Friday cyber surfing: ‘Hawks ‘D’ making it tough on offense; All about ‘Tez

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 3.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times previews Cortez Kennedy’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame tomorrow, “He was the most memorable player in what was otherwise a largely forgettable decade in the team’s history,” O’Neil writes. “Kennedy stood out — such a singular force of nature that he could be identified by only half his first name. He was ‘Tez. ‘There is no one more deserving of this than Cortez,’ said Mike Holmgren, who coached Kennedy his final two seasons. ‘I got him near the end of his career. He’s such a good man, such a pleasure. We maintained a friendship. He’s one of the good guys.’ “

O’Neil also tells the story of how Facebook helped Seahawks safety Chris Maragos first get discovered.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune talks with rookie running back Robert Turbin, who is easing in to his new role as backup running back to Marshawn Lynch and Leon Washington, ” ‘There’s no pressure,’ Turbin said. ‘This is what I do. I’m a rookie, but I’m a professional football player right now, you know what I mean? So I’ve got to do my job. And my job is to right now back up Marshawn Lynch, or back up Leon (Washington). And so when my opportunity comes to get on the field, I have to just do my job and take advantage of the opportunity.’ Two days after getting knocked on his back by linebacker K.J. Wright during a running drill, Turbin heeded the second-year linebacker’s advice and got his pad level lower. The result at Thursday’s practice was a thundering collision where Turbin got the better of massive defensive end Red Bryant – although Turbin was the one looking around for his helmet afterward.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald asks Brandon Browner what his expectations are for 2012, after the towering cornerback had such a successful first season after coming over from the CFL, ” ‘It’s a lot different,’ Browner said of his second Seahawks training camp. ‘Last year, there was some uncertainty. Now, I’ve got a little bit of an understanding of the defense this year. But at the same time, we’ve got a standard that’s set and we’ve got to play to that standard that’s set.’ ” Boyle’s piece also contains an interesting anecdote on Browner from coach Carroll.

Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com says second-year linebacker K.J. Wright is hoping for a breakout season in 2012, as he recounts a segment of “Bob and Groz” in which Wright joined the show. ” ‘When I first got here, I’m telling you, I was real lost. I didn’t know how to make the strength calls and I was playing a new position,”‘ Wright, a fourth-round pick in 2011, told “Bob and Groz” after the team’s training camp practice on Thursday. ‘Coming in here and having OTAs and minicamps [this year], learning the insides of the defense, why we’re doing certain things, it really helped me out.’ For a guy who claims to have been lost, Wright seemed to figure it out quickly. He started the season opener at middle linebacker while David Hawthorne was out with a knee injury, and by the sixth week of the season the Seahawks were convinced enough in his ability to start at strongside linebacker that they gave him the job and shipped Aaron Curry out of town.”

Brock Huard of mynorthwest.com analyzes the ‘Hawks wide receiver position – a position he thought could emerge to be among the 10 best in the League – in this short video. Huard doesn’t necessarily share those same sentiments anymore after watching how Seattle’s defensive backs have had their way with the receivers thus far in camp, and calls for the group to step up their game as the preseason nears.

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his notes from Thursday’s practice session, “Whether it was the first- or second-team unit on the field, the defense showed the promise and potential they have. The pass rush was consistent. LB K.J. Wright and LB Bobby Wagner flashed frequently and the secondary was as strong as expected. The strength of the defense obviously played into how much the offense struggled, but the difficult question is just how good was the defense and just how poor was the offense? That’s a tough question to answer, but it’s safe to say the defense has some scary potential this season.”

Here at Seahawks.com we bring you a look at Thursday’s practice, including a look at second-year cornerback Byron Maxwell, who has been working back into training camp practice this summer after an ankle injury from last year slowed him during the offseason, ” ‘We’re very satisfied with his progress,’ said Seahawks secondary coach Kris Richard. ‘Of course, his issue is going to be conditioning now. He hasn’t had a full offseason. We are well aware of it, but we’re very satisfied with his effort. He’s a ball player. He’s always had a knack to get around the ball. A healthy Byron at corner, in the nickel, and on special teams – a healthy Byron is a very effective Byron.’ “

Clare Farnsworth has made it to Canton, Ohio for Cortez Kennedy’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and has his story previewing ‘Tez’s big day, as he talks with Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon on what ‘Tez can expect come Saturday, ” ‘It’s like you’re trying to plan a reunion and a wedding, at the same time,’ Moon said this week. ‘It’s a weekend filled with all these different people that have been involved in your life – whether it’s high school, whether it’s Pop Warner. I had so many different people from all the different phases of my career there that you want to try and spend time with them all. But you also know you have all these other obligations.’ ”

Farnsworth also brings us his final ‘Countdown to Canton’ piece, this one with the only Seahawk currently in the Hall of Fame – wide receiver Steve Largent, ” ‘I’m so happy for Cortez,’ Largent said. ‘He knows how cool it is right now, but he doesn’t realize yet that it gets better and better. Just the quality and caliber of guys that you’re associated with, and get to associate with a lot, it’s really fun and exciting. I still feel like a kid when I’m in the room with these guys. I’m a fan.’ “

Here at Seahawks.com we also break down Day Five of the team’s quarterback competition, a day that saw Matt Flynn taking the majority of first-team reps, and a day that saw the defense – once again – dominate the practice session, ” ‘I talked to the defense today and told them to dial it up and make it hard as we can make it on these guys for getting comparisons and good information,’ said head coach Pete Carroll. “So we’re going to continue to do that and continue to make it hard. We’re not going to cater at all and make it easy for the quarterbacks.”

Tony Ventrella takes a look at the mix of veterans and youth in the ‘Hawks defensive backfield in our Thursday Seahawks Daily.

And finally, we have a little light-hearted competition between the team’s three quarterbacks, as Tarvaris Jackson, Matt Flynn, and Russell Wilson took part in the first of three non-football competitions. First up – how many free throws can each QB make in a minute?


Wednesday cyber surfing: Baldwin earns mention as NFL’s top prospect

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 18.

At ESPN.com, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders gives us his list of the 25 top prospects in the NFL – noting that to be included the player must fit the following criteria:

• Drafted in the third round or later, or signed as an undrafted free agent
• Entered the NFL between 2009 and 2011
• Fewer than five career games started
• Still on their initial contract
• Age 26 or younger in 2012

And who do you think sits atop Schatz’s list? Well, that’s none other than Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin. Also on Schatz’s list are fellow Seahawks receivers Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham. You can read what Schatz had to say about Baldwin right here, but the full piece requires an ESPN Insider subscription.

Pete Prisco, Pat Kirwan and Rob Rang of CBSsports.com provide a three-part Seahawks piece, as they make predictions for the team in 2012, break down the team’s X’s and O’s and recap Seattle’s 2012 NFL Draft. In his prediction for the Seahawks in 2012, Prisco calls wide receiver Sidney Rice the team’s ‘X-Factor’, “The Seahawks signed him last year to a big contract with the idea he would become their go-to guy in the passing game. He played in only nine games last season and caught just 32 passes because of shoulder issues. He had screws inserted into both shoulders during the offseason and said the doctors told him it was like having two new shoulders. We’ll see. Rice has to become more of a threat in the passing game and if he stays on the field, I think he can.”

Also at CBSsports.com Prisco gives us a list of his Top-100 NFL players, and the lone Seahawk to make his list is safety Earl Thomas, who checks in at No. 97. On Thomas, Prisco provides, “This rangy player has all the tools to be a dominant safety in a passing league. His cover skills are impressive.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth continues with his 2012 Seahawks positional outlook, this time turning his attention toward the defensive line. For all of the success the Seahawks enjoyed at the position last season – a position that was a big part of the Seahawks turning in the ninth-ranked defense in the league – Farnsworth notes that one area that could use a boost is the line’s ability to get to the quarterback, “The Seahawks generated just 33 sacks in 2011, their second-lowest total in the past nine seasons. A closer look, however, really shows just what was missing. While Leo end Chris Clemons led the team with 11 sacks – for the second time in his two seasons with the Seahawks – the rest of the linemen combined for 10. What’s a coach to do? Sign pass-rushing tackle Jason Jones in free agency and then select pass-rushing end Bruce Irvin in the first round of the NFL Draft. ‘We just see the increase in athletic ability upfront with the addition of those two,’ said Todd Wash, who is in his second season as coach of the D-line. ‘So you add them to what Clem already brings and we’re going to be not only big but also fast, to hopefully increase our ability to get to the quarterback.’ “

Also here at Seahawks.com former Seahawks quarterback Jeff Kemp provides this heartfelt piece honoring his center in Seattle, Grant Feasel, who passed away over the weekend. Kemp remembers, “Grant was the quintessential sacrificial warrior. He wrapped himself up in the duty to clear the way for and protect his teammates. He took his job so seriously. Our families grew up together and Grant deeply loved his family. He had a great sense of humor but never during the heat of battle.”

Brock Huard of MyNorthwest.com breaks down the strengths, weaknesses and expectations for the Seahawks wide receiver group heading into 2012, and also provides a thought on each Seahawks wideout and how they can improve going forward. On Golden Tate, Huard offers, “It’s a make-or-break season for the former second rounder. The light bulb appeared to go on at the end of last season, and Tate must avoid the injury and inconsistency in route-running that has slowed his development. He should be able to play all three wideout spots in spurts, and he has the breakaway speed to be a difference maker.”

Finally, sticking with the wide-receiver theme, Ian Furness and Hugh Millen at 950 KJR AM analyze the Seahawks wideout group in this nearly 18-minute audio link. Furness and Millen explain the differences between the ‘X’, ‘Z’ and ‘slot’ receivers and they discuss how the Seahawks current wide receiver personnel fits into each of those designations.


Monday cyber surfing: Reaction to Williams’ release

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

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times gives us his reaction to the Seahawks release of wide receiver Mike Williams, noting  the move did not come as a total surprise, but rather a disappointment given Williams’ career revival with Seattle in 2010. “Williams’ release is disappointing, however,” said O’Neil. “His 2010 comeback was nothing short of remarkable as the former first-round pick — who had been out of the league entirely for two years — caught 65 passes to lead the team. He was never going to be mistaken for a track star, but he had size, great hands and an engaging personality. The man is very likeable. He had an ability to cut to the quick and speak honestly. On the subject of the NFL’s comeback player of the year in 2010, he pointed out that Leon Washington was much more deserving considering the severity of the broken leg Washington had to recover from. All Williams did, he said, was recover from being out of shape and sitting on his couch.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his own take on the release of Williams, as he designates health issues and a lack of production a season ago as factors in the team’s decision, and comments on how the move affects the Seahawks’ competition at wide receiver heading into training camp, “The release of Williams opens up competition for the starting split end spot opposite Sidney Rice, with veterans Ben Obomanu and Deon Butler battling with youngsters Golden Tate, Kris Durham and Ricardo Lockette for the starting job.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald presents his take on the release of Williams, and also takes a look at how the move affects the Seahawks wideout group heading into camp, “With or without Williams, the battle for roster spots and playing time already figured to be one of the most intriguing position battles aside from Seattle’s three-man quarterback competition. While Sidney Rice is a lock to start, assuming he is healthy, the battle for the other starting job is wide open. Doug Baldwin should remain the Seahawks’ slot receiver, a role in which he thrived as a rookie in 2011. Golden Tate is now likely the front runner to be Seattle’s other starting receiver, but a number of other players could push him for that spot. The Seahawks will have a battle for both playing time and roster spots beyond Rice, Tate and Baldwin, one that will include Ben Obomanu, Kris Durham, Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette and perhaps a couple of undrafted rookies such as Lavasier Tuinei and Phil Bates.”

Tim Booth of the Associated Press gives us this story on the release of Williams, suggesting that the signing of tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. may have played a role in the team’s decision to let Williams go, “With Winslow and Zach Miller, the Seahawks are likely to use more two tight end sets and limit the need for a second taller receiver on the outside.”

Over at MyNorthwest.com Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of the “Bob and Groz” show provide their own assessment of the Seahawks decision to release Williams, and discuss what’s next for the team at the wide receiver position, and for Williams, in this video.

Rounding out the reaction to Williams’ release is Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM, who shares this piece and predicts what the team might do to replace Williams, “The team could look to bring in another veteran receiver or two to help add security to the position. WR Antonio Bryant had a tryout during mini-camp in June, but the team wanted him to get in better shape before making a decision on whether to sign him to the roster. He could be an option entering camp.”

The guys at ProFootballTalk.com are incrementally releasing their preseason power rankings and the Seahawks have landed at No. 22 on their list. Evan Silva breaks down the ranking in this Seahawks preview, analyzing the team’s strengths, weaknesses, changes the team has undergone, upcoming training camp battles and has provided an outlook heading into 2012, “The Seahawks seem to be a team on the rise, but they’ve yet to exceed seven regular-season wins through two years of the Carroll/Schneider regime. In order to instill confidence in the minds of observers, Seattle needs to take a significant step forward in on-the-field performance. Seattle’s 2012 schedule includes a brutal stretch from Weeks Two through Eight. They’ll square off with four returning playoff teams — the Packers, Patriots, 49ers, and Lions. During the seven-game run, the Seahawks also face the explosive offenses of Dallas and Carolina. We’ll have a very good feel for what kind of team the 2012 Seahawks are following that tough run. Ultimately, we ranked Seattle as the second best team in the NFC West. We like them better than the Cardinals and Rams, but much less than the Niners. The Seahawks are a club that certainly could surprise, especially if they emerge from the aforementioned seven-game stretch with four solid wins.”

Eric Edholm of ProFootballWeekly.com picks out three teams that may not necessarily be division favorites heading into 2012, but could have the potential to surprise and challenge for the division. Among Edholm’s short list are the Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks. Edholm had this to say on the Seahawks, “The Seahawks are fascinating. They have a young, ballhawking defense, some real talent at receiver and a confident head coach in Pete Carroll with a chip on his shoulder. All they need now is to settle on a quarterback. It should be easy, right? They signed Matt Flynn in the offseason, gave him $10 million guaranteed. That should be our sign he’s the starter. But an interesting thing is happening here, with Tarvaris Jackson getting the first-team reps to start training camp and white-hot (and intriguing) rookie Russell Wilson throwing bolts and determined to win the job from Day One.”

At NFL.com Kurt Warner, Warren Sapp and guest-analyst and former-teammate of Seahawks quarterback Matt Flynn Green Bay Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings each give their two cents on the Seahawks quarterback competition heading into training camp in this short video.

Finally, here at Seahawks.com registration is now open for 2012 Bing Training Camp, which is set to begin at the end of the month. For more information, including how to register, click here.


Tuesday cyber surfing: Positional breakdowns

Good morning, here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 10.

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times takes a look at the Seahawks wide receiver position, and the competition that will come with it come training camp. O’Neil considers three wide receivers to be “locks” for the Seahawks 53-man roster – Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate. Beyond those three, it gets a little complicated according to O’Neil, “There are veterans Ben Obomanu, [Deon] Butler and [Mike] Williams. There are promising second-year players like Kris Durham — a fourth-round pick in 2011 — and Ricardo Lockette, who flashed his big-play potential at the end of the season. And don’t forget the crew of undrafted free agents and offseason additions: Lavasier Tuinei, Charly Martin, Jermaine Kearse, Cameron Kenney and Phil Bates. So how many can you expect Seattle to keep? Well, 5.4 says history, and before you start wondering how to get 40 percent of one wide receiver, that’s simply the average number of receivers the Seahawks have kept when they reduced the roster to 53 players from 2002 through last season.”

Like O’Neil, here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a positional analysis of his own, as he takes a look at the Seahawks secondary heading into 2012. Farnsworth points to more experience and better depth as reasons to see improvement in the Seahawks secondary in 2012, as the unit hopes to build off the success they enjoyed a season ago, “No other team in the league had three defensive backs play in the Pro Bowl last season [Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor & Brandon Browner]. No other team in the league had three defensive backs ranked among the Top 10 cornerbacks and safeties in the league by the Sporting News this offseason.”

Over at NFL.com Gregg Rosenthal piggy-backs off of O’Neil’s wide receiver discussion and offers his own thoughts on Mike Williams, “Seattle Seahawks wideout Mike Williams could go from one of the best stories in the NFL to out of the league in the span of just two years. Somehow, that’s the most NFL story of all. Coach Pete Carroll resurrected his former USC star from the ashes in 2010. After being out of the NFL two years, Williams led the Seahawks with 65 catches and 751 yards. He was a legitimate Comeback Player of the Year candidate. He was the No. 1 receiver on a team that won a playoff game. But the NFL is an unforgiving place to work. Williams fell off the map during an injury-plagued 2011, putting up only 236 yards in 12 games. He’s coming off a broken leg and is no longer a lock to make the Seahawks’ roster.”

Also at NFL.com, Matt Smith gives us his fantasy dream team – the “perfect” draft – as he calls it, and lo and behold, there are a couple Seahawks mentions on his list. Smith hopes to pick up running back Marshawn Lynch in Round 3, offering this on Seattle’s bruising back, “I don’t buy last season being a fantasy miracle year for Lynch, Pete Carroll simply realized where his production was going to come from and kept it going, riding momentum of a great defense and running game to a solid close of the season. With the “dink and dunk” Matt Flynn, or the inconsistent Tavaris Jackson, or rookie Russell Wilson, the running game is going to have to be solid again for the Seahawks to succeed. And with their defense looking even better this season, they’re likely to lean on that run game even more.” Then, several rounds later, Smith has his eyes set on the Seahawks defense, “I love getting the defense right in Fantasy. It could be the difference between a win or a loss when you have one that’s dominant in point production. You need a defense that attacks, that goes after the quarterback and places a value on the ball above all else. The Bears have made a fantasy career of it, but these days they’re getting a little bit old to keep doing what they have been. Seattle closed strong, and all season long was solid. Seven weeks of double-digit production is just lunacy to leave on the board.”

Dan Arkush at ProFootballWeekly.com talked to a daily observer of Seahawks team activities, who told him Seahawks first round draft pick DE Bruce Irvin has impressed in the early-goings of Seahawks OTAs and minicamps, “One particularly striking example in a late-May OTA was the eye-popping countermove the sleek Irvin put on Breno Giacomini that literally floored the massive tackle. ‘It was really something to see; it made an instant impression,’ the observer said. But it was hardly enough to suddenly thrust Irvin into consideration for a starting role, with the game plan calling for him to hopefully wreak havoc along with [Chris] Clemons in specific nickel pass-rush situations the same way Aldon Smith did as a first-round rookie for the Niners last season. ‘Irvin has gotten all the starting reps up to now, but he has talked about how much he’d like to be learning from Clemons,’ the observer said.”


The Day in Pictures: Friday

The Seahawks underwent a 45-minute walk-thru in their indoor practice facility at the VMAC today, as they made final preparations for Sunday’s NFC West showdown with the St. Louis Rams.

Quarterback Charlie Whitehurst fires a pass.

Kennard Cox (red hat) works as a wide reciever as cornerback Walter Thurmond defends.

Even though the team practiced inside, temperatures in the team's indoor practice facility were in the 30's.

Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck smiles with head coach Pete Carroll.

Head coach Pete Carroll called up linebackers coach Ken Norton, Jr. a three-time Super Bowl champion, to end practice.