A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 10, when the Seahawks opened their three-day rookie minicamp:
Luke Willson. Oh Canada, indeed. The Seahawks selected the tight end who found his way to Rice University from LaSalle, Ontario, in the fifth round of the NFL Draft because of what his speed might be able to deliver to any already loaded offense.
During the first practice of the team’s three-day minicamp, Willson delivered. And then some.
“He jumped out today. Luke had a very good first day for us,” coach Pete Carroll said after a two-hour practice that was held along the shores of Lake Washington and in 80-degree weather.
“That was probably the brightest spot that you could really see a guy jump out today.”
Not to mention take off, which the 6-foot-5, 252-pound Willson did after taking a pass along the sideline and outrunning defensive backs who are much smaller to the end zone.
“He has really good speed, and it showed up, which is cool to see that on the practice field first day out,” Carroll said.
The right side of the No. 1 offensive line. It was manned by the three linemen who were selected in the seventh round of the draft – Jared Smith at center, Ryan Seymour at guard and Michael Bowie at tackle.
Smith, remember, was a defensive lineman at New Hampshire. As they did with J.R. Sweezy last year, the Seahawks selected Smith with the intention of moving him to offense and line coach Tom Cable has Smith working at center to start with.
“We put him there right from the start to take a look and see if we can utilize his quickness,” Carroll said. “He’s really quick for the offensive side of the ball. He’s got to learn a lot anyway, so stick him in there and make him snap it. He did fine today. He did just fine today for the first time out.”
Carroll used the term “Sweezy-ratio” while referring to Cable’s latest project.
“It’s going to be one of these things where we see if he can stay up with what Sweez did,” Carroll said. “We’re excited about this, though. We’re very fortunate that we found another guy that we can kind of take forward in a similar fashion.”
If only Smith can take it forward in a similar fashion, because last season Sweezy started the final two regular-season games and both playoff games at right guard as a rookie.
FIFTEEN ROOKIES SIGNED
Before the players took to the practice field, 15 rookies signed multi-year contracts – including seven of the team’s 11 draft choices and eight players who agreed to terms after the NFL Draft.
Draft picks signed: DT Jordan Hill (third round), WR Chris Harper (fourth), DT Jesse Williams (fifth), Willson, Seymour, LB Ty Powell (seventh) and Smith.
Rookie free agents signed: WR Matt Austin, OT Alvin Bailey, DE Kenneth Boatright, LB Ramon Buchanan, LB John Lotulelei, S Ray Polk, OG Jordon Roussos and LB Craig Wilkins.
TRYING TO CATCH ON
Among the 67 players at this minicamp are 38 who are here on a tryout basis.
Quarterbacks (2): Murray State’s Casey Brockman, McMurray University’s Jake Mullin
Wide receivers (5): North Carolina State’s Owen Spencer, Idaho’s Justin Veltung, Montana’s Gerald Kemp, Mississippi State’s Arceto Clark, St. Francis’ Austin Coleman
Running backs (1): South Florida’s Darrell Scott
Tight ends (2): University of British Columbia’s Victor Marshall; former pro basketball player Darren Fells, who was released on Wednesday
Offensive linemen (6): West Virginia center/guard Josh Jenkins, Harvard guard John Collins, North Carolina State center Zach Allen, Temple guard Pat Boyle, Washington tackle Drew Schaefer, Minnesota-Duluth tackle Jake Bscherer
Defensive linemen (8): Citadel end Chris Billingslea, Bethune-Cookman tackle Harold Love, Idaho end Benson Mayowa, St. Thomas end Ayo Idowu, Oregon State tackle Andrew Seumalo, Richmond tackle Martin Parker, LSU end Chancey Aghayere, Arkansas end Dequinta Jones
Linebacker (3): North Greenville’s Jonathan Sharpe, Ball State’s Rob Eddins, Oklahoma’s Jaydan Bird
Defensive backs (8): Lincoln cornerback O’Hara Fluellen, BYU cornerback Preston Hadley, Boston College cornerback Jim Noel, Ohio State safety Donald Washington, USC safety Drew McAllister, Texas A&M safety Steve Campbell, Middle Tennessee safety JaJuan Harley, Memphis safety Akeem Davis
Kickers (2): SMU’s Matt Szymanski, Portland State’s Zach Ramirez
Snapper (1): Florida State’s Dax Dallenbach
HEY, AREN’T YOU?
Quarterback Jerrod Johnson isn’t the only player at this camp who has previous experience with an NFL team.
Also on hand: kicker Carson Wiggs, wide receiver Phil Bates, cornerback Chandler Fenner, running back Derrick Coleman, linebacker Kyle Knox, tight end Cooper Helfet, linebacker Korey Toomer and defensive tackle Myles Wade.
While Johnson has been in training camps with the Eagles and Steelers, the other eight were with the Seahawks in training camp last summer and/or spent time on the practice squad last season.
QUITE THE HALL
Cortez Kennedy, Max Unger and Sandy Gregory were inducted into the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame during a luncheon ceremony today.
Kennedy, an eight-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, is the most-decorated defensive player in franchise history and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. Unger, a second-round draft choice in 2009 out of the University of Oregon, was selected the All-Pro center last season and also played in his first Pro Bowl. Gregory is the last of the Seahawks’ original employees, having joined the franchise on March 1, 1976.
The players will practice again on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and then conclude the minicamp with an 11:30 a.m. practice on Sunday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Right now, what I’m hoping is that they try really hard and they work hard at studying and they show us kind of what their natural way is. We told them we’re looking for the competitiveness, and show us that first. They’re not going to do their assignments all right. They’re not going to be technique sound. But to show us they have real good spirit about them and goodwill about them and can be competitive on a football team, that’s most important.” – Carroll on what he’s looking for from this three-day camp
This past weekend, 20 coaches from various backgrounds and levels of experience gathered at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for the seventh annual Seahawks High School Coaches Academy.
North Kitsap High School assistant football coach Jerry Parrish – father of current Seahawks college scouting coordinator Kirk Parrish – was one of the conference’s attendees. For the elder Parrish, it was his seventh stint participating in the program.
“I’ve been there all seven years,” Parrish said. “It’s been better every year.”
That’s quite the endorsement for the academy, especially coming from a man who will enter his 40th season in coaching this fall. Parrish was the longtime head coach at North Kitsap and retired for just one year before returning to the school as an assistant.
“It’s been very refreshing to go around the table and listen to some of the topics we’ve assigned and also how different coaches handle problems or concerns in different manners,” Parrish said. “Part of the criteria when we set it up was to have at least two first-year coaches, and then probably 10 or 12 coaches that have been around for 6-10 years, and then about five or six of us who have been around for more than that. So we can kind of get a different view of the concerns that we each have.”
Parrish acted as a pseudo-moderator for this year’s conference, as the group discussed topics ranging from how technology can improve their approach to coaching, equipment and safety issues, practice structure, team building exercises, the role social media plays in the current era of athletes, and ways to work with an athlete’s parents.
Taking part in this year’s conference from the Seahawks coaching staff was assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable, who himself was a 1982 graduate of nearby Snohomish High School. Cable joined head coach Pete Carroll, former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and secondary coach Rocky Seto as the club’s coaches who have appeared at the event since Carroll and general manager John Schneider took the reins in 2010.
“The thing that really came through to all of us was that competition really seems to be the guideline that coach Carroll and the coaching staff, and everybody on the Seahawks team, has really benefited from,” Parrish said of Cable’s talk to the group. “They used the term ‘attitude’ that the coaches brought and inserted it in a very positive manner.”
On top of the group discussion and Cable’s words of wisdom, the event offered coaches the opportunity to share information, tactics, and approaches to their own coaching styles all within a comfortable setting.
“I think sometimes coaches share pretty well when there’s no one there competing against them,” said Parrish. “We don’t like to have coaches from the same league come to the conference – sometimes that can get a little bit hairy, so to speak. But it’s really been beneficial.”
The Seahawks have signed kick returner and cornerback Will Blackmon, it was announced today, and there will be no need for wholesale introductions when the 28-year-old joins the team.
The 6-foot, 210-pound Blackmon was selected in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Packers, when Seahawks GM John Schneider was working in Green Bay’s front office. Blackmon returned a punt and a fumble for touchdowns in a game against the Raiders in 2007, when Seahawks assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable was the line coach in Oakland. Blackmon also had punt returns for scores in both games against the Vikings in 2008, when Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell held the same position in Minnesota.
Blackmon’s career was then hampered by knee and ankle injuries, which prompted his release by the Packers (2010) and Giants (2011). He was out of the league last year, when he played for the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena League.
His best season came in 2008, when he averaged 11.1 yards returning punts, 21.0 yards returning kickoffs and also produced a career-high 35 tackles.
A look at a memorable moment in Seahawks history that occurred on Jan. 18:
2011: Tom Cable (assistant head coach/offensive line), Darrell Bevell (offensive coordinator) and Todd Wash (defensive line) are added to Pete Carroll’s staff, while Kris Richard (defensive backs) and Rocky Seto (assistant defensive backs) are promoted to new posts. Also, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates is relieved of his duties after one season with the team.
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.
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. Somehow 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.
Offensive 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.”
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 8:
Brandon Browner. Pete Carroll admits he wasn’t sure what to expect from the Seahawks’ cornerback in Sunday’s Wild Card playoff game against the Redskins because Browner had just returned from serving a four-game suspension.
But the coach’s apprehension didn’t last long, as Browner was quickly back to being his physical self while helping put the clamps on the Redskins’ passing game in the 24-14 victory at FedExField.
“He slipped and fell one time, but other than that he played a very good football game,” Carroll said. “He exceeded my expectations of how he would go in this game. He took some deep balls and challenged some stuff underneath and did a great job.”
It was a promising – and needed – performance, with what the Falcons will throw at the Seahawks in their divisional-round game this Sunday in Atlanta. Or perhaps who they’ll throw at the Seahawks is a more appropriate way to put it, since the Falcons’ passing game features Roddy White and Julio Jones, who combined to catch 171 passes from QB Matt Ryan for 2,549 yards and 17 TDs.
“He’s ready to go,” Carroll said of Browner. “We needed him to comeback like he did – we didn’t know – and he pulled it off.”
Right guard. Rookie J.R. Sweezy started Sunday’s Wild Card playoff game against the Redskins, but John Moffitt also played after being inactive the previous two games. Carroll liked the way the tag-team rotation worked.
“They both played well, they did a good job. Both of those guys were solid in the game,” said Carroll, with the Seahawks’ rushing for 224 yards as Exhibit A in that assessment. “They have a little different style about them, and they both came through alright.”
Will both continue to play against the Falcons this week?
“I don’t really care if it’s one guy or two guys,” Carroll said. “We just want to get good solid play out of it, and I think it was kind of nice in (the Redskins’) game to not have J.R. under the gun. He didn’t have to play every snap in the game and we got to rest him a little bit and keep him fresh – and keep his mind clear, too. It’s a lot to intake for a young guy at that spot, and these guys were coming after us and doing all kinds of things.
“I think Tom did a great job of mixing that for those guys.”
That would be Tom Cable, the line coach and also assistant head coach. As for which one might start against the Falcons, Carroll said, “We’ll see how the week goes and let Tom call that.”
STATS ’N STUFF
The playoffs are only a week old, and only eight teams participated, but the Seahawks emergence from the Wild Card round ranked No. 1 in rushing offense and passing defense. They are No. 2 in total defense and No. 4 in total offense.
Marshawn Lynch’s 132 rushing yards rank second to the Texans’ Arian Foster (140), and he is third in total yards (141) and fourth in first downs (six). Leon Washington is second in punt-return average (9.5 yards) and fifth in kickoff-return average (23.0).
Russell Wilson’s passer rating of 92.9 ranks third behind the Ravens’ Joe Flacco (126.5) and Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (104.9), and he is second in third-down passer rating (88.9) to the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III (116.7).
Free safety Earl Thomas shares the lead with his one interception.
STAT DU JOUR
The Wilson wow-factor continues to grow. His 100.0 passer rating during the regular season ranks No. 2 in the League since 2001 for a player in his first 16 starts. Here’s a look at who the Seahawks’ rookie QB trailed and, more importantly, who he ranked ahead of:
Player, team (record) Att. Comp. Yards TD Int. Rating
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (15-1) 335 219 3,133 21 9 105.2
Russell Wilson, Seahawks (11-5) 393 252 3,118 26 10 100.0
Aaron Rodgers, Packers (6-10) 536 341 4,038 28 13 93.8
Philip Rivers, Chargers (14-2) 460 284 3,388 22 9 92.0
Tom Brady, Patriots (13-3) 481 313 3,360 23 13 90.1
Jay Cutler, Broncos (7-9) 437 275 3,385 22 15 89.3
Matt Ryan, Falcons (11-5) 434 265 3,440 16 11 87.7
Cam Newton, Panthers (6-10) 517 310 4,051 21 17 84.5
Carson Palmer, Bengals (9-7) 529 332 3,683 26 20 84.0
Matt Schaub, Falcons/Texans (4-12) 474 298 3,424 16 16 81.8
Redskins’ rookie Robert Griffin III had a 102.4 rating this season, but he started 15 games.
The players return from a couple of “off” days to begin practicing on “Competition Wednesday” in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Falcons.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The bottom line is, Wilson’s amazing. I don’t know how he does it, but he’s able to see those windows and get the ball in there, even though his official height is 5-foot-10 5/8. Before the draft, people were worried that he’d have an issue with blocked passes, but on Sunday, he didn’t have a single throw knocked down. (Andrew) Luck, on the other hand, had several passes blocked. I’ll tell you what, there are going to be a whole bunch of future quarterback prospects who measure around 6-feet tall who had better send Wilson a card. His performance as a rookie will really open the NFL up to a whole new type of player.” – former Cowboys VP of player personnel Gil Brandt, assessing the play of the three rookie QBs from Sunday’s wild-card games at NFL.com
The dominating performance of the Seahawks’ offensive line in Sunday’s victory over the Bills caught the Hall of Fame eye of John Madden, who has selected the unit for his weekly “Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award.”
“Seattle has done a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis,” Madden, who coached the Raiders before becoming an iconic broadcast analyst for NFL games, said in the release announcing the selection.
Left tackle Russell Okung, left guard John Moffitt, center Max Unger, right guard Paul McQuistan and right tackle Breno Giacomini paved the way for the Seahawks to score on their first five possessions – including three rushing touchdowns by quarterback Russell Wilson – in the 50-17 rout of the Bills at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Marshawn Lynch added a fourth rushing touchdown in the third quarter as the Seahawks ran for 270 yards – including 55 in the fourth quarter, when backup linemen Frank Omiyale, J.R. Sweezy and Lemuel Jeanpierre were on the field.
The Seahawks’ line, which is coached by Tom Cable, is now in the running for the fourth annual yearly award that recognizes what Madden calls “the backbone of every NFL team.”
ST. LOUIS – Greetings from the Edward Jones Dome, where the Seahawks will be looking to start 3-1 for the first time since 2007 when they meet the Rams today.
This also is a chance for the Seahawks to pick up their first road win, after they fell to the Cardinals in Arizona in their season opener. But this also is a place where wins have been tough to come by for the Seahawks, even though they’re 6-1 here since 2005. Those six victories have come by six, two, five, three, 10 and 17 points.
There are key elements to consider if the Seahawks are to emerge with another victory today, but first let’s give some overdue credit to Paul McQuistan. With John Moffitt not expected to play today, McQuistan will slide to right guard – with James Carpenter making his 2012 debut at left guard, where McQuistan started the first three games.
But Carpenter cannot be expected to play the entire game, so rookie J.R. Sweezy should get some time, as well. He started the season opener at right guard. If he plays on the right side today, McQuistan will move back to the left here.
Here, there, wherever. McQuistan was become a valuable commodity for the Seahawks since being signed to a future contract in January of 2011. Last season, he started at left guard (three), right guard (three) and left tackle (four).
“Paul is ready to go on both sides,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice on Friday. “We’ve given Carp all of the work (at left guard) to get him ready, but Paul has worked all of the drills to go back and jump in that spot if John Moffitt is not ready.”
Talk about the more things you can do.
“Paul really can play both tackle spots and both guard spots,” Carroll said. “It’s a great bonus for us knowing that. He’s just been a real flexible guy. A lot of guys get tied up going from one side to another. It hasn’t happened for him.”
It helps that McQuistan played for line coach Tom Cable when both were with the Raiders. That was in 2007, the last time McQuistan started a game in the NFL before joining the Seahawks – and rejoining Cable.
“His experience and time with Tom Cable before has helped,” Carroll said. “So he’s a valuable guy for us in that regard.”
In regards to today’s game, the Seahawks need to:
Move forward – The fallout from events of Monday night lingered deep into the week, because of the way the Seahawks’ 14-12 victory over the Packers ended. The players have to leave that in the past, because a loss today will offset that win. The Seahawks are 5-12 on the road under Carroll, and they need get win No. 6 today to start this stretch where they’ll play four of their next five games on the road.
Pop the “lid” on the passing game – Carroll admits that the Seahawks’ 32nd-ranked passing game is rooted in him having “a lid” on things because the offense is still developing under rookie QB Russell Wilson. The Rams play aggressively on defense, so Wilson needs to hit some quick passes early to back them off a bit, and open things up for Marshawn Lynch.
No team in the league has thrown fewer passes than the Seahawks (75), while only one back has more carries that Lynch (72). The Seahawks also are the only team in the league that averages more yards rushing (141.3) than passing (127.7).
“You can play Lynch and stuff him for 10 straight plays, and he’s running just as hard on play 11,” James Laurinaitis, the Rams’ middle linebacker and leading tackler, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He trusts his ability that much. He’s that kind of player.”
Play defense as well on third downs as they do on first and second downs – The Seahawks are ranked No. 4 in the league in average yards allowed and No. 1 in average points allowed. But on third downs, they’re allowing opponents to convert 44.7 percent of those pivotal situations. Only nine teams in the league are allowing a higher percentage of conversions on third downs.
Enjoy the game, with kickoff set for 10 a.m. PDT. Televised coverage is available on Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area) and radio coverage on 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 13.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his report from Wednesday’s practice and coach Pete Carroll’s press conference, “Guard John Moffitt is expected to start at right guard Sunday against Dallas after he was inactive for last week’s game recovering from elbow surgery. Rookie J.R. Sweezy started Week 1 at that spot. ‘The fact that John has a chance to come back, he’s ready to play again,’ Carroll said. ‘John was starting before he got hurt, and so we’ll see how this goes, and we feel like we have two guys that can play. Sweezy has done a remarkable job to get this far.’ He has indeed, considering he’s not only in his first year, but is transitioning to offensive line after playing defensive tackle in college. In Sunday’s season opener, Sweezy found himself not so much overmatched physically, but a overwhelmed with the real-time decisions as Arizona sent more than four pass rushers on more than half of Seattle’s offensive plays.”
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times has a look at Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who the Seahawks will see this Sunday at CenturyLink Field, “…many Cowboys fans still tend to focus on the fourth-quarter gaffes and playoff disappointments that have occasionally marked Romo’s tenure in Dallas. So far, Romo has just one playoff win, and fully recognizes that — like LeBron James, to whom he is sometimes compared — until he leads the Cowboys to a title, the criticism won’t stop. And Romo says he embraces that point of view. ‘I don’t think I get an undue amount (of criticism),’ Romo said in a conference call Wednesday. ‘Every quarterback in the league is judged by winning and losing. That’s the way it should be. Our job is to help our football teams win, and eventually win a Super Bowl for the team we’re playing for. I think that’s warranted.’ “
With the news that John Moffitt is expected to start at right guard this Sunday against the Cowboys, Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune details the Seahawks shuffling of their offensive line, “Moffitt, Seattle’s third-round selection last year, started nine games at right guard as a rookie but finished 2011 on the injured reserve with two ligament tears in his left knee. Moffitt was healthy in time for training camp but missed most of the exhibition season because of an elbow injury that required surgery. It forced offensive line coach Tom Cable to get Sweezy ready sooner than expected. Although Moffitt played in Seattle’s final exhibition game against Oakland, he was inactive for the season opener at Arizona. ‘We didn’t have any choice when you look at it,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said about Sweezy. ‘I thought he was just outstanding. He did everything beyond our expectations, and we just kept hoping that he would be able to be settled and comfortable in the first game. It wasn’t quite that, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t tough or physical or any of that. There was a lot happening, and he just needs more time.’ “
Williams and Rob Rang, senior draft analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, team up for their Seahawks Insider podcast for Week 2.
Williams also recaps a media session with Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who met with reporters after Wednesday’s practice, “I asked Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell how he felt rookie quarterback Russell Wilson handled Arizona’s intense pass rush on Sunday in his first NFL game. And as you would expect, Bevell said Wilson had an uneven performance. ‘I think he did a nice job at times,’ Bevell said. ‘And I there were a couple times we said that there are times you need to sit there – where he still had good protection and he maybe took off early. And of course, some of them were designed for him to get out as well. So there was probably a mix of all of that.” I then followed up with the question of did the Seahawks move Wilson outside the pocket enough, and received an interesting answer ‘We’re not saying he’s a running quarterback,’ Bevell said. ‘That’s really not what we’re trying to do. Obviously it’s a long season, and he’s going to take his hits and stuff. But we’re not really trying to design the thing for him to run. What’s probably been best about him is when he’s moved, he moved with merit. And then when he’s moved in the passing game, he’s moved to throw down the field and make explosive plays. That’s what we need to continue to do.’ “
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune rehashes Romo’s infamous fumble on a game-winning field goal attempt during a wild-card playoff game against the Seahawks in Seattle back in January of 2007, “The snap was fine, but Romo lost the handle, then scrambled to his left, where he was stopped short of the goal line by Jordan Babineaux, whose play helped earn him the nickname ‘Big-Play Babs.’ The Seahawks lost in overtime the next week at Chicago. [Dallas Cowboys coach Bill] Parcells retired from coaching, and Romo set about living down the mistake. ‘I take responsibility for messing up at the end there,’ he said after the game. ‘I cost the Dallas Cowboys a playoff win, and it’s going to sit with me a long time.’ So … did it? ‘I think any time you lose the last game of the season, it’s really hard in the National Football League,’ Romo said. “’Really, every team but one has a bad taste in the mouth, but that’s why you go back to work.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that this Seahawks team cannot sit on the Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, “Now, Carroll has to see how his young team recovers. There are plenty of things the Seahawks need to do to beat the Cowboys this week — contain an explosive Cowboys offense, improve their pass protection against another dangerous blitzing team, lower the number of penalties. Yet having a short memory could be the biggest key to avoiding an 0-2 start. ‘You can’t dwell on the past, you can’t dwell on the last play,’ linebacker Leroy Hill said. ‘I’ve figured that out. I’ve done that and come back and had a bad game myself. … You have to move forward. You can’t let a single game get you twice or three times.’ “
Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, contributing to mynorthwest.com, relates to Seattle rookies Russell Wilson and J.R. Sweezy, who made their first NFL starts a week ago in Arizona, “It’s tough enough making the adjustment from college to pro without the added complication that both Wilson and Sweezy faced in Arizona. Starting as a rookie in the first game of the season on the road at quarterback, the hardest position to master, is perhaps the most difficult challenge an NFL player can face. That is, unless you’re a rookie offensive guard who was playing defensive tackle last year at this time … in college. So welcome to the NFL, rooks. Just as [former NFL linebacker Keith Butler] Butts passed down his wisdom to me, I will pass it on to any rookie who will listen. Everybody gets their butt kicked. I remember a string of bad games during my first year that landed me on the bench in the middle of a game in Cleveland. I sat on the sidelines and thought, ‘What happened? I thought I was good. Do I suck?’ This is part of the physical, psychological and emotional assault an NFL season has on your psyche. Sweezy may be thinking these very things since coach Pete Carroll announced Wednesday that John Moffitt will replace him in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Cowboys. The key is to get back to work, learn from your mistakes and move on.”
Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has his notes from Wednesday’s practice, “A couple surprises on the official practice report: receiver Sidney Rice did not participate due to a sore knee. Coach Pete Carroll did not mention Rice during his Monday or Wednesday press conferences. Carroll told us earlier in the week that running back Marshawn Lynch came out of the Arizona game fairly healthy. Lynch was limited in the Wednesday session due to his persistent back issues.”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Wednesday’s practice, including a video interview with right guard John Moffitt, “The line struggled to deal with the exotic blitz schemes of Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Ray Horton and struggled with communication issues. Rookie G J.R. Sweezy notably stuggled as well. Offensive line coach Tom Cable said it wasn’t a matter of the game being too physical for him, but rather struggling to make the correct decisions in the heat of the moment. ‘You’ve got to get him better prepared. That’s on me,’ Cable said. ‘He’ll grow so much from this one the next time out.’ Cable praised the way Sweezy played in handling DT Darnell Dockett in one-on-one situations, but said the pressures Arizona brought caused problems. With the struggles from Sweezy, head coach Pete Carroll said G John Moffitt is expected to return to the starting lineup at right guard this week.”
Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com says that the Seahawks have no need to panic after their Week 1 loss to the Cardinals, “Player on the spot: Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson earned a first-team spot in the preseason, but he didn’t generate much downfield against Arizona. Wilson also was sacked three times, although that number would be higher if not for his mobility. With highly-paid backup Matt Flynn waiting in the wings, Wilson isn’t guaranteed a starting spot if the Seahawks don’t start winning some early-season games. Something to feel good about: Running back Leon Washington provided a major special-teams lift with kickoff and punt returns of 83 and 52 yards respectively. The defense also held Arizona to only 253 total yards. What’s next: Dallas at Seattle (4:05 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX). The Cowboys have four extra days to prepare for this scrum, but the Seahawks will enjoy the benefit of a raucous home crowd. Wilson could be in for a long day if left tackle Russell Okung (bruised knee) isn’t back to try and nullify Cowboys pass-rushing stud DeMarcus Ware.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at injury situations in the NFC West.
Yahoo Sports goes “Outside the Game” with a look at Michael Robinson’s “The Real Rob Report” in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth checks in with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, and has a look at Moffitt’s move back into the starting lineup. Tony Ventrella has his Seahawks Daily, as he looks ahead to Sunday’s matchup with the Cowboys, and team photographer Rod Mar has a look at Wednesday’s practice in photos.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 11.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was under constant pressure from Arizona’s defense last Sunday, “Wilson was sacked three times in the game, but that doesn’t give an indication as to how much pressure he faced nor how often he was hit. ‘He wasn’t as sharp,’ Carroll said of Wilson. ‘But it was because I really feel like he had so much pressure that he was dealing with. So he’ll do better. There’s things that he can do better. We need to help him more by playing cleaner up front.’ “
O’Neil also has his recap of Pete Carroll’s Monday press conference, including notes on injured left tackle Russell Okung and wide receiver Charly Martin, “A bruised knee isn’t a positive diagnosis. It’s just that it’s much less severe than the alternatives, which is why the Seahawks breathed a collective sigh of relief after tests confirmed that Russell Okung suffered a bruise in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, not ligament damage. ‘He’s cleared,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘We’ll see how he comes back Wednesday and Thursday, but we expect him to make it through the week and play.’ The injury to receiver Charly Martin was a little more severe as the receiver suffered a bruised lung after he fell hard trying to catch a ball in the end zone on Seattle’s second-to-last play of the game. Martin remained in Arizona after the game as he didn’t return with the team.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune details the good news surrounding Okung’s injury, and says that wide receiver Golden Tate, who sat out in Arizona with a sprained knee, could return this week and be ready to go against the Dallas Cowboys, “Carroll also expects to get receiver Golden Tate back this week. The Notre Dame product sat out against Arizona with a sprained knee. ‘He ran real well today,’ Carroll said about Tate. ‘We think he’s got a chance. I’m not sure if Wednesday will be a full day for him. It depends on how he handles all the change of direction stuff (Monday and today). But he feels like he’s going to go.’ “
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune writes that the Seahawks offensive line must do a better job of protecting Wilson, “Four of the five linemen up front are veterans, joined by rookie right guard J.R. Sweezy. They should be better. It is not surprising that the Cardinals’ talented defensive front beat them on occasion – physically – but they shouldn’t have fooled them as frequently as they did. Left tackle Russell Okung had three false starts to add to the problem. The young line went through growing pains last season, but Carroll thought that was in the past.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald also comments on the need for offensive line improvement heading into Week 2 against the Cowboys, “The good news for Seattle is that they won’t face Dockett, one of the game’s best interior linemen, again until December. The bad news, however, is that the Cowboys present another dangerous, though different, challenge. The Cowboys finished with 42 sacks last season, tied for seventh most in the league. Dallas features one of the game’s best pass rushers in DeMarcus Ware, who had 19.5 sacks last season, and has had 11 or more in every season of his career since registering eight as a rookie in 2005. ‘We just have to get better and smarter and cleaner with our stuff,’ Carroll said. ‘There really wasn’t anything that we weren’t able to handle, we just didn’t handle it as well as we should have, and will. We’ll get better that’s just part of playing together. The things that we saw in preseason we were able to handle. This one just got a little bit more aggressive and we weren’t as effective as we needed to be.’ “
Boyle has a few more updates from Monday, “Doug Baldwin should also be OK, though he’ll need some dental work first. ‘He officially got his teeth knocked it,’ Carroll said. ‘It was a mess. He’s getting that work done tomorrow. I’m sure he wishes he could get it done today, because he’s kind of got the clean slate right now. It doesn’t look too good. But he’ll be OK I think for this week.’ Asked if the team might need to add a receiver because of the loss of Martin, Carroll said, ‘That’s a possibility. Yeah, we’re looking into all of that.’ Asked specifically if bringing TE Kellen Winslow back after cutting him prior to the season opener, Carroll said, ‘Everybody’s a possibility at this point.’ “
Tim Booth of the Associated Press writes that Carroll was left disappointed at several missed opportunities last Sunday in Arizona, “Of the 70 offensive plays the Seahawks ran on Sunday, 39 – including three successful field goals and one blocked kick – were run in Arizona’s half of the field. Four times, Seattle started drives on Arizona’s side, either the result of forced turnovers or stellar special teams play from returner Leon Washington. And yet all Seattle could do with that field position advantage was get three successful kicks from Steven Hauschka, one touchdown toss by Wilson and plenty of grumbling about the missed opportunities.”
Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com has a look at the high number of penalties the Seahawks committed in last Sunday’s loss in Arizona, “The Seahawks were penalized 13 times for 90 yards in their loss to Arizona. There was variety to go along with volume: two for pass interference, three for holding, two for delay of game, three for false start and one apiece for offsides, intentional grounding and facemask. Two personal foul penalties called on Seattle weren’t assessed. ‘When you have 13 there’s enough of everything,’ Carroll said. ‘We didn’t get it done. But it’s an emphasis that will continue to be at the heart of what we’re doing because we just made it harder on ourselves and you don’t need to do that.’ “
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his notes from coach Carroll’s Monday press conference, and details what led to Okung’s bruised knee, “Carroll said that Okung was hit or kicked on his knee while trying to avoid a diving C Max Unger on a play during the team’s final possession of the game. He said that tests came back okay and that they expect him to make it through the week and be able to play Sunday.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com takes a look at the rough go several Seahawks had on the injury front in Week 1, and has a comment from Carroll on the play of Wilson, “Carroll felt Wilson did all right in his first game, given the conditions. ‘There’s things that he could’ve done cleaner at times,’ he said. ‘He missed on some throws that, an inch here or there, might’ve been a more catchable ball for a guy. Guys had to make great plays on a couple of balls. So he wasn’t as sharp, but it was because he had so much pressure that he was dealing with. He’ll do better.’ “
Mike Sando of ESPN.com brings us his “Silver linings” from the Seahawks 20-16 defeat at Arizona, “Seattle’s defensive front, led by Brandon Mebane, held Cardinals running backs Ryan Williams, Beanie Wells and LaRod Stephens-Howling to 27 yards rushing combined and a long run covering nine yards. The Seahawks limited record-setting return specialist Patrick Peterson to a 9.3-yard average on four punt returns, with a long return covering 17 yards.”
Sando also has a breaks down whose stock is rising and falling in the NFC West, and after Sunday at Arizona, Leon Washington finds himself on the list of those whose stock is on the up-and-up, “Leon Washington, Seahawks returner. Seattle might have scored only six points instead of 16 if Washington hadn’t done such a good job in the return game. His 83-yard kickoff return and 52-yard punt return set up the Seahawks for 10 points. Blocking helps, of course, but it takes a special returner to find and exploit openings in a coverage team. Washington hadn’t fared as well in the return game recently. This performance was encouraging for the Seahawks.”
Here at Seahawks.com we bring you coach Carroll’s Monday press conference in full, Ton Ventrella recaps “Tell the Truth Monday” in his Seahawks Daily, Clare Farnsworth recaps the activities surrounding Monday in Hawkville – with a focus on the injured Martin, and finally, Farnsworth digests the problem the Cardinals’ pass rush posed for the Seahawks last Sunday, “How does Carroll plan to address those [pass rush] issues moving forward, starting with Sunday’s home opener against the Dallas Cowboys at CenturyLink Field? ‘Fortunately, not everybody has (Dockett) on their team,’ he said with a smile. We’ll get better. That’s just part of playing together. The things that we saw in preseason, we were able to handle. This one just got a little more aggressive. It started early and we weren’t as effective as we need to be.’ “