Is it football season yet?

Russell Wilson

Whether you spent our nation’s 237th birthday flinging off fireworks, manning the meat on your grill, stuffing yourself full of too much potato salad, or sucking down your favorite American brew, I sincerely hope that everyone had a very happy and very safe Independence Day.

But let’s be real. While yesterday did hold special meaning, it’s gone now. And all-in-all, it brought us one day closer to football season. We’re now sitting pretty at just 65 days remaining until the Seahawks kickoff the 2013 regular season on September 8 against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

So, as we do every Friday here at Seahawks.com to help us cope with life without football, here’s a detailed look at what’s going on next week, July 7-13, with your Seattle Seahawks:

Sunday, July 7:Richard Sherman

  • Cornerback Richard Sherman is set to host his celebrity softball game for charity at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium. Seahawks.com will be there bringing you video and social media coverage from the event and you can view a complete list of players and celebs attending here.

Monday, July 8:

  • Quarterback Russell Wilson’s Passing Academy finally makes it’s way to the state of Washington, stopping in Spokane for a two-day camp.
  • Seahawks.com’s Clare Farnsworth continues his 2013 positional preview series with a look at the club’s defensive backs. You can check out past features from Farnsworth here.

Tuesday, July 9:

  • The Seahawks 12 Tour officially kicks off with a visit to Anchorage, Alaska. Seahawks Vice President of Community Relations & Special Projects Mike Flood leads the charge along with kicker Steven Hauschka and long snapper Clint Gresham.
  • Defensive end Greg Scruggs starts day one of his four-day youth football camp in Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Day two of Wilson’s Passing Academy continues in Spokane, Wash.
  • Farnsworth’s 2013 preview series wraps up, as he highlights the team’s special teams unit.

Wednesday, July 10:

  • 12 Tour Alaska continues. From 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. our crew will take part in Camp Shriver Alaska at the Anchorage Dome – a Special Olympics Alaska event that provides sports training for high school and middle school students.
  • Day two of Scruggs’ youth camp continues in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Thursday, July 11:Doug Baldwin

  • A second-leg of the 12 Tour ramps up – this one in Bellingham, Wash. featuring wide receiver Doug Baldwin and defensive end Red Bryant. Baldwin and Bryant will start the day with an autograph session at 11 a.m. at the Outlet Shoppes at Burlington. At 5 p.m., the wideout-D-line duo will join Seahawks digital media host Tony Ventrella at Bellingham’s Lakeway Inn for a fan forum event.
  • 12 Tour Alaska hosts a Play 60 challenge from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Alaska’s AT&T Sports Center.
  • Day three of Scruggs’ youth camp continues in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Friday, July 12:

  • The 12 Tour moves from Bellingham, Wash. to Vancouver, B.C., as Baldwin and Bryant are joined by Sherman north of the border. Click here for a detailed day-by-day rundown of the weekend’s events in BC.
  • Scruggs’ youth camp finishes up in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Saturday, July 13:


Is it football season yet?

Red Bryant

Happy Summer Solstice, Seahawks fans.

But wait, hold on. Did you know that while your calendars mark today – Friday, June 21 – as the first official day of summer, those of us on the West Coast actually made the jump from spring to summer late Thursday night? The change of season occurred at 1:04 a.m. ET – that’s 10:04 p.m. PT. So technically, those of us here on the left side of the states were finally able to experience something before our east coast friends. Take that little tidbit to whatever weekend gathering you’ve got on deck.

Now, let’s get to some football – sort of. As defensive end Red Bryant lets you know in our graphic above, there are just 79 days until the Seahawks kickoff the 2013 regular season against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. And to help us cope with life without football, here’s a detailed look at what’s going on next week, June 23-28, with your Seattle Seahawks:

Sunday, June 23:

Monday, June 24:

  • The 16th annual Rookie Symposium starts up in Aurora, Ohio, where all 254 members of the 2013 NFL Draft class will report to learn about life in the NFL prior to training camp starting up in late July. AFC rookies are scheduled to report June 23-26 with NFC rookies following suit June 26-29.
  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled to workout at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
  • Our resident reporter Clare Farnsworth will start up a well-deserved and hard-earned three-week vacation. But the football-content-starved fear not, as Farnsworth has graciously left us with a slew of stories previewing the upcoming season to run in his absence. First up is part one of his nine-part positional series with a look at the club’s quarterbacks – namely, second-year signal caller Russell Wilson.

Tuesday, June 25:

  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled to workout at VMAC.
  • Farnsworth’s positional series continues with a look at the running back group.
  • Wilson’s Passing Academy changes venues, as he hosts day one of his two-day camp in Raleigh, N.C.

Wednesday, June 26:

  • Seahawks rookies are scheduled for their final workout at VMAC before training camp – their pre-training-camp break begins shortly thereafter.
  • Farnsworth will highlight the club’s wide receivers in his positional series.
  • Wilson’s Passing Academy continues in Raleigh, N.C.

Thursday, June 27:

  • Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner celebrates his 23rd birthday. Be sure to wish last year’s AP Defensive Rookie of the Year runner-up a happy birthday on Twitter @Bwagz54.
  • The first of nine Gatorade Junior Training Camps takes place at Cedar River Park in Renton, Wash.
  • Farnsworth will take a break from the positional series on this “Throwback Thursday” – chronicling cornerback Richard Sherman’s time as a track star at Dominguez High School in Compton, Calif.

Friday, June 28:

  • Free safety Earl Thomas kicks off his football camp for kids in Orange, Texas.
  • Second-year cornerback DeShawn Shead salutes his 25th birthday – you can wish Shead happy-quarter-of-a-century on Twitter @dshead24.
  • Farnsworth’s positional series kicks back up with a look at the team’s tight ends.

Saturday, June 29:

  • Thomas’ camp continues in Texas, Wilson’s Passing Academy makes it way to Madison, Wis. and defensive end Cliff Avril hosts his inaugural youth football camp in Green Cove Springs, Fla.
  • Kicker Steven Hauschka celebrates his 28th birthday.

Thursday round-up: Future Power Rankings; Seahawks NFL’s best defense?

The Seahawks partnered with the Microsoft Corporation to create a one week job shadowing program where left tackle Russell Okung, defensive end Gregg Scruggs, kicker Steven Hauschka, long snapper Clint Gresham & former Seahawk wide receiver Ben Obomanu were matched with Microsoft Finance & Research Managers

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Thursday, June 20, about your Seattle Seahawks:Cliff Avril

ESPN.com has rolled out their NFL Future Power Rankings, an exercise measuring the confidence their site’s experts (Herm Edwards, Mel Kiper, Mike Sando, Gary Horton, Matt Williamson, Field Yates, and former NFL GM Bill Polian) has in each club as they project three seasons ahead. The ranking takes into account the quality of the team’s roster, the quality of it’s quarterback, the quality of the 2012 draft class, the ability of the team’s front office, and the capability of a team’s coaching staff. It’s an ESPN Insider feature, so a subscription is required to view the full piece, but here’s a sampling of what was said about the Seahawks, who ranked at No. 3 (up from No. 21 in last year’s Future Rankings) behind the Green Bay Packers (No. 2) and San Francisco 49ers (No. 1), “GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have very quickly drafted a contender in Seattle. The emergence of Wilson as a dynamic player and leader has exponentially improved this club. The defense loses coordinator Gus Bradley but in essence Pete’s fingerprints are all over this group anyway. And a good group it is. The addition of Cliff Avril at a low price was one of the best free-agent pickups of the year. Avril and Irvin provide an outstanding tandem of pass-rushers.” – Polian

Several contributors over at NFL.com position the Seahawks as the League’s best defense.

NFL.com Around the League writer Gregg Rosenthal ranks the top 25 edge rushers in the NFL today, and second-year defensive end Bruce Irvin makes the list at No. 12. Rosenthal lists Avril as having “just missed” his top 25.

Russell WilsonNFC West blogger Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a chart breaking down NFL quarterbacks that have produced games with a QBR of 90+ from 2010-12. Perhaps not surprisingly, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tops the list, totaling 14 games with a 90+ QBR in 46 starts from 2010-12, but it’s Wilson who stands out on Sando’s list with five 90+ QBR games last season alone.

Sando also has his daily look around the NFC West and his Wednesday SportsNation chat transcript can be found here.

Dick Fain, on Sports Radio 950 KJR AM’s “Mitch in the Morning” show, chats with Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon about what he saw from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson through the team’s Offseason Program and what to expect from the club in the 2013 season. We have the podcast for you below:

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth talks with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn about backup players stepping up.

Punter Jon Ryan is hosting a charity golf tournament today in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Free safety Chris Maragos, tight end Sean McGrath, kicker Steven Hauschka and long snapper Clint Gresham will also be in attendance.

And by way of NFL Network’s NFL AM, NFL Chief Security Officer Jeff Miller adds some clarity to the League’s new bag rule.


Jon Ryan to host charity golf tournament & kicking camp north of the border

Jon Ryan

A couple of summer activities that slipped under our radar in last week’s blog post on the Seahawks 12 Tour and related player-driven football camps around the nation come from Seahawks punter Jon Ryan, who will host a charity golf tournament and kicking camp north of the border this week in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

For the sixth-year Seahawk Ryan, a native of Regina, SK, his inaugural golf tournament takes place tomorrow, June 20, at Regina’s Wascana Golf & Country Club. The event supports the Bob Ryan Scholarship Foundation – a fund Ryan and his brother Steve set up in their father’s name. The foundation offers financial aid to student athletes playing for the University of Regina Rams Football Club – Ryan’s alma mater – and also helps those in need of cancer care and treatment at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre.

Ryan will be joined at tomorrow’s tournament by fellow Seahawks in free safety Chris Maragos, tight end Sean McGrath, kicker Steven Hauschka, and long snapper Clint Gresham, as well as former Seahawks kicker Jeff Reed and stars from the Canadian Football League (CFL). For Ryan, the golf classic preludes his Saturday kicking camp to be held at the University of Regina’s Rams Field.

So if you’re strolling around the prairie province this week, Ryan encourages you to stop by and say hello to some of your Seahawks, as they enjoy what’s left of their five week break prior to the start of training camp in late July.


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12 Tour headlines summer of Seahawks activities & youth football camps

12 Tour

Yesterday, the Seahawks announced a schedule of summer activities dedicated to the 12th Man across the Pacific Northwest.

Showcasing that summer schedule is the Seahawks 12 Tour – when wide receiver Doug Baldwin, defensive end Red Bryant, kicker Steven Hauschka, long snapper Clint Gresham and cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman will make stops across the states Washington and Alaska, as well as Vancouver B.C. In conjunction with Washington Tourism Alliance, the Seahawks players will be joined by members of the Sea Gals, team mascot Blitz, and Seahawks fan development staff as they host fan forums, make community appearances and participate in area football camps for youth at each stop.

The tour’s first stop is in Anchorage, Alaska with Hauschka and Gresham (July 9-14) and from there it’s on to Bellingham, Wash. (July 11-12) and Vancouver, B.C. (July 13-15) with Baldwin and Bryant. The tour will wrap-up with the cornerback-half of the “Legion of Boom” – Browner and Sherman – traveling to Kennewick (July 18-19) and Vancouver, Wash. (July 19-21).

Doug Baldwin“I wanted to be able to do it again because I had so much fun doing it before and meeting all different kinds of people,” said Baldwin, who participated in last year’s 12 Tour. “First and foremost, you get to connect with the fans and get to see that side of the game. It’s always interesting, but it’s also inspiring because you’ve got all of these people that are cheering you on. It kind of builds us up and gives us that extra energy and extra drive.”

Baldwin has never traveled to Bellingham or Vancouver, B.C., so he’s looking forward to connecting with the local community and fans in a setting outside of CenturyLink Field.

“Seeing them outside of the football field will be a great chance to interact with them,” Baldwin said. “It was just fascinating, because as dedicated as we are to our craft, we met tons of people last year who are just as dedicated to cheering us on every Sunday. It’s an awesome experience.”

Minicamp may have wrapped yesterday and training camp is still over a month out, but Baldwin’s football fun at Virginia Mason Athletic Center isn’t over just yet. Tomorrow, he’ll take part in the Seahawks All-Pro Varsity Skills Camp with youth ages 9-14, coaching up kids who eventually hope to play ball at the high school level.

And if you’re a loyal-12 looking for some Seahawks-love outside of the Pacific Northwest, here’s a look at several other Seahawks-player-driven football camps that may be in your area:


May the 4th be with you… always.

May the 4th be with you

It is May 4th and as appropriate on this day, dare we say … May the 4th be with you! To spell it out for the percentage of us born after the rest of us discovered (for the second time) that Anakin Skywalker was, in fact (SPOILER ALERT), Darth Vader, this phrase is a play on words to the Jedi credo (not to be confused with Greedo – RIP): “May the force be with you” as made popular by the Star Wars films.

That all being said, Happy Star Wars Day, 12s!

Don’t believe that this is a galaxy-wide holiday for most of us (except  for maybe the Empire as evidenced in this attack ad)? Find out more information at the official website of Star Wars Day: http://maythe4th.starwars.com

If it isn’t already obvious, we here at Seahawks.com are Red Bryant-sized fans of all five episodes (we’re still trying to erase the memory of that Binks character from Episode I). And we’re not alone in our nerdom…

And then there’s this photo essay from NFL.com likening NFL players to Star Wars characters …

NFL.com

Richard Sherman as Boba Fett: First things first … Boba Fett didn’t die in the mouth of the Sarlacc. Tortured? Yes. But he does escape. (And this better be addressed in Episode VII, so help me.) But when I think of Fett as an NFL player, I can’t help but think of Richard Sherman. Both are trash talkers and always seem to get their man. Fett was an unexpected hero of the Star Wars universe (which George Lucas realized and is why Jango Fett and his son have such a huge storyline in “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones”). And likewise, Sherman is becoming one of the most famous (infamous?) players in the NFL.

So, in the spirit of this galactic holiday, we created the graphic at the top of this page to help 12s celebrate with us on Instagram. But like the elder Skywalker, (and apparently the NFL) once we started down this dark path we simply couldn’t help ourselves …

How many of these 12 references can you guess? Perfect 12 equals Jedi Master:

May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you
May the 4th be with you

To end as all episodes end…


Steven Hauschka re-signs with Seahawks

Steven Hauschka

Kicker Steven Hauschka, who became an unrestricted free agent last month, has re-signed with the Seahawks, the team announced today.

In two seasons with the team, Hauschka has scored 227 points by converting 49 of 57 field goals (86 percent) and 80 of 82 PATs. Last season, he was perfect on 23 field-goal attempts from 49 yards or closer and also had a 52-yarder. Two of his three misses came from 61 and 51 yards, while a 50-yarder was blocked.

Hauschka, 27, joined the team in 2011, when he was claimed after being waived by the Broncos on their final roster cut – and kicking a 51-yard field in Denver’s 23-20 preseason victory over the Seahawks.

During that first season with the Seahawks, Hauschka kicked a field goal in each of the final 12 games to tie the franchise consecutive-streak record that was set by Todd Peterson in 1997-98. He also had a club record-tying five field goals in a 22-17 upset of the Ravens.

Last season, Hauschka ran his streak of consecutive games with at least one field goal to a franchise record 14 before not attempting one in the Week 3 upset of the Packers.

Hauschka was placed on injured reserve in January after injuring a calf muscle in the wild-card playoff victory over the Redskins, so he did not participate in the divisional-round loss to the Falcons the following week.


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Russell Wilson surprises Timberline’s David Padilla

Russell Wilson, David Padilla

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

Meg Wochnick of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps a Russell Wilson visit to Seattle Children’s Hospital, where Wilson met with 17-year-old cancer patient David Padilla, a senior baseball standout at Timberline High School, “Wilson, less than 48 hours removed from Sunday’s 30-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in an NFC divisional playoff game, spent almost an hour talking with Padilla and also autographing a handful of items for him, including a football and a photo. ‘He was busy,’ said Kari Padilla, David’s mother. They talked about everything from Padilla’s battle with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, to their love of baseball.”

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at the Seahawks defense and the struggles they had closing out several games this season, “You can’t say that Seattle’s defense was bad this year. The Seahawks allowed the fewest points in the league. They went two straight road games without allowing the opposing offense to score a touchdown, and they weren’t entirely unable to finish out games. The Patriots got the ball back with more than twice as much time as Atlanta had Sunday, and the Seahawks closed Tom Brady and his New England teammates out in four plays. Seattle had strong second-half showings against Minnesota and Buffalo, too. But those four blown saves were enough to constitute a trend that is fairly alarming. It wasn’t just that Seattle allowed points late, but the shockingly improbable ways it found to cough up the lead. … ‘I’m not worried about figuring it out,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s just a snap here or there, but it did happen this year. You can’t ignore that.’ “

O’Neil passes along a transcript of his “Hawk Talk” chat here.

O’Neil also comments on the future of quarterback Matt Flynn, “…while you could make a case that Flynn is one of the best backup quarterbacks in the entire league, he might not be the best backup quarterback for Seattle. He is a quarterback whose biggest asset is timing and anticipation while Wilson is someone with a plus-arm by NFL standards and exceptional mobility. In that regard, Seattle might be better finding a backup quarterback who is capable of running some of the option plays Seattle has as opposed to a more accomplished passer like Flynn. Carroll was asked, specifically, if it was important to find a backup with traits similar to Wilson’s. ‘It’s a good point and we’ve talked a lot about that,’ Carroll said. ‘It would be nice to have another guy who might be able to be a factor in that way. There’s some really good kids out there. We’ll see.’ “

Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” discuss whether or not opposing defenses will catch up to the Seahawks’ use of the read-option with quarterback Russell Wilson in this short video.

Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” discuss who on the defensive side of the football can match Wilson’s level of leadership in this short video.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who coached Russell Wilson in his one season at Wisconsin, chats with 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” on what the future holds for the young quarterback.

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has a close look at five key players who will be unrestricted free agents this offseason, including defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Leroy Hill, cornerback Marcus Trufant, kicker Steven Hauschka, and defensive tackle Jason Jones.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “silver linings” from Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Atlanta Falcons, “Quarterback Russell Wilson completed 24 of 36 passes for 385 yards and two touchdowns. He also had seven rushing attempts for 60 yards and a touchdown. Wilson set an NFL rookie record for passing yardage in a playoff game. He became the first player in NFL history with at least 385 yards passing and 60 yards rushing in a postseason game. Wilson’s performance established him even more firmly as a franchise quarterback and one of the best young players in the NFL.”

Sando also has a look at Wilson’s potential path to the Pro Bowl next weekend in Honolulu, Hawaii, “Aaron Rodgers’ withdrawal from the Pro Bowl moves Seattle Seahwaks rookie Russell Wilson one step closer to playing in the game. Wilson was the third alternate for the annual all-star game. Rodgers, Robert Griffin III and Matt Ryan were the three quarterbacks named to the NFC roster. Griffin is already out while recovering from knee surgery. Ryan would be out if his Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl. Drew Brees was named to the game as the first alternate. Eli Manning was the second alternate. Wilson would be named to the NFC roster if Ryan were in the Super Bowl or if one of the other alternates skipped the game.”

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has released his first mock draft of 2013 and has the Seahawks selecting 6-foot-3, 358-pound defensive tackle John Jenkins out of Georgia with the No. 25 pick in the first round, “Analysis: John Schneider and Pete Carroll showed great instincts in the 2012 draft, adding players they felt could help them immediately, even as analysts (myself included) questioned slot value. The defense was very good this past season, but I think an interior defender who can occupy blockers, occasionally penetrate and even wreck the pocket from the inside is a need. Jenkins was a little uneven at times in 2012, but has the upside of an impact interior lineman.”


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Honor roll from a season when Seahawks got on quite a roll

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Seahawks.com hands out its honors from the team’s 11-5 regular season and split of two games in the postseason:

MVP: Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. How can pick one over the other? How can you pick one or the other? We couldn’t, so the Beast Mode running back and steady-as-he-throws rookie QB share the honor, just as they shared the workload. There’s an entire story’s worth of thought process that went into this decision.Max Unger

Best offensive player: Max Unger. It could go to Lynch or Wilson, obviously. But this is a share-the-credit selection, since both Lynch and Wilson were always quick to credit the line for its part their accomplishments. Unger, in his second season as the starting center, anchored that line and was voted All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl. “He’s right all the time,” offensive line coach Tom Cable said. “I think to do this the consistency thing comes into play here. You’ve got to do it running the ball and protecting your quarterback down after down, and Max has done that.”

Best defensive player: Richard Sherman. Only strong safety Kam Chancellor (.975) and free safety Earl Thomas (.958) played a higher percentage of snaps than Sherman (.948), but no one made more plays than the second-year cornerback. He led the team, and tied for second in the NFL, with eight interceptions. He also had 24 passes defensed, almost three times as many as Thomas (nine), who finished second on the team. Richard Sherman, Heath FarwellSomehow snubbed when it came to voting for the Pro Bowl, Sherman was selected to the All-Pro team. If enough people were paying attention, he also should get some consideration for NFL Defensive Player of the Year – an award that is expected to be a slam-dunk for the Texans’ J.J. Watt. And Sherman saved one of his best efforts for the biggest stage – Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Falcons. “I thought he had a fantastic football game,” coach Pete Carroll said. “They went after him. They challenged him. And I thought he was incredible.”

Best special teams player: Heath Farwell. Again, this was not an easy choice. And asking special teams coordinator Brian Schneider for help didn’t help at all, because so many of his players made special contributions. From Jon Ryan, who broke his own club record for net average (40.8) and was among the league leaders with 30 punts downed inside the 20; to kicker Steven Hauschka, who was 23 of 23 from inside the 50; to Leon Washington, who was voted to the Pro Bowl and returned the eighth kickoff of his career for a TD to tie the NFL record; to Michael Robinson, who was second to Farwell in coverage tackles (10); to Malcolm Smith, who scored off a muffed punt return and blocked a punt that was returned for a score. But for Schneider, it was all about the consistency with his units and no one was more consistent than Farwell, who had 15 coverage tackles to go with the league-high 21 he produced last season.

Bobby WagnerOffensive rookie of the year: Wilson, for all the obvious reasons and even more that weren’t that obvious.

Defensive rookie of the year: Bobby Wagner. While first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin led all NFL rookies with eight sacks, Wagner led the team, and finished second among all rookies in the league, with 140 tackles during the regular season and 17 during the postseason. The second-round draft choice also produced four interceptions and two sacks from his middle linebacker spot. The best part of everything that Wagner did? His attitude. “I’m the middle linebacker,” he said. “I’m supposed to make a lot of tackles.”

Free-agent addition of the year: Zach Miller. Yes, he was signed in free agency the previous year. But his contributions this season came much closer to displaying just how versatile – and good – a tight end Miller is. He’s a rock-solid blocker and also finished third on the team with 38receptions and tied for second with three TD catches. But it was Miller’s over-the-top efforts against the Falcons that forced the turn-back-the-clock tweak in this category: eight catches for 142 yards. All after he tore the plantar fascia in his left foot on the Seahawks’ first possession. “Zach had a terrific season for us,” Carroll said. “But in this game, when he had the opportunities, boy, he cashed in on all of them.”

Chris Gray Award: Paul McQuistan. Who better to win this than this generation’s Chris Gray? Gray was a warrior of a lineman who started a club-record 121 consecutive games from 1999-2006, after being signed to fill a backup role. That’s the same path McQuistan has followed. Signed to a future contract in January of 2011, he started a career-high 10 games last season and 16 this season – nine at right guard and seven at left guard, where he also started both postseason games. “He’s kind of our glue, that’s the way I look at him,” Cable said. “Paul has been so valuable. He has played multiple positions the last two years. He never misses a beat. It’s just that his wisdom and experience are so valuable for those young guys in there. So he truly has been the glue in that room, without a doubt.”

Best trend: Going 8-0 at home. This season’s team did it, joining the 2003 and 2005 teams as the only ones in franchise history to do it. Along the way, the Seahawks dispatched the Packers and Patriots, who went on to win their divisions, as well as the playoff-bound Vikings. They also avenged road losses to each of their NFC West rivals – beating the 49ers, Rams and Cardinals by a combined 94 points in the final month of the regular season after losing to them by a combined 17 points in the first seven weeks of the season. Think how different things might have turned out if the Seahawks had been able to play at CenturyLink Field in the postseason. Carroll has. “That’s why you own your division, so you can be positioned to play at home,” he said. “That’s what’s at hand, that’s the goal of this program – it’s to win the division so that you can start the playoffs where you want to, and try to keep it there.”

Worst trend: The inability to hold fourth-quarter leads. As well as the defense played – and that was ranked-No. 4-in-the NFL well – it allowed the Lions, Dolphins and finally Falcons to drive to game-winning scores after the Seahawks taken fourth-quarter leads. The Bears tied the score at the end of regulation, but the offense won that game in overtime. Win a couple of those other games and the Seahawks would have captured the division and opened the postseason at home. “That’s an issue, just finishing it off on that last drive,” Carroll said. “There are four games sitting right there. That’s a big-time season. But I’m not worried about figuring that out. It’s just a snap here or there. But it happened this year and you can’t ignore that.”

Best quote: This one is actually a remark incumbent starter, and since traded, Tarvaris Jackson made last spring – way before the fact, and way before Wilson became the talk of the NFL: “Russell, he’s not like a regular rookie.”


Wednesday in Hawkville: Ryan Longwell, Patrick Chukwurah relish joining team for playoff run

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 9:

Ryan Longwell

FOCUS ON

The new guys. That would be kicker Ryan Longwell and defensive end Patrick Chukwurah, who were signed today to replace the injured duo of Steven Hauschka and Chris Clemons.

That these two are joining the Seahawks as they’re preparing for Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta only heightens the storybook nature of their returns to the NFL. Longwell last kicked in league in 2011 for the Vikings, while Chukwurah hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2007 with the Buccaneers.

Longwell is here because Hauschka strained a calf in the wild-card win over the Redskins on Sunday and would not have been able to kick off against the Falcons. Chukwurah was signed because Clemons will need surgery to repair the ligament and meniscus he tore in his left knee in that game. Each was signed after going through a workout on Tuesday, and Hauschka and Clemons were placed on injured reserve to clear roster spots.

For Longwell, it’s a homecoming. He was born in Seattle, grew up in Puyallup and fondly remembers going to Seahawks game at the Kingdome with his grandfather – before his family moved to Bend, Ore., when he was in the ninth grade.

“It’s an awesome opportunity and I feel really blessed to be here,” said Longwell, who also kicked for the Packers (1997-2005) before joining the Vikings in 2006. “It’s kind of an honor to put on the helmet that you grew up watching.”

What had Longwell be up to? “To be dead honest with you, my wife was probably the happiest person that I got called into work,” he said. “Because we were actually training all fall for the Disney Marathon this Sunday. Got her out of that, and got me out of it, too.”

Patrick Chukwurah

For the Nigerian-born Chukwurah, he figured a return to the NFL was out of the question after he had played two seasons in the UFL and was out of the football the past three seasons.

“It’s pretty much one of those stories you don’t think will ever happen,” said Chukwurah, who had played for the Vikings (2001-02) and Broncos (2003-06) before going to the Bucs. “I was at home, working from home, and I just got a call from my agent and he was like, ‘Hey, you want to go to Seattle and play for a couple of weeks?’ I’m like, ‘No, you’re not serious.’

“So I just came here with the mindset if this this is going to be my last shot, just to give it all I’ve got and leave it out there.”

Longwell will handle all the kicking chores against the Falcons, but coach Pete Carroll said he wasn’t sure what Chukwurah’s role would be on Sunday. In addition to playing defensive end, he’s also a special teams player.

Whatever comes his way, Chukwurah plans to be prepared as well as ready.

“To me, it’s a blessing,” he said. “I never would have thought this would happen. The fact that it’s happened, and it’s happened so fast, you’ve got to take it in stride and just be grateful that you get an opportunity and make the best of it.”

OPPONENT WATCH

Tony Gonzalez. What more can be said about the most-productive tight end in NFL history? In his 16th NFL season, and fourth with the Falcons, Gonzalez caught 93 passes for 930 yards and eight touchdowns.

Falcons coach Mike Smith got his turn to sing the praises of Gonzalez today during a conference-call interview.

“Tony has beaten father time,” Smith said. “To watch this guy, at his age (36), perform how he has performed this year and the three previous years, he’s been a great mentor to all of our young guys on our team. Not just the offensive players.

“Tony has got an outstanding work ethic. Probably nobody works harder than he does in taking care of his body and working on the fine points of the skillset that it takes to play the tight end position. And I think that’s the thing that most of our guys have taken from Tony. He’s one of the first guys out there, and he’s going to make sure that he’s catching balls. And now everybody is out there catching balls early and in between drills. Defensive linemen are out there early hitting the sled. And I think a lot of that has to do with watching Tony Gonzalez and the success that he’s had.”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Did not practice

S Jeron Johnson (hamstring)

RB Marshawn Lynch (foot)

CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)

That’s it. Everyone else participated in the session that was held in the indoor practice facility. And Lynch, Johnson and Maxwell sat out to rest injuries that have sidelined them at times during practice in previous weeks.

For the Falcons:

Did not practice

CB Christopher Owens (hamstring)

S Charles Mitchell (calf)

Limited participation

S William Moore (hamstring)

DE John Abraham (ankle)

Full participation

CB Dunta Robinson (head)

The Falcons used their bye week to self-scout practice, but also to heal up.

“I think it was good for our guys,” quarterback Matt Ryan said during a conference-call interview. “Every team has guys that are nicked up at this point of the year. For us to get a chance to get those guys some rest and to get them a little bit healthier is good for us. I think one of the good things that Coach Smith does, that he did this past week, was we were in here the entire week. We were working and staying in that rhythm and I think that’s helped us.”

PARCTICE SQUAD MOVE

Defensive tackle Myles Wade was signed to the practice squad. To clear a spot, defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga was released.

The 6-foot-1, 300-pound Wade, a rookie from Portland State, was with the Buccaneers during training camp.

 

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks already have faced four players who finished among the Top 5 in the NFL in receptions. Now comes the Falcons’ trio of Gonzalez (No. 9) and wide receivers Roddy White (tied for 10th) and Julio Jones (tied for 18th). Here’s a look at how the other top-ranked receivers did against the Seahawks, their season totals and their averages against the rest of the league:

Calvin Johnson, Lions

                                             No.   Yards

Season                               122    1,964

Vs. Seahawks                        3          46

Avg. vs. rest of NFL           7.9    127.9

Brandon Marshall, Bears

                                             No.   Yards

Season                               118    1,508

Vs. Seahawks                      10       165

Avg. vs. rest of NFL           7.2      89.5

Wes Welker, Patriots

                                              No.    Yards

Season                                118     1,354

Vs. Seahawks                       10        138

Avg. vs. rest of NFL            7.2        81.1

Jason Witten, Cowboys

                                               No.   Yards

Season                                  110   1,039

Vs. Seahawks                           4         58

Avg. vs. rest of NFL              7.1      65.4

UP NEXT

“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to prepare for Sunday’s game against the Falcons.

YOU DON’T SAY

“He’s playing his style. Has he crossed the line? I don’t think so. He’s hanging on that line at times. But that’s who he is. Our guys respect Richard Sherman. They know whatever he might put out there he can back up. And he’s done that.” – Carroll when asked about the second-year cornerback “crossing the line” with his physical style of play