Thursday cyber surfing: Rice’s return

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 23.

Head coach Pete Carroll tossed a couple of important announcements our way after practice on Wednesday – cornerback Roy Lewis will undergo knee surgery and there is no specified date for his return at this time, and wide receiver Sidney Rice is expected to see his first action of the preseason Friday night at Kansas City.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story on Rice’s return to action, “It wasn’t until Sidney Rice got put on his butt that you knew he was back. It happened Tuesday during a passing drill at practice, when free safety Earl Thomas hit Seattle’s top wide receiver. Thomas pulled up a little bit, but the blow was enough to knock Rice off his feet. ‘It was great,’ coach Pete Carroll said. Great? Rice is coming off twin shoulder surgeries this offseason, a guy who has missed more regular-season games (17) than he has played over the previous two years and had 11 anchors installed in each shoulder this offseason. ‘He needed to feel that and know that could happen,’ Carroll said.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his story on Rice’s return, “…the sixth-year veteran has been full-go this week and has taken a couple of hard shots from Seattle’s first-team defense without suffering any ill effects. ‘We’re anxious to see him get out there,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s had a fantastic process getting back. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s practicing really, really well. And so we’ll get him a little bit of (playing time) just to break the ice on that one.’ “

Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network previews the Seahawks-Chiefs preseason matchup, “With a chance to seize a starting quarterback position that’s still up for grabs, [Russell] Wilson will draw a surprise start for the Seahawks as they head to Arrowhead Stadium for a rehearsal contest against the Kansas City Chiefs. Wilson, Seattle’s third-round choice in this past April’s draft following a stellar collegiate career at North Carolina State and Wisconsin, entered camp as the underdog in a three-man battle to be the team’s No. 1 signal-caller. The rookie has been terrific in his two preseason appearances — albeit against second-team defenses — to emerge as perhaps the favorite to be under center when the Seahawks open the regular season at Arizona on Sept. 9.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald catches up with defensive back Jeron Johnson as he battles to make the Seahawks’ roster, “Johnson was impressive during the preseason last year, too, which is how he made the roster as an undrafted rookie at the expense of, amongst others, fifth-round pick Mark LeGree. Although he was good enough to make the team last year and contribute primarily on special teams, Johnson feels like he has come a long, long ways since training camp a year ago. ‘It’s not too much different from what they asked of me last season,’ said Johnson, who like other rookies last year was behind thanks to the lockout, which eliminated offseason workouts. It’s just I had time to understand the defense more this year. The OTAs and minicamps helped tremendously. The lockout was my rookie year, so just having OTAs and minicamp helped out. … This year I’m playing a lot faster.’ “

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com says Russell Wilson deserves the start he is getting Friday night, “Wilson started 50 consecutive games and was only the fifth quarterback in college history to run for 1,000 and pass for 5,000. The guy’s a freak, and in the most flattering way. But hey, you don’t have to believe me, or even his ever-so-lightly hyperventilating coach, Pete Carroll. Listen to his teammates. ‘He’s playing at a level you don’t expect as rookie to be at right now,’ said Unger, the bearer of the foot-stool for his 5-foot-11 little buddy. ‘There are expectations for a guy you take higher in the draft — not saying third isn’t high — but you just don’t expect a guy taken in the third round to be in the running for the starting spot right away. To be in the competition this late says what he’s done in camp.” And this from wide receiver Golden Tate: ‘Russell wants to be the best. From the day I met him, he’s been the first one in and the last one out. Even when we had those five weeks off, he was coming in at 7 a.m. getting his work done, them lifting, then throwing with whatever guys were here. In meetings, he asks very good questions. Watching the game, you can see the kid is good, but he has worked so hard to get there. He’s so driven to be the guy for us.’ “

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com has his story on the Seahawks naming Wilson the starting quarterback against Kansas City, “As Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Wednesday on SIRIUS NFL Radio, the decision isn’t as much about Flynn as it is about Wilson’s compelling play with and against non-starters, and the now imperative need to see where he is against the ones. ‘He’s been going with the twos, he’s had eight drives, and scored six times: five touchdowns and one field goal,’ Schneider told Adam Schein and Rich Gannon. ‘He’s been pretty dynamic. Matt’s done a nice job and has a good feel for the system … Russell’s done so much in the second half of these two games. Pete preaches competition all the time, he’d be remiss if he didn’t put this guy with the ones and see what he could do with that group.’ “

Gil Brandt of NFL.com names offensive lineman Breno Giacomini and rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner as players who must step up if the Seahawks are to be successful in 2012, “Offense: Breno Giacomini, offensive tackle: A former Packers prospect, Giacomini made a big leap in Week 11 of 2011, when he stepped into a starting role. The one-time college tight end has long arms and excellent work habits; his athletic ability and strength seem to have finally caught up with him. He’s the kind of player offensive line coach Tom Cable loves to develop. Defense: Bobby Wagner, linebacker: The competitive second-round draft pick must figure heavily into the Seahawks’ plans; perhaps encouraged by Wagner’s play, they traded free-agent acquisition Barrett Ruud to the Saints on Monday. The long-armed Wagner will make a lot of tackles, but he can also play in space.”

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com has his NFL head coach power rankings, and he has coach Carroll ranked in the ‘Middle of the pack’ with the likes of John Harbaugh, Mike Smith, Jeff Fisher, Gary Kubiak, Lovie Smith, Marvin Lewis, and Ken Whisenhunt.

Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com says to keep an eye on offensive tackle Russell Okung as a potential Pro Bowl candidate in 2012, “Injuries are the main issue for this young player. When healthy he demonstrates why he was a first-round pick. If he stays on the field for 16 games, the truth will come out about this athletic pass blocking left tackle.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his story on Rice’s return, but asks what other receivers will step up, and catches up with wide receivers coach Kippy Brown on the topic, “About the only two givens at this late point in the preseason – and with the first roster cut from 89 to 75 players looming on Monday – are that Doug Baldwin will be the slot receiver and Sidney Rice will be the flanker. Baldwin won’t play against the Chiefs after having fluid extracted from a troublesome hamstring this week, and Rice will make his preseason debut at Arrowhead Stadium after spending most of the summer in a red no-contact jersey to protect his surgically repaired shoulders. But who will replace Mike Williams at split end? And who might be the fourth wide-out in the four-receiver sets? And, while we’re wondering, who fills the fifth and possibly sixth spots on the 53-man roster from the 13 wide-outs on the current roster? Kippy Brown, who coaches the position, can only wish he had the answers to those questions. ‘The competition is as open as it could be. It couldn’t be any more open,’ Brown said after Wednesday’s practice, when he continued to mix and match his receiver in trying to find the most-productive groupings. ‘It’s an interesting deal. Everybody is playing hard and trying hard. There are only so many reps. So there are going to be some difficult decisions.’ “

Farnsworth also has his ‘Wednesday in Hawkville‘ with a look at Edawn Coughman, “The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Coughman was still wearing his white No. 70 jersey, it’s just that he was working with the blue-jerseyed defensive linemen. ‘We took a little look,’ Carroll said. ‘I saw him in a little drill over here helping the offensive guys and he showed a little quickness. So we thought we’d give him a look. We put him on film rushing the passer a little bit.’ Coughman was signed in June after being released by the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. He played offensive line at Shaw University, but also has played defense in the past. ‘He has very good quickness, and he’s done a really nice job growing on offense,’ Carroll said. ‘I’m not yet ready to tell you he’s a two-way performer yet, but we’re working at it.’ “

Fantasy writer Scott Engel brings us a look at the Seahawks defense/special teams unit as it relates to fantasy football in 2012, calling the opportunistic unit undervalued and effective.

Lastly, Tony Ventrella has a look at Wednesday’s happenings in his Seahawks Daily.


Wednesday in Hawkville: Lewis to have surgical procedure

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Club for Aug. 22:

FOCUS ON

Roy Lewis. The versatile, and valuable, defensive back and special teams standout could be sidelined for a while, coach Pete Carroll said after practice, adding that a surgical procedure will determine just how long.

“Roy has a knee issue and he’s going to get operated on,” Carroll said. “We’re going to have to see how that goes.”

Lewis began last season on the physically unable to perform list after having surgery on his right knee late in the 2010 season. The latest problem is with his left knee.

“We won’t know what that means until they get in there and fix him up,” Carroll said. “He didn’t get injured; it’s just been developing over time. We’ll keep a good thought, and hopefully we can get him cleaned up and he’ll be able to get back.”

Lewis had been working as the third cornerback in the No. 1 nickel defense. The former University of Washington defensive back even got some work at safety during the offseason. In 2010, Lewis was voted special teams captain by his teammates and also won the Steve Largent Award and was named the Seahawks’ Man of the Year.

PLAYER WATCH

Edawn Coughman. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Coughman was still wearing his white No. 70 jersey, it’s just that he was working with the blue-jerseyed defensive linemen.

“We took a little look,” Carroll said. “I saw him in a little drill over here helping the offensive guys and he showed a little quickness. So we thought we’d give him a look. We put him on film rushing the passer a little bit.”

Coughman was signed in June after being released by the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. He played offensive line at Shaw University, but also has played defense in the past.

“He has very good quickness, and he’s done a really nice job growing on offense,” Carroll said. “I’m not yet ready to tell you he’s a two-way performer yet, but we’re working at it.”

ROOKIE WATCH

Cordarro Law. The rookie free agent from Southern Mississippi has been working at defensive end, but he also got gotten some snaps at linebacker the past two days.

“He’s a good football player. He’s a really good football player,” Carroll said. “We’re trying to experiment to see what is his range of abilities.”

At 6-1, 254 pounds, Law has the look of a middle linebacker, but he has been working at the Leo end spot.

“He has the body type where he could crossover,” Carroll said. “We’re just trying to learn more about him.”

IN ’N OUT

Matt Flynn did not practice to rest his arm, Carroll said, but he is expected to play against the Chiefs.

The procedure wide receiver Doug Baldwin had on his troublesome hamstring was to extract fluid, Carroll said. “He got immediate release,” Carroll said. Baldwin is scheduled to return to practice next week.

Center Max Unger and cornerback Coye Francies returned to practice after sitting out on Tuesday.

Still sidelined, in addition to Baldwin and Lewis: running back Marshawn Lynch (back) and fullback Michael Robinson (toe); tight end Cameron Morrah (toe); offensive linemen John Moffitt (elbow) and James Carpenter (knee); defensive linemen Jason Jones (knee) and Pep Levingston (knee); linebackers Matt McCoy (knee) and Allen Bradford (hip); and defensive backs Walter Thurmond (leg) and Ron Parker (knee).

UP NEXT

The players will have a light practice on Thursday morning before the team flies to Kansas City for Friday night’s third preseason game.

THE NEXT VOICE YOU HEAR

This week’s who’s-that voice belongs to Jackie Montgomery. She’ll be subbing for Jen Mueller as the sideline reporter for the radio broadcast of Friday night’s game on 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM. Steve Raible will handle the play-by-play with former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman as the analyst.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It’s as open as it could be. It couldn’t be any more open.” – wide receivers coach Kippy Brown, when asked about the competition between the 13 wide-outs on the roster


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Friday in Hawkville: Trufant to work in No. 1 nickel

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Aug. 17:

FOCUS ON

Nickel back. Roy Lewis was the third cornerback in passing situations with the No. 1 defense in the preseason opener against the Titans last week, a spot he has played the past two seasons. Saturday night, Marcus Trufant steps into that role – a new one for the former first-round draft choice and Pro Bowl left cornerback.

Of the switch, coach Pete Carroll said, “Roy is ahead of everybody else in the learning and the understanding. … We know what he can do and we want to see what other guys can do. Tru has grown, made a couple of nice plays in the game.”

Of his new role, Trufant said, “I’m a little more comfortable there. But I’m still growing. I’m still learning the position. I just want to help the team out in any way I can and just do the best job I can. It comes down to making plays and making things happen. So that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”

IN ’N OUT

Defensive lineman Jason Jones returned for today’s walkthrough/practice, but 14 players did not participate: wide receiver Ben Obomanu, tight ends Zach Miller and Cameron Morrah, offensive linemen John Moffitt, James Carpenter and Lemuel Jeanpierre, defensive linemen Cordarro Law and Pep Levingston, linebackers Matt McCoy, Barrett Ruud, Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan and defensive backs Walter Thurmond and Ron Parker.

THE NEXT VOICE YOU’LL HEAR

Steve Raible will be back in the booth to handle the radio play-by-play on 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM after missing the opener. He’ll be joined by Paul Moyer, the only person in franchise history to play and coach for the Seahawks as well as serve as the radio analyst.

Moyer will be with Raible on the radio because Warren Moon is working the telecast on KCPQ/13 with Curt Menefee.

UP NEXT

The Seahawks play their second preseason game on Saturday night against the Broncos in Denver. The players will have Sunday off.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Fortunately, again we’re playing in Denver in the preseason right around my birthday – it does fall with the time frame. So we’ll take that shot again.” – Carroll, who “throws” his age each year, on attempting to uncork a 61-yarder before Saturday night’s game (he’ll turn 61 on Sept. 15)


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Friday cyber surfing: Camp is wrapped; on to Denver

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

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times calls Russell Okung one of the most important players to the Seahawks season, and also one that has gone largely unmentioned through training camp, “Left tackle Russell Okung is fine with that. After the way his past two seasons started, he would actually prefer it. He was injured during Seattle’s first exhibition game each of his first two seasons, so when he made it through the opener Saturday unscathed, it seemed like a good time to ask the big man how he was feeling. He wasn’t interested in answering that question. At least not on the record. It’s a pinch of the old-school approach Okung has taken, choosing to be seen as opposed to heard when it comes to the media. But take it from someone who knows, Okung is a reason to smile so far this year. ‘He has done a fine job,’ offensive line coach Tom Cable said. ‘I’m looking for him to just keep building on it now that he’s kind of accepted the responsibility of playing left tackle and what comes with it.’ “

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune relays information from head coach Pete Carroll that wide receiver Terrell Owens will play this weekend at Denver, “Carroll chose to keep Owens out of last week’s exhibition opener against Tennessee because he felt the veteran receiver was not in game condition after only a few practices. However, Owens is in much better shape this week, putting together several highlight plays over the past two days and showing his trademark running ability after the catch. Owens will play on an NFL field for the first time since the 2010 season, and little more than a year after having ACL knee surgery.”

Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network has a preseason preview of Saturday night’s matchup with the Denver Broncos.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald catches up with defensive back Roy Lewis, who he says wants to take on a bigger role with the defense, “In preparation for the 2012 season, however, Lewis has been a regular on defense as the team’s No. 1 nickel back, and is playing ahead of veteran Marcus Trufant, who was released in the offseason then re-signed specifically to play nickel. ‘Roy has been playing that position for some time,’ Carroll said. ‘He is ahead of everybody else in the learning and the understanding. If you notice, Roy won’t play very much this week in preparation. We know what he can do and we want to see what other guys can do. … That was a one of the major focuses (this week) — to give guys a chance in the competition to show what they can do.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press has his story on Terrell Owens’ debut in Denver, “Owens arrived in camp in excellent shape and has looked impressive at times during practice. But if he’s to make the Seahawks’ final roster, Owens will need to show in a game that he’s fully recovered from a knee injury that kept him out of the NFL for the entire 2011 season. Saturday against the Broncos will be his first NFL game action since Week 15 of the 2010 season with Cincinnati. Owens went without a catch in that final game against Cleveland. ‘He’s ready to go,’ Carroll said. ‘He had two good weeks of work, and he came in in great shape so he’s ready to go.’ “

Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has his notes from the final day of Bing Training Camp yesterday, “Matt Flynn took snaps with the number one offense as he prepares to start the first half at Denver in Saturday night’s second pre-season game. Flynn and that unit had one tough series during 11 on 11 drills. Matt’s first pass intended for Kellen Winslow was swatted away by Richard Sherman. Marshawn Lynch was stuffed on a running play by Leroy Hill. Flynn was sacked on the third down pass play. And Steven Haushka missed a 40 yard field goal try.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his practice notes from yesterday’s camp finale, including a thought on the receiving corps, “Owens, WR Braylon Edwards, WR Ricardo Lockette and WR Deon Butler appear to be in the thick of competition for the remaining spots with WR Kris Durham, WR Charly Martin, WR Phil Bates, WR Lavasier Tuniei  and WR Jermaine Kearse appearing to be longer shots at this point. If the team elects to keep both Edwards and Owens, they could short themselves on special teams as neither will likely play on that unit. It creates an interesting situation from a roster perspective. The remaining three preseason games should help make the position somewhat clearer.”

The staff at SportsPressNW.com has their report from the final day of camp and says the Seahawks have a lot of questions to answer at the wide receiver position, “The Seahawks have considerable sorting to do at the receiving spots, with only Doug Baldwin, last year’s catch leader with 51, a healthy starter available so far for the season opener. Naturally, Carroll saw the glass half full. ‘We’re still in the midst of this thing,’ he said. ‘I like our group a lot. We’ve become even more competitive and more experienced with the guys that have come in. We don’t have to do anything right now, just keep giving these guys opportunities in practice and games and add it all up at the end. It’s a really good position group for us right now. To have a guy like Doug Baldwin is just a blessing.’ “

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com details young quarterbacks who are starting to emerge in QB battles around the League, including Russell Wilson, “Wilson’s improvement has been graphic through minicamps and into training camp, but as Seahawks quarterbacks coach Carl Smith recently told Shutdown Corner, it wasn’t always so. ‘Really, he’s working through a lot of things,’ Smith said. ‘Rookie minicamp, he threw eight picks, okay? But he’s whittling away at a huge mountain of little things, and he’s doing it at a terrific pace. Working in the classroom, working on the field, and he keeps chopping [the problems] off. I’m really happy with his work ethic.’ “

Mike Sando of ESPN.com says there is much at stake for wide receiver Terrell Owens in his Seahawks debut at Denver, “Forget about 10 receptions for 220 yards. We should instead watch to see how aggressively Owens plays, whether he’s a willing blocker, whether he catches the ball well, and how much he plays. Owens has always been a competitor. He has responded well in practice after watching Braylon Edwards, his primary competition for a roster spot, score a touchdown and generally play well against Tennessee last week. Owens was not active for that game, but he knows the stakes. He was fortunate to get an opportunity from Seattle, and must capitalize on the chance.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his Camp Carroll wrap-up, ” ‘The camp work that we set out to do, the things that we hoped to accomplish, I think we’ve really knocked it all in,’ Carroll said. ‘We’ve seen a bunch of guys; we’ve gotten a lot of information on our young guys. These next few weeks of games will be very important. But as far as the camp process – understanding how these guys learn, do they fit, kind of starting the process of developing roles for them because you know what they can do – all of that is moving.’ “

Farnsworth also passes out his camp honors, naming the best rookie of Bing Training Camp as Robert Turbin, “First-round draft choice Bruce Irvin, second-rounder Bobby Wagner and Wilson got – and deserve – mention. But Turbin, the fourth-round pick out of Utah State, was drafted to fill the need for a physical back to spell Lynch. Turbin looks, and runs, the part.”

Lastly from Farnsworth, he has his final ‘Hawkville‘ post of training camp.

Greg Scruggs sits down with Seahawks.com and recaps his camp experience, life in Seattle, and passion for playing the drums, “I didn’t want anything to do with football [in high school]. Drumming was my thing. I had been doing it since I was 10 years old, and I was good at it. I was more popular than the football players because of my drumming.”

Finally, Tony Ventrella wraps up camp in his Seahawks Daily as he catches up with safety Earl Thomas, wide receiver Golden Tate, and cornerback Richard Sherman.


Thursday cyber surfing: Reaction to Unger’s extension

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 26.

Yesterday the Seahawks announced a contract extension for 2009 second-round draft pick and starting center Max Unger. Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com has the story on Unger, who expressed his excitement to Farnsworth in regards to his new deal, “I am very happy about this new deal,” Unger said. “We have a developing young line that had some success last year that we can build upon this season. It’s a good deal for both of us and I couldn’t be happier to be in Seattle.”

As the NFL’s Hall of Fame class of 2012 prepares for their enshrinement into the NFL Hall of Fame on August 4 in Canton, Ohio, Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com begins a “Countdown to Canton” series for Seahawks inductee Cortez Kennedy. In his first installment, Farnsworth catches up with former Seahawks safety, special teams standout and coach Paul Moyer, who offered his first impression of ‘Tez, “It wasn’t until we got him in camp, where he was going against other people with the same athletic ability or likeness, that you went, ‘Wow. OK, he’s not the same athletic ability. He’s stronger. He’s faster. He’s a better player.’ ”

One day after his contract extension was made official by the team, Farnsworth takes a look inside defensive end Chris Clemons’ 22.0 sacks in his two seasons with the Seahawks. Farnsworth notes that Clemons has made a habit of sacking St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (6.5 sacks in four games), and that Clemons has had more success in the sack department on the road (15.5 sacks) than at CenturyLink Field.

Also here at Seahawks.com we talk with defensive back and former University of Washington standout Roy Lewis in our Seahawks Insider with Tony Ventrella. Lewis talks about his high hopes for the team in 2012 season, how he has found success at the NFL level, and offers some thoughts on the Huskies 2012 football season.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times gives us his take on Unger’s extension, “The timing [of the extension] is important to note, too, coming before Unger starts the final year of a four-year contract he signed after being drafted out of Oregon in 2009. He is the only Seahawks offensive lineman to arrive before Pete Carroll became coach in 2010.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald gives his two cents on the Unger extension, as he writes how the move solidifies the Seahawks projected offensive line for the foreseeable future, “With Unger getting a new contract, every offensive lineman projected to open the season as a starter — Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan, Unger, John Moffitt and Breno Giacomini — plus tackle James Carpenter, who is likely to open the year on the physically unable to perform list, are under contract through at least the 2013 season.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune asks five questions in advance of the Seahawks 2012 season, including the question of who will replace David Hawthorne – who departed to the New Orleans Saints in free agency – at Seattle’s middle linebacker position. Williams points to second-round draft choice Bobby Wagner as the obvious choice, but also mentions other candidates should Wagner struggle, “They could move second-year pro K.J. Wright to middle linebacker. Wright started the 2011 regular-season opener against San Francisco in the middle when Hawthorne was hobbled with a knee injury, and trained there most of last season’s training camp. Barrett Ruud and Matt McCoy are also veteran options to man the middle.”

John Clayton of ESPN.com comes at us with 10 hot training camp storylines, and it’s no surprise that the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition gets a mention, “Pete Carroll has only 20 practices to resolve a three-way quarterback battle among Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson. Delaying a decision in this competition could prevent the winner from getting enough time to get his offense ready for the early part of the season.”

Also at ESPN.com, Mike Sando reflects upon the Unger extension, “While the Seahawks have been known for making wholesale personnel changes under coach Pete Carroll, this deal affirms their willingness to build around select players inherited from the team’s previous leadership. A long-term deal for defensive end Red Bryant provides another example. The Seahawks probably wouldn’t sign an offensive lineman to a meaningful extension without strong support from assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable. Unger obviously fits the Cable mold.”

Pete Prisco of CBSsports.com gives us his preseason power rankings, and the Seahawks find themselves at No. 20 on his list, noting that Seahawks quarterbacks Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson just don’t get him very excited about the quarterback position. Sitting atop Prisco’s list – like many other lists of this nature – are the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers, and the New England Patriots.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com picks the Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West in 2012, citing strong defensive play and improvement at the quarterback position as reasons to like the Seahawks over the 49ers in the division, “The Seattle Seahawks will win the NFC West. Their defense can be just as dangerous as the San Francisco 49ers’ vaunted unit. The quarterback play can be better with Matt Flynn. San Francisco, meanwhile, must deal with a much tougher schedule and heightened expectations. Pete Carroll’s boys might not “Win Forever,” but winning nine to 10 games is a doable goal. That should be enough to take the division.”

Seahawks 2012 seventh-round draft pick defensive end Greg Scruggs out of Louisville participated in a Pro Football Camp for youth in Colorado Springs and shared this interview after the camp’s completion. Scruggs discusses the importance of how a man in his position can have a positive impact on area youth.


That’s a wrap for Week 1 of Phase 1

The Seahawks wrapped up the first week of their offseason program today, and saying that strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle was happy with the players’ efforts tells only part of the story.

“I am very, very, very happy with the way things are going, the way they came in with the desire to work,” Carlisle said. “That’s evident. Our leadership is in place, with the players who are leading the effort, and the younger guys are learning from those older guys on how we do things here.”

Which is up-tempo. It’s how coach Pete Carroll practices. It’s how Carlisle and his staff – Jamie Yanchar and Mondray Gee – are conducting the weight-training and other conditioning drills that comprise the Phase 1 workouts.

“If you talk to some of the new guys, the biggest thing they mention is that the tempo is much different than they’re used to,” Carlisle said. “The tempo we run here is much quicker, and the reason why is our practice tempo is much quicker than most programs.”

Phase 1 of the revamped offseason program continues – and concludes – next week with workouts scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Phase 2, when the players can be on the field with the coaches, kicks off April 30.

A primary purpose of Phase 1 is to make sure the players are ready to make a seamless transition to the next phase, and the next phase and so on as the delayed and condensed offseason progresses.

“In order to get us ready to play at the highest level, we’ve got to prepare at the highest level,” Carlisle said. “You prepare at the highest level, to practice at the highest level, so you can play at the highest level. That’s something Pete told me back when we first got together in 2001 (at USC).”

It’s a method that Carlisle is preaching to the players – in words and actions. It’s a message that is being received.

“This first week has gone pretty well,” cornerback Roy Lewis said. “Coming in under the new rules of the new CBA, the program is conducive to trying to be successful early – as early as possible. The players do appreciate the time constraints, because we get out and still have time in our day, but we do get our work in.

“That’s the beauty of it.”


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Special attention

Day Two of the Seahawks’ offseason program included some agility drills, a lot of lifted weights and one large smile from Jon Ryan.

Why is the team’s record-setting punter so happy? Take a look at the club’s transactions in free agency, and look beyond the additions of quarterback Matt Flynn and middle linebacker Barrett Rudd and re-signings of leading rusher Marshawn Lynch and run-stuffing defensive end Red Bryant.

In the past few weeks, the Seahawks also have retained the players who were voted special teams captains the past two seasons – fullback Michael Robinson last season and cornerback Roy Lewis in 2010; and the linebackers who have led the units in coverage tackles – Heath Farwell, who had a league-high 21 in only 11 games last season, and Matt McCoy, who had 19 in 2010.

“When you have a special teams unit and those are your four core guys, most teams would love to have one of those guys,” Ryan said today as he sat in front of his cubicle in the locker room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. “We have all four and each one of them is a potential Pro Bowl special teams player.”

The combined efforts of Farwell, McCoy, Lewis and Robinson, among others, are very important to Ryan. The Canadian-born punter led the league in punts downed inside the 20-yard line last season with 34, and already has broken – and re-broken – the franchise records for career average (45.0 yards), single-season average (46.6 last season), single-season net average (39.3 last season) and longest punt (77 last season) in his first four seasons with the Seahawks.

As easy as Ryan has made it look, players like Farwell, McCoy, Lewis and Robinson definitely make his job easier.

“The guys we got back are big-time guys,” Ryan said. “They’re not going to be on the ticker on ESPN, but they’re big-time to us – especially on special teams.”

The Seahawks’ special teams got off to a rough start last season, when the 49ers’ Ted Ginn returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns in the final four minutes of the opener to turn a two-point game into a 16-point victory for San Francisco. They also gave up a punt return for a touchdown in a Week 8 loss to the Bengals. But as the season progressed, the special teams got better and better.

“That game in San Francisco put us behind the eight-ball from the start with those two returns,” Ryan said. “After that, we kind of hit our stride and we were a pretty solid special teams unit. So with these guys coming back, we can continue on. Rather than starting over, we can pick up where we left off.”

For Farwell and McCoy, that would be racing down the field to drop those trying to return Ryan’s punts and the kickoffs of Steven Hauschka.

“They bring a lot,” Ryan said. “They bring an attitude to our special teams. Other teams, when they watch us on tape, those guys really jump off the tape. They’re guys you have to be careful with, because they can really hurt you.”

One last question: Now that Robinson is a Pro Bowl fullback, does he beg off his special teams duties?

“No,” Ryan said before the question could be completed. “We won’t let him.”

After getting Wednesday off, the players will continue Phase 1 of the offseason program Thursday and Friday, and then follow the same schedule next week.


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Monday cyber surfing: Life after football

Good morning. Here’s what was “out there” about the Seahawks over the weekend and today, April 9:

Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times checks in with Joe Tafoya, the former defensive lineman for the Seahawks who has formed Jump It Media with other former players: “Two years ago, Tafoya, now 33 and a computer-science major from Arizona, bought an 11-year-old Redmond mobile apps distributor. Now he’s joined forces with like-minded former Seahawks (Kerry) Carter, Chike Okeafor and Omare Lowe to form Jump It Media. Tafoya calls himself ‘The World’s Largest Nerd.’ They’re building profile applications for athletes to help them increase their brands through online channels. Among their subjects are Chicago Bears defensive end Lance Briggs and Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry.”

Josh Kerns at Mynorthwest.com has the story on Ryan Asdourian, who wants to continue in his role as Blitz despite being diagnosed with MS: “For a guy who gets paid to run around in a bird suit and give high fives, Ryan tries hard not to let MS slow him down. And he’s become a huge activist, raising money through his Team Blitz with everything from pub crawls to the annual MS Walk. ‘I go out and talk to support groups, I’ll talk to lots of people at the walk,’ he said. Asdourian is also part of a support at Microsoft where he works, ‘so we kind of make sure that everyone has the resources. That they can talk to people.’ “

The Seahawks added depth and increased the competitive level at three spots on Friday by getting contract agreements with guard Deuce Lutui, linebacker Barrett Ruud and cornerback Roy Lewis. Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his thoughts, including: “Ruud, 28, was a longtime starter in Tampa Bay before signing with Tennessee last season. He played nine games for the Titans, starting all of them. But a groin injury forced him onto injured reserve. Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was with Tampa Bay when Ruud played for the Buccaneers. Bradley coached linebackers for part of Ruud’s tenure there. That connection means the Seahawks should have a good idea what they’re getting. Ruud’s arrival comes after the Seahawks watched starting middle linebacker David Hawthorne sign with New Orleans. I would expect Seattle to address linebacker in the draft as well.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we also look at Friday’s additions: “Lutui, also 28, is the second lineman to sign with the team since the free-agency period began March 13 – joining Frank Omiyale, who started at left tackle, left guard and right tackle for the Chicago Bears and also played for Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable when both were with the Atlanta Falcons. The club also released veteran guard Robert Gallery, who then signed with the New England Patriots. In a 2½-week period last season, the Seahawks lost right guard John Moffitt (knee), right tackle James Carpenter (knee) and left tackle Russell Okung (pectoral) to injuries that required surgery. In their absence, Paul McQuistan (right guard and left tackle), Breno Giacomini (right tackle) and Lemuel Jeanpierre (right guard) stepped in and played well. Giacomini and McQuistan were free agents, but have been re-signed. Now, enter the Tongan-born Lutui.”

The NFL Draft is less than three weeks away and Chad Reuter at NFL.com takes a look at some players who weren’t invited to the Scouting Combine, including Washington State linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis (6-1, 232): “The 2011 second-team All-Pac-12 pick did not get much national exposure on a 4-8 Cougars squad. The team’s leading tackler in 2011 backed up his production, though, with a 4.54 40, 36 1/2-inch vertical and 36 bench reps at his pro day.”

At SI.com, Peter King looks at the haves and have nots at the top of the draft in his “Monday Morning Quarterback”: “Teams with the most 2012 draft choices in the top 85 overall picks: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Miami, New England, St. Louis (four). Teams with the least 2012 draft choices in the top 85 overall picks: New Orleans, Oakland (zero). … The Rams have five of the first 96 picks overall (6, 33, 39, 65, 96), and Jeff Fisher told me St. Louis would like to trade down from six for the right price. If not, Justin Blackmon would fit a major need at six.”


Cyber surfing: Saturday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 24:

 

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at how similar the approach to how they want to play is for the Seahawks and 49ers as they prepare to play each other at CenturyLink Field today: “The Seahawks and 49ers share a style of play that starts with a big-bodied defense, includes a hardheaded insistence upon running the football, and continues through a fixation on turnovers that could be diagnosed as clinically obsessive. That’s the blueprint that has taken San Francisco to its first division title since 2002, and it’s the recipe that explains how Seattle has rebounded from a 2-6 start. ‘The formula has been very similar,’ coach Pete Carroll said. That’s what makes Saturday’s game at CenturyLink Field so very intriguing. Something’s got to give.”

 

O’Neil also has his “Keys to the Game,” including this one: “Get an early lead. That doesn’t happen often against San Francisco. The 49ers have allowed just 29 points in the first quarter this year and have faced a halftime deficit just three times. The 49ers’ conservative play-calling is a reason why they’ve committed so few turnovers, but it’s also why it’s hard for them to make up ground in games like their Thanksgiving loss to Baltimore. If the Seahawks can get a lead, that will force the 49ers to decide whether they’re going to open up and take some chances.”

 

Eric Williams at the News Tribune stays with the “something’s got to give” angle: “The immovable object vs. the unstoppable force. Two high-powered, efficient units will decide this afternoon’s game at CenturyLink Field between NFC West rivals Seattle and San Francisco. The 49ers have the league’s best run defense and haven’t given up a rushing touchdown all season. But Seattle’s run offense, led by Marshawn Lynch, has been on a second-half tear. Lynch has rushed for 748 yards in the past seven games, the most of any running back in the NFL. And he’s in the midst of a 10-game scoring streak.”

 

John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at how the Seahawks’ home finale as playoff significance for the second season in a row: “When the Seahawks play host to the 49ers today, both teams will have plenty to keep them motivated beyond the fact they are division rivals and their coaches have a bit of a contentious relationship going back to their Pac-10 days. For Seattle, which has won five of six since posting a 2-6 record in the first half of the season, this game is a must-win for its wild-card hopes. The Seahawks need some help to make the playoffs even if they win their final two games, but a loss today renders all postseason discussions moot. The 49ers, meanwhile, long ago clinched the NFC West, but with an 11-3 record they are still battling New Orleans for a first-round bye, and they even have an outside shot at the No. 1 seed if Green Bay stumbles down the stretch. It’s not as simple as last year’s winner-takes-the-NFC-West game between St. Louis and Seattle, but this is still a game with big playoff implications for both parties.”

 

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at how the Seahawks really do have something to appreciate on Fan Appreciation Day: “ ‘Absolutely, we are greatly appreciative of our 12th MAN, and all the 12 jerseys, and the ‘Value of 12’ and whatever other acronym of 12 they have that’s out there that’s in our stadium,’ said cornerback Roy Lewis, who also played at the University of Washington and is in his third season with the Seahawks. ‘They do a fantastic job of getting us fired up. We feed of the energy they create. And when we stoke that energy, they reward us even more. So it’s been an honor to play in front of those fans.’ ”

 

We’re also got a look at the turnover factor in today’s game in “Friday in Hawkville,” as well as a closer look at the game in our “Matchup box,” and Tony Ventrella’s video preview.

 

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has his “Final Word” on the NFC West, including this: “About those playoff scenarios: The Cardinals and Seahawks must win Saturday to remain in contention for the fifth or sixth seed in the NFC. But if Detroit beats San Diego and Atlanta wins against New Orleans, both NFC West teams are out regardless. That is because all scenarios placing an NFC West team in the postseason require the NFC West team going 2-0 while Detroit and/or Atlanta goes 0-2. The Falcons and Saints do not play until Monday night, so the Seahawks and Cardinals could remain in suspense all weekend even if they win. Update: The Falcons directly affect the Cardinals’ eligibility for postseason; they affect only the Seahawks’ ability to claim the fifth or sixth seed.”

 

For a look at the rest of the league, there’s Clark Judge’s “Peek at the Week” at CBSSports.com; and John Czarnecki’s “Countdown to Kickoff” at FoxSports.com.

 


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Photoblog: Windy City Winning

The surging Seahawks landed in the Windy City to face the Chicago Bears at Solider Field for the third time in two seasons. Seemingly no longer affected by 10:00 am Pacific time kickoffs, the Seahawks scuffled through the first half before waking up to score 31 unanswered points on their way to a 38-14 victory.

Overnight snow in Chicago forced the Seahawks to audible their walk-thru plans, and instead of heading to a nearby outdoor field, the team walked through the hotel to the adjacent McCormick Convention Center.

Offense, defense and special teams all went through the motions during indoor walk-thru, held in a ballroom of the convention center adjacent to the team's hotel.

Lesson one for rookies: Don't mess with the head coach. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin learned the hard way after the team's walk-thru on Saturday. Having never seen snow before, Baldwin grabbed a snowball and looked for a target while Pete Carroll stood by, chatting. Unbeknownst to Baldwin, the crafty coach had a snowball behind his back and smashed it on his player's head before dashing into the safety of the hotel lobby, leaving Baldwin to laugh off a head full of cold wet snow.

On game day, strong safety Kam Chancellor makes his way down the narrow tunnel leading from the visitors locker room to the turf at Soldier Field.

Seattle's defensive backs huddled and got pumped up before taking the field for pregame warmups.

David Hawthorne, Golden Tate and Max Unger wait for the signal to lead the team onto the field during pregame introductions.

Earl Thomas celebrates after recovering a fumble by Chicago's Johnny Knox in the first half.

Chicago receiver Johnny Knox gives teammates and fans a "thumbs up" as he is taken off the field on a cart after being hit hard after fumbling in the first half. Knox had surgery on his back and is expected to make a good recovery.

Tight end Cameron Morrah stretches for the end zone but comes up just short after a 21-yard reception to set up Seattle's first touchdown.

Running back Marshawn Lynch wasn't given much room to run by the Bears stout run defense, but gained enough yardage to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark for the season.

Roy Lewis continued his strong contribution in the Seahawks nickel and dime packages, knocking a ball away from Chicago's Dane Sanzenbacher.

Earl Thomas comes out of the end zone after intercepting a pass that was tipped by teammate Kam Chancellor in the second quarter.

Marshawn Lynch reaches over the goal line for his second touchdown of the afternoon, giving him 11 touchdowns for the season.

Red Bryant high-steps untouched into the end zone leaving a trail of Bears in his wake on a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown. Bryant's play resulted in Seattle's second touchdown in the first two minutes of the second half.

Bryant starts his touchdown dance as teammate K.J. Wright leaps for joy. Wright tipped the pass that resulted in Bryant's interception.

Chris Clemons jumps on Bryant's back in celebration, but even that can't topple the 323-pound defensive end.

Raheem Brock chases down Chicago quarterback Caleb Hanie as the defense kept applying pressure on their way to a second half shutout.

Chris Clemons' smile is visible through his shaded facemask as he takes down Hanie for a nine-yard sack in the fourth quarter.

Justin Forsett took a swing pass from Tarvaris Jackson down to the three-yard line in the fourth quarter.

Michael Robinson celebrates with tight ends Anthony McCoy and Zach Miller after scoring a two-yard pass from Jackson, giving the Seahawks a 31-14 lead.

Flanked by teammates David Hawthorne (57), Kam Chancellor (31) and Chris Clemons (91), cornerback Brandon Browner heads for the end zone following his team high sixth interception of the season extending the Seahawks lead to 38-14.

Seahawks defenders Leroy Hill, left, and Clinton McDonald, right, sandwich Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown in the final minutes.

Cornerbacks Brandon Browner, left, and Richard Sherman celebrate after Sherman joined the interception club with the team's fourth pick of the game.

A jubilant Pete Carroll congratulates Sherman after the interception.

Red Bryant is all smiles in the Seahawks locker room as he is singled out during the postgame meeting for his interception and touchdown.

Everything was beautiful for the Seahawks in Chicago, including the sunset as they departed the Windy City for flight home to Seattle.