Thursday round-up: Unveiling Seahawks all-time underrated, overrated players

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Thursday, July 11, about your Seattle Seahawks:

NFL.com’s Zach Schwartz unveils his list of all-time underrated and overrated players in Seahawks franchise history. Former quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, guard Steve Hutchinson, wide receiver Joey Galloway, kick returner Leon Washington and current strong safety Kam Chancellor make up his all-time underrated list.

We’re about two weeks away from the start of Seahawks training camp, and Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has started a 15 days, 15 questions feature – counting down one question each day until the start of camp. In his first entry, Condotta clarifies 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin’s reported position switch from defensive end to strongside linebacker with comments from head coach Pete Carroll.

In the podcast below, Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” chat with Seahawks 2013 second-round draft pick running back Christine Michael about his draft process and acclimation to life in the NFL:

Tom Pelissero of USA Today outlines the NFL’s new padding requirements, which mandates all players wear thigh and knee pads. Several wide receivers, cornerbacks and more have chosen not to wear these pads in the past, but choosing to do so this season will not only result in a fine for the player, but NFL referees could also pull that player from the game.

The Seahawks have advanced to Round 3 in NFL.com personality Dave Dameshek’s bracket to determine the greatest uniform in League history. You can cast your vote for the Seahawks’ current digs here, as they square off against the current unis of the New Orleans Saints. Voting for Round 3 ends on Sunday, July 14 at 3 p.m. PT.

ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando has his daily look around the NFC West and will hold a SportsNation chat at 10 a.m. PT.

Sando also notes that quarterback Russell Wilson landed at No. 12 (there’s that number again…) on ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski’s rankings of the League’s 32 signal callers.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth delves into the connection between new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and his hand-picked defensive line coach Travis Jones.

Running back Marshawn Lynch’s Bay Area charity weekend kicks off today.

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin joined KPUG AM 1170 to talk about the 12 Tour Belingham in the podcast below:

Andy Prest of Vancouver, B.C.’s North Shore News also talks with Baldwin, as he previews his 12 Tour visit with our neighbors to the north. Baldwin lands in B.C. with defensive end Red Bryant and cornerback Richard Sherman on Saturday, July 13 for a full weekend of Seahawks-themed activities.

And Australia’s Queensland Maroons rugby squad recently hosted Seahawks 2013 fifth-round draft pick defensive tackle Jesse Williams – an Australia native – at a team scrimmage.


On this date: Steve Hutchinson, Koren Robinson selected in first round of draft

Steve Hutchinson

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on April 21:

1991: Quarterback Dan McGwire is selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. But he would start only five games in four seasons with the team.Koren Robinson

2001: Wide receiver Koren Robinson and guard Steve Hutchinson are selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. Hutchinson would be voted to three Pro Bowls in five seasons with the Seahawks, and team with Walter Jones on the left side of a line that paved the way for the club’s Super Bowl run in 2005. Robinson’s four-year stay with the team was highlighted by a 78-catch, 1,240-yard season in 2002.

2005: Linebacker Jamie Sharper, coming off back-to-back 100-tackle season with the Texans, is signed in free agency. He would start the first eight games during the team’s Super Bowl run before an injury ended his only season with the Seahawks.


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Steve Hutchinson announces his retirement

Steve Hutchinson

After 12 seasons, seven Pro Bowls, seven All-Pro selections and countless dominating blocks, Steve Hutchinson is calling it a career.

Hutchinson, who entered the NFL in 2001 as a first-round draft choice by the Seahawks, announced his retirement this morning on his Twitter account.

“Retiring today after a great run in the NFL,” he tweeted. “Want to thank the Seahawks, Vikings, Titans and their fans for the opportunity.”

And Hutchinson, 35, made the most of those opportunities. He was an overpowering blocker as the left guard during his five-season stay with the Seahawks, which concluded with a run to the Super Bowl in 2005. He teamed with left tackle Walter Jones to form the best side of any line in the league, as Hutchinson was voted to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Not surprisingly, Hutchinson also was voted to the Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team, as selected by readers of Seahawks.com.

“The strong, silent type,” Lofa Tatupu, the middle linebacker on the 35th Anniversary team, said of Hutchinson. “I don’t really know how to describe him – a man of few words, I guess. But his actions definitely spoke volumes; the way he played and the way he handled himself as a professional.”

After the 2005 season, Hutchinson signed an offer sheet with the Vikings that the Seahawks declined to match after giving him the transition tag rather than the franchise tag when he reached free agency.

The 6-foot-5, 313-pound Hutchinson was voted to four more Pro Bowls in his first four seasons with the Vikings, and also was named All-Pro in each of those seasons. He was released by the Vikings following the 2011 season and signed with the Titans, after also being recruited by the Seahawks.

Hutchinson spent only five seasons with the Seahawks, but remains the best guard in franchise history and one of the most memorable characters.

As Tatupu put it, “As a leader, he really helped command that O-line with all those vets. Hutch had that stare. You didn’t know how to be around him: Is he going to say hi? Or is he going to punch me?

“That’s what you loved about him. He was just a straight-forward man’s man. And, he’s a good dude.”


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On the date: Steve Hutchinson given transition tag

Steve Hutchinson

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 23:

2005: Tim Ruskell is named president of football operations. In the first draft under Ruskell, the Seahawks would select linebackers Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill.

2006: Pro Bowl guard Steve Hutchinson is given the transition tag rather than the franchise tag, a move that leads to him signing an offer sheet with the Vikings that the Seahawks decline to match. Hutchinson, the most-highly decorated guard in franchise history, had been voted to the Pro Bowl for three consecutive seasons (2003-05) and named All-Pro in 2003 and 2005.


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On this date: Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson help pave Pro Bowl way

Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson, Shaun Alexander

A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 13:

2005: Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, the left side of the Seahawks’ offensive line, help the NFC rush for 155 yards and a 5.7-yard average in the Pro Bowl but the AFC wins 38-27. Shaun Alexander also is on NFC squad, but does not play in the game.


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On this date: Joey Galloway traded for two first-round draft choices

Joey Galloway

A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 12:

2000: Joey Galloway is traded to the Cowboys for first-round draft choices in 2000 and 2001, picks the Seahawks use to select Shaun Alexander and Koren Robinson.

2003: John Marshall is hired as linebackers coach on Mike Holmgren’s staff.

2006: Matt Hasselbeck completes 10 of 17 passes for 85 yards as the NFC wins the Pro Bowl 23-17 in a defense-dominated game that features 10 turnovers and seven sacks. Lofa Tatupu has a team-high six tackles, as well as two more on special teams, while Walter Jones, Steve Hutchinson, Mack Strong and Robbie Tobeck help the NFC convert eight of 18 third-down situations and control the ball for 32 minutes.


On this date: Shaun Alexander scores three times in Pro Bowl

Shaun Alexander

A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Feb. 8:

2004: Shaun Alexander runs for 66 yards and two touchdowns and also scores on a 5-yard reception to help the NFC take a wild 55-52 victory in the Pro Bowl. Matt Hasselbeck (4 of 9 for 51 yards), Alex Bannister (one special teams tackle), Steve Hutchinson and Walter Jones also represent the Seahawks in the game.


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Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas named All-Pro

Richard Sherman

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. – The Seahawks have landed four players on the All-Pro team that is selected by the Associated Press, it was announced this morning.

There were two on offense – running back Marshawn Lynch and center Max Unger; and two on defense – cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas. This is the first time any of them have been selected All-Pro, but Lynch, Unger and Thomas were voted to the Pro Bowl last month.Marshawn Lynch

Sherman received 39 of a possible 50 votes, while Thomas got 28, Lynch 24 and Unger 16.

The Seahawks are in Georgia for tomorrow’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta.

The four-player contingent matches the largest in franchise history. In 2005, the season the Seahawks made their Super Bowl run, running back and league MVP Shaun Alexander, left guard Steve Hutchinson, left tackle Walter Jones and fullback Mack Strong made the All-Pro team. The 1984 team had three players selected – kicker Norm Johnson, nose tackle Joe Nash and strong safety Kenny Easley, with wide receiver Steve Largent and cornerback Dave Brown getting second-team honors.

Max Unger“That is taking individuals and saying they are the best in the NFL at that position and that’s what I wanted to be,” Sherman said. “The Pro Bowl is taking three from each side, it’s more of a popularity contest. The All-Pro, you’re the best at your position. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fifth-rounder or fourth-rounder or undrafted. If you play the best, you’re All-Pro.”

Unger took the opposite view, saying that the Pro Bowl means more because the squad is selected by other players and coaches in the league – as opposed to the media members who vote on the All-Pro team.

“To have other players say you’re the best at your position, that really means something,” Unger said, and then added with a smile, “But being named All-Pro is pretty cool, too.”

Unger, Thomas and Sherman are the first players in franchise history at their positions to be named first team All-Pro. Lynch joins Alexander as the only running back to be named first-team All-Pro, and Alexander also made the second team in 2004. Curt Warner was a second-team selection three times (1983, 1986 and 1987), while Chris Warren got second-team status twice (1994 and 1995).Earl Thomas

Jones holds the franchise record with four first-team selections (2001, 2004-05 and 2007), and he was a second-team pick in 2008. Defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy and Easley were named to the first team three times – 1992-94 for Kennedy, who also was a second-team selection 1996; 1983-85 for Easley. Largent made the second team four times (1978-79, 1984 and 1987).

You can find the entire All-Pro team here.


The never-ending stories

If the Seahawks are preparing for their 37th season, why are there still stories on Seahawks.com about members of the 35th Anniversary team?

Blame it on last year’s 136-day lockout.

After having readers vote to select the 35th Anniversary team, the plan was to write a story on each member of the prestigious squad last offseason. Then came the lockout, and team employees were not allowed to have contact with current players. So the stories on Matt Hasselbeck, Steve Hutchinson and Marcus Trufant were put on hold.

I actually called Trufant the day the lockout would kick in, but he was heading to a workout at a local gym and asked if I could call him back a couple of hours. Before I could do it, the lockout had begun.

Once the lockout ended, the pace of training camp was just too hectic to try and track them down – Hasselbeck in Tennessee; Hutchinson in Minnesota; and Trufant in, well, the locker room downstairs at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

So, the story on Hasselbeck currently is featured on the website, and also serves as a preview for Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Titans at CenturyLink Field. Hutchinson signed with the Titans in free agency in March. His story ran in late June, and you can read it here. Look for Trufant’s story next week.

Sorry for the delay, but hopefully you think the wait was with it.


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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.”