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Wednesday in Hawkville: Brandon Mebane reverts to baseball-playing days to make one big interception

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 5, when the Seahawks put the wraps on the on-field activities in the OTA portion of their offseason program:

Brandon MebaneFOCUS ON: BRANDON MEBANE

Pete Carroll stopped short of announcing the move of 311-pound nose tackle to extra-strong strong safety, but the Seahawks’ coach was duly impressed with the interception Mebane made during today’s OTA.

“The return was not that good,” Carroll cracked. “But the pick was nice.”

For Mebane, it was his second interception this week as he also had one on Monday. But today’s pick – which came off a pass that was tipped by middle linebacker Bobby Wagner – allowed him to display the full array of his athletic skills.

“I just saw the ball go up and my eyes got real big,” Mebane said. “I was like, ‘Just like baseball. Just catch it.’ ”

Baseball? Mebane played third base, catcher, second base and centerfield while growing up. That was before he grew into a nose tackle.

“That was just like a pop fly,” he said of the batted Brady Quinn pass he intercepted.

But Mebane’s second pick also was a testament to the work he has been putting in. The D-lineman began today’s OTA with a drill where coordinator Dan Quinn had them drop, turn and catch the ball as he threw it. Mebane displayed cat-like quickness in grabbing his.

Marshawn Lynch

PLAYER WATCH: MARSHAWN LYNCH

The All-Pro running back participated in today’s session, Lynch’s first OTA appearance this week. He looked quick and explosive while getting carries with the No. 1 and even No. 3 units.

“He had a nice day today. He got a little running room,” Carroll said. “He’s in really good shape. We’re trying to get him all the way through this offseason and get him ready for the real season. We know what Marshawn can do as long as he’s in good shape, and he’s in fantastic shape. He’s hard as a rock and he’s worked really hard to this point.

“It’s really just take the next step, the next step. Get him through minicamp. Then get him through the summertime. Then show up for camp and get him through the preseason. So that he’s right and ready to go. There’s so much (tread) on the tire and we don’t want to wear down that.”

The Seahawks ran the ball a league-high 536 times last season, and Lynch used his career-high 315 carries to produce 1,590 rushing yards and average 5.0 yards – also a career-bests.

POSITION WATCH: RIGHT TACKLE

Rookie Michael Bowie continued to work with the No. 1 line because, as Carroll explained, starter Breno Giacomini has been in New York to have a knee that’s been bothering him checked out.

The news is good on both fronts: Giacomini will not need surgery, and the reps Bowie got with the first unit in his absence were invaluable for the seventh-round draft choice.

“He could have practice this week, but we wanted to take this time to make sure that we were doing the right thing,” Carroll said of Giacomini. “So he’s in good shape and that’s a really positive report for us.”

On Bowie, he added, “Michael got a great chance to show and it was cool to have him with the first group out there. He handled himself well. It’s a good initial statement that he’s made that he looks like he can fit in. He’s got a lot of ground to make up, but we’re very pleased with him.”

ALUMNI WATCH: CURT WARNER

Three generations of Seahawks running backs were on the field before the start of practice, as Warner had a sideline conversation with Lynch and Sherman Smith, the team’s original running back who now coaches the position.

Smith led the team in rushing from 1976-79 and again in 1982. Warner, the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 1983, ran for 6,705 yards in six seasons, including 1,481 in 1986 and 1,449 as a rookie. Lynch has been the team’s leading rusher the past three seasons.

Lt. Colonel Edward DrummondPULLING RANK

Also at practice was Edward Drummond, a retired Lt. Col. and the youngest of the Tuskegee Airman. He had his picture taken with Carroll and several players after practice.

Drummond, 86, was accompanied by his wife and eight students from Pacific West Aerospace Academy.

UP NEXT

The players will work out on Thursday, but they won’t have their scheduled on-field session.

Friday, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman will sign autographs from noon to 1 p.m. as part of the weekend-long grand re-opening of the Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field. Quarterback Russell Wilson and team president Peter McLoughlin will handle the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

Next week, the team’s mandatory minicamp will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with an afternoon practice each day.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Walter is physically capable of showing off. He is a tremendous athlete. He has been in a situation where he’s kind of had to hold back a little bit for a long time. He’s really able to just go for it now.” – Carroll on oft-injured cornerback Walter Thurmond, who we profiled in this story on Monday


Marcus Trufant visiting Jaguars today

Marcus Trufant

Marcus Trufant played the past four seasons under Gus Bradley when Bradley was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator. Today, Trufant, an unrestricted free agent, is visiting Bradley in his new role and location – head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Trufant’s visit was reported by the Jaguars’ website.

The Jaguars rebuilt their secondary during the NFL Draft by selecting strong safety Jonathan Cyprien with the first pick in the second round and then adding cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz (third round) and Demetrius McCray (seventh) and safety Josh Evans (sixth). But Trufant, the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice in 2003, could mentor the young secondary – just as he did for the Seahawks the past few seasons with the All-Pro tandem of free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman as well as Pro Bowl-caliber strong safety Kam Chancellor and cornerback Brandon Browner.

The Seahawks released Trufant last offseason, only to re-sign him for a 10th season. But this year, a similar move is unlikely because the team signed nickel back Antoine Winfield in free agency, drafted cornerback Tharold Simon and also has incumbent backups Walter Thurmond, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell.

UPDATE – At 11:54 a.m. the Jaguars officially announced they had signed Trufant:


Shaun Alexander, Walter Thurmond going Hollywood

Shaun Alexander, Walter Thurmond

Lights. Camera. Shaun Alexander and Walter Thurmond?

Two Seahawks – one past (Alexander) and one present (Thurmond) – are among 22 current and former NFL players who will take part in the second annual NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp from March 11-15 at Universal Studios in California.

Alexander is the Seahawks’ all-time leading rusher and only player in franchise history to be named league MVP (in 2005). Thurmond was a fourth-round draft choice in 2010 who has been limited to 21 games in three seasons because of injuries.

Participants in the four-day boot camp will have the opportunity to shoot and edit a short film. They also will be given an overview of the creative disciplines in the film industry including screenwriting, directing, producing and film financing.


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Monday in Hawkville: Pete Carroll connects reality of finale to fun of playoffs

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 31:

Pete Carroll

FOCUS ON

Reality ball and fun. Coach Pete Carroll used both terms today when discussing the Seahawks’ 20-13 victory over the Rams in their regular-season finale on Sunday and their playoff game this week against the Redskins at FedExField.

First, the Rams’ game, which was a return to reality for the Seahawks after they had won by 58, 33 and 29 points in their previous three games: “It was a game that was good for us, in that it was hard and tough and we were behind and had to work our way back. I think that was good after the games that we’ve had, to get back to real football – reality ball, how it can be.”

And how it was, as well. Five of the Seahawks’ first seven victories came by two points (Packers), four points (at the Panthers), one point (Patriots), 10 points (Vikings) and six points in overtime (at the Bears). They also beat the Cowboys by 20 and the Jets by 21.

The win over the Rams didn’t come until quarterback Russell Wilson capped a 90-yard drive by scoring on a 1-yard run with 1:39 to play and cornerback Richard Sherman intercepted Sam Bradford’s fourth-down pass at the goal line with 33 seconds left.

“That’s high odds going against you,” Carroll said of the late scoring drive. “But we got great play. Guys executed beautifully at that time. The quarterback did a great job, made a couple big plays scrambling and running.

“And we scored early enough to give the defense a chance to do their thing, as well. And it was good to see that because we’ve had some issues at times. I think the thing that was exciting for us is that we kind of expected to pull this thing off here at the end.”

Now, the fun that is the reward from winning their final five regular-season games and seven of their past eight to reach the playoffs: “It’s more fun, because of where you are and the focus and all that. There will be a feel about the playoffs, there’s always kind of that air about it. You can sense it. It’s different.

“But the key is not allowing that to factor into what it really takes to prepare well, and not miss the message. They’ll be excited to play and everybody’s going to have great focus this week, just because it is the playoffs. But that’s something we’re trying to create on a regular basis, so when we get to this time we’ve already ‘been-there/done-that.’ ”

The Seahawks advanced to the playoffs in 2010, their first season under Carroll, and knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion Saints in a wild-card game in Seattle. They then lost to the Bears in Chicago in the divisional round.

So this Seahawks team is looking to do something no Seahawks team has done since 1983: Win a playoff game on the road.

“It’s about consistency when you get into this opportunity,” Carroll said. “You’ve got to bring what you’ve got. Don’t show up without your stuff on that day. We know how to do that. Now we have to see if we can bring it to life and not get distracted by the fact it’s the playoffs.”

BROWNER RETURNS

Cornerback Brandon Browner returned to the Seahawks today from his four-game suspension.

To clear a roster spot, cornerback Walter Thurmond was placed on injured reserve. Thurmond injured a hamstring in practice earlier this month and has missed the past three games.

“We couldn’t get him over the hump on it,” Carroll said. “He kind of re-tweaked it again last week, and that means it’s going to be a couple of weeks again.”

Browner, an alternate to the Pro Bowl last season who was added to the NFC squad as an injury replacement, started the first 12 games on the right side.

“He’s worked out real hard. His weight’s in good shape,” Carroll said. “He’s still fast and all that. He’s going to have fresh legs. But we’ve got to see how he does. Unfortunately, we have guys that can play. If he’s not quite right or he doesn’t get off to a good start during the week, we’ve got other guys who can play for him.

“But we’re going to give him a heckuva chance to play. We’re thrilled to get him back. We’ll see what happens.”

The club also signed rookie defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga and cornerback Ron Parker to its practice squad.

Meatoga was with the Raiders earlier this season. He fills the spot that opened when linebacker Allen Bradford was signed to the 53-man roster on Friday. With Parker being added, wide receiver Corbin Louks was released. Parker was with the team in training camp, released on the roster cut to 75 players and then signed to the 53-man roster off the Panthers’ practice squad Dec. 5 before being released last Friday.

SIX SEAHAWKS FINISH AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS

Leon Washington finished second in the league and led the NFC in kickoff return average (29.0).

Sherman tied for second in the league in interceptions (eight) and led the team with 24 passes defensed; while Chris Clemons tied for ninth in sacks (11.5) and Bruce Irvin led all rookies in sacks (eight).

Marshawn Lynch slipped to third in the league is rushing when Redskins rookie Alfred Morris ran for 200 yards on Sunday night. Lynch finished the regular season with 1,590 yards, while Morris had 1,613. The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson led the league with 2,097. Lynch also was fourth in total yards (1,786) behind Peterson (2,314), the Titans’ Chris Johnson (1,964) and Bucs’ Doug Martin (1,926); tied for sixth in first downs (79); and tied for seventh in scoring among non-kickers (72 points).

Wilson was fourth in the league in passer rating (100.0) behind the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (108.0), Broncos’ Peyton Manning (105.8) and Redskins’ Robert Griffin III (102.4); fifth in fourth-quarter passer rating (102.7); fifth in third-down passer rating (96.2); and eighth in completion percentage (.641).

Jon Ryan was ninth in net punting average (40.8) and tied for seventh in punts inside the 20 (30).

As a team, the Seahawks ranked No. 3 in rushing offense, No. 4 in total defense, No. 6 in passing defense and No. 10 in rushing defense. The offense was No. 17 overall and No. 27 in passing offense. They also were plus-13 in turnover differential, which tied for fifth in the league.

Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner led the team in tackles with a franchise rookie-record 140, while linebacker K.J. Wright (96) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (91) finished 2-3. Heath Farwell led the team with 15 special teams tackles.

KING VOTES WILSON, WAGNER FOR ROOKIES OF THE YEAR

Peter King at SI.com has a vote for the NFL awards given each year by the Associated Press, and he tabs Wilson as the Offensive Rookie of the Year and Wagner as the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

King on Wilson: “Wilson over Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. Morphing from a laughed-at 5-foot-11, 75th pick in the draft into a tornado-like force at quarterback by December (three games, 150 points, including 42 against the mighty Niners), and playing like Fran Tarkenton with a better arm, Wilson nipped Griffin in my opinion. But if you want either other man, I have zero problem or argument with you.”

King on Wagner: “Bobby Wagner, edging Green Bay cornerback Casey Hayward and Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly. Wagner turned a suspect group of Seattle linebackers, the weak point of the Seahawks defense, into a competitive group by being great against the run (more tackles than Patrick Willis) and good dropping into coverage (three interceptions, excellent instincts).”

STAT DU JOUR

We ran the chart of the rookie QBs with the best passer ratings in league history last week, but that was before Wilson and Griffin rewrote it on Sunday. So here’s the new Top 5, with those who fell out of it and the other rookies in this year’s class:

Player, team (year)                                Rating

Robert Griffin III, Redskins (2012)       102.4

Russell Wilson, Seahawks (2012)        100.0

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (2004)     98.1

Dan Marino, Dolphins (1983)                 96.0

Greg Cook, Bengals (1969)                      88.3

Dropping out:

Matt Ryan, Falcons (2008)                      87.8

Cam Newton, Panthers (2011)              84.5

Other 2012 rookies:

Nick Foles, Eagles                                     79.1

Andrew Luck, Colts                                  76.5

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins                        76.1

Brandon Weeden, Browns                     72.6

UP NEXT

New Year’s Day, of course. The players had today “off” and will be “off” on Tuesday as well, although many were in today for a workout, treatment or to get a jump on their video preparation for Sunday’s game.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Whatever awards come Russell Wilson’s way, we understand it. He’s just such a complete kid. That’s a really cool award for what he’s done off the field. He’s just on on all cylinders hitting it. The players would recognize that. The people in the community would recognize that. And the coaches certainly know that, as well. Anything with Steve Largent’s name on it is pretty cool.” – Carroll on Wilson being voted the Steve Largent Award by his teammates


Brandon Browner rejoins team

Brandon Browner

Cornerback Brandon Browner returned to the Seahawks today from his four-game suspension.

To clear a roster spot, cornerback Walter Thurmond was placed on injured reserve. Thurmond injured a hamstring in practice earlier this month and has missed the past three games.

Browner, an alternate to the Pro Bowl last season who was added to the NFC squad as an injury replacement, started the first 12 games on the right side. He was suspended prior to the Dec. 9 game against the Cardinals.

The club also signed rookie defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga and cornerback Ron Parker to its practice squad.

Meatoga was with the Raiders earlier this season. He fills the spot that opened when linebacker Allen Bradford was signed to the 53-man roster on Friday. With Parker being added, wide receiver Corbin Louks was released. Parker was with the team in training camp, released on the roster cut to 75 players and then signed to the 53-man roster off the Panthers’ practice squad Dec. 5 before being released last Friday.


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Friday in Hawkville: Seahawks to salute fans at Sunday’s game

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 28:

Chris Clemons

FOCUS ON

Blue Sunday. The Seahawks are turning their regular-season finale against the Rams at CenturyLink Field into a fan appreciation day, and no one appreciates the team’s 12th Man following more than coach Pete Carroll.

“It’s been a great, great season here and the fans have been fantastic,” Carroll said after practice. “The response, the spirit the whole area as expressed to our crowd; the 12th Man has just continued to answer the call.

“Everybody talks about them and how big-time they are, and then we get to Sunday night football (last week) and they (the commentators) are talking about they’ve never heard anything like that.”

For Sunday’s game against the Rams, fans are encouraged to wear blue – turning the stadium into a blue wave. There also will be random selections of fans and entire sections for prizes – from Seahawks beanies to round-trip tickets anywhere in the 48 contiguous states or Canada.

As Carroll views it, the fans deserve it all, and more.

“The 12th Man is playing well right now at the end of the year,” Carroll said. “They’re doing a good job. So we’ll celebrate one more time and see if good fortunate hits and we get another shot at it. And if we do, they’ll answer the call. They’re not done yet.”

The Seahawks already have clinched a playoff spot. They can win the NFC West title, and host a first-round playoff game, if they beat the Rams and the Cardinals beat the 49ers in San Francisco.

BUTLER BACK

For the second time in two weeks, wide receiver Deon Butler has been re-signed by the Seahawks.

Butler was with the team the past three seasons, but was released in August on the roster cut to 53 players. He was re-signed on Dec. 15, the day before the Week 15 game against the Bills in Toronto, but released on Monday. Butler was re-signed again this morning.

To clear a roster spot, cornerback Ron Parker was released. Parker was with the Seahawks for two games last season, but was released in August on the roster cut to 75 players. After spending time on the Panthers’ practice squad, Parker was re-signed on Dec. 5.

OPPONENT WATCH

Steven Jackson. The battering-Ram of a back is no stranger to the Seahawks. Sunday will be the 17th time Jackson will have played against the Seahawks during the regular season. He has 33 100-yard rushing performances in his career, but none against the Seahawks – although he has come close with 93 yards in 2006, 91 in 2008 and 90 in 2007.

But this time, Jackson is chasing history. He needs 10 rushing yards to become the sixth player in league history to have eight consecutive 1,000-yar seasons. The others? Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Curtis Martin, Thurman Thomas and LaDainian Tomlinson.

“The last four games that we’ve watched, Steven Jackson has really been taking off,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “In the Tampa game, I think that he really showed up. He’s running harder. I mean, he always runs hard. But it seems like he has stepped it up the last couple of games and is running like a different person.”

Jackson had 81 yards against the Bucs last week, and averaged 5.6 yards per carry the week before against the Vikings.

INJURY REPORT

The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:

Out

CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)

Questionable

OT Breno Giacomini (elbow)

LB Leroy Hill (hamstring)

Probable

DE Red Bryant (foot)

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

TE Anthony McCoy (back)

WR Sidney Rice (knee)

WR Golden Tate (illness)

FS Earl Thomas (ankle)

CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)

Trufant got the most work at nickel back that he has since returning last Friday from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the past four games. “Tru did well,” Carroll said. “He’s ready to play. It’s great to have him back.”

Giacomini participated in all phases of practice today after being limited on Thursday and sitting out on Wednesday. Hill was limited today after not practicing on Wednesday or Thursday. “We’re not sure if he’s full speed yet,” Carroll said of Hill.

On Thurmond, Carroll said, “It hasn’t been as smooth as we’d like. He’s really been pushing, and just hasn’t been able to get out of the discomfort with the hamstring. You’ve got to comeback feeling nothing. You can’t be nursing it or you’re too vulnerable. So he’s still feeling it and that’s not a good sign for this week, obviously. And it’s going to be hard for him to get back next week, too, I would think.”

For the Rams:

Probable

S Craig Dahl (knee)

CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh)

RB Steven Jackson (illness)

LB James Laurinaitis (back)

WR Austin Pettis (shoulder)

CB Scott Wells (knee)

STAT DU JOUR

The 2012 Seahawks are attempting to go where only two other teams in franchise history have: Finishing unbeaten at home during the regular season. Here’s a look at the Seahawks’ top home-victory teams:

Year    Home record   Overall record

2003          8-0                   10-6

2005          8-0                   13-3

2012          7-0                     ?-?

1984          7-1                    12-4

1986          7-1                    10-6

2007          7-1                    10-6

“To have a championship team you have to dominate at home,” Carroll said. “You have to. There’s no other way to get it done. Over the long haul, you have to be great at home. You have to finish great, as well, but you’ve got to be great at home.”

UP NEXT

After holding their final full practice of the regular season outside today, the players will have a walkthrough on Saturday.

Monday, cornerback Brandon Browner is eligible to return from his four-game suspension, just in time for the playoffs.

“It’s kind of like putting the band back together next week,” Carroll said. “It will be good back there.”

YOU DON’T SAY

“I’m still here with a vengeance.” – cornerback Richard Sherman when asked if he was back with a vengeance after winning his appeal of a league-imposed four-game suspension


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Friday cyber surfing: Sherman’s appeal to suspension upheld

Richard Sherman

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 28.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times has the story on Richard Sherman’s appeal of a four-game suspension, “Sherman had just been told by his attorney that he had won the appeal of his four-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. ‘I won!’ he told the players. Hoots and cheers echoed across the room. High fives were exchanged. ‘High fives, as old school as it is, is still the best way to celebrate,’ Sherman said later in the day, grinning like a kid discovering another gift under the tree. ‘There was a sigh of relief for the whole team knowing that that was done and over with and we could move on from it. Justice was served.’ “

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has the Seahawks and Rams injury reports from yesterday, noting the return of five Seahawks players to practice.

John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his take on Sherman coming out on top of his suspension, “For the past two seasons, Sherman’s supreme confidence has helped the Seahawks defense. Now, the cornerback’s belief in himself and in his innocence helped him restore some of his reputation, and will help the Seahawks in the 2012 playoffs.”

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com comments on the improvement of the Seahawks’ offensive line, “Seattle’s offensive line has been considerably better this season, so much so that it will send two members to the Pro Bowl. Okung and center Max Unger were named starters Wednesday for the NFC team, becoming the first Seahawks offensive linemen to play in the Pro Bowl since Walter Jones following the 2008 season. It is the first Pro Bowl selection for each player.”

Henderson also passes along a short video from 710Sports.com’s Mike Salk, who discusses the impact Sherman’s availability will have on the Seahawks as they make their playoff push.

Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com has his report from Thursday’s practice, “Linebacker Leroy Hill has a hamstring injury, while receiver Golden Tate came down with an illness. Limited in Thursday’s practice were right tackle Breno Giacomini (elbow), cornerback Walter Thurmond (hamstring) and defensive end Red Bryant (foot). Receiver Sidney Rice was a full participant after sitting out Wednesday’s session with a sore knee. After one day out with a back problem, tight end Anthony McCoy was also full go. The St. Louis Rams are a pretty healthy team preparing for Sunday’s regular-season finale at CenturyLink Field. Running back Steven Jackson was over a Wednesday illness enough to do all the work in Thursday’s practice.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from yesterday, “S Earl Thomas said it made his day better to know Sherman was going to be able to keep playing. ‘I came in a little shaken up just because you don’t know,’ Thomas said. ‘That’s my brother back there and it definitely feels good for him to take this journey and be on this team with us.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press writes that even with a playoff berth secured, the Seahawks will look to continue their current win streak when they face the Rams in the regular season finale on Sunday, “Seattle is drastically different from the squad that floundered through a 19-13 loss in St. Louis in Week 4, and no one more so than quarterback Russell Wilson. At that time in late September, the Seahawks were still in the infancy of learning the unique qualities of their new quarterback. That was before Wilson’s running became a true threat as a complement to running back Marshawn Lynch. And it was before Seattle’s offense became the efficient machine it’s been the past three weeks. The whopping 150 points the Seahawks have scored the last three games stole the attention. But within that points eruption was a stunning run of offensive prowess led by Wilson. ‘He’s just an athletic guy. He’s been playing very well, as a rookie, as a young guy,’ Rams defensive end Robert Quinn said. ‘You’ve got the combo of being a premier quarterback, but the athleticism of some of the best out there as well.’ “

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his best guesses for Week 17, picking the Seahawks to top the Rams, 27-13, “The Seahawks are 7-0 at home and about as hot as a team could be, having become the first team since the 1950 Los Angeles Rams to score 150 points over a three-game period. St. Louis has gone 3-0-1 in its past four road games, and 4-0-1 against the NFC West. I’m most interested in seeing how the young quarterbacks compare. The Rams’ Sam Bradford faces a tougher test behind a reshuffled offensive line. Advantage, Russell Wilson. Also, the winning coach should be coach of the year in the division, in my view. Sando’s best guess: Seahawks 27, Rams 13.”

Sando takes a look at how the Rams are preparing for quarterback Russell Wilson, “Dave McGinnis, assistant head coach for the St. Louis Rams, knows the coverage might have to hold up a little longer when his team visits Seattle in Week 17. ‘The thing about him is, it’s not panic scrambles,’ McGinnis told reporters in St. Louis. ‘He’s moving and he’s improvising, but he’s doing it with a purpose. He’s always looking down field and most all of those types of plays that he makes, they’re all positive plays.’ “

Sando also has a look at the play of a pair of young NFC West corners – Janoris Jenkins and Sherman, “Seattle’s Richard Sherman has two touchdowns over the Seahawks’ past three games, one on an interception return and the other on a blocked field-goal return. His two touchdowns against Arizona and San Francisco are more than the one touchdown the Cardinals and 49ers scored in those games.”

NFL Films previews the Seahawks’ Week 17 matchup against the Rams in this short video.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has the story on Sherman’s successful appeal, “On more than one occasion during the process that was his appeal of a four-game suspension by the NFL, it was suggested to Richard Sherman that his chances of winning were slim and none. But Sherman, the Seahawks’ second-year cornerback, hasn’t just been there before. Slim and none have been his constant companions. ‘There were always people who said the chances were slim and none,’ Sherman said on Wednesday, when he was informed by his attorney that he had indeed won his appeal. ‘I told them, ‘My chances have always been slim and none. And I’ve always found a way to win those.’ You don’t make it this far without getting through some kind of adversity. This is just another phase. And I have great teammates and great coaches who supported me through it. The great fans we have supported and had faith through the whole process, and I was appreciative of that.’ “

Farnsworth also recaps the activities surrounding “Thursday in Hawkville” with a focus on Leon Washington and the team’s Pro Bowlers.

Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” with reaction from the club’s Pro Bowl players.

We have coach Bradley and Wilson’s full video press conferences from yesterday.

Finally, team photographer Rod Mar has an updated look at the week of practice in photos here.


Thursday cyber surfing: Club lands five in Pro Bowl; Bryant named Special Teams Player of Week 16

Pro Bowl

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 27.

Yesterday, five Seahawks were selected to the 2013 Pro Bowl – left tackle Russell Okung and center Max Unger were named starters at their positions, running back Marshawn Lynch and free safety Earl Thomas are designated backups, and Leon Washington will serve as the conference’s kick returner.

Defensive end Red Bryant has been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 16, according to Randall Liu, the NFC’s Director of Football Communications, who made the announcement on Twitter this morning. Bryant blocked a San Francisco 49ers field goal early in the second quarter that cornerback Richard Sherman picked up and ran back 90 yards for a touchdown.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times highlights the Seahawks’ five Pro Bowl selections and says the Seahawks are not giving up on the chance to claim the NFC West title, “So, you’re saying there’s a chance? Technically, yes. If Seattle beats St. Louis on Sunday and San Francisco loses a second consecutive game for the first time under coach Jim Harbaugh, the Seahawks would be the NFC West champions and play host to a playoff game. Barring that, Seattle will be the No. 5 seed in the NFC, playing on the road against the winner of the regular-season finale Sunday between Washington and Dallas.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his story on the Seahawks named to the Pro Bowl, “In addition to the five players named to the NFC team, the Seahawks also had eight players named Pro Bowl alternates. Cornerback Richard Sherman, defensive end Chris Clemons and fullback Michael Robinson were named first alternates; safety Kam Chancellor, punter Jon Ryan and special teamer Heath Farwell were named second alternates; quarterback Russell Wilson was named a third alternate and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane was named a fourth alternate.”

Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, contributing to 710Sports.com, has a look at the Seahawks playoff scenarios heading into Week 17, “The most likely outcome of this weekend, assuming that the Seahawks take care of the Rams on Sunday, is a trip to the nation’s capital to face the Washington Redskins in the first round of the playoffs. If the Redskins can beat the Dallas Cowboys at home, we’ll be watching two of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL go head to head. A Russell Wilson vs. RGIII matchup would pit two of the top Rookie-of-the-Year candidates against one another. Certainly the Redskins are a force and rank No. 9 in ESPN’s power ranking, but again I would expect the Hawks to beat them on the road.”

Liz Matthews of 710Sports.com has her report from Wednesday’s practice, noting the return of veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant, “Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant practiced for the first time in nearly a month on Wednesday. Trufant had missed the last four games, recovering from a hamstring injury. ‘Tru is going to go today. It will be great to have him out there,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘He’ll be jumping in at the nickel spot and see how he does there. We’ll see how he handles it, and each day will tell us a new story. We can’t project how he’s going to make it for the game. We don’t know that.’ “

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Wednesday, “Carroll praised the play of CB Jeremy Lane and CB Byron Maxwell, who have been forced to step into bigger roles due to the suspension of CB Brandon Browner and injuries at the position. Carroll said they are playing better than even he imagined they could. ‘They really are, they have really come through well,’ Carroll said. ‘They’re athletic, so I knew that they would athletically be okay, but they have played very consistent and stayed on top on the deep balls.’ “

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com details the impressive play of rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane and offensive guard J.R. Sweezy, who have been forced into increased playing time.

Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com has a look at head coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks following last Sunday’s win over the Niners.

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com breaks down Russell Wilson’s scramble run with 12:56 left in the third quarter of Sunday’s win over the 49ers, “…this amazing play brings a larger point home — as

the 10-5 Seahawks prepare for this Sunday’s regular-season finale against the St. Louis Rams, Wilson might be the one rookie quarterback nobody wants to deal with right now. Seattle has scored 150 points and allowed just 30 in its last three games. In the month of December, Wilson has a 110.1 quarterback rating — only Cam Newton and Tony Romo are better in that department for the month among signal-callers with four starts — and he’s thrown for eight touchdowns against two interceptions. Add in the three rushing touchdowns he bagged against the Buffalo Bills two Sundays ago, and it’s pretty clear that Wilson gives the Seahawks a playoff edge few other quarterbacks present at this particular point in time.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his Pro Bowl analysis on the NFC West and names rookie quarterback Russell Wilson the division MVP in his “NFC West wrap“, “Division MVP: Russell Wilson. Raise your hand if you thought the Seattle Seahawks’ rookie quarterback would become the best quarterback in the NFC West and the No. 1 reason Seattle would challenge for the NFC West title. OK, you can put your hand down now, Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. You were about the only analyst I can recall being bullish enough to go all-in for Wilson back in August. ‘I think Russell Wilson is going to be great,’ Williamson said back on Aug. 30. ‘I very much believe Russell Wilson will have the best year of any quarterback in the division. … Wilson puts up a ton of points at every level — N.C. State, Wisconsin, the preseason with Seattle. There is no down side to him, except he’s short. But he knows how to get around that.’ “

Sando also has a look at injury situations around the NFC West, “The Seahawks held out from practice receiver Sidney Rice (knee), tight end Anthony McCoy (back), tackle Breno Giacomini (elbow), running back Marshawn Lynch (back), linebacker Leroy Hill (hamstring), cornerback Walter Thurmond (hamstring) and defensive end Red Bryant (foot). Cornerback Marcus Trufant and defensive tackle Alan Branch practiced. Both have been injured recently.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his story on the club’s Pro Bowl selections and recaps the activities surrounding “Wednesday in Hawkville” with a focus on general manager John Schneider.

Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” as the team begins preparations for the final week of the regular season.

We have coach Carroll and coach Bevell’s full video press conferences from yesterday.

Lastly, our team photographer Rod Mar has photos from yesterday’s “Competition Wednesday” practice available here.


Carroll: Trufant set for return to practice

Marcus Trufant

Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s 2:00 p.m. practice and preparation for their Week 17 matchup with the St.Louis Rams on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

Carroll said veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant will practice today, returning from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the last four games.

“We’ll see how he handles it,” Carroll said of Trufant’s return to the practice field at the nickel position. “We don’t know how it’ll affect his game status for Sunday yet.”

Third-year cornerback Walter Thurmond is still nursing a hamstring injury of his own and Carroll said he will not practice today. Thurmond has missed the club’s last two games.

On weakside linebackers Leroy Hill (hamstring) and Malcolm Smith (groin) Carroll said the pair will be dealing with their injuries they suffered in Sunday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers throughout the week and will not practice today. If neither player is available by Sunday, second-year linebacker Mike Morgan is the expected backup at the position.

Wide receiver Sidney Rice, who was dealing with a foot bruise and knee injury heading into last week’s game, and defensive end Red Bryant, who has been managing a foot injury, will not practice today. Carroll expects the two to be fine for Sunday’s game against the Rams, but their practice time will be managed throughout the week.

Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. Until then, be sure to check out coach Carroll’s full video press conference below:

 


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Club continues to play with edge; Pro Bowl rosters to be announced

Red BryantGood morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 26.

The NFL notes that 2013 Pro Bowl rosters will be announced today at 7 p.m. ET on a special edition of “NFL Total Access.”

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at the improvement of quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense, “Wilson’s yards per attempt — a metric that helps gauge how aggressively a team looks downfield — is up nearly 2 yards over the past three games, a significant bump. What has really exploded is Wilson’s rushing numbers, the game plan becoming focused upon accentuating Wilson’s talents. It’s not just running beyond the line of scrimmage, but moving in the pocket. He’s got license to scramble, evading defenders with maneuvers that are at times almost comical. Earlier in the season, Seattle was trying to grind out victories while grooming a rookie quarterback. Now, the Seahawks are trusting that same rookie to see how far he will take them. ‘We have a front-line, first-rate quarterback going out there in these games and you’re seeing it,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s balling. We trust him in his decision-making because he’s proven worthy of that.’ “

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune rehashes the race for offensive rookie of the year, making a case for Wilson, “Since Week 5, Wilson has thrown for 2,274 yards, completing 65 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions. During that same stretch Wilson has a 106.9 passer rating, the second best in the league over that span behind only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (110.8). In the red zone, Wilson has completed 56 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 105.6 passer rating, which is fourth-best in the league.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes about how Carroll and the Seahawks are handling their recent success, “No longer are the Seahawks, the team playing in the NFL’s most remote outpost, the plucky little team that could. They’re quickly turning into bullies. Apparently, three wins by a combined margin of 150-30 tends to make people take notice. So is there any concern the Seahawks could lose their edge now that they’ve clinched a playoff berth and are being called the NFL’s hottest team? ‘Yeah, sure, there is always concern for that,’ Carroll said. ‘That’s what my job is, to not let that happen, so I better be concerned about that. I’m very confident about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and the language that we use and the way we talk, the way they’re talking. I love to hear their comments at this point and how they’ve dealt with the last few weeks. They’re right on point.’ “

Boyle also notes a roster move from Monday, December 24, as the club released wide receiver Deon Butler from the 53-man roster to make room for the addition of rookie strong safety Winston Guy, who had been serving a four game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Jim Litke of the Associated Press tries to make sense of the sound level exhibited by the 12th Man at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, “[Sunday Night Football producer Fred] Gaudelli and his crew hatched a plan to demonstrate that by having sideline reporter Michele Tafoya speak into a microphone as the sound reverberated, then take a step back and try again. When they ran through it before the game, he had a stadium staffer simulate the crowd noise over the PA system. At the point Tafoya’s words were drowned out the system was cranked to 50 percent of volume. ‘So I asked the guy, is it really going to be that loud? He looked at me,’ Gaudelli chuckled into the phone, ‘and said, ‘Double it.’ The guy was right. That much was apparent at the start of the broadcast, when Tafoya interviewed Carroll – remember, the game hadn’t even begun – and didn’t dare stand anywhere but uncomfortably close. Uncomfortable might be the right word to describe the 49ers as well, at least in the early going, when they had to burn timeouts as relatively inexperienced quarterback Colin Kaepernick was having trouble getting the play calls from his sideline. Right about then, he probably wished the 49ers had devoted more time to mastering their silent snap counts. ‘The crowd’s explosive, it really is,’ Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. ‘They love us so much, and it brings so much energy to our football team. They keep us in the game, obviously, and they keep us alert.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press has reaction from Carroll on the club’s hope to continue to play with an edge, “The blowout of the 49ers grabbed the kind of attention the Seahawks have wanted. ‘The chip on the shoulder? That’s not something we just manufactured for the sake of getting fired up. The guys in this room feel that. Almost every one of these guys has their reasons. I feel like that myself. We just kind of share in that chip and we don’t even have to pass it around,’ Carroll said. ‘We all have one. That’s just kind of how it’s been. Just look, we’re up here in the Northwest and they like talking about us after they talk about everybody else. And that’s OK. That’s just the way it is. It doesn’t amount to much but sometimes it does fuel you a little to keep you going. It works for us so we’ll stay with it.’ “

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com says last Sunday’s victory over the 49ers was “extra special” for wide receiver Doug Baldwin, “As if beating his college coach in lopsided fashion wasn’t sweet enough, Baldwin had his finest game of the season in the win. He had receiving touchdowns of 4 and 6 yards, making difficult catches on each. He made a bobbling catch on a 46-yard gain that set up the Seahawks’ second touchdown. Baldwin finished with four catches for 53 yards. It was the first multi-touchdown game of his career. Then again, big games against the 49ers are nothing new for Baldwin. Four of his seven career touchdowns have come against San Francisco.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has updates from Carroll’s Monday presser, “Carroll said they emerged from the game fairly healthy with only a few issues. He said LB Leroy Hill has a hamstring injury that needs to be looked at. He also said Hill’s backup, LB Malcolm Smith, might have a groin issue as well. It’s something they need to check out. If neither would be available to play, LB Mike Morgan would be the backup at the weakside linebacker spot. Carroll said WR Sidney Rice and DE Red Bryant came out of the game feeling better. Rice had been dealing with a foot bruise and a knee injury heading into last week’s game. Bryant has been dealing with a plantar fascia injury in his foot. CB Marcus Trufant is expected to return to practice on Wednesday from a hamstring strain that has kept him out the last four games. Carroll said they still weren’t sure if CB Walter Thurmond would be able to practice Wednesday. He has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain as well.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his latest “MVP Watch” where Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch show up on his list, “Wilson now ranks seventh in NFL passer rating (98.0) and eighth in Total QBR (70.0) for the season. He ranks third in both categories — 101.5 rating, 75.6 QBR — from Week 2 to present. Much gets made of Wilson’s success at home. He ranks among the NFL’s top five in road QBR after Week 1 (78.8). Only Ryan (85.4), Brady (81.5) and Manning (80.2) rank higher among quarterbacks with more than four road starts during that time. Ben Roethlisberger (72.8), Drew Brees (69.9), Rodgers (69.8) and Robert Griffin III (69.6) are next. Wilson needs one touchdown pass against St. Louis in Week 17 to tie Manning’s rookie record of 26, set in 1998. Manning also had 28 interceptions that season. Wilson has 10, including one on a dropped pass.”

Sando has his most recent “Stock Watch” item as well, and the Seahawks’ coach and GM – Carroll and John Schneider – along with the Seahawks’ receiver and strong safety Kam Chancellor represent three of his four units that are on the rise, “Seahawks’ receivers. Dropped passes doomed Seattle’s offense during a 13-6 defeat at San Francisco in Week 7. Outstanding catches played an important role in Seattle sprinting to a big lead against the 49ers in the rematch Sunday night. Baldwin’s juggling catch in the rain for a 43-yard gain was the longest play for either team. Baldwin added two scoring receptions. Rice made a leaping grab along the sideline. Seattle converted 11 of 12 times on third down while Wilson was in the game.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth catches up with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, cornerback Richard Sherman, and special teams co-captain Heath Farwell on some of their favorite Christmas memories growing up.

We also have coach Carroll’s full video press conference from Monday available here.