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Tuesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 25:

FOCUS ON

Robert Gallery. The veteran left guard who was signed in free agency didn’t just return to the starting lineup in Sunday’s game against the Browns in Cleveland, he looked like a different player.

More active. More agile. More physical.

“Robert looked good,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We noticed it during the week. I thought he was better than he was a month ago.”

That’s when Gallery had surgery to repair a groin injury, a procedure that forced him to miss three games and the team’s bye-week practices. If his performance against the Browns was any indication, the wait to get him back was worth it.

“He had an existing issue that … was hampering him and he was playing through it,” Carroll said, before repeating, “He looked better.

“He looked quicker and looked flexible, and for his first time playing in five weeks he played well. He came out (of the game) OK, to, so that’s good for us.”

STAT DU JOUR

Chris Clemons had a career-high 11 sacks in his first season with the Seahawks and the “Leo” defensive end leads the team again with six sacks in six games this season. Those 17 sacks put Clemons at No. 7 for the most in the league since the start of last season. Here’s the Top 10:

Player, team                                     Sacks

LB DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys        23.5

DE Jared Allen, Vikings                    22.5

DE Jason Babin, Titans/Eagles       19.5

LB Cameron Wake, Dolphins         19.0

LB Tamba Hali, Chiefs                     18.5

DE Charles Johnson, Panthers       17.5

DE Chris Clemons, Seahawks         17.0

LB LaMarr Woodley, Steelers        17.0

LB Clay Matthews, Packers            16.5

DE Osi Umenyiora, Giants              16.5

Ware, Allen, Babin, Wake, Woodley and Matthews were voted to the Pro Bowl either last season or in 2009 – or both.

PRO BOWL BALLOTING

Speaking of the Pro Bowl and Clemons, fan voting for this season has begun at NFL.com. You can cast your vote here.

UP NEXT

The players return from their “off” day on Wednesday to begin preparing for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field. Wednesday’s practice will be pivotal for several players who are trying to return from injuries: quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral), center Max Unger (foot), running back Marshawn Lynch (back) and cornerback Roy Lewis (knee).

YOU DON’T SAY

“He’s a backup is what he is. Josh has a long way to go. We really like the progress he’s made and all, but he’s not close to being ready to push for the job. He’ll be a backup going into the game and we wouldn’t hesitate using him if we had to use him – we’d run the offense in a limited fashion – because he’s an exciting player. But he just has not had the background to catch up yet.” – Carroll when asked if No. 3 QB Josh Portis was a viable factor this week if Jackson cannot play


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Cyber surfing: Monday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Aug. 15:

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times looks at Charlie Whitehurst, the Seahawks backup QB who is coming off a strong performance in the preseason opener. Offers O’Neil: “Whitehurst isn’t universally popular so much as polarizing among Seahawks fans. Some fans believe Whitehurst is a more viable starting option than Tarvaris Jackson, while another segment believes Whitehurst is closer to losing the backup job to undrafted rookie Josh Portis than becoming the starter. Quarterback is as close to politics as football gets, the position where knee-jerk reactions can become deep-seated personal convictions.”

Dave Boling of the News Tribune says Whitehurst continued to impress in practice on Sunday. Offers Boling: “All three quarterbacks looked good, but Charlie Whitehurst had another very strong practice when he passed with improved confidence. He gunned one into a small window to Pat Williams, and also was accurate on a couple short passes to the backs that he had missed on occasionally earlier in camp.”

Also from the News Tribune, Eric Williams examines the immediate impact of Sidney Rice, who is unlike any wide receiver in franchise history when it comes to his catching radius and pure athletic ability. Says Williams: “And so far on the practice field for Seattle he’s been as good as advertised, making several highlight reel catches during training camp, and drawing praise from both players and coaches for his play. ‘I think he’s just loaded with those kinds of plays,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ‘He’s really, really talented. And he loves to compete in practice, which just fits so beautifully with the way we approach it. He’s embracing this opportunity to show who he is, and how he fits in and how we can count on him.’ ”

At seattlepi.com, Christian Caple looks at a pair of rookies from Stanford who are accepting the challenge of playing at the next level: cornerback Richard Sherman and wide receiver Doug Baldwin. Says Caple: “Witnesses of Seattle’s training camp this season cannot draw such conclusions based solely on the play of Sherman and Baldwin, both of whom have made strong cases for their inclusion on the 53-man roster. That’s more of a sure thing for Sherman than it is for Baldwin, who signed as an undrafted free agent, and as a receiver is entrenched in perhaps the team’s most competitive position battle.”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers “next step” areas of improvement for each team in the NFC West coming out of their preseason openers. Sando on the Seahawks’ area of improvement: “The first-team offense lacked rhythm against San Diego. Tarvaris Jackson was without his top three wide receivers. Seattle lost its left tackle to injury early in the game. Jackson faced too much pressure and relied on his mobility to buy time. Jackson enters his second week of practices with the team seeking to build a rapport with his top targets. He completed 3 of 5 passes for 13 yards against the Chargers.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with Tyler Polumbus, who will step in at left tackle while Russell Okung is recovering from the sprained ankle he got in the opener – just as Polumbus did twice last season: “Okung’s latest injury isn’t as serious as the previous two, and coach Pete Carroll is talking about getting him back for the regular-season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco on Sept. 11. But until then, it’s back to Polumbus. ‘We’ve been down this road a little bit last year,’ Polumbus said Sunday between on-field sessions at the team’s training camp. ‘Unfortunately, it’s a little bit of déjà vu for Russ. So that’s my role right now, and I’ve just got to be ready to go when my number gets called.’ ”

We also have a look at Sunday’s practice in words, pictures and video. And, there’s also the recap of how Whitehurst defended his title in the homerun derby after practice.


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Cyber surfing: Monday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 11:

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. completed his ranking of the Top 15 players in the NFC West for Mike Sando’s blog at ESPN.com, and you might be surprised who’s at No. 5: Chris Clemons. Here’s what Williamson had to say about the defensive end who produced a career-high 11 sacks in his first season with the Seahawks: “This is a throwing league, and getting after the quarterback is of paramount importance. Clemons was simply exceptional for Seattle last season. Somewhat of an outside linebacker/defensive end tweener, Clemons has found a home in a defense that suits him perfectly by keeping him mostly on the weak side of the offensive formation and allowing him to operate in space. He is both powerful and incredibly quick, and he can translate speed into power. Clemons can beat his opponent with pure speed off the edge or with an array of pass-rush moves. Clemons wreaks havoc.”

Sando, meanwhile, is back at his blogging post and has this breakdown of Williamson’s Top 15. While some might wonder about three 49ers being ranked among the Top 5 – Patrick Willis, Justin Smith and Vernon Davis – Sando says: “I wouldn’t argue against any of those selections, but I would rather have great players at other positions – quarterback, left tackle and featured pass-rusher come to mind.”

Russell Okung worked Nike’s 7-on-7 camp for high school players in Beaverton, Ore., and CBSSports.com was there to file this video report with the Seahawks’ left tackle. Says Okung, a first-round draft choice last year: “I love this game. We haven’t been able to play out here. Just coming and watching these guys compete and showing who they are and battling, words can’t even express my emotions right now.”

Tyler Polumbus is a good guy, and this story from the Daily Camera in Boulder (Colo.) proves it. The Seahawks’ offensive linemen sponsored a clinic for developmentally disabled kids through his foundation – Tyler’s Kids Outreach. Said Polumbus, who went to the University of Colorado and also played for the Denver Broncos before coming the Seahawks last season: “”I’m in a position where I can give back. We get more out of it than they do.”

For the give-us-this-day-our-daily-labor-update item, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com are reporting that a deal on a new CBA could be ratified at the July 21 league meeting. As they put it: “As one NFL owner said this weekend, there’s ‘no reason to believe it won’t get done.’ Other people familiar with the talks now think an agreement in principle will be put in place in the next seven to 10 days, a handshake deal that would allow each side to ratify the deal to start the 2011 season. However, one member of the players’ negotiating team who has been a constant presence at the table said that players feel they have made significant concessions and overtures ‘that have not been reciprocated.’ ”

Don Banks at SI.com looks beyond reaching an agreement on a new CBA to what the free-agency period might be like. As one veteran club executive told Banks: “If anybody tells you they know the way free agency will unfold, what it will be like, they’re just guessing, because no one’s been in this situation before. We’re all waiting to find out.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we continues our series of articles on the players voted to the 35th Anniversary team with a look at one of the best – left tackle Walter Jones. But who is the best player in franchise history? We’ve also got a poll, where you can vote for Jones, or Steve Largent, or Cortez Kennedy, or Shaun Alexander, or Kenny Easley, or Jacob Green.


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The Day in Photos: Saturday in Chicago

Seahawks players and coaches took three charter buses to Northwestern University, where they held their usual Saturday walkthru in an indoor practice facility before heading to Soldier Field for a brief stop to reacquaint themselves with the stadium where they defeated the Bears back in Week 6.

 

Seahawks players including Tyler Polumbus, Will Herring, Michael Robinson and Justin Forsett make their way to an indoor practice facility at Northwestern University where they held their Saturday walk-thru.

 

Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck makes some light throws at the beginning of the workout.

Head coach Pete Carroll strolls the turf at Soldier Field.

Head coach Pete Carroll called his players to the 50-yard line, where he made some final remarks before the team headed back to the hotel. After some time to themselves, the players will gather with the coaching staff for meetings tonight as they make final preparations for tomorrow's game.

 


Friday in Hawkville

A recap of the activities on Day 5 of NFC West Championship week:

FOCUS ON

Clint Gresham. ’Tis the season. No, that was last week. But for the Seahawks’ long snapper, it’s always the giving season.

On Christmas Eve, Gresham donated five Wii systems to the families at Vision House, which provides transitional housing for homeless single mothers and their children. He returned on Wednesday, with autographed mini Seahawks helmets for the kids and then them outside for a few pointers on the fine art of snapping.

“I’ve been wanting to get involved somehow in the community, and just have an opportunity to share my faith and be involved in the lives of these kids,” Gresham said today, after the team’s next-to-last practice for Sunday’s big game against the St. Louis Rams at Qwest Field to determine the champion of the NFC West.

“It was great. We went outside. I taught them all how to long snap.”

Gresham cracked a smile before adding, “So in about 15 years I’ll be having some competition.”

Read more »


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Photoblog: A Not-so-Happy Holiday

With playoff implications at hand, the Seahawks traveled cross-country on Christmas Day to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16.

Kevin Hunton of St. Petersburg, Florida, greets the arriving Seahawks charter while standing outside the fence at Tampa International Airport.

A digital countdown clock and a whiteboard with the pregame schedule keeps players and coaches on time in the visitor's locker room at Raymond James Stadium.

Members of the Seahawks equipment staff make last-minute changes to Lofa Tatupu's cleats in the locker room before the game.

Tight end John Carlson (standing) goes over the game plan as Russell Okung and Tyler Polumbus wait to take the field.

Linebackers coach Ken Norton, Jr. talks the team right before they take the field.

Head coach Pete Carroll races to call an early timeout.

Seattle's defense came out firing, with linebackers Lofa Tatupu and David Hawthorne sacking Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman and knocking the ball loose in the process

Seattle's offense also looked good early, with running back Marshawn breaking into the secondary with a 29-yard gain.

Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck scored on one-yard run, but came up limping as center Chris Spencer came to his aid.

Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons breaks through for a sack of Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman.

Seattle's defense continued to apply pressure but Freeman got the ball away under pressure from Chris Clemons and Aaron Curry on this play.

Seattle's special teams got a highlight when Craig Terrill blocked Connor Barth’s 44-yard field goal attempt. The block is Terrill's eighth career block, tying a team record.

Tampa Bay's Mike Williams sails over Seattle's Walter Thurmond to score on a seven-yard reception in the third quarter.

Head coach Pete Carroll stands on the edge of the field in the fourth quarter.

Running back Leon Washington scored on a 16-yard run in the fourth quarter.

This Seahawks fan didn't have a lot to smile about as his team fell to Tampa Bay, 38-15 on a cold Florida night.

In the locker room after the game, Pete Carroll, reminded the players that despite the loss, they still had an opportunity to play for the NFC West title and a playoff spot at home.

In the hallway outside of the locker room, Carroll faced the media, answering questions about Hasselbeck's injury and the upcoming game with the St. Louis Rams at Qwest Field.


Friday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Tyler Polumbus. When the Seahawks traded for the veteran offensive lineman in August, they never envisioned him starting as many games as he has. But it looks like Polumbus could be the starter at left tackle on Sunday, when the Seahawks face the Arizona Cardinals in what coach Pete Carroll is labeling “a championship game.”

The plan was to get first-round draft choice Russell Okung back this week, after he missed the previous two games with a sprained left ankle. But the rookie was very limited in practice the past two days and is listed as questionable, so Polumbus could make his fifth start.

“Ever since I called him Troy, he’s been pretty good,” Carroll cracked today after practice – the final full workout before Sunday’s game in Arizona.

That was way back in September, when Carroll slipped and referred to Tyler as Troy – and Polumbus started the first three games at left tackle because Okung was out with a sprained right ankle.

Read more »


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Wednesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Quinton Ganther, through the smiling eyes of Marshawn Lynch. Ganther – the veteran, and versatile, running back – hasn’t just returned, he’s among old friends.

Ganther, who was re-signed Tuesday, had been released Sept. 28 – eight days before Lynch was acquired in the trade with the Buffalo Bills. They grew up together in Oakland and played on rival Pop Warner teams.

“I was 11 or 12, and Quinton was like 30,” Lynch cracked in the locker room before today’s practice – the first to prepare for Sunday’s game against the Raiders in Oakland.

“He was the only dude on the Pop Warner team who had a full mustache and a beard. And he used to drive to Pop Warner games. You’re not supposed to be doing that. It was crazy.”

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Countdown to kickoff

ST. LOUIS – Greetings from the Edwards Jones Dome, where the Seahawks are starting to take the field to begin preparing for today’s game against the Rams on the first Sunday of October.

The Seahawks are 2-1 to share the NFC West lead with the defending division champion Arizona Cardinals. They could be 3-1 and alone in first place entering the their bye week after today’s action, because the Cardinals play the Chargers in San Diego and the Seahawks are facing a team they’ve beaten 10 consecutive times – including five in a row in the dome.

Could, however, won’t translate to will unless the Seahawks take care of business.

As quarterback Matt Hasselbeck put it this week when asked about that 10-game winning streak, “It probably means that they’re hungry and that we have to be ready.”

The Rams have yielded 17, 16 and 16 points in their first three games, despite ranking 24th in total defense – 25th against the run and 24th against the pass. But they have forced eight turnovers (three interceptions and five fumble recoveries), and it was turnovers that greased the way to the Seahawks’ loss to the Broncos in Denver two weeks ago.

Hasselbeck has started eight of the Seahawks’ 10 consecutive wins and is 10-3 in his career as a starter against the Rams – including three-touchdown pass outings in 2006 and 2009 and a pair of 300-yard passing performances.

The Seahawks, of course, can help Hasselbeck by continuing to improve their running game. Today, Justin Forsett likely will be running behind yet another new line combination – one that is expected to feature the regular-season debut of first-round draft choice Russell Okung at left tackle and Tyler Polumbus stepping in for a sore-kneed Sean Locklear at right tackle. Polumbus started the first three games on the left side while Okung was out with a high ankle sprain.

It’s not likely that the Seahawks’ defense will have to face Steven Jackson today. He left last week’s win over the Redskins with a strained groin and did not practice this week. Even if he does play, Jackson will not at full battering-ram strength.

That means the Seahawks’ fifth-ranked run defense will see a lot of Kenneth Darby. He scored not only his first NFL rushing touchdown last week but his first since his 2005, when he was a junior at Alabama. It’s not that Darby didn’t play much for the Crimson Tide; it’s that he was replaced when they got near the goal line. In fact, Darby finished his career at Alabama 241 yards shy of the school rushing record that was set by – you guessed it – Shaun Alexander.

Whether it’s Darby, Jackson or a combination of the two, the Seahawks need to continue stuffing the run to put rookie QB Sam Bradford into passing situations. But even that is only part of their equation for success, because they then have to pressure the first pick overall in the April draft into making mistakes.

The Seahawks have seven sacks and 21 QB hits. All but one in each category, however, came in their two games at Qwest Field. They didn’t get enough pressure on the Broncos’ Kyle Orton and he completed 25 of 35 passes for 307 yards and two TDs.

We’ll be back shortly with the list of inactive players.


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Friday in Hawkville

A recap of the days’ activities:

FOCUS ON

Craig Terrill. The Seahawks kicked off October by re-signing the sack-producing/kick-blocking/guitar-playing defensive tackle.

Terrill was released Sept. 7, when versatile defensive back Jordan Babineaux was re-signed. To clear a roster spot for Terrill’s return, linebacker Leroy Hill was placed on injured reserve because he will need surgery to repair the Achilles/calf injury he got in the Week 2 game against the Broncos in Denver.

“It’s awesome,” said Terrill, who got a phone call from the club this morning and was signed in time to participate in the final full practice before Sunday’s game in St. Louis against the Rams.

“I’m obviously familiar with that they’re doing, and love playing ball here.”

Terrill was a fifth-round draft choice in 2004 and played in 76 games the past six seasons. He has blocked five field goals in his career, which ranks second in club history behind Joe Nash’s eight; and had a three-sack game against the Oakland Raiders in 2006. He also has released a CD, CT, and sang the national anthem before the 2007 playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys at Qwest Field.

During his down time, Terrill was helping his wife, Rachel, raise their 2-year-old daughter, Journey.

“I got to be a husband and a father again” he said. “I’d wake up with my daughter so my wife could sleep in. I had a great time with my family and I’m ready to play some football now.”

That didn’t take long, as Terrill worked on the scout team defensive line against the Seahawks offense in practice and also got a few snaps with the No. 1 D-line.

“It’s great to get Craig back out,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s a guy that knows our system, knows our ways, can contribute on special teams right immediately for us and he’s a great guy in this locker room – everybody loves him. I’m glad he’s back with us.”

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