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Friday cyber surfing: It’s all about the rookies

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 11:

The Seahawks’ rookies have reported and will practice today for the first of three times in their weekend minicamp. Eric Williams at the News Tribune takes a look at how coach Pete Carroll relishes this look at the rookies: “ ‘It’s going to be really cool to see these guys come together,’ Carroll said. ‘There are so many highlight players in this group of kids. We can’t wait to get them on the field with us.’ Most eyes will be on (Bruce) Irvin, a speed pass rusher, and quarterback (Russell) Wilson, two players who were considered surprise selections by national NFL observers – particularly where they were taken in the draft. For Irvin, the focus will be on how long it takes for him to develop into a consistent pass rusher and an every-down player in order to live up to his draft status. In Wilson’s case, his 5-foot-11 stature and ability to deliver accurate passes from inside the pocket will be a constant measuring stick of his success in the NFL.”

Chris Burke at SI.com takes a look at the undrafted free agents who could turn into finds for the teams that signed them, including the Seahawks: “Jermaine Kearse, WR, Washington. We’re kind of on a run of guys catching on with their local teams. Seattle fans ought to be well-aware of Kearse after a strong career at Washington. He has good size and will go over the middle — valuable traits for a team searching for WR help. Others to watch: Rishaw Johnson, G, California (Pa.); DeShawn Shead, DE, Portland State”

During a chat at ESPN.com, NFC West blogger Mike Sando fielded a question about the Seahawks’ creativity in player acquisition: “The 49ers converted Bruce Miller from college defensive end to fullback and got good play from him last season. Miller had not played offense since high school. (J.R.) Sweezy, like Miller, was a later-round pick. Teams have greater freedom to experiment with later-round choices. The key is to be creative without over-thinking things. More broadly, the concern in building around specialized or somewhat unique players – think Red Bryant for Seattle – is that specialized players can be tough to replace if injured. However, that is where staff flexibility can make up the difference. The Seahawks seem to have a good defensive staff and approach. Another potential concern relative to Sweezy is what the move represents: a clear push by an assistant coach to get a player he liked. Tom Cable also drove the selection of James Carpenter a year ago. Drafting players to fit the staff is important, but we should also watch to see if assistants have too much sway.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the selection of linebacker Bobby Wagner in the second round, which follows a productive trend for the team: “There’s not just a precedent, it’s a productive precedent. In 2005, Lofa Tatupu – who played for Carroll at USC – was the Seahawks’ second-round draft choice. He not only started as a rookie, he was the leading tackler on the franchise’s first Super Bowl team – the first of a club-record four consecutive seasons that the too-small, too-slow Tatupu would lead the Seahawks in tackles. In 1977, Terry Beeson was a second-round draft choice, and he also led the team in tackles as a rookie – the first of three consecutive seasons Beeson would do it, including a still-franchise record 153 tackles in 1978. In 1978, Keith Butler was selected in the second round of the draft, and he became the franchise’s all-time leading tackler by the time he left after the 1987 season (a total since surpassed by Eugene Robinson). In 1987, Dave Wyman was the team’s second-round draft choice, and he finished second on the team in tackles in 1988 and 1989. In 1990, Terry Wooden was selected in the second round, and he led the team in tackles in 1991 and 1995 and finished second in 1993 and 1994 – although it was as an outside ’backer. But you get the picture; second-round linebackers have been very, very good for the Seahawks.”

We’ve also got an item on how coach Pete Carroll surprised the veterans on Thursday, as well as birthday wishes for Jim Zorn that includes a must-see NFL Films video.

Remember free agency? It’s still going on, and Jason La Canfora at NFL.com has a look at the best remaining players, and where they might fit best.


Thursday cyber surfing: The Seahawks world, according to Red Bryant

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

Dave Boling at the News Tribune offers some impressions from Wednesday’s 45-minute workout, which was open to the media: “Two of the new free agents, for instance, are obviously eager to make impressions. Defensive lineman Jason Jones, at 6-5, 276 pounds, is all angles and levers. If slapping your way through a series of blocking dummies in a hurry is any indication, Jones seems to be a perfect fit as an interior rusher on passing downs. And the new No. 72 is the surprisingly svelte guard Deuce Lutui, whom you may recall from the days when he was stretching out Arizona Cardinals jerseys. Lutui failed the physical last year with Cincinnati and returned to Arizona as a backup. Although said to have been topping out in the 400-pound range, he’s listed at a believable 338 now, having slimmed down by adopting some vegan concepts in his diet.”

Also at the News Tribune, Eric Williams has highlights from Red Bryant’s post-workout Q&A session: “According to Bryant, one thing he has noticed during Seattle’s offseason training is the difference from two years ago after coach Pete Carroll created more depth at every position. ‘In 2010 when I got injured we really didn’t have a person who could step up at that particular time and do what Coach Carroll envisioned for the defense,’ Bryant said. ‘But you can’t say the same thing today. If one guy goes down, I’m pretty sure the next guy will step in and it shouldn’t be a big drop off. And that’s a testament to Coach Carroll and the scouting department.’ ”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times focuses on Bryant’s newfound security, which comes with his new contract: “No doubt about his position, unlike two years ago when he switched from defensive tackle to end. No questions about his durability, after he started 16 games for the first time in his career. No uncertainty about his future, since he signed a five-year contract to remain with Seattle. ‘It’s definitely a change,’ Bryant said. ‘I’ve got more security … I know I’ll be here, and I’m a big player moving forward … I have a lot more responsibility as far as continuing to be the leader that I have become.’ ”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at how Bryant is enjoying fatherhood: “This has been a big offseason for Red Bryant and his wife, Janelle. And not just because Bryant signed a sizeable contract in March in his first crack at free agency. In addition to gaining some considerable financial security, these past few months have been a lot different for the Bryants because they’ve had their hands full with one sizable baby. Fitting for the son of one defensive end and grandson of another — Janelle is the daughter of former Seahawks great Jacob Green — Joseph Brooks Bryant, who is only four months old, is already checking in at 22 pounds and 29 inches long. ‘It’s great,’ Bryant said of being a first-time parent. ‘It’s the best experience in the world. He’s starting to be a big boy.’ “

Mike Sando at ESPN.com delves deeper into Deuce Lutui’s vegan diet, that the Seahawks’ recently acquired guard credits with him being in the best offseason shape of his career: “Incorporating vegan principles into his diet has indeed helped Lutui reach his playing weight (340 pounds) months earlier than usual. But he has not stopped eating animal products entirely. Lutui, in consultation with a nutritionist, still eats fish and chicken to maximize his protein intake. Protein shakes after workouts are also allowed. Red meats and dairy products are on the do-not-eat list. ‘A lot of people wouldn’t call it vegan, but as the vegan concept goes, it is something I eat pretty much vegan throughout the week,’ Lutui said over the phone Tuesday. ‘I’ve been at this for four months, and so I’ve lost tremendous weight.’ ”

Also at ESPN.com, John Clayton touches on Bruce Irvin’s expected production this season while answering a reader’s question in his weekly mailbag: “I can see him getting 11 sacks as a rookie. I don’t think he will get many starts his rookie season, but Pete Carroll’s system is set up for him being a double-digit sacker. Carroll considered him the best pass-rusher in the draft. He figures to get Irvin on the field 60 percent of the snaps. If the strategy works, the Seahawks will have two 11-sack players – Chris Clemons and Irvin. It’ll be interesting to see whether more teams go into two-tight end sets against the Seahawks to try to minimize Irvin’s impact. Of course, if teams do that, it could take away some big-play ability from the downfield throws. It could also play into a strength of the Seahawks, who have the best young safety corps in football.”

Pete Carroll was on with “Brock and Salk” at 710 ESPN and discussed rookie QB Russell Wilson: “ ‘He can make all of the throws, and you know we’ve watched everything time and again to see it,’ Carroll told ‘Brock and Salk’ on Wednesday, a day before Wilson and the rest of the team’s rookies are scheduled to (report for) a three-day minicamp. ‘His body position does not have to be all aligned to make big throws down the field. He can move and kind of duck and dodge and come up firing and find guys crossing the field, 40 and 50 yards down the field, and put the ball on a line when he has to.’ “

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a deeper look into the team’s decision to dispatch Tom Cable to checkout J.R. Sweezy before deciding to draft the defensive tackle and move him to guard: “Tom Cable looks for certain characteristics in his offensive linemen; even when that lineman might be playing on the defensive side of the ball. That was the case when the Seahawks dispatched Cable, their assistant head coach/offensive line coach, to check out J.R. Sweezy, a defensive tackle at North Carolina State that the team was considering selecting in the NFL Draft – and moving to guard. When it came time to make the 18th pick in the seventh round on April 28, Sweezy it was – with an approving nod from Cable. ‘It was his demeanor, first and foremost,’ Cable said this week, as the veteran players continued Phase 2 of their offseason program. ‘His intelligence. His toughness. And how he played on defense.’ That’s what attracted the team. As for Cable, he offered, ’For me, what kind of pushed it all over the top was just how quick and athletic he was. That jumped out at me. You put that with those other characteristics and you’re thinking, ‘OK.’ ”

We’ve also got a look at the team’s improved pass rush, through the eyes of Bryant, as well as a recap of Bryant’s Q&A session: “Now that Bryant is back, he does not intend to stand on what he already has accomplished in his now-you-don’t-see-him/now-he’s-impossible-to-miss career. ‘I have bigger expectations than just a contract,’ he said. ‘I definitely want to be a guy when my playing days are over with and they think about the Seahawks, they think about big Red Bryant.’ ”

You can watch the Bryant interview here.


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