Cyber surfing: Thursday

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

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has five observations from the Seahawks’ upset victory over the Giants. There was an obvious one: “Chris Clemons was a big problem for the Giants. Seattle’s best pass-rusher gave Giants linemen Will Beatty and David Diehl problems, and not just when he was sacking Eli Manning and forcing a fumble. One highlight: Diehl tackled Clemons on one play, drawing a penalty for holding. Clemons got up, realized Manning still had the ball and hit the quarterback from behind just after the throw. It’s pretty clear Clemons has put behind him the ankle troubles that have bothered him at times. The bye week should only help him along those lines.” But there also was a not-so-obvious: “Steve Hauschka played an important role. The kicker? Really? Yes. Hauschka had only one touchback on his nine kickoffs through the first three weeks of the season. He has eight touchbacks in 12 kickoffs over the past two weeks. Those touchbacks have helped Seattle ease lingering concerns over a kickoff coverage unit that had struggled amid injuries for a stretch. The Giants returned three kickoffs in this game, all from inside the end zone. Two of those produced drive starts inside the 20. Hauschka also made a 51-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.”

At PI.com, they have the story – or tweets – on Pete Carroll calling LeBron James’ bluff about wanting to play in the NFL, complete with a James Seahawks jersey. Including this exchange: Carroll: “Hey @KingJames are you aware of what the League’s rookie minimum is?” James: “Yeah, more than what I’m making now Coach.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at Josh Portis, the rookie free agent who has Carroll’s support if it comes down to needing the No. 3 QB because of Tarvaris Jackson’s strained pectoral. Says Carroll: “Josh is a very talented kid and if he’s in the No. 2 spot, I’m going to get him ready to play. I’m not going to have any hesitation putting him in the game. I’ve seen enough of him. I know what he can do.”

We’ve also got Wednesday’s practice, the final of the team’s bye week, covered in words and video. The Hawkville report includes Brandon Browners’s surprise at breaking a 32-year-old club record: “The team’s extra-large cornerback wasn’t aware his 94-yard interception return for a touchdown to ice Sunday’s upset of the Giants had broken the franchise record until someone told him on Tuesday morning. That was good enough, but discovering when that record had been set left Browner shaking his head. It was 1979, when linebacker Sammy Green returned an interception 91 yards for a score in an Oct. 7 game against the 49ers. ‘I wasn’t even born then,’ Browner finally said with a smile. “That’s great. That’s big.’ Browner, in fact, wasn’t born until 1984.”


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Tuesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:

FOCUS ON

Chris Clemons. His performance against the Arizona Cardinals looked as good on video as it did on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

We examined the against-all-odds efforts of the Seahawks’ “Leo” defensive end in our “Monday Metatarsal Musings,” and the coaches’ review showed that Clemons was all that and more.

“He had a great game,” coach Pete Carroll said. “When we went back over it, Clem was the big point-getter for the day with the knockdown and also contributing to Leroy’s sack. It was right to credit Leroy (Hill), but Clem’s rush; he was the first guy there.

“He had a big play in short-yardage. He has another tackle for a loss. He influenced the quarterback a couple different times. He had an excellent football game and he really looked like he was flying.”

Clemons came out flying last season, after being acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to fill the pivotal “Leo” spot in Carroll’s scheme. He finished with a career-high 11 sacks. But this season, he got off to a slower start after having offseason ankle surgery and then twisted the same ankle during a walk-thru the week of the season opener.

“I said that to you guys a couple weeks ago, that it didn’t look like he was quite back yet,” Carroll said. “He looked like it (Sunday). This was the guy that we watched last year, and he was on fire. I thought he had a very, very good game.”

Clemons also is one of the guys that Seahawks will unleash against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field this week, as QB Matt Ryan already has been sacked 13 times – compared to 23 all of last season – and hit 21 times.

PLAYER WATCH

Steven Hauschka. The kicker who was claimed off waivers on Sept. 4 – as a fourth option to replace Olindo Mare after the veteran signed with the Carolina Panthers in free agency – hit a 52-yard field goal against the Cardinals.

It wasn’t the longest of his career, as he kicked a 54-yard in 2008 while with the Baltimore Ravens.

But Hauschka has a league-low one touchback on his kickoffs.

“We knew he would kick the ball into the end zone,” Carroll said. “We didn’t know what would happen, but they’re returning 5-, 6- and 8-yard deep kicks. So it’s just an unusual year for evaluating.”

Five of Hauschka’s nine kickoffs have been into the end zone, but the opposition has returned them for 19, 28, 102, 23 and 51 yards.

“I think Steven’s got a big leg,” Carroll said. “He kicks the ball very controlled – really smooth motion. He banged a 52-yarder, no big deal, and came back and kicked the ball out one time. I think we’ll see more of that. I really do think he’s got more leg than we’ve seen so far.”

In addition to the one kick that was out of the end zone against the Cardinals, Carroll also credited Hauschka with doing “a really good job of placing the football” on two other kicks.

“We’re learning about him,” Carroll said. “I think he’s got enough potential about him. He’ll be pounding the ball here before long.”

STAT DU JOUR

Sunday’s game could feature two of the youngest starting offensive line in the league, according to Elias Sports Bureau. With an average age of 25 years, 212 days, the Seahawks are No. 3, while the Falcons are No. 4:

Team                   Average age

Steelers               25 years, 29 days

Broncos               25 years, 136 days

Seahawks            25 years, 212 days

Falcons                26 years, 80 days

The five Seahawks who will start against the Falcons have 52 NFL starts between them: center Max Unger (20), left tackle Russell Okung (13), left guard Paul McQuistan (13), right guard John Moffitt (three) and right tackle James Carpenter (three).

The Falcons starters last week have 345 combined starts: center Todd McClure (167), right tackle Tyson Clabo (72), left guard Justin Blalock (65), left tackle Sam Baker (38) and right guard Garrett Reynolds (three). But this unit could be different on Sunday, as Falcons coach Mike Smith is threaten to make changes.

UP NEXT

The players return from their “off” day to begin preparing for the Falcons. Practice is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., and Carroll will hold his midweek news conference which will be carried live at Seahawks.com starting at noon.

JUST THE TICKET

Tickets are available for Sunday’s game and can be purchased here; or as part of a two-game package that also includes the Thursday night game on Dec. 1 game against the Eagles here.

YOU DON’T SAY

“(Kam) Chancellor’s block was a beautiful, textbook block that sent tight end Todd Heap flying. It’s the kind of block that will get you a highlight on SportsCenter and congratulated by coaches and teammates in films the next day. It’s also the kind of play that totally ignited the 12th Man, just as it would in any NFL city. It’s a momentum builder. It’s the essence of the hard-hitting legacy of the NFL and the kind of play that can turn an entire game around.” – former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, writing on the mynorthwest.com blog at 710 ESPN


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Cyber surfing: Tuesday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 6:

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times says that despite another busy cut-down weekend for the Seahawks, don’t expect the constant roster turnover of a year ago – when the club made 284 transactions. Offers O’Neil: “And while this week’s moves may feel similar to last season, that is where the comparison to 2010 will end, according to coach Pete Carroll. ‘I feel very confident that there won’t be a lot of moves from this point forward,’ Carroll said. ‘We’re strongly committed to the guys that we’ve chosen.’ ”

Eric Williams of the News Tribune was among the reporters gathered around Mike Williams after practice on Monday, and the team’s leading receiver from last season defended his new QB. Says Williams (Mike, not Eric): “It’s kind of unbelievable. If it’s overwhelming for a teammate, then it has to be enough for him. I just kind of want to tell everybody, ‘Back the hell up.’ Let him play. Let him have his shot to work and go out here and do his thing.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald focuses on rookie James Carpenter getting work at left guard in practice, with Robert Gallery sidelined by a sprained knee. Says Boyle: “If Gallery can’t play, one of the options to replace him is apparently first-round pick James Carpenter, who up until Monday has strictly worked at right tackle, where he is projected as a starter. Carpenter saw action at guard, a position he played some in college, as well as his usually tackle spot Monday. The Seahawks also have Paul McQuistan and Lemuel Jeanpierre as options at guard.”

Also at the Everett Herald, former beat writer Scott Johnson is doing a series of features on Seahawks looking back at the “The Game of My Life.” It starts with defensive end Jacob Green, who picks a game against the Raiders on Dec. 22, 1984. Says Green: “My father had died that week, and I dedicated that game to him. I wasn’t in town for practice, and the coaches didn’t know if I was going to play. I didn’t even know if was I was going to play. But I played, and we beat the Raiders 13-7. I had 2½ sacks. I was out there for my father, and I played like I was possessed for that particular reason. I was really playing. We had Kenny Easley on defense and all these other people playing well: Jeff Bryant, Joe Nash, all those guys. But that was my day.”  

Mike Sando at ESPN.com, prompted by a reader’s question, “defends” the NFC West. Says Sando: “Having a division winner with a losing record cannot overcome a one-game upset. The NFC South went 13-3 against the NFC West last season. I won’t be surprised if the Dallas Cowboys exceed expectations this season in part because they’re paired against this division. The NFC West needs to win non-division games more regularly to change perceptions. This division should improve in 2011.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got a bodacious recap of Monday’s practice, as well as a feature on what a weekend it was for rookie free agent safety Jeron Johnson and new kicker Steve Hauschka. There’s also Tony Ventrella’s video report and Rod Mar’s photos from practice. And because it was Monday, there’s also the Monday metatarsal musings.

 Michael Lombardi at NFL.com compiles his own “dream team,” with a salary cap. There are no Seahawks on it, but it’s an interesting premise and project nonetheless. Says Lombardi: “Watching all the teams this weekend make cuts and set their 53-man rosters gave me the itch to build a team of my own. With players from all 32 teams serving as my candidate pool and working under the constraints of the $121 million salary cap, I put together my own 53-man roster. I used the base salaries of the players for the 2011 season and not their cap number, which gave me a little more flexibility in assembling my team. My point of emphasis for building this team was to make sure I had top players at what I believe to be four critical positions: 1. Quarterback; 2. Left tackle; 3. Defensive end; 4. Cover corner.”


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Cyber surfing: Monday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 5:

Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times has the story on Brandon Browner, who spent the past four seasons in the CFL but likely will be the starting right cornerback when the Seahawks open their regular season against the 49ers in San Francisco on Sunday. Says Kelley: “As he slowly unspooled the tape from his hands after Friday’s final exhibition game, Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner barely allowed himself a slight, satisfied smile. After all he’s been through, all of the disappointments – after four seasons in the Canadian Football League; after tryouts with a half-dozen NFL teams, including an earlier trial with the Seahawks; after being told he was too tall or too slow to play cornerback in the National Football League, Browner had made it. He would start this season on the Hawks’ 53-man roster and probably start at corner in the season opener Sunday in San Francisco. He could have allowed himself a minute to scream at the top of his lungs and celebrate the culmination of a journey. He could have cried or roared. But Browner, 27, has been around too long and heard too much bad news to allow this one shining moment to consume him. He knows that in the NFL, especially the Pete Carroll NFL, the starting position you earn on opening day could be gone by Week 2.”

Also at the Times, Danny O’Neil has the round down on the latest roster moves from Sunday. Offers O’Neil: “The Seahawks claimed four players off waivers on Sunday, changing kickers, swapping out both backup defensive tackles and acquiring a fifth offensive tackle. So much for things being settled, huh?”

Eric Williams of the New Tribune has a Q&A with coach Pete Carroll. Here’s his response when asked about leadership on the team after the departures co-captains Matt Hasselbeck and Lofa Tatupu: “Here’s the deal. If you don’t have anybody who can carry the message for you, then the coach has to do it. And the assistant coaches have to do it. And I’ve always said that. I don’t want to be a coach that says, “Well, we would have had a really good year if we had better leadership.  There’s so many guys on this team that are great character guys that care so much about this game, it’s just a matter of just working the message and getting to the side and letting them go. So I’m not worried about it one bit.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald also has a recap of Sunday’s moves. Says Boyle: “Saturday was the NFL’s cut day. Sunday its league-wide swap meet. And for the second straight season, the Seattle Seahawks used the day after cut day to peruse the list of newly available players and make a few changes to their roster. Seattle claimed off waivers defensive tackle Landon Cohen, defensive tackle Al Woods, kicker Steven Hauschka and tackle Jarriel King, all of whom were cut-day casualties a day earlier.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we’ve got – what else – a look at the roster moves made on Sunday: “If (Steven) Hauschka’s name sounds familiar, he kicked a game-winning 52-yarder for the Broncos in their third preseason game against the Seahawks. He signed with the Vikings as an undrafted rookie in 2008, but was waived and spent two seasons in Baltimore, hitting 10 of 15 field goals – including 54-yarder on his first NFL attempt. After spending from late December of 2009 to mid-August of 2010 with the Falcons, Hauschka (6-4, 210) was on the Lions’ practice squad for two games in 2010, when he also kicked for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the Arena League. He signed with the Broncos last December, hitting 6 of 7 field goals attempts, but was waived on Saturday.”

Also, Matt Gaschk of Sounders.com has the story on running back Justin Forsett working out with Mexico’s Club America. And what was that like? “I was out of my element,” laughed the jovial Seahawks running back.

Peter King at SI.com has a rundown on what each team did Sunday, including this note about the Seahawks: “… Kicker Jeff Reed goes. Quarterback Josh Portis, of California (Pa.), stays. Did you see Portis at all this camp? Once he learns the playbook, he’s going to be an interesting prospect for offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to work with. Good arm, good runner, seems fearless.”


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