A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for July 28:
Richard Sherman. At one point during the initial practice of camp, the second-year cornerback turned to the somewhat docile crowd that was watching from the berm that is adjacent to the practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center and coaxed them to make some noise – especially for the defense.
A few minutes later, Sherman gave the fans something to cheer by picking off a Tarvaris Jackson pass and returning the interception up the sideline for a touchdown.
“That’s just how it is. If you don’t give them anything to cheer about what are they out here for?” a smiling Sherman said after the two-hour practice. “Everybody cheers for offense, because they think football is an offensive game.
“So if your defense doesn’t make any plays, then they have a great point.”
That, however, was not the point of today’s practice, when Sherman and his defensive mates made plenty of plays. And the fans, especially those bellied up to the fence that separates the fields from the berm, showed their appreciation.
“It’s incredible. It’s something you can’t describe,” Sherman said of the fan reaction. “It’s almost like game day. It kind of pushes you to another level, makes you strain a little harder. It’s not that you’re pushing for them necessarily; it’s just so exciting and fun to be out there. So your body does a little more, you go a little harder, you go a little faster.”
And sometimes you go all the way to the end zone with an interception, with the fans cheering your every stride.
“I study a lot of football,” Sherman said. “You get to the point where if you show me something once, the second time you show me I’m going to make the play. They showed it to me twice. That’s all that was.”
Ricardo Lockette. His rookie season was all about flash and dash, as evidenced by his 52.5-yard average on two receptions in the final two games. This season, Lockette wants to change the focus to consistency and precision – and he did just that today.
Sure, Lockette ran down a deep pass from Jackson – and ran over falling cornerback Ron Parker in the process. But he also caught everything else thrown his way.
Which was better: The acrobatic grab, or the fact that he did not drop a pass?
“The fact that I got every single route right, and I didn’t drop any passes,” Lockette said. “I expect myself to make big plays, and they come when they come. But the most important thing is being where I’m supposed to be making the catches when the ball is thrown to me.”
That definitely was the case on his big catch along the sideline of the big throw from Jackson.
“We’ve been training for a whole month straight, every single day,” Lockette said of his pre-camp routine with the Jackson. “So I expect that one. But my goal is to go through camp without dropping a single ball. I know that’s kind of unheard of. But I guess they say, ‘Shoot for the stars, forget the clouds.’ That’s what I’m aiming for.”
PLAYS DU JOUR
Offense: It would be easy – and perhaps correct – to go with Lockette’s eye-opener. But later in practice, wide receiver Golden Tate got behind Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Browner to take a long pass from Jackson for the touchdown.
Defense: Again, the obvious choice would be Sherman’s pick-six. But let’s go with the less obvious. In one of the first full-team plays of practice, rookie running back Robert Turbin bobbled a handoff from Jackson. Rather than give up on the seemingly “dead” play, defensive end Chris Clemons stripped the ball and Sherman recovered the fumble.
THREE ON PUP
Offensive lineman James Carpenter (knee), cornerback Walter Thurmond (ankle) and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (foot) have been placed on the physically unable to perform list while recovering from injuries.
Kearse is really close to returning, Carroll said, but there is no timeline for the returns of Carpenter and Thurmond in their recoveries from season-ending injuries last year.
Also, offensive lineman Allen Barbre was excused from practice because of what Carroll called “a family thing.”
The players will have a walkthrough this afternoon, and tomorrow’s practice starts at 10:15 a.m.
JOIN THE CROWD
A crowd of 2,180 attended today’s practice. The remaining 12 practices of camp also are open to the public and you can register here to attend one.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’ve kind of been reflecting on, we wait to start the season and to get to camp to get going. It’s a really big deal to us. And it’s not just us. Of course the guys that put their livelihood on it, it’s a big deal. But for our fans and for everybody around the country that loves the NFL, it’s great to get this thing rolling. I’m excited to be – and really honored to be – part of it. There’s a feeling of – whatever that is – a little sentimental about it. We work so hard to get here and sometimes we get focused in and we just can’t get to the big picture. The big picture is, the NFL is awesome and it’s great to be part of.” – Carroll
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 18.
At ESPN.com, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders gives us his list of the 25 top prospects in the NFL – noting that to be included the player must fit the following criteria:
• Drafted in the third round or later, or signed as an undrafted free agent
• Entered the NFL between 2009 and 2011
• Fewer than five career games started
• Still on their initial contract
• Age 26 or younger in 2012
And who do you think sits atop Schatz’s list? Well, that’s none other than Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin. Also on Schatz’s list are fellow Seahawks receivers Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham. You can read what Schatz had to say about Baldwin right here, but the full piece requires an ESPN Insider subscription.
Pete Prisco, Pat Kirwan and Rob Rang of CBSsports.com provide a three-part Seahawks piece, as they make predictions for the team in 2012, break down the team’s X’s and O’s and recap Seattle’s 2012 NFL Draft. In his prediction for the Seahawks in 2012, Prisco calls wide receiver Sidney Rice the team’s ‘X-Factor’, “The Seahawks signed him last year to a big contract with the idea he would become their go-to guy in the passing game. He played in only nine games last season and caught just 32 passes because of shoulder issues. He had screws inserted into both shoulders during the offseason and said the doctors told him it was like having two new shoulders. We’ll see. Rice has to become more of a threat in the passing game and if he stays on the field, I think he can.”
Also at CBSsports.com Prisco gives us a list of his Top-100 NFL players, and the lone Seahawk to make his list is safety Earl Thomas, who checks in at No. 97. On Thomas, Prisco provides, “This rangy player has all the tools to be a dominant safety in a passing league. His cover skills are impressive.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues with his 2012 Seahawks positional outlook, this time turning his attention toward the defensive line. For all of the success the Seahawks enjoyed at the position last season – a position that was a big part of the Seahawks turning in the ninth-ranked defense in the league – Farnsworth notes that one area that could use a boost is the line’s ability to get to the quarterback, “The Seahawks generated just 33 sacks in 2011, their second-lowest total in the past nine seasons. A closer look, however, really shows just what was missing. While Leo end Chris Clemons led the team with 11 sacks – for the second time in his two seasons with the Seahawks – the rest of the linemen combined for 10. What’s a coach to do? Sign pass-rushing tackle Jason Jones in free agency and then select pass-rushing end Bruce Irvin in the first round of the NFL Draft. ‘We just see the increase in athletic ability upfront with the addition of those two,’ said Todd Wash, who is in his second season as coach of the D-line. ‘So you add them to what Clem already brings and we’re going to be not only big but also fast, to hopefully increase our ability to get to the quarterback.’ ”
Also here at Seahawks.com former Seahawks quarterback Jeff Kemp provides this heartfelt piece honoring his center in Seattle, Grant Feasel, who passed away over the weekend. Kemp remembers, “Grant was the quintessential sacrificial warrior. He wrapped himself up in the duty to clear the way for and protect his teammates. He took his job so seriously. Our families grew up together and Grant deeply loved his family. He had a great sense of humor but never during the heat of battle.”
Brock Huard of MyNorthwest.com breaks down the strengths, weaknesses and expectations for the Seahawks wide receiver group heading into 2012, and also provides a thought on each Seahawks wideout and how they can improve going forward. On Golden Tate, Huard offers, “It’s a make-or-break season for the former second rounder. The light bulb appeared to go on at the end of last season, and Tate must avoid the injury and inconsistency in route-running that has slowed his development. He should be able to play all three wideout spots in spurts, and he has the breakaway speed to be a difference maker.”
Finally, sticking with the wide-receiver theme, Ian Furness and Hugh Millen at 950 KJR AM analyze the Seahawks wideout group in this nearly 18-minute audio link. Furness and Millen explain the differences between the ‘X’, ‘Z’ and ‘slot’ receivers and they discuss how the Seahawks current wide receiver personnel fits into each of those designations.
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.
Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 11.
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times follows up his Seahawks wide receivers breakdown from yesterday with a closer look at one wide receiver in particular – Mike Williams. The former first round draft pick and USC alum enjoyed a breakout season with the Seahawks in 2010, leading the team in receiving with 65 catches for 751 yards after being out of the NFL completely for two years. Last year, for whatever reason – injuries, a new offense, or a new quarterback – Williams’ production fell off. O’Neil wonders how Williams will respond in 2012, “Well, that depends on Williams’ readiness both in terms of his recovery from injury and his mindset. Does he focus on the decline of his numbers last season as a sign the offense in general — and quarterback in particular — didn’t involve him to the same degree as 2010? Or does he see that as a speed bump that he can overcome? [Head Coach Pete] Carroll has always liked big, physical wide receivers, and there isn’t a bigger receiver on Seattle’s roster. Now, it’s up to Williams to show he can still be a sizeable factor in the offense.”
Bob Heist of the Pensacola News Journal catches up with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who is working out in his hometown at his old Gulf Breeze High campus with Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn in preparation for the start of training camp at the end of this month. Heist tells us, “The workout lasted more than an hour as Baldwin and Flynn ran through different routes, exchanging ideas on timing, field positioning and general likes and dislikes specific to executing certain patterns. ‘The neat thing about all this, Doug appreciates every second he has in the NFL,’ said Gulf Breeze coach Chris Nemith. ‘It’s an inspiration for anybody that says this is what you want to do and has the courage and resolve to stick with it. And those two guys out there today, this shows they care about the Seahawks and what they’re doing individually. You can see the self-respect they have in themselves and the mutual respect for each other. This really was outstanding to see.’
Sticking with the wide receiver theme, here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues with his positional breakdown, as he takes a look at Seattle’s wide receiver position heading into 2012. Farnsworth notes that the unit should improve significantly as a whole if they can get, and stay, healthy, “With the return of [Sidney] Rice and the addition of [Kellen] Winslow, the passing game should be in good hands. But their practice reps will need to be monitored to make sure they’re ready when needed most – on game days. Their presence also should make it possible for [Doug] Baldwin to be even more productive from the slot. But the offense also needs [Golden] Tate and [Kris] Durham to play to their potential, more consistency from [Ricardo] Lockette and a return to form by [Zach] Miller – who caught 66 and 60 passes for the Raiders in 2009 and 2010.”
Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500 Twin Cities chats with Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who is in Minnesota at Larry Fitzgerald’s annual offseason workouts. Pelissero asked Jackson about the competition at the team’s quarterback position, to which Jackson responded, “You only know what coaches tell you. Coaches have been pretty straightforward about the competition. It’s all you can ask. Just let me know where I stand. That’s all you can really ask for — know the truth and let the best man win.” Pelissero also noted that Seattle running back Leon Washington and wide receivers Ricardo Lockette and Golden Tate joined Jackson at the Fitzgerald workouts.
Over at SI.com, Chris Burke breaks down the Seahawks offseason. Burke points to the competition at quarterback, the health of the offensive line and the development of first round draft pick DE Bruce Irvin as three things to watch going forward, as he offers up a season outlook, “Because the Seahawks were more or less out of the playoff picture by the 2011 season’s midpoint, they kind of flew under the radar late. Which means that a lot of people now fail to grasp how close this team was to contending. Assuming one of the QBs steps up, the offensive line stays upright and someone — anyone — breaks through at wide receiver (don’t count Seattle out as a player for WR Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft), the offense could be pretty solid. The defense has question marks at linebacker with [Barrett] Ruud, K.J. Wright and Leroy Hill expected to start, but the front four and secondary are stout. Carroll may need one more year to fully implement his plan, but Seattle is on the upswing.”
Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 10.
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times takes a look at the Seahawks wide receiver position, and the competition that will come with it come training camp. O’Neil considers three wide receivers to be “locks” for the Seahawks 53-man roster – Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate. Beyond those three, it gets a little complicated according to O’Neil, “There are veterans Ben Obomanu, [Deon] Butler and [Mike] Williams. There are promising second-year players like Kris Durham — a fourth-round pick in 2011 — and Ricardo Lockette, who flashed his big-play potential at the end of the season. And don’t forget the crew of undrafted free agents and offseason additions: Lavasier Tuinei, Charly Martin, Jermaine Kearse, Cameron Kenney and Phil Bates. So how many can you expect Seattle to keep? Well, 5.4 says history, and before you start wondering how to get 40 percent of one wide receiver, that’s simply the average number of receivers the Seahawks have kept when they reduced the roster to 53 players from 2002 through last season.”
Like O’Neil, here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a positional analysis of his own, as he takes a look at the Seahawks secondary heading into 2012. Farnsworth points to more experience and better depth as reasons to see improvement in the Seahawks secondary in 2012, as the unit hopes to build off the success they enjoyed a season ago, “No other team in the league had three defensive backs play in the Pro Bowl last season [Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor & Brandon Browner]. No other team in the league had three defensive backs ranked among the Top 10 cornerbacks and safeties in the league by the Sporting News this offseason.”
Over at NFL.com Gregg Rosenthal piggy-backs off of O’Neil’s wide receiver discussion and offers his own thoughts on Mike Williams, “Seattle Seahawks wideout Mike Williams could go from one of the best stories in the NFL to out of the league in the span of just two years. Somehow, that’s the most NFL story of all. Coach Pete Carroll resurrected his former USC star from the ashes in 2010. After being out of the NFL two years, Williams led the Seahawks with 65 catches and 751 yards. He was a legitimate Comeback Player of the Year candidate. He was the No. 1 receiver on a team that won a playoff game. But the NFL is an unforgiving place to work. Williams fell off the map during an injury-plagued 2011, putting up only 236 yards in 12 games. He’s coming off a broken leg and is no longer a lock to make the Seahawks’ roster.”
Also at NFL.com, Matt Smith gives us his fantasy dream team – the “perfect” draft – as he calls it, and lo and behold, there are a couple Seahawks mentions on his list. Smith hopes to pick up running back Marshawn Lynch in Round 3, offering this on Seattle’s bruising back, “I don’t buy last season being a fantasy miracle year for Lynch, Pete Carroll simply realized where his production was going to come from and kept it going, riding momentum of a great defense and running game to a solid close of the season. With the “dink and dunk” Matt Flynn, or the inconsistent Tavaris Jackson, or rookie Russell Wilson, the running game is going to have to be solid again for the Seahawks to succeed. And with their defense looking even better this season, they’re likely to lean on that run game even more.” Then, several rounds later, Smith has his eyes set on the Seahawks defense, “I love getting the defense right in Fantasy. It could be the difference between a win or a loss when you have one that’s dominant in point production. You need a defense that attacks, that goes after the quarterback and places a value on the ball above all else. The Bears have made a fantasy career of it, but these days they’re getting a little bit old to keep doing what they have been. Seattle closed strong, and all season long was solid. Seven weeks of double-digit production is just lunacy to leave on the board.”
Dan Arkush at ProFootballWeekly.com talked to a daily observer of Seahawks team activities, who told him Seahawks first round draft pick DE Bruce Irvin has impressed in the early-goings of Seahawks OTAs and minicamps, “One particularly striking example in a late-May OTA was the eye-popping countermove the sleek Irvin put on Breno Giacomini that literally floored the massive tackle. ‘It was really something to see; it made an instant impression,’ the observer said. But it was hardly enough to suddenly thrust Irvin into consideration for a starting role, with the game plan calling for him to hopefully wreak havoc along with [Chris] Clemons in specific nickel pass-rush situations the same way Aldon Smith did as a first-round rookie for the Niners last season. ‘Irvin has gotten all the starting reps up to now, but he has talked about how much he’d like to be learning from Clemons,’ the observer said.”
Good morning, and welcome to what is traditionally the NFL’s slowest news month. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 2.
Mike Sando at ESPN.com gives us a pre-camp analysis of the Seahawks offense, breaking down who he feels are the safest bets, leading contenders and those who face longer odds to earn roster spots come the end of training camp. On the Seahawks wide receivers, Sando has this to say, “[Doug] Baldwin appears to be the receiver Seattle can count on the most. That is good and bad. The team needs [Sidney] Rice to hold up physically after undergoing surgeries on both shoulders this offseason. Concussions were another problem for Rice last season. [Golden] Tate was ascending when last season ended. The broken hand he suffered this offseason prevented Tate from participating fully in minicamps. He needs to avoid additional setbacks to build on last season. [Kris] Durham could make [Mike] Williams expendable.[Ricardo] Lockette’s speed separates him from the other receivers on the roster. He’s raw, but two long receptions late last season showed big-play potential.”
Sando also responds to a reader who says the Seahawks have the Arizona Cardinals to thank for the acquisition of Matt Flynn. The reader’s reasoning is that if the Cardinals had not beat the 49ers late last season, then the Niners would have been within one game of the Green Bay Packers No. 1 playoff seed, which would have meant Aaron Rodgers would have likely played in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions – a game where Matt Flynn passed for 480 yards and six touchdowns, likely raising his stock among teams with needs at QB. Sando downplays the effect of Flynn’s performance in Week 17, and points to Seahawks general manager John Schneider’s relationship with Flynn as a bigger reason for his acquisition, “Seahawks general manager John Schneider had ties to Flynn. There weren’t any other viable quarterbacks for the Seahawks to pursue once it became clear Peyton Manning wasn’t coming their way. I don’t think San Francisco would have let Alex Smith get away to a division rival. And at that point, there were no assurances the Seahawks would land Russell Wilson or another quarterback they liked in the draft. Adding Flynn was going to make sense either way. Flynn’s asking price might have been lower without that Week 17 showing. But to hear the Seahawks tell it, Flynn won them over during a workout at their facility and in classroom work with the coaching staff. Those factors would have been even more important in the absence of Flynn’s six-touchdown game against the Lions.”
And speaking of QB’s, over at mynorthwest.com Brock Huard and Mike Salk share their thoughts and offer some advice in this video on how the three Seahawks quarterbacks competing for the starting job – Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson – can best utilize their time in preparation for the start of training camp at the end of the month.
Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth revisits last year’s Seahawks 35th Anniversary team as he talks with three-time Seahawks Pro Bowler (2002-05) and two-time All-Pro (2003, 2005) guard Steve Hutchinson, who was the unanimous decision among fans who voted. Hutch secured 1,411 fan votes – almost twice as many as the other guard on the reader-selected team, Bryan Millard. Known as a man of few words, on his selection to the team Hutchinson fittingly offered to Farnsworth, “‘To be remembered like that definitely is an honor, and I appreciate the fans remembering me.'”
Finally, for a look around the League we have Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback over at SI.com. With King on vacation he has recruited the first tight end selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts’ Coby Fleener, as his guest-author. Fleener, a Stanford alum who earned his Master’s in Communication with an emphasis in Media Studies, shares his experience at the NFL’s Rookie Symposium and going to camp, “After spending a few hours delayed in the Indianapolis airport, I made it to the hotel with the other Colts rookies just in time for dinner and a little catching up with other teams’ rookies. After that, we made our way to the main ballroom. The NFL’s desire to make the environment player-friendly and exciting was evident. Loud pop music blared through speakers and colored lights flashed on a stage, flanked by two large high definition televisions. Giant banners of NFL legends like Walter Payton and Brett Favre covered each wall. I expected to have to suffer on uncomfortable, easily stackable hotel chairs, but instead found rows of comfortable, leather swivel desk chairs.”
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 21:
John Clayton at ESPN.com forecasts records for the four teams in the NFC West, and also offers his reasons. He has the Seahawks at 9-7, and Mike Sando has the details on his NFC West blog: “The Seahawks were a quarterback upgrade away from reaching, and probably surpassing, .500 last season. They upgraded their depth at the position without question. Their as-yet-unnamed starter will probably fare better than incumbent Tarvaris Jackson, who played much of the 2011 season with a torn right pectoral muscle. The team has reason for optimism as a result, but there are still question marks surrounding the position. The running game should remain strong with Tom Cable coaching the line and (Marshawn) Lynch pounding away. Seattle will not ask its quarterback to carry the team. A strong defense will keep the Seahawks competitive. Taking that next step will require better play at quarterback, most likely from (Matt) Flynn.”
Sando also has “late-season trend sustainability” for the Seahawks, which includes these comments from ESPN fantasy analyst Matthew Berry on Lynch: “He’s only 26. You’d think this guy has been around forever. He’s only 26, and when we talk about repeatability, he had an amazing year last year, we all know that, but he has done it before. It had been a while prior to that. His first two seasons in Buffalo, he had 1,200 total yards in each of those seasons and had been a productive fantasy back those first two years. Pete Carroll likes to run the ball, likes to run with a big back. He traded for him and I like that offensive line in Seattle. They are young and they are getting better. They need to get healthier, but given that division and given their commitment to the run, I think their offense will be better. I don’t think it will be amazing, but I do think the Seattle offense as a whole will be better. He’s gonna get the rock and, by the way, he outscored both those guys (Ryan Mathews and Chris Johnson) last year.”
Still more from Sando, he looks at the TD receptions by the wide receivers for each team in the league. Hard to say what’s tougher to fathom – that the Seahawks had only 13; or that 12 teams had fewer: “The Seahawks were the only NFC West team that did not address the position in the draft. They are expecting a bounce-back season from a healthy Sidney Rice, and a breakout season from 2010 second-round choice Golden Tate. Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham have a chance to contribute in their second NFL seasons.” And don’t forget about Doug Baldwin.
Dave Boling at News Tribune offers his thoughts on whether the Seahawks’ defense can rank among the Top 10 in the league for a second consecutive season – something that hasn’t happened since 1991-92: “I think the raw stats
from the whole (2011) season, then, are misleading, and projections for this season are more valid when we look at the second half – even though they faced only two playoff-bound teams (Baltimore and San Francisco). Over the second half of the season, their points-against average dropped to 16.25 a game. Four key players were in their first season as starters: Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner, K.J. Wright and Richard Sherman. And Alan Branch was in his first season with the team. All those players are returning with a full offseason to further settle into their roles. Browner, particularly, struggled to find a balance between coverage that was physical and coverage that drew flags. We may assume that will be less a problem. … So, top 10 in the fall? Sure. Maybe better.”
Sidney Rice was on 710 ESPN last week and told Bob and Groz that he has gained 11 pounds in hopes of becoming more durable. Brady Henderson has the details at mynorthwest.com: “ ‘I actually gained 11 pounds of muscle,’ Rice said. ‘I’m really happy about that. I’m planning on putting on about seven more pounds to make coach (Tom) Cable happy.’ ”
Doug Farrar at Shutdown Corner looks at the other team that has a three-way competition for the starting QB job – the Dolphins – along with the Seahawks in this item at FoxSports.com: “(Tarvaris) Jackson looks like the quarterback he was last year – capable of making every throw in the book, but lacking touch on certain finesse and distance throws at times. (Matt) Flynn is perhaps the most practiced at the little things – looking off safeties and throwing with anticipation – but his mechanics have him pushing the ball at times, and he often struggles when throwing against his own momentum or across his body. Without question, (Russell) Wilson has been the story of interest. Many of his new teammates have said that he would have been selected much higher in the draft were he taller than 5-foot-11, and he’s shown why during practices. He has the deep arm of Jackson, but with an uncanny touch at times. And he’s got the fast break offense down from his days at Wisconsin, but he’s a more dynamic and consistent intermediate thrower than Flynn. A team competing for a division title, as Carroll says the Seahawks are doing in the NFC West, would not prefer to start a rookie mid-round pick at the game’s most important position … but stranger things have happened.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at J.R. Sweezy’s progress in making the transition from college defensive tackle to NFL offensive guard: “ ‘It’s good. I’m adjusting well,’ Sweezy said. ‘It’s different, as I’ve said in every interview. It’s really different. It’s different from everything I’ve pretty much been taught my whole life.’ He made it through the rookie minicamp in May, the OTA practices and last week’s full-squad minicamp without once tackling the ball carrier he was blocking for, or returning to the defensive huddle after the play was over. ‘At least I’ve got the basics,’ he said, smiling.”
Jim Wyatt at the Tennessean checks in with Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck, who was reportedly a target of the Saints’ alleged “bounty” program while playing for the Seahawks: “ ‘I don’t know what to believe. I am not following it that closely,’ Hasselbeck said on Wednesday. ‘I think what I heard was the quarterback, the running back and the top wide receiver were the three names (reportedly on the bounty list for that game). Those are the names you would expect, I guess. … I have been going about my thing, and I really don’t know what to say. I guess there’s been a lot of ‘he said, he said’ in the situation.’ ” And remember, Hasselbeck passed for 272 yards and four touchdowns in the Seahawks’ 41-36 upset win in that wild-card playoff game.
Seeing Ricardo Lockette flash across the practice field once training camp finally started last summer, it didn’t take long for his new teammates to give the rookie wide receiver the obvious nickname.
“They’re calling him ‘Lockette the Rocket,’ ” Kris Durham, another rookie wide-out, said at the time. “He’s amazing. That guy’s got a lot of speed.”
Speed always has been Lockette’s game. But during today’s OTA practice, the player too often miscast as a one trick pony showed there’s more to him than the ability to blaze.
On one play, Lockette made a nice in-stride adjustment to catch a pass that was a little behind him and a little high. A few plays later, Lockette when over the defender and again reach back to snag another pass.
Later, however, Lockette also displayed the part of his game that remains a work in progress – consistency – as he dropped a pass that required no contortions to catch.
As the players were heading to the locker room after the session in the indoor practice facility, a teammate congratulated Lockette on his catches. Without hesitation, Lockette offered, “But I’ve got to catch them all.”
The final week of the team’s OTA practices continues on Tuesday, and there also will be sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 9:
We’ve always liked Clark Judge – first as a fellow beat writer when he was covering the Chargers and 49ers; then as someone who shares the same birthday; and now as a friend. But we really like what he has to say about the Seahawks in his latest offering at CBSSports.com. Judge picks them as one of five teams that failed to make the playoffs last season that could advance to the postseason in 2012: “There are few teams building more momentum than Seattle, which quietly put together a defense that could rival San Francisco for intensity, ferocity and opportune play. OK, so the Seahawks lost linebacker David Hawthorne, their leading tackler the past three seasons. They acquired linebacker Barrett Ruud and defensive lineman Jason Jones, retained defensive lineman Red Bryant and added Bruce Irvin, a first-round pick who has a ton of issues but whom scouts describe as the best edge pass rusher in the draft. Seattle is chasing San Francisco in the NFC West, and the last time they met – late last season – they fell just short, losing by two points after quarterback Tarvaris Jackson fumbled with a little more than a minute left. Those Seahawks played great defense but didn’t have enough offense. These Seahawks think they fixed the problem with the acquisition of quarterback Matt Flynn, and maybe they’re right. Flynn has only two NFL starts, but he was marvelous in both. I don’t know, but this looks like a carbon copy of the 49ers’ blueprint, a club that can hammer you with defense and put just enough points on the board – largely thanks to its running game. It worked for San Francisco. Why not here?”
John Clayton at ESPN.com has a photo gallery of his picks for the 10 draft choices that will have the biggest impact during their rookie season, and Irvin makes the cut at No. 6: “Maybe Irvin isn’t a starter and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll eventually will be criticized for drafting a backup at No. 15. But Irvin is probably the draft’s best pass-rusher and should put up double-digit sack numbers early in his career.”
Also at ESPN.com, Mike Sando offers his comments on Clayton’s Top-10 selections: “Irvin should benefit from the Seahawks’ very specific plans for him. The team got nine sacks in zero starts from Raheem Brock in 2010. Irvin will play a similar role and a similar percentage of the snaps, giving him a very good chance to eclipse Brock’s total – if he’s talented enough to produce those numbers. Brock played about 50 percent of the snaps for Seattle in each of the last two seasons.”
Marc Sessler at NFL.com also has an assessment of Irvin, and his selection in the first round: “The immediate prognosis was uncharitable: Pete Carroll and Co. officially reached on the pick. Sure, Irvin turned heads at West Virginia, but off-the-field issues soiled his allure as a rare pass-rushing talent. Ignored amid a flurry of melting tweeters and talking heads was the obvious: The Seahawks weren’t caught off-guard here. This wasn’t a case of general manager John Schneider lounging in the war room, picking a random name out of a hat, with cheerful piñatas dangling from the ceiling. The organization mined Irvin’s past and felt a connection to his story. Where draftniks pick him apart, Seattle saw a unique, moldable talent. ‘Look, he has had a rough background,’ Schneider told the National Football Post. ‘He was so desperate. He dropped out of school. He basically was living on the street. But he was able to pick himself up, get his GED, get into a junior college (Mount San Antonio College), then get a scholarship (with the Mountaineers).’ ”
Don Banks at SI.com offers some positional battles to keep an eye on the offseason programs and minicamps continue. The Seahawks’ QB situation is included, of course, but with a twist – Tarvaris Jackson vs. Russell Wilson to be Matt Flynn’s backup: “My way of thinking, if the Seahawks were happy with what they got out Jackson as their starter for 14 games last season, they wouldn’t have signed Matt Flynn in free agency or drafted Wilson in the third round. So I’m not buying it’s a three-man quarterback competition in Seattle. It’s last year’s starter against this year’s rookie to see who earns the No. 2 job, behind Flynn. Jackson has seen this movie before, in Minnesota, and he knows the advantage always goes with the new option, because there’s no taint or stain of defeat on the quarterback who just walked through the door. The sense is that Pete Carroll and Co. are intrigued with Wilson’s skill set and will find ways to get him on the field, perhaps even using him in a Wildcat role. Jackson clearly enters with the edge in experience, and his knowledge of the offense should give him a healthy advantage. But if Wilson proves himself a quick study, don’t be surprised if he’s only relegated to the team’s No. 3 quarterback role for a little while this season.”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune provides a roster analysis, including this assessment of the most-talked about spot – quarterback: “This position experienced an extreme makeover from last season, with Seattle adding what it hopes are significant upgrades in (Matt) Flynn and (Russell) Wilson to increase the overall performance from this position. My opinion is even though (Tarvaris) Jackson is in the final year of his contract, if he does not win the starting job the Seahawks likely will keep him. Seattle believes this team is on the cusp of a deep playoff run, and you can’t do that without having two veteran quarterbacks that can step in and win games for you. I think this will be mostly a learning year for Wilson. And don’t count out (Josh) Portis; the organization still likes him as a player and he’ll be given a chance to prove he can be a part of the equation moving forward.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we take a closer look at sixth-round pick Winston Guy, who could become the third safety in the big nickel defense: “With (Lawyer) Milloy finally retired after 15 NFL seasons and (Atari) Bigby joining the San Diego Chargers in free agency, someone had to fill the third safety spot. And the coaches think they’ve found just the safety. ‘All those things where we used Atari, this kid fills those roles very well,’ Carroll said just after the draft had been completed. ‘He’s a versatile player. They moved him around in the kind of fashion that we like moving our guys around. We’re very excited about him. He’s a very aggressive kid. He plays a lot like Atari.’ ”
We’ve got a look at the wide receivers from Tuesday’s offseason program workout: “But today, after another offseason program workout that was held in warm, sunny conditions and on the manicured outside practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, (Tarvaris) Jackson said he liked the team’s current group of wide receivers. It’s an eclectic mix that includes (Sidney) Rice and Mike Williams, the on-the-mend incumbent starters; Doug Baldwin, who led the team in receiving as a rookie last season and has switched to his college number (89) so (Matt) Flynn could have No. 15; veteran Ben Obomanu, who GM John Schneider recently called “one of the more underrated receivers in the league”; and the promising quartet of Golden Tate, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham. ‘That’s what makes those guys work harder, because they know they’re unproven and they’re trying to prove themselves,’ Jackson said. ‘When you’ve got guys that are hungry like that, and willing to work, that makes things a lot better.’ ”
Tarvaris Jackson and Matt Flynn, who are competing to be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback, have played with Pro Bowl wide receivers.
For Jackson, who was signed in free agency last year, it was while with the Vikings and he was throwing to Percy Harvin and also current teammate Sidney Rice. For Flynn, who was signed in free agency this year, it was while with the Packers and he was throwing to Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, have not had a Pro Bowl wide receiver since Brian Blades in 1989 – and Blades was only the second wide-out in franchise history to make it to Hawaii, joining seven-time selection Steve Largent.
|A SHOW OF HANDS|
|The Seahawks have three wide receivers on their roster who have more than 80 career receptions and 1,000 career receiving yards in the NFL, but two were sideline spectators during Tuesday’s offseason program workout – Sidney Rice and Mike Williams, the incumbent starters. Here’s a look at each receiver’s career numbers:
Rookies: Phil Bates, Jermaine Kearse, Lavasier Tuinei
But today, after another offseason program workout that was held in warm, sunny conditions and on the manicured outside practice fields at Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Jackson said he liked the team’s current group of wide receivers. It’s an eclectic mix that includes Rice and Mike Williams, the on-the-mend incumbent starters; Doug Baldwin, who led the team in receiving as a rookie last season and has switched to his college number (89) so Flynn could have No. 15; veteran Ben Obomanu, who GM John Schneider recently called “one of the more underrated receivers in the league”; and the promising quartet of Golden Tate, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham.
“That’s what makes those guys work harder, because they know they’re unproven and they’re trying to prove themselves,” Jackson said. “When you’ve got guys that are hungry like that, and willing to work, that makes things a lot better.”
In fact, Obomanu, Baldwin and Lockette were so hungry during the players’ extended break following the season that they traveled to Alabama to workout with Jackson.
“It’s like a friendly competition – every guy in the receiving corps wants the ball,” Jackson said. “So they see one guy working hard, and they don’t want to get outworked because they know it pays off in the end because quarterbacks really like that.
“As you get more familiar with the quarterback, you become a guy a quarterback can trust and that gets more balls thrown your way.”
Jackson already had that trust with Rice, who also was signed in free agency last year and caught 32 passes before shoulder injuries that required surgery and lingering concussion symptoms forced him to go on injured reserve after playing in only nine games. Jackson developed that trust with Baldwin, who led the team in receptions (51), receiving yards (788) and TD catches (four) after being signed as an undrafted free agent.
Flynn is in the process of building that trust factor after joining the team 7½ weeks ago.
But Jackson isn’t the only one who’s high on the Seahawks’ wide-outs that are either rehabbing or mostly unproven. The club passed on selecting a wide receiver in the draft, because the group was “pretty average,” as Schneider put it. Instead, the passing game will move forward with what Schneider calls “some really cool, young guys that are exciting and with different attributes.”
Added Schneider, “I like it because it’s a really unique group. You’ve got size. You’ve got instant separation. And you’ve got guys that can get down the field a little bit.”