Thursday cyber surfing: ‘Hawks one of the most rugged teams in NFL; Banks lands in UFL

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 20.

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says that this current physical and tough Seahawks team is one that former head coach Jim Mora would love, “After Mora was fired, Carroll and general manager John Schneider took over, and what did they immediately do? Start making the Seahawks bigger and more physical. It was a delayed dirtbagging of a football team that had become too clean. Three years later, the Seahawks are among the most rugged teams in the NFL. There’s little concern about whether they’ll push back anymore. They often push first. They excel in rushing defense and rushing offense, two areas that measure toughness. They have graduated from an undersized football team that aspired to be speedy (though it never quite got there) to an oversized squad that is still explosive despite the brawn. Teams don’t come to Seattle and punch the Seahawks in the face now. It’s too dangerous to stick your hands that close to their frothing mouths.”

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has some observations on the Seahawks offense, noting that they have yet to score a first-half touchdown and two of the three field goals they have converted in the first two quarters of games were the result of turnovers, “The slow starts for the offense are reminiscent of the way Seattle began last season when it didn’t score a first-half touchdown until the fourth game. If you break down the offensive and defensive performances down by halves, it’s evident that so far this season, Seattle remains a team that struggles to get going early in games.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has a look at the improvements of the NFC West division, “Since the NFL’s realignment, this is the first time that the teams from the NFC West have been 6-2 or better through the first two weeks of the season, according to Elias Sports Bureau. And the NFC West’s wins have not come against patsies. San Francisco has victories at Super Bowl contender Green Bay and at home against Detroit; Arizona defeated the Patriots in New England, where quarterback Tom Brady had not lost a home opener as a starter; Seattle handled Dallas at home in a game that most league observers thought they had no shot at winning; and St. Louis outdueled Washington and rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald details the play of the Seahawks special teams unit, who he believes set the tone against the Cowboys in Week 2, “Other than when a returner makes a big play, there is little glory on special teams. It’s grunt work that often goes unappreciated, but for the Seahawks, there is no mistaking the importance of special teams play. Carroll has long maintained that his blueprint for winning involves running the ball, winning the turnover battle, playing stout defense, and being strong on special teams. That was precisely the formula Seattle used in its win over Dallas, which is why Carroll said it was one of his most satisfying wins in Seattle, and his team’s special teams play had as much to do with his satisfaction as anything the offense and defense accomplished.”

Doug Farrar of Yahoo Sports details the next step for Brian Banks, the high school football star who was recently exonerated of a California rape case and who worked out for the Seahawks earlier this year, saying he is set to sign with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.

In his latest edition of “Chalk Talk,” Brock Huard of mynorthwest.com breaks down Marshawn Lynch’s 36-yard run that came in the team’s 90-yard scoring drive in the win over the Cowboys.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a quick look at injury situations that matter around the NFC West, “The Seahawks hope to have left tackle Russell Okung back from a bruised knee to face Clay Matthews and the Green Bay defense on Monday night. Frank Omiyale started in Okung’s place Sunday and did what coach Pete Carroll called a “credible” job. For Seattle, playing one day later than usual has affected the practice schedule. Players are off Wednesday. They’ll resume practicing Thursday. Seattle will not issue an injury report until then. Carroll did tell reporters earlier in the week that receiver Sidney Rice was healthy. Rice had left the team’s game against Dallas after absorbing a hard hit. He missed some practice time last week with a sore knee.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a look at the Seahawks’ Week 3 Monday Night Football opponent – the Green Bay Packers, and details the effectiveness of Lynch and the Seahawks run game through two weeks of the regular season.


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Wednesday cyber surfing: NFC West no longer considered “NFC Worst”

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 19.

We start with a few roster moves that were announced by the team yesterday – the Seahawks released running back Kregg Lumpkin from the active roster and wide receiver Ricardo Lockette and linebacker Allen Bradford from the practice squad. In their places, the team announced the signing of cornerback Danny Gorrer to the active roster, and the signing of linebacker Korey Toomer and offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson to the practice squad.

Coach Pete Carroll has an addition to his blog at WinForever.com, as he emphasizes the importance of moving on from the week before, “So now the challenge this week is the same as last week, even though we’re coming off of a win instead of a loss. We’ve got to leave last Sunday behind and turn our entire focus to performing how we know how to perform come Monday night at home. After all, it’s what we do now that counts.”

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that one should not judge rookie quarterback Russell Wilson by his lack of height,“Wilson’s height is just one part of his makeup, and not necessarily the most important part. He is a short quarterback, but he’s also a fast quarterback. He’s a smart quarterback. He’s a strong-armed quarterback. He also has really big hands (for whatever that’s worth). Four inches are about all that separates him from being the ideal NFL quarterback prospect. Those four inches are significant, but they might not turn out be the kind of dealbreaker that some have assumed.”

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says that this Seahawks defense might be the best that they’ve ever had, “The statistics fail to measure the physically intimidating play of this unit, which is its dominant characteristic. And in games at home, it inflames the fans, which, in turn, further energizes the players. ‘The way we want to play is really tough, hard-nosed football,’ Carroll said. ‘And we brought in guys to do that … guys who run fast and hit.’ They certainly do … perhaps to a historic degree.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald notes the improvement of the NFC West division, “…it’s looking more and more likely that the 49ers won’t be the only playoff contender in their division. Arizona was largely dismissed coming into the season thanks to uncertainty at quarterback, but the Cardinals are 2-0 and coming off of shocking win in New England. Going back to last season, the Cardinals are 9-2 since starting the year with a 1-6 record. Seattle also finished last season strong, and after a close loss in Arizona, the Seahawks thumped Dallas on Sunday, physically dominating a Cowboys squad that many had pegged as one of the top teams in the NFC after they knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants in Week 1. Throw in St. Louis, which after going 2-14 last year opened this season with a close loss at Detroit and a comeback win over Washington, and it is looking more and more like the NFC West is a division of teams ready to push back rather than be pushovers.”

Don Banks of SI.com shares a similar sentiment to Boyle, citing the NFC West as the division with the best combined record through Week 2, “It’s the only one of the NFL’s eight divisions with a pair of 2-0 teams (San Francisco, Arizona), and the division’s cumulative 6-2 record is the best in the league. With one of the West’s two losses coming in head-to-head play (Arizona over Seattle in Week 1), its only defeat outside the division was St. Louis’ last-minute, opening-week loss at Detroit. The West’s 5-1 record outside the division is tops in the NFL, and the division’s 4-0 record in Week 2 was only its second such perfect mark since realignment in 2002.”

Elizabeth Merrill of ESPN.com has an extensive look at quarterback Russell Wilson, “Wilson has been called a test study in a league that hinges on centimeters and is steadfast on black-and-white metrics. A wide receiver is supposed to run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds, an offensive lineman is supposed to weigh 300 pounds and a quarterback is supposed to stand at least 6-foot-2. ‘He’s what you call an outlier,’ said former Dallas Cowboys executive Gil Brandt, whose grading system would’ve subtracted 15 points for Wilson’s height. ‘You go broke looking for those guys. For every guy that you draft that’s three inches and four inches below the accepted minimum, 99 of 100 are going to fail. He’s a real exception. Have you ever talked to him personally? He’s the most dynamic guy you’ll ever be around. He has such an unusual flair. I mean, this guy wins you over with two minutes’ talk. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a quarterback that’s undersized like he is that has been so dynamic.’ ”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a closer look at backup left tackle Frank Omiyale’s day against the Dallas Cowboys, “Frank Omiyale, Seahawks: Omiyale started against Dallas while Russell Okung was recovering from a bruised knee. Okung is expected back to face Clay Matthews and the Green Bay Packers’ defense on “Monday Night Football” in Week 3. The Seahawks helped Omiyale some of the time. Omiyale held up without assistance when protecting Russell Wilson’s blind side during a 22-yard scoring pass to tight end Anthony McCoy. Dallas’ Demarcus Ware finished the game with no sacks. Seattle rushed for 182 yards while allowing only two sacks, one of which resulted from an unblocked rusher coming free on Wilson’s front side, away from Omiyale. Seattle got through this game as well as could be expected. The team has averaged 3.5 yards per rush with Okung and 4.4 yards without him. The per-carry average was slightly higher without Okung last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. There are other variables, however. Okung is easily the most talented option at tackle.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth says that the Seahawks special teams unit met all 12 goals set by special teams coordinator Brian Schneider for the very first time, and catches up with Omiyale about his game against the Cowboys.

On the video side, we bring you a look at the SeaHawkers Booster Club’s King St. Kickoff event last week before the first home game, and we recap the Sea Gals performance at the Puyallup Fair.


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Friday cyber surfing: NFC West on the rise

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 20.

Here at Seahawks.com we start by bringing you Clare Farnsworth’s next installment of his 2012 Seahawks positional outlook, as he checks out the Seahawks special teams unit. Farnsworth speaks with special teams coach Brian Schneider, who believes that despite the units success a year ago they have the talent and potential to be even better this season. Just how good was this unit? Well, Schneider shared this eye-popping statistic with his group, and then with Farnsworth, “Last season, when the special teams gave the offense the ball inside the 50-yard line, the Seahawks scored 77 percent of the time. Conversely, when the special teams put the defense inside the opponents’ 20-yard, the opposition scored 17 percent of the time. ‘It’s a pretty cool deal,’ Schneider said. “’f we can create a really long field for the defense, we’re really successful. If we get a short field for the offense, we’re really successful. And when you put those numbers on it, it just kind of gives some value to it.’ ”

Next up at Seahawks.com we have the unique story behind Seahawks fan Karlyn Moyer’s “Mom Cave”– her own room packed full of Seahawks memorabilia. Moyer shared some photos of her “Mom Cave” on the 12th Man Tour’s visit to Alaska, “Almost 20 years ago, Moyer’s collection of Seahawks memorabilia started with a single stuffed Teddy bear donning a Seahawks sweater bearing Moyer’s name and birth year. Today, Moyer’s collection has grown to include furniture, clothing, flags, figurines, and more – and she has not purchased a single piece of it. ‘I do not buy myself any new things for my collection,’ Moyer said. ‘Everyone I know purchases them for me. Friends and family all ask, ‘Do you have this?’ ” The 12th Man Tour continues with a stop in Spokane this Saturday, July 21.

Rounding out the coverage here at Seahawks.com we have a video featuring Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright, who sits down with Seahawks Insider Tony Ventrella. The two talk about the difference between Wright’s preparation during the lockout-shortened offseason a year ago compared to his first full offseason this year, as well as how he was able to adjust to play at the NFL level so quickly.

NFL.com gives us their divisional power rankings, and the NFC West sits as the seventh-ranked division of the eight in the League, “Despite its consistently low ranking, the NFC West has made strides,” writes NFL.com. “The gap between, say, the NFC East and NFC West has closed dramatically. The NFC West would have been dead last, often by a wide margin, for much of the past decade. It’s a division on the rise with the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals all possessing good defenses.”

Mel Kiper of ESPN.com breaks down summer additions to the NFC West, and althought you must have an ESPN Insider account to view the complete piece, here’s a taste of what Kiper offers on the Seahawks: “Help added: There’s been a notable velocity with which Pete Carroll and John Schneider have remade the Seahawks’ roster over the past 24 months. This year, I think it’ll finally be time to really judge these guys on something more than growth. This is a team that, on paper, can be a winner if it can find some points and keep healthy in key spots. In terms of additions, it starts with Matt Flynn at quarterback. While Tarvaris Jackson is still around, and Russell Wilson deserves to be in the picture as a young player competing for the spot, Flynn has to be the starter in Week 1. With Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin, Seattle has an above-average tandem in the passing game, with the chance to be better. People should remember that Rice is still just 25, with a history of nicks that have limited him. So while I think it should be Flynn, “not enough weapons” can’t be an excuse for anyone. I think we’re all pretty interested to see how much of a pass rush Carroll can create with the addition of Bruce Irvin. I know evaluators who saw the lightning rod out of West Virginia as the best pure pass-rusher in the draft (which is partly a reflection of the class), and Seattle had to have taken Irvin with a specific role in mind. Carroll can use him as a Leo linebacker, with Chris Clemons as a possible model. Barrett Ruud provides some experience at linebacker and Jason Jones filled a hole at D-tackle. But the key is the rush, because consistent pressure could make an already good secondary look spectacular. It starts up front, and Irvin is the key for me.”

Finally, Forbes recently released a list of the world’s 50 most valuable sports teams, and the Seahawks find themselves at No. 25 on the list, with an estimated worth of $997 million. Despite their relatively high ranking, the Seahawks are just the 16th-ranked NFL team on the list, behind the Dallas Cowboys (T-No. 3), Washington Redskins (No. 5), New England Patriots (T-No. 6), New York Giants (No. 9), New York Jets (No. 12), Houston Texans (No. 13), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 14), Chicago Bears (No. 16), Green Bay Packers (No. 17), Baltimore Ravens (No. 18), Indianapolis Colts (No. 19), Denver Broncos (No. 20), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 21), Miami Dolphins (No. 22) and Carolina Panthers (No. 24).


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Fourth of July edition

Good morning, and happy Fourth of July. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks on this holiday.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com explores how travel disparity may affect NFL teams. He specifically references the Seahawks and the NFC West division, noting that their distance traveled each season outpaces the rest, “The Steelers played 15 of their 16 games in the Eastern time zone, with a lone trip to the Central time zone waiting for them against the Titans in Week 16. Part of that is a lucky out-of-division schedule, but the Steelers also benefit by playing in a division with three opponents who each reside within 260 miles or so of Pittsburgh. Seattle, meanwhile, plays in a ‘West’ division that places its teams in three different time zones. Pittsburgh accrues about 1,122 miles in traveling to and from its divisional rivals, while Seattle’s round-trips to their NFC West brethren clock in at a whopping 7,024 miles.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com takes a look at some recent stadium rule changes that should ensure home teams enjoy a more formidable advantage. The Wall Street Journal reported, “Stadiums will now be free to rile up crowds with video displays, and public-address announcers will no longer be restrained from inciting racket when the opposing offense faces a crucial third down.” Sando points out how these changes might benefit Seattle’s already boisterous 12th Man crowd, “It’s unclear how much louder CenturyLink Field can become, but a few well-timed highlights featuring knockout hits from Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor should help us find out. Likewise, shots of Tony Romo’s infamous botched hold against Seattle in the playoffs years ago should come in handy when Romo is breaking the huddle at CenturyLink for the Seahawks’ home opener this year.”

Sando also continues with his pre-camp analysis – this time with the Seahawks defense and special teams – 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 secondary, Sando had this to say, “Three of the four starters went to the Pro Bowl last season; [Richard] Sherman arguably should have gone. [Marcus] Trufant’s conversion to a nickel role has the potential to upgrade Seattle’s coverage. Injuries sidelined Trufant and [Walter] Thurmond last season. Both can contribute at a reasonably high level if healthy. It’s tough to bank on either one, however. Don’t forget about [Byron] Maxwell. He impressed in camp as a rookie, only to fade from the picture after suffering an ankle injury. Seattle likes its depth at corner. [Jeron] Johnson should be ready to take a step forward at safety. The Seahawks like what they’ve seen from [Winston] Guy as well.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we continue with our Rookie Spotlight segment as Seahawks General Manager John Schneider takes a couple of minutes to talk with Tony Ventrella about Seahawks second round draft pick LB Bobby Wagner out of Utah State.

Finally, in the spirit of the holiday, NFL.com asked their staff the question, ‘Which 2012 NFL game should become a national holiday?’ The question sparked some interesting responses, but the unanimous choice was the New England Patriots October 7 game with the Denver Broncos, or as many will see it – Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. “This is an easy one,” said NFL Network’s Ian Rapport. “On Oct. 7, the New England Patriots play the Denver Broncos in a game the entire country should be forced to sit down and watch. The NFL was robbed last year of the its 13th meeting of Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, but not this year. Sure, sure, Manning is playing for Denver now, but the key elements of the NFL’s best quarterback rivalry are still there. Brady and Manning will still be matching right arms in a battle to reach 40 points, with this contest taking place at Gillette Stadium. If history is any indicator, it’ll go down to the wire.”


Photoblog: From Prime Time to the Playoffs

The Seahawks returned home to the rowdy support of the 12thMan at Qwest Field as they faced the St. Louis Rams in a Week 17, winner-take-all contest to see which team would claim the NFC West title and a trip to the playoffs.

Seahawks quarterback and team captain Matt Hasselbeck took center stage in the locker room before the game.

Starting safety Lawyer Milloy is a study in concentration in the dark of the tunnel before being the last player introduced to a roaring crowd and national television audience.

Seattle's offense started fast, with a wide-open Ruvell Martin making a 61-yard catch from Charlie Whitehurst in front of the St. Louis sideline to set up a first quarter touchdown.

Charlie Whitehurst made his second career NFL start matter, leading the Seahawks efficiently and without turnovers.

Wide receiver Mike Williams was wide open on the left side of the end zone and scored Seattle's only touchdown on a pass from Charlie Whitehurst.

Williams then saluted the 12thMan as an NBC camera beamed his pose to the rest of the country.

Head coach Pete Carroll congratulates Williams after the touchdown.

Matt McCoy gets pumped after one of his four tackles on special teams against the Rams.

Raheem Brock played his best game as a Seahawk, leveling St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford for a sack on this play with teammate Chris Clemons.

Chris Clemons celebrates after the sack.

Clemons again brought pressure on Bradford, this time forcing an incomplete pass as the Rams tried to score after a Seattle turnover.

Head coach Pete Carroll praised all three aspects of his team's play -- offense, defense and special teams. Free safety Earl Thomas made a diving tackle on Rams return specialist Danny Amendola, flipping him through the air.

Linebacker Will Herring made the game's biggest defensive play, intercepting a pass by St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford in the fourth quarter which set the stage for Seattle's final scoring drive.

Seattle's Marshawn Lynch was key in the fourth quarter as he carried the ball ten times on a 13-play drive to help seal the victory.

Seattle kicker Olindo Mare kicked three second half field goals including a final 34-yard effort with 1:41 left in the game to cement the win.

Offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and fellow assistants celebrate Mare's field goal with gave the Seahawks a 16-6 lead.

Quarterbacks Charlie Whitehurst and Matt Hasselbeck share a laugh on the sideline near the end of the game.

Head coach Pete Carroll lets out a holler along with assistants Gus Bradley (left) and Dan Quinn (right) as the game clock ticks down to 00:00.

Defensive tackle Craig Terrill, wearing a hat proclaiming the Seahawks as NFC West Champions, runs over to the stands to give his wife Rachel a kiss before heading to the locker room.

Center Chris Spencer presented the game ball to head coach Pete Carroll, who returned the Seahawks to the top of the NFC West and back to the playoffs in his first season with the team.

Carroll pauses to collect his thoughts as the team gathered around him in the locker room following the emotional victory.

Carroll congratulated his players, coaches and staff on the win, then reminded them that a bigger challenge awaited as a rematch with the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints was less than a week away.

General manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll, who made 275 personnel moves since taking over, congratulate each other in the locker room after winning the division title.