Friday cyber surfing: NFL’s Best Defense, quarterback conversations continue

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 6.

Remember that “NFL’s Best Defense” poll over at ProFootballWeekly.com? Well, by way of fan voting the championship results are in and the Seahawks have come out on top over the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning a whopping 76 percent of the overall vote. The guys at PFW give credit to the 12th Man for their tremendous fan support, but they still aren’t ready to call the Seahawks the “Best Defense” in the NFL, calling Seattle a young, ascending defense, but noting the defenses of teams like the San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers might be a little farther ahead of the Seahawks right now.

Here at Seahawks.com we continue with our Rookie Spotlight segment, this time focusing on Seahawks 2012  fourth round draft picks RB Robert Turbin out of Utah State and DT Jaye Howard out of Florida. Seahawks General Manager John Schneider talks with Tony Ventrella about Turbin’s impressive combine interview and how their familiarity with Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn – the Seahawks 2010 defensive line coach – aided them in their selection of Howard.

Starting off the first-of-three quarterback-central articles this morning we have Brady Henderson of MyNorthwest.com, who recaps a segment from yesterday’s “Bob and Groz” show when four-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl MVP QB Kurt Warner joined the program. Naturally, Warner offered up his opinion on the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition, as Henderson writes, “Warner spoke from experience when he talked about the challenges of splitting reps between quarterbacks, which the Seahawks plan to do when they begin training camp later this month. In Flynn’s case, Warner thinks that will make it harder to master the offense, something Jackson shouldn’t have to worry about given all the time he’s spent in coordinator Darrell Bevell’s system. Warner said memorizing an offense isn’t the same as understanding it well enough to execute it efficiently. Warner: ‘It’s always one thing to study your playbook and draw plays on the board and be able to decipher stuff. It’s completely different when you have to actually call the play in a timely fashion, you have to get up there and be able to react and make it second nature to you. So you can get as many mental reps as you want; it’s never the same as a physical rep. The less of those you get, the less you’re going to be ready because that’s really where you learn and where you grow is under fire, whether it’s preseason games, whether it’s live scrimmages or just competitive situations in practice.'”

Next, over at NFL.com Gregg Rosenthal believes Matt Flynn has what it takes to be the Seahawks starting quarterback. On Flynn, Rosenthal offers, “In one of the final days of my former professional life, I watched every Matt Flynn snap possible. I won’t repeat myself here, but Flynn was accurate, composed and threw the ball well under pressure. That pocket presence gives him an edge over guys like [Kevin] Kolb, Matt Cassel and [Tarvaris] Jackson. In many ways, Flynn didn’t look like a young quarterback. He was very good before the snap. He moved safeties with his eyes. He responded to his bad plays. Flynn doesn’t have to carry the Seahawks. They have a solid running game and a stronger defense. He has a chance to be an average starter sooner than later. That’s a big upgrade for the Seahawks and that may be all they need to make the playoffs in 2012.”

Lastly, and again over at NFL.com, Ian Rapport catches up with former NFL QB Doug Flutie, who at 5-foot-10 bucked the NFL stereotype that quarterbacks must be tall to be successful. The conversation is relevant because Seahawks 2012 third round draft pick QB Russell Wilson stands just 5-foot-11, but finds himself right in the mix of the Seahawks quarterback competition. Rapport comments on Flutie’s relationship with Wilson, “Flutie is a college football analyst now, and he thoroughly studies the game that made him famous. He grew close with Wilson when the athletic passer was leaving North Carolina State and trying to decide between transferring to Auburn or Wisconsin for his senior season. He chose the Badgers and led them to a Big Ten title. ‘I was advising him,’ Flutie said. ‘Go somewhere where, No. 1, you know you’re going to play. No. 2, that you’re the guy they want. Coming up to the draft, he had some questions. He’s a great kid and I just wish him well.'”


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Wednesday cyber surfing: That’s Turbin, as in ‘Turbinator’

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 13:

Dave Boling at the News Tribune came away from Tuesday’s minicamp practice rightfully impressed with Robert Turbin, the rookie running back from Utah State: “Interviews with 22-year-old athletes don’t ordinarily produce profound messages or perspectives on life and its meaning. But we might come to expect the extraordinary from Robert Turbin. The Seattle Seahawks’ rookie running back is a marvel of mass and velocity, with a quick burst to the line and biceps stolen from an animated action hero. He’s winning fans already with his play. After an impressive breakaway during Tuesday’s minicamp, teammates started yelling their approval: ‘The Turbinator,’ they called him. Regardless how this team progresses this season, Robert Turbin deserves that kind of support.”

The only player not at the mandatory camp – defensive end Chris Clemons – drew most of the coverage. Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times, Eric Williams at the News Tribune, John Boyle at the Everett Herald and Tim Booth at the Associated Press provide updates on his situation.

Williams also provides some observations from practice, including the latest on the QB competition: “Pete Carroll complimented Tarvaris Jackson on the way he threw the ball, and said his incumbent starting quarterback played with confidence in the team’s opening day of minicamp this afternoon. Jackson mostly worked with the first unit today. It will be Matt Flynn’s turn to work with the first unit on Wednesday, as Carroll continues to rotate those two and rookie Russell Wilson with the first unit. ‘He’s doing very well,’ Carroll said about Jackson. ‘He looks really healthy and strong, and very confident in what we’re doing. And he’s making it hard on these guys.’ ”

 
Brian Banks is scheduled to begin his tryout with the Seahawks today, but NFL.com reports that Tuesday he was in Kansas City and also drawing attention from the Vikings: “ ‘I know in talking to (general manager) Rick (Spielman) and the scouting staff, that’s something we’ve talked about and there’s a good chance that he may be coming in,” (Vikings coach Leslie) Frazier said.”

With the Kings winning their first Stanley Cup on Monday night, Gregg Rosenthal at NFL.com wonders which NFL team is closest to winning its first Super Bowl. He lists the Seahawks among his “sleeper” picks: “We like what Pete Carroll is doing with the Seahawks defense and think they will be playoff contenders for a while.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with recently acquired tight end Kellen Winslow: “Moments after walking off the field at the conclusion of the Seahawks’ minicamp practice on Tuesday, Kellen Winslow was asked how his impact on the offense might increase once he’s healthy. Winslow’s response was as exact as it was honest. ‘If I was healthy, which I never will be again, I would be Aaron Hernandez and (Jason) Witten together,’ he said. ‘Really?’ the questioner asked. ‘Yeah,’ Winslow said, punctuating the assessment with a laugh. ‘But, hey, I do what I can out there with the situation I have.’ The former Pro Bowl tight end the Seahawks acquired last month in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers never will be 100 percent healthy because of the serious knee injury he got in 2005 while playing for the Cleveland Browns, and the staph infection that followed in 2008. ‘It was the hardest thing that ever happened to me – the accident and then the staph infection on top of that,’ he said.”

We’ve also got a recap of practice in Tuesday in Hawkville, including a look at rookie safety Winston Guy: “The safety from Kentucky continues to wear a red jersey, but the sixth-round draft choice would stand out even without the non-contact apparel. ‘He’s doing a really cool job. I really like this player,’ Carroll said. ‘He brings more than we had hoped, maybe, at this early time.’ The plan when the Seahawks drafted Guy was to use him as a third safety in the “big nickel” defense, which would allow either Thomas or strong safety Kam Chancellor to play closer to the line. ‘His speed is very good. His instincts are excellent,’ Carroll said of Guy. ‘He’s got a lot to learn. But he’s going to play for us and be a part of what we’re doing.’ ”

For a peek at the day’s activities, there’s Tony Ventrella’s video report, as well as the Q&A sessions with Carroll and Jackson.

Elaine Thompson at the Associated Press also has a photo gallery from practice that’s available at PI.com.


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Monday cyber surfing: Banks to attend minicamp

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

Brian Banks, who had a workout with the Seahawks last Thursday, will attend the team’s minicamp this Wednesday and Thursday. Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times has the update: “Banks is a 6-foot-2, 239-pound linebacker who participated in a solo audition for the Seahawks last week, performing well enough that coach Pete Carroll invited him back to continue his tryout during Seattle’s final minicamp. Banks will do just that as soon as he gets back from Kansas City, where he will audition for the Chiefs on Tuesday. From there, Banks will head back to Seattle, his agent, Bruce Tollner, confirmed.”

Tim Booth at the Associated Press also has the word on Banks returning to Seattle: “Following the workout, (coach Pete) Carroll said he wanted to bring Banks’ back for the minicamp and see him on the field. Banks initially hesitated saying he needed to speak with his agent about his other options, causing Carroll to joke that he needed to recruit Banks yet again.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at the QB situation as the team moves into its only full-squad minicamp, which remains an open competition: “(Tarvaris) Jackson also has the most experience in a group that includes Matt Flynn, who’s made two NFL starts, and rookie Russell Wilson. The 29-year-old Alabama State product has a 17-17 record in 34 NFL starts. ‘Russell and Matt both have ground to make up because they’re learning new systems,’ Carroll said. ‘And they both are doing exceedingly well at that, but they have more ground to make up. T-Jack has more familiarity after all the years he was with Bev (Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who coached Jackson while both were in Minnesota).’ ”

Tom Cable was on 710 ESPN with Bob and Groz and Brady Henderson has the highlights from the interview with the team’s offensive line coach at mynorthwest.com: “ ‘I’m personally disappointed in how we protected the quarterback, and we’ve made that a big emphasis to clean it up,’ Cable said.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has three under-the-radar moves for the Seahawks this offseason, including re-signing their own players: “Seattle spent the previous two offseasons adding “name” players from elsewhere. Sidney Rice, Robert Gallery and Zach Miller were examples in 2011. Keeping your own guys doesn’t always feel like progress, but it’s part of the building process. (Red) Bryant and Marshawn Lynch were the big re-signings. Paul McQuistan, Michael Robinson, Leroy Hill, Matt McCoy and Heath Farwell re-signed as unrestricted free agents. Bringing back Marcus Trufant could factor into the equation as well. Might the long-time starter be reborn as a nickel corner?”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at rookies Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin, teammates at Utah State and once again with the Seahawks: “Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin were walking out of a class at Utah State last fall when the conversation turned to the inevitable: Their imminent NFL careers. And who could blame them. Wagner was the leading tackler for the Aggies, while Turbin was in the process of fashioning a 1,517-yard, 23-touchdown season. The NFL wasn’t just calling this productive duo, it was screaming. ‘We talked for like an hour about what we were going to do when we got to the NFL,’ Wagner recalled this week, cracking the slightest of smiles. ‘We didn’t know we’d end up here together. I just knew that no matter which team he went to I was going to root for him, and he was going to root for me.’ As it turned out, these two would end up sharing more than a first name and an alma mater. The Seahawks selected Wagner in the second round of the NFL Draft to compete for the starting middle linebacker spot that open when three-time leading tackler David Hawthorne signed with the New Orleans Saints in free agency. The club then added Turbin in the fourth round, to supply the physicality required in the running game on those occasions when leading-rusher Marshawn Lynch needs a breather or can’t play. ‘We’ve talked about that, too; just how crazy it is that we ended up in the same spot,’ Wagner said. ‘We’re going to try and put Utah State on the map. I don’t think we could have asked for it to turn out any better.’ ”

For a look at the rest of the league, there’s Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com, which includes this note on the Seahawks: “I think I can’t get too fired up about the Seahawks losing two June practices because of contact during sessions that were supposed to be non-contact. As former player and now media maven Ross Tucker said: ‘It reminds me of recruiting violations against a college football power. Pretty much everybody does it to some extent and the only question is which college powerhouse, or in this case NFL team, gets this year’s slap on the wrist. The only way NFL teams get caught is if a player turns the team in to the NFLPA or there is something as egregious as a couple of injuries and a fight breaks out that the media is there to report on, which is what happened in Seattle. Plus, live contact during OTAs is inevitable. As long as the cameras are on, the coaches are evaluating and forming opinions. If coaches are forming opinions, players will continue to increase their intensity so that they look good until it escalates to an unacceptable level per the CBA rules.’ ”


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Friday cyber surfing: Lynch leads the way

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 8:

Steve Wyche at NFL.com looks at teams that feature a running back who could help lead them to the playoffs in this Era of the QB, and includes the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch: “Lynch rushed for 12 touchdowns and 1,204 yards last season, and the Seahawks still finished 7-9. Not much has changed in that Seattle is still unsteady at quarterback, regardless of whether Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson or Russell Wilson starts. The rising defense could be better and more opportunistic, and if one of the quarterbacks minimizes turnovers, it could provide enough low-risk opportunity for Lynch’s production to translate into wins. Every opponent knows slowing Lynch is the first priority, but that was the case last season, too. If the quarterback play improves moderately, more opportunities could open up for Lynch and he could be even more productive.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com looked at the Seahawks’ backup situation to Lynch during his chat on Thursday: “Seattle used a 2012 fourth-round choice for Robert Turbin. The team also added Kregg Lumpkin in free agency. Both are bigger than former backup Justin Forsett. That was by design. The Seahawks now have multiple backs with the size to carry the ball on early downs, but it’s too early to know whether the team could maintain its physical approach on offense without Lynch. It wasn’t possible last season. Now, it’s possible, but no sure thing.”

Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. has his Top 10 breakout players in the NFC for the 2012 season and Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright is at No. 9. It’s an Insider feature at ESPN.com, so requires registration and a fee. But here’s what he said about Wright: “As a fourth-round rookie in 2011, he did a nice job of replacing veteran Aaron Curry at OLB, and he finished with 65 tackles and eight tackles for loss. He is good versus the run, a physical player and wrap-up tackler, and he has good instincts. He identifies the play quickly, and he is better in pass coverage than you might think. He has the skill set to move to MLB in this 4-3 defense if the Seahawks don’t get more comfortable with their personnel at that position. At strongside LB, he lines up a lot next to sack artist DE Chris Clemons (11 sacks in 2011), forming a tough duo to block for an offensive line.”

The big story Thursday, of course, was Brian Banks performing well enough in his workout with the Seahawks that he was invited back for a tryout in next week’s minicamp.

Sando offers his thoughts and observations on the situation: “The excitement over the possibilities was palpable. Carroll called Banks a ‘solid natural athlete’ with ‘good natural quickness’ and flexibility. But after a wrongful conviction ended Banks’ high school career and sent him to prison for six years, the 26-year-old prospect faces long odds. Carroll: ‘We’re going to support the chance and have a vision for what he could become more than what he is today and see where it goes.’ ”

Also offering their thoughts and observations:

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times: “Now 26, Banks stands 6 feet 2, 239 pounds and can still run 40 yards in less than 4.7 seconds. It was his grace, though, that was most striking when he answered questions after the workout Thursday, wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned, “XONR8.” Instead of looking back at what he’s lost, Banks talked about the possibilities that have opened up in the weeks since his exoneration. ‘The opportunities that I’ve received, men dream of those days,’ Banks said. ‘They get up every morning, they work hard for that type of offer. I just want to make sure that I’m prepared.’ ”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune: “Can you blame Brian Banks for feeling like he was floating on air Thursday morning, taking questions from a throng of local and national reporters? Minutes earlier, the exonerated former high school star linebacker had just been told by Seattle coach Pete Carroll that he had earned an invitation to next week’s minicamp after a productive workout at the team’s facility, conducted by Seattle linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. ‘I really don’t have a word for it. It’s just a dream come true,’ Banks said. ‘A lot of people work hard to get to this point. I’ve also worked hard myself. And I’m just thankful for this opportunity.’ ”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald: “And Banks’ feel-good story isn’t over yet. While the 26-year-old knows better than anyone the uphill battle he is fighting to make an NFL roster for the first time, Banks did do enough at his workout for the Seahawks to ask him to come back for a tryout at next week’s three-day minicamp. ’Now, I understand that we don’t know how that’s going to work out yet,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, ‘but I was really proud to be able to say that to him and the light in his eye, the emotion that was running through him throughout the day and at that moment was amazing.’ ”

Art Thiel at sportspress northwest: “For every Seattle sports fan pulling mightily against the success of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Finals, take a break. For a few minutes, try pulling FOR something. If you don’t feel better after pulling for Brian Banks, something’s wrong. You must be Howard Schulz. You don’t even have to know the cruel backstory to appreciate a top-tier athlete who says, ‘I’m more appreciative of this chance than deserving of it.’ As soon as Banks said that Thursday morning at the Seahawks’ indoor practice field, he won over every fan and media skeptic who has had it up to here with entitled athletes.”

Tim Booth at the Associated Press: “From a football perspective, there is still plenty left for Banks to prove. He first must decide whether to accept the Seahawks’ minicamp offer. Banks’ agent, Bruce Tollner, said Thursday afternoon that he had yet to speak with Banks about the offer, but that Banks tentatively has visits scheduled with five other teams. ‘An invitation back to Seattle is a very positive thing that he’ll want to consider, we just need to check his schedule,’ Tollner said.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got Banks’ big day covered in words and video: “ ‘This is by far the second-best day of my life,’ Banks said. ‘May 24th, my day of exoneration, and just today. To be out here on this field, to workout with the Seahawks, to be given an opportunity to have a tryout, I really don’t have words for it. This is a dream come true. I know a lot of people work hard to get to this point. I’ve also worked hard myself. I’m just thankful for this opportunity.’ Things went well enough during his workout that Banks has been offered a tryout at next week’s minicamp. Somebody definitely owes Banks, now 26, something. But he doesn’t look at it that way. ‘I feel more appreciative for the opportunity than I feel deserving,’ he said.”

You also can watch the Q&A sessions with Banks and Carroll.


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Wednesday cyber surfing: A potpourri of past and present

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 16:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com checks in with George Koonce, who spent one of his nine seasons in the NFL with the Seahawks, and he has quite a tale to tell: “I had a wonderful wife, beautiful children, money in the bank and a Super Bowl ring back on that day in 2003 when my post-NFL transition took my Chevy Suburban around a 25-mph corner at three times the posted speed. Whatever happened that day was going to happen. I didn’t really care. By the grace of God, I survived what was, in retrospect, a suicide attempt. But paramedics weren’t going to cart me off. No chance. The football tough guy in me refused to get into that ambulance. My wife, Tunisia, drove me to the hospital and saved my life with words, not medicine. ‘George,’ she said, ‘I don’t understand what you are going through, but I sympathize. We cannot reinvent who you are, but we can redefine who you are.’ ”

Also from Sando, a look at the addition of Alex Barron: “Barron gives the Seahawks seven offensive linemen drafted by other teams. That includes choices from every round but the sixth (and two from the fifth).”

And still more from Sando, a look at the team’s “pressure point”: “Tarvaris Jackson earned the respect of his Seahawks teammates by playing through much of the 2011 with a torn pectoral muscle on his right side. Jackson never complained or made excuses. The injury made it tougher for Jackson to take hold of the starting job for the long term. The Seahawks’ inability to make key plays in critical moments left them with a 7-9 record and kept them in the market for help at the position.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald also looks at Tuesday’s addition of Barron: “Barron, a former first-round pick who played at Florida State, hoped that his NFC West tour would come to an end at that Seahawks minicamp, and for now anyway, it has. Barron and three other players who tried out last weekend have agreed to terms on contracts with Seattle. ‘I haven’t gone to Arizona and I don’t plan on going to Arizona,’ Barron said. ‘I’d be fine being home right here.’ A contract in May is hardly a guarantee of a job come September, but it is at least a step in the right direction for Barron, who missed all of last season with a knee injury.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at the crowded situation on the offensive line now that Barron has agreed to contract terms: “At 6-foot-8 and 318 pounds, Barron is long and athletic – he held his own against speedy rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin over the weekend – but has had issues with penalties over his seven-year career. Barron has been flagged 17 times – 14 of them accepted – in his past 17 games started. Barron will compete with Frank Omiyale, Paul Fanaika, Allen Barbre and Mitchell for the backup offensive tackle job behind starters Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini. Last year’s first-round pick, James Carpenter, is still recovering from knee surgery. Seattle now has 15 offensive linemen on the team’s 90-man roster.”

Also at the News Tribune, Dave Boling offers his impressions from the weekend minicamp: “Of the other draft picks, running back Robert Turbin shows a nice burst, and linebackers Bobby Wagner and Korey Toomer are both impressive athletes who flow to the play. Defensive linemen Jaye Howard and Greg Scruggs both are big guys who are lean and have pass-rushing potential.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times also looks at Tuesday’s additions, but focuses on Donny Lisowski: “Lisowski graduated from O’Dea High School in 2008. He played quarterback and defensive back, wrestled and ran track. Lisowski’s speed impressed coach Pete Carroll, who singled him out Sunday after the last of the three practices at the minicamp. ‘He was all over the place out here,’ Carroll said.

Elliott Harrison at NFL.com looks at the QB competitions in the league, including the Seahawks: “Unless (Tarvaris) Jackson plays out of his freaking mind, the odds-on favorite appears to be (Matt Flynn) the former Green Bay Packers backup, who has thrown nine touchdowns and compiled a 123.0 passer rating in two career starts. The other possibility would be to keep them both with the expectation that this is a playoff team in need of two vets. It’s just going to cost GM John Schneider a healthy chunk of change. Don’t forget third-round pick Russell Wilson, who the Seahawks reportedly think can compete, too. The smart money says that’s a year away.”

Also at NFL.com, in his latest “Pick Six,” Adam Rank looks at the best defensive nicknames in league history. The Seahawks aren’t included, but it’s worth a read anyway: “It might be hypocritical to list the Fearsome Foursome after the nickname was used to describe other units (don’t act like you knew that). But the Fearsome Foursome is synonymous with the Los Angeles Rams of the 1960s, which featured Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy. Easily the best nickname ever applied to a defensive unit.”

Jason Smith at NFL.com has a photo essay on the best rookie seasons by team, and the Seahawks are included: “Try as I might, I can’t make the argument for Kenny Easley’s 1981 rookie season over Curt Warner’s in 1983. Easley was the defensive rookie of the year, but Warner amassed 1,449 rush yards and 13 touchdowns. He had a pretty good career, with four 1,000-yard seasons, but he goes down as the guy everyone mistakenly called for interviews trying to reach the other Kurt Warner.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we have not only the word that Barron has agreed, but a look at his participation in the offseason program: “ ‘I just wanted to get somewhere,’ Barron said. ‘I’m pretty confident in my play. I’ve made some mistakes in the past, also. But I’ve gotten to the point where after last season, and coming into the offseason as a free agent, all I want to do is come in and just show that I can play. Because it can’t be talked about, it always has to be shown.’ ”

We’ve also got a look at the winding road that led fifth-round draft choice Korey Toomer to the Seahawks: “Korey Toomer has followed a meandering path to the NFL. But now that he’s here, as the Seahawks’ fifth-round draft choice, the rookie linebacker from Idaho is not only making up for lost time, he’s doing it in a blur. At the rookie minicamp over the weekend, and again in the offseason program workouts this week, the one thing that has stood out about Toomer is that he does everything fast. ‘The dude can run, no question about it,’ veteran linebacker Leroy Hill said on Tuesday, shaking his head. Toomer, in fact, ran himself right into being draft by the Seahawks – even though the team already had selected pass-rushing end Bruce Irvin in the first round and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner in the second round.”

The Pro Football Hall of Fame website has the word on Cortez Kennedy dominating items as his Aug. 4 induction draws closer: “Included in the prized gift were Kennedy’s 1993 Pro Bowl jersey, a pair of well-worn shoulder pads and a pair of cleats from his NFL career that spanned from 1990-2000.”


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Sunday in Hawkville: That’s a wrap for the rookie minicamp

A recap of the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp that concluded today, May 13:

FOCUS ON

Three days in May. Make that three picture-postcard days, and three days when almost three dozen tryout players got to chase their dream of playing in the NFL.

The Seahawks wrapped up their rookie minicamp this afternoon, with another spirited practice on another gorgeous day along the shores of Lake Washington at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

“For these guys to have that chance to get out here and be in the NFL for a weekend and show what they can do, they’ll never forget it,” coach Pete Carroll said. “And I think it means a ton to them.”

You could tell it meant just that, as the players sought out coaches at the conclusion of practice to shake hands and say thanks.

The team’s 10 draft choices and seven of the 10 free agents signed after the draft will join the veterans in the offseason program on Monday, and it was those players who drew most of the attention in the minicamp practices – from first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin; to third-rounder Russell Wilson, who used the minicamp to throw himself into the competition for the starting job; to seventh-rounder J.R. Sweezy, a defensive tackle in college who spent the weekend learning to play offensive guard; to wide receiver Phil Bates, one of those free-agent additions who caught pass after pass after pass.

“I can only tell you that we were thrilled with the (draft) picks,” Carroll said. “We think there’s something in every guy that’s unique and special. That we were fortunate enough to get guys in the spots that we got them and have a real plan as we look ahead where they can fit in and help us, it just feels like the next big step has been made.

“This is a first step for a lot of those guys, and for some of these guys it will be their only step. So we tried to treat these days with them with a lot respect with where their hearts are and all that.”

TURBIN-POWERED

Carroll was especially pleased of the performance of Robert Turbin, a running back who was drafted in the fourth round. After playing in a spread offense at Utah State, Turbin made an almost seamless shift to the Seahawks’ zone-blocking scheme.

“He had an excellent camp,” Carroll said. “He has terrific speed. He has excellent feet. We were a little bit unsure of how well he would flow with the zone running game because he ran out of the (shot) gun all the time.

“He did it like he’s been doing it all along. So he showed natural instincts for the flow of the line of scrimmage.”

Turbin’s best run came Sunday, when he broke through the line on a counter play to gain 30 yards.

“He’s shown ability through the (three) days here that he can see the line of scrimmage well,” Carroll said. “He can feel it and he can burst.”

STICKING OUT

Asked which “unknown” players stood out, Carroll mentioned three:

Rishaw Johnson, a 6-3, 313-pound guard from California University in Pennsylvania and one of the free agents who was signed after the draft.

“He showed some tremendous stuff,” Carroll said. “We liked him going through the later rounds of the draft. He’s just a long ways down the road of understanding how to play the game. I think if he’ll continue to learn and understand what we’re asking of him, he has a chance to help us.”

Sweezy, the defensive tackle from North Carolina State who was drafted in the seventh round as a guard.

“The experience with J.R. was obvious that we’re on the right track,” Carroll said. “He’s very aggressive and carried over the defensive mentality that you’d hoped he would have. Tom (Cable, offensive line coach) was thrilled about what he saw from him.”

Donny Lisowsky, a 5-11, 185-pound cornerback from Montana and Seattle’s O’Dea High School, and one of the tryout players in camp.

“He was all over the place out here,” Carroll said. “I had no (idea about him), other than he ran extremely fast when he showed up for a workout day. And then he went out there and made a bunch of plays. So I was really fired up about him.”

YOU DON’T SAY

“We had a joke. I said, ‘Man, if I accidently tackle you, I’m sorry.’ ” – Sweezy, on having been a defensive tackle when Wilson also was playing at North Carolina State


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Sunday cyber surfing: Mother’s Day, and rookies go camping

Good morning, and Happy Mother’s Day. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks today, May 13:

Joe Frollo at USAFootball.com did a Mother’s Day piece that features Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung and his mom, Dorothy: “This weekend also is special for Dorothy as her daughter graduates from Texas A&M. Big brother has always been protective of his little sister – even if it means standing up to mom. ‘When Russell was 6 or 7, his sister was misbehaving, and I spanked her,’ Dorothy said. ‘She ran crying to her brother, who came up to me and told me not to do that. I’ve called him ‘Big Daddy’ ever since. I still do. He is a protective type and takes care of stuff around the house whenever something needs to be done.’ ”

Dave Boling at the News Tribune takes a look at the toughness the running game is developing under line coach Tom Cable: “Scheme? No, commitment and attitude. ‘Where we want to go is being a physical football team that throws the ball on you to score points but runs the ball to beat you,’ Cable said. ‘There are some teams in the league who are exceptional throwing the football. But to be a truly tough-minded football team, you have to run it. You can’t just talk about it, you have to do it.’ ”
Also at the News Tribune, Eric Williams checks in with former Utah State teammates Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin, who are teammates once again: “ ‘I’ve got a different number, he’s got a different number and it’s like, here we go again,’ Turbin said. ‘It’s just a different helmet on – a different team, a whole different scheme. The greatest thing about it is we know each other enough that we can kind of push each other a little bit to get better.’ ”
Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times looks at how Turbin has used the death of his brother as motivation: “I pointed to Turbin’s massive biceps that practically look as big as a couple of heads of lettuce and asked him where they came from. ‘My brother,’ the Seahawks’ fourth-round pick said. ‘He used to make me work out all of the time when I was little. Even when we’d be watching cartoons he’d make me do push-ups and sit-ups. We would wrestle all the time. He was always pushing me.’ On Feb. 6, Turbin was in Phoenix, preparing for the NFL combine when he got a call at 3 a.m. from his cousin. Lonnie had been shot and killed in Oakland. It would be Turbin’s job to call his father, Ronald, with the tragic news. ‘I would have brought him (Lonnie) with me here to Seattle, to camp,’ said Turbin, 22. ‘Maybe he could have worked around here. Pass out drinks or something. Just be around a positive environment.’ ”

Also at the Times, Danny O’Neil looks at quarterback Russell Wilson, who continues to battle questions about his height: “Russell Wilson stood out early on. Wait. That’s a poor choice of words considering all the fuss over Wilson’s height — or more accurately his lack thereof — at 5 feet 11. It’s the size of his arm that was evident long before he became a four-year starter at quarterback, a baseball prospect in the Rockies organization or the Seahawks’ third-round draft pick. This was back when Wilson was in fifth, maybe sixth grade in Richmond, Va., serving as a ball boy for the high-school varsity team, and he left a referee waiting for the football in the middle of the field. ‘For once in his life, Russell must not have been paying attention,’ said Charlie McFall, the coach at the Collegiate School. Instead of running the ball out, Wilson threw it from the sidelines. ‘He just chucked that ball out to him,’ McFall said. ‘I was like, ‘Oooh, I’m going to hang around for this guy.’ ”

Tim Booth at the Associated Press checks in with Alex Barron, a veteran who is standing out at the Seahawks’ minicamp: “Alex Barron got down into his three-point stance at left tackle, looked to his right and saw a seventh-round draft pick that has never played on the offensive line at any level of football. Barron’s presence at the Seattle Seahawks’ rookie camp this weekend is a long way from the days when he was a first-round draft pick out of Florida State and starter for the St. Louis Rams. ‘It’s just kind of how it is right now, where I’m at in my career,’ Barron said. ‘Just take the good with the good, the bad with the bad and continue to work hard. That’s all you can do.’ ”

Liz Matthews of 710 ESPN also has the word on Wagner at mynorthwest.com: “Wagner spoke to the media Saturday and said that for now he is focusing specifically at the middle linebacker spot. ‘I think it helps learning one position because you’ve got to figure out what’s to the right of you, what’s to the left of you,’ Wagner said. ‘So if I do get to the right I’ll know what’s in the middle and what’s on the other side. I think it’s good playing Mike first.’ ”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the latest infusion of speed for the defense – first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin and second-rounder Bobby Wagner: “We all saw what the speed of Earl Thomas and Chris Clemons brought to the Seahawks’ defense two years ago. Boiled down to the simplest statistical terms, it was a team-high five interceptions (by Thomas, a rookie free safety) and a club-leading 11 sacks (by Clemons, who had been acquired in an offseason trade). Then there was the infusion of length last season provide by 6-foot-3 strong safety Kam Chancellor; cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, who are 6-4 and 6-3; and 6-4 strongside linebacker K.J. Wright. Each was in his first season as a starter, all delivered unique contributions to the NFL’s ninth-ranked defense – as this quartet ranked 2-7-8-5 on the team in tackles, led by Chancellor’s 94; combined for 14 of the Seahawks’ 22 interceptions, including Browner’s team-leading six; and also had 54 passes defensed. Now come Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner, this year’s first- and second-round draft choices who are turning the team’s three-day minicamp into a dare-to-dream exercise as you ponder just what their speed and length can add to the defense’s already impressive mix of flashing arms and legs. ‘First and foremost, it’s the speed. We really like their speed,’ defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said Saturday, following the second of three two-hour practices in this rookie minicamp. ‘We’re excited about both those guys’ progress.’ ”

In Hawkville, we also take a look at the relationship between Wagner and Turbin: “Teammates. Again. Still. That’s Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin, the duo from Utah State who shares not only a first name but now a professional team after the Seahawks selected them in the second and fourth rounds of the NFL Draft. And these two are getting some good looks at one another in the team’s three-day rookie minicamp, as Wagner is lining up at middle linebacker with the No. 1 defense and Turbin is getting a lot of touches with the No. 1 offense. ‘It’s great. I actually catch myself rooting for the offense sometimes, which I probably shouldn’t be,’ Wagner said today after another two-hour practice in ideal conditions at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. ‘But it’s great to have a person that you know well and he knows you well. It definitely makes moving here and getting settled here much better.’ ”

There’s also Tony Ventrella’s video recap.


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Saturday in Hawkville: For Wagner, Turbin, it’s unity over units

A recap of the activities in Day 2 of the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp for May 12:

FOCUS ON

Teammates. Again. Still. That’s Bobby Wagner and Robert Turbin, the duo from Utah State who shares not only a first name but now a professional team after the Seahawks selected them in the second and fourth rounds of the NFL Draft.

And these two are getting some good looks at one another in the team’s three-day rookie minicamp, as Wagner is lining up at middle linebacker with the No. 1 defense and Turbin is getting a lot of touches with the No. 1 offense.

“It’s great. I actually catch myself rooting for the offense sometimes, which I probably shouldn’t be,” Wagner said today after another two-hour practice in ideal conditions at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

“But it’s great to have a person that you know well and he knows you well. It definitely makes moving here and getting settled here much better.”

Turbin offered similar sentiments when asked about his former college teammates being his current NFL teammate.

“It’s funny, because I look over there and I see 54 and that’s the same guy that used to wear No. 9 lined up in the same spot at middle linebacker,” said Turbin, who wore No. 6 for the Aggies but is No. 22 for the Seahawks.

“And here I am playing running back. I’ve got a different number. He’s got a different number. It’s like here we go again. It’s just a different helmet on – a different team, a whole different scheme. The greatest thing about it is we know each other enough that we can kind of push for each other a little bit to get better. I know when Bobby is affected by something and he knows when I am. So we’ll be able to communicate about what’s happening to kind of better ourselves so we can produce for this football team.”

And that, more than the college or first name they shared, is why both are here. Wagner will compete for the starting middle linebacker spot with veteran Barrett Ruud, who was signed in free agency. Turbin will be the more-physical presence coach Pete Carroll has been looking for to complement leading rusher Marshawn Lynch.

WHO’S WHERE

The veterans aren’t participating in this minicamp, so it might not matter which players comprise the No. 1 units. But here’s who’s where:

Offense

Quarterback: Russell Wilson

Running backs: Turbin or Vai Taua and fullback James Stampley

Receivers: Phil Bates and Cam Kenney, or Lavasier Tuinei and Jermaine Kearse; and tight end Sean McGrath

Line – from left tackle to right: Alex Barron, J.R. Sweezy, Brent Osborne, Rishaw Johnson, Chima Okoli

Defense

Line: Pierre Allen, Jaye Howard, Renard Williams, Bruce Irvin

Linebackers: Korey Toomer, Wagner, E.J. Savannah

Cornerbacks: Jeremy Lane, London Durham

Safeties: Kareem Moore, Craig Ray

LOOKING FOR LYNCH

The team’s 10 draft choices, as well as seven of the 10 rookie free agents who were signed after the draft, will join the offseason workouts on Monday. Turbin can’t wait to see Lynch in the flesh, rather than on ESPN highlights.

“The greatest thing about it, in my opinion, is that I think Marshawn Lynch is going to make me a better player,” Turbin said. “Not just from a competitive standpoint, but just learning how to do it. I mean, he’s been a pro for about five or six years now. He knows how to do it.

“I’m just a rookie, so I don’t have a clue, you know what I mean? I think he’ll be the perfect guy to be able to look up to as a rookie running back.”

TRY, TRY AGAIN

The club added four more players today to the group that is in this camp on a tryout basis: Central Washington wide receiver Justin Helwege; North Dakota State cornerback Josh Gatlin; Montana tight end Kavario Middleton; and Oregon defensive tackle Terrell Turner.

YOU DON’T SAY

“The motivation is to stay here. A lot of people get here and in three years you never hear from them. So I’m trying to stay here for a while and be a contributor to this team.” – Wagner, when asked what he was using for motivation now that he’s been drafted into the NFL


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Saturday cyber surfing: Wilson comes out throwing

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 12:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his thoughts from the first practice of the three-day minicamp, including: “Coach Pete Carroll raved about running back Robert Turbin. He loved Turbin’s quickness and feel for the zone running game. Turbin has huge biceps, but his lower body looks like it belongs to a smaller man.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune has his impressions of the player who made the biggest impression: “The much-anticipated debut of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson in Seattle Seahawks gear took place on the team’s practice field Friday afternoon. Wilson passed with flying colors. The former University of Wisconsin player appeared in command leading Seattle’s offense during the first workout of the rookie minicamp, taking the majority of the snaps during the team portion of practice. Some might debate Wilson’s ability to effectively play the position in the NFL at 5-foot-11, but they can’t question his fastball. As advertised, Wilson showed a strong arm, played with great anticipation and was very accurate on most of his throws. ‘He was putting the ball on the money,’ former University of Washington receiver Jermaine Kearse said. ‘He was throwing great passes and putting the ball where it’s supposed to be, so how can you not catch it?’ ”

Tim Booth at the Associated Press also takes a look at Wilson’s pass-filled practice: “Russell Wilson stepped in behind center for the first minicamp of his professional career on Friday and never took a break. The Seahawks are making sure they get a long look at Wilson this weekend while the Seahawks’ veteran quarterbacks are not around. ‘It’s important for me to understand the offense and continue to grow. I’m trying to learn all the nuances of the quarterback position here,’ Wilson said on Friday. ‘I know the plays enough but I’m trying to learn the ins and outs and whys of football. That’s something that I have to do every day I wake up and in the meeting rooms — just try to learn as much as I can.’ ”

Art Thiel at sportspress northwest takes a look at first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin: “Searching for meaning on the first the first day of rookies’ padless football practice against air is barely more productive than looking for life on the moon from one’s porch. But one thing was plain Friday at Seahawks headquarters, even without a telescope — the scouts weren’t lying: Bruce Irvin is meteor-fast. It will be an object of much entertainment for Seahawks fans, and help quiet the debate over the most talked-about pick in the NFL draft’s first round last month. More impressive to coach Pete Carroll, who knew about the speed, was Irvin’s quick take on the more cerebral parts of the enterprise. ‘Bruce worked really hard,’ Carroll said. ‘His command of what we were doing was really good. He’s not going to have any trouble learning what’s happening. He’s been a pleasant surprise in that it comes easy to him – that’s a really good deal for us to be able to push him forward.’ ”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times says it’s going to be more difficult for this rookie class to make an immediate impact: “ ‘Our depth is so much better than a couple years ago,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘These guys are going to have to fight for their playing time.’ That reality stands in sharp contrast to the plug-and-play program Seattle followed in Carroll’s first two years in town when first-round picks were starters the first day on the job. That was true for left tackle Russell Okung and free safety Earl Thomas in 2010. It was true for offensive lineman James Carpenter a year ago when he was one of three rookies to start Week 1, along with guard John Moffitt and linebacker K.J. Wright. The path to playing time is not nearly so clear this year. Maybe first-round pick Bruce Irvin will force his way into the lineup, and perhaps linebacker Bobby Wagner is ready to step in immediately at middle linebacker, but neither of those is a foregone conclusion in Seattle. The Seahawks had a top-10 defense a year ago and lost only one starter in the offseason, middle linebacker David Hawthorne.”

PI.com has a photo blog from the practice.

Here at Seahawks.com, we also look at Wilson’s impressive first day: “It was only a rookie minicamp, and the first day at that. But make no mistake: It wasRussell Wilson’s minicamp. The Seahawks’ third-round draft choice took every rep in every team drill during Friday’s two-hour practice – the first of three in this weekend that is all about the rookies. And no rookie got a longer and more intensified looked than Russell. ‘Just knowing who he is and how he was going to approach this, I expected that he’d be really good and he was,’ coach Pete Carroll said after the up-tempo practice on a picture postcard of an afternoon at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. ‘He’s really smart. He’s very experienced. He’s as savvy as a guy could be. And he has a great work ethic. So you put all that together – and good communications with (QB coach) Carl Smith and Darrell (Bevell, the offensive coordinator – and he was ready to go.’ And go Wilson did. From start to finish. Carroll estimated that Wilson got in 70 throws, took ‘twice as many reps as everybody else’ and, he added, ‘I don’t think he had a missed assignment.’ ”

We’ve also got the return of Hawkville, with notes and news from Day One: “Not surprisingly, the speed and tempo of the two-hour practice caught some of the players by surprise. ‘They kind of warned us yesterday,’ first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin said. ‘But I still didn’t know what to expect. It still kind of caught me off guard. I probably lost like about seven, eight pounds today.’ ”

There’s also Tony Venterlla’s video recap, as well as the post-practice Q&As with Wilson, Irvin and Carroll.


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Tuesday cyber surfing: Agreements a sign of the times

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 8:

The cyber surf is up after the Seahawks got contact agreements with eight of their 10 draft choices on Monday, including first-round pick Bruce Irvin.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times says the agreements leave the Seahawks way ahead of the game, and even offers a chart showing the length of no-shows by the team’s previous first-round picks: “Before Irvin, only two of Seattle’s past eight first-round choices signed a contract without missing a single training-camp practice: Earl Thomas in 2010 and Lawrence Jackson in 2008. None of Seattle’s first-round selections in the previous 10 years were signed by the end of June.”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune has Irvin tweeting the news: “I’m just ready to work,” Irvin said via Twitter. “The money is cool. If you took the money away, I still would play this game for free!”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald includes the others who also agreed: “In addition to Irvin, the Seahawks also agree to terms with second-round pick Bobby Wagner, who projects to be the team’s starting middle linebacker; quarterback Russell Wilson (third round); linebacker Korey Toomer (fifth round); cornerback Jeremy Lane and safety Winston Guy (sixth round); and guard J.R. Sweezy and defensive end Greg Scruggs (seventh round).”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com points to Irvin’s early agreement as just the latest indication of how serious coach Pete Carroll is about improving the team’s pass rush: “The Seahawks also made improving their pass rush a top priority this offseason, signing tackle Jason Jones in free agency and drafting Irvin to assist Chris Clemons, who had 11 of their 33 sacks last season. No other Seattle player had more than four sacks in 2011. The team envisions using Irvin with Clemons on passing downs. Irvin is a candidate to succeed Clemons in the “Leo” role eventually.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with vice president of football administration and lead contract negotiator John Idzik for his thoughts on the quickened process: “What’s the deal? The new rookie salary scale that was included in the CBA that ended last year’s 136-day lockout? The eagerness of this year’s draft class to reach agreements before the start of this weekend’s rookie minicamp? Superior work by vice president of football administration John Idzik, the team’s lead negotiator? The smile that washed across Idzik’s face said it was a combination of elements that led to Monday’s rush of agreements. ‘I’d like to go with the latter,’ he cracked, before adding, ‘But there are a lot of factors at work, the primary one being the new CBA.’ It’s actually the second year of the CBA that ended the lockout, but last year everything seemed like it was done on the run – not to mention in late July and early August. ‘So this isn’t the burn in, 2011 was,’ Idzik said. ‘And a lot of the rookie deals are now structured a certain way. So there was a little bit of precedent for everyone to go off of – both from a league standpoint as well as a club standpoint.’ ”

We also take a look at Robert Turbin, the running back who was drafted in the fourth round, through the eyes of Sherman Smith, the team’s original running back who now coaches the position: “So, what is that Smith likes – no, loves – so much about Turbin? ‘Let me tell you, in the 18 years of doing interviews (at the NFL Scouting Combine), this kid is the best interview I’ve ever had,’ Smith said the other day after one of the workouts in the team’s offseason program. ‘Very impressive.’ While players can be coached-up by their agents prior to the process, you can’t force sincerity – especially the kind Turbin displayed in that Combine session with Smith, and his Q&A sessions with reporters in Indianapolis and after he was selected by the Seahawks. ‘You can’t fake that stuff,’ Smith said. ‘It’s genuine, what he’s all about.’ ”

We’ve also got the word on Deuce Lutui, the Seahawks’ recently-acquired 340-pound guard, becoming a vegan: “ ‘It’s true,’ said Lutui, a veteran offensive lineman who signed with the Seahawks in free agency last month. “And coming into the offseason, this is the best shape I’ve ever been in. I credit that vegan diet.’ As proof, Lutui not only pointed to his weight, he pulled up his shirt and offered, “I can finally see a six-pack there.” Lutui said he’s already at his game weight (340 pounds), a process that usually takes him much longer.”

Brady Henderson of 710 ESPN passes along highlights from an interview with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley at mynorthwest.com: “ ‘Some guys have said, ‘Well, they went to the Pro Bowl, and how is that going to affect them?’ Bradley said. ‘I know I got a text from Earl Thomas the other night, on Tuesday about 9:45 at night. He was trying to get the code for the DB room, to (watch) film. So right there that shows you their mentality. They’ll sneak in here to try to get on the JUGS machine in the indoor practice facility at night. They’re just driven that way. I think that’s why we’re so excited about this group.’ ”


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