Wednesday cyber surfing: Offseason activities

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 11.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times follows up his Seahawks wide receivers breakdown from yesterday with a closer look at one wide receiver in particular – Mike Williams. The former first round draft pick and USC alum enjoyed a breakout season with the Seahawks in 2010, leading the team in receiving with 65 catches for 751 yards after being out of the NFL completely for two years. Last year, for whatever reason – injuries, a new offense, or a new quarterback – Williams’ production fell off. O’Neil wonders how Williams will respond in 2012, “Well, that depends on Williams’ readiness both in terms of his recovery from injury and his mindset. Does he focus on the decline of his numbers last season as a sign the offense in general — and quarterback in particular — didn’t involve him to the same degree as 2010? Or does he see that as a speed bump that he can overcome? [Head Coach Pete] Carroll has always liked big, physical wide receivers, and there isn’t a bigger receiver on Seattle’s roster. Now, it’s up to Williams to show he can still be a sizeable factor in the offense.”

Bob Heist of the Pensacola News Journal catches up with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who is working out in his hometown at his old Gulf Breeze High campus with Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn in preparation for the start of training camp at the end of this month. Heist tells us, “The workout lasted more than an hour as Baldwin and Flynn ran through different routes, exchanging ideas on timing, field positioning and general likes and dislikes specific to executing certain patterns. ‘The neat thing about all this, Doug appreciates every second he has in the NFL,’ said Gulf Breeze coach Chris Nemith. ‘It’s an inspiration for anybody that says this is what you want to do and has the courage and resolve to stick with it. And those two guys out there today, this shows they care about the Seahawks and what they’re doing individually. You can see the self-respect they have in themselves and the mutual respect for each other. This really was outstanding to see.’

Sticking with the wide receiver theme, here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues with his positional breakdown, as he takes a look at Seattle’s wide receiver position heading into 2012. Farnsworth notes that the unit should improve significantly as a whole if they can get, and stay, healthy, “With the return of [Sidney] Rice and the addition of [Kellen] Winslow, the passing game should be in good hands. But their practice reps will need to be monitored to make sure they’re ready when needed most – on game days. Their presence also should make it possible for [Doug] Baldwin to be even more productive from the slot. But the offense also needs [Golden] Tate and [Kris] Durham to play to their potential, more consistency from [Ricardo] Lockette and a return to form by [Zach] Miller – who caught 66 and 60 passes for the Raiders in 2009 and 2010.”

Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities chats with Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who is in Minnesota at Larry Fitzgerald’s annual offseason workouts. Pelissero asked Jackson about the competition at the team’s quarterback position, to which Jackson responded, “You only know what coaches tell you. Coaches have been pretty straightforward about the competition. It’s all you can ask. Just let me know where I stand. That’s all you can really ask for — know the truth and let the best man win.” Pelissero also noted that Seattle running back Leon Washington and wide receivers Ricardo Lockette and Golden Tate joined Jackson at the Fitzgerald workouts.

Over at SI.com, Chris Burke breaks down the Seahawks offseason. Burke points to the competition at quarterback, the health of the offensive line and the development of first round draft pick DE Bruce Irvin as three things to watch going forward, as he offers up a season outlook, “Because the Seahawks were more or less out of the playoff picture by the 2011 season’s midpoint, they kind of flew under the radar late. Which means that a lot of people now fail to grasp how close this team was to contending. Assuming one of the QBs steps up, the offensive line stays upright and someone — anyone — breaks through at wide receiver (don’t count Seattle out as a player for WR Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft), the offense could be pretty solid. The defense has question marks at linebacker with [Barrett] Ruud, K.J. Wright and Leroy Hill expected to start, but the front four and secondary are stout. Carroll may need one more year to fully implement his plan, but Seattle is on the upswing.”


Tuesday cyber surfing: Positional breakdowns

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 10.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times takes a look at the Seahawks wide receiver position, and the competition that will come with it come training camp. O’Neil considers three wide receivers to be “locks” for the Seahawks 53-man roster – Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate. Beyond those three, it gets a little complicated according to O’Neil, “There are veterans Ben Obomanu, [Deon] Butler and [Mike] Williams. There are promising second-year players like Kris Durham — a fourth-round pick in 2011 — and Ricardo Lockette, who flashed his big-play potential at the end of the season. And don’t forget the crew of undrafted free agents and offseason additions: Lavasier Tuinei, Charly Martin, Jermaine Kearse, Cameron Kenney and Phil Bates. So how many can you expect Seattle to keep? Well, 5.4 says history, and before you start wondering how to get 40 percent of one wide receiver, that’s simply the average number of receivers the Seahawks have kept when they reduced the roster to 53 players from 2002 through last season.”

Like O’Neil, here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a positional analysis of his own, as he takes a look at the Seahawks secondary heading into 2012. Farnsworth points to more experience and better depth as reasons to see improvement in the Seahawks secondary in 2012, as the unit hopes to build off the success they enjoyed a season ago, “No other team in the league had three defensive backs play in the Pro Bowl last season [Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor & Brandon Browner]. No other team in the league had three defensive backs ranked among the Top 10 cornerbacks and safeties in the league by the Sporting News this offseason.”

Over at NFL.com Gregg Rosenthal piggy-backs off of O’Neil’s wide receiver discussion and offers his own thoughts on Mike Williams, “Seattle Seahawks wideout Mike Williams could go from one of the best stories in the NFL to out of the league in the span of just two years. Somehow, that’s the most NFL story of all. Coach Pete Carroll resurrected his former USC star from the ashes in 2010. After being out of the NFL two years, Williams led the Seahawks with 65 catches and 751 yards. He was a legitimate Comeback Player of the Year candidate. He was the No. 1 receiver on a team that won a playoff game. But the NFL is an unforgiving place to work. Williams fell off the map during an injury-plagued 2011, putting up only 236 yards in 12 games. He’s coming off a broken leg and is no longer a lock to make the Seahawks’ roster.”

Also at NFL.com, Matt Smith gives us his fantasy dream team – the “perfect” draft – as he calls it, and lo and behold, there are a couple Seahawks mentions on his list. Smith hopes to pick up running back Marshawn Lynch in Round 3, offering this on Seattle’s bruising back, “I don’t buy last season being a fantasy miracle year for Lynch, Pete Carroll simply realized where his production was going to come from and kept it going, riding momentum of a great defense and running game to a solid close of the season. With the “dink and dunk” Matt Flynn, or the inconsistent Tavaris Jackson, or rookie Russell Wilson, the running game is going to have to be solid again for the Seahawks to succeed. And with their defense looking even better this season, they’re likely to lean on that run game even more.” Then, several rounds later, Smith has his eyes set on the Seahawks defense, “I love getting the defense right in Fantasy. It could be the difference between a win or a loss when you have one that’s dominant in point production. You need a defense that attacks, that goes after the quarterback and places a value on the ball above all else. The Bears have made a fantasy career of it, but these days they’re getting a little bit old to keep doing what they have been. Seattle closed strong, and all season long was solid. Seven weeks of double-digit production is just lunacy to leave on the board.”

Dan Arkush at ProFootballWeekly.com talked to a daily observer of Seahawks team activities, who told him Seahawks first round draft pick DE Bruce Irvin has impressed in the early-goings of Seahawks OTAs and minicamps, “One particularly striking example in a late-May OTA was the eye-popping countermove the sleek Irvin put on Breno Giacomini that literally floored the massive tackle. ‘It was really something to see; it made an instant impression,’ the observer said. But it was hardly enough to suddenly thrust Irvin into consideration for a starting role, with the game plan calling for him to hopefully wreak havoc along with [Chris] Clemons in specific nickel pass-rush situations the same way Aldon Smith did as a first-round rookie for the Niners last season. ‘Irvin has gotten all the starting reps up to now, but he has talked about how much he’d like to be learning from Clemons,’ the observer said.”


Monday cyber surfing: Seahawks offensive analysis, Hutchinson honored

Good morning, and welcome to what is traditionally the NFL’s slowest news month. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 2.

Mike Sando at ESPN.com gives us a pre-camp analysis of the Seahawks offense, breaking down who he feels are the safest bets, leading contenders and those who face longer odds to earn roster spots come the end of training camp. On the Seahawks wide receivers, Sando has this to say, “[Doug] Baldwin appears to be the receiver Seattle can count on the most. That is good and bad. The team needs [Sidney] Rice to hold up physically after undergoing surgeries on both shoulders this offseason. Concussions were another problem for Rice last season. [Golden] Tate was ascending when last season ended. The broken hand he suffered this offseason prevented Tate from participating fully in minicamps. He needs to avoid additional setbacks to build on last season. [Kris] Durham could make [Mike] Williams expendable.[Ricardo] Lockette’s speed separates him from the other receivers on the roster. He’s raw, but two long receptions late last season showed big-play potential.”

Sando also responds to a reader who says the Seahawks have the Arizona Cardinals to thank for the acquisition of Matt Flynn. The reader’s reasoning is that if the Cardinals had not beat the 49ers late last season, then the Niners would have been within one game of the Green Bay Packers No. 1 playoff seed, which would have meant Aaron Rodgers would have likely played in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions – a game where Matt Flynn passed for 480 yards and six touchdowns, likely raising his stock among teams with needs at QB. Sando downplays the effect of Flynn’s performance in Week 17, and points to Seahawks general manager John Schneider’s relationship with Flynn as a bigger reason for his acquisition, “Seahawks general manager John Schneider had ties to Flynn. There weren’t any other viable quarterbacks for the Seahawks to pursue once it became clear Peyton Manning wasn’t coming their way. I don’t think San Francisco would have let Alex Smith get away to a division rival. And at that point, there were no assurances the Seahawks would land Russell Wilson or another quarterback they liked in the draft. Adding Flynn was going to make sense either way. Flynn’s asking price might have been lower without that Week 17 showing. But to hear the Seahawks tell it, Flynn won them over during a workout at their facility and in classroom work with the coaching staff. Those factors would have been even more important in the absence of Flynn’s six-touchdown game against the Lions.”

And speaking of QB’s, over at mynorthwest.com Brock Huard and Mike Salk share their thoughts and offer some advice in this video on how the three Seahawks quarterbacks competing for the starting job – Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson –  can best utilize their time in preparation for the start of training camp at the end of the month.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth revisits last year’s Seahawks 35th Anniversary team as he talks with three-time Seahawks Pro Bowler (2002-05) and two-time All-Pro (2003, 2005) guard Steve Hutchinson, who was the unanimous decision among fans who voted. Hutch secured 1,411 fan votes – almost twice as many as the other guard on the reader-selected team, Bryan Millard.  Known as a man of few words, on his selection to the team Hutchinson fittingly offered to Farnsworth, “‘To be remembered like that definitely is an honor, and I appreciate the fans remembering me.'”

Finally, for a look around the League we have Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback over at SI.com. With King on vacation he has recruited the first tight end selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts’ Coby Fleener, as his guest-author. Fleener, a Stanford alum who earned his Master’s in Communication with an emphasis in Media Studies, shares his experience at the NFL’s Rookie Symposium and going to camp, “After spending a few hours delayed in the Indianapolis airport, I made it to the hotel with the other Colts rookies just in time for dinner and a little catching up with other teams’ rookies. After that, we made our way to the main ballroom. The NFL’s desire to make the environment player-friendly and exciting was evident. Loud pop music blared through speakers and colored lights flashed on a stage, flanked by two large high definition televisions. Giant banners of NFL legends like Walter Payton and Brett Favre covered each wall. I expected to have to suffer on uncomfortable, easily stackable hotel chairs, but instead found rows of comfortable, leather swivel desk chairs.”


Thursday cyber surfing: Wilson a ‘star in the making’

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 28:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com passes along an interesting – and possibly insightful – comment on rookie QB Russell Wilson from Tony Softli, a former personnel evaluator for the Panthers and Rams: “(Matt) Flynn will have his hands full in a training camp competition against this star in the making.” The item also includes this pre-draft assessment from Football Outsiders of the player who ended up being the Seahawks’ third-round choice: “Considering the examples from Wilson’s junior year in the Atlantic Coast Conference where he’s effective on deep passes off play-action, throws receivers open, and improvises on the move, his potential to develop into an NFL quarterback is better than his height may indicate,” (Matt) Waldman wrote. “Still, it is reasonable to approach Wilson’s NFL prospects with skepticism. (Drew) Brees never overcame doubts from the organization that drafted him. … However, as Brees, Tom Brady, Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, Tony Romo and Kurt Warner, and several others have demonstrated, careers don’t end due to an inauspicious beginning.”

Sando also offers his thoughts on KC Joyner’s thought that cornerback Brandon Browner is among the most overrated players in the league: “Joyner pointed to the Seahawks cornerback’s league-high penalty count (19) as one indicator. He also used various coverage metrics to suggest Browner wasn’t all that good in coverage, either. I might have considered Browner’s teammate, Richard Sherman, as a superior choice to represent the NFC at season’s end. Pro Bowl voting was completed before then, of course. While Browner did commit too many penalties, those flags represented something positive, as well. Browner continually harassed opposing receivers near the line of scrimmage. Overrated or not, he was a pain to play against.” I’ll second that, and also point out that Browner led the NFL with 23 passes defensed.

And still more from Sando, he offers his “hidden treasure” for the NFC West teams and tabs the wide receivers for the Seahawks: “The Seahawks haven’t sent a player to the Pro Bowl as a full-time wide receiver since Brian Blades made it following the 1989 season. That streak appears unlikely to end anytime soon. The team invested virtually nothing in the position this offseason. A few questions persist – for example, what does Mike Williams have in store? – but with so much attention on quarterbacks and the Seattle defense, wide receiver gets my vote as a Seahawks position group that could surprise.” The Seahawks have had only two wide-outs voted to the Pro Bowl in franchise history – Steve Largent (seven times) and Blades (once).

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at rookie offensive linemen J.R. Sweezy and Rishaw Johnson: “… There are going to be the rookies to consider, and yes, that’s going to be rookies with an ‘s’ to indicate plural. The Seahawks chose J.R. Sweezy from North Carolina State in the seventh round, and have converted him from defensive tackle into an offensive guard. When the rookie minicamp ended in early May, coach Pete Carroll gave a very positive review. … The other rookie who made a strong first impression was Rishaw Johnson, an undrafted free agent signed from California (Pa.) University, which is the same college where the Seahawks found quarterback Josh Portis a year ago.”

With school out for the summer, Pat Kirwan at CBSSports.com offers a final examine to test your retention of what happened during the 2011 NFL season: “Think you remember how it all happened? Want to test your memory and maybe learn a thing or two? Have some fun taking this 21-question, multiple-choice (guess?) quiz.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the last of the team’s offseason workouts – and the nine rookie free agents who concluded the program this week: “Rookie free agents do face the longest of odds, as (strength and conditioning coach Chris) Carlisle said, in their attempts to earn spots on the 53-man roster or practice squad. But the Seahawks always have been good to undrafted rookies, and vice versa. The team’s honor roll of longest-odds beaters includes Ring of Honor quarterback Dave Krieg; free safety Eugene Robinson, the franchise’s all-time leading tackler; nose tackle Joe Nash, special teamer/linebacker Rufus Porter and fullback Mack Strong, who all played in the Pro Bowl during their careers and, like Robinson, were voted to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team; and Doug Baldwin, the team’s leading receiver last season. ‘There are a lot of guys who came in as free-agent rookies who play in the Pro Bowl, who were Super Bowl champions, that are in Canton (at the Pro Football Hall of Fame) right now that have gone from didn’t-have-a-chance to being pretty darn special,’ Carlisle said. Carlisle’s history lesson did not fall on deaf ears. ‘This is a program that kind of breeds these undrafted free agents, and that fact is very encouraging,’ said (tight end Sean) McGrath, who was heading back to Henderson State University in Arkansas to pack up the last of his left-behind belongings before going home to the Chicago area. ‘Anything can happen. You’ve just got to put your mind to it and keep working hard.’ ”


Wednesday in Hawkville: An ‘overwhelming’ experience for Banks

A recap of the activities on the second day of the Seahawks’ three-day Bing minicamp:

FOCUS ON

Brian Banks. The latest stop on his exoneration tour was a return to Virginia Mason Athletic Center, where Banks began a two-day tryout with the Seahawks after he worked out for the team last Thursday.

“I didn’t even know if I was going to have a number or a jersey,” said Banks, who was wearing No. 43. “I didn’t know what to expect when I first got here. I got to my locker and saw that there was a jersey in it and I just wanted to take a picture of it just for myself.

“It was amazing just to see my name on the back of it. It’s just an honor. It’s an honor to be taken serious and to be given this opportunity.”

In between trips to Seattle, Banks worked out for the Chargers on Friday and the Chiefs on Tuesday. It’s all part of trying to regain his life – and his love for football – after spending 62 months in prison for being wrongly accused of rape.

Today, Banks worked at middle linebacker with the No. 3 defense, flanked by Mike Morgan and Kyle Knox – who, like Banks, is at this minicamp on a tryout basis.

“This is the NFL – the best of the best – so it’s going to be really tough for him,” linebackers coach Ken Norton said. “Just the fact that he came out here and gave it a shot and didn’t shy away from it, you’ve got to give him a plus for that.

“But again, this is the best of the best, the highest level of athlete, and he’s been out of it for 10 years. So it’s going to be really, really tough. … Right now, he has a chance. But it’s going to be really, really tough.”

That’s all Banks is asking: An opportunity to make up for lost time. So today was a huge step for him.

“It was more overwhelming than I thought,” Banks said. “I had high hopes and dreams of being out here today. And then just to finally be out here, to have this helmet on, to have my name on the back of this jersey, to be a part of this team for a day, it’s more than I could ever imagine.”

What’s next for Banks? Another practice, as the Seahawks conclude their minicamp on Thursday. After that?

“What I take from it all, the advice that I appreciate the most, is just enjoy the moment,” Banks said. “Enjoy the moment – if it’s for one day, if it’s for the whole season, if it’s for however long. Just enjoy the moment.

“I’ve already won. I have my freedom. That’s what’s most important to me. Making this team is just an additional blessing to this freedom.”

POSITION WATCH

Quarterback. Today was Matt Flynn’s turn to run the No. 1 offense in the three-way competition for the starting job that also includes Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson.

Flynn admitted that while it is a competition, it’s not a cut-throat situation as he vies with Jackson, the incumbent starter; and Wilson, who was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft.

“I don’t think we look at it like we’re going against each other,” said Flynn, who was signed in free agency after serving as Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay the past four seasons. “We’re trying to help each other out. If they made a good throw, I’m the first one there telling them good job. So it’s not like any bad blood coming out here – where we’re on the field and I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m going against you.’

“It’s not like that. Everybody’s trying to compete. Everybody’s trying to get better. And everybody’s trying to make the team better. I think that’s really the overall goal.”

SECONDARY THOUGHTS

Flynn got a taste of just how much closing speed Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas processes. It happened on a deep throw to wide receiver Deon Butler that instead ended up in the hands of Thomas.

“I got first-hand experience to see how fast Earl was today,” Flynn said. “I get a two-minute situation and I’ve Deon streaking down and I throw it. I’m thinking, ‘That might be a touchdown.’ Then all of a sudden I see this flash like come across.

“I don’t think I’ve had a DB back there, especially at safety, with that kind of speed.”

LOOKING GOOD

In addition to Thomas’ out-of-nowhere interception, other practice highlights included nickel back Marcus Trufant slapping away a pass intended for wide receiver Doug Baldwin; wide receiver Charly Martin going up between cornerback Ron Parker and safety Winston Guy to pull down a touchdown pass from Wilson; Guy making a last-second tip of a pass just as it was settling into the hands of wide receiver Phil Bates; tight end Kellen Winslow grabbing a low pass from Jackson for an 18-yard gain; defensive lineman Pep Levingston getting to running back Robert Turbin for a 1-yard loss; and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner reaching around running back Marshawn Lynch to deflect a pass.

ON THE MEND

Eleven players are not practicing as they continue their rehabs from offseason surgeries or more recent injuries: wide receivers Golden Tate, Mike Williams and Jermaine Kearse; offensive lineman James Carpenter; defensive lineman Monte Taylor; linebackers Barrett Ruud, Malcolm Smith and Jameson Konz; and defensive backs Walter Thurmond, Byron Maxwell and Chris Maragos.

Tate has what coach Pete Carroll calls “a very slight, little crack” in a bone on his right hand, adding the left-handed Tate could play if there was a game this week. Williams is “close” to returning, Carroll said, and should be ready for the start of training camp at the end of July. Ruud is “very close,” in Carroll’s words, and he also should be ready for training camp.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I can’t even imagine. So I wouldn’t be doing justice if I talked about it because I can’t imagine what he’s been through and what he’s feeling just being out here now.” – Flynn, when asked his thoughts on Banks’ situation


Wednesday cyber surfing: Seahawks ‘building momentum’

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 9:

We’ve always liked Clark Judge – first as a fellow beat writer when he was covering the Chargers and 49ers; then as someone who shares the same birthday; and now as a friend. But we really like what he has to say about the Seahawks in his latest offering at CBSSports.com. Judge picks them as one of five teams that failed to make the playoffs last season that could advance to the postseason in 2012: “There are few teams building more momentum than Seattle, which quietly put together a defense that could rival San Francisco for intensity, ferocity and opportune play. OK, so the Seahawks lost linebacker David Hawthorne, their leading tackler the past three seasons. They acquired linebacker Barrett Ruud and defensive lineman Jason Jones, retained defensive lineman Red Bryant and added Bruce Irvin, a first-round pick who has a ton of issues but whom scouts describe as the best edge pass rusher in the draft. Seattle is chasing San Francisco in the NFC West, and the last time they met – late last season – they fell just short, losing by two points after quarterback Tarvaris Jackson fumbled with a little more than a minute left. Those Seahawks played great defense but didn’t have enough offense. These Seahawks think they fixed the problem with the acquisition of quarterback Matt Flynn, and maybe they’re right. Flynn has only two NFL starts, but he was marvelous in both. I don’t know, but this looks like a carbon copy of the 49ers’ blueprint, a club that can hammer you with defense and put just enough points on the board – largely thanks to its running game. It worked for San Francisco. Why not here?”

John Clayton at ESPN.com has a photo gallery of his picks for the 10 draft choices that will have the biggest impact during their rookie season, and Irvin makes the cut at No. 6: “Maybe Irvin isn’t a starter and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll eventually will be criticized for drafting a backup at No. 15. But Irvin is probably the draft’s best pass-rusher and should put up double-digit sack numbers early in his career.”

Also at ESPN.com, Mike Sando offers his comments on Clayton’s Top-10 selections: “Irvin should benefit from the Seahawks’ very specific plans for him. The team got nine sacks in zero starts from Raheem Brock in 2010. Irvin will play a similar role and a similar percentage of the snaps, giving him a very good chance to eclipse Brock’s total – if he’s talented enough to produce those numbers. Brock played about 50 percent of the snaps for Seattle in each of the last two seasons.”

Marc Sessler at NFL.com also has an assessment of Irvin, and his selection in the first round: “The immediate prognosis was uncharitable: Pete Carroll and Co. officially reached on the pick. Sure, Irvin turned heads at West Virginia, but off-the-field issues soiled his allure as a rare pass-rushing talent. Ignored amid a flurry of melting tweeters and talking heads was the obvious: The Seahawks weren’t caught off-guard here. This wasn’t a case of general manager John Schneider lounging in the war room, picking a random name out of a hat, with cheerful piñatas dangling from the ceiling. The organization mined Irvin’s past and felt a connection to his story. Where draftniks pick him apart, Seattle saw a unique, moldable talent. ‘Look, he has had a rough background,’ Schneider told the National Football Post. ‘He was so desperate. He dropped out of school. He basically was living on the street. But he was able to pick himself up, get his GED, get into a junior college (Mount San Antonio College), then get a scholarship (with the Mountaineers).’ “

Don Banks at SI.com offers some positional battles to keep an eye on the offseason programs and minicamps continue. The Seahawks’ QB situation is included, of course, but with a twist – Tarvaris Jackson vs. Russell Wilson to be Matt Flynn’s backup: “My way of thinking, if the Seahawks were happy with what they got out Jackson as their starter for 14 games last season, they wouldn’t have signed Matt Flynn in free agency or drafted Wilson in the third round. So I’m not buying it’s a three-man quarterback competition in Seattle. It’s last year’s starter against this year’s rookie to see who earns the No. 2 job, behind Flynn. Jackson has seen this movie before, in Minnesota, and he knows the advantage always goes with the new option, because there’s no taint or stain of defeat on the quarterback who just walked through the door. The sense is that Pete Carroll and Co. are intrigued with Wilson’s skill set and will find ways to get him on the field, perhaps even using him in a Wildcat role. Jackson clearly enters with the edge in experience, and his knowledge of the offense should give him a healthy advantage. But if Wilson proves himself a quick study, don’t be surprised if he’s only relegated to the team’s No. 3 quarterback role for a little while this season.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune provides a roster analysis, including this assessment of the most-talked about spot – quarterback: “This position experienced an extreme makeover from last season, with Seattle adding what it hopes are significant upgrades in (Matt) Flynn and (Russell) Wilson to increase the overall performance from this position. My opinion is even though (Tarvaris) Jackson is in the final year of his contract, if he does not win the starting job the Seahawks likely will keep him. Seattle believes this team is on the cusp of a deep playoff run, and you can’t do that without having two veteran quarterbacks that can step in and win games for you. I think this will be mostly a learning year for Wilson. And don’t count out (Josh) Portis; the organization still likes him as a player and he’ll be given a chance to prove he can be a part of the equation moving forward.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a closer look at sixth-round pick Winston Guy, who could become the third safety in the big nickel defense: “With (Lawyer) Milloy finally retired after 15 NFL seasons and (Atari) Bigby joining the San Diego Chargers in free agency, someone had to fill the third safety spot. And the coaches think they’ve found just the safety. ‘All those things where we used Atari, this kid fills those roles very well,’ Carroll said just after the draft had been completed. ‘He’s a versatile player. They moved him around in the kind of fashion that we like moving our guys around. We’re very excited about him. He’s a very aggressive kid. He plays a lot like Atari.’ ”

We’ve got a look at the wide receivers from Tuesday’s offseason program workout: “But today, after another offseason program workout that was held in warm, sunny conditions and on the manicured outside practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, (Tarvaris) Jackson said he liked the team’s current group of wide receivers. It’s an eclectic mix that includes (Sidney) Rice and Mike Williams, the on-the-mend incumbent starters; Doug Baldwin, who led the team in receiving as a rookie last season and has switched to his college number (89) so (Matt) Flynn could have No. 15; veteran Ben Obomanu, who GM John Schneider recently called “one of the more underrated receivers in the league”; and the promising quartet of Golden Tate, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham. ‘That’s what makes those guys work harder, because they know they’re unproven and they’re trying to prove themselves,’ Jackson said. ‘When you’ve got guys that are hungry like that, and willing to work, that makes things a lot better.’ ”


Jackson, Flynn throwing to ‘hungry, hard-working’ receivers

Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn, who are competing to be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback, have played with Pro Bowl wide receivers.

For Jackson, who was signed in free agency last year, it was while with the Vikings and he was throwing to Percy Harvin and also current teammate Sidney Rice. For Flynn, who was signed in free agency this year, it was while with the Packers and he was throwing to Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, have not had a Pro Bowl wide receiver since Brian Blades in 1989 – and Blades was only the second wide-out in franchise history to make it to Hawaii, joining seven-time selection Steve Largent.

A SHOW OF HANDS
The Seahawks have three wide receivers on their roster who have more than 80 career receptions and 1,000 career receiving yards in the NFL, but two were sideline spectators during Tuesday’s offseason program workout – Sidney Rice and Mike Williams, the incumbent starters. Here’s a look at each receiver’s career numbers:

Player Games No. Yards Avg. TD
Sidney Rice 57 178 2,613 14.7 20
Mike Williams 56 127 1,526 12.0 5
Ben Obomanu 58 83 1,151 13.9 7
Deon Butler 34 57 611 10.7 4
Golden Tate 27 56 609 10.9 3
Doug Baldwin 16 51 788 15.5 4
Kris Durham 3 3 30 10.0 0
Ricardo Lockette 2 2 105 52.5 1
Charly Martin 8 1 6 6.0 0
Raymond Webber 0 0 0 0.0 0

Rookies: Phil Bates, Jermaine Kearse, Lavasier Tuinei

But today, after another offseason program workout that was held in warm, sunny conditions and on the manicured outside practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Jackson said he liked the team’s current group of wide receivers. It’s an eclectic mix that includes Rice and Mike Williams, the on-the-mend incumbent starters; Doug Baldwin, who led the team in receiving as a rookie last season and has switched to his college number (89) so Flynn could have No. 15; veteran Ben Obomanu, who GM John Schneider recently called “one of the more underrated receivers in the league”; and the promising quartet of Golden Tate, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham.

“That’s what makes those guys work harder, because they know they’re unproven and they’re trying to prove themselves,” Jackson said. “When you’ve got guys that are hungry like that, and willing to work, that makes things a lot better.”

In fact, Obomanu, Baldwin and Lockette were so hungry during the players’ extended break following the season that they traveled to Alabama to workout with Jackson.

“It’s like a friendly competition – every guy in the receiving corps wants the ball,” Jackson said. “So they see one guy working hard, and they don’t want to get outworked because they know it pays off in the end because quarterbacks really like that.

“As you get more familiar with the quarterback, you become a guy a quarterback can trust and that gets more balls thrown your way.”

Jackson already had that trust with Rice, who also was signed in free agency last year and caught 32 passes before shoulder injuries that required surgery and lingering concussion symptoms forced him to go on injured reserve after playing in only nine games. Jackson developed that trust with Baldwin, who led the team in receptions (51), receiving yards (788) and TD catches (four) after being signed as an undrafted free agent.

Flynn is in the process of building that trust factor after joining the team 7½ weeks ago.

But Jackson isn’t the only one who’s high on the Seahawks’ wide-outs that are either rehabbing or mostly unproven. The club passed on selecting a wide receiver in the draft, because the group was “pretty average,” as Schneider put it. Instead, the passing game will move forward with what Schneider calls “some really cool, young guys that are exciting and with different attributes.”

Added Schneider, “I like it because it’s a really unique group. You’ve got size. You’ve got instant separation. And you’ve got guys that can get down the field a little bit.”


Monday cyber surfing: All eyes, and ears, on QBs

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 7:

On Mondays, “today” includes “over the weekend,” as well. And the big news was Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn talking about their friendly competition for the starting QB job after Friday’s offseason program workout.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times emphasizes the attention that his situation received, and will continue to receive as the Seahawks have their first real QB competition in a decade: “Tarvaris Jackson took the first snap of Friday’s workout. That this fact is even worth mentioning gives you an idea of just how scrutinized Seattle’s quarterback situation is going to be. The Seahawks are four months from their first meaningful game. Players weren’t wearing helmets nor pads during a non-contact workout, and no sooner had the Seahawks concluded a 45-minute workout than the coach was being asked about the competition between Jackson and free-agent addition Matt Flynn. So who’s ahead? ‘Who said ‘competition’ the most?’ Pete Carroll asked, referring to interviews of Jackson and Flynn. ‘Whoever said that word the most when they were up here getting interviewed, he’s ahead right now.’ Well, Jackson lapped Flynn in that regard. He used some variation of “compete” 10 times compared to five for Flynn, and while those measurements are obviously a joke, the question of Seattle’s quarterback is not. It will be debated around water coolers, discussed on radio and dissected with a clinical precision more suited for laboratory frogs in the next few months.”

Dave Boling at the News Tribune uses the term “controversy,” and says the process to determine whether it will be incumbent Jackson, newcomer Flynn or even yet-to-arrive rookie Russell Wilson will be fun to watch: “Most coaches welcome a quarterback controversy as they would an infectious disease. But Pete Carroll is promoting the Seahawks’ 2012 derby with such energy that two contestants weren’t enough. So he tossed in a rookie draft pick to spice up the field. So we should brace ourselves for months of partisan debate and analysis of trivial details. (Continue reading if your suspense is building over the exact measurement of Russell Wilson’s hands.) Friday offered early competitive evidence as the Seahawks opened a brief team workout to the media. And while some teams might shield dueling quarterbacks from the microphones and cameras, the Seahawks did the opposite. The only players made available for interview were the two prime quarterback candidates, incumbent Tarvaris Jackson and free-agent acquisition Matt Flynn. And Carroll, of course, is the ringmaster.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald says Jackson deserves credit for how well he’s handling the situation: “No, this isn’t an ideal situation for Tarvaris Jackson. A year after coming to Seattle and immediately earning the Seahawks’ starting quarterback job, Jackson was splitting reps with Matt Flynn, the man who just might be on his way to taking Jackson’s job. But even if a fight for his job isn’t what Jackson was hoping for, he of all people knows it could be a lot worse. After all, the last time a Jackson-quarterbacked team added a free agent quarterback, the Vikings were pulling out all of the stops, private jet and all, to hand the job Jackson thought was his to an aging Brett Favre. Then they did it all over again a year later. (I mean, when you get a chance to cater to every whim of an attention-loving 40-year-old, you’ve got to take advantage, right?) So while Jackson was obviously not rooting for the Seahawks to make a push for Flynn in free agency, he certainly wasn’t shocked by it. Nor will he turn the addition of Flynn into an excuse to complain about the tough hands he has been dealt throughout his career.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at how each QB knew what to expect before the process began: “Understanding the situation is imperative to playing the quarterback position in the NFL. Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn are very aware of the competitive situation they find themselves in as the Seahawks’ offseason program moves closer and closer to becoming real football. Jackson, the incumbent starter, and Flynn, the former backup for the Green Bay Packers who was signed in free agency, spoke about their friendly rivalry for the first time on Friday. Their quick Q&A sessions with reporters followed a brisk workout on a fall-like morning at Virginia Mason Athlete Center, completing Week One of Phase 2 in the non-OTA program. Jackson was the first to take snaps, because “he’s already earned that here,” as coach Pete Carroll put it. Jackson was added in free agency last year, but was awarded the starting spot because of his familiarity with the offense being installed by new coordinator Darrell Bevell and the lack of an offseason due to the 136-day lockout. Jackson had played under Bevell the previous five seasons when both were with the Minnesota Vikings. This year, however, things are different. There is an offseason, and Flynn presents more competition than former backup Charlie Whitehurst did – or was allowed to. ‘It’s a lot different this year,’ said Jackson, who was 7-8 as the starter last season despite playing his final nine games with a damaged pectoral in his throwing shoulder. ‘I’m just here to compete like always and just see how things play out.’ ”

If you’d like to see Jackson and Flynn discuss their situation, we’ve got the video as well.

We’ve also got a look at Jacob Green and Marcus Trufant being inducted into the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame: “Being part of the group was reward enough for Trufant and Green. Being able to share it with their families made it that much more rewarding. ‘This meant a lot to be here with Marcus on this special day,’ Constant Trufant (Marcus’ mother) said. ‘It’s an honor, especially to be in the presence of all those other folks. And then to have Jacob Green here, it’s great.’ Offered Janelle (Green’s daughter), who is married to Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant, ‘This is just awesome, because I know how hard my dad works – with his charity event and everything with The Hutch – and how much the Seahawks mean to him. I’m glad to be able to share this with him.’ ”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com was asked about moving Mike Williams to tight end in a recent chat: “Mike Williams wouldn’t offer enough as a blocker. Plus, he is 230 pounds, too light for a tight end, and he has had trouble staying healthy. The team needs to add a real tight end. Visanthe Shiancoe is the most logical candidate by far among veteran free agents. He is 32, but he has not missed games.”

Peter King reviews the news of the week in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com, including the passing of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau: “The best thing the NFL can do to honor Seau is to continue to hammer home the protective point that while it may not seem fair in all cases to fine defensive players huge money for hits on defenseless players, it has to be done if the league is going to prove it’s serious about making the game safer.”

Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times also writes on the aftermath of Seau’s death: “The shock of Seau’s apparent suicide last week sent more waves of anxiety, fear and sadness through the ranks of professional football. Seau was beloved. He was fun-loving. He was passionate. Knowing the joy with which he played, there was little doubt playing football was what he was meant to do. But it seemed life after the game was becoming more difficult for Seau. He was in pain, either emotionally or physically, a pain he apparently hid from family, friends and former teammates. ‘I’ve got to tell you, his death has gotten our attention,’ (former NFL QB Steve) Young said, ‘just because we probably are generally, as a group, much less likely to seek any help. That’s the nature of how we played and how we do it.’ “

The Sea Gals held their finals for the 2012 squad on Sunday, and Seahawks.com’s Tony Ventrella has a video report.


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Still talking about Irvin

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 2:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has some additional thoughts on Bruce Irvin in the wake of the Seahawks selecting the pass rusher from West Virginia with the 15th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft: “The Seahawks envision Irvin as a situational pass-rusher for now and the eventual successor to Chris Clemons in the “Leo” role. Clemons was a 236-pound linebacker coming out of college. He had a 4.7-second time in the 40-yard dash, went undrafted as a junior and floundered in Philadelphia. The Seahawks acquired him with a specific role in mind. Clemons ranks eighth in the NFL with 22 sacks over the last two seasons, more than Julius Peppers, James Harrison, Clay Matthews, Dwight Freeney, Trent Cole, Jason Pierre-Paul and others. Clemons now weighs 255 pounds and has become much stronger against the run. Irvin is Clemons’ height (6-foot-3) and weighs 245 pounds, but he is much faster, having run the 40 in 4.4 seconds. The plan would be for Irvin to grow into a bigger role, not to remain a situational player forever.”

Art Thiel at sportspress northwest recalls the scene in the media draft room when Irvin was selected, and also offers: “What is amusing is that most of the post-draft media analysis downgraded the Seahawks draft because Irvin was taken so high relative to the conventional wisdom. Yet it’s not as if there was documentary evidence that proves Irvin was not worth the purported value assigned the 15th pick. … (coach Pete) Carroll, who knows more about Irvin’s past anyone speculating on the draft, is betting a considerable portion of the Seahawks house that he can design a defensive role that maximizes Irvin’s biggest asset, speed, and minimizes his biggest liability, size. As to whether Irvin’s off-field actions turn him into the next Koren Robinson/Jerramy Stevens or the next Cortez Kennedy/Dave Brown, your guess is as good as anyone’s. And no one’s.”

Nick Eaton at PI.com passes along GM John Schneider’s comments on the Irvin selection from an interview with Dave Mahler on KJR: “In the NFL Draft last week, the Seahawks were clearly in the hunt for a quick and explosive defender. Their top three choices, according to General Manager John Schneider, were linebacker Luke Kuechly, safety Mark Barron and pass-rusher Bruce Irvin. Keuchly and Barron were on many draft analysts’ lists as top defensive picks. Irvin? Not so much. ‘They were, a little bit, standalone guys — not by a huge margin, but the three of them basically were up there all by themselves,’ Schneider said. “Obviously we felt strongly about Barron, we felt strongly about Kuechly as well, but we really wanted to address our pass rush. And it just fell to a spot where we said, maybe if we could move back a little bit, we could still acquire (Irvin). The only problem is, he was so quiet — people weren’t talking about him. And quite honestly that made me uncomfortable.’ ”

Also at ESPN.com, Sando provides a nice rundown on the Seahawks’ wide receiver situation while responding to the question about signing a veteran wide-out in his mailbag: “I’d stick with the current group. Drafting a receiver would have made sense if that receiver were a special player. There was no sense in drafting another receiver indistinguishable from the group. There would likewise be no advantage to signing a veteran stopgap in free agency. We might revisit that stance if Sidney Rice doesn’t rebound from the two shoulder surgeries he underwent this offseason. But with Rice back and the team also expecting more in the receiving game from tight end Zach Miller, I’d be inclined to give the younger players a shot. Golden Tate finished strong last season. He had no dropped passes. He has a chance to take a big step forward now that he’s been in the offense for a year. Doug Baldwin is already a good slot receiver and top option on third down. Ricardo Lockette flashed ability late last season and has a chance to become a dynamic threat down the field (two catches for 105 yards in the final two games last season). Kris Durham is back from injury and projects as a potential replacement for Mike Williams. He’s a big receiver. Ben Obomanu is still an option. Deon Butler will get another chance. I’d rather give snaps to some of the younger prospects than lean on a stopgap veteran unnecessarily.”

Peter King at SI.com lists Russell Wilson at No. 6 on his list of rookie quarterbacks who could have an impact this season: “How about GM John Schneider telling me Wilson was one of the three best players he scouted in 2011? That, plus the fact that neither Matt Flynn nor Tarvaris Jackson have a stranglehold on the starting job, tells me Wilson will have a fair chance to win the job at some point this season.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with Brandon Browner, who is coming off a Pro Bowl season in his first NFL season: “A year ago, Brandon Browner’s NFL career included zero regular-season games played and two training-camp stints with the Denver Broncos. And that was in 2005 and 2006. After one season with the Seahawks, check this resume for the extra-large cornerback who had spent the previous four seasons with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL: Sixteen starts, with Browner and Marcus Trufant the only cornerbacks in the past five seasons to do that for the Seahawks; One Pro Bowl berth, making him the fourth corner in franchise history to play in the NFL all-star game – along with the late Dave Brown (1984), Shawn Springs (1998) and Trufant (2007); Five of his team-high six interceptions coming in the final six games, making him only the fifth player in franchise history to lead the team in his first season – along with Brown (1976), Autry Beamon (1977), Darryl Williams (1996) and Earl Thomas (2010); Two franchise records – one for the longest interception return, 94 yards for a touchdown that iced the Week 5 upset of the Super Bowl champion New York Giants and broke a 33-year-old record; the other for most interception return yards in a season, 220 to break the record set by Brown in ‘84 (179); Two franchise records tied – one for returning two picks for scores, the other for intercepting a pass in four consecutive games. All this after signing a future contract last January and then winning the starting spot on the right side in training camp while Walter Thurmond was sidelined with a high ankle sprain. ‘It is absolutely remarkable what Brandon was able to accomplish last year,’ Kris Richard, a former cornerback for the Seahawks who now coaches the position, said while shaking his head. ‘From where he came, to where he was able to go in one season, it’s very good stuff.’ ”

Yesterday, it was the Top 30 players in NEXT year’s NFL Draft at NFL.com. Today, it’s a mock draft for 2013, complements of Andrew Perloff at SI.com. Here’s who he has the Seahawks selecting: “Matt Barkley, QB, USC. Barkley has been compared to Andrew Luck for staying at USC even though he could have been a high selection in 2012, but he may get picked apart in a way Luck did not. Some people wonder if Barkley is big enough, and how much his outstanding receivers and the system at USC help him look good. Trojans QBs have not done well in the NFL lately, but if anyone can overlook that it’s Pete Carroll.”

And just when you thought it was safe to resume surfing, there’s also a 2013 mock draft at FoxSports.com. But Peter Schrager has Barkley going No. 1 overall to the Raiders. So that leaves the Seahawks with … “Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas. Jackson’s father Jim Jeffcoat was a longtime NFL defensive lineman. Jackson hasn’t quite lived up to expectations yet, but should have a big season in 2012. Matt Flynn plays well in his first full year as a starter, but the Seahawks fall short of the playoffs.”


Friday cyber surfing: On Baldwin and Bryant

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Feb. 10:

Doug Baldwin did a live chat with the News Tribune on Thursday, and had this to say about which teammate helped him the most during his rookie season: “Mike Williams. His knowledge of the game of football is impressive. And he has helped me to understand the key to reading defenses.”

Brock Huard at 710 ESPN explains in this video report why re-signing defensive end Red Bryant should be a priority in free agent: “The Seahawks, in theory, have options at defensive end beyond Bryant. But as Brock Huard explains in Thursday’s Wrap Up video, Bryant’s familiarity with the organization should make him more attractive to the Seahawks than defensive ends with similar ability.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the team’s new offseason schedule, the third in as many years: “The offseason program will begin in April, a month later than in 2010; there will be fewer than half as many OTA sessions, and they also begin later (May); and the team will hold only one mandatory, full-squad minicamp (June). It’s a brave new world in the NFL, as well as at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, and only the well-prepared will thrive. ‘We’ve anticipated it, so we’re prepared for it,’ head strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle said on Thursday.”

Mike Sando dipped into his mailbag at ESPN.com to answer a question about whether Pro Football Hall of Famers were disproportionately early draft choices: “Yes, that is definitely the case. The Hall of Fame lists them by round. I also track this information. By my count, 143 of 188 drafted Hall of Famers were chosen in the first three rounds. That is 76.1 percent. That includes 94 first-round selections, 29 second-rounders and 20 third-rounders.”

Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com ranks his Top 50 free agents and sitting at No. 10 is Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant: “He had eight starts in his first three seasons, but started 16 in 2011 and was a force on the Seattle defense. He is a perfect 3-4 end, which is where he played last season. He is this year’s Ray McDonald. He turns 28 in April.” At No. 42 is running back Marshawn Lynch: “He has rejuvenated his career in Seattle after being a disappointment in Buffalo in his last two seasons. He ran for 1,204 yards last season for the Seahawks and he only turns 26 in March.”

As for the give-us-this-day-our-daily-Peyton-Manning item, Michael Lombardi at NFL.com douses all the talk about which team might sign the Colts’ iconic QB if/when he is released: “I think it’s unrealistic to assume (he can return). He can’t throw the ball. I’ve talked to people who’ve caught the ball for him. He can’t throw the ball to his left. He can’t throw the ball across his body, because he doesn’t feel it. People who catch the ball for him say he doesn’t really have velocity on the ball yet.”

But that doesn’t stop Ryan Fowler of WhatIfSports.com from playing the what-if game regarding Manning in this piece at FoxSports.com: “Peyton Manning’s last offensive drive included passes to Jacob Tamme and Blair White with a dash of Joseph Addai on the ground. That 2010 Wild Card game against the Jets seems like eons ago, not only for Colts fans, but your casual NFL fan, too. His last drive is a microcosm of what the elder Manning brought to the line every single down. He possesses the innate ability to raise the game of those around him. From Tamme to White to Austin Collie to Pierre Garcon, Manning has made an art out of creating chicken soup from chicken droppings. Up until now, all 13 professional seasons, this maestro’s magic hat featured a horseshoe emblazoned on the side.”


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