Mike Williams — yes, that Mike Williams — heading to CFL

Mike Williams

Just how many football lives does Mike Williams have?

You remember Williams: 6-foot-5 wide receiver; played at USC for Pete Carroll; first-round draft choice by the Lions in 2005; out of the league for two seasons; led the Seahawks in receptions in 2010 after being given a minicamp tryout by his former college coach.

Yeah, that Mike Williams. He’s looking to jumpstart his career, again, this time in the CFL with the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts. The club has announced the signing of Williams, who’s still only 29 despite all his tribulations and triumphs in the NFL.

Williams’ stay with the Seahawks was well-documented. From that successful tryout in April of 2010. To that 65-catch season, and the contract extension that followed. To the injuries and additions of other receivers that helped lead to his release last July.


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On this date: Seahawks lose, but win division title anyway

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 2:

1983: Dave Krieg passes to Roger Carr for a 19-yard touchdown with 47 seconds to play, as the Seahawks conclude the strike-shortened 1982 season with a 13-11 victory over the Broncos at Mile High Stadium. Krieg’s game-winning TD pass caps a 10-play, 87-yard drive. Kenny Easley leads the defensive effort with seven solo tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery, while linebackers Shelton Robinson and Bruce Scholtz combine for 27 tackles.

1994: The Seahawks close their 1993 season by rallying from a 24-3 deficit but fall to the Chiefs 34-24 at Arrowhead Stadium. John L. Williams rushes for 102 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown. Rick Mirer becomes the first rookie QB to start all his team’s games since 1973 and sets then-rookie records for attempts (486), completions (274) and passing yards (2,833).

2000: The Seahawks wrap up the AFC West title, despite losing 19-9 in their 1999 regular-season finale to the Jets in the Meadowlands, because the Raiders also beat the Chiefs. The Seahawks finish 9-7 after starting 8-2, but it’s still their best record since 1990. Also, Cortez Kennedy is voted to his then-club record eighth Pro Bowl.

2002: Walter Jones and John Randle are named to the Pro Bowl.

2004: The Seahawks clinch the NFC West title for the first time in their 2004 regular-season finale as they stop a two-point PAT attempt on the final play of a 28-26 victory over the Falcons in Seattle. Matt Hasselbeck passes for two touchdowns and runs for a third, which gives the Seahawks a 28-20 lead with 4½ minutes to play. Matt Schaub throws a TD pass on the final play, but Warrick Dunn’s run for the tying PAT is stopped.

2011: The Seahawks capture the 2010 NFC West title with a 16-6 victory over the Rams in the regular-season finale in Seattle on Sunday night. Charlie Whitehurst starts for an injured Matt Hasselbeck and passes to Mike Williams for the Seahawks’ only touchdown, as Olindo Mare kicks three field goals. Raheem Brock leads the defensive effort with 2.5 sacks.


Tuesday in Hawkville: Seeking a similar path to another road win in Chicago

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 27:

FOCUS ON

Red Bryant

Defensive end Red Bryant snags an interception and rumbles 20 yards into the end zone in a 38-14 victory over the Bears in Chicago last season.

Da Bears. In not quite 2¾ seasons under coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks are 6-16 on the road. During this same span, the Chicago Bears are 16-7 at home. But two of the Seahawks’ road wins have come at Soldier Field – 38-14 in Week 15 last year and 23-20 in Week 6 in 2010.

Has there been a common thread in the Seahawks claiming a third of their wins on the road at one location?

“I hope so. I hope so,” Carroll said with a laugh. “We do know the setting. … We’ve found some success. We know how to travel there. We know what it takes and all that. We’ll try to bank of that the best we can and make the most of it.”

That’s exactly what the Seahawks did during their wins in the Windy City the past two seasons.

Last year, the Bears played without the injured duo of quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte. Caleb Hanie and Josh McCown combined to complete 11 of 23 passes for 123 yards, but the Bears rushed for 132 yards and a 4.3-yard average with Kahlil Bell (15 for 65) and Hanie (5 for 34) picking up the slack for Forte.

The Bears defense held Marshawn Lynch to 42 yards on 20 carries, but the Seahawks’ Beast Mode back managed to get into the end zone twice. The defense also scored twice, as end Red Bryant (20 yards) and cornerback Brandon Browner (43) returned interceptions for touchdowns.

In 2010, Cutler and Forte played, but Cutler was tackled in the end zone for a safety and Forte was held to 11 yards on eight carries. Lynch, in his first game with the Seahawks after being obtained in a bye-week trade with the Bills, scored a TD. So did two players who no longer are with the team – running back Justin Forsett and wide receiver Deon Butler. Two other since-departed players also made big contributions, as Mike Williams caught 10 passes for 123 yards and Matt Hasselbeck was 25 of 40 for 242 yards.

This week, the Seahawks need a repeat performance from their current players to register another upset and atone for Sunday’s fall-from-ahead loss to the Dolphins in Miami, which dropped their road record to 1-5.

BATES BACK, PORTIS RELEASED

Wide receiver Phil Bates has been re-signed to the practice squad. Bates, a rookie free agent, was with the team during training camp but released on the roster cut to 75 players. He was signed to the practice squad on Oct. 31 and then released on Nov. 14.

To clear a spot, quarterback Josh Portis was released. Portis was on the 53-man roster last season. This year, he was released on the roster cut to 53 players and signed to the practice squad the next day.

STATS ’N STUFF

Lynch has slipped to third in the league in rushing (1,051 yards) after being held to 46 yards by the Dolphins. The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson still leads the NFL (1,236), while the Texans’ Arian Foster (1,064) leapfrogged Lynch. Peterson ran for 108 yards against the Bears on Sunday.

Lynch also is fifth in the league in total yards (1,189).

Jon Ryan is ninth in the league in punting average (47.7), but fifth in net average (42.1). He also tied a club record against the Dolphins by having six punts downed inside the 20-yard line. That gives him 22 for the season, which ranks fifth in the league.

With his 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Dolphins, Leon Washington increased his average to 31.9 yards, which ranks third in the league.

Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner continued to lead the team in tackles with 90.

As a team, the Seahawks rank fifth in the league in total defense (12th against the run, third against the pass) and 27th in total offense (eighth rushing, 31st passing).

STAT DU JOUR

How efficient and effective has rookie QB Russell Wilson been over the past seven games? Only two quarterbacks in the league have a better QBR, the rating system used at ESPN.com, and their names are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Here’s a look at the Top 10 since Week 5:

Player, team                             QBR

Tom Brady, Patriots                 84.7

Peyton Manning, Broncos      81.0

Russell Wilson, Seahawks       79.1

Drew Brees, Saints                   76.9

Josh Freeman, Bucs                 74.9

Robert Griffin III, Redskins     74.7

Matt Ryan, Falcons                  73.2

Aaron Rodgers, Packers          72.7

Andrew Luck, Colts                  72.3

Eli Manning, Giants                 71.3

UP NEXT

The players return from their “off” day to begin practicing for Sunday’s game on “Competition Wednesday.” Because the game is in Chicago, the team will leave on Friday for the second consecutive week and hold its Saturday walkthrough at a local high school.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Knee-jerk reaction: ‘Good teams don’t go 1-5 on the road. The Seahawks are a fraud. They’ll never make a dent in the playoffs as a wild-card team at this rate.’ Reality or not? ‘What did you expect, a 12-4 season? Seattle is building around one of the most impressive rookie QBs in the NFL. Simply reaching the playoffs should be enough.” – NFC West blogger Mike Sando in the weekly “Knee-jerk reaction” feature at ESPN.com


On this date: Running Watters ends KC drought

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Nov. 21:

Ricky Watters

Ricky Watters

1976: Sherman Smith scores on a pair of 1-yard runs and Steve Largent catches six passes for 101 yards and a TD, but it’s not enough as the expansion Seahawks fall to the Saints 51-27 at the Kingdome.

1982: In their first game after the eight-week NFL players’ strike, and with Mike McCormack taking over as interim coach for Jack Patera, Steve Largent catches a 34-yard touchdown pass from Jim Zorn with 49 seconds left in a 17-10 victory over the Broncos in Denver.

1999: Ricky Watters scores three touchdowns, two rushing and one receiving, as he compiles 174 combined yards in a 31-19 victory in Kansas City, where the Seahawks had lost their previous eight games against the Chiefs.

2004: Michael Boulware intercepts a pass and returns it 63 yards for the touchdown with 56 seconds to play in a 24-17 victory over the Dolphins in Seattle. Trent Dilfer also throws a 21-yard TD pass to Jerry Rice.

2010: Matt Hasselbeck passes for 366 yards, with Mike Williams catching six passes for 109 yards, and David Hawthorne has 12 tackles and an interception. But the defending Super Bowl champion Saints prevail 34-19 in New Orleans. The game is a prelude to the team’s rematch in a wild-card playoff game in Seattle that season.


On this date: Robinson comes up huge

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Nov. 14:

Eugene Robinson

Eugene Robinson

1976: Jim Zorn passes for two touchdowns and runs for a third, but it isn’t enough as Fran Tarkenton throws a 5-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to rally the Vikings to a 27-21 victory over the Seahawks in Minneapolis.

1982: The Seahawks’ game at St. Louis is cancelled, the last before the players’ strike ends.

1993: Eugene Robinson has 11 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in a 22-5 victory over the Browns at the Kingdome. The defense forces seven turnovers as Robert Blackmon scores on a 5-yard fumble return and Antonio Edwards registers a safety.

1999: Jon Kitna throws a 20-yard touchdown pass to Sean Dawkins midway through the fourth quarter as the Seahawks pull out a 20-17 victory over the Broncos at the Kingdome to run their record to 7-2.

2010: Olindo Mare kicks five field goals to tie the club record, Matt Hasselbeck passes for 333 yards – the 18th of his club-record 19 300-yard performances – and Mike Williams catches 11 passes for a career-high 145 yards in a 36-18 victory over the Cardinals in Arizona.


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Monday cyber surfing: Mock game analysis; T.O. in town

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 6.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times recaps Sunday’s practice, which featured a mock game between the ‘Hawks offense and defense, “Tarvaris Jackson began Sunday’s scrimmage the same way he started training camp: Taking snaps with the first-unit offense. The scrimmage consisted of 80 plays, and while players were in pads and uniform pants, there was no tackling as plays stopped at first contact with the ball carrier.”

O’Neil also has a mention of wide receiver Terrell Owens making a visit to Seattle for a try-out today, a story which was first reported by Dave “Softy” Mahler of 950 KJR AM, and later confirmed by the team, “Owens did not play in the NFL last season as he recovered from a left knee injury that required surgery. He caught 72 passes for the Bengals in 2010. Cincinnati was his third team in three years. He played for the Cowboys in 2008 and Buffalo in 2009 before joining Cincinnati. Owens, 38, last topped 1,000 yards receiving in 2008.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his notes after Sunday’s mock game, and comments from head coach Pete Carroll on the quarterback competition, “Carroll said he’d like the starter for the team’s first preseason game in place by Wednesday, when the Seahawks begin preparation for the Titans. ‘I’m really anxious to see the film and see what it tells me,’ Carroll said. ‘The plan that we set in motion is right on course right now. It’s going just right. I would like to figure this out as soon as possible. I have thought that the whole time, but I felt like it was going to take awhile. And so we have a big day today and tomorrow evaluating it. And then we’ll come back on Tuesday and set it in motion. We start the game week on Wednesday. And we’ll let you know how that goes when we get there.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald gives his take on the Seahawks hosting T.O. for a tryout today, “Owens is the highest profile past-his-prime receiver to get a look from the Seahawks, but not the first. Prior to the start of training camp, the Seahawks worked out Antonio Bryant, who had been out of the NFL for two seasons, as well as Braylon Edwards, and eventually signed both. The Seahawks released Bryant Sunday, but the fact that they are kicking the tires, so to speak, on Owens means they still have questions at receiver. Seattle released Mike Williams, a starter for the past two seasons, prior to training camp, leaving the door open for someone like Golden Tate to earn the starting job opposite Sidney Rice. Tate has had a strong first week of training camp, but the Seahawks still appear to be interested in finding a veteran presence who can help the team.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has a very detailed look at Sunday’s mock game, including the game’s unofficial stats, “All three quarterbacks led scoring drives for the offense. Flynn connected with TE Cooper Helfet for a 17-yard touchdown. Jackson ran in for a score from five yards out and Wilson set up a field goal with just seconds remaining in the practice as Wiggs connected from 45 yards out. Flynn led another drive down to the 1-yard line before having a pass intended for TE Sean McGrath deflected by DE Cordarro Law into the hands of LB Mike Morgan for a touchback. It was the only turnover by the offense all day. Flynn finished the scrimmage 9-for-20 for 118 yards, a touchdown, an interception and was sacked twice. Wilson was efficient as well in his opportunities going 9-for-15 (with two spikes to stop the clock) for 116 yards.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his thoughts on T.O.’s tryout with the Seahawks, “The Seahawks don’t have the quarterbacks to handle a player with Owens’ reputation. For that reason, I’d be skeptical of any move to add Owens at this time. The three quarterbacks on the roster are having a tough enough time establishing themselves without adding a wild card such as Owens to the equation. Coach Pete Carroll’s handling of quarterbacks has already come under question.”

NFL.com’s Around the League discusses T.O.’s tryout in Seattle in this short video.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth is back from covering Cortez Kennedy’s enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and gives us a look at Sunday in Hawkville, with a focus on recently re-signed kicker Carson Wiggs, “The strong-legged Wiggs kicked field goals of 45, 37 and 19 yards and added a pair of PATs during the mock-game portion of today’s two-hour, 15-minute practice. Not bad for a guy who had not kicked since being released last week to clear a roster spot for tight end Cooper Helfet. ‘Good day today,’ a smiling Wiggs said. ‘I didn’t kick while I was gone. It was kind of a vacation, maybe a blessing from the sky. So I came back with a fresh leg.’ “

Farnsworth also calls attention to the actions of Richard Sherman during Sunday’s mock game, “Sunday, the second-year cornerback who became a sudden and successful starter last season also displayed maturity and leadership beyond his years during a mock game that highlighted the team’s sun-drenched training camp practice. When Jeremy Lane put too much extra in the extracurricular activity after a play and was banished from the practice field by coach Pete Carroll, it was Sherman who put his arm around the rookie cornerback on the sideline to explain why Lane’s actions were a lane violation. Later, after tight end Kellen Winslow caught a sideline pass and tossed the ball at the defender, it again was Sherman who was the voice of reason for his more-experienced teammate.”

Lastly from Farnsworth we have a look at day eight of the quarterback competition, “To this point in camp, the QBs had rotated running the No. 1 offense on a daily basis – first incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson, then free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn and finally rookie Russell Wilson. But today, it was Jackson for the second consecutive day as the team held a mock game. ‘It was important for him to have this first day,’ Carroll said. ‘That was the plan, and we planned it exactly right today.’ “

For video highlights, player interviews, and commentary on yesterday’s mock game, Tony Ventrella has you covered in our Seahawks Daily.


Bryant plans to make most of getting another chance

Football was not a part of Antonio Bryant’s life the past two seasons. But the veteran wide receiver is looking to get back into the NFL after signing with the Seahawks on Thursday night.

“I was just looking for an opportunity to come and play; contribute,” Bryant said Friday, before heading into the team meeting that marked the official start of the Seahawks’ Bing training camp. “This is about improving every day and getting better. That’s all.”

Bryant, 31, was one of two wide-outs the Seahawks had in for workouts on Thursday, along with Braylon Edwards. Bryant also participated on a tryout basis at the team’s minicamp in June. He was signed to fill the spot on the 90-man roster that opened when Mike Williams was released two weeks ago. Like Bryant, Williams had been out of the league for two years when the Seahawks gave him a tryout at a spring minicamp in 2010. Williams was signed and led the team in receiving that season with 65 receptions for 751 yards.

“It’s always very encouraging when you do have an opportunity that does present itself,” Bryant said. “I’m going to just make the most of it.”

The 6-foot-1, 211-pound Bryant did just that in 2008, catching 83 passes for 1,248 yards and seven touchdowns with the Buccaneers – including a nine-catch, 200-yard game against the Panthers on “Monday Night Football.” He also caught 69 passes for 1,009 yards in 2005 for the Browns.

Following an All-American career at Pittsburgh, Bryant was selected in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Cowboys. After two seasons in Dallas, he was traded to the Browns (2004-05) and also played for the 49ers (2006) before joining the Buccaneers (2008-09). He was released by the Bucs in February of 2010. He signed with the Bengals in March, but was released in August.

He’s now one of 13 wide receivers on the Seahawks’ training-camp roster.

“I’ve been in this position before,” Bryant said. “Right now, I’m considered trash. But hey, that’s cool. I’ve been in this position before. But one thing people have to remember, they better go back and watch their film.

“Just know this: I’m something they’re going to have to compete against.”

Bryant will be wearing No. 84 when the Seahawks practice for the first time on Saturday morning.


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Tuesday cyber surfing: Football and futbol come together at VMAC

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 17.

Yesterday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center members of the UEFA champions squad Chelsea FC met with Seahawks players following the European futbol powerhouse’s training session. Chelsea FC is in town to face off in a friendly match with Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field. Mike Morgan, Cameron Morrah, K.J. Wright, Malcolm Smith and Winston Guy were on hand to exchange jerseys – and soccer skills – with Chelsea. On the experience Wright offered, “It’s cool to finally meet the guys I’ve been playing with on the video games.” You can watch video of the jersey exchange here and view photos from the gathering here.

Following up on the weekend reaction to the Seahawks release of wide receiver Mike Williams we have Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times who points out the risk versus reward of relying on reclamation projects and finding talent and contributors in unlikely places. “That Earn Everything motto?” said Brewer. “It’s real. And because of this, the Seahawks have been able to transform their roster quickly and impressively. But Williams is gone now. The Seahawks released him Friday after a lackluster, injury-burdened season in which he caught only 18 passes and couldn’t get into a rhythm with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Just as his rebirth sent a message, so, too, does his departure. The Seahawks should walk carefully as they rebuild with a good number of underdogs and reclamation projects. Williams is a cautionary tale. It can be difficult to establish — not to mention sustain — success when meandering too much among the discarded, overlooked and waived. While we’d like to think [Pete] Carroll and general manager John Schneider have a knack for discovering unpolished gems, success in that area can be fleeting.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune gives us his first “Offseason Rewind” piece of 2012. Williams goes back and takes a look at Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, noting that Jackson went 7-7 as the Seahawks; starter in his first year, played through injury, but failed to lead a game-winning score on final efforts against Atlanta, Washington, San Francisco  and Arizona. Williams discusses whether or not late-game performance is an area where a quarterback can improve, “The prevailing opinion in Jackson’s case would be no. Detractors would point to Jackson’s six years spent in offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s offense and the fact that Jackson still holds onto the ball too long, a sure sign that it takes him too long to read defenses and find the open man. They will point to the fact that a player who’s supposed to have good athletic ability took 42 sacks last year, that Seattle has a young, inexperienced receiving unit led by a No. 1 receiver in Sidney Rice who has struggled to stay healthy, and protected by an inexperienced offensive line also plagued by injuries. But there’s also room for hope if you believe that Seattle head coach Pete Carroll is being honest when he says that money will not factor into the decision on who earns the starting quarterback job Week 1. For one, Jackson still fits the mold as the type of quarterback Carroll would like to lead his team — a tough, gritty leader with a rifle arm who doesn’t turn the ball over, can move outside the pocket and push the ball down the field. Despite his struggles in late-game situations and on third downs (65.6 passer rating, No. 27 overall), Jackson was efficient in the red zone, throwing for nine touchdowns and just one interception, and posting a 90.1 passer rating.”

Kevin Dowd over at the SeattlePI.com gives us a photo gallery of 10 Seahawks to watch during training camp. His list includes some likely candidates from Bruce Irvin and Russell Okung to Bobby Wagner and the Seahawks three-man competition at quarterback, but Dowd also suggests punter Jon Ryan as one to watch come training camp, “No position in football takes more flak than the punter, but the Seahawks have found one of the best in the business in Canadian redhead Jon Ryan. Ryan led the NFL in punts downed inside the 20-yard line last season, making him the perfect weapon to complement Seattle’s stingy defense. A punter’s value has an inverse relationship to the ability of his team’s offense, which helped make Ryan — who punted more than all but two NFL punters last season — one of the Seahawks’ most valuable players a year ago. Seattle fans can only hope the team won’t need his services as often this season.”

Eric Davis and Brian Webber of “NFL AM” reveal three rookies who they believe could be stars for their teams in 2012. Who is the first rookie on their list? None other than Seahawks first-round draft pick DE Bruce Irvin out of West Virginia. You can catch the short video segment right here.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues his positional evaluation heading into the 2012 season, as he gives us his take on the Seahawks’ highly-anticipated, three-man quarterback competition. “Regardless of who wins the starting job, the position is stronger than it was last season – when there was no offseason for first-year coordinator Darrell Bevell to install his offense and [Tarvaris] Jackson was named the starter before ever practicing because he also played under Bevell with the Minnesota Vikings,” said Farnsworth. “Incumbent backup Charlie Whitehurst has re-signed with the San Diego Chargers, the team that traded him to the Seahawks in 2010. He will be replaced by the second-place finisher in the QB competition. Do not read anything into the amount of money the team paid to sign [Matt] Flynn in free agency or the fact that [Russell] Wilson is a rookie. As Jackson has said, ‘He’s not like a regular rookie.’ Coach Pete Carroll will go with the quarterback who wins the on-going competition, and gives the Seahawks their best chance to win.”


Monday cyber surfing: Reaction to Williams’ release

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 16.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times gives us his reaction to the Seahawks release of wide receiver Mike Williams, noting  the move did not come as a total surprise, but rather a disappointment given Williams’ career revival with Seattle in 2010. “Williams’ release is disappointing, however,” said O’Neil. “His 2010 comeback was nothing short of remarkable as the former first-round pick — who had been out of the league entirely for two years — caught 65 passes to lead the team. He was never going to be mistaken for a track star, but he had size, great hands and an engaging personality. The man is very likeable. He had an ability to cut to the quick and speak honestly. On the subject of the NFL’s comeback player of the year in 2010, he pointed out that Leon Washington was much more deserving considering the severity of the broken leg Washington had to recover from. All Williams did, he said, was recover from being out of shape and sitting on his couch.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his own take on the release of Williams, as he designates health issues and a lack of production a season ago as factors in the team’s decision, and comments on how the move affects the Seahawks’ competition at wide receiver heading into training camp, “The release of Williams opens up competition for the starting split end spot opposite Sidney Rice, with veterans Ben Obomanu and Deon Butler battling with youngsters Golden Tate, Kris Durham and Ricardo Lockette for the starting job.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald presents his take on the release of Williams, and also takes a look at how the move affects the Seahawks wideout group heading into camp, “With or without Williams, the battle for roster spots and playing time already figured to be one of the most intriguing position battles aside from Seattle’s three-man quarterback competition. While Sidney Rice is a lock to start, assuming he is healthy, the battle for the other starting job is wide open. Doug Baldwin should remain the Seahawks’ slot receiver, a role in which he thrived as a rookie in 2011. Golden Tate is now likely the front runner to be Seattle’s other starting receiver, but a number of other players could push him for that spot. The Seahawks will have a battle for both playing time and roster spots beyond Rice, Tate and Baldwin, one that will include Ben Obomanu, Kris Durham, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and perhaps a couple of undrafted rookies such as Lavasier Tuinei and Phil Bates.”

Tim Booth of the Associated Press gives us this story on the release of Williams, suggesting that the signing of tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. may have played a role in the team’s decision to let Williams go, “With Winslow and Zach Miller, the Seahawks are likely to use more two tight end sets and limit the need for a second taller receiver on the outside.”

Over at MyNorthwest.com Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of the “Bob and Groz” show provide their own assessment of the Seahawks decision to release Williams, and discuss what’s next for the team at the wide receiver position, and for Williams, in this video.

Rounding out the reaction to Williams’ release is Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM, who shares this piece and predicts what the team might do to replace Williams, “The team could look to bring in another veteran receiver or two to help add security to the position. WR Antonio Bryant had a tryout during mini-camp in June, but the team wanted him to get in better shape before making a decision on whether to sign him to the roster. He could be an option entering camp.”

The guys at ProFootballTalk.com are incrementally releasing their preseason power rankings and the Seahawks have landed at No. 22 on their list. Evan Silva breaks down the ranking in this Seahawks preview, analyzing the team’s strengths, weaknesses, changes the team has undergone, upcoming training camp battles and has provided an outlook heading into 2012, “The Seahawks seem to be a team on the rise, but they’ve yet to exceed seven regular-season wins through two years of the Carroll/Schneider regime. In order to instill confidence in the minds of observers, Seattle needs to take a significant step forward in on-the-field performance. Seattle’s 2012 schedule includes a brutal stretch from Weeks Two through Eight. They’ll square off with four returning playoff teams — the Packers, Patriots, 49ers, and Lions. During the seven-game run, the Seahawks also face the explosive offenses of Dallas and Carolina. We’ll have a very good feel for what kind of team the 2012 Seahawks are following that tough run. Ultimately, we ranked Seattle as the second best team in the NFC West. We like them better than the Cardinals and Rams, but much less than the Niners. The Seahawks are a club that certainly could surprise, especially if they emerge from the aforementioned seven-game stretch with four solid wins.”

Eric Edholm of ProFootballWeekly.com picks out three teams that may not necessarily be division favorites heading into 2012, but could have the potential to surprise and challenge for the division. Among Edholm’s short list are the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks. Edholm had this to say on the Seahawks, “The Seahawks are fascinating. They have a young, ballhawking defense, some real talent at receiver and a confident head coach in Pete Carroll with a chip on his shoulder. All they need now is to settle on a quarterback. It should be easy, right? They signed Matt Flynn in the offseason, gave him $10 million guaranteed. That should be our sign he’s the starter. But an interesting thing is happening here, with Tarvaris Jackson getting the first-team reps to start training camp and white-hot (and intriguing) rookie Russell Wilson throwing bolts and determined to win the job from Day One.”

At NFL.com Kurt Warner, Warren Sapp and guest-analyst and former-teammate of Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings each give their two cents on the Seahawks quarterback competition heading into training camp in this short video.

Finally, here at Seahawks.com registration is now open for 2012 Bing Training Camp, which is set to begin at the end of the month. For more information, including how to register, click here.


Thursday cyber surfing: Seahawks hold keys to Seattle’s next sports superstar?

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 12.

At the Seattle Times, Jerry Brewer tells us Seattle is in dire need of a new sports superstar. Brewer points to years 1990-2010 as a time when Seattle experienced an unforgettable – and remarkable – run of sports superstars: Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Steve Emtman, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Walter Jones, Lou Piniella, George Karl and Mike Holmgren. As Seattle continues to search for it’s new sports identity, Brewer offered that the Seahawks have the potential to shape that mold, “With quality talent evaluators such as Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik and Seahawks GM John Schneider in town, you can already see the potential for a new generation of superstars. Seahawks safety Earl Thomas has a chance to be, at least, the best safety in the NFL. If [Marshawn] Lynch goes off, there’s a possibility he could be elite. [Felix] Hernandez is just 26, and with some help, it’s easy to see him taking that final step to becoming a superstar. Matt Flynn, who is expected to be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback this season, could become a star, but if rookie Russell Wilson eventually wins the job and performs at a star level, a small, 5-foot-11 quarterback would have a better chance of captivating a national audience.”

Also at the Seattle Times, Danny O’Neil continues to take a close look at the Seahawks wide receiver position, this time turning his attention to fourth-year pro Deon Butler. O’Neil admits that he has questioned whether or not Butler would land on the team’s 53-man rosters the past two seasons, as he notes Butler’s small stature in a system that favors bigger wide receivers, and points to a leg injury that landed Butler on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start the 2011 season . In 2012, O’Neil still finds himself questioning Butler’s status among the wide receiver group, but if history is any indication for Butler, O’Neil gives him a good shot at making the squad, “Go ahead, crunch the numbers, but come Sept. 1, I think it would be very hard for Seattle to pick its 53 best players for the roster and not have Butler among that group. That’s not to say it’s impossible. He’s not a special-teams mainstay like veteran Ben Obomanu has been, and he hasn’t shown that uncanny knack as a slot receiver like [Doug] Baldwin did. He doesn’t have the height of [Sidney] Rice, [Kris] Durham or Mike Williams — all of whom stand 6-4 or taller. But Butler is in the conversation for the fastest receiver on the roster, and he has shown a professionalism and ability to bounce back from both adversity and injury. And the past two years have shown that for all the questions of whether he’ll be back, the guy listed as the smallest player on Seattle’s roster has some staying power”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues with his 2012 positional breakdown, as he takes a look at the Seahawks linebacking corps heading into the new season. Farnsworth speaks to the group’s healthy mix of youth and experience, “On a team that has been in a constant change since coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider took over 30 months ago, the linebacking crew has undergone one of the most major transformations under [Seahawks linebackers coach Ken] Norton. The last linebacker standing from the team’s glory days of winning the NFC Championship in 2005 is [Leroy] Hill, who continues to be the starter on the weakside. David Hawthorne took over in the middle for Lofa Tatupu in 2010, but with the team’s leading tackler the past three seasons now with the New Orleans Saints, Hawthorne will be replaced by either the youthful enthusiasm of [Bobby] Wagner or the productive experience of [Barrett] Ruud. On the strong side, [K.J.] Wright played so well as a rookie last season that the club traded former first-round draft choice Aaron Curry to the Oakland Raiders. … This seemingly mismatched collection of linebackers creates an interesting blend of skills and talents that should allow Carroll and coordinator Gus Bradley to play the way they want to, and need to – fast, physical, aggressive and smart – in matching the efforts of the Pro Bowl-laced secondary and line.”