Thursday cyber surfing: Defense, pass rush earns praise

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks and the NFL for today, September 27.

Late last night the NFL and NFLRA issued a joint statement citing the end of the NFL officiating crew’s lockout, and the regular referees are scheduled to be back in action for this weekend’s games, starting with tonight’s Thursday Night Football matchup between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. You can read the joint statement and full press release with the details of the new agreement here.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at three things we learned and three things we’re still trying to figure out about this Seahawks team after Monday night’s matchup with the Packers, “The defense can’t do everything. It came close. Seattle shut out Green Bay for the first half and after the Seahawks failed to score from the Packers 7 in the fourth quarter, the defense very nearly forced the critical turnover when safety Earl Thomas ripped the ball loose from Cedric Benson. Green Bay’s 12 points were the fewest for the Packers in any game since the regular-season finale in 2010, and it represents the fourth-lowest total of any game Aaron Rodgers started in his NFL career.”

O’Neil also has his Wednesday practice report, saying that guard James Carpenter could be set to return to game action this week, “The Seahawks are about to get a big lineman back, though, as James Carpenter — last year’s first-round pick — could be ready to play this week after recovering from a serious knee injury suffered last year. ‘He’s live and in action this week,’ Carroll said. ‘Carp is back to life. He has done a great job in the process of getting back here. This is Week 4. We’re thrilled that he’s got a chance. He has a chance to play this week. We’ll see how it goes. He’ll be playing at left guard, and we’ll see how all that fits. He has to make it through the week, but he’s really excited about it. It has been a tremendous comeback, and he’s way out ahead of schedule, and he has had no setbacks to note at all. We’ll see how it makes it and we’ll look forward to him playing.’ ”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune notes the impressive play of the Seahawks’ defense on Monday night, which has been somewhat lost in the shuffle surrounding the game’s final play, “Seattle’s defense held the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers to 87 yards in the first half, and kept the Green Bay quarterback from throwing a touchdown pass for the first time in 20 games. Through three games, Seattle’s defense is No. 1 in points allowed (13 a game), No. 2 in rushing defense (58.7 yards per game) and No. 4 in total defense (272.3 yards per game). ‘They played one of the best games I’ve ever watched,’ Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin said. ‘Going against one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game, to keep them from scoring that many points is just amazing, and all this drama is overshadowing that.’ ”

Williams also says that Head Coach Pete Carroll has come out and taken the blame for “keeping a lid” on the offense to this point, and offers some comments from offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on the team’s reasoning for their conservative approach on offense, “While Wilson has left the pocket too soon sometimes, what Bevell likes is his ability to extend plays with his feet to create explosive plays, particularly at the end of games when Seattle is trying to move into scoring position. Twice Wilson has led Seattle’s offense down the field in late-game situations, giving them a chance to win. He was unsuccessful against Arizona, but got the job done against Green Bay. ‘We do have a rookie quarterback,’ Bevell said. “’e have a great defense. We have great special teams. We can run the football. We can protect the football. And all of those have been a great recipe to win the game. And that’s really what the bottom line comes down to – winning the game. You can say their ugly wins or beautiful wins – however they are, they’re wins. And that’s what our goal is.’ ”

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune writes that St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford took notice of the play of the Seahawks’ defense on Monday night, particularly those eight first half sacks of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, ” ‘You look at what they were able to do Monday night … they looked unbeatable, almost,’ Bradford said in a teleconference with Seattle media Wednesday. ‘They’re so big and physical and then you add (Chris) Clemons with his speed, it’s a tough group to try to block. They’re so multiple in the way they can rush you. They can beat you with power, beat you with speed, they can beat you around the edge with their pressure.’ ”

Mike Sando has a look at some NFC West injury situations that matter heading into the Seahawks-Rams Week 4 contest, “Seattle: Left tackle Russell Okung appeared to make it through the Green Bay game without suffering an injury setback to his knee. Former starting right tackle James Carpenter could be available for the first time this season. He projects at left guard, but it’s not clear how much he’ll play, or how soon. Seattle has not been afraid to rotate players at the other guard spot. Carpenter, a first-round pick in 2011, has been rehabbing from the knee surgery he underwent last season. Receiver Doug Baldwin (shoulder) was a last-minute scratch from the lineup against the Packers. He could return this week. Baldwin and cornerback Byron Maxwell (hamstring) practiced fully. Right tackle Breno Giacomini (pectoral), guard John Moffitt (knee) and defensive lineman Greg Scruggs (wrist) did not practice. St. Louis: Defensive tackle Michael Brockers returned to practice after missing the first three games with a high-ankle sprain. That’s a good sign for the Rams as they prepare for Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch. Brockers was limited in practice. Steven Jackson (groin) did not practice. The team remains without center Scott Wells and left tackle Rodger Saffold. A knee injury continues to limit Wayne Hunter, Saffold’s replacement. Saffold could miss a few more weeks. Overall, though, the Rams are healthier than they were last season. One question is whether Jackson’s groin injury will linger. He faces a Seattle run defense that has allowed 2.9 yards per carry on rushes excluding quarterback scrambles.”

Sando also calls attention to the rising stock of the Seahawks’ pass rush, “Eight first-half sacks against Aaron Rodgers quadrupled the Seahawks’ sack total through their two previous games this season. Chris Clemons had four, rookie Bruce Irvin added two and Brandon Mebane had two more. This was what the Seahawks had been hoping to see, particularly at home, after adding Jason Jones in free agency and Irvin through the draft. Can the pass rush travel to St. Louis in Week 4?”

Steve Wyche of catches up with cornerback Brandon Browner on Monday night’s defensive effort that was overshadowed by the game’s final play, “Seattle forced a Cedric Benson fumble on first down from the Packers’ seven. (Green Bay center Jeff Saturday recovered on the Packers’ 2.) Three plays and 57 seconds later, Green Bay punted. It was a stand as stout, determined and beautifully executed in terms of will and clock management as a team could design. It showed exactly what these Seattle Seahawks are about. ‘It’s pretty simple: We stood up down there,’ Browner said. ‘It was an awesome feeling, man, especially playing against Green Bay. It’s an awesome feeling, man, to be out there in those circumstances, with our backs against the wall, to stand up and get the ball back.’ ”

Here at Clare Farnsworth has his “Wednesday in Hawkville” report, with a focus on defensive tackle Brandon Mebane’s sack dance, and details the Seahawks’ pass rush from Monday night, “But even with Clemons and Irvin producing six of the eight sacks, the Seahawks’ mad dash of a pass rush wasn’t a two-man show. ‘Our other guys rushed well, too,’ Carroll said. ‘Jason (Jones) rushed well, missed a couple opportunities to get sacks. (Alan) Branch had a couple of really good rushes. Mebane had some great penetration up inside. So everybody contributed to it. Red (Bryant) had two really good rushes, his two best rushes of the year.’ ”

Tony Ventrella brings you his Seahawks Daily with reaction from coach Carroll, Golden Tate, Ben Obomanu, Breno Giacomini, and Mebane, as the team gets ready to move forward toward their Week 4 matchup with the Rams.

Lastly, we have the full video press conferences from Wednesday’s media sessions with Carroll, Tate, and Bevell.

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