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Is it football season yet?

12 Tour

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Today, on a beautiful Seahawks Blue Friday in Seattle, it’s all about the number 12.

Unfortunately, I’m not talking about the number of days remaining until the Seahawks kickoff the 2013 regular season on the road against the Carolina Panthers – there’s still 58 of those. Nor am I talking about the number of days remaining until the team’s first preseason game on the road against the San Diego Chargers – there’s still 27 of those. And as close as we are, I’m not even talking about the number of days remaining until the club’s first training camp practice – there’s still 13 of those.

What I am talking about is today’s date – July 12 – and how it coincides with the continuation of the Seahawks 12 Tour in Vancouver, B.C., how it falls one day after the release of our “Spirit of 12″ 12th Man-oriented section of Seahawks.com, as well as one day after Russell Wilson came in at No. 12 on ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski’s rankings of the League’s 32 quarterbacks. Really, the number 12 is everywhere, or perhaps we’re just really quick – and at times obsessively compulsive – to point it out.

All right, that’s enough 12ing (for now). Let’s get down to what’s in store for the week ahead with your Seattle Seahawks, as together we inch closer and closer to answering the all-too-often-uttered question: Is it football season yet?

Sunday, July 14:

  • 12 Tour Vancouver, B.C. rolls along with a family festival at West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park from 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Events include a Gatorade Junior Training Camp, a flag football tournament, a Q&A session with defensive end Red Bryant and wide receiver Doug Baldwin, live entertainment, and more
  • 12 Tour Yakima – a one day Gatorade Junior Training Camp event
  • Cornerback Jeremy Lane celebrates his 23rd birthday. Send your well wishes to Lane on Twitter @StayingInMyLane
  • Russell Wilson’s Passing Academy tour wraps up at the University of Washington

Monday, July 15:

  • 12 Tour Victoria, B.C. – a one day trip featuring wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who will sign autographs from 4-6 p.m. at Jersey City – Mayfair Centre and who will follow that up with an appearance at a season-preview party at 7:30 p.m. at Victoria’s Strathcona Hotel
  • ProFootballTalk.com will unveil players ranked No. 50-26 on their Top 100 Players countdown

Tuesday, July 16:

  • There’s not too many Seahawks-related activities going on, but this nugget of knowledge might come in handy for your Tuesday night trivia session: On this date in 1968, Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders is born. Sanders will celebrate his 45th birthday.

Wednesday, July 17:

Thursday, July 18:

  • The 12 Tour ramps back up again, this time making it’s way to the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Wash.), where cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman will host a Seahawks fan forum at 6 p.m. at Kennewick’s “The Pub” on Clearwater Ave.

Friday, July 19:

Saturday, July 20:

  • 12 Tour Vancouver, WA – Cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman will host a Seahawks fan forum at Vancouver’s “Big Al’s” on SE 18th St.

Friday round-up: Pete Carroll’s Top 5 most significant wins

On the Seahawks #12Tour, Doug Baldwin and Red Bryant surprise David Libby of the United States Army at his home in honoring his service and sacrifice as a Wounded Warrior.

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Friday, July 12, about your Seattle Seahawks:

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com ranks the Top 5 most significant wins under head coach Pete Carroll. O’Neil’s No. 1 ranked win under Carroll may not be one that your mind would immediately gravitate toward, as he picks the Seahawks’ 22-17 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on November 13, 2011 – Carroll’s second season with the club.

On that game, O’Neil writes:  “The significance is apparent only in retrospect. Seattle was 10-16 under Carroll entering this game, including the playoffs. Lynch had rushed for 100 yards in only two of those games and the Seahawks had a total of 19 rushing touchdowns. The Seahawks are 17-9 in all games since, Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards in 16 games and the Seahawks have 29 rushing touchdowns. Seattle may not have taken off until Wilson was put under center, but the sign of the turnaround can be traced to the midway point of Carroll’s second season.”

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times continues his countdown to training camp blog, answering the question – who will win the Seahawks backup quarterback job?

Speaking of backup quarterbacks, NFL.com Around the League writer Marc Sessler ranks the NFL’s backup quarterbacks, and Seahawks backup Brady Quinn comes in at No. 18.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune joined Sports Radio 950 KJR AM’s Ian Furness to talk about the Seahawks defense and which players need to step up come training camp at the end of July:


Former NFL quarterback and Tacoma, Wash. native Jon Kitna joined 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” to talk about quarterback Russell Wilson’s development, as well as Wilson’s No. 12 ranking in ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski’s ranking of the League’s 32 quarterbacks:


ESPN’s John Clayton discusses 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin’s potential move from defensive end to outside linebacker on 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Wyman, Mike and Moore.” Clayton notes the move shows confidence that defensive end Chris Clemons could be available earlier in the season.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth throws it back to strong safety Jeron Johnson’s time as a middle linebacker at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif.

Along with team partner Alaska Airlines, Wilson led a pledge for 605 urban youth to stay in school and accomplish their goals. We also have photos from the event here.

And in some news around the rest of the League, no players were selected in yesterday’s 2013 supplemental draft.


Is it football season yet?

Russell Wilson

Whether you spent our nation’s 237th birthday flinging off fireworks, manning the meat on your grill, stuffing yourself full of too much potato salad, or sucking down your favorite American brew, I sincerely hope that everyone had a very happy and very safe Independence Day.

But let’s be real. While yesterday did hold special meaning, it’s gone now. And all-in-all, it brought us one day closer to football season. We’re now sitting pretty at just 65 days remaining until the Seahawks kickoff the 2013 regular season on September 8 against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

So, as we do every Friday here at Seahawks.com to help us cope with life without football, here’s a detailed look at what’s going on next week, July 7-13, with your Seattle Seahawks:

Sunday, July 7:Richard Sherman

  • Cornerback Richard Sherman is set to host his celebrity softball game for charity at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium. Seahawks.com will be there bringing you video and social media coverage from the event and you can view a complete list of players and celebs attending here.

Monday, July 8:

  • Quarterback Russell Wilson’s Passing Academy finally makes it’s way to the state of Washington, stopping in Spokane for a two-day camp.
  • Seahawks.com’s Clare Farnsworth continues his 2013 positional preview series with a look at the club’s defensive backs. You can check out past features from Farnsworth here.

Tuesday, July 9:

  • The Seahawks 12 Tour officially kicks off with a visit to Anchorage, Alaska. Seahawks Vice President of Community Relations & Special Projects Mike Flood leads the charge along with kicker Steven Hauschka and long snapper Clint Gresham.
  • Defensive end Greg Scruggs starts day one of his four-day youth football camp in Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Day two of Wilson’s Passing Academy continues in Spokane, Wash.
  • Farnsworth’s 2013 preview series wraps up, as he highlights the team’s special teams unit.

Wednesday, July 10:

  • 12 Tour Alaska continues. From 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. our crew will take part in Camp Shriver Alaska at the Anchorage Dome – a Special Olympics Alaska event that provides sports training for high school and middle school students.
  • Day two of Scruggs’ youth camp continues in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Thursday, July 11:Doug Baldwin

  • A second-leg of the 12 Tour ramps up – this one in Bellingham, Wash. featuring wide receiver Doug Baldwin and defensive end Red Bryant. Baldwin and Bryant will start the day with an autograph session at 11 a.m. at the Outlet Shoppes at Burlington. At 5 p.m., the wideout-D-line duo will join Seahawks digital media host Tony Ventrella at Bellingham’s Lakeway Inn for a fan forum event.
  • 12 Tour Alaska hosts a Play 60 challenge from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Alaska’s AT&T Sports Center.
  • Day three of Scruggs’ youth camp continues in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Friday, July 12:

  • The 12 Tour moves from Bellingham, Wash. to Vancouver, B.C., as Baldwin and Bryant are joined by Sherman north of the border. Click here for a detailed day-by-day rundown of the weekend’s events in BC.
  • Scruggs’ youth camp finishes up in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Saturday, July 13:


Is it football season yet?

Red Bryant

Happy Summer Solstice, Seahawks fans.

But wait, hold on. Did you know that while your calendars mark today – Friday, June 21 – as the first official day of summer, those of us on the West Coast actually made the jump from spring to summer late Thursday night? The change of season occurred at 1:04 a.m. ET – that’s 10:04 p.m. PT. So technically, those of us here on the left side of the states were finally able to experience something before our east coast friends. Take that little tidbit to whatever weekend gathering you’ve got on deck.

Now, let’s get to some football – sort of. As defensive end Red Bryant lets you know in our graphic above, there are just 79 days until the Seahawks kickoff the 2013 regular season against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. And to help us cope with life without football, here’s a detailed look at what’s going on next week, June 23-28, with your Seattle Seahawks:

Sunday, June 23:

Monday, June 24:

  • The 16th annual Rookie Symposium starts up in Aurora, Ohio, where all 254 members of the 2013 NFL Draft class will report to learn about life in the NFL prior to training camp starting up in late July. AFC rookies are scheduled to report June 23-26 with NFC rookies following suit June 26-29.
  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled to workout at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
  • Our resident reporter Clare Farnsworth will start up a well-deserved and hard-earned three-week vacation. But the football-content-starved fear not, as Farnsworth has graciously left us with a slew of stories previewing the upcoming season to run in his absence. First up is part one of his nine-part positional series with a look at the club’s quarterbacks – namely, second-year signal caller Russell Wilson.

Tuesday, June 25:

  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled to workout at VMAC.
  • Farnsworth’s positional series continues with a look at the running back group.
  • Wilson’s Passing Academy changes venues, as he hosts day one of his two-day camp in Raleigh, N.C.

Wednesday, June 26:

  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled for their final workout at VMAC before training camp – their pre-training-camp break begins shortly thereafter.
  • Farnsworth will highlight the club’s wide receivers in his positional series.
  • Wilson’s Passing Academy continues in Raleigh, N.C.

Thursday, June 27:

  • Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner celebrates his 23rd birthday. Be sure to wish last year’s AP Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up a happy birthday on Twitter @Bwagz54.
  • The first of nine Gatorade Junior Training Camps takes place at Cedar River Park in Renton, Wash.
  • Farnsworth will take a break from the positional series on this “Throwback Thursday” – chronicling cornerback Richard Sherman’s time as a track star at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif.

Friday, June 28:

  • Free safety Earl Thomas kicks off his football camp for kids in Orange, Texas.
  • Second-year cornerback DeShawn Shead salutes his 25th birthday – you can wish Shead happy-quarter-of-a-century on Twitter @dshead24.
  • Farnsworth’s positional series kicks back up with a look at the team’s tight ends.

Saturday, June 29:

  • Thomas’ camp continues in Texas, Wilson’s Passing Academy makes it way to Madison, Wis. and defensive end Cliff Avril hosts his inaugural youth football camp in Green Cove Springs, Fla.
  • Kicker Steven Hauschka celebrates his 28th birthday.

12 Tour headlines summer of Seahawks activities & youth football camps

12 Tour

Yesterday, the Seahawks announced a schedule of summer activities dedicated to the 12th Man across the Pacific Northwest.

Showcasing that summer schedule is the Seahawks 12 Tour – when wide receiver Doug Baldwin, defensive end Red Bryant, kicker Steven Hauschka, long snapper Clint Gresham and cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman will make stops across the states Washington and Alaska, as well as Vancouver B.C. In conjunction with Washington Tourism Alliance, the Seahawks players will be joined by members of the Sea Gals, team mascot Blitz, and Seahawks fan development staff as they host fan forums, make community appearances and participate in area football camps for youth at each stop.

The tour’s first stop is in Anchorage, Alaska with Hauschka and Gresham (July 9-14) and from there it’s on to Bellingham, Wash. (July 11-12) and Vancouver, B.C. (July 13-15) with Baldwin and Bryant. The tour will wrap-up with the cornerback-half of the “Legion of Boom” – Browner and Sherman – traveling to Kennewick (July 18-19) and Vancouver, Wash. (July 19-21).

Doug Baldwin“I wanted to be able to do it again because I had so much fun doing it before and meeting all different kinds of people,” said Baldwin, who participated in last year’s 12 Tour. “First and foremost, you get to connect with the fans and get to see that side of the game. It’s always interesting, but it’s also inspiring because you’ve got all of these people that are cheering you on. It kind of builds us up and gives us that extra energy and extra drive.”

Baldwin has never traveled to Bellingham or Vancouver, B.C., so he’s looking forward to connecting with the local community and fans in a setting outside of CenturyLink Field.

“Seeing them outside of the football field will be a great chance to interact with them,” Baldwin said. “It was just fascinating, because as dedicated as we are to our craft, we met tons of people last year who are just as dedicated to cheering us on every Sunday. It’s an awesome experience.”

Minicamp may have wrapped yesterday and training camp is still over a month out, but Baldwin’s football fun at Virginia Mason Athletic Center isn’t over just yet. Tomorrow, he’ll take part in the Seahawks All-Pro Varsity Skills Camp with youth ages 9-14, coaching up kids who eventually hope to play ball at the high school level.

And if you’re a loyal-12 looking for some Seahawks-love outside of the Pacific Northwest, here’s a look at several other Seahawks-player-driven football camps that may be in your area:


Minicamp round-up: Day three

Minicamp

Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane (left), free safety Earl Thomas (middle) & cornerback Richard Sherman (right)

Good morning, and welcome to the final day of the Seahawks’ three-day minicamp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Today’s workout is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. – two hours earlier than the sessions that were held on Tuesday and Wednesday. But before we get there, here’s a look at what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for June 13, 2013:

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune passes along his notes and observations from day two of camp, including comments from cornerback Richard Sherman on the close-knit chemistry of the team’s secondary. Williams also profiles the 6-foot-7, 305-pound defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, who has been working throughout the offseason in the spot vacated by defensive tackle Alan Branch, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has a few post-practice video interviews from yesterday with wide receiver Sidney Rice, linebacker Bobby Wagner and Sherman.

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM also details the impressive play of the Seahawks secondary and has his notes from day two of camp.

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com has a look at quarterback Russell Wilson’s rapid rate of improvement.

NFL.com’s Around the League writer Marc Sessler caught wind of Wilson’s unwillingness to acknowledge a “sophomore slump” when Wilson was asked about the term during his Tuesday press conference. Sessler puts Wilson ahead of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden as the surest-bet quarterback who’s heading into their second season.

With 23 of the League’s 32 teams in minicamps this week, NFL.com’s Chris Wesserling has compiled a quick-hit-list of 15 things we learned from Day 2 of NFL minicamps.

Our Clare Farnsworth’s “Hawkville” blog focuses on Sherman and wide receiver Doug Baldwin – the pair of Stanford graduates who have stood out above the rest with their play this offseason. Farnsworth also has a feature on the versatility of the team’s defensive line, catching up with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, defensive line coach Travis Jones, defensive end Red Bryant and McDaniel on the line’s look.

Team photographer Rod Mar has the snaps from days one and two of camp here.

We’ll be back with more following today’s practice and media availabilities, as we wrap-up this final day of the Seahawks’ official Offseason Program. In the meantime, we leave you with four Seahawks-themed podcasts from yesterday via 710Sports.com:

Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach Tom Cable on “Brock and Danny”


Center Max Unger on “Bob and Groz”


Fullback Michael Robinson on “Bob and Groz”


Left tackle Russell Okung on “Wyman, Mike and Moore”



Laying it on the D-line

Seahawks D-Line

Pat Kirwan has tackled the task of ranking and rating the league’s defensive linemen in this piece at CBSSports.com.

A former scout, coach and front-office exec in the NFL, Kirwan begins by offering, “It’s not enough to refer to defensive linemen as simply defensive linemen. In fact, it’s not enough to call tackles just tackles and ends just ends. There is a lot more to the job description.”

He also includes four of the Seahawks’ D-linemen in his report. Here’s where they rank and what Kirwan has to say about them (the numbers for each are a combination grade for drawing double teams, hustle and pursuit and sacks/hurries/knockdowns):

On the rise

No. 8 Bruce Irvin (30.5) – “Irvin is a 4-3 RDE coming off a rookie season as a situational pass rusher. If he stays in that role, he will find himself back on this list next year, which isn’t a bad thing.”

No. 9 Red Bryant (6) – “Bryant will never have big numbers but he is a critical piece in Seattle’s defense. He two-gaps a lot in a 4-3 front and anchors the run defense. To appreciate all the dirty work he does up front, look at what happens to the Seattle D when Bryant isn’t on the field.”

4-3 right ends

4. Chris Clemons (42.5) – “Clemons is coming off an ACL injury and may not be ready to go, which means Cliff Avril gets the call. Clemons is a perfect fit in the Seattle defense and if healthy will have a 40-plus season.”

4-3 left ends

5. Michael Bennett (44) – “I can’t believe the Bucs let him go. Now he fortifies an already good Seattle defensive line. Bennett may not have the production he had last year and could struggle to match his numbers from 2012.”

If there’s a nit to be picked here, it’s: Where’s Brandon Mebane? The Seahawks’ nose tackle has produced 56 sacks in each of the past two seasons and was an alternate to the Pro Bowl last season. And he usually leaves the field on passing downs, while almost always drawing and handling double-team blocks when on the field.

Kirwan has the Patriots’ Vince Wilfork, Bills’ Marcell Dareus, Bengals’ Domata Peko, Rams’ Michael Brockers and Cowboys’ Jason Hatcher as his Top 5. Good players. But are all of them better than Mebane?

One word answer: Underrated. Two word answer: Still underrated.


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May the 4th be with you… always.

May the 4th be with you

It is May 4th and as appropriate on this day, dare we say … May the 4th be with you! To spell it out for the percentage of us born after the rest of us discovered (for the second time) that Anakin Skywalker was, in fact (SPOILER ALERT), Darth Vader, this phrase is a play on words to the Jedi credo (not to be confused with Greedo – RIP): “May the force be with you” as made popular by the Star Wars films.

That all being said, Happy Star Wars Day, 12s!

Don’t believe that this is a galaxy-wide holiday for most of us (except  for maybe the Empire as evidenced in this attack ad)? Find out more information at the official website of Star Wars Day: http://maythe4th.starwars.com

If it isn’t already obvious, we here at Seahawks.com are Red Bryant-sized fans of all five episodes (we’re still trying to erase the memory of that Binks character from Episode I). And we’re not alone in our nerdom…

And then there’s this photo essay from NFL.com likening NFL players to Star Wars characters …

NFL.com

Richard Sherman as Boba Fett: First things first … Boba Fett didn’t die in the mouth of the Sarlacc. Tortured? Yes. But he does escape. (And this better be addressed in Episode VII, so help me.) But when I think of Fett as an NFL player, I can’t help but think of Richard Sherman. Both are trash talkers and always seem to get their man. Fett was an unexpected hero of the Star Wars universe (which George Lucas realized and is why Jango Fett and his son have such a huge storyline in “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones”). And likewise, Sherman is becoming one of the most famous (infamous?) players in the NFL.

So, in the spirit of this galactic holiday, we created the graphic at the top of this page to help 12s celebrate with us on Instagram. But like the elder Skywalker, (and apparently the NFL) once we started down this dark path we simply couldn’t help ourselves …

How many of these 12 references can you guess? Perfect 12 equals Jedi Master:

May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you

To end as all episodes end…


On this date: Curt Warner and Marcus Trufant drafted

Curt Warner

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on April 26:

1983: Curt Warner is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft to provide the legs for new coach Chuck Knox’s “Ground Chuck” offense. The Seahawks trade their first-, second- and third-round picks to the Oilers to move into the third spot so they could select the Penn State running back. Warner rushed for 1,449 yards and 13 touchdowns as a rookie and finished his seven-season stay in Seattle with 6,705 rushing yards, 55 rushing TDs and three Pro Bowl berths.Marcus Trufant

2003: Marcus Trufant is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, thanks to an assist from former Seahawks tight end and then-Vikings coach Mike Tice. When the Vikings let their time elapse before making a selection at No. 9, the Seahawks jumped in and grabbed the former Washington State cornerback with the 11th pick overall. Trufant, who is now an unrestricted free agent, started 125 games over the next 10 seasons; was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2007; and named to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team.

2008: Lawrence Jackson is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, which also delivered tight end John Carlson (second round) and defensive lineman Red Bryant (fourth round). Jackson, a defensive end from USC, started 24 games in two seasons before being traded to the Lions.

2012: Pass-rushing defensive end Bruce Irvin is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, with the 15th pick overall. Irvin led all NFL rookies with eight sacks last season.


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Weighing in on the NFC West

Mike Sando, the NFC West blogger at ESPN.com, has turned Matt Williamson’s positional rankings for the division’s four teams into a series of informational and entertaining “conversations” with the website’s resident scout.

Williamson ranks the Seahawks as the second-best team in the NFC West behind the conference champion 49ers, but the Seahawks come out No. 1 at quarterback, running back, defensive line, cornerback and safety. They are No. 2 at wide receiver, offensive line, linebackers and head coach, and No. 3 at tight end.

It’s worth checking out the rankings and the dialogue on each:

Quarterback

Williamson: “If I were starting a team, (Colin) Kaepernick and (Russell) Wilson would rank among my top five picks. The upside for Kaepernick is so great. I don’t expect him to take a step back. I just don’t think he is as far along as Wilson in the fundamentals of quarterback play. Wilson coming into the league was ahead of Kaepernick in terms of being a pocket passer, reading defenses, not relying on his physical gifts so much and just in the mental side of things.”

Running back

Williamson: “Seattle has the best back in the division in Marshawn Lynch, and Robert Turbin is a heckuva backup. It’s not a knock on (Frank) Gore. I like LaMichael James and like Kendall Hunter, too. So, the 49ers have three guys to talk about instead of two for Seattle.”

Wide receivers

Williamson: “I’ll take (Percy) Harvin every day over (Michael) Crabtree and that is not a knock on Crabtree. Harvin is more dynamic, more versatile. He frightens defenses way more. You can do so much more with him. He has big-play ability and is just a better football player. When I rank the wide receivers in this division, it goes Larry (Fitzgerald), Harvin and Crabtree, but Harvin is closer to Fitz than Crabtree is to Harvin.”

Tight ends

Sando: “The Cardinals were the only NFL team without a touchdown reception from a tight end last season. Bad quarterback play had quite a bit to do with that, of course.”

Offensive line

Williamson: “Breno (Giacomini) has been serviceable. Marshawn Lynch has room to run. I think they have two good players (Max Unger and Russell Okung) and then a bunch of guys. I do think the whole is greater than sum of the parts. There is some truth to that in Seattle, which goes to coaching (by Tom Cable).”

Defensive line

Williamson: “They have a wide skill set, which I like, too. (Bruce) Irvin and (Red) Bryant are totally different players at defensive end. Irvin, (Chris) Clemons, (Cliff) Avril and Bryant give you versatility. For the Rams, (William) Hayes is an important part of that equation. He had seven sacks last year. (Robert) Quinn and (Chris) Long are questionable against the run. Hayes can be a base run defensive end. Plus, he moves inside and can be a quality rusher there.”

Linebackers

Sando: “The Seahawks found one starter in the second round (Bobby Wagner) and another in the fourth (K.J. Wright). They plan to use Cliff Avril at strong-side linebacker in some situations. But with Leroy Hill apparently having run his course in Seattle, the team figures to draft a weak-side linebacker to compete with Malcolm Smith.”

Safeties

Sando: “Seattle is really the only team in the division appearing set at safety for now. I could still see the Seahawks drafting one for insurance in case they have a hard time re-signing Kam Chancellor. In the meantime, Earl Thomas might be the best safety in the league. At least I’m assuming you’d agree in saying he’s moved past Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, who were long considered the standards.”

Cornerbacks

Williamson: “Seattle to me has the best set of corners in the league, clearly (in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner). And then (Antoine) Winfield might be the best slot corner in the league. It’s almost unfair.”

Head coach

Williamson: “(The Rams’ Jeff) Fisher is a heckuva coach, but he is behind two of the top five in the league (Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll) when it comes to ranking head coaches in the NFC West.”