Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 5.
Early this morning, Randall Liu, the NFL’s Director of NFC Football Communications, announced on Twitter that Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has been named the NFC Offensive Player of Week 13 for his performance against the Chicago Bears. According to Liu, Wilson becomes the first Seahawk to win Offensive Player of the Week since running back Shaun Alexander in 2005, the year the Seahawks went on to Super Bowl XL.
The club announced a trio of roster moves yesterday, placing offensive guard James Carpenter on the reserve/non-football illness list for the remainder of the season, waiving wide receiver Braylon Edwards with the designation of injured, and promoting offensive guard Rishaw Johnson from the practice squad to the active roster.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story on the team’s roster moves, “Letting Edwards go also speaks to the effectiveness of starters Golden Tate and Sidney Rice, who have each caught seven touchdown passes this season. Seattle also has Doug Baldwin, Charly Martin and Jermaine Kearse on the 53-man roster.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune writes that the Seahawks believe a NFC West division title is still within reach, “Seattle plays three of its last four games – NFC West division foes Arizona, San Francisco and St. Louis – in the noisy comfort of CenturyLink Field, where the team is 5-0 this season. And Seattle’s only road game is against 5-7 Buffalo, in what will almost be a neutral site in Toronto. One final bonus: So far the 49ers are the only team left on the schedule with a winning record. San Francisco hosts Miami on Sunday, followed by a trip to New England to face the Patriots, a road game against Seattle and a season finale at home against Arizona. San Francisco’s contest against the Patriots is the most likely game where the 49ers could stub their toe — since 2001 the Patriots have a league-best 23-1 home record in December. ‘It’s still out there,’ Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said about winning a division title. ‘We’ve got a lot of games left in the division. San Francisco has a great thing going there. And if they can take care of their business, then they’ll leave everybody else behind. But they’ve still got to win the games, and we do too.’ ”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, Williams also has a transcript of a Q&A session with AZCardinals.com beat reporter Darren Urban, who looks at the reasoning behind the Cards’ decision to start rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley, “The argument for starting Lindley is that you want to keep seeing, with experience, if he can improve and be a future factor on this roster and that you have a pretty good idea of what Skelton brings to the table after what you have seen from him over the past three seasons. The argument for Skelton would be more experience, the knowledge he has beaten the Seahawks in the past and the fact Lindley has played very poorly the past six quarters.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald puts Wilson in the conversation for Rookie of the Year, “Now, three quarters of the way through the season, it’s hard to look at the numbers — and at what the Seahawks have accomplished as a team — and not put Wilson in the same class as [Robert] Griffin [III] and [Andrew] Luck. That’s not to say that Wilson will have as good a career as those two. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t, but trying to project the career arc of any NFL player, let alone a quarterback, after 12 games is a fool’s errand if ever there was one. But Wilson’s 19 touchdown passes compared to eight interceptions, his 95.2 passer rating, his continually improving play and also the Seahawks’ 7-5 record mean that Wilson, and not just Luck and Griffin, is firmly a part of what used to be a two-man battle for offensive rookie of the year honors.”
Sticking to that Rookie of the Year conversation, Mike Sando of ESPN.com breaks down the play of Wilson and Luck versus the same seven opponents, as the Seahawks and Colts have shared seven common foes thus far in 2012, and will make it eight when the Seahawks face the Bills in Week 15, “Wilson has 16 touchdown passes with only one pick against these teams. He has a 115.6 NFL passer rating and 81.6 Total QBR score against them. Luck has 13 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 74.9 passer rating against them. His QBR score (68.2) is stronger than his traditional stats might indicate, a theme for Luck all season, not just in these games. Wilson has a 5-2 starting record against the seven common opponents. Luck’s record is 4-3 against those teams.”
ESPN.com has their updated NFL Power Rankings for Week 14, which you can view here. The Seahawks move up one spot from a week ago to No. 12 on their list.
CBSSports.com has their Power Rankings, and the Seahawks come in at No. 12 on their list as well.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth leads with his 12-game honor roll, handing out awards for club MVP, best offensive, defensive, and special teams player, and best rookie.
Farnsworth also has his first look at the Seahawks’ Week 14 opponent – the Arizona Cardinals, “Burning question: What happened to this team? After starting 4-0, the Cardinals have lost their last eight games … The last time the Cardinals scored more than 20 points in a game was in Week 4 against the Dolphins, which also was the last time they won – and that game went into overtime. The defense has held six opponents to fewer than 20 points, and the Cardinals are 3-3 in those games. The Cardinals have allowed 48 sacks, nine more than the next-highest team (the Packers). They are averaging 3.6 yards running the ball. Their three QBs have combined to throw 10 TD passes and 13 interceptions.”
James Carpenter, last year’s first-round draft choice, was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list today, prematurely ending his season for the second year.
Also, wide receiver Braylon Edwards was waived/injured and rookie guard Rishaw Johnson was signed to the 53-man roster from the team’s practice squad.
Carpenter missed the final seven games last season after damaging his left knee during practice.
After playing right tackle last season, Carpenter moved to left guard this year and started seven games. With Carpenter out, John Moffitt will step in at left guard – as he did against the Bears, when Carpenter left early.
Edwards was signed a free agent in late July and caught eight passes for 74 yards and one touchdown in limited action in the Seahawks’ first 12 games. Five of his receptions came in the season opener against the Cardinals.
Johnson has been a member of the practice squad since the day after he was released on the final roster cut in September. He was signed as a free agent following the NFL Draft in April.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 27:
No. 32. Not second-year safety Jeron Johnson, who wears that number. That’s also where the Seahawks’ passing offense ranks in the league after three games. When asked about it, coach Pete Carroll pointed the finger directly at himself.
“I really think this is me holding the lid on it right now,” Carroll said. “I’m overseeing all of that.”
The Seahawks don’t just rank last in passing offense, they are the only team in the league that is averaging more yards rushing (141.3) than passing (127.7).
“What’s more important to us is that we take care of the football,” Carroll said. “More than anything. I don’t care about the yards.”
In that phase, the Seahawks have turned the ball over only twice – on an interception by rookie QB Russell Wilson on the final play of the first half and his lost fumble on the first series of the second half, both in the season-opening loss to the Cardinals in Arizona. Only the unbeaten Falcons and Patriots have fewer turnovers that the Seahawks.
Third-down conversions? That’s another story. The Seahawks are converting 29.3 percent on the pivotal down, which is limiting their opportunities to get more plays and therefore their chances to generate more yards. Only the Buccaneers (.256) and Redskins (.275) are converting a lower percentage on third downs.
“The thing we’re concerned about, we’ve got to convert on third downs,” Carroll said. “We have to get better there.”
This lid-on situation would be no different if Matt Flynn was the quarterback, Carroll said, pointing out that Wilson has now started three games in the NFL compared to two for the Flynn – who was signed in free agency during the offseason after being the backup to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay the past four seasons.
“We’re just trying to grow around the style of this football team that gives us a chance to be really physical and really tough and don’t give up anything,” Carroll said. “It’s really a product of me. So if you’re going to be mad at somebody, be mad at me.”
Now it’s time for Johnson, who has stepped in as the third safety in the bandit sub package with the Seahawks defense. Rookie Winston Guy opened the season in the role, but Johnson has taken over the past two games.
“Jeron has been really disciplined for us,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “The whole defense really takes pride in doing their job and doing it right and execution. We gave Jeron a chance and he fit right into the mode. He’s very detailed and the guys really trust him back there.”
Johnson made plays while subbing for strong safety Kam Chancellor during the preseason, which earned him a look in the bandit.
“I think that’s a reflection of coach Carroll,” Bradley said. “Because he always pushes us: ‘Find the guys and then give them an opportunity. You’ll be surprised.’ We always thought that Jeron was a guy who shows up more on the game field than in practice. Sure enough, he had a great preseason. He kind of turned our head then. So we gave him an opportunity and he’s been really solid.”
When Jeff Fisher took over as coach of the Rams this year, he wanted better play from his cornerbacks. So Cortland Finnegan, a Pro Bowl corner while with the Titans, was signed in free agency.
In three games for the Rams, Finnegan has three interceptions and also is third on the team with 19 tackles.
“I think he recognizes things, because he’s pretty experienced,” Wilson said. “He’s also aggressive. That’s the way he plays. You have to understand that and be smart with the football in terms of throwing the ball on him and making plays on him. You have to understand that he’s a great playmaker. We have a lot of respect for him.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
OT Breno Giacomini (pectoral)
OG John Moffitt (knee)
LB Leroy Hill (calf)
DT Jason Jones (knee)
DT Greg Scruggs (wrist)
DT Jaye Howard (foot)
WR Doug Baldwin (shoulder)
CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)
With Giacomini and Moffitt still out, Frank Omiyale worked at right tackle and Paul McQuistan at right guard with the No. 1 line – with James Carpenter replacing McQuistan at left guard. With Hill out, Malcolm Smith not only stepped in at weakside linebacker, he stepped up – tipping and almost intercepting one pass and taking another from the grasp of tight end Anthony McCoy.
For the Rams:
Did not practice
RB Steven Jackson (groin)
OT Rodger Saffold (knee)
DT Matt Conrath (knee)
S Matt McDaniels (hamstring)
DT Michael Brockers (ankle)
OT Wayne Hunter (knee)
DE Eugene Sims (illness)
PRACTICE SQUAD SHUFFLE
With Giacomini and Moffitt missing the past two days, rookie guard Rishaw Johnson was re-signed to the practice squad. He had been released last Friday.
Also signed was running back Lonyae Miller, who had been with the Cowboys (2010-2011) and Raiders (2011-2012).
To clear spots on the eight-man squad, linebacker Korey Toomer was placed on practice squad/injured and tight end Sean McGrath was released.
STAT DU JOUR
Marshawn Lynch continues to be the NFL’s leading rusher since Week 9 of last season. But who is chasing Lynch over the past 12 games? Here’s who:
Player, team Att. Yards Avg. TD
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks 283 1,246 4.4 10
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars 236 1,180 5.0 6
Ray Rice, Ravens 222 1,143 5.1 10
Reggie Bush, Saints/Dolphins 191 1,053 5.5 6
“Turnover Thursday” gives away to “No Repeat Friday,” as the players will have a midday practice. The team will leave for St. Louis on Saturday following a morning walkthrough.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Some people think he’s unique. I definitely do think he’s unique. That’s what makes him so good. He’s a little different in terms of that, which is a good thing.” – Wilson when asked about Lynch’s, well, unique personality
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 18:
Frank Omiyale. After being a last-minute replacement for left tackle Russell Okung in Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, Omiyale’s performance against sack-specialist DeMarcus Ware was greeted with a chorus of, “Wow, look what he was able to do.”
Omiyale’s reaction? It was more, “Whoa, this is what I’m here to do.”
The plan all week was that Okung would be able to play, despite bruising his left knee in the season opener. But when he simply wasn’t mobile enough in pregame warm-ups, Okung was inactive and Omiyale moved in against the hyperactive Ware.
The Seahawks’ plan for Ware? “Our plan was to hope he didn’t kill us,” coach Pete Carroll said after the game.
Omiyale helped make sure that didn’t happen, by simply going about his business in the Seahawks’ 27-7 victory.
“That’s definitely why I’m here,” he said today, when the players had meetings but did not practice in between off days because this week’s game is on Monday night against the Packers.
“I have starter’s ability. But I’m just glad that I could show up for the team when they needed me.”
Omiyale has started in the league before – 31 games the past three seasons with the Bears; and he also has played for line coach Tom Cable before – in 2006, his second NFL season, while with the Falcons.
It was that combination of familiarity with what it takes to be a starter in the league and what Cable demands from his linemen that brought Omiyale to Seattle in free agency during the offseason.
“That’s a statement I couldn’t wait to get at in the locker room because it’s going to happen at other positions throughout the year,” Carroll said on Monday. “You expect guys to jump in there and do their best. We need them to holdup the same level of play.
“Frank did that. He got knocked around a little bit at times playing against a great player. But he held his own. He had a credible game and we’re thankful he could get that done.”
Cornerback Danny Gorrer was added to the 53-man roster today, while linebacker Korey Toomer and guard Rishaw Johnson were re-signed to the practice squad.
To clear spots, running back Kregg Lumpkin was released from the 53-man roster and wide receiver Ricardo Lockette and linebacker Allen Bradford were released from the practice squad.
Gorrer entered the league as a rookie free agent with Saints in 2009, and also has spent time with the Rams and Ravens. He made his only start in 2009 with the Rams and played in 11 games last season with the Ravens.
STAT DU JOUR
Guess who has the best winning percentage in the history of “Monday Night Football”? The Seahawks, whose 17-8 record makes for a winning percentage of .680.
Here are the best winning percentages on MNF:
Team Wins Losses Pct.
Seahawks 17 8 .680
Steelers 39 23 .629
49ers 41 25 .621
Colts 20 13 .606
Giants 38 25 .602
The players have their second off day of the week on Wednesday, before returning Thursday to start practicing for Monday night’s game.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’ve been around some great backs – Warrick Dunn in Atlanta and (Matt) Forte in Chicago – but I’ve never been around a back like Marshawn.” – Omiyale on Marshawn Lynch, who had 100 of his 122 rushing yards against the Cowboys in the second half
Defensive back Danny Gorrer has been signed by the Seahawks.
The 6-foot, 180-pound Gorrer entered the NFL in 2009 as a rookie free agent with the Saints. He also has spent time with the Rams, starting one game in 2009; the Saints again in 2010; and the Ravens in 2010 and 2011, when he played in 11 games.
To clear a roster spot, running back Kregg Lumpkin was released.
The club also made practice squad moves, re-signing linebacker Korey Toomer and guard Rishaw Johnson and releasing linebacker Allen Bradford and wide receiver Ricardo Lockette. Toomer, a fifth-round draft choice this year, was released on the roster cut to 53 players, signed to the practice squad the next day and then released last Thursday. Johnson, a rookie free agent, also was with the team during training camp.
Portis heads practice squad signees
The Seahawks have signed the following seven players to their squad:
QB Josh Portis
WR Ricardo Lockette
LB Korey Toomer
TE Sean McGrath
OL Rishaw Johnson
LB Allen Bradford
S DeShawn Shead
Portis, Lockette, Toomer, McGrath, Johnson, Bradford and Shead were waived by the Seahawks on Friday’s roster cut to 53 players.
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for July 29:
Robert Turbin. The Seahawks have big plans for the rookie running back from Utah State, but first the team’s fourth-round draft choice has to show is that he can consistently run the way needed to excel in this offense.
That is, take one step and go. It took leading rusher Marshawn Lynch a while to adapt to the no-hesitation style that assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable demands. Now, it’s Lynch’s understudy that must learn the all-important adjustment.
Turbin broke two longs in one portion of today’s two-hour practice, and each was followed by a long run from Cable to stress the style issue and then give some style points.
“One step and go. One step and go. And trust your gut,” Cable said after practice when asked about the exchanges that followed the long runs by Turbin that prompted Cable’s long runs.
On the first run, Turbin, well, let Cable explain. “He kind of went in there and pity-pattered. Kind of stomping snakes, you know,” Cable said. “You can’t do that in this system – and in this league – because you’re going to get hit about 18 times.”
The next time Turbin got the ball, he made the one cut, ripped cleanly through the line and accelerated into the secondary.
If the teaching aspect was worth one long run by Cable, the reward aspect promoted a repeat run.
“You’ve got to tell them right then, ‘That’s it,’ ” Cable said. “When they get it, they’ve got to capture it.”
Now that the Seahawks have captured Turbin, it’s imperative that he “get it,” so he can spell Lynch to keep the Beast Mode-running back fresher longer.
“I don’t have any doubt,” Cable said when asked if Turbin can fill the role that was missing from the running game last season. “It’s a matter of him, like the other young guys, learning how to be a pro and then in this system gaining his confidence.
“He’s on track to do to that.”
Sidney Rice. The acrobatic wide receiver was more, but also less, visible today. Rice took the field without the red no-contact jersey he was wearing Saturday, and then took part in a lot more snaps.
“I snuck it on,” said the blue-jerseyed Rice. “They got on me when I came out here. Sam (Ramsden, director of player health and performance) came over to me and he was like, ‘Oh, so you’re just a diva. You’re going to switch on me now every day.’ ”
What’s the deal? “I wanted to be in blue with the rest of the (offensive) team,” Rice said with a smile. “I’m not a quarterback. So I don’t want to wear a red jersey.”
The real switch was in how much work Rice got. After taking part in seven percent of the snaps Saturday, he was up to 25-30 percent (his estimations) today. That included participating in the 9-on-7 run drills and other team drills.
“It was great for my conditioning,” he said. “I was complaining a little in the 9-on-7, because I had to run downfield, block and then run right back to the huddle. But it’s no problem. It’s getting in the best shape I can be in.”
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Offense: Third-year wide receiver Golden Tate put together an impressive dossier of athletic catches. But none was better than one where Tate made a falling grab of a deep pass from Matt Flynn.
Defense: Cornerback Coye Francies disappeared into a sea of raised arms in the end zone on a Hail Mary heave from Tarvaris Jackson in a two-minute drill, but came down with the ball for the interception.
IN ‘N OUT
Defensive tackle Alan Branch and defensive end Jameson Konz did not practice. Also sitting out were the other three players who are the PUP list: wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, cornerback Walter Thurmond and offensive lineman James Carpenter.
The fans didn’t just flock to practice on the shores of Lake Washington today; they came decked out in the Seahawk Sunday best – including jerseys new, old and in between. There were some retro jerseys for Cortez Kennedy (96), Steve Largent (80) and John Randle (93). There were the newer jerseys for Earl Thomas (29), Kam Chancellor (31), Lynch (24) and even recently acquired QB Matt Flynn (15). There were the in-between jerseys – Matt Hasselbeck (8), Lofa Tatupu (51), Mack Strong (38) and Nate Burleson (81).
But the most-popular number, by far, was Thomas’ 29. James Beauchamp was wearing his, and exampled the process that goes into selecting a favorite-player jersey for your favorite team.
“For me, he plays the same position I played,” said Beauchamp, who was a free safety at Mount Tahoma High School. “He’s also an exciting player.”
Then there’s the Pete Carroll factor. Say what?
“With Pete Carroll,” Beauchamp said of the team’s third-year coach, “you never know who’s coming and who’s going. So you know with Earl, he’s staying for a long time. So that’s part of it – knowing that he’s a fixture here.”
The players will have a walkthrough this afternoon, and tomorrow’s practice starts at 10:15 a.m.
JOIN THE CROWD
A crowd of 2,258 fans attended today’s practice. You can register here to attend one of the 11 remaining practices that are scheduled to be open during camp.
YOU DON’T SAY
“They’re both explosive players, they make big plays. Golden made a couple of huge plays out there today. It’s nice to see him do that – get up, jog back to the huddle and get ready to go out there and do it again.” – Rice, when asked to compare Tate, his current teammate; and Percy Harvin, his former teammate with the Vikings
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 28:
Mike Sando at ESPN.com passes along an interesting – and possibly insightful – comment on rookie QB Russell Wilson from Tony Softli, a former personnel evaluator for the Panthers and Rams: “(Matt) Flynn will have his hands full in a training camp competition against this star in the making.” The item also includes this pre-draft assessment from Football Outsiders of the player who ended up being the Seahawks’ third-round choice: “Considering the examples from Wilson’s junior year in the Atlantic Coast Conference where he’s effective on deep passes off play-action, throws receivers open, and improvises on the move, his potential to develop into an NFL quarterback is better than his height may indicate,” (Matt) Waldman wrote. “Still, it is reasonable to approach Wilson’s NFL prospects with skepticism. (Drew) Brees never overcame doubts from the organization that drafted him. … However, as Brees, Tom Brady, Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck, Tony Romo and Kurt Warner, and several others have demonstrated, careers don’t end due to an inauspicious beginning.”
Sando also offers his thoughts on KC Joyner’s thought that cornerback Brandon Browner is among the most overrated players in the league: “Joyner pointed to the Seahawks cornerback’s league-high penalty count (19) as one indicator. He also used various coverage metrics to suggest Browner wasn’t all that good in coverage, either. I might have considered Browner’s teammate, Richard Sherman, as a superior choice to represent the NFC at season’s end. Pro Bowl voting was completed before then, of course. While Browner did commit too many penalties, those flags represented something positive, as well. Browner continually harassed opposing receivers near the line of scrimmage. Overrated or not, he was a pain to play against.” I’ll second that, and also point out that Browner led the NFL with 23 passes defensed.
And still more from Sando, he offers his “hidden treasure” for the NFC West teams and tabs the wide receivers for the Seahawks: “The Seahawks haven’t sent a player to the Pro Bowl as a full-time wide receiver since Brian Blades made it following the 1989 season. That streak appears unlikely to end anytime soon. The team invested virtually nothing in the position this offseason. A few questions persist – for example, what does Mike Williams have in store? – but with so much attention on quarterbacks and the Seattle defense, wide receiver gets my vote as a Seahawks position group that could surprise.” The Seahawks have had only two wide-outs voted to the Pro Bowl in franchise history – Steve Largent (seven times) and Blades (once).
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at rookie offensive linemen J.R. Sweezy and Rishaw Johnson: “… There are going to be the rookies to consider, and yes, that’s going to be rookies with an ‘s’ to indicate plural. The Seahawks chose J.R. Sweezy from North Carolina State in the seventh round, and have converted him from defensive tackle into an offensive guard. When the rookie minicamp ended in early May, coach Pete Carroll gave a very positive review. … The other rookie who made a strong first impression was Rishaw Johnson, an undrafted free agent signed from California (Pa.) University, which is the same college where the Seahawks found quarterback Josh Portis a year ago.”
With school out for the summer, Pat Kirwan at CBSSports.com offers a final examine to test your retention of what happened during the 2011 NFL season: “Think you remember how it all happened? Want to test your memory and maybe learn a thing or two? Have some fun taking this 21-question, multiple-choice (guess?) quiz.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the last of the team’s offseason workouts – and the nine rookie free agents who concluded the program this week: “Rookie free agents do face the longest of odds, as (strength and conditioning coach Chris) Carlisle said, in their attempts to earn spots on the 53-man roster or practice squad. But the Seahawks always have been good to undrafted rookies, and vice versa. The team’s honor roll of longest-odds beaters includes Ring of Honor quarterback Dave Krieg; free safety Eugene Robinson, the franchise’s all-time leading tackler; nose tackle Joe Nash, special teamer/linebacker Rufus Porter and fullback Mack Strong, who all played in the Pro Bowl during their careers and, like Robinson, were voted to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team; and Doug Baldwin, the team’s leading receiver last season. ‘There are a lot of guys who came in as free-agent rookies who play in the Pro Bowl, who were Super Bowl champions, that are in Canton (at the Pro Football Hall of Fame) right now that have gone from didn’t-have-a-chance to being pretty darn special,’ Carlisle said. Carlisle’s history lesson did not fall on deaf ears. ‘This is a program that kind of breeds these undrafted free agents, and that fact is very encouraging,’ said (tight end Sean) McGrath, who was heading back to Henderson State University in Arkansas to pack up the last of his left-behind belongings before going home to the Chicago area. ‘Anything can happen. You’ve just got to put your mind to it and keep working hard.’ ”
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 27:
Let’s start with a “thank you” to Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times for adding the needed disclaimer to all the talk at some national media outlets about Tarvaris Jackson being the “starting quarterback” heading into training camp. That’s not what coach Pete Carroll said, as O’Neil explains: “Ever played the game of telephone? You start with a dozen or so people, and arrange them in a line. The person at one end is given a word or a phrase and told to whisper it to the next person in line. That person, in turn, whispers those same word(s) to the next person. Everyone can whisper it only once, and the last person in line is asked to say it aloud to see just how far it has deviated from the original message. That’s the best explanation I can come up with to explain the headline that has appeared on CNNSI.com stating, ‘Report: Tarvaris Jackson named Seahawks starter.’ ”
Sack-master and ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando expands on his already expansive look at the ability of the four teams in the division to get to the opposing quarterback: “NFC West teams averaged 3.0 sacks per game against each other and 2.1 sacks per game against everyone else. The Eagles, Giants, Ravens and Bengals averaged 4.2 sacks per game against the NFC West and 2.6 per game against everyone else. From this standpoint, then, defenses did fatten up on the division’s offenses in 2011. Some of those defenses belonged to NFC West teams. The bottom line: Every NFC West team needs to improve its pass protection significantly, especially with the division’s defenses on the rise.”
And if that doesn’t get you even more ready for the start of training camp at the end of July, Sando also looks at the production of receivers in the division last season on third down by distance: “Seattle’s Doug Baldwin made 23 first downs on 42 targets for a 54.8 percent conversion rate. Each of those figures led the division. NFC West teams ranked 24th (Seattle), 29th (Arizona), 31st (San Francisco) and 32nd (St. Louis) in overall third-down conversion rate.”
Doug Farrar at Shutdown Corner looks at the best third-day picks in the 2011 NFL Draft for this feature at YahooSports.com. The Seahawks’ K.J. Wright is at No. 1, with Richard Sherman at No. 5.
Farrar on Wright (fourth round): “Wright, who tested off the map at the scouting combine out of Mississippi State, started his NFL career by replacing former fourth-overall pick Aaron Curry in the Seahawks’ starting defense. His ability to pick up the defensive playbook allowed him to perform at a preternatural level, and Pete Carroll sees him as a potential inside linebacker in the future. Wright could develop into that rarest of linebackers – capable of playing inside and outside in multiple fronts, and doing so at a very high level all around.”
Farrar on Sherman (fifth round): “Sherman came to Stanford as a receiver, but former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio saw him as a cornerback, and that’s where he spent his 2009 and 2010 seasons. Sherman fit the Seahawks’ profile when it comes to defensive backs – big, physical, and aggressive – but few expected the rookie season he had. Replacing injured cornerback Walter Thurmond, Sherman showed early flashes when he did a fine job against Cincinnati’s A.J. Green in late October, and he finished his initial campaign with four interceptions – including three in his last six games.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with Rishaw Johnson, the rookie free agent guard who wasted no time catching the eye of coach Pete Carroll: “ ‘I was pretty excited when I heard that (Carroll’s positive comments),’ Johnson said. But he couldn’t let excitement morph into a premature sense of security. ‘I can’t get too excited,’ Johnson said. ‘I’ve still got to bust it and do everything I’ve got to do to make the team. But it was still good to hear that coach Carroll said that.’ It wasn’t the first time Johnson had heard good things about himself, and he’s hoping it won’t be the last. In July of 2010, the school website at Cal U called Johnson, ‘easily the most talented of the team’s interior linemen.’ Pre-draft reports this offseason described Johnson as ‘light on his feet’ and ‘fluid’ and as having ‘outstanding pulling ability.’ Johnson doesn’t just play big, he is big – with 11-inch hands, 35-inch arms, an 81-inch wingspan and, of course, those 313 pounds.”
The Seahawks’ offseason program is down to the last players standing: The rookie free agents.
The team’s 10 draft choices completed their offseason work today. Saturday, they head to Ohio for the four-day NFL Rookie Symposium, which starts on Sunday for the NFC players. Then they’re off until training camp start in late July. The veterans called it a wrap after the final practice in last week’s minicamp.
So Monday, the only group left for the final three days in the offseason program at Virginia Mason Athletic Center will be the rookies who have been added since the draft. Seven were signed just after the draft – wide receivers Phil Bates, Jermaine Kearse and Lavasier Tuinei; guard Rishaw Johnson, tight end Sean McGrath, safety DeShawn Shead and kicker Carson Wiggs. Two others were signed after tryouts in minicamps – cornerback Donny Lisowski and linebacker Kyle Knox. One – defensive end Cordarro Law – was signed between the draft in April and the rookie minicamp in May.
“It’s a learning experience in itself, just learning how to be a pro,” Bates said of watching the numbers diminish. “It’s pretty good, because I’ve learned a lot this week.”
And he has done it from the front of the line – rather than back, as was the case when the veterans were around.
“You take the stuff you learned while the vets were here and now you’re working it on by yourself and trying to master your craft,” Bates said. “I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying it a lot.”
Even with the vets gone, third-round draft choice Russell Wilson has been around to throw to Bates, Tuinei and McGrath (Kearse is sidelined with a foot injury). But Wilson is off to the symposium, so the rookie QB won’t be around next week.
“I’ve got the Jugs machine,” Bates said with a smile. “So that will help me out. I’m going to miss Russell, of course. But I’ve got the Jugs machine.”