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Monday cyber surfing: ‘Hawks face winning expectations for first time under Carroll

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 23.

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times discusses the increased expectations the Seahawks face heading into 2012 after the team has shown glimpses of greatness through two seasons under head coach Pete Carroll, “Now comes the really hard part — actually winning. The replenished Seahawks will face that pressure for the first time. But every team on the brink of a breakthrough must go through this. The encouraging thing is that, with Carroll in charge, it’s not like the Seahawks have been babied to this point. Carroll applies pressure daily in his competitive-based program. Even when the Seahawks have been comically overmatched, he has coached them as if preparing for a championship run. It means that, though the Seahawks are operating under new conditions, they don’t have to change much to adjust to it.”

John Clayton of ESPN.com answers reader-submitted questions in his latest ‘mailbag’, and takes a look at some of the notable training camp battles around the League, “The most interesting battle to watch is the three-way quarterback fight in Seattle. Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson battled equally in OTAs and in minicamp. Competition is great, but part of this year’s training camp is getting that quarterback ready for the opener with fewer practices to get the offense to respond. The Seahawks have only 12 practices before their first preseason game. The training camp portion of the preseason contains only 15 practices. There are only five more practices over the final two weeks of the preseason. That’s 20 practices and four preseason games. Having good competition at quarterback is one thing, but at some point, Carroll and other coaches around the league need to focus on getting that starting quarterback ready for the opener.”

Here at Seahawks.com we showcased a series of Seahawks Insider’s over the weekend, including video segments with Kam Chancellor, Zach Miller and Russell Wilson. Digital media host Tony Ventrella discusses everything from the players’ 2012 expectations, their football careers to date, and how they got to where they are today.

Don Banks of SI.com answers 10 questions around the NFL as teams prepare to enter training camp, and offered this on if there really is going to be a three-way quarterback competition in Seattle, “We know how much Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll likes the word ‘competition,’ because he uses it more than Bill Belichick drops the ‘it is what is’ chestnut on us. But not all competitions are created equal. Logic tells us free-agent addition Matt Flynn is in the driver’s seat in Seattle, ahead of both 2011 starter Tarvaris Jackson and rookie third-round pick Russell Wilson. But Flynn’s meager track record — two NFL starts — means there’s no reason to anoint him the clear-cut No. 1, so Carroll didn’t. He wants Flynn to work and earn the job in the preseason, because it’ll count for more in the locker room if he does. That’s just the way the NFL works. The QB storyline will consume all the oxygen in Seattle’s training camp, but in reality, it’s Flynn’s job to lose. If the Seahawks were happy with Jackson, they wouldn’t have signed Flynn and spent their highest pick on a quarterback in 10 years by taking Wilson. And despite Carroll’s infatuation level with Wilson’s potential, the smart and resourceful rookie figures to be a Wildcat package option this year, with a better chance of beating out Jackson for the backup job than truly pushing Flynn for the starting gig. Unless he falls on his face(mask) in August, Flynn should be the last man standing under center in Week 1.”

And finally, for a broader look around the NFL Peter King of SI.com is back from vacation and gives us his version of ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’, after the column was taken over by guest-writers the last four weeks.


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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.


Friday cyber surfing: Wilson earns praise of former NFL exec

Good morning, and happy Friday the 13th. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today.

Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson comes at us with another installment of “The Real Rob Report”, this time from the 2012 ESPY Awards. Robinson talks with various athletes and celebrities including Josh Cribbs, Vernon Davis and Terrell Suggs as they walk the red carpet. Suggs raved about playing in Seattle and the tremendous fan support the 12th Man exuberates on game days, “It’s really hard to play up there [in Seattle], but it’s fun. That’s what the game is all about – how electric the stadium is. I love going to play the Seahawks. I’m 0-2 up there, but I must say both of the games, they were very fun. And the city – I love the city. It’s a beautiful city. I’m gonna have to get me a ‘W’ up there, though. But the Seahawks – it’s a really good stadium, it’s a really good atmosphere. That’s what NFL football is about up there.”

The Tacoma News Tribune’s Eric Williams joined Pro Football Talk Live yesterday to talk about the Seahawks heading into 2012. Williams and PFT host Mike Florio touched on a variety of subjects, from the Seahawks young, ascending defense to Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition, the wide receiver group, offensive and defensive lines, and how Seattle might challenge the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC West division title. You can watch and listen to the nearly 18-minute segment right here.

Brady Henderson at MyNorthwest.com recaps a Wednesday segment of “Bob and Groz” in which former NFL front-office executive Tony Softli joined the show. Henderson said Softli believes Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson will eventually earn the position of Seahawks’ starting quarterback, but not necessarily by the end of training camp. Henderson writes, “Softli raved about Wilson’s athleticism and leadership. He said Wilson ‘throws a better ball’ than Drew Brees, the Saints’ record-setting quarterback, and that it’s only a matter of time before Wilson proves that he’s a better quarterback than [Matt] Flynn and [Tarvaris] Jackson. ‘I think he is the future, there’s no question,’ Softli said. ‘Flynn, Jackson, they better not open the door because this guy will slam it shut.’ “

Wide receiver Golden Tate joined Dave “Softy” Mahler of 950 KJR AM yesterday – you can listen to the audio by following the download links on their page . The two talked about the excitement building around the Seahawks upcoming training camp, what to expect from the team in 2012, and Tate gives his thoughts on the Seahawks quarterback competition.

Here at Seahawks.com Tony Ventrella and the Sea Gals give us a sneak-preview of 2012 Bing Training Camp, which opens for registration later this morning.


Thursday cyber surfing: Most improved defense in 2012? Seahawks get a mention

Good morning. I hope everybody had a safe and fun Fourth of July. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 5.

Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. sees the Seahawks as being one of the four most improved defenses of the 2012 season, along with the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. An ESPN Insider subscription is required, but Horton offers this on the Seahawks, “This defense plays with a swagger, and is the most physical group that I have seen on film. They have great variety in their skill sets, which allows the coaches to create exotic schemes. Above all, though, they are a young defense that will be good for a long time.”

At CBSsports.com, Jason La Canfora asks us to stop the speculation and controversy when it comes to teams’ quarterback situations – Seattle included – and to let the battles and competitions play out for themselves come training camp, “Give it a little time to breathe,” said La Canfora. “The coaching staffs will be accumulating as much information as possible before making their determinations. No decision maker is going to get too high or too low about a few weeks of spring ball. Some veterans might shine more than the novices, sure, but in these rare situations where there truly is uncertainty about who is going to be under center, the pecking order will change, and in many cases change significantly.”

Here at seahawks.com, we continue with our Rookie Spotlight segment, as Seahawks General Manager John Schneider talks with Tony Ventrella about Seahawks 2012 third-round draft pick QB Russell Wilson out of Wisconsin. “I’m not sure how good a baseball player he was,” said Schneider. “But I know he likes football, so we’re really happy about that.”

Finally, over at NFL.com Marc Sessler pays tribute to Al Davis, who would have celebrated his 83rd birthday yesterday on our nation’s 236th birthday. “Davis, in many way, reflects some of the qualities of our nation’s Founding Fathers,” said Sessler. He was a visionary and more than willing to ruffle feathers to bring his ideas to life. Davis was never boring. Sometimes outrageous. Flawed but unforgettable. Davis had enemies and loyal friends, but those close to him recognized his legacy to be a lasting one. He was an original. Our best wishes to the Davis family.”