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Seahawks well represented in Top 100 Plays of 2012

NFL Network’s NFL AM has been unveiling the Top 100 Plays of 2012, and 66 plays into their countdown, the Seahawks are well represented on their list.

We take an updated look at eight of those plays that feature some of Seattle’s very own.

No. 34 – Golden Tate shows up for the fourth time on this list, this time when he hauls in an acrobatic 32-yard grab from quarterback Russell Wilson in the team’s Week 12 game against the Miami Dolphins.

No. 59 – Tate connects with fellow wide receiver Sidney Rice on a 23-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of a Week 10 game against the New York Jets at CenturyLink Field. Quarterback Russell Wilson fakes a hand-off to running back Robert Turbin and then pitches the ball back to Tate, who acts like a runner before winding up his left arm and delivering a strike to Rice in the back of the end zone.

No. 61 – Tight end Zach Miller makes the list for his tremendous one-handed touchdown grab in Week 8 against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Miller hauled in a 16-yard pass from quarterback Russell Wilson for his first touchdown as a Seahawk.

No. 69 – The Legion of Boom makes their presence known as free safety Earl Thomas snags a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass and returns it 57 yards for a touchdown to cap off a 50-17 win over the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. Aided by Thomas’ effort, the Seahawks became the third team in NFL history and first since 1950 to score 50 points or more in back-to-back games, after posting 58 in a shutout of the Arizona Cardinals the week prior.

No. 77 – Wilson checks in at No. 77 on the countdown, but not for one of the many plays he made with his arm last season. It’s Wilson’s feet that get the recognition here, as he practically out-maneuvers the entire New England Patriots defense on a 3rd-and-4 play to pick up nine yards and a first down. No offense to CBS Sports play-by-play man Ian Eagle, but this play gets much more entertaining (and equally more appropriate) when the slapstick comedy “Yakety Sax” tune is played over the top of Wilson’s scramble. Mute the video of the play below and queue up “Yakety Sax” on YouTube, try to start both videos at nearly the same time, and enjoy.

No. 88 - Eighty-eight goes to Tate, whose acrobatics are on display again in this one, as he takes a quick pass from Wilson and dodges defenders for 11 yards before diving into the end zone for a touchdown in Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings. The play gave the Seahawks a 20-17 lead they would not surrender, as they bested the Vikings 30-20 at CenturyLink Field.

No. 89 – It’s only appropriate that play No. 89 on the countdown goes to the Seahawks’ No. 89 – wide receiver Doug Baldwin. His 43-yard juggling catch against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16 made the cut on the countdown. Baldwin was the club’s leading receiver that day, hauling in four catches for 53 yards and two scores, as Seattle topped the division rival Niners, 42-13, on Sunday Night Football.

No. 96 - Tate’s 14-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that gave the Seahawks a three-point lead with 32 seconds left in the game against the Chicago Bears in Week 13 makes the list at No. 96. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler would connect with wide receiver Brandon Marshall on the ensuing drive to set up a field goal that would tie the game at 17, but Wilson led an 80-yard touchdown drive in the opening possession of overtime to give Seattle a 23-17 victory with a play that we’re sure will show up later on this list.


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Tuesday in Hawkville: Michael Brooks showing he’s a fast learner

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 11, as the Seahawks kicked off a mandatory three-day minicamp that will conclude their offseason program:

FOCUS ON: MICHAEL BROOKS

After the rookie defensive tackle was claimed off waivers on May 29 and practiced with the Seahawks for the first time a few days later, Brooks admitted, “I’m just trying to learn my way around right now and get with this new system.”

The 6-foot-3, 299-pound Brooks apparently is a fast learner. In today’s practice, he tipped a pass incomplete and then penetrated to get a “sack” – on back-to-back plays. It was that talent and versatility that first attracted the Seahawks, who tried to sign Brooks after the NFL Draft in April. He opted for the Lions, but the Seahawks got another chance to acquire Brooks after he was waived.

“We saw some things we liked about him on tape and Michael certainly has come in here and tried to learn the system quickly,” first-year defensive line coach Travis Jones said after practice – which was held under sunny skies but also in a brisk breeze along the shores of Lake Washington.

And, like most of the linemen, Brooks is learning more than one position. He’s playing the three-technique tackle spot as well as the five-technique end position.

“Everybody’s got different positions to learn,” Jones said. “You’ve got to try to find a way to get on this team, and the best way to do that is to learn a couple of different positions.”

And it doesn’t hurt when you’re making multiple plays from those multiple positions.

PLAYER WATCH: CHRIS CLEMONS

Bruce Irvin, Chris ClemonsThe team’s sack leader the past three seasons was on hand for the start of the mandatory minicamp, but Clemons is continuing his rehab from surgery after tearing a ligament and meniscus in his left knee during the wild-card playoff victory over the Redskins in January.

“It’s good to get Clem back in, even though he can’t work,” Carroll said.

Clemons, who was acquired in a 2010 trade with the Eagles, has posted 11, 11 and 11.5 sacks in his first three seasons with the Seahawks.

“The doctors say he’s in great shape,” Carroll said. “He’s ahead (of schedule). He’s worked diligently to get there. Is he going to make it back by the first game? I don’t know. He has a chance. And if it can happen, he’ll make it happen.

“But like I said the whole time, we will not rush that. We’re going to take our time on that and make sure he’s right. The doctors are greatly confident. He is also.”

Even if he’s not practicing, Clemons provides a plus.

“Clem, he’s a great leader on this team. He’s tough as nails and really stands for something in this locker room,” Carroll said. “So to have him around is important.”

POSITION WATCH: TIGHT END

With starter Zach Miller sitting out to rest a sore left foot, it allowed second-year tight end Sean McGrath and rookie Luke Willson to work with the No. 1 offense – snaps that will prove invaluable as they continue to develop in the offense.

“It does give the other guys a chance to step up and get some good focus work,” Carroll said. “It’s really good for Luke and Sean McGrath is getting extra turns. So it’s a good deal.”

While Willson was selected in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft, McGrath spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad after being signed as a rookie free agent last year.

“Sean is stronger. He’s quicker,” said Carroll, pointing out that McGrath has added almost 10 pounds. “He just looks great. He always could catch the football really well. Now he knows what he’s doing and he’s become just a regular part of it. He’s in the rotation right now.”

ANOTHER TOP 100 PLAYER

A sixth Seahawk will be included among the players ranked 21-30 in the NFL Network’s continuing countdown of the Top 100 Players for 2013. The latest group will be unveiled starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

As usual, we can’t tell you who it is. But All-Pro center Max Unger (No. 95), receiver/returner/running Percy Harvin (No. 90), All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas (No. 66), Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson (No. 51) and All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 50) are the Seahawks previously included. That leaves a very-prominent name still out there – All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch.

A WISH COME TRUE, AND THEN SOME

Kevin LeeThe club hosted Make-A-Wish recipient Kevin Lee today. Needless to say, it was an over-the-top experience for the 12-year old from Farmington Hills, Mich., who has had four open-heart surgeries.

We can’t share more details at this time because the event was videotaped by a crew from ESPN and will be included in the network’s Eighth Annual My Wish series that is scheduled to air the week of Aug. 18.

UP NEXT

The players will practice again on Wednesday afternoon and then wrap up the three-day minicamp with a morning practice on Thursday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“You saw him. He was killing it today in practice. He’s just a very, very talented football player – very fast; very, very quick. He’s a very smart football player. He has the mind of quarterback. He thinks all the time. He’s thinking about what’s going on. What the coverage looks like and how he’s matched up with certain guys. So that helps.” – quarterback Russell Wilson on third-year slot receiver Doug Baldwin, who was played through injuries most of last season after leading the team in receptions as a rookie free agent in 2011


Monday in Hawkville: Zach Miller’s one-handed catches really aren’t as easy as he makes them look

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for June 3, as the Seahawks kicked off the final week of their OTA sessions:

FOCUS ON: ZACH MILLER

Zach MillerThe Seahawks’ veteran tight end does so many things well that focusing on just one could be difficult. Except that when it comes to making one-handed catches, Miller is exceptional.

He had another during today’s OTA session, as well as a finger-tip grab of a pass after he got behind Pro Bowl-caliber strong safety Kam Chancellor. Miller also had a one-hander in the end zone last Wednesday that earned five-highs from several players – defensive, as well as offensive – and coach Pete Carroll. All three passes were thrown by quarterback Russell Wilson.

“I’ve always had a knack for just being able to get the big paw on it,” Miller said through a smile after the team’s sun-drenched session along the shores of Lake Washington. “It helps that I’ve got pretty big hands.”

But making the one-handers is mental as well as physical.

“You’ve got to understand what kind of passes you can catch like that,” Miller said. “If the ball is coming to you fast, you have no chance. So you’ve kind of got to pick your times to do that.”

While those catches can be uplifting for Miller, the QB who throws the pass and the other offensive players, they can have the reverse effect on the players who are covering Miller.

“If you make a one-hander, the defenders don’t like that,” he said. “They think they’ve got you. Then you stick a big paw out and you bring it in, they’re like, ‘Really, you caught that?’ ”

With Miller, the answer is a resounding “yes,” and comes with the tagline “again.”

PLAYER WATCH: MICHAEL BROOKS

The rookie defensive tackle has now practiced with the team twice since being claimed off waivers last week. But Brooks admits to feeling like the new kid who has entered a new school at midterm.

“I’m just trying to learn my way around right now and get with this new system,” said Brooks, who was signed by the Lions after April’s NFL Draft.

Brooks did things one way at East Carolina and was learning to do them another with the Lions. Now comes the way defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and line coach Travis Fisher teach their techniques.

“I was just getting used to the way they do things in Detroit, then I get here and I’ve got to switch it all over,” he said.

In his first two practices – Friday and today – Brooks has participated in the individual drills and then been tutored while on the sideline during the team portions.

“It’s been a pretty good transition. Everybody is helping out,” he said. “I’m just watching and trying to learn from the older guys. They’ve been in the system for a while and I’m just kind of feeling my way through.”

POSITION WATCH: RIGHT TACKLEBowie

With incumbent starter Breno Giacomini missing today’s session, rookie tackle Michael Bowie worked on the right side of the offensive line with the No. 1 unit that also included Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, veteran left guard Paul McQuistan, All-Pro center Max Unger and second-year right guard J.R. Sweezy.

Bowie also continued to work with the No. 3 line, along with left tackle Mike Person, rookie left guard Alvin Bailey and fellow seventh-round draft choices Jared Smith at center and Ryan Seymour at right guard.

The extra reps will only help Bowie as he works to earn one of the backup spots on the 53-man roster.

JOSH PORTIS CFL BOUND

Josh Portis, the quarterback released last month by the Seahawks, has signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, the team has announced.

Portis was the Seahawks’ No. 3 quarterback on 2011, when he was active for one game. He was released last August on the roster cut to 53 players, signed to the practice squad and then released in November. Portis was re-signed in April.

UP NEXT

The players will be back on the field Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as they complete the 10 OTA sessions allowed by the CBA that ended the 136-day lockout in 2011.

The Pro Shop at CenturyLink Field will kick off its grand re-opening weekend on Friday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. The ceremonial ribbon cutting will take place at 5:30, with Wilson and team president Peter McLoughlin doing the honors.

YOU DON’T SAY

“He’s ready to learn. He’s listening to everything. He’s asking questions. Which is exactly how you want your rookie to be. He’s making plays out. He’s having some good days. It’s what he’s got to do to be our second tight end. … And he has that speed that he can separate from guys pretty easily. He’s going to be a weapon for us on offense.” – Miller on Luke Willson, the tight end the Seahawks selected in the fifth round of April’s NFL Draft


Tuesday in Hawkville: A very happy, and also productive, birthday for Percy Harvin

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for May 28, when the Seahawks had an OTA session that was open to the media:

FOCUS ON

Percy Harvin. So, what do you get a player who seemingly has everything for his 25th birthday?

Percy HarvinHow about a 57-yard touchdown reception? That’s what quarterback Russell Wilson came up with during today’s OTA session, and it was just one of four receptions for Harvin during the final team period that slapped an exclamation point on the workout.

Harvin was acquired in a trade with the Vikings in March because he was proficient and productive as a receiver, returner and runner the past four seasons with the Vikings. But today, on his birthday, the spotlight was on Harvin’s receiving skills.

On the second play of the team period, Harvin got behind Brandon Browner, a 6-foot-4 cornerback who is as physical as he is tall, to take Wilson’s pass along the sideline and run it into the end zone. A few snaps later, it was Wilson to Harvin on a crossing pattern. Then, Harvin made a nice grab of a pass from backup QB Brady Quinn as he was racing across the field toward the sideline. Finally, it was Quinn to Harvin to round out the day.

Four routes, four receptions; one big reason why the Seahawks deemed Harvin worth the three draft choices they gave up to acquire him.

None of this should come as a surprise, because last year Harvin tied for first in the NFL with no dropped passes on 82 targets before being sidelined for the final seven games with a torn ligament in his ankle. In fact, according to the statistics provided by ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando, the Seahawks have three players who ranked among the top 20 in that category last season: Harvin at No. 1; wide receiver Sidney Rice, another ex-Viking, who had one drop on 78 targets to rank No. 9; and tight end Zach Miller, who had one drop on 49 targets to rank No. 16.

Marshawn LynchPLAYER WATCH

Marshawn Lynch. The team’s leading rusher the past three seasons was back after missing last week’s OTAs. Today, Lynch didn’t miss a beat – or an assignment, or a hole – while displaying the explosive quickness and power that helped him rush for a career-high 1,590 yards last season.

POSITION WATCH

Linebackers. It was difficult not to watch assistant coach Ken Norton’s crew during the session was featured rain, wind and even a sun break or two along the shores of Lake Washington.

Outside linebackers K.J. Wright and Kyle Knox intercepted passes in the 7-on-7 drill, when cornerback Byron Maxwell added a third. During the final team period, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner slapped away a pass that was intended for Miller, while outside linebacker Malcolm Smith made a last-second tip of a pass that was almost in the hands of rookie tight end Luke Willson.

ANTHONY McCOY WAIVED/INJURED; JAKE BSCHERER SIGNED

In a procedural move, tight end Anthony McCoy was waived/injured today. When he clears waivers, McCoy will revert back to injured reserve. McCoy tore his right Achilles tendon during an OTA session last Monday and had surgery on Thursday.

Jake Bscherer, one of three dozen players who attended the May 10-12 rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, was signed. The 6-foot-6, 305-pound tackle played at Minnesota-Duluth.

UP NEXT

The players also have OTA sessions on Wednesday and Friday, which are not open to the media. Next week, they have OTAs on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“They’re very serious. And I think they’re hungry. They’re very hungry. The way these guys work in the weight room or running inside. You can see them compete in practice. Yeah, they’re ready to go.” – Antoine Winfield, the team’s new nickel back, when asked about the other starters in the secondary: cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Browner and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor


Tight end Anthony McCoy waived/injured; Tackle Jake Bscherer signed

Anthony McCoy

Tight end Anthony McCoy, who underwent surgery last week to repair a torn Achilles tendon he suffered during the team’s first OTA session, has been waived from the club with the designation of injured, the team announced this morning.

As a result of the injury, McCoy was expected to miss a good chunk of time in 2013. He was originally selected by the Seahawks in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of USC and saw action in all 18 games last season, catching 18 balls for 291 yards and three touchdowns. Often lining up in two tight end sets with No. 1 tight end Zach Miller, McCoy was the team’s first player to top 100 yards receiving a year ago, when he had three catches for 105 yards in the club’s 58-0 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14.Jake Bscherer

In McCoy’s place, the team announced the signing of tackle Jake Bscherer, a 6-foot-6, 305-pound product who spent his senior season at Minnesota-Duluth after three years at the University of Wisconsin. Bscherer took part in the Seahawks’ three-day rookie minicamp that was held earlier this month and he is the fifth player from that workout to sign on with the club, joining defensive end Benson Mayowa, tight ends Victor Marshall and Darren Fells, and wide receiver Justin Veltung.


Anthony McCoy undergoes surgery to repair torn Achilles tendon

Anthony McCoy

Fourth-year tight end Anthony McCoy underwent surgery yesterday to repair a torn Achilles tendon, an injury he suffered Monday of this week during the team’s first OTA session. The surgery was performed by Dr. Ed Khalfayan at Seattle Surgery Center.

Drafted by the Seahawks in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft out of USC, McCoy saw action in all 18 games last season, often working out of double tight end sets with No. 1 tight end Zach Miller. He caught 18 balls for 291 yards and three touchdowns last year and was the team’s first player to top 100 yards receiving that season, when he made three catches for 105 yards in the club’s 58-0 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14.

The injury to McCoy leaves second-year players Sean McGrath and Cooper Helfet, 2013 fifth-round draft pick Luke Willson, and rookie minicamp signees Victor Marshall and the former professional basketball playing Darren Fells as the five players rounding out the position behind Miller.


Tight end Darren Fells released

Darren Fells

Darren Fells, a former professional basketball player who was trying to catch on with the Seahawks as a tight end, has been released the team announced today.

The 6-foot-7 Fells had been signed in March following a tryout.

Fells played basketball last season for the Libertad Sunchales in Argentina and before that also had played professionally in Mexico, France, Finland and Belgium. He played his college ball at the University of California, Irvine.

The release of Fells leaves the Seahawks with five tight ends on their 90-man roster, as the veterans put the wraps on the second week of Phase 2 in their offseason program today and the rookies are set to report Thursday for a three-day minicamp this weekend: starter Zach Miller, who finished third on the team with 38 receptions last season; incumbent backup Anthony McCoy, who had career-best totals in receptions (18), receiving yards (291) and TD catches (three) last season; Sean McGrath, a rookie free agent last year who spent most of the season on the practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster in December; Luke Willson, who was selected in the fifth-round of the NFL Draft last month; and Cooper Helfet, who was signed to a future contract in January after being with the team in training camp last year.


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Seahawks sign basketball-playing tight end Darren Fells

Darren Fells

Looking to increase the competition at tight end, the Seahawks have reached into another sport and another continent.

Darren Fells, a 6-foot-7, 281-pound basketball player who was last with the Libertad Sunchales in Argentina, was signed today after going through a workout with the Seahawks on Tuesday.

Fells, who will turn 27 next month, was an all-state tight end at Fullerton (Calif.) High School. He opted to play basketball at UC Irvine and then played in Finland, Belgium, Mexico and France before going to Argentina. His brother, Daniel, is tight end with the Patriots and also has played for the Falcons (2006), Rams (2008-10) and Broncos (2011).

Zach Miller is the Seahawks’ starting tight end, and he caught 12 passes for a 15.8-yard average in their two playoff games last season after catching 38 passes for a 10.4-yard average during the regular season. But Miller tore the plantar fascia in his left foot during the playoff loss to the Falcons.

Anthony McCoy was the No. 2 tight end last season, when the sixth-round draft choice from 2010 posted career-highs in receptions (18), receiving yards (291, for a 16.2 average) and touchdown catches (three, tying Miller and wide receiver Doug Baldwin for second on the team).


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Honor roll from a season when Seahawks got on quite a roll

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Seahawks.com hands out its honors from the team’s 11-5 regular season and split of two games in the postseason:

MVP: Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. How can pick one over the other? How can you pick one or the other? We couldn’t, so the Beast Mode running back and steady-as-he-throws rookie QB share the honor, just as they shared the workload. There’s an entire story’s worth of thought process that went into this decision.Max Unger

Best offensive player: Max Unger. It could go to Lynch or Wilson, obviously. But this is a share-the-credit selection, since both Lynch and Wilson were always quick to credit the line for its part their accomplishments. Unger, in his second season as the starting center, anchored that line and was voted All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl. “He’s right all the time,” offensive line coach Tom Cable said. “I think to do this the consistency thing comes into play here. You’ve got to do it running the ball and protecting your quarterback down after down, and Max has done that.”

Best defensive player: Richard Sherman. Only strong safety Kam Chancellor (.975) and free safety Earl Thomas (.958) played a higher percentage of snaps than Sherman (.948), but no one made more plays than the second-year cornerback. He led the team, and tied for second in the NFL, with eight interceptions. He also had 24 passes defensed, almost three times as many as Thomas (nine), who finished second on the team. Richard Sherman, Heath FarwellSomehow snubbed when it came to voting for the Pro Bowl, Sherman was selected to the All-Pro team. If enough people were paying attention, he also should get some consideration for NFL Defensive Player of the Year – an award that is expected to be a slam-dunk for the Texans’ J.J. Watt. And Sherman saved one of his best efforts for the biggest stage – Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Falcons. “I thought he had a fantastic football game,” coach Pete Carroll said. “They went after him. They challenged him. And I thought he was incredible.”

Best special teams player: Heath Farwell. Again, this was not an easy choice. And asking special teams coordinator Brian Schneider for help didn’t help at all, because so many of his players made special contributions. From Jon Ryan, who broke his own club record for net average (40.8) and was among the league leaders with 30 punts downed inside the 20; to kicker Steven Hauschka, who was 23 of 23 from inside the 50; to Leon Washington, who was voted to the Pro Bowl and returned the eighth kickoff of his career for a TD to tie the NFL record; to Michael Robinson, who was second to Farwell in coverage tackles (10); to Malcolm Smith, who scored off a muffed punt return and blocked a punt that was returned for a score. But for Schneider, it was all about the consistency with his units and no one was more consistent than Farwell, who had 15 coverage tackles to go with the league-high 21 he produced last season.

Bobby WagnerOffensive rookie of the year: Wilson, for all the obvious reasons and even more that weren’t that obvious.

Defensive rookie of the year: Bobby Wagner. While first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin led all NFL rookies with eight sacks, Wagner led the team, and finished second among all rookies in the league, with 140 tackles during the regular season and 17 during the postseason. The second-round draft choice also produced four interceptions and two sacks from his middle linebacker spot. The best part of everything that Wagner did? His attitude. “I’m the middle linebacker,” he said. “I’m supposed to make a lot of tackles.”

Free-agent addition of the year: Zach Miller. Yes, he was signed in free agency the previous year. But his contributions this season came much closer to displaying just how versatile – and good – a tight end Miller is. He’s a rock-solid blocker and also finished third on the team with 38receptions and tied for second with three TD catches. But it was Miller’s over-the-top efforts against the Falcons that forced the turn-back-the-clock tweak in this category: eight catches for 142 yards. All after he tore the plantar fascia in his left foot on the Seahawks’ first possession. “Zach had a terrific season for us,” Carroll said. “But in this game, when he had the opportunities, boy, he cashed in on all of them.”

Chris Gray Award: Paul McQuistan. Who better to win this than this generation’s Chris Gray? Gray was a warrior of a lineman who started a club-record 121 consecutive games from 1999-2006, after being signed to fill a backup role. That’s the same path McQuistan has followed. Signed to a future contract in January of 2011, he started a career-high 10 games last season and 16 this season – nine at right guard and seven at left guard, where he also started both postseason games. “He’s kind of our glue, that’s the way I look at him,” Cable said. “Paul has been so valuable. He has played multiple positions the last two years. He never misses a beat. It’s just that his wisdom and experience are so valuable for those young guys in there. So he truly has been the glue in that room, without a doubt.”

Best trend: Going 8-0 at home. This season’s team did it, joining the 2003 and 2005 teams as the only ones in franchise history to do it. Along the way, the Seahawks dispatched the Packers and Patriots, who went on to win their divisions, as well as the playoff-bound Vikings. They also avenged road losses to each of their NFC West rivals – beating the 49ers, Rams and Cardinals by a combined 94 points in the final month of the regular season after losing to them by a combined 17 points in the first seven weeks of the season. Think how different things might have turned out if the Seahawks had been able to play at CenturyLink Field in the postseason. Carroll has. “That’s why you own your division, so you can be positioned to play at home,” he said. “That’s what’s at hand, that’s the goal of this program – it’s to win the division so that you can start the playoffs where you want to, and try to keep it there.”

Worst trend: The inability to hold fourth-quarter leads. As well as the defense played – and that was ranked-No. 4-in-the NFL well – it allowed the Lions, Dolphins and finally Falcons to drive to game-winning scores after the Seahawks taken fourth-quarter leads. The Bears tied the score at the end of regulation, but the offense won that game in overtime. Win a couple of those other games and the Seahawks would have captured the division and opened the postseason at home. “That’s an issue, just finishing it off on that last drive,” Carroll said. “There are four games sitting right there. That’s a big-time season. But I’m not worried about figuring that out. It’s just a snap here or there. But it happened this year and you can’t ignore that.”

Best quote: This one is actually a remark incumbent starter, and since traded, Tarvaris Jackson made last spring – way before the fact, and way before Wilson became the talk of the NFL: “Russell, he’s not like a regular rookie.”


Tuesday cyber surfing: Optimism abound for Seahawks

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, January 15.

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have a lot to look forward to with Russell Wilson at quarterback, “From now until he decides he’s done, Wilson is here to captivate, inspire and — most important — lead. Despite the difficulty of the NFL, despite the understanding there are few assurances in this sport, despite the Seahawks’ limited history of sustained excellence, Wilson provides extreme confidence that it’s safe for this franchise to dream the biggest dreams. He’s that special, and he’s a star that illuminates all the other special things the Seahawks are doing to become a championship-caliber team. The Seahawks have so much going for them, from general manager John Schneider’s deft talent-evaluation to a young core of stars to a coach who complements and directs them perfectly. You keep looking for the trap door, for the way the Seahawks will end up as heartbroken as they were in their last-minute, season-ending loss to Atlanta on Sunday. But the more you look for fatal flaws, the more you come back to Wilson and the level of trust he demands. ‘He’s a baller,’ Carroll said. ‘A real football player.’ “

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at three things we learned and three things we’re still trying to figure out after the Seahawks’ season-ending loss at Atlanta, “Zach Miller is one tough hombre. The guy tore his plantar fascia on Seattle’s third play of the game. He went to the locker room, took a pain-killing shot on the bottom of his foot and returned to have the most prolific receiving day in not only his two-year tenure with the Seahawks, but his six-year NFL career. We’ve made a big deal out of how seldom he has been targeted in the passing game since coming to Seattle. He caught 50 or more passes in three successive seasons with the Raiders only to come to the Seahawks and catch a career-low 25 passes in 2011. He had 38 receptions in 2012, but had not had more than 59 yards receiving in any game for the Seahawks. Until Sunday. He showed exactly what he can do if the opponent neglects to account for him. Miller caught eight passes for 142 yards, most of any player in a game that also featured Atlanta’s Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez.”

Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times writes that while the Seahawks may have been hurting after Sunday’s loss, plenty are looking forward to what’s in store for the team next season, “Wilson, who wore a sweatshirt Monday that read ‘No Time 2 Sleep,’ was living out that message already. The morning after the season ended, he was reviewing game tape. ‘There are so many areas where I could get better, and that’s the thing that I’ll have to do this offseason is continue to watch the film, continue to look at all the cut-ups of this past season and what I’ve done well and what I could have done better. The goal for me is … ‘How can I get 10 times better?’ ‘ A shared motivation, it seems, for a team that has the look of a perennial contender. ‘If you didn’t know who the Seahawks were before the season, I’ll guarantee you know who they are now,’ said defensive end Bruce Irvin. ‘There are a lot of positive things coming for the organization, and I can’t wait to get it started again in a couple months.’ “

Mayers also passes along comments from several players on their thanks for the support of the 12th Man, ” ‘It’s amazing to have the fan base that we have. They make the game fun. They make it easier to play your heart out and leave it all on the field, because you know you’re playing for such fantastic fans, and they deserve it.’ — Richard Sherman, cornerback”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald says the Seahawks have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about their future, “At this point, nothing Wilson does, whether it’s leading a fourth-quarter comeback or working non-stop off the field, will really surprise anyone in Seattle’s locker room. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why the Seahawks are so excited about their future even as they struggle to accept that their season just ended. ‘After the Chicago game, you had a team full of believers that he could do anything,’ said cornerback Richard Sherman, speaking about the touchdown drives Wilson led in the fourth quarter and overtime as Seattle defeated the Bears on Dec. 2. ‘We’d be surprised if he walked on water and fell in. He’s a great quarterback, he’s a great person, and he deserves the success he has. He works hard for it, he does everything you could ask of a quarterback and more.’ And to be fair, the Seahawks have plenty of reasons for optimism beyond the play of their young quarterback. The Seahawks are young, which means a lot of these players have room to grow. And only two starters — linebacker Leroy Hill and defensive tackle Alan Branch — are free agents. Also, the good health that helped Seattle finish the season so strong will also lead to a more productive offseason.”

Tim Booth of the Associated Press comments on the play of Wilson and what it means for the Seahawks going forward, “While some franchises continue to search for a solid foundation at quarterback, the Seahawks go into next season knowing that the position is all but locked up for the foreseeable future. That’s why Wilson spent some of Monday morning watching film rather than packing up his locker. ‘Obviously, there are very high expectations for our football team now, and that’s great to have,’ Wilson said. ‘That means that we’ve got to work that much harder in practice, we’ve got to work that much harder in the offseason, and we’ve got to play that much better come game time. I look forward to those challenges and that’s what I wait for.’ “

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com revisits what went wrong for the Seahawks in the last 25 seconds of Sunday’s game, “The Seahawks had been bringing extra pressure all game, a necessity given the lack of pass rush they were getting from their defensive line. That pressure was a factor on Ryan’s first-quarter interception, when he threw an errant pass to Wagner as Trufant was bearing down on him. Trufant and Guy both had blitzed from the left side on that play. It was those two coming off the left side again on second down of the final drive. This time, though, the Falcons picked it up. Ryan hit Gonzalez at Seattle’s 36, and Gonzalez shed linebacker Bobby Wagner’s tackle before picking up an extra five yards. ‘They made two great plays and that’s all it took,’ Carroll said.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday’s end-of-season media availability, “DT Alan Branch will be an unrestricted free agent after spending his last two seasons in Seattle. Branch expressed a sincere desire to be back with the Seahawks next season. ‘I love the team here. I would love to be back here. I have developed great friendships with the guys, especially in the D-line room, but throughout the team. I didn’t really have as many friends as I do on this team on any team I had in Arizona. I think it’s a special group,’ Branch said. ‘Hopefully they want me here and the whole money situation gets settled. But if not there won’t be a better group of guys than this, I’m sure.’ “


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