Friday cyber surfing: Talking with ‘Tez

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks on this first official day of 2012 training camp, July 27.

Steve Kelly at the Seattle Times writes an open letter to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, pleading him for a winning season and stating the effect it would have on the city of Seattle that has ached through mediocrity in the city’s sports scene, “So it’s on you, Coach, as well as your assistants and your players, to get this city out of its malaise. More than ever, Seattle needs the Seahawks. And that means it needs something more than 7-and-9 mediocrity. As it should be, the heat is on you. You’ve got to settle on a quarterback quickly. Matt Flynn? Russell Wilson? I don’t care. But one of them has to be the answer sooner rather than later. You have to keep Sidney Rice healthy and make sure Kellen Winslow gets open. You have to make sure the young offensive line continues its improvement. You have to make first-round pick Bruce Irvin into a legitimate pass-rushing threat. Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin have to become the buzz of the league. Training camp is beginning, and the eyes, ears and good wishes are focused on your headquarters at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.”

The Seahawks announced that wide receiver Antonio Bryant was signed to the team’s 90-man roster yesterday, and Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times has the story, “Seattle signed Antonio Bryant, who had 1,248 yards receiving with Tampa Bay in 2008 but hasn’t played the past two years. Bryant, 31, tried out for the Seahawks during the three-day minicamp in June and was admittedly playing himself back into football shape.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune gives his analysis on the signing of Bryant, “If healthy, Bryant (6-1, 211 pounds) could provide a big, physical body on the perimeter for the Seahawks, competing with Ben Obomanu, Kris Durham and Ricardo Lockette for reps at split end.”

Yesterday, former Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy spoke with reporters on a conference call. Kennedy is set to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 4 in Canton, Ohio. Williams has a run-down of the conference call, noting that Kennedy expects a crowd of more than 350 supporters to be on hand during his acceptance speech, including one special guest, “Presenting Kennedy will be Dixie Fraley Keller, the widow of [Kennedy’s] former agent Robert Fraley, who was killed in a plane crash in 1999 along with professional golfer Payne Stewart. ‘That’s how much Robert meant to me,’ Kennedy said. ‘And I’ll be talking about Robert too – the type of guy he was, and how he helped me off of the football field. He just taught me about life. He taught me how to be a pro off of the football field, and to make sure I treat people the way I want to be treated.’ “

Also at the Tacoma News Tribune, Dave Boling speaks to Kennedy’s gratitude for everyone who surrounded him along his journey through the League and helped him to get where he will be next week – the Hall of Fame, “From his first day in the NFL, Kennedy has called himself blessed and was always quick to show appreciation for those who helped him on his way. He was a humble superstar who truly understood the importance of his family, his teammates and his friends. He will spend a lot of time on that big stage in Canton offering thanks to those people. It will be genuine. From the heart.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues his “Cortez: Countdown to Canton” series with Tommy Brasher, who was hired as Seattle’s defensive line coach in 1992 – Kennedy’s best season in his 11-year Hall of Fame career. Farnsworth recounts a time when Kennedy was coming out of the University of Miami and Brasher was scouting Kennedy as a coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ” ‘They sent me down to Miami to scout Cortez,’ said Brasher, who coached with the Seahawks through the 1998 season and then returned to the Philadelphia Eagles until he retired after the 2005 season. ‘I go down there and I start watching this guy (on tape). I went, ‘Damn, I need this guy.’ ‘ ”

Farnsworth also touches on the special relationship that developed between coach Brasher and Kennedy.

Also here at Seahawks.com we visit with Seahawks assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable, who sits down with Tony Ventrella in our latest ‘Seahawks Insider’. Coach Cable – a graduate of Snohomish High School – talks about his early coaching influences, teaching philosophies, the personalities of his young offensive lineman, and his passion for fishing.

Revisiting a topic from yesterday, Brock Huard and Mike Salk of mynorthwest.com share their thoughts on Seahawks center Max Unger’s contract extension in their Thursday Wrap Up video. Huard believes the extension entrenches Unger as the leader along the team’s offensive line.  Unger – a guest on the Brock and Salk show yesterday – says his new deal means stability for him at the position and within the Seahawks organization. You can listen to the 710ESPN audio here.

Also at mynorthwest.com, Brady Henderson details a visit with ESPN’s John Clayton, who doubts that Seahawks offensive lineman James Carpenter will play in the 2012 season, ” ‘That knee was bad,’ Clayton said. ‘It hasn’t really had a full time to heal. I think he’s slow in healing. If they get four games out of him they’re lucky. I don’t think they’re going to get any games out of him.’ Henderson then comments, “Losing a starting tackle would be a bigger blow to a team with less depth at that position. The Seahawks re-signed Breno Giacomini — who played well enough after replacing Carpenter to earn a new contract — and the versatile Paul McQuistan earlier this offseason. They’ve also signed tackles Frank Omiyale and Alex Barron.”


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.


Tuesday cyber surfing: Training camp previews

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 24.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com reports defensive end Chris Clemons reached agreement Monday on a multi-year contract extension with the Seahawks. Clemons, 31, has led the Seahawks in sacks with 11 in each of the past two seasons – a total that is good for eighth in the NFL since 2010. An official announcement from the team is expected later today.

Sando also brings us his thoughts as Seahawks training camp approaches, including his take on Seahawks new DT Jason Jones, “Free-agent addition Jason Jones will fit much better at defensive tackle in Seattle than he did as a defensive end with Tennessee last season. The pass rush should improve as a result. Jones’ addition on a one-year contract holds promise because the Seahawks seem excited about him. The team’s leadership has been right on just about every defensive player Seattle has targeted by trade (Chris Clemons), the draft (see the secondary in particular), unrestricted free agency (Alan Branch), street free agency (Brandon Browner) and position changes (Red Bryant).”

Khaled Elsayed of ProFootballFocus.com gives us his take on NFC West training camp battles to watch, and it’s no surprise that the Seahawks camp is highlighted by the three-man quarterback competition between Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson. But Elsayed also offers some interesting thoughts on the division as a whole, “Before 2011 this was viewed as the weakest division in the NFL, but after the San Francisco 49ers compiled the second best record in the NFC and came agonizingly close to the Super Bowl, people have had to reconsider that opinion. Especially when you consider the development of the Seattle Seahawks and the aggressive moves the St Louis Rams have made this offseason. Heck, you even have to imagine the Arizona Cardinals quarterback situation will have improved, so it’s looking like a division on the up.”

Hub Arkush and Dan Arkush of ProFootballWeekly.com continue their training camp opening report video series by taking a look at the Seattle Seahawks. The two discuss the free agent and rookie additions that head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have put together this offseason, add their thoughts on the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition and wide receiver corps, and give their take on how the team’s strength – the defense – can improve in 2012.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth is back with his “Monday metatarsal musings,” as he re-hashes the Seahawks news from his time away on vacation, including remembering Grant Feasel, the former Seahawks center who passed away at age 52 on July 15, “He [Feasel] played on the franchise’s first division championship team in 1988, but also during that forgettable run from 1989-93 when the best the Seahawks could do was one winning record (9-7 in ’90),” writes Farnsworth. “But Feasel was a winner, on and off the field. A 16-game starter at center in 1989 and 1990, and 15-game starter in ’91, Feasel led with his chin and therefore lead by example. It was Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times, as I recall, who hung the moniker ‘Fightin’ Feasel’ on him, because whenever a tussle broke out during training camp Feasel almost always was involved.”

Farnsworth also wraps up his Seahawks 2012 positional preview with a look at the running backs. Farnsworth offers this outlook as the position group heads into 2012, “Despite all the handwringing over which of the three QBs will start this season, it’s [Marshawn] Lynch’s legs that will carry the Seahawks where they want to go – starting with posting the team’s first winning record since 2007, but not stopping until this team returns to the playoffs. It’s the running game that sets up the play-action passing game in coordinator Darrell Bevell’s offense. The Pro Bowl duo of Lynch and lead-blocking [Michael] Robinson will make sure this offense remains headed in that direction – the right direction. The addition of [Robert] Turbin is a plus, as is the versatility of [Leon] Washington.”


Monday cyber surfing: ‘Hawks face winning expectations for first time under Carroll

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

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times discusses the increased expectations the Seahawks face heading into 2012 after the team has shown glimpses of greatness through two seasons under head coach Pete Carroll, “Now comes the really hard part — actually winning. The replenished Seahawks will face that pressure for the first time. But every team on the brink of a breakthrough must go through this. The encouraging thing is that, with Carroll in charge, it’s not like the Seahawks have been babied to this point. Carroll applies pressure daily in his competitive-based program. Even when the Seahawks have been comically overmatched, he has coached them as if preparing for a championship run. It means that, though the Seahawks are operating under new conditions, they don’t have to change much to adjust to it.”

John Clayton of ESPN.com answers reader-submitted questions in his latest ‘mailbag’, and takes a look at some of the notable training camp battles around the League, “The most interesting battle to watch is the three-way quarterback fight in Seattle. Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson battled equally in OTAs and in minicamp. Competition is great, but part of this year’s training camp is getting that quarterback ready for the opener with fewer practices to get the offense to respond. The Seahawks have only 12 practices before their first preseason game. The training camp portion of the preseason contains only 15 practices. There are only five more practices over the final two weeks of the preseason. That’s 20 practices and four preseason games. Having good competition at quarterback is one thing, but at some point, Carroll and other coaches around the league need to focus on getting that starting quarterback ready for the opener.”

Here at Seahawks.com we showcased a series of Seahawks Insider’s over the weekend, including video segments with Kam Chancellor, Zach Miller and Russell Wilson. Digital media host Tony Ventrella discusses everything from the players’ 2012 expectations, their football careers to date, and how they got to where they are today.

Don Banks of SI.com answers 10 questions around the NFL as teams prepare to enter training camp, and offered this on if there really is going to be a three-way quarterback competition in Seattle, “We know how much Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll likes the word ‘competition,’ because he uses it more than Bill Belichick drops the ‘it is what is’ chestnut on us. But not all competitions are created equal. Logic tells us free-agent addition Matt Flynn is in the driver’s seat in Seattle, ahead of both 2011 starter Tarvaris Jackson and rookie third-round pick Russell Wilson. But Flynn’s meager track record — two NFL starts — means there’s no reason to anoint him the clear-cut No. 1, so Carroll didn’t. He wants Flynn to work and earn the job in the preseason, because it’ll count for more in the locker room if he does. That’s just the way the NFL works. The QB storyline will consume all the oxygen in Seattle’s training camp, but in reality, it’s Flynn’s job to lose. If the Seahawks were happy with Jackson, they wouldn’t have signed Flynn and spent their highest pick on a quarterback in 10 years by taking Wilson. And despite Carroll’s infatuation level with Wilson’s potential, the smart and resourceful rookie figures to be a Wildcat package option this year, with a better chance of beating out Jackson for the backup job than truly pushing Flynn for the starting gig. Unless he falls on his face(mask) in August, Flynn should be the last man standing under center in Week 1.”

And finally, for a broader look around the NFL Peter King of SI.com is back from vacation and gives us his version of ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’, after the column was taken over by guest-writers the last four weeks.


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Friday cyber surfing: NFC West on the rise

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 20.

Here at Seahawks.com we start by bringing you Clare Farnsworth’s next installment of his 2012 Seahawks positional outlook, as he checks out the Seahawks special teams unit. Farnsworth speaks with special teams coach Brian Schneider, who believes that despite the units success a year ago they have the talent and potential to be even better this season. Just how good was this unit? Well, Schneider shared this eye-popping statistic with his group, and then with Farnsworth, “Last season, when the special teams gave the offense the ball inside the 50-yard line, the Seahawks scored 77 percent of the time. Conversely, when the special teams put the defense inside the opponents’ 20-yard, the opposition scored 17 percent of the time. ‘It’s a pretty cool deal,’ Schneider said. “’f we can create a really long field for the defense, we’re really successful. If we get a short field for the offense, we’re really successful. And when you put those numbers on it, it just kind of gives some value to it.’ “

Next up at Seahawks.com we have the unique story behind Seahawks fan Karlyn Moyer’s “Mom Cave”- her own room packed full of Seahawks memorabilia. Moyer shared some photos of her “Mom Cave” on the 12th Man Tour’s visit to Alaska, “Almost 20 years ago, Moyer’s collection of Seahawks memorabilia started with a single stuffed Teddy bear donning a Seahawks sweater bearing Moyer’s name and birth year. Today, Moyer’s collection has grown to include furniture, clothing, flags, figurines, and more – and she has not purchased a single piece of it. ‘I do not buy myself any new things for my collection,’ Moyer said. ‘Everyone I know purchases them for me. Friends and family all ask, ‘Do you have this?’ ” The 12th Man Tour continues with a stop in Spokane this Saturday, July 21.

Rounding out the coverage here at Seahawks.com we have a video featuring Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright, who sits down with Seahawks Insider Tony Ventrella. The two talk about the difference between Wright’s preparation during the lockout-shortened offseason a year ago compared to his first full offseason this year, as well as how he was able to adjust to play at the NFL level so quickly.

NFL.com gives us their divisional power rankings, and the NFC West sits as the seventh-ranked division of the eight in the League, “Despite its consistently low ranking, the NFC West has made strides,” writes NFL.com. “The gap between, say, the NFC East and NFC West has closed dramatically. The NFC West would have been dead last, often by a wide margin, for much of the past decade. It’s a division on the rise with the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals all possessing good defenses.”

Mel Kiper of ESPN.com breaks down summer additions to the NFC West, and althought you must have an ESPN Insider account to view the complete piece, here’s a taste of what Kiper offers on the Seahawks: “Help added: There’s been a notable velocity with which Pete Carroll and John Schneider have remade the Seahawks’ roster over the past 24 months. This year, I think it’ll finally be time to really judge these guys on something more than growth. This is a team that, on paper, can be a winner if it can find some points and keep healthy in key spots. In terms of additions, it starts with Matt Flynn at quarterback. While Tarvaris Jackson is still around, and Russell Wilson deserves to be in the picture as a young player competing for the spot, Flynn has to be the starter in Week 1. With Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin, Seattle has an above-average tandem in the passing game, with the chance to be better. People should remember that Rice is still just 25, with a history of nicks that have limited him. So while I think it should be Flynn, “not enough weapons” can’t be an excuse for anyone. I think we’re all pretty interested to see how much of a pass rush Carroll can create with the addition of Bruce Irvin. I know evaluators who saw the lightning rod out of West Virginia as the best pure pass-rusher in the draft (which is partly a reflection of the class), and Seattle had to have taken Irvin with a specific role in mind. Carroll can use him as a Leo linebacker, with Chris Clemons as a possible model. Barrett Ruud provides some experience at linebacker and Jason Jones filled a hole at D-tackle. But the key is the rush, because consistent pressure could make an already good secondary look spectacular. It starts up front, and Irvin is the key for me.”

Finally, Forbes recently released a list of the world’s 50 most valuable sports teams, and the Seahawks find themselves at No. 25 on the list, with an estimated worth of $997 million. Despite their relatively high ranking, the Seahawks are just the 16th-ranked NFL team on the list, behind the Dallas Cowboys (T-No. 3), Washington Redskins (No. 5), New England Patriots (T-No. 6), New York Giants (No. 9), New York Jets (No. 12), Houston Texans (No. 13), Philadelphia Eagles (No. 14), Chicago Bears (No. 16), Green Bay Packers (No. 17), Baltimore Ravens (No. 18), Indianapolis Colts (No. 19), Denver Broncos (No. 20), Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 21), Miami Dolphins (No. 22) and Carolina Panthers (No. 24).


Tuesday cyber surfing: Football and futbol come together at VMAC

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

Yesterday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center members of the UEFA champions squad Chelsea FC met with Seahawks players following the European futbol powerhouse’s training session. Chelsea FC is in town to face off in a friendly match with Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field. Mike Morgan, Cameron Morrah, K.J. Wright, Malcolm Smith and Winston Guy were on hand to exchange jerseys – and soccer skills – with Chelsea. On the experience Wright offered, “It’s cool to finally meet the guys I’ve been playing with on the video games.” You can watch video of the jersey exchange here and view photos from the gathering here.

Following up on the weekend reaction to the Seahawks release of wide receiver Mike Williams we have Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times who points out the risk versus reward of relying on reclamation projects and finding talent and contributors in unlikely places. “That Earn Everything motto?” said Brewer. “It’s real. And because of this, the Seahawks have been able to transform their roster quickly and impressively. But Williams is gone now. The Seahawks released him Friday after a lackluster, injury-burdened season in which he caught only 18 passes and couldn’t get into a rhythm with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Just as his rebirth sent a message, so, too, does his departure. The Seahawks should walk carefully as they rebuild with a good number of underdogs and reclamation projects. Williams is a cautionary tale. It can be difficult to establish — not to mention sustain — success when meandering too much among the discarded, overlooked and waived. While we’d like to think [Pete] Carroll and general manager John Schneider have a knack for discovering unpolished gems, success in that area can be fleeting.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune gives us his first “Offseason Rewind” piece of 2012. Williams goes back and takes a look at Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, noting that Jackson went 7-7 as the Seahawks; starter in his first year, played through injury, but failed to lead a game-winning score on final efforts against Atlanta, Washington, San Francisco  and Arizona. Williams discusses whether or not late-game performance is an area where a quarterback can improve, “The prevailing opinion in Jackson’s case would be no. Detractors would point to Jackson’s six years spent in offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s offense and the fact that Jackson still holds onto the ball too long, a sure sign that it takes him too long to read defenses and find the open man. They will point to the fact that a player who’s supposed to have good athletic ability took 42 sacks last year, that Seattle has a young, inexperienced receiving unit led by a No. 1 receiver in Sidney Rice who has struggled to stay healthy, and protected by an inexperienced offensive line also plagued by injuries. But there’s also room for hope if you believe that Seattle head coach Pete Carroll is being honest when he says that money will not factor into the decision on who earns the starting quarterback job Week 1. For one, Jackson still fits the mold as the type of quarterback Carroll would like to lead his team — a tough, gritty leader with a rifle arm who doesn’t turn the ball over, can move outside the pocket and push the ball down the field. Despite his struggles in late-game situations and on third downs (65.6 passer rating, No. 27 overall), Jackson was efficient in the red zone, throwing for nine touchdowns and just one interception, and posting a 90.1 passer rating.”

Kevin Dowd over at the SeattlePI.com gives us a photo gallery of 10 Seahawks to watch during training camp. His list includes some likely candidates from Bruce Irvin and Russell Okung to Bobby Wagner and the Seahawks three-man competition at quarterback, but Dowd also suggests punter Jon Ryan as one to watch come training camp, “No position in football takes more flak than the punter, but the Seahawks have found one of the best in the business in Canadian redhead Jon Ryan. Ryan led the NFL in punts downed inside the 20-yard line last season, making him the perfect weapon to complement Seattle’s stingy defense. A punter’s value has an inverse relationship to the ability of his team’s offense, which helped make Ryan — who punted more than all but two NFL punters last season — one of the Seahawks’ most valuable players a year ago. Seattle fans can only hope the team won’t need his services as often this season.”

Eric Davis and Brian Webber of “NFL AM” reveal three rookies who they believe could be stars for their teams in 2012. Who is the first rookie on their list? None other than Seahawks first-round draft pick DE Bruce Irvin out of West Virginia. You can catch the short video segment right here.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues his positional evaluation heading into the 2012 season, as he gives us his take on the Seahawks’ highly-anticipated, three-man quarterback competition. “Regardless of who wins the starting job, the position is stronger than it was last season – when there was no offseason for first-year coordinator Darrell Bevell to install his offense and [Tarvaris] Jackson was named the starter before ever practicing because he also played under Bevell with the Minnesota Vikings,” said Farnsworth. “Incumbent backup Charlie Whitehurst has re-signed with the San Diego Chargers, the team that traded him to the Seahawks in 2010. He will be replaced by the second-place finisher in the QB competition. Do not read anything into the amount of money the team paid to sign [Matt] Flynn in free agency or the fact that [Russell] Wilson is a rookie. As Jackson has said, ‘He’s not like a regular rookie.’ Coach Pete Carroll will go with the quarterback who wins the on-going competition, and gives the Seahawks their best chance to win.”


Monday cyber surfing: Reaction to Williams’ release

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 16.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times gives us his reaction to the Seahawks release of wide receiver Mike Williams, noting  the move did not come as a total surprise, but rather a disappointment given Williams’ career revival with Seattle in 2010. “Williams’ release is disappointing, however,” said O’Neil. “His 2010 comeback was nothing short of remarkable as the former first-round pick — who had been out of the league entirely for two years — caught 65 passes to lead the team. He was never going to be mistaken for a track star, but he had size, great hands and an engaging personality. The man is very likeable. He had an ability to cut to the quick and speak honestly. On the subject of the NFL’s comeback player of the year in 2010, he pointed out that Leon Washington was much more deserving considering the severity of the broken leg Washington had to recover from. All Williams did, he said, was recover from being out of shape and sitting on his couch.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his own take on the release of Williams, as he designates health issues and a lack of production a season ago as factors in the team’s decision, and comments on how the move affects the Seahawks’ competition at wide receiver heading into training camp, “The release of Williams opens up competition for the starting split end spot opposite Sidney Rice, with veterans Ben Obomanu and Deon Butler battling with youngsters Golden Tate, Kris Durham and Ricardo Lockette for the starting job.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald presents his take on the release of Williams, and also takes a look at how the move affects the Seahawks wideout group heading into camp, “With or without Williams, the battle for roster spots and playing time already figured to be one of the most intriguing position battles aside from Seattle’s three-man quarterback competition. While Sidney Rice is a lock to start, assuming he is healthy, the battle for the other starting job is wide open. Doug Baldwin should remain the Seahawks’ slot receiver, a role in which he thrived as a rookie in 2011. Golden Tate is now likely the front runner to be Seattle’s other starting receiver, but a number of other players could push him for that spot. The Seahawks will have a battle for both playing time and roster spots beyond Rice, Tate and Baldwin, one that will include Ben Obomanu, Kris Durham, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and perhaps a couple of undrafted rookies such as Lavasier Tuinei and Phil Bates.”

Tim Booth of the Associated Press gives us this story on the release of Williams, suggesting that the signing of tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. may have played a role in the team’s decision to let Williams go, “With Winslow and Zach Miller, the Seahawks are likely to use more two tight end sets and limit the need for a second taller receiver on the outside.”

Over at MyNorthwest.com Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of the “Bob and Groz” show provide their own assessment of the Seahawks decision to release Williams, and discuss what’s next for the team at the wide receiver position, and for Williams, in this video.

Rounding out the reaction to Williams’ release is Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM, who shares this piece and predicts what the team might do to replace Williams, “The team could look to bring in another veteran receiver or two to help add security to the position. WR Antonio Bryant had a tryout during mini-camp in June, but the team wanted him to get in better shape before making a decision on whether to sign him to the roster. He could be an option entering camp.”

The guys at ProFootballTalk.com are incrementally releasing their preseason power rankings and the Seahawks have landed at No. 22 on their list. Evan Silva breaks down the ranking in this Seahawks preview, analyzing the team’s strengths, weaknesses, changes the team has undergone, upcoming training camp battles and has provided an outlook heading into 2012, “The Seahawks seem to be a team on the rise, but they’ve yet to exceed seven regular-season wins through two years of the Carroll/Schneider regime. In order to instill confidence in the minds of observers, Seattle needs to take a significant step forward in on-the-field performance. Seattle’s 2012 schedule includes a brutal stretch from Weeks Two through Eight. They’ll square off with four returning playoff teams — the Packers, Patriots, 49ers, and Lions. During the seven-game run, the Seahawks also face the explosive offenses of Dallas and Carolina. We’ll have a very good feel for what kind of team the 2012 Seahawks are following that tough run. Ultimately, we ranked Seattle as the second best team in the NFC West. We like them better than the Cardinals and Rams, but much less than the Niners. The Seahawks are a club that certainly could surprise, especially if they emerge from the aforementioned seven-game stretch with four solid wins.”

Eric Edholm of ProFootballWeekly.com picks out three teams that may not necessarily be division favorites heading into 2012, but could have the potential to surprise and challenge for the division. Among Edholm’s short list are the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks. Edholm had this to say on the Seahawks, “The Seahawks are fascinating. They have a young, ballhawking defense, some real talent at receiver and a confident head coach in Pete Carroll with a chip on his shoulder. All they need now is to settle on a quarterback. It should be easy, right? They signed Matt Flynn in the offseason, gave him $10 million guaranteed. That should be our sign he’s the starter. But an interesting thing is happening here, with Tarvaris Jackson getting the first-team reps to start training camp and white-hot (and intriguing) rookie Russell Wilson throwing bolts and determined to win the job from Day One.”

At NFL.com Kurt Warner, Warren Sapp and guest-analyst and former-teammate of Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings each give their two cents on the Seahawks quarterback competition heading into training camp in this short video.

Finally, here at Seahawks.com registration is now open for 2012 Bing Training Camp, which is set to begin at the end of the month. For more information, including how to register, click here.


Friday cyber surfing: Wilson earns praise of former NFL exec

Good morning, and happy Friday the 13th. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today.

Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson comes at us with another installment of “The Real Rob Report”, this time from the 2012 ESPY Awards. Robinson talks with various athletes and celebrities including Josh Cribbs, Vernon Davis and Terrell Suggs as they walk the red carpet. Suggs raved about playing in Seattle and the tremendous fan support the 12th Man exuberates on game days, “It’s really hard to play up there [in Seattle], but it’s fun. That’s what the game is all about – how electric the stadium is. I love going to play the Seahawks. I’m 0-2 up there, but I must say both of the games, they were very fun. And the city – I love the city. It’s a beautiful city. I’m gonna have to get me a ‘W’ up there, though. But the Seahawks – it’s a really good stadium, it’s a really good atmosphere. That’s what NFL football is about up there.”

The Tacoma News Tribune’s Eric Williams joined Pro Football Talk Live yesterday to talk about the Seahawks heading into 2012. Williams and PFT host Mike Florio touched on a variety of subjects, from the Seahawks young, ascending defense to Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition, the wide receiver group, offensive and defensive lines, and how Seattle might challenge the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC West division title. You can watch and listen to the nearly 18-minute segment right here.

Brady Henderson at MyNorthwest.com recaps a Wednesday segment of “Bob and Groz” in which former NFL front-office executive Tony Softli joined the show. Henderson said Softli believes Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson will eventually earn the position of Seahawks’ starting quarterback, but not necessarily by the end of training camp. Henderson writes, “Softli raved about Wilson’s athleticism and leadership. He said Wilson ‘throws a better ball’ than Drew Brees, the Saints’ record-setting quarterback, and that it’s only a matter of time before Wilson proves that he’s a better quarterback than [Matt] Flynn and [Tarvaris] Jackson. ‘I think he is the future, there’s no question,’ Softli said. ‘Flynn, Jackson, they better not open the door because this guy will slam it shut.’ “

Wide receiver Golden Tate joined Dave “Softy” Mahler of 950 KJR AM yesterday – you can listen to the audio by following the download links on their page . The two talked about the excitement building around the Seahawks upcoming training camp, what to expect from the team in 2012, and Tate gives his thoughts on the Seahawks quarterback competition.

Here at Seahawks.com Tony Ventrella and the Sea Gals give us a sneak-preview of 2012 Bing Training Camp, which opens for registration later this morning.


Thursday cyber surfing: Seahawks hold keys to Seattle’s next sports superstar?

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 12.

At the Seattle Times, Jerry Brewer tells us Seattle is in dire need of a new sports superstar. Brewer points to years 1990-2010 as a time when Seattle experienced an unforgettable – and remarkable – run of sports superstars: Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Steve Emtman, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, Walter Jones, Lou Piniella, George Karl and Mike Holmgren. As Seattle continues to search for it’s new sports identity, Brewer offered that the Seahawks have the potential to shape that mold, “With quality talent evaluators such as Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik and Seahawks GM John Schneider in town, you can already see the potential for a new generation of superstars. Seahawks safety Earl Thomas has a chance to be, at least, the best safety in the NFL. If [Marshawn] Lynch goes off, there’s a possibility he could be elite. [Felix] Hernandez is just 26, and with some help, it’s easy to see him taking that final step to becoming a superstar. Matt Flynn, who is expected to be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback this season, could become a star, but if rookie Russell Wilson eventually wins the job and performs at a star level, a small, 5-foot-11 quarterback would have a better chance of captivating a national audience.”

Also at the Seattle Times, Danny O’Neil continues to take a close look at the Seahawks wide receiver position, this time turning his attention to fourth-year pro Deon Butler. O’Neil admits that he has questioned whether or not Butler would land on the team’s 53-man rosters the past two seasons, as he notes Butler’s small stature in a system that favors bigger wide receivers, and points to a leg injury that landed Butler on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start the 2011 season . In 2012, O’Neil still finds himself questioning Butler’s status among the wide receiver group, but if history is any indication for Butler, O’Neil gives him a good shot at making the squad, “Go ahead, crunch the numbers, but come Sept. 1, I think it would be very hard for Seattle to pick its 53 best players for the roster and not have Butler among that group. That’s not to say it’s impossible. He’s not a special-teams mainstay like veteran Ben Obomanu has been, and he hasn’t shown that uncanny knack as a slot receiver like [Doug] Baldwin did. He doesn’t have the height of [Sidney] Rice, [Kris] Durham or Mike Williams — all of whom stand 6-4 or taller. But Butler is in the conversation for the fastest receiver on the roster, and he has shown a professionalism and ability to bounce back from both adversity and injury. And the past two years have shown that for all the questions of whether he’ll be back, the guy listed as the smallest player on Seattle’s roster has some staying power”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues with his 2012 positional breakdown, as he takes a look at the Seahawks linebacking corps heading into the new season. Farnsworth speaks to the group’s healthy mix of youth and experience, “On a team that has been in a constant change since coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider took over 30 months ago, the linebacking crew has undergone one of the most major transformations under [Seahawks linebackers coach Ken] Norton. The last linebacker standing from the team’s glory days of winning the NFC Championship in 2005 is [Leroy] Hill, who continues to be the starter on the weakside. David Hawthorne took over in the middle for Lofa Tatupu in 2010, but with the team’s leading tackler the past three seasons now with the New Orleans Saints, Hawthorne will be replaced by either the youthful enthusiasm of [Bobby] Wagner or the productive experience of [Barrett] Ruud. On the strong side, [K.J.] Wright played so well as a rookie last season that the club traded former first-round draft choice Aaron Curry to the Oakland Raiders. … This seemingly mismatched collection of linebackers creates an interesting blend of skills and talents that should allow Carroll and coordinator Gus Bradley to play the way they want to, and need to – fast, physical, aggressive and smart – in matching the efforts of the Pro Bowl-laced secondary and line.”


Monday cyber surfing: Earl Thomas’ camp for kids

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 9.

From KFDM Channel 6 in Beaumont, Texas, we have this feature on Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, who during the downtime before training camp returned to his hometown of Orange, Texas to host a free football camp for Southeast Texas kids. “Growing up here not too many people came back,” said Thomas. “It kind of made me mad, so I said if I ever made it I’d be the first one to come back and help out.”

Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson shares another installment of his video series “The Real Rob Report”, this time catching up with rookie QB Russell Wilson at the end of the Seahawks minicamp in mid-June.

Here at Seahawks.com, we wrapped up our Rookie Spotlight segment over the weekend as GM John Schneider offered his thoughts on fifth round draft pick Korey Toomer, sixth round draft picks Jeremy Lane and Winston Guy, and seventh round draft picks J.R. Sweezy and Greg Scruggs.

At MyNorthwest.com Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of the “Bob and Groz” show follow up on a guest appearance by former NFL QB Kurt Warner, as they discuss the Seahawks three-man quarterback competition and how big of an advantage Tarvaris Jackson’s familiarity with the Seahawks offense and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell can be come training camp.

Andy Behrens over at YahooSports.com takes a look at the Seahawks from a fantasy perspective, as he shares his thoughts on Marshawn Lynch and the running game, the Seahawks quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends, and had this to say about the Seahawks ‘D’, “Seattle’s defense should be a solid option this season, as they finished among the top-10 teams last year in fewest points and yards allowed (19.7, 332.2). This group ranked fourth in the league in interceptions (22) and they scored four defensive TDs, so they were obviously a decent fantasy commodity. The IDPs to target here are DE Chris Clemons (11.0 sacks), plus safeties Earl Thomas (98 tackles) and Kam Chancellor (97 tackles). First-round DE Bruce Irvin and second-round LB Bobby Wagner might just sneak into the IDP discussion, too.”

Lastly, over at NFL.com we have a photo gallery highlighting the Hall of Fame Class of 2012, which includes a 16-photo spread of Seahawks defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 4.