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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Tuesday cyber surfing: Training camp dates, battles and schedule analysis

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 3.

Last night the  Seahawks announced 13 Bing Training Camp dates that will be open to the general public. Practices that are open to the public will begin on July 28 and end on August 15. Those interested in attending must register through Seahawks.com beginning on July 13 and registration is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Also here at Seahawks.com, Tony Ventrella chats with Seahawks General Manager John Schneider about the Seahawks 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin. According to Schneider, the Seahawks rated Irvin in their top-three among all defensive players on draft day.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times dissects the regular season schedule for NFC West teams. On the Seahawks, O’Neil notes that in 2012 they will face five opponents coming off playoff appearances, five opponents coming off 10 or more wins and six opponents coming off of losing seasons.

Additionally, O’Neil breaks down the Seahawks 2012 strength of schedule, noting that the Seahawks face opponents who went a combined 129-127 last season, a collective winning percentage of .504 that is tied for the 11th-highest among the NFL’s 32 teams. There’s a catch, however, as O’Neil is quick to point out, “That doesn’t mean the Seahawks will be playing the 11th-toughest schedule in the league, though. That depends entirely upon what those teams on the docket do this year. For example, a year ago, the Seahawks were seen to have one of the easiest schedules in the league. Their 16 opponents in 2011 had a combined record of 125-131 the year before, which ranked No. 23. The schedule turned out to be much more difficult in large part because of the improvement of San Francisco and Arizona in the NFC West.”

Last week, ESPN Insider KC Joyner named Brandon Browner one of his seven most overrated players in the NFC, which prompted this discussion from Brock Huard and Mike Salk at mynorthwest.com. In a follow up video today, Huard talks about cornerback Richard Sherman and gives his opinion as to why the cornerback who saw success when he entered the starting lineup as a rookie in Week 8 last season may be one of the Seahawks most underrated players.

Mike Sando at ESPN.com takes a look at four NFC West training camp battles, and it is little surprise that the battle Sando touches on for the Seahawks is quarterback-themed, as he writes, “The Seahawks face a dilemma. [Matt] Flynn, [Russell] Wilson and Josh Portis are the quarterbacks they would ideally keep for the long term, but [Tarvaris] Jackson is the only one with meaningful experience. Jackson is the only one they know for sure they could trust to keep the team competitive right now. Flynn and Wilson will earn roster spots. Jackson could win one, too. He could even start, but so could Flynn or Wilson.” After adding some additional analysis of Wilson and Flynn, Sando closes with, “This should be a fascinating battle once training camp begins.” I think the rest of us would agree.


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Monday cyber surfing: Seahawks offensive analysis, Hutchinson honored

Good morning, and welcome to what is traditionally the NFL’s slowest news month. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 2.

Mike Sando at ESPN.com gives us a pre-camp analysis of the Seahawks offense, breaking down who he feels are the safest bets, leading contenders and those who face longer odds to earn roster spots come the end of training camp. On the Seahawks wide receivers, Sando has this to say, “[Doug] Baldwin appears to be the receiver Seattle can count on the most. That is good and bad. The team needs [Sidney] Rice to hold up physically after undergoing surgeries on both shoulders this offseason. Concussions were another problem for Rice last season. [Golden] Tate was ascending when last season ended. The broken hand he suffered this offseason prevented Tate from participating fully in minicamps. He needs to avoid additional setbacks to build on last season. [Kris] Durham could make [Mike] Williams expendable.[Ricardo] Lockette’s speed separates him from the other receivers on the roster. He’s raw, but two long receptions late last season showed big-play potential.”

Sando also responds to a reader who says the Seahawks have the Arizona Cardinals to thank for the acquisition of Matt Flynn. The reader’s reasoning is that if the Cardinals had not beat the 49ers late last season, then the Niners would have been within one game of the Green Bay Packers No. 1 playoff seed, which would have meant Aaron Rodgers would have likely played in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions – a game where Matt Flynn passed for 480 yards and six touchdowns, likely raising his stock among teams with needs at QB. Sando downplays the effect of Flynn’s performance in Week 17, and points to Seahawks general manager John Schneider’s relationship with Flynn as a bigger reason for his acquisition, “Seahawks general manager John Schneider had ties to Flynn. There weren’t any other viable quarterbacks for the Seahawks to pursue once it became clear Peyton Manning wasn’t coming their way. I don’t think San Francisco would have let Alex Smith get away to a division rival. And at that point, there were no assurances the Seahawks would land Russell Wilson or another quarterback they liked in the draft. Adding Flynn was going to make sense either way. Flynn’s asking price might have been lower without that Week 17 showing. But to hear the Seahawks tell it, Flynn won them over during a workout at their facility and in classroom work with the coaching staff. Those factors would have been even more important in the absence of Flynn’s six-touchdown game against the Lions.”

And speaking of QB’s, over at mynorthwest.com Brock Huard and Mike Salk share their thoughts and offer some advice in this video on how the three Seahawks quarterbacks competing for the starting job – Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson –  can best utilize their time in preparation for the start of training camp at the end of the month.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth revisits last year’s Seahawks 35th Anniversary team as he talks with three-time Seahawks Pro Bowler (2002-05) and two-time All-Pro (2003, 2005) guard Steve Hutchinson, who was the unanimous decision among fans who voted. Hutch secured 1,411 fan votes – almost twice as many as the other guard on the reader-selected team, Bryan Millard.  Known as a man of few words, on his selection to the team Hutchinson fittingly offered to Farnsworth, “‘To be remembered like that definitely is an honor, and I appreciate the fans remembering me.'”

Finally, for a look around the League we have Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback over at SI.com. With King on vacation he has recruited the first tight end selected in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts’ Coby Fleener, as his guest-author. Fleener, a Stanford alum who earned his Master’s in Communication with an emphasis in Media Studies, shares his experience at the NFL’s Rookie Symposium and going to camp, “After spending a few hours delayed in the Indianapolis airport, I made it to the hotel with the other Colts rookies just in time for dinner and a little catching up with other teams’ rookies. After that, we made our way to the main ballroom. The NFL’s desire to make the environment player-friendly and exciting was evident. Loud pop music blared through speakers and colored lights flashed on a stage, flanked by two large high definition televisions. Giant banners of NFL legends like Walter Payton and Brett Favre covered each wall. I expected to have to suffer on uncomfortable, easily stackable hotel chairs, but instead found rows of comfortable, leather swivel desk chairs.”


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Friday cyber surfing: Schedule changes, role changes and Banks re-visited

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, June 29.

The NFL announced a scheduling change yesterday, pushing the start time of the second game of its Sunday doubleheaders on FOX and CBS back by 10 minutes to ensure fewer fans miss game-action. How might that affect the Seahawks schedule? Clare Farnsworth has that answer here at Seahawks.com, as he writes, “The move could affect four Seahawks games – their Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona; the Dec. 9 rematch with the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field; their Dec. 23 game against the 49ers at CenturyLink Field; and their Dec. 30 regular-season finale against the Rams at CenturyLink Field.”

Farnsworth also catches up with new Director of Football Health & Performance Sam Ramsden, as Ramsden and Seahawks General Manager John Schneider share their thoughts on the exciting responsibilities and challenges that come with this new role, “’Just like the coaches self-scout at all times, and we do it from a personnel standpoint, we feel like we need to be doing that in all areas of our football operation,’ Schneider said. ‘This was an area that stood out, so we probably could be a little further ahead or we could kind of be cutting edge. It’s a player-driven league, so why wouldn’t we do everything possible to be able to make sure that not only are we bringing the right people into the building, but that we’re treating them in the right manner particular to their needs?’”

Over at YahooSports.com, Les Carpenter shares his thoughts on Brian Banks, who received a mini-camp tryout with the Seahawks earlier this month. At that time Carpenter spoke with Seahawks General Manager John Schneider, who offered his thoughts on Banks, “‘He didn’t fall flat on his face,’ Seahawks general manager John Schneider said before adding that Banks ‘is a consideration for sure,’ for a training camp invite. Then Schneider was asked if he could see Banks working in a team’s front office, guiding players. ‘There’s no question,’ Schneider replied. ‘He’s a phenomenal kid and twice the man I was when I was that age.'”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com gives us four quick fantasy notes from KC Joyner’s newly published 2012 fantasy guide. Sando points to Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch posting impressive numbers late in the season, but Joyner see’s room for significant improvement along the offensive line, “‘The Seahawks posted terrible numbers in the good blocking rate (38.9 percent, tied for 30th) and offensive good blocking production metrics.'” According to Sando, Joyner’s guide spans 444 pages and includes multiple charts and text categories for potential fantasy contributors for each team.

Joyner, who on Tuesday included Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner on his list of the seven most overrated players in the NFC, prompted this discussion from Brock Huard and Mike Salk of mynorthwest.com, as they talk about whether or not that designation fits a Pro Bowler who intercepted six passes, returned two for touchdowns and finished first on the team, and NFL, with 23 passes defensed.


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Later kickoffs for four Seahawks games

The kickoff times of the late games for Sunday doubleheaders on FOX and CBS are being pushed back, the NFL announced today.

The move could affect four Seahawks games – their Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona; the Dec. 9 rematch with the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field; their Dec. 23 game against the 49ers at CenturyLink Field; and their Dec. 30 regular-season finale against the Rams at CenturyLink Field.

Those games are scheduled to be telecast on FOX, and had 1:15 p.m. kickoffs. The new later kickoff will be 1:25.

The later start will reduce instances where the end of the early game overlapped with the start of the later game in the doubleheader format. League research determined that from the 2009-11 seasons, 44 games required part of the audience to be switched to a mandatory doubleheader game kickoff. With the later kickoff, that number is expected to impact 15 games – a 66-percent reduction.


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Photoblog: A Close One on Christmas Eve

The Seahawks hoped to continue their five-game winning streak with a Christmas Eve game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Santa hats were everywhere, but the 49ers played the part of the Grinch and escaped with a hard-fought 19-17 victory, essentially eliminating the Seahawks from playoff contention.

Seahawks fans were both in the Christmas spirit and the Skittles spirit as they hoped for a big day from Skittles-loving running back Marshawn Lynch.

In the locker room, Lynch prepared a new pair of Skittles-themed Nike shoes for the game.

Seahawks receiver Golden Tate is introduced to a raucous crowd at CenturyLink Field.

Rookie wide receiver Ricardo Lockette was active for the first time in his young career, and wasted no time making his mark by hauling in a deep ball from Tarvaris Jackson.

San Francisco defensive back Carlos Rogers didn't make it easy, fighting for the ball as Lockette landed with a 44-yard reception on the second play from scrimmage.

Receiver Doug Baldwin celebrates after scoring on a 13-yard touchdown reception from Tarvaris Jackson, giving the Seahawks an early 7-0 lead.

Richard Sherman kept San Francisco's Michael Crabtree from making a catch on a deep ball in the first quarter.

Doug Baldwin flies towards the first down marker after a reception from Tarvaris Jackson.

Shoes were a hot topic but not these cleats as Marshawn Lynch (right) tried to stretch the ball over the goal line just before halftime. After an official's review, the ball was placed at the one-yard line.

Seattle's defense, including Chris Clemons, chased San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith all afternoon, but Smith's ability to buy time kept many 49ers drives alive.

Linebacker K.J. Wright tackles 49ers running back Frank Gore from behind for one of his four tackles.

Seattle's special teams came up big when Heath Farwell blocked a punt by San Francisco's Andy Lee in the fourth quarter.

Marshawn Lynch made sure the Seahawks capitalized on the turnover as he raced into the end zone from four yards out to give the Seahawks a 17-16 lead.

Lynch celebrated with Ricardo Lockette as Skittles rained down into the end zone after the touchdown.

Members of the Seahawks grounds crew used blowers in an effort to remove the Skittles from the field.

After a San Francisco field goal gave them the lead at 19-17, Seattle tried to rally but a fumble by Tarvaris Jackson ended hopes.

Doug Baldwin sat alone on the bench in the waning minutes.

Earl Thomas walks dejectedly towards the Seahawks locker room after the game.

Seattle's locker room was somber after the defeat, but head coach Pete Carroll reminded them how far they'd come this season and that they still had the opportunity to finish strong next week in Arizona.


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Photoblog: Unhappy Returns by the Bay

For the second year in a row, the Seahawks opened the regular season against division-rival San Francisco 49ers. While the 2010 opener was at home, this year’s contest was played on the road at Candlestick Park.

The team departed on Saturday afternoon after their usual walk-thru. Russell Okung, resplendent in his brown three-piece suit chatted with General Manager John Schneider before boarding the bus for the airport.

Hours before kickoff, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley reviewed his game plan in a far corner of the locker room.

The game was played on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and part of the way the NFL commemorated the day was with ribbons worn by sideline personnel.

This loyal fan punctuated his Seahawks colors with an American flag.

In the locker room, communications manager Rich Gonzales outlined the pregame schedule for the players.

Head coach Pete Carroll made sure he didn't leave the locker room without running back Marshawn Lynch.

Seahawks rookie receiver Doug Baldwin, who played his college ball not far from Candlestick Park at Stanford University, leaves the locker room tunnel for the bright glare of the playing field.

First-round draft choice James Carpenter warms up on the 9/11 logo painted on the field to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

Head coach Pete Carroll, his coaches and players joined with members of the armed forces to hold the American flag during the National Anthem.

The Seahawks defense was aggressive early, including this tackle for loss by linebacker Aaron Curry.

Curry celebrates along with safety Earl Thomas after a first-quarter stop.

Seattle defense continued to swarm to the ball as Brandon Browner was joined by teammates Aaron Curry and Earl Thomas on this tackle.

Defensive line coach Todd Wash talks to his players on the sidelines in-between series.

As would be expected in a game between division rivals, there was plenty of hard hitting including Justin Forsett being upended.

San Francisco receiver Joshua Morgan rose in-between Seahawks defensive backs Kam Chancellor and Marcus Trufant to keep a drive alive in the second half.

Doug Baldwin heads towards the end zone with a 55-yard touchdown reception from Tarvaris Jackson to pull the Seahawks to within two points at 19-17 in the fourth quarter.

However, then San Francisco return specialist Ted Ginn, Jr. took over, returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown.

Less than a minute later, Ginn followed his kick-return for touchdown with this punt return for another touchdown.

The 49ers faithful celebrate with Ginn and the San Francisco lead was 33-17.

Seahawks running back Justin Forsett sits on the sidelines with teammate Marshawn Lynch as time runs out in the fourth quarter.


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