randall Morris? We catch up with the former running back here at Seahawks.com: “Morris, 49, owns Final Clean, a company that prepares just-constructed buildings so the tenants can move in. ‘I never left the Seattle area,’ he said. ‘I’m from Long Beach, Calif., and I didn’t want to raise my family down there. This is a much nicer place.’ ”

We also have a look in photos of the Top 10 moments from the 2011 season, as well as a video report of Walter Thurmond, Kris Durham, John Moffitt, Matt McCoy, Jameson Konz and Brandon Mebane delivering “baskets of hope” at Children’s Hospital.

 


Cyber surfing: Wednesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 5:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers five observations after reviewing the video of the Seahawks’ two-point loss to the Falcons on Sunday. No. 1 on his list: “Right tackle James Carpenter looked good. He drove the Falcons’ John Abraham across the formation on one play, then landed on him the way offensive linemen love to do when imposing their physical dominance on defenders. Carpenter sometimes looked like the Seahawks’ best tackle in this game. That is partly because left tackle Russell Okung still doesn’t appear fully comfortable planting hard on his ankles to anchor against strong pass-rushers. Abraham beat Okung to the inside and hit Tarvaris Jackson in the lower legs on the first play of the game. Okung responded by pancaking Ray Edwards on the next play. The line did not allow a sack, so this was improvement across the board and a confidence-builder heading into a road game against the New York Giants’ defensive front. But if Okung can get back to how he played when healthy in 2010, the line will take another giant step forward.”

Eric Williams at the New Tribune looks at Doug Baldwin, the rookie free agent who leads the team in receptions. Says Williams: “One thing that impressed Seattle coaches is the toughness Baldwin has shown in making catches across the middle of the field, and his ability to read the soft spots in zones and run crisp, precise routes. Baldwin steadily moved up the depth chart during training camp, and now is playing ahead of Seattle’s second-round selection last year, Golden Tate, and the team’s fourth-round selection this year, Kris Durham.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times examines the Seahawks’ past success against this week’s opponent, the New York Giants. Offers O’Neil: “Seattle will travel across the country this week, hoping to summon some momentum as it faces a Giants team that is riding a three-game winning streak. ‘If you want to do it big, you’ve got to do it in New York,’ coach Pete Carroll said.”

Christian Caple at PI.com has a recap of Tuesday’s roster moves. Says Caple: “The Seattle Seahawks placed linebacker Matt McCoy on injured reserve on Tuesday, signing linebacker David Vobora to take his place on the 53-man roster. In addition, the Seahawks released fullback Eddie Williams and signed defensive end Jameson Konz off the practice squad.” In addition, Williams was signed to the practice squad.

At SI.com, Ann Killion takes a look at the NFC West-leading 49ers, who beat the Seahawks in the season opener and visit CenturyLink Field on Christmas Eve. Says Killion: “The team is 3-1 a quarter through the season, with an early lead in the very forgiving NFC West and a clear shot at the division title. The 49ers have been 3-1 before — under Mike Singletary in 2009 — but this seems different. It isn’t just coming back from a 20-point deficit in a hostile environment. It’s the feeling involved. ‘Just top to bottom, collectively,’ quarterback Alex Smith said. ‘It’s a completely different mindset, a different attitude.’ “

Speaking of Smith, former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman looks at the quarterbacks in the division at mynorthwest.com. Wyman on Tarvaris Jackson: “T-Jack now has four interceptions but in my mind he only ‘owns’ one of them. Two of his picks were ‘Hail Mary’ passes at the end of a half and one was a ball that was knocked out of tight end Zach Miller’s hands. Consider this: Every interception costs a quarterback roughly three points at this stage. Take away those three picks and Jackson would have a QB rating that would put him in the top half of the NFL.’

Here at Seahawks.com, we also look back at Sunday’s game from the unique perspective of Ben Malcolmson’s “From the Sidelines” and another exceptional photo blog from Rod Mar. We’re also got some first-quarter-of-the-season awards in “Hawkville,” including free safety Earl Thomas as the best player; and a look at this week’s opponent in “Up next.”

At NFL.com, former Seahawks scout and NFL receiver Bucky Brooks passes out first-quarter awards for the league, and his selection for MVP might surprise you.


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Tuesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 4:

FOCUS ON

First-quarter honors. After an offseason of uncertainty when it seemed the regular season would never get here, the Seahawks already are a quarter of the way through it.

With the players off today and the coaches working on the game plan for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants in the Meadowlands, we figured it was a good time to pass out some awards:

Best player – Earl Thomas. This has been apparent to anyone who’s watched the Seahawks during their 1-3 start. The second-year free safety is good, and only getting better by the game. Thomas leads the team in tackles (26) and also has been forcing plays by forcing the issue.

“Earl, he’s a flash,” John Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowl safety during his career with the Buccaneers and Broncos, said last Friday when he was in town to handle the analyst duties for Fox’s telecast of the Seahawks-Falcons game on Sunday.

“Every time I’ve got the film on, I think I’m in fast forward. Then I realize that’s just him. He’s got tremendous instincts. I met with him with the first week of the season and he realized there were a lot of things he needed to get better at. He’s worked hard at them. I think he’s got a very, very bright future. He’s got as much range as any safety I’ve seen. (Former Redskins safety) Sean Taylor is the last guy with that kind of range and the ability to get from centerfield over to the sideline.”

Best free-agent addition – Sidney Rice. He got off to a slow start because of a damaged labrum, but the Pro Bowl wide receiver from the Minnesota Vikings has been a playmaker in the past two games. Rice led the team with eight receptions for 109 yards against the Cardinals – in his first regular-season game with the Seahawks, and their only win. Sunday, he hooked up with Tarvaris Jackson for a 52-yard touchdown.

“Sidney is the kind of guy you can throw the ball to knowing that he’s going to make something happen with it,” coach Pete Carroll said.

Best rookie free agent addition – Doug Baldwin. Ricardo Lockette got most of the attention early, because of his ridiculous speed. But the best receiver – and player – of the 18 undrafted rookies the Seahawks signed on July 26 was the made-to-order slot receiver from Stanford. Baldwin has been making plays from the first day he stepped on the practice field in training camp, and he’s still doing it. He leads the team in receptions (12) and receiving yards (194), and it was his 48-yard run after the catch that produced the team’s longest play of the season – a 55-yard TD in the opener against the 49ers.

“He’s a really natural football player,” Carroll said on Monday. “Things come easy to him. He’s a really good special teams player as well, which tells you something. He has a real feel for the game in general.

“So he’s able to make sense of what we’re asking him to do and then he naturally kind of makes the right decisions, too. So he’s got a savvy that has helped him.”

Best free-agent “find” – Brandon Browner. From the day he walked into the building, Carroll has wanted a bigger cornerback to match up against what seems like the steady diet of bigger receivers the Seahawks have been force-fed the past two seasons. The coach found one in the 6-foot-4 Browner, who spent the past four seasons covering the much-larger field in the CFL. Browner has had his moments – good and not so good. But he has not backed down from any challenge, whether it’s the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald, the Falcons’ Julio Jones or the Steelers’ Mike Wallace.

“As his confidence grows and his sense for the game here in the league grows, he’s going to be a big factor,” Carroll said. “I like to see the hard, dirty work that he had to do in making those tough tackles and stuff. … He’s ready to go nose-to-nose with everybody and he’s going to get better. He’s going to keep improving.”

Best draft choice – James Carpenter. Another slow starter who would have benefitted from the offseason that wasn’t, the team’s first-round draft choice has only gotten better at right tackle with each game. He’s now blocking his man and then getting to the second level to block another.

“James Carpenter played a really good football game, and I’ve been saying that now for three weeks,” Carroll said on Monday. “So he’s really getting on it.”

Best third-day draft choice – K.J. Wright. They simply haven’t been able to keep this guy off the field. Selected in the fourth round with the idea that he could backup Aaron Curry on the strongside, linebacker coach Ken Norton Jr. decided to take a look at Wright in the middle after the release of incumbent starter Lofa Tatupu prompted the move of David Hawthorne from the weakside to the middle. Wright started the opener in the middle because Hawthorne was out, and has started the past two games on the strongside.

“K.J. is very instinctive. He plays very smart situation football,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “He’s just a real good football player.”

VOBORA BACK, KONZ UP

Linebacker and special teams standout Matt McCoy was placed on injured reserve today because of the sprained knee he suffered in Sunday’s game. Linebacker David Vobora was re-signed to fill McCoy’s roster spot, because he can help on special teams and also in a situational role on defense if needed.

Also, linebacker Jameson Konz was signed off the practice squad. To clear a roster spot, fullback Eddie Williams was released. Williams had been signed when fullback Michael Robinson was out with a knee injury, but Robinson returned last week. In another practice squad move, tight end John Nalbone was signed and tight end Fendi Onobun reached an injury settlement and was released.

Vobora, who was raised in Eugene, Ore., and went to the University of Idaho, has an interesting story – which we covered after he was signed on Aug. 22. Vobora made the 53-man roster when the cuts were made on Sept. 3, but he was released the next day when the team claimed four players off waivers.

Konz, a seventh-round draft choice last year, is a versatile athletic who has played a number of positions on the practice squad – on both sides of the ball. We examined his versatility in this story.

STAT DU JOUR

Third downs have become the barometer by which to gauge the Seahawks’ defensive performances. When they play well on third downs, they “win.” When they don’t, they “lose.” Here’s a closer look at the “winning” and “losing” efforts:

Winning

Opponent (half)          Third downs    Score

49ers (second)                 1 of 6            17-3, Seahawks*

Cardinals (second)          1 of 9             7-0, Seahawks

Falcons (second)             3 of 8            21-7, Seahawks

* — offensive points only

Losing

Opponent (half)           Third downs   Score

Steelers (first)                  4 of 6           17-0, Steelers

Falcons (first)                   6 of 8           24-7, Falcons

UP NEXT

The players return from their “off” day to begin preparing for the Giants on Wednesday. Practice is at 1:30 p.m.

The team will travel to New Jersey on Friday and hold a walk-thru on Saturday afternoon.

YOU DON’T SAY

“That was an extraordinary emotional surge that happened in the stadium for our players. The fact that he lost his mind for a moment there; I’ve never seen him practice that, I don’t like us doing things that we don’t practice.” – a smiling Carroll when asked about Marshawn Lynch’s leaping somersault into the end zone as he was scoring on an 11-yard run against the Falcons