Cyber surfing: Saturday

Good morning from Pittsburgh. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Sept. 17:

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times focuses on the Seahawks’ special teams, which hurt the team in last week’s loss to the 49ers and now are hurting heading in Sunday’s game against the Steelers. Offers O’Neil: “Seattle already ruled out three primary special-teams players. Fullback Michael Robinson and cornerback Byron Maxwell are out with ankle injuries, while defensive end Dexter Davis has a hip injury that will keep him out Sunday and perhaps much longer. Throw in linebacker Malcolm Smith, who is doubtful because of a hamstring injury, and the Seahawks are going to be patching up the special teams that allowed San Francisco to return two kicks for touchdowns in a span of 59 seconds. ‘They need to come through, they need to step up,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘We definitely had a falter last week late, and we can’t let that happen.’ ”

Dave Boling at the News Tribune looks at the Seahawks’ sure-to-be surly opponent, and the fact that wide receiver Sidney Rice will sit out another game because of a sore shoulder. Says Boling: “Early this week, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll speculated that the challenge of facing a grumpy Pittsburgh Steelers team in front of its home fans was ‘as hard as it gets.’ Actually, it’s gotten a little harder because receiver Sidney Rice has been ruled out for the game with an injured shoulder, and at least three (possibly four) key players on special teams will be out with injuries. ‘Sidney won’t make it in this one,’ Carroll said of Rice, the team’s pricey free agent who has yet to see action. Rice missed the opener at San Francisco, and the Hawks struggled offensively in a 33-17 defeat.’

John Boyle of the Everett Herald goes with what should be some positive injury news: The return of left guard Robert Gallery, who sat out the opener with a sore knee. Says Boyle: “With Gallery, a seven-year veteran, on the sideline, the Seahawks started a historically young line in their opener. Center Max Unger, who came into the game with 17 career starts, was the most experienced of the five linemen, and Russell Okung (10 starts) was the only other player with an NFL start under his belt. Seattle’s line was the least experienced to start a game since the 1995 Carolina Panthers, an expansion team playing its second game. Not surprisingly, Seattle’s line struggled mightily against the 49ers, particularly in the first half when the Seahawks allowed three sacks and averaged 1.1 yards per carry. ‘Robert coming back helps us,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s experienced. That’s the reason we got him here — to help those guys up front and communicate well and make the game move more smoothly for them, so hopefully that will happen.’ ”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com looks at the NFC West in his “Final Word,” including three of the division’s teams playing on the East Coast this week. Says Sando: “For years, the Seahawks struggled to win games kicking off at 10 a.m. PT unless they were played in St. Louis, where the long-struggling Rams made for an inviting opponent. Times changed last season. The Seahawks went 1-1 in early games, beating the Bears at Soldier Field after losing in St. Louis. Seattle joins Arizona among Western teams playing early games Sunday. The Cardinals were 3-0 in 10 a.m. PT kickoffs the last time they felt good about their quarterback situation, in 2009. They were 0-4 in early kickoffs for 2010.”

Also from Sando, prompted by a reader’s question, a look at how Pete Carroll has built the Seahawks. Says Sando: “Carroll, like every coach, wants an elite passer on his team. Carroll envisions relying on one less heavily than some teams rely on them. By not drafting quarterbacks and by signing second-tier players to man the position, Carroll lends credence to the thinking that he doesn’t value the position sufficiently.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we revisit one of the hottest topics of the week: The comparisons between Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu and Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas. Says wide receiver Mike Williams, who played with Polamalu at USC: “No offense to Earl, but they’re just totally different guys. Troy is a one-of-a-kind kind of guy. There won’t be a Troy, in my eyes, to come along for quite some time.”

We’ve also got Friday’s practice covered in words and video.


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