Sunday cyber surfing: High expectations, quarterback talk abound

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, July 29.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times discusses the expectations the team faces this year in Head Coach Pete Carroll’s third season, citing continuity at most positions as a reason for optimism, “While Carroll’s arrival signaled a new era, it came with the knowledge that things might get worse before they got better given the number of veterans let go and the sheer volume of changes. When last season began, none of the five starting offensive linemen had ever started a game with any of the other four. It’s going to be different this time around. The Seahawks will remain one of the younger teams in the league, but they spent this offseason preserving their roster instead of purging it.

Also at the Seattle Times, Steve Kelley makes sense of the Seahawks highly-anticipated – and in some cases highly-criticized – three-man quarterback competition, “It isn’t supposed to happen like this. But this is the Seahawks’ way. It is unorthodox. It’s quirky. It flies in the face of conventional wisdom that says teams need to establish their starter early in camp. But this competition is different. Wilson is a rookie. And Flynn has only two starts in four years. They’re newbies, and the team has to see how each handles pressure. There is no way to replicate the heat of a regular-season NFL game, but how this trio handles the daily pressure of this competition will provide a good idea of who can best handle the weekly rigors of the NFL.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune rehashes what went down on Day One of ‘Hawks camp, commenting on the ‘Hawks QB competition, “One thing that was noticeable is [Matt] Flynn looks more comfortable. The LSU product said the reps during the team’s offseason workouts, along with a six-week break to study the playbook, helped him develop a better command of the offense. Flynn also reiterated that the version of the West Coast offense he ran in Green Bay is similar to Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s version, making the transition easier.”

Also at the Tribune, and also commenting on the Seahawks quarterback battle, Dave Boling writes that on the first day of camp the trio experienced their highs and lows, “Flynn had some timely completions to a range of receivers, with his best ball probably a deep completion to speedy Ricardo Lockette. But he also had some misfires and had two passes deflected at the line (didn’t we think that was going to be the problem for the 5-foot-11 Wilson?) Jackson had a really nice series near the end of practice but also several overthrows and an interception by cornerback Richard Sherman. Wilson one time showed his elusiveness – by evading pressure – and his arm strength – by gunning a deep out for a completion. But he also had some wild deliveries and bobbled the ball a couple of times. (What about those huge and adhesive hands we heard about?)”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald details the high expectations the ‘Hawks face heading into 2012, “This is Carroll and Schneider’s roster, and much more so than last year or the year before, it is reasonable to expect the Seahawks to take a big step forward. This is the year when 7-9 is no longer acceptable, the year when the Seahawks should be a playoff contender, not because a bad division keeps them in the hunt, but because they are a good team.”

Liz Mathews of 710 ESPN Seattle caught up with freshly-signed wide receiver Antonio Bryant, who has been out of the game for two seasons. Bryant told Matthews, ” ‘Right now I’m just going to compete. That’s all I can say and look forward to doing. Like I said, I’m blessed. There are a lot of guys at home that wish they were here – wish they had this uniform on. So I’m going to take the opportunity to make the most of it.’ ”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his notes from Saturday’s practice, including a highlight from third-year pro CB Phillip Adams, “Adams made a nice interception of Flynn pass while defending WR Kris Durham up the far sideline. Adams ran stride for stride with Durham and managed to haul in the pick.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth provides a recap of yesterday’s activities in his Saturday edition of ‘Hawkville’. Farnsworth details the play of cornerback Richard Sherman, who highlighted Saturday’s camp with an interception return for a touchdown, and caught up with the Stanford Cardinal after practice, ” ‘It’s incredible. It’s something you can’t describe,’ Sherman said of the fan reaction [at practice]. ‘It’s almost like game day. It kind of pushes you to another level, makes you strain a little harder. It’s not that you’re pushing for them necessarily; it’s just so exciting and fun to be out there. So your body does a little more, you go a little harder, you go a little faster.’ ”

The highly anticipated quarterback competition also kicked off yesterday, with incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson garnering first-team reps as expected, followed by quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson. Farnsworth takes a look at what happened and where head coach Pete Carroll stands after day one of the competition.

Yesterday also saw the return of defensive end and 2010-11 sack leader Chris Clemons. Farnsworth writes that 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin and free agent acquisition Jason Jones are sure to benefit from the presence of Clemons, and that the unit is now primed for improvement this season, “What Clemons has done in each of the past two seasons is produce 11 sacks – making him the first Seahawks end with double-digit sacks in back-to-back seasons since Michael Sinclair in 1997 and 1998. With Irvin and Jones around to help him, you have to look skyward to gauge the limits of Clemons’ potential production – and that of the still-improving defense. ‘The first year, coach (Carroll) kind of didn’t know what he was getting himself into, and we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into,’ Clemons said. ‘Rookies are not rookies anymore, they’re all grown now. So everybody is coming out and you’ve got to have an attitude going into it now. It’s not the same as it was the first year.’ ”

Wide receiver Golden Tate sat down with Seahawks.com to share his experience from the first two days of training camp, including a tid-bit from the team hotel, “At the team hotel we have a ping pong table on one of the floors. I’m always up for a good challenge. It’s something to do after a long day at work where it’s football, football, football all day. It’s a great chance to get away. Luckily, I got a chance to play with a guy I didn’t know too well – one of the team athletic trainers. I got to chit-chat with him and feel him out and see what kind of person he was, which was cool because you don’t always get that opportunity during the season. But I’m going to go ahead and say I’m the ping-pong champ and I don’t think I’m going to get beat this camp.” Look for Tate’s contributions to our website to continue throughout camp.

For a more visual recap of the day’s events and headlines, Tony Ventrella has you covered in our Seahawks Daily.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com depicts another positional battle going on in ‘Hawks training camp – one that takes place at the wide receiver position, as he catches up with ‘Hawks WR Doug Baldwin after Saturday’s practice, “The hyper-competitive Baldwin wants to push for a starting job without campaigning for one. He made 42 of his team-high 51 receptions last season from the slot. The team targeted him 14 times from elsewhere on the field, according to ESPN Stats & Information. ‘I was able to have some success as a slot receiver, but ultimately I feel capable of doing so much more,’ Baldwin said during a phone interview Saturday. ‘I’m not bound to the slot position. But at the same time, I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes. I don’t want to be that guy. I’m not a selfish player. Wherever coaches want me, I’ll play.’ ”

Sando also breaks down where NFC West teams rank in average age, and comments on the Seahawks young-talented secondary, “DB: The division features ample young talent in its secondaries. The Cardinals, despite fielding the oldest secondary in the division, have one of the most promising young cornerbacks in the NFL, Patrick Peterson. Seattle has the youngest secondary in the division. Three of four starters achieved Pro Bowl status last season. That’s a great combination. The fourth starter, Richard Sherman, was arguably deserving of Pro Bowl honors as a rookie.”

NFL.com’s ‘Around the League’ is counting down the top 30 positional battles to watch for in 2012 training camp. The No.1 battle on their list? You guessed it – the Seahawks QB competition. Gregg Rosenthal details the battle’s No.1 ranking, “There’s so many reasons to love this battle. The winner will lead a team we think might just steal the NFC West. It has a hotshot rookie involved (Wilson), a big-money free agent signing trying to prove he can be a starter (Flynn) and the guy no one seems to love despite solid performances the last two years (Jackson). The whole thing has the makings of a reality show.”

NFLDraftScout.com senior draft analyst Rob Rang gives his two cents on the ‘Hawks QB competition in this short video.


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