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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.”


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.”