Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 22:
Duff McKagan offers his season’s greetings at ESPN.com and they include a playoff berth for the Seahawks: “Santa Claus, all I want for Christmas is for my Seahawks to win out, and everyone else to lose. Santa, our defense has been very, very good this year – and that has been enough for them to go 5-1 in their past six games. Santa, the big, bad NBA stole our basketball team from Seattle, and our MLB team is horrendous these days. All we want for Christmas is something positive sports-wise for our city. Can you put that somewhere under just one of our abundant supply of fir trees up here in the Northwest?”
Speaking of playoffs, Mike Sando at ESPN.com provides the “Dream scenario” this weekend for the still-playoff hopeful Seahawks: It all starts with the Seahawks beating the 49ers, of course, but they also need wins by the Bengals (over the Cardinals), Jets (over the Giants), Chargers (over the Lions), Cowboys (over the Eagles) and Bears (over the Packers).
Sando also has his weekly “Injury situations that matter” in the NFC West: “An ankle injury limited receiver Doug Baldwin in practice Wednesday. Having Baldwin ready is crucial now that Mike Williams has joined Sidney Rice on the Seahawks’ injured reserve list. Baldwin is the team’s best option on third down. The Seahawks figure to need their tight ends in protection against the 49ers’ formidable defensive front seven. Linebacker David Hawthorne’s full participation in practice despite a knee injury comes as a positive sign. The team has been resting Hawthorne during the week recently. Getting Hawthorne healthier is important because the team’s depth at linebacker has run low in recent weeks. The 49ers favor heavier personnel groupings, so a full contingent of linebackers would have greater value this week than in some others.”
And speaking of injuries, Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the offensive line that has continued to get it done despite playing without three injured starters: “The injuries have been so widespread that it’s been tough to keep track — even for the guys on the field. During Seattle’s Monday victory over St. Louis, left guard Robert Gallery left with a hip injury in the fourth quarter. It was only when Lynch got a second look at his 16-yard touchdown run late in the game that he realized Gallery had been replaced by rookie Jarriel King. ‘I didn’t know until I looked up at the replay,’ Lynch said. The Seahawks have been so successful plugging in players like Breno Giacomini at right tackle and Paul McQuistan at both guard spots and now at left tackle that some wonder if the starters were overrated.”
And speaking of Lynch, Eric Williams at the News Tribune says that the “Beast Mode” back has become the face of the franchise: “Someone had to fill the void left by the departure of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. And although he has been with the Seattle Seahawks a mere 14 months, in that relatively short time Marshawn Lynch’s pile-driving, relentlessly churning legs have helped personify this franchise’s identity. Just ask his coach. ‘He’s been the face of the program here,’ Pete Carroll said. ‘In terms of setting the tempo and the attitude, the philosophy that he brings, the competitiveness that he stands for in his play that you can’t help but see by the way he brings it, are all exemplary and emblematic of what we’d like to be. So, he’s had a big play in this.’ ”
Len Pasquarelli at CBSSports.com looks at head-coaching candidates from the league’s assistant coaches, and includes Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell: “Former college quarterback (Wisconsin) worked closely with Brett Favre in Green Bay (2000-2005), and has drawn praise from the future Hall of Fame passer. Was coordinator in Minnesota for five seasons under Brad Childress before moving to the Seahawks this season. Seattle ranks only 28th offensively, but Bevell has done a nice job with modest talent, and with quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. At 41, he is in his 12th NFL season.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we look at Tarvaris Jackson’s impressive numbers from the second halves of the three-game winning streak: “Jackson’s passer rating in those games is 104.5, as he has completed 67 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions. In the second half, however, that rating balloons to 130.6, because he has completed 76 percent of his passes and had those three TD passes. ‘There are so many things that go into the position, other than how many yards you throw for or how many touchdown passes you have or touchdowns-to-interceptions – people usually go to that statistic line,’ 49ers coach and former NFL QB Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday during a conference-call interview. ‘But he’s a threat to run. He buys time. Makes throws; strong, accurate thrower. Plays with a lot of poise. You don’t win that many football games without the quarterback playing well, and doing things that don’t always show up on the statistical sheet.’ ”
We also take a look at Paul McQuistan and how valuable his versatility has turned out to be in “Wednesday in Hawkville.” Tony Ventrella has his video recap, as well as his “Seahawks Insider” that this week features Deon Butler.
John Boyle at the Everett Herald also looks at Jackson’s impact over the past three games: “The Seahawks hope to beat the 49ers this weekend by running the ball down their throats. In reality, however, beating San Francisco will likely require a strong performance from quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. The 49ers lead the league in run defense both in terms of yards allowed per game and per carry. To move the ball, the Seahawks will either have to do something almost no other team has done this season, or turn to Jackson to provide an offense spark. The good news for the Seahawks is that calling on Jackson to make plays may not be such a bad idea. Not the way he has played of late.”
Lisa Altobelli at NFL.com takes a look at Marcus Trufant’s annual bowling tournament to raise funds for his foundation: “Seattle has been known for many things over the years. There’s great coffee, great fish throwing, a great grunge scene back in the day… but great bowling? ‘People are into it here,’ said Marcus Trufant, who holds an annual Bowling Classic fundraiser. ’Anyone can do it, everyone likes it, and the weather isn’t a factor. It’s a big deal to me.’ We’ll have to take Trufant’s word for it, but he would know. Currently in his ninth season with the Seahawks, Trufant is also an area native, having grown up just south of Seattle in Tacoma.”