Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 7:
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. continues his look at the Top 15 players in the NFC West (on Mike Sando’s blog at ESPN.com) with Nos. 6-10. At No. 7 is Seahawks defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, while left tackle Russell Okung is right behind at No. 8.
Williamson on Mebane: “Like (the 49ers’ Aubrayo) Franklin, Mebane should become a free agent. Mebane isn’t a slouch against the run, but he is much better suited for a 4-3 where he can use his array of abilities, including a quick get-off. Mebane doesn’t get the publicity that he deserves, but he does everything asked of him well.”
Williamson on Okung: “Rookies are not supposed to make the game look as easy as Okung did last season. If had been healthy for 16 games, he might already be considered amongst the best left tackles in the league. That might be a bit premature, but he is quite high on my left tackle list. Okung is very fluid for his size and light on his feet. His technique in both protection and as a run blocker is refined for someone his age. He will only get better. It won’t be long before people are comparing Okung to Joe Thomas and Jake Long as the best player at the position. As long as Okung can stay on the field, he is the cornerstone of Seattle’s offense.”
The Seahawks are scheduled to host the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4 at CenturyLink Field. Sporting News Today has a post-draft look at the Falcons. Correspondent Orlando Ledbetter has this to say: “With the continued development of quarterback Matt Ryan and the additions of (WR Julio) Jones and (RB Jacquizz) Rodgers, Atlanta’s offense looks to be even better than last season’s. The threat of (RB Michael) Turner, Jones (WR Roddy White) streaming downfield and (TE Tony) Gonzalez working underneath should allow (offensive coordinator Mike) Mularkey to mix things up. The pass defense must improve, along with the sack total. It will be important to watch the development of the linebackers and the nickel back. If the Falcons can shore up those areas, a deep playoff run could be in store.”
For the give-us-this-day-our-daily-labor-update item, ESPN.com rolled out the big guns to file this report as Sal Paolantonio, Chris Mortensen and John Clayton combined to offer: “Lawyers for the NFL and the players’ association wrapped up a second day of negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement Wednesday and sources say both sides hope to achieve a true framework for a new CBA by the close of business on Friday.” But there also a deadline, of sorts: “Putting more pressure on the negotiators, U.S. District Judge Arthur Boylan, the mediator in the talks, is scheduled to go on vacation Saturday, sources said. But both sides are committed to stay in New York this weekend to try to finish the deal. The sides did not get together on weekends during negotiations the past month.”
At CBSSports.com, Will Brinson has seven questions regarding the labor situation. Concludes Brinson: “But right now, both the owners and the players know there’s a 10-day-ish window in which they can hammer out a deal, get the season started on time, make all the money they would have made anyway, and get right back in the good graces of football fans everywhere. And the difference between now and the beginning of March isn’t just a calendar date — this time around, both sides appear ready to work with each other to make a deal happen and get football back on track.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we continue our series of articles on the franchise’s first 35 seasons with a look at 2001 – when Walter Jones pitched a perfect game to help Shaun Alexander set a couple of club records.