A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 20:
The run defense. Anyway you stack the stats, the Seahawks have been doing a good job of stopping the run. Entering Sunday’s game against the Browns in Cleveland, they are allowing 3.1 yards per carry to lead the NFL and rank seventh is average yards allowed per game (97.8).
Asked after practice which statistic he values more, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley laughed and offered, “Which one is better?”
That per-carry average, obviously. In fact, only four other teams in the league are allowing 3.5 yards per carry or less – the Cowboys, Ravens and Bills at 3.3; and the Packers at 3.5.
“It’s an emphasis for us to stop the run and we feel like if we can get them one-dimensional then we can have a better chance of defending them,” Bradley said. “I know everybody says it, but we really mean it – everything that we design or come up with and our base principles are all about keeping good leverage, tackling, let’s stop the run and make them one-dimensional.”
Better that talking about it, or even emphasizing it, is that the Seahawks have been doing it.
They allowed 85 rushing yards and a 2.7-yard average to Frank Gore and the 49ers in their opener. The next week, it was 124 yards and a 3.5-yard average in the shutout loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh. In their home opener, it was 90 yards and a 3.2-yard average to the Cardinals. The next week, it was 121 yards and a 3.4-yard average against the Falcons. In their pre-bye week upset of the Giants in the Meadowlands, the Seahawks allowed 69 rushing yards and a 2.8-yard average.
“So it’s been good, and a big part of that is the front four,” Bradley added of the Todd Wash-coached line of Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Alan Branch and Chris Clemons.
“They’ve been great for us, and the linebackers are stepping in. … So we’ve always got to be able to stop the run and make them one-dimensional.”
Charlie Whitehurst. The Seahawks’ backup QB continued to get the starter’s reps during the 105-minute practice, because Tarvaris Jackson is recovering from the strained pectoral that knocked him out the Giants game in the third quarter.
Jackson was able to do more today than he did on Wednesday, but will have to do even more if he’s going to play against the Browns.
“That’s the way I’m approaching it,” Whitehurst said when asked he was preparing as if he’ll be the starter. “I’m ready to play, and if it’s not me on Sunday then I’ll be ready to play on the second snap.
“We’ll see what happens with who’s under center, but I’m confident that if my number’s called I can perform.”
Linebacker Heath Farwell, who was just signed on Wednesday, as switched to No. 55 after wearing 44 in his first practice. Practice-squad linebacker Michael Morgan, who was No. 55, is now wearing No. 48.
IN ’N OUT
There was no change in the Seahawks’ injury report from Wednesday.
Did not practice
TE Zach Miller (neck/head)
C Max Unger (foot)
QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)
OG Robert Gallery (groin)
RB Marshawn Lynch (ankle)
LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring)
WR Mike Williams (concussion)
But there was a difference in what a couple of these players did in practice. Jackson threw passes early in the non-contact drills – including a couple of 25-yarders. Gallery, meanwhile, got most of the reps at left guard after splitting time with Paul McQuistan on Wednesday.
For the Browns:
Did not practice
LB Scott Fujita (head)
CB Joe Haden (knee)
OL Artis Hicks (back)
RB Peyton Hillis (hamstring)
DB Ray Ventrone (hamstring)
DB Buster Skrine (hip)
OL Alex Mack (illness)
OL Tony Pashos (ankle)
LB Titus Brown (ankle)
WR Josh Cribbs (knee)
TE Evan Moore (ankle)
STAT DU JOUR
Sunday’s game features two of the league’s most productive rookie receivers in the Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin and the Browns’ Greg Little. Here’s a look at where they fit in the Top 5:
Player, team No. Yds. Avg. TD
A.J. Green, Bengals 29 453 15.6 4
Julio Jones, Falcons 25 358 14.3 0
Doug Baldwin, Seahawks 20 330 16.5 2
Greg Little, Browns 20 203 10.2 0
Dane Sanzenbacher, Bears 17 135 7.9 2
While Green and Jones were the fourth and sixth picks in the first round of the April NFL Draft and Little was a second-round selections, Baldwin and Sanzenbacher are undrafted free agents.
Also, the Seahawks already have faced Jones and will face Green next week and Sanzenbacher in Week 15.
The players will practice Friday before the team flies to Cleveland for Sunday’s game. This will be the Seahawks’ second consecutive game in the Eastern time zone. They have won in the Eastern time zone in consecutive games three times in franchise history – the last coming in 1995.
YOU DON’T SAY
“While we’re doing this, would you please introduce yourself – who’s speaking, who’s asking the question – so I know who to be mad at.” – Mike Holmgren, the Seahawks’ former coach and now president of the Browns, at the start of a conference-call interview; which drew eruptive laugher from the reporters in the room