Tuesday round-up: Reviewing the read-option

Brock Huard and Danny O’Neil of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Danny” discuss how much the Seahawks will use the read-option in 2013

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Tuesday, July 2, about your Seattle Seahawks:

Danny O’Neil of 710Sports.com writes about the risk and reward associated with running a read-option offense.

It’s never too early to start thinking about fantasy football, and NFL.com has their list of the Top 30 fantasy football players for 2013. Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin comes in at No. 17, while running back Marshawn Lynch appears at No. 3 behind Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (No. 2) and Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (No. 1).

Former NFL offensive lineman turned NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger says the NFC West is the best division in the NFC in this short video clip.

NFL Network’s Baldinger and former NFL center Shaun O’Hara have a look at the best available free agents remaining and offers some landing spots on which teams they might fit best with.

With football just 10 Sunday’s away, NFL Network’s NFL Total Access crew takes a stab at some Week 1 headlines around the League.

The NFL announced training camp report dates for all 32 clubs yesterday afternoon, and Seahawks rookies and veterans alike will report to Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Wednesday, July 24. The team’s first practice will be held Thursday, July 25 – you can register to attend that session and more by clicking here.

And here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth continues his 2013 preview series with a look at the offensive line, including comments from assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable on the under-the-radar play the club has received from right tackle Breno Giacomini and guard Paul McQuistan.


Minicamp round-up: Day three

Minicamp

Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane (left), free safety Earl Thomas (middle) & cornerback Richard Sherman (right)

Good morning, and welcome to the final day of the Seahawks’ three-day minicamp at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Today’s workout is scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. – two hours earlier than the sessions that were held on Tuesday and Wednesday. But before we get there, here’s a look at what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for June 13, 2013:

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune passes along his notes and observations from day two of camp, including comments from cornerback Richard Sherman on the close-knit chemistry of the team’s secondary. Williams also profiles the 6-foot-7, 305-pound defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, who has been working throughout the offseason in the spot vacated by defensive tackle Alan Branch, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times has a few post-practice video interviews from yesterday with wide receiver Sidney Rice, linebacker Bobby Wagner and Sherman.

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM also details the impressive play of the Seahawks secondary and has his notes from day two of camp.

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com has a look at quarterback Russell Wilson’s rapid rate of improvement.

NFL.com’s Around the League writer Marc Sessler caught wind of Wilson’s unwillingness to acknowledge a “sophomore slump” when Wilson was asked about the term during his Tuesday press conference. Sessler puts Wilson ahead of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden as the surest-bet quarterback who’s heading into their second season.

With 23 of the League’s 32 teams in minicamps this week, NFL.com’s Chris Wesserling has compiled a quick-hit-list of 15 things we learned from Day 2 of NFL minicamps.

Our Clare Farnsworth’s “Hawkville” blog focuses on Sherman and wide receiver Doug Baldwin – the pair of Stanford graduates who have stood out above the rest with their play this offseason. Farnsworth also has a feature on the versatility of the team’s defensive line, catching up with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, defensive line coach Travis Jones, defensive end Red Bryant and McDaniel on the line’s look.

Team photographer Rod Mar has the snaps from days one and two of camp here.

We’ll be back with more following today’s practice and media availabilities, as we wrap-up this final day of the Seahawks’ official Offseason Program. In the meantime, we leave you with four Seahawks-themed podcasts from yesterday via 710Sports.com:

Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach Tom Cable on “Brock and Danny”

Center Max Unger on “Bob and Groz”

Fullback Michael Robinson on “Bob and Groz”

Left tackle Russell Okung on “Wyman, Mike and Moore”


Friday in Hawkville: Seahawks kickoff rookie minicamp

Luke Willson

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 10, when the Seahawks opened their three-day rookie minicamp:

FOCUS ON

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.

POSITION WATCH

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.

RM3_7253

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

PNWHoFCortez 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.

UP NEXT

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


Seahawks High School Coaches Academy benefits area coaches

Seahawks High School Coaches Academy

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.”

Seahawks High School Coaches AcademyParrish 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.”


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Seahawks sign Will Blackmon

Will Blackmon

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.


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On this date: Tom Cable, Darrell Bevell hired

Darrell Bevell, Tom Cable

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.


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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.”


Tuesday in Hawkville: Brandon Browner up to the challenge

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 8:

Brandon Browner

FOCUS ON

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.”

POSITION WATCH

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.

UP NEXT

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


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Madden lays it on the line

Breno Giacomini, Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan

Right tackle Breno Giacomini (pictured left) and left tackle Russell Okung (pictured right), along with offensive guard Paul McQuistan (pictured in back)

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.”


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Countdown to kickoff

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.


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