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Happy birthday to …

Red Bryant

Today’s is Joseph Anthony Bryant’s 29th birthday.

Who? Oh sorry. You know him better as Red, the run-stuffing, kick-blocking defensive end for the Seahawks. Bryant has gone by Red as long as he can remember, so we figured this was a good time to revisit the organ of the nickname that has become his name.

Bryant first shared the root of Red after the Seahawks selected him in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

“My mom said that I was a red baby,” Bryant explained. “She’s been calling me Red since I was a baby.”

Obviously, she isn’t the only one.


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Finally, some overdue love for John Schneider

John Schneider

In a word, “No.” In two words, “No way.” If you need three words, how about: “Are you kidding?”

We figured we’d answer the question in the teaser for Jason La Canfora’s feature at CBSSports.com – Is there a better NFL personnel guy right now than Seattle’s John Schneider? – before actually getting into what he had to say about the Seahawks’ general manager.

La Canfora points out the obvious, which is too often overlooked when it comes to Schneider. Maybe it’s because Schneider looks too young to be running a NFL franchise. Maybe it’s that old stigma of doing all that he’s doing in Seattle, a remote outpost on the NFL landscape. Maybe the XXXL-sized shadow cast by coach Pete Carroll.

Whatever the reason, it’s nice to see Schneider getting his due – some overdue due.

Writes La Canfora: “John Schneider might be the most aggressive general manager in the NFL, and, in my estimation, no one has done a better job evaluating talent and manipulating the draft, trades and free agency since he took over the Seahawks in 2010. …

“So, here in early April, I challenge anyone to find a team that made better calculated moves than Seattle and Schneider. I am a huge Percy Harvin guy, and felt he could be an absolute difference-maker, particularly if a team with a dynamic quarterback like Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick landed him. Turns out Harvin can now line up alongside Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. Yes, the price in terms of draft picks was high – but Schneider also did well to recoup picks and clear up budget space by spinning backup quarterback Matt Flynn to Oakland – and there was no way the Seahawks were going to get a talent anything close to what Harvin provides picking where they were in this draft.

“I love the move, and while I understand Harvin has warts, I don’t see him clashing with Pete Carroll or being a persistent problem child in Seattle. He’s making what he’s worth; he’s content and has been migraine free for quite some time. His versatility and game-breaking skills at several receiver spots, running back and on special teams cannot be overstated.

“Seattle also had a need at pass rusher and landed Cliff Avril – and another player just hitting his prime and perhaps the best rusher on the market – and at a bargain-basement rate. They added Michael Bennett for good measure on a prove-it deal, wisely allowing the market to set before wading in. All the while, I continue to hear edge rusher Chris Clemons is making great progress recovering from knee surgery. When you consider this team was looking Super Bowl-worthy already, plus all of Wilson’s upside, a big tip of the cap to Schneider.”

All we can add to this is, “Yeah” and “It’s about time someone noticed the job Schneider is doing, and has done.”

Like last year. Schneider and staff got Lynch and run-stuffing/kick-blocking defensive end Red Bryant re-signed before they could become hot commodities in free agency. And can Schneider ever get enough credit for seeing things in Wilson that others couldn’t, or refused to because he’s “too short to play in this league?”

The answer to that last question, of course, is the same as those offered to the first question: “No.” “No way.” “Are you kidding?”


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On this date: Red Bryant re-signed

Red Bryant

A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on March 13:

2012: Defensive end Red Bryant is signed to a multi-year contract before he can reach free agency. Bryant was expected to draw considerable interest if he hit the open market, and the Seahawks could not afford to lose a player who had developed into a disruptive run-stuffer on defense, a kick-blocking force on special teams and a team leader.


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A pre-Combine peek at the latest mock drafts

With the NFL converging on Indianapolis this week for the Scouting Combine, we figured it’s a good time to take one last look at the pre-Combine mock drafts – the new, and the not-so-new.

How the players perform this week – off the field during interview and physicals, as well as during the on-field workouts – will go a long way in determining which team selects which prospect in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 25. Of course, this is just the next big step – and the most visible – in what already has been a laborious examination exercise that began with teams’ college scouts putting these players under the analytical microscope. The assistant coaches have gotten involved the past few weeks during meetings to get them acquainted with the players. This week, the coaches will get an up-close-and-personal look at them.

Then there are the Pro Day workouts at players’ schools and interviews with teams at their facilities during March, followed by more poking, prodding and perusing as the process moves into April.

But here’s a look at whom some of the mock-draft mavens are targeting for the Seahawks with the 25th pick in the first round:

Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (Feb. 19): Datone Jones, DE, UCLA

“The camaraderie forged between Pete Carroll’s coaching staff and the scouting staff under general manager John Schneider has resulted in several surprising but ultimately successful draft selections in recent years. The 6-4, 280-pound Jones will be viewed by some as a ‘tweener but he might possess the combination of strength, length, burst and passion to aid as an interior pass rusher in Seattle’s hybrid front.”

Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (Feb. 18): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

“The Seahawks have one of the better defensive fronts in the NFC, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add some depth, especially with Alan Branch slated to hit free agency in the winter. Williams lined up at nose tackle for the Tide, but has the ability to be productive in either and even or odd front.”

Josh Norris at NFL.com (Feb. 15): Cornelius Carradine, DE, Florida State

“I know the Seahawks are already dealing with one defensive end who has a knee injury (Chris Clemons), but Carradine’s raw talent warrants a first-round selection. His timeline to return is not presently clear, but think of Carradine as an investment for the future if he misses time in 2013.”

Peter Schrager at FoxSports.com (Feb. 14): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

“Russell Wilson silenced all of his critics who thought he was too small, didn’t have a big enough arm and wasn’t worthy of a third-round pick. Austin would be an incredible addition to the Seattle offense. With the new free-access receivers getting off the line, dynamic slot guys like Austin become all the more dangerous. He’s a lightning rod. This is Percey Harvin Part II. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Austin would make for quite a trio.”

WalterFootball.com at YahooSports.com (Feb. 13): Bennie Logan, DT, LSU

“Seattle’s defense is dominant, but one thing the unit is lacking is a consistent interior pass-rushing presence. Perhaps Bennie Logan can fix that. He’s one of the top players available. The Combine is going to dictate this pick for me. Pete “Bazuzu” Carroll is all about building his team on speed, and there’s a good chance Logan will run a 4.8 in Indianapolis.”

Todd McShay at ESPN.com (Feb. 7): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU

“Seattle’s defense was strong overall in 2012, but DE Chris Clemons tore his ACL late in the season and Bruce Irvin is at his best as a sub-package rusher. Montgomery has the size and strength to start opposite Red Bryant and help beef up Seattle’s run defense.”


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Seahawks’ special teams rank among best in NFL

Not that we needed someone to tell us this, but the Seahawks’ special teams were among the best in the NFL during the 2012 season.

The Seahawks’ units that are coordinated by Brian Schneider finished fifth in the rankings compiled by Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News. He ranks each of the 32 teams in 22 categories, awarding points on those rankings – one for the best, 32 for the worst.

In Gosselin’s rankings, the Seahawks had 302 points to finish behind the Vikings (253.5), Bengals (276), Ravens (277) and Dolphins (296) – who were the only team among the Top 5 that did not advance to the postseason.

The Seahawks’ special teams scored 24 points, to tie the Titans for most in the league. And the Seahawks’ four scores came from four different facets as Richard Sherman returned a field goal that was blocked by Red Bryant 90 yards for a touchdown in Week 16 against the 49ers; Malcolm Smith recovered a muffed punt as he was crossing the goal line for a TD in Week 14 against the Cardinals; Jeron Johnson returned a punt that was blocked by Smith for a score in Week 3 against the Cowboys; and Leon Washington returned a kickoff 98 yards for a TD in Week 12 against the Dolphins.

“We were very consistent this season,” Schneider said. “Very consistent. We had the big plays, but the thing that jumped out at me was the consistency.”

Schneider’s units also were ranked No. 3 by Football Outsiders, who factor five elements in their rankings – field goals and PATs, kickoffs, kickoff returns, punts and punt returns. The Seahawks had ranked No. 16 in 2011.

“This thing could be going on for a while,” punter Jon Ryan said. “It’s not a flash-in-the-pan type thing, where it’s just a one-year fluke that we played well on special teams. We’re going to just keep building on this and keep on working on that goal of owning the NFC West.”


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Two more mock drafts have Seahawks selecting two more D-linemen

Johnathan Hankins

With the 25th overall pick ESPN.com NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has the Seahawks selecting defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (No. 52 above) out of Ohio State University

Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, the draft experts at ESPN and ESPN.com, have posted their second mock drafts with the Seahawks selecting Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (Kiper) and LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery (McShay) with the 25th pick in the first round of April’s NFL Draft.

Their mock drafts are an Insider feature, so they require registration and a fee. But here’s what each had to say about his selection for the Seahawks:

Kiper on Hankins (6-3, 335): “Another good spot for someone to call and trade up. As for the pick, if Seattle wants a penetrator on the interior of the D-line, Hankins really isn’t that guy. He doesn’t have the burst to split gaps and create havoc behind the line of scrimmage. What he can do is occupy multiple blockers, help other rushers find space and better matchups and make the Seahawks more difficult to run against as he holds up blockers intent on getting a body in front of Seattle’s tandem of great LBs in K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner. Hankins is an impact guy when his motor is running and will particularly make a run defense sturdier immediately.”

Sam Montgomery

McShay on Montgomery (6-4, 245): “Seattle’s defense was strong overall in 2012, but DE Chris Clemons tore his ACL late in the season and Bruce Irvin is at his best as a sub-package rusher. Montgomery has the size and strength to start opposite Red Bryant and help beef up Seattle’s run defense.”

McShay also has only five “skill position” players going in the first round, with only one in the Top 10 – West Virginia QB Geno Smith to the Bills at No. 8; Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson to the Rams at No. 16; Alabama running back Eddie Lacy to the Bengals at No. 21; Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen to the Texans at No. 27; and Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter to the 49ers at No. 31.

Kiper has six “skill position” players in his first round, including a pair of tight ends – Patterson to the Dolphins at No. 12; Stanford tight end Zach Ertz to the Giants at No. 19; Allen to the Rams at No. 22; Lacy to the Packers at No. 26; LSU wide receiver Quinton Patton to the Texans at No. 27; and Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert to the Falcons at No. 30.


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Thursday cyber surfing: Early mock drafts

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, January 17.

Gil Brandt, a senior analyst at NFL.com, has his first 2013 NFL Mock Draft, and has the Seahawks selecting Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins with the 25th overall pick, “The Seahawks have very good young players at most positions, though they could use a receiver who can get some separation. Hopkins might be a bit of a reach, but he’s quick.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com passes along his thoughts on the Seahawks after viewing Mel Kiper Jr.’s first 2013 NFL Mock Draft, in which Kiper projects the team taking Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins, “The Seahawks have recently given big contracts to defensive linemen Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Chris Clemons. They used the 15th choice in the 2012 draft for pass-rushing defensive end Bruce Irvin. Seattle has also gotten mostly good play from defensive tackle Alan Branch. Despite all the investments in the defensive line, I do think the Seahawks would be wise to address the position early in the draft if value warrants the pick. Adding Jenkins’ 358-pound body to the line might help shore up a run defense that ranked 30th in yards per carry allowed from Week 7 through the end of the season. Improving the pass rush should stand as Seattle’s No. 1 offseason priority, however. Clemons is 31 years old and suffered a torn ACL during the Seahawks’ playoff victory at Washington. His status for the 2013 season is in question. Irvin’s longer-term future was at Clemons’ position. Perhaps Clemons’ injury accelerates the transition. Pass-rushing defensive tackle Jason Jones, a free agent in 2013, also finished the season on injured reserve. Seattle could have used a stronger pass rush late in games against Chicago, Detroit, Miami and Atlanta. Addressing that deficiency in the draft seems like a must even though Irvin and fellow rookie Greg Scruggs showed promise.

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com recaps a conversation with 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” and Seahawks general manager John Schneider, in which the trio talks about backup quarterback Matt Flynn, “In the absence of any glaring needs outside of a pass rusher, and with only two starters set to become unrestricted free agents, the Seahawks’ decision on Flynn will be a leading offseason story line. ‘We’re going to do what’s best for the organization, period,’ Schneider said. ‘This isn’t like, ‘Well, now that Russell’s done so well, what are you going to do with Matt?’ We have two guys under contract that are good.’ “

Sarah Spain of ESPN.com highlights Seahawks tight end Sean McGrath as part of her “NFL 53rd Man” series, “He didn’t make the 53-man roster after training camp, but he found a home on the practice squad — for two days. Then he was re-signed five days later, then cut again two and a half weeks later. Each time the team would release him, they’d tell him to stick around, he’d be re-signed in a few days. Those days off were tough for McGrath, who got antsy sitting around waiting. But the success of other practice-squad players gave him something to hold on to. ‘First guy who gets called up off the practice squad, Jermaine Kearse. As soon as he gets pulled up we’re like ‘Man, this is real! They’re really doing it,’ McGrath said. ‘Then another guy gets pulled up. All these guys get pulled up and it just gives a light at the end of the tunnel.’ McGrath had to wait a while, but he finally got to that light.”


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Friday cyber surfing: Sherman’s appeal to suspension upheld

Richard Sherman

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 28.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times has the story on Richard Sherman’s appeal of a four-game suspension, “Sherman had just been told by his attorney that he had won the appeal of his four-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. ‘I won!’ he told the players. Hoots and cheers echoed across the room. High fives were exchanged. ‘High fives, as old school as it is, is still the best way to celebrate,’ Sherman said later in the day, grinning like a kid discovering another gift under the tree. ‘There was a sigh of relief for the whole team knowing that that was done and over with and we could move on from it. Justice was served.’ “

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has the Seahawks and Rams injury reports from yesterday, noting the return of five Seahawks players to practice.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his take on Sherman coming out on top of his suspension, “For the past two seasons, Sherman’s supreme confidence has helped the Seahawks defense. Now, the cornerback’s belief in himself and in his innocence helped him restore some of his reputation, and will help the Seahawks in the 2012 playoffs.”

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com comments on the improvement of the Seahawks’ offensive line, “Seattle’s offensive line has been considerably better this season, so much so that it will send two members to the Pro Bowl. Okung and center Max Unger were named starters Wednesday for the NFC team, becoming the first Seahawks offensive linemen to play in the Pro Bowl since Walter Jones following the 2008 season. It is the first Pro Bowl selection for each player.”

Henderson also passes along a short video from 710Sports.com’s Mike Salk, who discusses the impact Sherman’s availability will have on the Seahawks as they make their playoff push.

Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com has his report from Thursday’s practice, “Linebacker Leroy Hill has a hamstring injury, while receiver Golden Tate came down with an illness. Limited in Thursday’s practice were right tackle Breno Giacomini (elbow), cornerback Walter Thurmond (hamstring) and defensive end Red Bryant (foot). Receiver Sidney Rice was a full participant after sitting out Wednesday’s session with a sore knee. After one day out with a back problem, tight end Anthony McCoy was also full go. The St. Louis Rams are a pretty healthy team preparing for Sunday’s regular-season finale at CenturyLink Field. Running back Steven Jackson was over a Wednesday illness enough to do all the work in Thursday’s practice.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from yesterday, “S Earl Thomas said it made his day better to know Sherman was going to be able to keep playing. ‘I came in a little shaken up just because you don’t know,’ Thomas said. ‘That’s my brother back there and it definitely feels good for him to take this journey and be on this team with us.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press writes that even with a playoff berth secured, the Seahawks will look to continue their current win streak when they face the Rams in the regular season finale on Sunday, “Seattle is drastically different from the squad that floundered through a 19-13 loss in St. Louis in Week 4, and no one more so than quarterback Russell Wilson. At that time in late September, the Seahawks were still in the infancy of learning the unique qualities of their new quarterback. That was before Wilson’s running became a true threat as a complement to running back Marshawn Lynch. And it was before Seattle’s offense became the efficient machine it’s been the past three weeks. The whopping 150 points the Seahawks have scored the last three games stole the attention. But within that points eruption was a stunning run of offensive prowess led by Wilson. ‘He’s just an athletic guy. He’s been playing very well, as a rookie, as a young guy,’ Rams defensive end Robert Quinn said. ‘You’ve got the combo of being a premier quarterback, but the athleticism of some of the best out there as well.’ “

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his best guesses for Week 17, picking the Seahawks to top the Rams, 27-13, “The Seahawks are 7-0 at home and about as hot as a team could be, having become the first team since the 1950 Los Angeles Rams to score 150 points over a three-game period. St. Louis has gone 3-0-1 in its past four road games, and 4-0-1 against the NFC West. I’m most interested in seeing how the young quarterbacks compare. The Rams’ Sam Bradford faces a tougher test behind a reshuffled offensive line. Advantage, Russell Wilson. Also, the winning coach should be coach of the year in the division, in my view. Sando’s best guess: Seahawks 27, Rams 13.”

Sando takes a look at how the Rams are preparing for quarterback Russell Wilson, “Dave McGinnis, assistant head coach for the St. Louis Rams, knows the coverage might have to hold up a little longer when his team visits Seattle in Week 17. ‘The thing about him is, it’s not panic scrambles,’ McGinnis told reporters in St. Louis. ‘He’s moving and he’s improvising, but he’s doing it with a purpose. He’s always looking down field and most all of those types of plays that he makes, they’re all positive plays.’ “

Sando also has a look at the play of a pair of young NFC West corners – Janoris Jenkins and Sherman, “Seattle’s Richard Sherman has two touchdowns over the Seahawks’ past three games, one on an interception return and the other on a blocked field-goal return. His two touchdowns against Arizona and San Francisco are more than the one touchdown the Cardinals and 49ers scored in those games.”

NFL Films previews the Seahawks’ Week 17 matchup against the Rams in this short video.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has the story on Sherman’s successful appeal, “On more than one occasion during the process that was his appeal of a four-game suspension by the NFL, it was suggested to Richard Sherman that his chances of winning were slim and none. But Sherman, the Seahawks’ second-year cornerback, hasn’t just been there before. Slim and none have been his constant companions. ‘There were always people who said the chances were slim and none,’ Sherman said on Wednesday, when he was informed by his attorney that he had indeed won his appeal. ‘I told them, ‘My chances have always been slim and none. And I’ve always found a way to win those.’ You don’t make it this far without getting through some kind of adversity. This is just another phase. And I have great teammates and great coaches who supported me through it. The great fans we have supported and had faith through the whole process, and I was appreciative of that.’ “

Farnsworth also recaps the activities surrounding “Thursday in Hawkville” with a focus on Leon Washington and the team’s Pro Bowlers.

Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” with reaction from the club’s Pro Bowl players.

We have coach Bradley and Wilson’s full video press conferences from yesterday.

Finally, team photographer Rod Mar has an updated look at the week of practice in photos here.


Thursday in Hawkville: Washington’s biggest return was just getting back into the game

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 27:

Leon Washington

FOCUS ON

Pro Bowl glow. Five Seahawks were basking in it today, after being named to the NFC squad on Wednesday, when eight others received alternate status.

But the selection might have meant the most to Leon Washington, the kick returner whose career was supposed to be over after he severely broke his right fibula in a 2009 game while playing with the Jets. The Jets traded Washington to the Seahawks in a draft-day deal in 2010, and all he’s done this season is return his eighth kickoff for a touchdown to tie the NFL career record and rank second in the NFL with a 30.1-yard average.

“It feels great,” Washington said. “Just to know that all the hard work you put into something, it pays off – eventually. Considering my situation, where I came from with the broken-leg injury and getting traded, there are so many people to thank. My wife, first of all, because we’ve been through so much together. She was there with me when I broke my leg and has seen me comeback from that.

“Then I’m just so thankful for the opportunity – for coach (Pete) Carroll and coach (Brian) Schneider to give me the opportunity to do what I love to do. And then you think about all the guys who protect me and block for me when I return the kick. You’ve got to give a special thanks to them. Like I said yesterday, I want to give special thanks to my teammates. And the two key words in there are ‘special’ and ‘teammates’ – which means special teams. It’s definitely a team award.”

Washington also went to the Pro Bowl in 2008 while with the Jets.

Here’s what the others had to say:

Left tackle Russell Okung, on his first Pro Bowl selection – and with the disclaimer that he refuses to talk about himself: “This is about the team and what we’ve been trying to out together since Pete and John (Schneider, the GM) arrived. I hope you guys know I hate this (talking to reporters). But from a talent standpoint and the guys we got, I guess we’re pretty good.”

Center Max Unger, who also was voted to his first Pro Bowl: “What really makes it special is that it came from your peers. It’s the defensive linemen in the conference who voted for me, and that means a lot.”

Free safety Earl Thomas, who was voted to his second consecutive Pro Bowl: “I just try to play my part, and I appreciate that the coaches and players just respect the way I play and the way I prepare. It’s truly a blessing just to be a part of this game another year.”

Running back Marshawn Lynch, who went to the Pro Bowl as an alternate last season and also was voted to the AFC squad in 2008 while playing with the Bills: Sorry. The Beast Mode back doesn’t like talking about himself, either.

Last year, Thomas was the only Seahawk voted to the Pro Bowl. He was then joined by four teammates who were alternates – cornerback Brandon Browner, strong safety Kam Chancellor, fullback Michael Robinson and Lynch. This year, that many players were voted to the NFC squad.

“We’re just getting better every year,” Thomas said. “And we’re showing the world what we’re all about.”

BRYANT WINS NFC HONOR

The league didn’t have to worry about selecting this week’s NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Carroll did it for them.

After Sunday’s 42-13 victory over the 49ers, Carroll offered, “The play of the game for me was Red. Red knocking that ball down on that field goal, and then Sherman scooping and scoring on that thing for 90, that was enormous moment.

“I think the bell rang right there – we have a chance to beat these guys on this night.”

The league office heard it as well, and tabbed Bryant for the weekly honor.

Bryant’s block – his first this season, but fifth in the past two seasons – came on the third play of the second quarter and extended the Seahawks lead to 21-0. It also followed Sherman breaking up a third-down pass in the end zone.

Bryant is the second Seahawk to win Special Teams Player of the Week this season, joining Washington (Week 12); and fifth Seahawk overall to be honored, joining defensive end Chris Clemons (Week 3), Sherman (Week 10) and rookie QB Russell Wilson (Week 13).

Sherman was nominated for Defensive Player of the Week, after also making an end-zone interception; while Wilson was nominated for Offensive Player of the Week for throwing four TD passes. But the winners were Bears defensive end Julius Peppers and Falcons QB Matt Ryan.

Russell Wilson

HONORS ‘R US

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has selected his All-NFC West team and also handed out other honors, and the Seahawks are front and center.

Wilson is the division MVP. Says Sando: “Raise your hand if you thought the Seahawks rookie would become the best quarterback in the NFC West and the No. 1 reason Seattle would challenge for the NFC West title.”

Schneider is the division Executive of the Year. Says Sando: “Schneider gets the call over St. Louis Rams counterpart Les Snead largely because he was the driving force behind the team’s decision to draft Wilson in the third round.”

Coach of the Year? Sando is waiting until after Sunday’s game, because if the Rams upset the Seahawks it’s Jeff Fisher for going unbeaten in the division and posting the Rams’ first winning record since 2003. If it’s the Seahawks, it’s Carroll. Says Sando: “If the Seahawks close out the season with an 8-0 record at home and an 11-5 record overall, Carroll will get my vote as top coach in the division. Carroll risked public ridicule and perhaps even his job by going with Wilson, a third-round rookie, when free-agent addition Matt Flynn had recently signed a three-year deal for $19.5 million. The move was subjecting Carroll to criticism as late as Week 4, when the Rams picked off Wilson three times during a 19-13 Seahawks defeat. Carroll trusted what he knew to be true about Wilson, and he has been proved right.”

Seahawks on the All-Division team: Okung, Unger, wide receiver Sidney Rice, Lynch, Robinson and Wilson on offense; Clemons, Sherman and Thomas on defense; and Washington as the kick returner.

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as released by the team:

Did not practice

LB Leroy Hill (hamstring)

WR Golden Tate (illness)

Limited participation

DE Red Bryant (foot)

OT Breno Giacomini (elbow)

CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)

Full participation

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

TE Anthony McCoy (back)

WR Sidney Rice (knee)

FS Earl Thomas (ankle)

CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)

After seven players sat out on Wednesday, the list was down to two today. Malcolm Smith continued to work for Hill on the weakside, while Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse filled in for Tate.

For the Rams:

Full participation

S Craig Dahl (knee)

CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh)

RB Steven Jackson (illness)

LB James Laurinaitis (back)

WR Austin Pettis (shoulder)

CB Scott Wells (knee)

STAT DU JOUR, TEAM EDITION

Having already scored 173 points in December, the Seahawks need 27 against the Rams on Sunday to become the fourth team in NFL history to put up 200 in a calendar month. Here’s a look at the company the Seahawks are trying to join:

Team (month, year)                                                 Games    Points

Frankford Yellow Jackets (November, 1924)           8             238

Los Angeles Rams (October, 1950)                            5             220

New England Patriots (October, 2007)                     5             217

Seattle Seahawks (December, 2012)                        4             173

STAT DU JOUR, PLAYER EDITION

If Wilson can maintain his passer rating of 98.0, he will move into the Top 3 among rookie QBs in league history. Here’s a look at those top-rated rookies – as well as Wilson and the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III, who can move into the top spot:

Player, team (year)                                   Rating

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (2004)        98.1

Dan Marino, Dolphins (1983)                    96.0

Greg Cook, Bengals (1969)                        88.3

Matt Ryan, Falcons (2008)                        87.8

Cam Newton, Panthers (2011)                 84.5

With one game to go:

Robert Griffin III, Redskins (2012)         104.1

Russell Wilson, Seahawks (2012)             98.0

UP NEXT

“Turnover Thursday” gives way to “No Repeat Friday” as the players will hold their final full practice before Sunday’s game.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It was great news this morning to hear that. I know we’ve had our fingers crossed with the whole process. When we heard the news this morning I think everybody was pretty excited about it.” – defensive coordinator Gus Bradley on Sherman having the appeal of his four-game suspension upheld


NFL honors Bryant

Red Bryant

Coach Pete Carroll called Red Bryant’s blocked field goal that Richard Sherman returned 90 yards for a touchdown the play of the game in Sunday’s 42-13 romp over the 49ers.

Today, the league announced that the play made Bryant the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Bryant’s block – his first this season, but fifth in the past two seasons – came on the third play of the second quarter and extended the Seahawks lead to 21-0. It also followed Sherman breaking up a third-down pass in the end zone.

“The play of the game for me was Red,” Carroll said. “Red knocking that ball down on that field goal, and then Sherman scooping and scoring on that thing for 90, that was enormous moment.

“I think the bell rang right there – we have a chance to beat these guys on this night.”

Bryant is the second Seahawk to win Special Teams Player of the Week this season, joining Pro Bowl kick returner Leon Washington (Week 12); and fifth Seahawk overall to be honored, joining defensive end Chris Clemons (Week 3), Sherman (Week 10) and rookie QB Russell Wilson (Week 13).


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