Thursday cyber surfing: Preseason wraps up tonight

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 30.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times points to the fact the rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin has yet to register a sack, or a tackle, so far this preseason, and that he is a key players to watch Thursday night against the Oakland Raiders. Coach Pete Carroll maintains the notion that he will see a breakthrough soon, “Irvin is coming around to listen to Carroll. He had his best practice of the month Tuesday and was almost as impressive Monday. ‘Bruce was the most productive guy in practice throughout the camp,’ Carroll said. ‘We keep score of that stuff, and he was the highest-ranked guy in terms of productivity. That’s in sacks and tackles for losses and knocking balls loose and all that stuff.’ Now, it’s just a matter of when he’ll hurry up and show that during the games.”

O’Neil also has an update on 2011 first-round draft pick James Carpenter, who has been sidelined from a knee injury he suffered after playing in nine games his rookie year, “He will be back on the field at some point this year, which constitutes progress in his recovery from the season-ending knee injury he suffered after nine games last season. ‘He has busted his tail to get back,’ coach Pete Carroll said, ‘and we’re really, really excited. He’s definitely going to play this year. He’s definitely going to play. We didn’t know that as he went into even July. We weren’t sure. But we know that now he’s going to play once he’s going to get back in and gets his weeks in.’ ”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune writes that several players see tonight’s preseason finale as one last chance to prove to the coaching staff that they are 53-man roster-worthy, including wide receiver Charly Martin, “Martin, 28, is in his third NFL season, having spent the past two years with the Carolina Panthers. At West Texas A&M University, Martin finished with school records in receptions (244), receiving yards (4,108) and touchdowns (44), so he understands how to produce under pressure. With receivers Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards seeming to be locks to make the Seahawks’ roster, Martin likely is in a battle with veterans Ben Obomanu and Deon Butler and youngsters Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham for two roster spots. ‘I control what I can control,’ Martin said about Friday’s looming cuts. ‘There’s only so much I can do, and I make sure I’m mentally and physically ready to go every day. And aside from that, my hands are off of it. I come out, take advantage of the opportunities, work as hard as I can and have fun.’ ”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald also notes the urgency of tonight’s exhibition as the final chance for several young players to impress, “Whether it’s receivers like Deon Butler, Charly Martin, and Ricardo Lockette, or defensive lineman Cordarro Law or cornerback Jeremy Lane or linebacker Korey Toomer, numerous players on Seattle’s roster feel like they’re good enough to help this team in the regular season, but not all can be on the roster by Friday afternoon. ‘This is big for our young guys,”‘Carroll said. ‘This is their biggest opportunity because they’ll get their most playing time in this game and it’s kind of a final test of camp and the offseason. I’m hoping, for their own good, that they really come through and put themselves in the best positions to make the club. It’s a highly competitive roster right now and everybody is battling.’ ”

Boyle writes that while rookie Winston Guy once looked to be one of the many players on the roster bubble after tonight’s matchup with the Raiders, recent comments from coach Carroll make you feel more confident that the safety out of Kentucky will make the 53-man roster, ” ‘I’ve really liked this guy,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s a very natural football player. In his days at Kentucky, they moved him around quite a bit, and we were able to see him do things like what we do in this package. It was the Lawyer Milloy spot, a guy we used because of years of savvy and understanding. There are so many things that a guy has to deal with that he almost has to have a real natural sense, because you can’t coach everything because of all the floating and moving around that he’s asked to do. Well Winston gets it; he just gets it. He’s a hitter, he plays the ball well, he’s really fast, he’s 216 pounds, big kid. He’s got a real knack for rushing the passer, he looks like a pass rusher when he’s coming. So he’s really been a pleasant surprise. We had hoped that he would be able to do these things, and he’s on that package.’ Carroll went on to say that Guy will see a lot of playing time Thursday night, as will many of the young players, then added that Guy will likely have a prominent role in the defense on passing downs.”

Boyle also has an injury update after Wednesday’s walk-through practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

Scott Garbarini of The Sports Network previews tonight’s preseason matchup with the Oakland Raiders, with a couple of notes on the team’s quarterback situations, “Carroll said that [Russell] Wilson will start Thursday’s contest, though it’s likely he’ll play only sparingly before giving way to [Matt] Flynn and project Josh Portis…[Carson] Palmer is expected to receive only scant playing time in a reunion meeting with Carroll, the former college coach for both he and backup Matt Leinart at the University of Southern California.”

Brock Huard of gives us three things he wants to see from tonight’s game in this short video, listing production from defensive end Bruce Irvin, consistent playmaking from wide receiver Braylon Edwards, and Matt Flynn’s command of the offense and rapport with the receivers as things to watch for.

Bill Swartz of has his notes from Carroll’s press conference following Wednesday’s walk-through, “Carroll said special teams play will decide several close battles among receivers, linebackers and defensive backs. Defensive linemen Jason Jones and Greg Scruggs will not play Thursday but Carroll expects both to be ready for Arizona. Carroll’s final message to young players in a stressful situation: play loose and don’t overtry.”

Swartz also writes about the great expectations that face third-year receiver Golden Tate in 2012, “When [Terrell] Owens was released last Sunday, I asked Tate whether that was a vote of confidence in him. ‘I can’t control who they bring in here to compete,’ he said. ‘I can only control what I do out here every day. I need to make the plays I’m supposed to make, and make some people probably don’t think I can make. I see myself as a playmaker.’ When we used to ask quarterback Matt Hasselbeck about Tate, he would speak highly of his ability to attack the football. Hasselbeck also talked about Tate’s raw, un-precise route-running. That weakness continues to occasionally surface in his third year in the NFL. Purely judging his numbers, you could make the case Tate has been consistent. He’s averaged more than 10 yards per catch and led the team last year by catching 62 percent of the passes thrown his way. Coming into the final preseason game Thursday night against the visiting Raiders, Tate needs to show he’s one of the best five or six receivers on the squad. With the Seahawks’ ability to find creative ways to use unique talent, Tate could be an interesting offensive weapon in 2012.”

Liz Matthews of writes that wide receiver Sidney Rice should be ready to go for the regular season opener, “This offseason, Rice underwent surgeries on both shoulders and was limited throughout training camp. To bolster the roster, the Seahawks added three veteran wide receivers to the mix — Antonio Bryant, Braylon Edwards and Terrell Owens. Bryant and Owens have now been released, while Edwards remains on the 75-man roster. ‘We talked all in the offseason on how we were going to do it and he is ahead of schedule,’ Carroll said of Rice last week. ‘He’s applied himself so well and has done a great job in the weight room. He’s never been pumped like this before. He’s feeling really confident out there and we are all looking forward to it.’ Now back at full practice, Rice made his preseason debut against Kansas City last week, finishing the game with one reception for eight yards. ‘He was fast and confident,’ Carroll said. ‘He wanted to play more. He didn’t want to come off of the field, which was great. He needed to get out on the field and you can see it in warmups that he was fired up.’ ”

Mike Sando of writes that the Seahawks enter the 2012 season with the second-youngest starters in the NFL, “Seattle enters the regular season with the second-youngest projected starters in the NFL. Some of the team’s younger building blocks — James Carpenter, John Moffitt and Matt Flynn come to mind — have or could lose their starting jobs to players even younger than them.  ‘We want the roster so competitive that really good draft picks are fighting for play time and that means that the guys ahead of him are better,’ Carroll said before the draft.”

Sando has a look at the Seahawks wide receiver situation heading into tonight’s matchup with the Raiders, and offers a projection as to six WRs the ‘Hawks will hold on to after Thursday night, “Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, Braylon Edwards, Ben Obomanu, Charly Martin. The Seahawks’ receiver situation is cloudier than the others in the division. Martin seems to have stepped up. He had a touchdown catch against Kansas City last week. Deon Butler would be another obvious consideration. Ricardo Lockette and Kris Durham showed promise in the past, but neither seems to have done enough this summer. Jermaine Kearse and Lavasier Tuinei would be released under this scenario. Seattle has some unclear choices. The team could be in the market for a veteran slot receiver as well, depending on Baldwin’s health. This situation is fluid.”

Sando also revisits the 2011 NFL draft and provides an update on Seahawks draft choices that suffered injury set backs in their first season – James Carpenter, John Moffitt, and Kris Durham.

Here at Clare Farnsworth highlights the Tom Cable effect, provides an interesting nugget from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King on rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin in his Wednesday edition of ‘Hawkville’, and details how wide receiver Charly Martin will approach tongiht’s game with the Raiders.

Lastly, Tony Ventrella brings you a look at the team’s final preparations for their fourth preseason game, and previews tonight’s matchup with the Raiders in this short video.

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