Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 29:
The story of the day, of course, is Tarvaris Jackson’s sudden emergence at practice on Friday after doing so little in Thursday’s practice. Charlie Whitehurst continued to get the starter reps as the Seahawks prepared for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field, but Jackson took snaps in every phase of the workout – with the players practicing without pads or helmets. Jackson is listed as questionable and coach Pete Carroll said the decision on who starts will be made after seeing Jackson in pregame warm-ups.
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times: “No one made any definitive statements about whether Jackson would start or if Whitehurst subs for Jackson for the second week in a row, but Jackson is certainly going to be a consideration.”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune: “Jackson said it will be important to see how his body recovers from the throwing session, but that he feels good about his chances of playing Sunday. ‘It will be interesting to see just exactly how I feel after doing that. But I don’t think it will have any affect, or I’ll have a setback after throwing. I think it will be fine, but I guess we’ll see, because it’s kind of a thing where it feels good one day, and the next day it won’t.’ ”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald: “This week’s official NFL injury report indicates Tarvaris Jackson has a 50-50 chance of playing Sunday. His words – as well as his actions – on Friday suggested the Seahawks’ starting quarterback has much better odds of playing against Cincinnati.”
Christian Caple at PI.com: “Pete Carroll remains non-committal as to who the Seahawks’ starting quarterback will be against the Bengals on Sunday. Tarvaris Jackson is, after all, still listed as questionable on the official injury report. But listening to both Carroll and Jackson speak about the way Jackson threw the ball during Friday’s practice, it appears as if Jackson has a better chance to start this week than originally thought.”
Here at Seahawks.com: “Said coach Pete Carroll, ‘It’s encouraging. I think he has a chance to play if he can get through these two days.’ So the big question now: How will the shoulder on his throwing arm feel on Saturday morning after Jackson’s extended stint on Friday afternoon? ‘Tarvaris had his best day in the last couple weeks,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s just started to come out of it and threw the ball well. He’s still questionable, but we’ll take it to the next couple days here and see where we are. But it’s is a very good sign. He felt the best, he had the most work. So we’ll see what happens with that.’ ”
We’ve also got the word on the returns of Marshawn Lynch, Zach Miller, Max Unger and Roy Lewis in “Friday in Hawkville,” as well as Tony Ventrella’s daily video report.
Mike Sando at ESPN.com has his “final word” on the NFC West entering Week 8, including this item on the Seahawks and Bengals: “Something has to give Sunday when the Seahawks flood the field with wide receivers against a Bengals defense that hasn’t had its cornerback depth tested much. Seattle ranks 12th in pass plays featuring three or more wide receivers. The Bengals’ defense leads the league in fewest yards per pass and carry when opponents use these personnel groupings. However, only four teams have faced fewer dropbacks than the Bengals against three-plus wideouts. That helps explain why Morgan Trent (15.5 percent of defensive snaps) and ex-Seahawk Kelly Jennings (7.5) are the Bengals’ only backup corners to play this season. The Bengals have used three safeties, including backup Gibril Wilson, roughly a quarter of the time. Pacman Jones’ expected activation as the Bengals’ third corner adds another dynamic. The Seahawks need to win their matchups when Sidney Rice, Mike Williams, Doug Baldwin, Ben Obomanu and/or Golden Tate are on the field together. They also need better quarterback play, but that’s another conversation.”
Sando also offers his thoughts on what to do with Whitehurst and Jackson. Says Sando: “If Jackson gives the Seahawks their best chance at winning and he’s healthy enough to practice, the team needs to play him, right? Naming Jackson the starter under these circumstances would stand more as a reflection of Jackson’s availability than as a repudiation of Whitehurst.”
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 28:
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times profiles Red Bryant, the Seahawks’ extra-large defensive end who has been so important to their No. 11-ranked run defense and gets his inspiration from his father-in-law – Jacob Green, the franchise’s all-time sack leader. Offers O’Neil: “They wear the same No. 79. They went to the same school, Texas A&M, and Bryant is married to Janelle, one of Green’s three daughters. The similarities only go so far, though, because they followed very different paths to end up at the same position on Seattle’s defensive line.”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks Marshawn Lynch, the team’s leading rusher who is expected to return for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field after sitting out last week’s game because of back spasms. Says Williams: “Lynch said he has been dealing with a nagging back issue for a while, but it never got to the point where he had to miss a game. ‘It’s frustrating, but at the same time going out and doing battle the way we do, you’ve got to listen to your body sometimes,’ he said. ‘I took the time and actually listened to it, and it told me it wasn’t what I thought it was. Sometimes things happen like that.’ ”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald says, as it has turned, the Bengals aren’t who the Seahawks thought they were. Writes Boyle: “Back in August and early September, the Bengals were a team many though would contend for the worst record in the league, but instead they’re contenders in the tough AFC North. How have the Bengals gone so quickly from pushovers to a team that is favored on the road this weekend? Well, the biggest reason for their resurgence has been the defense, which ranks second in the league in yards allowed, and fourth in terms of points surrendered.”
Christian Caple of PI.com checks in with Charlie Whitehurst, who could be the Seahawks’ starting QB for the second consecutive game. Says Caple: “Thursday at the VMAC means it’s time for the Seahawks’ starting quarterback to speak with the media. And even though coach Pete Carroll has left open the possibility that Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) could play this week, it was Charlie Whitehurst who was made available to answer questions from reporters, another indication that he will likely make his second consecutive start in Jackson’s place. If that’s the case, Whitehurst is hoping things go a little better against the Bengals than they did against the Browns last week.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we look at Bryant’s reaction to being moved from tackle to end last year: “When Red Bryant heard that he was being moved to defensive end, he was overcome by one sudden and overpowering sensation. ‘I thought I was getting ready to get cut,’ Bryant said. Instead, Bryant has become a sudden and overpowering cut-above force at the five-technique spot in a Seahawks’ defense that ranks 11th in the league in average rushing yards allowed and tops the NFL in per-carry average allowed entering Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field.”
For a look at the rest of the league entering Week 8, there John Clayton’s “First and 10” at ESPN.com; and Peter King’s “Weekend Pickoff” at SI.com, including this assessment of the Seahawks-Bengals game: “Best young safety tandem in football? Seattle’s Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. They force the run well, are like linebackers when they rush, and are good hitters with very good ball skills down the field. Chancellor’s got a sack and two picks and a forced fumble in his last three games. He idolized the late Sean Taylor and, at 6-foot-3 and (232) pounds, packs the same kind of wallop Taylor did. Chancellor and Thomas will be the key to making Andy Dalton turn it over, if he does, and turning this game Seattle’s way. I say Dalton is affected by them but not ruined, and makes enough plays to move Cincinnati to a surprising 5-2.”
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 27:
CenturyLink Field. You remember the place. It’s where the Seahawks play their home games.
But it has been awhile. The Seahawks have not played at home since Oct. 2, and that was only their second home game in the first seven weeks of the season. Those two home games were sandwiched between pairs of road games, and the gap in the second set of road games was extended by the Seahawks having their bye week in the middle.
That will change Sunday, when the Seahawks host the Cincinnati Bengals. The coaches and players are ready to make the most of the situation against a Bengals team that is 4-2 and riding a three-game winning streak.
“Well, I feel like I’ve said this every time we’re coming home – that it feels good to be coming home and to be playing here at CenturyLink,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Getting prepared to do that is exciting for our team.
“Again, it just feels like we haven’t been here very much, but it’s good to be getting back.”
That haven’t-been-here feeling is warranted. The Seahawks opened the season by losing back-to-back road games at San Francisco and Pittsburgh. They then came home to grab their first victory, over the Arizona Cardinals; and almost stole a game the following week in a two-point loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Then, it was back on the road, where they upset the Giants in the Meadowlands before their bye and then lost a post-bye three-point to decision to the Browns in Cleveland last week.
It’s not a great secret that this team plays better at home, as do most teams in the league. But the special ingredient at CenturyLink Field is the 12th MAN crowd that turns the place into a noise factory when the opposing offense is on the field.
And this week, that opposing offense will be quarterbacked by a rookie – Andy Dalton, whose previous road games have been at Cleveland (win), Denver (loss) and Jacksonville (win).
“It’s an advantage with the crowd noise. It’s a tough place for opposing offenses to come in,” Seahawks quarterback Charlie Whitehurst said. “It’s always good to be home, but especially in Seattle.”
Roy Lewis. Not the Roy Lewis who likely will ride to the rescue of an injury-depleted secondary this week by being activated off the physically unable to perform list and sliding in as the nickel back, but the flipside – which has been Lewis’ A-side during his first three NFL seasons: Special teams.
Lewis was the special teams captain last season, and he has been missed during the first six games this season.
“Roy was a real central figure in our surge last year with bringing our special teams to the front because of his playmaking,” Carroll said. “He was a real big factor for us. When we lost him, it was different.”
That was in December, when Lewis got a season-ending knee injury that required surgery and forced him to begin this season on PUP.
As much as the defense needs him, the special teams also will welcome him back.
“To get him to come back is another boost to that group,” Carroll said. “That’s the obvious place, as well as the nickel back spot, that he can help us.”
Asked about being ready to slip back into his leadership role on special teams, Lewis offered his favorite phase, “Without a doubt,” before adding, “That’s always on the menu.”
IN ’N OUT
Center Max Unger (foot) and tight end Zach Miller (neck/head) had their most extensive practice stints today since being injured in the pre-bye win over the Giants. Running back Marshawn Lynch (back spasms) also did more today than on Wednesday, participating in all phases of practice.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (strained pectoral) threw some passes in the early individual drills and also handed off during the 9-on-7 run drill, but Whitehurst continued to get the starter reps with the Seahawks offense.
“This week, I’m preparing to start again,” said Whitehurst, who got the start against the Browns last week. “I’m not sure what will happen.”
Also, cornerback Brandon Browner returned to practice after being excused on Wednesday.
Here’s the official injury report:
Did not practice
S Atari Bigby (hamstring)
S Jeron Johnson (ankle)
QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)
S Kam Chancellor (knee)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
TE Zach Miller (neck/head)
C Max Unger (foot)
Johnson tweaked his ankle early in practice on Wednesday, while Bigby’s hamstring started bothering him before practice today.
For the Browns
Did not practice
LB Rey Maualuga (ankle)
CB Nate Clements (knee)
LB Dan Skuta (groin)
LB Thomas Howard (hamstring)
CB Kelly Jennings (hamstring)
CB Adam Jones (PUP, neck)
Second-year cornerback Walter Thurmond had surgery today on the left ankle that was fractured in Sunday’s loss to the Browns. He is looking at a four-to-six month rehab.
The procedure was performed by team doctors Ed Khalfayan and Mike McAdams at Seattle Surgery Center.
STAT DU JOUR
Middle linebacker David Hawthorne had his second game this season with double-digit tackles against the Browns to take over the team lead with 40. Hawthorne has led the club in tackles the past two seasons, and is looking to become the sixth player in franchise history to make it a three-peat. Here’s a look at Hawthorne’s games with double-digit tackles during his run:
Opponent Total Solo Asst.
Browns 11 7 4
Falcons 10 3 7
Giants 12 9 3
Saints 12 10 2
Chiefs 13 8 5
Panthers 14 11 3
Bears 16 15 1
Cardinals 11 10 1
Vikings 15 11 4
Texans 10 6 4
Buccaneers 10 6 4
The players will hold their final full practice before Sunday’s game on Friday, and then have a walk-thru on Saturday morning.
Due to the closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the club is encouraging fans to arrive early for the game, and WSDOT is suggesting that fans use public transportation options to avoid congestion in the area around the stadium and the viaduct.
Tickets for Sunday’s game are available and can be purchased here.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s like having a computer on a jugs machine. It’s like, read the defense, bam, ball; read the defense, push the ball there; read, the defense, put the ball there; read the defense, run it here. It’s hard to stop that.” – rookie cornerback Richard Sherman, who played at Stanford, when asked about Cardinal QB Andrew Luck
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today. Oct. 26:
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his weekly “risers and fallers” in the NFC West, and middle linebacker David Hawthorne checks in at No. 1 among the “risers.” Says Sando: “Eleven tackles, one sack and one interception constituted a rebirth for Hawthorne, who seemed to play more freely than at any point this season. I was tempted to list teammate Red Bryant in this spot after Bryant blocked two field goal attempts and provided strong run defense, but Bryant was already regarded as one of the most important players on the team. His stock was already high, in other words. Also, the penalty against Bryant for head-butting Browns tight end Alex Smith killed whatever fleeting hopes the Seahawks had for a last-minute comeback victory.”
Sando also has five observations from the Browns game, including: “Seattle’s wide receivers had not dropped a single pass heading into this game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Ben Obomanu and Doug Baldwin dropped passes Sunday. Throw in (tight end Anthony) McCoy’s two drops and Seattle suffered four in this game, one more than in the previous five games combined. Whitehurst targeted wide receivers 15 times, completing only four through a combination of errant throws and drops. Seattle had been much better in the passing game recently and I suspect they will be much better in the future. This was an unusually horrible game on that front.”
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the Seahawks offense against the Browns, or the lack of it. Offers O’Neil: “The Seahawks were starting over, so to speak, going back to the beginning of this season when it was hard to know what — if anything — this offense could rely upon. The Seahawks scored a total of 37 points in the first 14 quarters and were considered among the worst offenses in the NFL. The no-huddle offense had been Seattle’s salve for the previous game and a half. Seattle scored 57 points in the previous six quarters entering Sunday’s game while using a no-huddle, hurry-up offense almost exclusively. All the progress and promise of the past game and a half disappeared on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland when the Seahawks managed 137 yards of total offense, its second-lowest total in a game in the past 10 years.”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune also examines the Seahawks never finding their offensive rhythm against the Browns. Says Williams: “The Seahawks have to put this one behind them and quickly figure out how to establish some offensive rhythm with Cincinnati coming to town Sunday. The Bengals are a surprising 4-2 and have the No. 2-ranked defense in the league.”
Dave Wyman, writing on the mynorthwest.com blog at 710 ESPN, says not to overreact to Charlie Whitehurst’s performance against the Browns. Offers the former Seahawks linebacker: “Whitehurst certainly did not play well – I think we can all agree on that. But now some are asking for third-string quarterback Josh Portis. That’s Josh Portis, undrafted rookie free agent from Division II California University in Pennsylvania. I always say that the most popular player on any NFL team is the backup quarterback. But it’s a never ending cycle when you jump on that bandwagon. Makes me wonder how many quarterbacks there would have to be on the team before people stopped asking to ‘get the next guy in there.’ ”
We also examine the disparity in the Seahawks’ past two performances; take look at this week’s opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals; and recap the day in Tuesday in Hawkville. If that’s not enough, there’s also Shelly Son’s touching story about Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Tony Ventrella’s video report from Marcus Trufant’s Bowling and Billiards Classic.
Mike Pereira at FoxSports.com takes a look at the controversial block-in-the-back call that cost the Seahawks what would have been Leon Washington’s 81-yard punt return for game-winning touchdown against the Browns. He has a bigger problem with Fox analyst, and former Seahawks coach, Jim Mora calling it a “phantom call” than the call itself. Says Pereira: “The other thing that makes it difficult is the fact you’re officiating on ground level and often looking through bodies. It’s so much easier when we see the game from television cameras at a higher vantage point. On this play, you could see contact between Cleveland’s James Dockery and Cox, but Dockery was falling down, which made it appear like it was a block in the back. Maybe I’ll buy my buddy Mora a dictionary so he can look up the word ‘phantom.’ Like I said, this wasn’t a ‘phantom call.’ “
The Seahawks came off their bye week looking for a second straight road win, this time visiting the Cleveland Browns.
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 25:
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at the possibility that Charlie Whitehurst could get another start in this week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at CenturyLink Field. Offers O’Neil: “Backup quarterbacks are like communism. They tend to work better in theory, while real-world applications can be a little more problematic. … ‘It was a hard go,’ coach Pete Carroll said (of Whitehurst’s effort against the Browns). ‘I think that’s the toughest time Charlie has had in the games that he’s played in. I know he didn’t feel real good about it.’ Hard to think of anyone outside of Cleveland who felt good about it. But Whitehurst is still the backup, and he may be needed again this week since Carroll could offer no guarantee Jackson will be ready for Sunday’s game.”
O’Neil also offers “three things we learned” from the loss to the Browns, including: “The growing pains aren’t over: So you thought the Seahawks turned a corner, huh? You believed the last game and a half constituted the Great Leap Forward as the Seahawks scored a total of 57 points. Well, that wasn’t a step backward in Cleveland or a stumble, but a full blown face plant. Seattle gained 137 yards, the second fewest of any game going back to the start of the 2001 season. Ouch. The offensive line that had shown so much improvement gave up another three sacks in the first half, and rookie James Carpenter was penalized twice for false starts. For all the promise Seattle showed in the second half against Atlanta and its victory at New York, Sunday’s game showed Seattle still has a long way to go.”
There’s also “three things we already knew,” including: “Red Bryant is the most important single comment of this defense. He is the strongest player on Seattle’s defense and the biggest reason the Seahawks have been so rugged against the run. The fact that he was able to block not one field-goal attempt, but two, is further testament to his size and significance. Seattle suffered injuries across its defensive line last season, but it was the loss of Bryant in the first half of Game 7 that took the biggest toll. A free agent at the end of the season, his importance to this defense is no longer a question.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers “silver linings” from the Seahawks’ loss to the Browns on Sunday, including: “Seattle’s defense held the Browns to six points and 298 yards even though its offense held the ball for only 17 minutes.”
Dave Boling at the News Tribune also weighs in on the quarterback situation. Says Boling: “True enough. Injuries kept running back Marshawn Lynch, tight end Zach Miller and center Max Unger from playing. Add those guys to the offense and the Seahawks might have been able to crack double figures in scoring. But their absence did not alter the validity of critical assessments of Whitehurst’s efforts on plays when he did have time to throw, and when receivers did manage to shake free.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald runs through the Seahawks’ lengthy injury list, including cornerback Walter Thurmond needing surgery on the ankle he broke in Sunday’s game. Says Boyle: “And while Thurmond’s injury is the most serious, it is hardly the only one that affected the Seahawks in Sunday’s loss. Seattle went to Cleveland knowing it would be without quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral), tight end Zach Miller (concussion) and center Max Unger (foot), then lost Marshawn Lynch just before the game when he had a flare up of back spasms during pregame warm ups.”
Also at the Herald, Scott Johnson continues his “The Game of My Life” series with a look at Eugene Robinson. Says Robinson: “The game I remember the best isn’t a game we won or a game of much significance for the team, but it was the game when I made my biggest hit when I really needed to. Before the season, Coach Chuck Knox wanted to go in a different direction, so he traded for a safety named Johnnie Johnson, who he knew from the Rams. He wanted him to play free safety. Incidentally, I had to do a lot of praying for Coach and a lot of praying for myself so I wouldn’t have a bitter attitude. But I was pretty hot. My wife kept reminding me to pray, to pray for Coach Knox. I was angry, and I took it personally, so there was a lot of prayer that year. In the end, I took my frustration out on Keith Jackson.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the haunting elements of Sunday’s loss in our “Monday Metatarsal Musings,” offering: “The list of plays the Seahawks didn’t make, and allowed the Browns to make, could be turned into a miniseries. Those plays were the difference between being 3-3 and riding the emotional wave that would have come with winning three of their past four games, and being 2-4 and wondering how to right everything that went wrong on Sunday.”
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 24:
Also at the Times, Danny O’Neil writes that it was stunning that the 6-3 game remained that close with the way the Seahawks offense played. Offers O’Neil: “That Seattle had a chance was amazing considering just how poorly its offense played — which was skid-row, searching-for-loose-change poor. The Seahawks defense allowed just six points despite being on the field for almost 43 minutes, defensive lineman Red Bryant blocked two Cleveland field-goal attempts, and the Browns never got the ball inside the Seattle 30 until the final five minutes of the game.”
Also from O’Neil, a closer look at Bryant’s big day. Says O’Neil: “Bryant is at the heart of that defense, the biggest player on a rough-and-tumble front that is allowing 3.2 yards per carry, fewest of any defense in the league. He had three solo tackles against the Browns, hit McCoy twice and shared a sack. He also became the first Seahawk ever to block two field-goal attempts.”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks the Seahawks’ offensive woes with four starters on the sideline against the Browns. Says Williams: “The Seattle Seahawks let a winnable game slip away in a gut-wrenching 6-3 loss to Cleveland at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Sunday. The two teams combined for the fewest points in a game involving the Seahawks in team history.”
Williams also looks at Bryant’s contrasting afternoon, offering: “He’s one of the inspirational leaders of the defense and sets the tone for Seattle’s stingy defensive line. But on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, burly defensive end Red Bryant made his presence known in a different capacity. On special teams. The 6-foot-4, 323-pounder blocked Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson’s attempts from 48 and 24 yards, the last one giving Seattle one last chance in the fourth quarter to win the game.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we look at all the things in the loss to the Browns that will haunt the Seahawks. As Whitehurst put it: “It’s extremely disappointing. In the end, we lost a game that was there to take.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com has a wrap-up of the Seahawks’ loss. He’s what he liked: “Red Bryant blocked two field goal attempts. Leon Washington provided an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown, negated only by a questionable penalty for an illegal block in the back. The plays from Bryant and Washington were precisely what Seattle needed to stay competitive despite the horrible showing on offense. Strong safety Kam Chancellor continued to add a physical presence in the secondary, blitzing effectively and making players pay for carrying the ball downfield. He lifted Montario Hardesty off the ground and planted him on his back late in the game as Seattle held the Browns to a field goal attempt. Linebacker David Hawthorne played his best game of the season, making big hits and collecting an interception in the red zone. Defensive end Chris Clemons was disruptive, pressuring Browns quarterback Colt McCoy and roughing him up.”
For a look at what happened around the league in Week 7, there’s John Clayton’s “Last Call” at ESPN.com; Pete King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com; and Clark Judge’s “Judgements” at CBSSports.com.
Good morning from Cleveland. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 23:
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times looks at today’s game between the Seahawks and Browns as two teams trying to find their quarterbacks. Offers O’Neil: “The question in Seattle is a little bit more muddled. (Charlie) Whitehurst is in the second season of a two-year contract, and for now, remains a backup. Some fans are convinced he’s better than (Tarvaris) Jackson. Others think the two starts last season for a player in his fifth year was enough to know exactly what the ceiling is. The reality is that the gap between Whitehurst and Jackson might not be as great as anyone thinks.”
Also at the Times, Steve Kelley visits with Mike Holmgren, the former Seahawks coach who is now president of the Browns. Say Kelley: “But he still watches the game like a coach, still grades the game tapes and reviews his notes with Shurmur every Tuesday. ‘The same coaching frustrations crop up,’ Holmgren said. ‘I’ve had to learn to deal with it. I have to. It’s one of my jobs now to be supportive of Pat (Shurmur, the Browns coach) and help him be the best coach he can be. And that does not include banging on the table in frustration.’ ”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune also examines the Seahawks’ QB situation, with Whitehurst expected to get the start today. Says leading receiver Doug Baldwin: “You just go out there and play. We can’t control who’s at quarterback at the time. Obviously, you get reps with them in practice. But since you can’t control things that are out of your control, all you can do is make sure you’re running the route the way you’ve been taught, and making sure you’re there at the proper time, and it’s the quarterback’s job to do the rest.”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at the oddity that is having the past three coaches for the Seahawks all in the same stadium at the same time – Pete Carroll on the Seahawks’ sideline; Jim Mora in the TV booth as a Fox analyst; and Holmgren in his box as the Browns’ president. Says Boyle: “Besides, as Mora points out, this game doesn’t have much to do with him. Sure, he happened to have coached the Seahawks after Holmgren and before Carroll, but whatever feelings he has towards the Seahawks won’t change the way the game goes down. ‘Pete has something to do with the game. Mike has something to do with the game because he’s the president. I have nothing to do with the game,’ Mora said. ‘I just comment on the game. I’m the one guy that doesn’t matter.’ ”
Boyle also has his “Game Day” look at the matchups on the field, including the one between former Texas teammates Earl Thomas and Colt McCoy.
Christian Caple at PI.com has “Five Things to Watch” in today’s game. Checking in at No. 5 is “stuff the run,” which could lead to: “If the Seahawks can do the same thing Cleveland’s last two opponents have – jump them early, snuff out the running game and force Colt McCoy to throw the Browns back into it – they should have a decent shot at winning two consecutive East Coast road games.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the success the Seahawks have had running their no-huddle offense in recent games. As Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora put it after the Seahawks’ upset victory two weeks ago: “We knew it was coming, we prepared for it but we just didn’t have an answer for them. We practiced for that all week. We knew it was coming. We just weren’t able to stop them.”
For a look at the rest of the league, Albert Breer at NFL.com has his picks for Week 7, including a certain team from you-know-where losing a close game at you-know-where; and John Czarnecki at FoxSports.com looks at the games on Fox, including the Seahawks vs. the Browns: “The Seahawks have gone 26 games without a 100-yard rusher, but they will need Marshawn Lynch to give them a big day, considering Charlie Whitehurst is making only his third start at quarterback. Lynch has touchdowns in his last two games.”
Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Oct. 22:
The big news, of course, is what has been apparent since QB Tarvaris Jackson strained his right pectoral muscle in the third quarter of the pre-bye week upset of the Giants: backup Charlie Whitehurst is the likely starter in tomorrow’s game against the Browns in Cleveland.
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at Whitehurst’s big chance. Offers O’Neil: “This is Whitehurst’s chance. It’s an opportunity that opened up because of injury, but it is an opportunity. So how did Whitehurst respond in practice? ‘This week he just took it over,’ Carroll said. ‘He just assumed that this was his job. It gave a lot of people a good feeling. The players, they don’t feel like anything is missing right now. We’d like to have Tarvaris available, but Charlie just took over.’ ”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune points out that Carroll stopped short of ruling Jackson out, even though he is listed as doubtful. Says Williams: “Jackson has been a limited participant at practice all week because of a strained pectoral suffered against the New York Giants two weeks ago. He’s been limited to light throwing in individual drills this week, with Whitehurst taking the majority of the snaps with the starters. … ‘We prepared all week long to get Charlie ready to start, and that’s what we’re thinking right now,’ Carroll said.’“But we’re going to still see what Tarvaris does in the next couple days. He threw well yesterday, and he feels OK. So we’ll go all the way up to game time to see where he is.’ ”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald says Whitehurst’s teammates have confidence in him. Offers wide receiver Mike Williams: “Nobody questions whether or not he’s ready to go or whether or not he can get it done. He’s played well on a big stage for us. . . The locker room has a lot of confidence in him and the coaches have a lot of confidence in him.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we look back at Whitehurst’s impressive relief performance in the win over the Giants. Says fullback Michael Robinson: “If you’re not out there a lot, it’s hard to get a feel for what you’re comfortable with. And Charlie did a great job, man. It was very impressive.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com has his “final word” on the NFC West teams heading into Week 7, and he says it’s not time for the Seahawks to relax: “Seattle’s road victory over the previously 3-1 Giants gave the team a 2-1 record over its last three games, casting the Seahawks as a young team on the rise. The Browns, meanwhile, have beaten only an 0-6 Indianapolis team and an 0-5 Miami team. Winning on the road was once a bonus for Seattle, but with San Francisco running out to a 5-1 start, including 3-0 away from home, the Seahawks need to beat bad teams on the road just to stay within striking distance. They are seeking victories in back-to-back road games for the first time since 2007.”
Sando also his “best guesses” predictions for the teams in the division, and he sees a close victory for the Seahawks: “Many, many internal alarms keep going off as I prepare to predict a Seahawks victory in a 10 a.m. PT kickoff. A young team coming off a bye week and an upset victory over the Giants could be feeling a little too good about itself. Throw in a quarterback change with more shuffling on the offensive line and danger signs abound. I just cannot shake from my mind how bad the Browns looked falling behind 24-7 even after Oakland lost starting quarterback Jason Campbell. This one is on Seattle’s defense. Sando’s best guess: Seahawks 16, Browns 14.
As for the rest of the league, there’s Clark Judge’s “Peek at the Week” at CBSSports.com; and John Clayton’s “First and 10” at ESPN.com; and Jason Smith’s “Viewer’s Guide” at NFL.com, in which he predicts a shootout between the Seahawks and Browns.
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