With the Seahawks reaching the midway point of their season, here’s a look at the best from their 4-4 start:
MVP: Marshawn Lynch. Four 100-yard rushing games. At least 85 rushing yards in seven of the eight games. A career-best 4.8-yard average. No. 2 in the league is rushing, 18 yards behind the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson. A combined 170 touches with only 12 minus-yardage plays, offset by 14 runs of 10-plus yards. As lead-blocking fullback Michael Robinson put it, “If we know anything, we know the dude can run the ball.” And just when you thought you’d seen the entire Lynch portfolio, he breaks a career-long 77-yard touchdown run in Sunday’s game against the Lions. “He doesn’t generally run straight that long,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s usually moving everywhere. So it was fun to kind of watch him run in a straight line for once. And he looked pretty darn good.”
Best defensive player: Brandon Mebane. Chris Clemons and his seven sacks deserve mention, but the team’s nose tackle has been the best and most consistent player on the Seahawks’ No. 5-ranked defense. Mebane had the glitch game of his season in San Francisco, when the 49ers ran for 175 yards – 88 more than the next-highest total the Seahawks have allowed. But he also bounced back in a big way on Sunday against the Lions with his third sack of the season and six tackles. Mebane also had tipped three passes and recovered a fumble.
Best offensive player not named Marshawn Lynch: Max Unger. As hard as Lynch runs, and as difficult as he is to bring down, he’s also the first to point out that he couldn’t do all the things he does without the help of his blockers – and Unger is in the middle of everything at the center spot; flanked on the left side by tackle Russell Okung and guard James Carpenter and on the right side by tackle Breno Giacomini and guard Paul McQuistan. Unger has been solid from his first snap of the season, and also earns bonus points with the job he has done in helping rookie QB Russell Wilson go over and understand the pass protection each week.
Best special teams player: Heath Farwell. Punter Jon Ryan and Chris Maragos deserve honorable mention. But the most consistent member of the Seahawks’ consistently good special teams has been Farwell, who leads the units with eight coverage tackles. But with the special teams co-captain, it’s not just what he does; it’s also what he sees. Prime example numero uno: The play he read and then made on kickoff coverage in the Week 4 game at St. Louis. “On the field, Heath alerted everybody, ‘Hey watch the reverse,’ ” special teams coordinator Brian Schneider said. “Sure enough, they did a reverse and Heath made the tackle on the 5-yard line.” Farwell was the NFC Pro Bowl special teams player in 2009 while with the Vikings. He’s playing well enough to deserve another Pro Bowl berth this season.
Best rookie: Bobby Wagner. No one was sure just how quickly the second-round draft choice would be able to handle all the duties of three-time leading tackler David Hawthorne, who was allowed to leave in free agency. Well, first Wagner won the starting job in training camp. Then, he took over calling the plays in the huddle. Last month, he moved into the sub packages used on passing down. Now, he’s second on the team with 62 tackles – one behind strongside ’backer K.J. Wright.
Most improved offensive rookie: Russell Wilson. And not just because the rookie QB is coming off his best game in Sunday’s loss to the Lions. In addition to completing 71 percent of his passes (25 of 35) for 236 yards and two touchdowns, it was the poise and command Wilson displayed in doing it. But his numbers from the first four games to the next four games jumped in every positive category – completions (69, from 60); passing yards (872, from 594); TD passes (six, from four); and especially passer rating (90.4, from 73.5).
Most improved defensive rookie: Wagner. A bit redundant perhaps, but what he’s done is worth repeating. In the past three games, Wagner has 12, eight and 14 tackles. Like Wilson, he seems to be getting better with each start.
Best free-agent addition: Jason Jones. His value was never more apparent than when he wasn’t able to play against the Lions because of an ankle injury. Without Jones in the middle of the nickel defense line, Matthew Stafford had way too much time while completing 34 of 49 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Jones has 2.5 sacks but, as Carroll says, his real value is in the things he does that helps others make plays. And that’s why he was signed.
Joe Nash Award (or, what would they do without him): Leroy Hill. This went to McQuistan at the quarter pole, and could again as he has moved from left guard to right guard without missing a beat – or many blocks. But Hill continues to produce as the elder starter on the defense. He picked up his first sack of the season against the Lions, and his tackle total (29) isn’t a true indication of his impact.
Best trend: A 3-0 record at home. The Seahawks found ways to upset the Cowboys, Packers and Patriots in the first half of the season. It needs to continue, as they will play five of their final eight games at CenturyLink Field – including rematches with the other three teams in the NFC West, who already have beaten the Seahawks in the away portion of their home-and-home series.
Worst trend: Third downs. It’s tempting to opt for the 1-4 record on the road, but the Seahawks’ inability to get off the field on third downs and prolong possessions by converting third downs plays directly into the road woes. A defense that is capable of doing so many other things well, is allowing opponents to convert 43.9 percent on third downs – 46.0 percent in the four road losses. An offense that is looking to gain more consistency is converting 32.7 percent on the pivotal down.
Best offensive play: Wilson’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice with 78 seconds remaining against the Patriots in Week 6. As good as Lynch’s 77-yard TD run was against the Lions; Wilson’s timely toss to Rice won that game.
Best defensive plays: This is plural, because it was Clemons collecting four sacks in the second quarter of the Week 3 upset of the Packers.
Best special teams plays: Again, it’s plural because of Ryan’s quartet of punts against the Patriots, as he became the third player in NFL history – and the first since 1946 – to average 60-plus yards on four kicks. Ryan hit it right at 60.0, with four punts for 240 yards, with a long of 66.
When: Thursday, 5:20 p.m., Candlestick Park, San Francisco
Records: Both teams are 4-2 and share the NFC West lead with the Cardinals
TV: NFL Network and KONG, with Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock and Alex Flanagan
Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: Cardinals (4-2) at Vikings and Packers at Rams (3-3) on Sunday
49ers QB Alex Smith vs. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: This isn’t that kind of matchup – mano-a-mano – but the play of the opposing quarterbacks definitely will impact the outcome in this battle of NFC West co-leaders. And they’re coming at it during a short week to prepare for everything the opposing defenses can throw at them, and from opposite directions off their most-recent outings. Wilson had the best game of his rookie season, passing for two touchdowns in the final 7½ minutes as the Seahawks rallied for a one-point victory over the Patriots as the capper to his 16-of-27, 293-yard, three-TD effort. Smith, meanwhile, threw three interceptions in an eight-pass span and was sacked four times in what looked like a turn-back-the-clock outing in a 26-3 loss to the Giants. Can Wilson continue his rapid progression against the league’s No. 1-ranked defense? Can Smith recapture his efficient touch that was vital to the 49ers going 13-3 last season and winning four of their first five games this season against the Seahawks’ defense that is better than the one he beat twice last season?
One to watch
The Seahawks’ No. 2-ranked run defense vs. 49ers RB Frank Gore: As with the Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch, everything the 49ers do offensively starts with Gore. He moves the chains, as well as the pile. His running sets up the play-action passing game. So the Seahawks cannot allow Gore to get going as he did in rushing for 212 yards against them in 2006 or 207 yards in 2009, when he scored on runs of 80 and 79 yards. But this isn’t the same defense that was Gore-d in the past. To contain him, nose tackle Brandon Mebane, three-tech tackle Alan Branch and 330-pound end Red Bryant have to clog the running lanes, and also keep blockers off the linebacking trio of Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Leroy Hill. The Seahawks are allowing averages of 70 rushing yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry. Gore is averaging 78.3 and 5.4.
Fun to watch
Seahawks FB Michael Robinson vs. 49ers LB Patrick Willis: They used to be teammates, as Robinson played with the 49ers for four seasons before joining the Seahawks in 2010. They also were members of the NFC Pro Bowl squad last season. Thursday night, however, they will be on a collision course, as Robinson is now the knock-their-block-off lead blocker for Lynch and Willis is the I-dare-you-to-run-my-way centerpiece of a 49ers defense that has allowed only two 100-yard rushers in its past 46 regular-season games – Lynch in Week 16 last season and the Giants’ Ahmad Bradshaw on Sunday.
One tough task, 49ers version
Whoever lines up at left tackle vs. Seahawks DE Chris Clemons: Starter Joe Staley went out of the 49ers’ game against the Giants on Sunday with a concussion, and he has been limited in practice this week. When Staley left, Alex Boone, the first-year starter at right guard, moved to left tackle. Either will have his hands full with Clemons, who leads the Seahawks with 7.0 sacks and continues to come oh-so-close to even more sacks with his relentless rushes. Clemons hit Patriots QB Tom Brady three times on Sunday, and has 12 for the season.
One tough task, Seahawks version
Whoever lines up vs. 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith: Any of the Seahawks’ five O-linemen could see Smith on any given down, as the 49ers move him depending on the front and package they’re playing. Smith already has 48 tackles, 19 QB hits and 30 pressures, and often causes the disruption that leads to others making the play. “One-on-one, you don’t really want to be in a battle with him,” Robinson said. “He’s a pretty tough player. So you’ve definitely got to find out where he is on every play.”
The 49ers swept the season series against the Seahawks last season for the first time since 2006, and have won four of the past six meetings. … Lynch leads the NFC with 549 rushing yards and has at least 85 rushing yards in 13 of his past 15 games. … In the Week 16 game last season, Lynch not only became the first back to rush for more than 100 yards against the 49ers since 2009, he also was the first to score a rushing touchdown against them in 2011. … Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin had a TD catch in both games against the 49ers last season. … Since 2006, Gore has 7,487 rushing yards, the second-highest total in the league during that span. … The 49ers are averaging a league-high 176.8 rushing yards, while the Seahawks are allowing an average of 70.0 to rank second in the league. … Smith has beaten the Seahawks three consecutive times and is 7-1 in his past eight starts against the NFC West. … Linebacker NaVorro Bowman leads the 49ers with 72 tackles, but Willis leads them in solo tackles (38). … Wright and strong safety Kam Chancellor have 43 tackles to lead the Seahawks.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 11:
The Patriots’ defense, through the eyes of Russell Wilson. Sunday’s game at CenturyLink Field is being billed as the NFL’s No. 1 offense (Patriots) vs. the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense (Seahawks). And rightfully so, since the last time such a matchup took place this late into the season was in 2007.
But the Seahawks’ offense and Patriots’ defense also will be on the field, and that matchup also will be a factor in which team emerges 4-2 and which team ends up 3-3.
Are the Seahawks feeling any pressure to “keep pace” with a Patriots offense that is averaging 33 points and 30 first downs?
“I think more than anything, it’s about what we can control,” said Wilson, the Seahawks’ rookie QB. “How I control our offense and how we can score points and do the great things we can do, and not worry about that.
“You’ve just got to play one play at a time and the goal is to score one more point that they do.”
What concerns Wilson most about the Patriots’ defense? “They’re all in the right spot at the right time,” he said. “I think that’s the main thing. They’re coached extremely well. They attack the football, even after guys catch it or when guys are running it.
“So we have to really protect the football and just play our game.”
Good read by the rookie, as the Patriots have forced 14 turnovers (six interceptions and eight fumble recoveries), which is tied for second in the league; and are plus-10 in turnover differential, which shares the league lead.
Make that former player, and make it Cortez Kennedy. The Hall of Fame defensive tackle will have his No. 96 retired during a halftime ceremony at Sunday’s game.
“It’s the icing on the icing on the cake,” said Kennedy, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August and the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor in 2006.
In addition to joining Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Largent (80) and nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Walter Jones (71) as the only players in franchise history to have their numbers retired, Kennedy also will receive his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring during the ceremony and the Seattle City Council has proclaimed Sunday as Cortez Kennedy “Tez” Day.
Stevan Ridley. The Patriots are actually running the ball (191 plays) more than they’re passing it (185 plays), and Ridley is their leading rusher with 490 yards, a 4.8-yard average and four rushing touchdowns.
But who is this guy? The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Ridley was a third-round draft choice out of LSU last year.
“He’s pretty good,” Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill said. “I’ve been watching film on him. He’s a big back. They find the holes and he hits it.”
The Patriots have had a lot of success running from passing formations, as Ridley has rushed for 106 and 151 yards the past two games.
“One-back powers,” Hill said. “One back, pull a lineman, he gets in behind – especially on short yardage, they’re doing it a lot. And he’s hitting it. He’s getting 10, 11 yards a pop sometimes.”
The official report, as released by the team:
OG John Moffitt (knee)
Did not practice
C Max Unger (hip)
DT Clinton McDonald (groin)
DL Jaye Howard (foot)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
Unger sat out practice for the second consecutive day, so Lemuel Jeanpierre worked at center with the No. 1 line.
For the Patriots:
Did not practice
S Steve Gregory (hip)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion)
LB Tracy White (foot)
Limited in practice
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
DE Brandon Deadarick (ankle)
Julian Edelman (hand)
Justin Francis (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hip)
TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle)
LB Donta Hightower (hamstring)
OG Logan Mankins (calf/hip)
C Nick McDonald (shoulder)
CB Sterling Moore (knee)
RB Shane Vereen (foot)
OT Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee)
WR Wes Welker (ankle)
DT Kyle Love (knee)
QB Tom Brady was removed from the injury report today after being listed as limited on Wednesday because of a sore right shoulder. Edelman returned to practice on a limited basis after missing the past two-plus weeks.
STAT DU JOUR
Call this the Russell-o-Meter, as we continue to check Wilson’s progress against that of Matt Hasselbeck, who became a starter in the NFL in 2001 with the Seahawks and then led the team through the most successful five-season run in franchise history (2003-07). Here are Wilson’s stats through five games, compared to what Hasselbeck did in his first five starts:
Player Att. Comp. Yds. TD Int. Rating
Wilson 125 79 815 5 6 75.3
Hasselbeck 126 65 764 2 5 59.1
The Seahawks Women’s Association is hosting its annual Football 101 workshop on Saturday, and billing the event as a chance for women to increase their knowledge of the fundamentals and strategy of the game.
But how has heading the workshop the past two years affected the football IQ of Michaela Bradley, whose husband just happens to be Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
“I know she has a great time doing it, and there are a lot of great people out,” Bradley said after practice. “They talk a little bit of football and if they can just get one or two things and learn more about the game it’s great.”
But what about Michaela’s knowledge of the sport?
“I don’t know. I’ve got to be home to ask her,” Bradley said with a laugh, as his week has been consumed by visions of Brady and all the things the Patriots offense can throw – and run – at a defense.
“We don’t talk much football. When I come home we just talk about the family and the kids. She’s got a lot of going on, too, so she doesn’t need to hear my sob stories.”
The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and you can register here.
“Turnover Thursday” gives way to “No Repeat Friday” as the players will put in their last full day of work before Sunday’s game. But cornerback Richard Sherman and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner played to today’s theme by intercepting passes.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s spectacular. When you hand the ball off and some of these runs he’s making, say he gets his first 10 yards and the last 5, 8 yards, just watching his feet. There’s nothing like it. The way he moves his feet, he has great, great balance, tremendous vision and great determination to get the first down.” – Wilson, when asked about Marshawn Lynch during a conference-call interview with reporters who cover the Patriots
The term “genius” has been used in the same sentence as Bill Belichick on more than one occasion, especially when it comes to compiling a defense and playing defense. In fact, Google “Belichick” and “genius” and you get about 276,000 matches.
In fact, part II: In 2008, when the Patriots were preparing to play the Giants in the Super Bowl, William Rhoden of the New York Times wrote, “With all due respect to Paul Brown, Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry and Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick is the genius coach of all time.”
Belichick and his Patriots are coming to CenturyLink Field on Sunday, but look who’s got the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense: The Seahawks.
Here’s Belichick’s take on the defense his No. 1-ranked offense will face on Sunday, from a conference-call interview this morning:
“They’re the top defense in the league for a good reason. First of all, they’re very well coached – Pete (Carroll) does a great job, we all know that. They’ve been strong against the run, taken the ball away a lot, caused a lot of fumbles. They’ve got a real good pass rush, good pass defenders. A lot of good players.
“Really impressed with the front. Red Bryant and (Brandon) Mebane, they do a great job in the running game. (Alan) Branch, he’s solid in there, too. (Jason) Jones, (Chris) Clemons, (Bruce) Irvin, (Greg) Scruggs, those guys can all rush the passer. Their linebackers are fast. (Leroy) Hill, (K.J.) Wright, (Bobby) Wagner, those guys they get to a lot of ball, they don’t get blocked very often and they close space in a hurry. Probably the biggest corners in the league (Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman). (Marcus) Trufant is an outstanding player who comes in for them on the nickel. (Kam) Chancellor is a big, physical force in there at safety. And Earl Thomas probably is as good a safety as we’ve played against. He’s got great instincts, vision, speed, ball skills. I mean he’s a real playmaker back there.
“It’s a real good defensive football team. There’s no doubt about it.”
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 28:
James Carpenter. Last year’s first-round draft choice was smiling after today’s practice, and so was coach Pete Carroll. That’s because both once feared that Carpenter might not be ready to play until eight weeks into the season after the severe knee injury he got during practice last November.
Instead, Carpenter is scheduled to see his first action of 2012 in Sunday’s game against the Rams in St. Louis after practicing all week at left guard with the No. 1 line. How much Carpenter plays remains to be seen, but just the fact that he ready to play is “a great story for us,” as Carroll put it.
“I’m very excited to get back. It’s been a long time,” Carpenter said in the locker room. “I thought I was going to end up on PUP.”
That would be the physically-unable-to-perform list. It would have required Carpenter to sit out the first six weeks of the season and then get a three-week window to practice before the team either activated him or placed him on injured reserve.
“I didn’t want to go on PUP,” Carpenter said. “I worked hard this whole offseason trying not to get on PUP. That was like my motivation.”
Whatever works. And Carpenter is now working at left guard after making eight of his nine starts as a rookie at right tackle. Moving to guard and the left side has been like a double homecoming for Carpenter.
“I like it a lot, because I played on the left side my whole life until last year,” he said. “I’m very strong and powerful, so I think guard will be the best position for me.”
Carroll just likes having last year’s first-round draft choice back on the field.
“He’s in the best shape ever,” he said. “Everything about him, he’s stronger, he’s quicker. Everything is better, in all areas. And he knows the system way better. He studied really hard throughout the offseason and through the time in (training) camp. So he’s well, well ahead of where he was last year at any time.”
Sam Bradford-to-Danny Amendola. The fourth-year wide receiver is the Rams’ leading receiver, by a large margin with 25 catches (Brandon Gibson is next with eight). He’s also Bradford’s most-target receiver, by an even larger margin with 34 (Gibson has 15).
In fact, Bradford went to Amendola 13 times in the first half of the Rams’ Week 2 game against the Redskins, and he caught 12 passes.
“It’s just one of those things where we were seeing a lot of single high (coverage), a lot of man coverage, and Danny just kept winning,” Bradford said this week. “Me and him obviously have a great chemistry together and we spent a lot of time together, both here and in the offseason back home working together. I really trust him to get open.”
So the Seahawks need to make sure that happens as little as possible on Sunday.
“He’s definitely a guy they like to get the ball to, and Sam looks to him in critical situations,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “So we’ve got to be aware of where he is on the field. But sometimes you can get a little out of skew if you say, ‘OK, let’s double him. Or, let’s put two guys over here.’ Then all of sudden, something you didn’t know is a weakness becomes a weakness.”
As Bradley was saying, Amendola is not only second in the NFL in receptions, he leads the league in third-down catches (nine).
In Monday night’s game against the Packers that turned out to be a series of what-if? plays, Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner had a big one that was all but lost because of the way things ended.
When the Packers went for a two-point conversion after their fourth-quarter touchdown, it was Browner who used every inch of his long-limbed, 6-foot-4 frame to bat away Aaron Rodgers’ pass intended for James Jones in the end zone that would have made the score 14-7.
“I got good hands on the receiver (off the line), got my eyes back and he was throwing the ball,” Browner said. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time. But I’m mad that I dropped it. I wish that I would have picked it off.”
Just batting it away set the stage for the Seahawks to win with a TD pass on the final play of the game.
The official end-of-the-week status report, as released by the team:
OG John Moffitt (knee)
LB Leroy Hill (calf)
DT Jaye Howard (foot)
TE Anthony McCoy (groin)
OT Breno Giacomini (pectoral)
DT Jason Jones (knee)
DT Gregg Scruggs (wrist)
WR Doug Baldwin (shoulder)
CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)
Moffitt, Hill and Howard did not practice today. Carroll said he expects Hill to play, but Moffitt’s status is not as sure after he injured and then aggravated a knee in Monday night’s game. Paul McQuistan has been working at right guard for Moffitt this week, with Carpenter at left guard for McQuistan. If Moffitt can’t play, starting rookie J.R. Sweezy is one option, Carroll said.
“John’s still hurting,” Carroll said. “We’ll have to see where he is again tomorrow morning.”
Giacomini practiced for the first time this week and is expected to start.
For the Rams:
OT Rodger Saffold (knee)
S Matt Daniels (hamstring)
DT Matt Conrath (knee)
RB Steve Jackson (groin)
OT Wayne Hunter (knee)
DT Michael Brockers (ankle)
Jackson got limited work today after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday. But the Rams’ left tackle situation is in flux with Saffold being ruled out and Hunter, his backup, not practicing today. Hunter was with the Seahawks in 2003.
“I think so. I’m gonna have to,” Hunter told reporters in St. Louis when asked if he would play Sunday. “We’re kind of wearing thin on offensive linemen, I’ve got to keep going.”
Coach Jeff Fisher said Jackson’s status will be a game-day decision.
STAT DU JOUR
Chris Clemons isn’t just coming off a career-best four-sack performance in Monday night’s win over the Packers, he’s preparing to face the quarterback he has gotten to the most while collecting 27 sacks since joining the Seahawks in 2010 – Bradford. He’s a look at Clemons’ most-sacked list:
Quarterback, team Sacks
Sam Bradford, Rams 6.5
Aaron Rodgers, Packers 4
Eli Manning, Giants 2
Philip Rivers, Chargers 2
Caleb Hanie, Bears 2
Max Hall, Cardinals 2
Derek Anderson, Cardinals 2
HIGH SCHOOL HONOR ROLL
Sarah Carter of Sumner is the Seahawks’ high school athlete of the week, while Marysville-Getchell’s Davis Lura and Hoquiam’s Jason Ronquillo are the high school coaches of the week.
Carter is a senior defender on the Sumner soccer team that is ranked No. 1 among 2A schools and a three-time all-league player. Off the field, she has a 3.95 GPA.
Lura’s team improved its record to 2-2 with a 24-8 victory over Stanwood. Ronquillo’s Grizzlies upped their mark to 4-0 with a 54-7 victory over Rochester.
The players will have a morning walkthrough on Saturday before the team flies to St. Louis for Sunday’s game. They’ll return to face a short week, as the team will travel to Carolina on Friday next week for its game against the Panthers.
YOU DON’T SAY
“We’re not going to play at our best until we get rid of that stuff. You just keep giving those kinds of things to your opponent, you’re just making it easier on them.” – Carroll on the Seahawks being flagged for 32 penalties and 243 yards in their first three games
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 26:
Pumps to the bump. That’s what nose tackle Brandon Mebane calls his celebratory dance after getting a sack, which he did twice in Monday night’s victory over the Packers at CenturyLink Field.
What does it look like? Think an undulating waterbed.
Where did it come from? Blame former teammates Rocky Bernard and Chuck Darby.
“Actually, I started doing that my second year,” said Mebane, who was a third-round draft choice in 2007. “Because my first year, Chuck Darby and Rocky Bernard told me if I get a tackle for loss or a sack, I’ve got to break it down, I’ve got to do a dance.”
Mebane had two sacks as a rookie and then collected 5.5 in 2008. But he had only 2.5 in the next three seasons.
“They’re hard to come by,” he said. “So you’ve got to get some kind of celebration going on.”
So “pumps to the bump” it is.
The reaction to Mebane’s double-dip of pumps and bumps seemed to be mixed.
“He should be fined for that,” linebacker Leroy Hill cracked. “I call it the belly roll, and I don’t have enough belly to do it.”
But defensive end Red Bryant offered, “I love it. I wish I could do it. Last year against Chicago when I was able to get a touchdown I tried to do it, and I couldn’t do it. But I love it.”
The 311-pound Mebane just laughed – and yes, it was a belly laugh. “I’ve got that stomach,” he said. “So you’ve got to do it.”
James Carpenter. His long road to getting back on the field for a game continued today when the team’s first-round draft choice from 2011 worked at left guard with the No. 1 line. Carpenter has not played since severely damaging a knee during practice last November, but coach Pete Carroll says the goal is to get Carpenter some work in Sunday’s game against the Rams in St. Louis.
“Carp is alive and in action this week,” Carroll said. “Carp is back to life. He’s done a great job in the process getting back here. We’re thrilled that he’s got a chance. … He’s really excited about it. It’s been a tremendous comeback and he’s way out ahead of schedule.
“We’ll see how he makes it (through the week) and we look forward to him playing.”
With Carpenter at left guard, Paul McQuistan replaced John Moffitt at right guard. Moffitt did not practice to rest his surgically repaired knee.
Steven Jackson. The battering Ram of a back is no stranger to Mebane. The Seahawks’ nose tackle has faced Jackson twice a season since entering the NFL in 2007 and also played against him when Jackson was at Oregon State and Mebane was at Cal.
“One of the things he’s real great at is being patient,” Mebane said. “He can also hit the edges. He can run between the tackles. He can pretty much do everything you want in a back. He’s a real great player.”
The Seahawks have cracked the Top 10 in a couple of power rankings this week, which come with the obligatory comments about you-know-what.
ESPN.com: No. 10. “The Seahawks are usually the ones complaining about unfortunate officiating.”
NFL.com: No. 10. “OK, getting away from the play we’ve all seen 35,000 times by now, what a performance by the Seahawks’ front seven, which dominated in the first half with eight sacks. Some of those guys push off better than Golden Tate, and that’s really saying something. (Sorry, I can’t help myself.)”
They just missed the Top 10 at SI.com, where the Seahawks are ranked No. 11: “The call was blown and the Seahawks won a game they should have lost. It was in all the papers. But it would be wrong to classify Seattle’s victory as a fluke, given how well the punishing Seahawks defense bottled up Aaron Rodgers and Co. for most of the night. As I expected, Seattle took a page out of San Francisco’s defensive playbook and kept the Packers on their heels with a near-constant pass rush and a physical, jamming style of pass coverage against Green Bay receivers.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
OT Breno Giacomini (pectoral)
OG John Moffitt (knee)
DT Greg Scruggs (wrist)
WR Doug Baldwin (shoulder)
CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)
The good news was Baldwin’s return, after last year’s leading receiver missed Monday night’s game because of the shoulder he injured in practice last week. Carroll said Baldwin will play against the Rams. With Giacomini resting his chest injury, Frank Omiyale worked at right tackle with the No. 1 line.
For the Rams:
Did not practice
RB Steven Jackson (groin)
OT Rodger Saffold (knee)
DT Matt Conrath (knee)
S Matt McDaniels (hamstring)
DE Eugene Sims (illness)
DT Michael Brockers (ankle)
OT Wayne Hunter (knee)
Jackson sat out to rest the groin injury that prevented him from practicing last week. But he did play against the Bears on Sunday, gaining 29 yards on 11 carries. The Rams continue to have problems at left tackle. Saffold missed Sunday’s game and Hunter, who replaced him, was limited today because of a sore knee.
STAT DU JOUR
Three games into the season, there are only three unbeaten teams in the NFL – and a big part of the reason is that they rank 2-3-4 in points allowed. So who’s No. 1? The Seahawks.
Team Points allowed Avg. allowed
Seahawks (2-1) 39 13.0
Cardinals (3-0) 40 13.3
Texans (3-0) 42 14.0
Falcons (3-0) 48 16.0
The players will practice tomorrow on “Turnover Thursday.” There also will be a Friday midday practice and a walkthrough on Saturday morning before the team leaves for St. Louis.
YOU DON’T SAY
“My feelings have been hurt a little bit on Twitter. If I mentioned those words, it would be like, ‘Bleep. Bleep. Bleep.’ Some nasty stuff.” – Golden Tate on the continuing fallout surrounding his controversial TD catch on the final play of Monday night’s game
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 14:
Russell Okung. The Seahawks’ left tackle got his most extensive action of the week today, but coach Pete Carroll said that Okung’s status for Sunday’s home opener against the Cowboys remains a game-day decision.
“He got some work today,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how he goes tomorrow and how he feels after the work today. We’ll go all the way to game time on that one.”
Okung bruised his left knee on the ninth play of the Seahawks’ final 18-play drive in last week’s season-opening loss to the Cardinals in Arizona. Frank Omiyale stepped in for Okung, and continued to work at left tackle in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
The left tackle position is even more pivotal this week because of the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware, who had two sacks in Dallas’ season-opening upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Giants. The six-time Pro Bowl linebacker had 19.5 sacks last season.
“They have one of the best (pass rushers) in the NFL that has ever played the game, so we really have to do a great job blocking him – and the rest of the guys as well,” rookie quarterback Russell Wilson said. “They have a lot of talent up front.”
Wide receiver. The Seahawks should have their starters for Sunday’s game, as split end Golden Tate and flanker Sidney Rice practiced today. Tate missed the opener and Rice was limited this week, both because of knee injuries.
“Golden really had a good week. He looked great,” Carroll said. “He came roaring back … he’s ready to go. It’s really pleasing to see that he is such a factor for us. I hope that shows up in the game, as well. He’s just emerged as really one of our better players. Now we need to get that to show up on the field on game day.
“But we can feel it out here. He’s a great catcher. And he’s working like crazy. And he’s really quick. He just looks better than he’s ever looked. So I’m hoping that he’ll be a real asset to our passing game. The catching-and-run stuff that he’s so good at, we’d love to see him do that and be a regular factor.”
Kevin Olgetree. So, who is this guy? “He’s a guy that’s making a lot of plays,” nickel back Marcus Trufant said.
That, Ogletree is. After averaging 8.3 catches and 98 yards and not scoring a touchdown in his first three seasons with the Cowboys, the former rookie free agent had eight receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns in Dallas’ opener.
“He’s a good receiver. Fast. Strong. So you’ve got to be on you’re A-game,” Trufant added of the 6-1, 198-pound Ogletree.
The weekly Friday status report, as issued by the team:
WR Charly Martin (chest)
OT Russell Okung (knee)
TE Zach Miller (foot)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
OG John Moffitt (shoulder)
WR Sidney Rice (knee)
WR Golden Tate (knee)
CB Byron Maxwell (shoulder)
DL Greg Scruggs (hamstring)
DL Jason Jones (not injury related)
Moffitt did not practice today to rest a sore shoulder, but Carroll said he will start against the Cowboys. Moffitt was inactive last week because of the surgical procedure he had on his left elbow last month, which caused him to miss the entire preseason.
“He’ll be fine for the game,” Carroll said.
Miller also sat out today. “He practiced (Wednesday) and got some stuff done yesterday,” Carroll said of Miller, who injured a foot in the opener. “We just want to make sure he’s going to be right.”
Jones did not practice today, but it was to rest him, and Carroll said he will play Sunday.
For the Cowboys:
C Phil Costa (back)
S Matt Johnson (hamstring)
DT Jay Ratliff (ankle)
WR Miles Austin (hamstring)
WR Andre Holmes (knee)
CB Mike Jenkins (shoulder)
RB Felix Jones (ribs)
S Danny McCrary (neck)
RB DeMarco Murray (wrist)
S Gerald Sensabaugh (concussion)
LB DeMarcus Ware (hamstring)
LB Kyle Wilber (thumb)
TE Jason Witten (abdomen)
With Ratliff, the four-time Pro Bowl nose tackle out, Josh Brent will start.
STAT DU JOUR
On kickoff weekend, 230 colleges were represented on NFL rosters. At the top of the list was USC (44), followed by Miami (37), LSU (36) and Georgia, Ohio State and Texas (35 each).
USC also tops the Seahawks’ roster with three players, along with Stanford and Wisconsin. They have one more player than California, Georgia, Louisville, Michigan, North Carolina State and South Carolina. Here’s a look at players on the roster from those schools:
USC Anthony McCoy, Malcolm Smith, Mike Morgan
Stanford Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman, Evan Moore
Wisconsin Russell Wilson, John Moffitt, Chris Maragos
California Marshawn Lynch, Brandon Mebane
Georgia Chris Clemons, Kregg Lumpkin
Louisville Breno Giacomini, Greg Scruggs
Michigan Alan Branch, Braylon Edwards
NC State Steven Hauschka, J.R. Sweezy
S. Carolina Sidney Rice, Lemuel Jeanpierre
The players will have a walkthrough on Saturday, their final on-field session before Sunday’s home opener on Alumni Weekend.
Four former NFL players watched today’s practice: Walter Jones, the Seahawks’ nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle whose number was retired in 2010; Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, the analyst for radio broadcasts of Seahawks game; and former Cowboys fullback Daryl Johnston and ex-Colts and Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa, who will work the telecast of Sunday’s game on Fox along with play-by-play man Kenny Albert.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world, besides college. I’ve been here my whole career. I’ve heard the crowd get louder and louder. Even on down seasons, I’ve seen the fans pack the place. And I appreciate them. There isn’t another place in this country where I’d rather play football.” – veteran linebacker Leroy Hill on returning to CenturyLink Field and the 12th Man crowd
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 16.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look at the importance of the tall, rangy, physical cornerback in head coach Pete Carroll’s defense, and specifically looks at Richard Sherman, who Carroll tried to recruit out of high school to play corner, ” ‘He [Carroll] said I was the perfect size for a lockdown corner,’ Sherman said. So naturally, Sherman went to Stanford to catch passes instead of defend them, but six years and one position switch later, Carroll’s first impression is looking more like a prophecy. Standing 6 feet 3, Sherman is one half of a cornerback tandem that is notable for both its length and its strength. And if you’re looking for the key to what is considered one of the NFL’s rising young defenses, best start on the outside with Brandon Browner and Sherman. ‘This system is always really corner-oriented,’ Carroll said. ‘In college, I always wanted to be ‘Corner U’ because when you can have the ability to do the things we do with those corners, it allows us to do a lot of other things defensively.’ ”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his story on Braylon Edwards, who has made an early impact in practice and in the preseason as a threat at wide receiver, “With 13 receivers on the roster, Seattle receivers coach Kippy Brown is in charge of getting each a fair look; rotating receivers through a scripted session for each practice, with specific plays in mind for each player. ‘Like any good player, he just has to get comfortable with the offense,’ Brown said of Edwards. ‘But that will come with time. And he’s already shown good playmaking ability, and we’re pleased with that.’ One player with whom Edwards has developed a nice rapport is starting quarterback Matt Flynn. The duo connected on several deep plays and red-zone touchdowns during training camp, and Edwards appears to be a target whom Flynn seeks out under duress. ‘He’s a big receiver, good hands, good route-runner – so there’s not much to not like there,’ Flynn said. ‘He’s done a very nice job. He’s making a lot of plays for us, and especially down the field. He’s a big threat because he’s a big, athletic kind of guy. And he has great concentration.’ ”
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has his notes from Wednesday’s practice, “Asked to pick a story of the day, I’d say that Terrell Owens looked as if he’s getting his legs under him and feeling more comfortable. He pulled in a nice completion against Richard Sherman on a little in-and-out route during one-on-one drills, and later grabbed two touchdown passes in team (2s v. 2s) from Russell Wilson. The first score reflected well on both of them; the play appeared on the verge of breaking down, but Wilson stepped up and Owens found a spot open near the back of the end zone. He also caught a long touchdown from Wilson. On the same Veteran Receiver front, Braylon Edwards had an eye-catching one-handed grab of a poorly thrown pass during skeleton drills.
Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has his notes from Wednesday as the ‘Hawks wrapped up the portion of their training camp that was open to the public, “As we were told by Carroll on Tuesday, Matt Flynn took most of the snaps with the first-unit offense. He missed a couple throws in the first 11-on-11 series, but wound up connecting on a crossing route to Ricardo Lockette and Ben Obomanu. Later in practice, Flynn play-faked to a running back, bought time and completed a 60-yard strike to Obomanu just over the reach of cornerback Jeremy Lane. Russell Wilson also found Terrell Owens on a 52-yard bomb during his 11-on-11 drills. Two defensive backs appeared ready to make a play on the ball, but backed off near the goal line. Wilson also hit T.O. in the back of the end zone for another score against the second-unit defense. Kellen Winslow had a fine day receiving, as did fellow tight end Cooper Helfet, a rookie from Duke University. Three other tight ends were not in pads due to injuries: Zach Miller has a mild concussion, Anthony McCoy and Cameron Morrah leg problems.”
Liz Matthews of mynorthwest.com answers the question of whether or not Tarvaris Jackson is still in the competition at quarterback, “Seahawks incumbent starting quarterback Tarvaris Jackson continues to take reps with the first-team offense, but has yet to make an appearance in a preseason game. Carroll announced Tuesday that Matt Flynn will get the start Saturday in Denver, with rookie Russell Wilson to follow in the second half. Carroll did say, however, that Jackson remains firmly in the competition. ‘Yes, absolutely he is,’ Carroll said. ‘Really this is just the way I’ve chosen to do it, I’m banking on the 18 games we’ve seen him. He knows the offense; he knows what is going on. And I watched him play last year practicing one day a week for five weeks and he can function. So I’m using all of that information to allow us the opportunity to see all of the other guys.’ ”
At ESPN.com Damien Woody and Jerry Rice offer their opinion on how things might shake out in the Seahawks quarterback competition in this short video.
John Breech of CBSSports.com takes a stab at projecting the Seahawks’ final 53-man roster.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth catches up with 2012 second-round draft pick Bobby Wagner, who impressed in his first NFL action last Saturday against the Titans, “The more the coaches have seen of Wagner, the better they’ve like him. And the more Wagner sees, the better he’ll be able to play the pivotal position in the base defense – where he makes the calls in the huddle before the play, makes adjustments based on what he sees prior to the snap and then tries to take away the middle after the snap. ‘The game was a little faster than I expected,’ Wagner said. ‘But after the first couple snaps, I kind of calmed myself down and everything was moving normal speed. So I just had to pick up what the offense was trying to do.’ ”
Farnsworth also has his fan-focused Hawkville, after 20,841 12th Man faithful came out to enjoy the 13 open practices at Bing Training Camp, “…the players appreciated you being here. It’s one thing to run out of the tunnel at CenturyLink Field to the roar of 66,000-plus on game day. But to get a rousing reception from a thousand or more die-hards on a Wednesday morning, that’s special, too. ‘The fans help,’ right tackle Breno Giacomini said. ‘If you don’t get excited for that, then something’s wrong with you. You should probably be playing golf somewhere. I like having the fans at practice. It’s a good environment, a game-like environment for practice.’ After practice, Giacomini was one of the players who “worked the fence” – signing autographs, chatting with fans, posing for picture. ‘It’s good, man. The 12th Man is really good, and we use it to our advantage. So whenever we can give back, we do,’ he said. ‘These kids love it, just as much as I did when I was growing up.’ ”
In his Seahawks Daily, Tony Ventrella has a look at quarterback Matt Flynn, who is set to start Saturday’s preseason game at the Denver Broncos, and catches up with veteran linebacker Leroy Hill and offensive tackle Russell Okung.
Seahawks long snapper Clint Gresham takes a few moments to share his camp experience with Seahawks.com.
Our fantasy writer Scott Engel of rotoexperts.com has a look at Seahawks tight ends as they relate to fantasy football in 2012.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, August 15.
The big news coming out of camp yesterday was that Seahawks free agent acquisition Matt Flynn will be given the start at quarterback in Saturday’s second preseason game against the Denver Broncos. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson will see playing time as well, as coach Pete Carroll announced a quarterback plan similar to the team’s preseason opener against Tennessee. Incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson may not play this weekend, but still remains in the quarterback competition according to Carroll.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story on the quarterback situation, including comments from Carroll on the differences between Flynn and Wilson, “Carroll said he considered starting Wilson at Denver to give the rookie the same kind of opportunity Flynn got a week ago against Tennessee. Flynn getting another start shows how the coaches have evaluated the pair so far. ‘Matt has done a really good job of commanding all of this stuff,’ Carroll said. ‘He understands the game in great depth, he gives us a veteran presence, even though he hasn’t had a lot of starting time. He recognizes the defense … It’s still a challenge for Russell to catch up with that stuff. He’s battling to get that done, and there’s a difference right now.’ ”
O’Neil also has a look at wide receiver Sidney Rice, who was no longer wearing a red practice jersey Tuesday, but instead a white one – a sign that he is ready for some contact, “The green grass stain on the front of his uniform was an even more obvious sign he’s ready for some contact. ‘I had to try to simulate some gamelike situations,’ Rice said. Rice won’t play in Saturday’s exhibition game at Denver, but his practice regimen is a sign of progress and that he may be ready when the regular season begins. ‘This is his first week back getting banged around, so we’ll give him some time,’ coach Pete Carroll said.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune, who asks if Seattle’s latest QB-plan means Tarvaris Jackson is on his way out of Seattle, “In what some people might consider a cruel twist, Jackson worked with the starters Tuesday, just as he did the previous Tuesday. Carroll said his team will not begin game preparation for the Broncos until today’s practice. So is Jackson’s time in Seattle coming to a close? Carroll says no – for now. ‘He’s still in the competition,’ Carroll said. ‘He absolutely is. This is the way I’ve just chosen to do it, that I’m banking on the 18 games I’ve seen him. He knows the offense. He knows what’s going on. And I watched him play last year, practicing one day a week for five weeks, and he could function. So I’m using all that information to allow us the opportunity to see these other guys.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald discusses where Tarvaris Jackson fits in the Seahawks’ latest plans at quarterback.
Tim Booth of the Associated Press has his story on the ‘Hawks quarterback situation, “Apparently left out of the rotation is incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson, who took all the reps with the No. 1 offense as Seattle (No. 22 in the AP Pro32) returned to practice on Tuesday, but will be shuffled to the end of the line and may see extremely limited action, if any, against the Broncos. Carroll again repeated that the Seahawks need to learn more about Flynn and Wilson, having seen Jackson for all of last season. But when asked why not start the rookie third-round pick out of Wisconsin against the Broncos, Carroll made clear that Flynn has the lead. “I think this is the right way to do it. I think this is where they sit right now,” Carroll said.”
The staff at SportsPressNW.com have their report from Tuesday’s practice.
Bill Swartz of mynorthwest.com has his notes from Tuesday’s practice, including a thought on the wide receiver corps, “Carroll was pleased to see a full receiving core on the field today. Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette were both in contact drills after missing Saturday night’s game. Sidney Rice was not wearing the red jersey, which means he is cleared for full practice. Rice will not play in this weekend’s Denver game. The coach says there’s a chance Terrell Owens will play against the Broncos. T.O. displayed his work ethic today when he ran pass routes on the sideline even when he wasn’t supposed to be on the field.”
Michael Simeona of mynorthwest.com recaps a segment of “Bob and Groz” in which quarterback Matt Flynn joined the show and found out he had just been named the starting quarterback Saturday against Denver, ” ‘I think all three of us are doing a very good job of not letting [the competition] effect the way we play on the field and the way we prepare,’ Flynn said Tuesday. ‘It’s been a good competition so far and I think all three of us are getting a lot out of it.’ ”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com says it’s still Matt Flynn’s job to lose at quarterback, “The early signs on Flynn and Wilson have been encouraging. Flynn was generally efficient working with the first-team offense against the Titans. He got rid of the ball quickly most of the time and appeared comfortable. Wilson played with greater flair, dazzling with a 32-yard touchdown run. He moved with purpose, threw with velocity and also appeared comfortable.”
NFL.com released an updated power rankings Tuesday afternoon, and the Seahawks have climbed two spots to No. 17 on the list, “The secondary looked good against Tennessee in Week 1 of the preseason. Former Titan Jason Jones helps shape a solid front four for Seattle. Ah, but the linebackers are the question mark, especially in a division with the run-focused 49ers and Rams. Second-round pick Bobby Wagner could start alongside Leroy Hill and K.J. Wright. Those guys are going to have to play ball for the Seahawks to have any hope in the NFC West.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth details Matt Flynn earning the starting role for the second straight week, and offers his thoughts on Tarvaris Jackson, “Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and quarterbacks coach Carl Smith already have a read on Jackson. He started 14 games last season, after being signed in free agency, and played much of the season with a damaged pectoral in his throwing shoulder. Flynn and Russell joined the team in March and April, respectively. ‘Tarvaris has played a lot of football for us,’ Carroll said. ‘We have to give somewhere here, so we’re giving that. We understand what kind of player Tarvaris is. He’s in great shape. He’s studied hard. He’s ready to go. We’re just banking that he’ll be able to hold on to his level of play without two weeks of playing time and playing in the game. The emphasis right now is to get Matt and Russell their playtime again so we can really get another big body of knowledge and information from them.’ ”
The focus of Tuesday’s ‘Hawkville’ is cornerback Phillip Adams, the third-year cornerback from South Carolina State, “Hard work pays off…All he did in today’s two-hour, 15-minute practice was intercept not just one but two passes. On the first, rookie linebacker Korey Toomer tipped a Russell Wilson pass near the goal line and Adams controlled the carom as he was falling to the turf. On the second, Adams locked in on a pass shortly after it left Matt Flynn’s hand and was able to get to the ball before wide receiver Kris Durham. ‘We go out here and we practice hard every day,’ Adams said. ‘We just continue to work at it every day. You have to be confident as a player, and this whole defense is confident.’ ”
Rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner tells us all about his first NFL game day experience.
Lastly, Tony Ventrella has a recap of Tuesday’s Bing Training Camp activities in his Seahawks Daily video feature.
A recap of the activities at the Seahawks’ Bing training camp for Aug. 9:
Depth. Three starters did not participate in today’s two-hour practice, but it was difficult to tell because the backups who stepped in also stepped up.
Veteran guard Deuce Lutui, who was signed in free agency, took over at right guard for John Moffitt. Third-year cornerback Phillip Adams was at right cornerback for Brandon Browner. Veteran defensive lineman Jason Jones, another free agent addition, was the three-technique tackle spot for Alan Branch.
“That’s one of our key things in training camp, to develop depth,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “Look what happened last year at corner, we lose a couple guys so some younger guys have to step up. So we know those things are going to happen.”
Last year, after veteran cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond were lost to season-ending injuries, rookie Richard Sherman took over on the left side and played well enough that he remains the starter. When since-departed leading tackler David Hawthorne couldn’t play in the opener, rookie K.J. Wright started and played so well that the coaches decided he had to play more – so former first-round draft choice Aaron Curry was traded to the Raiders to open the strong-side spot for Wright.
“That’s great when younger guys can do that, and that was the case today,” Bradley said.
Bradley has been waiting to see more of Adams – and from Adams – and today it was with the starters.
“We’re putting a lot on his plate,” Bradley said. “And so far he’s handling it. We always tell the guys, ‘The more that you can do. It just makes your value go up.’ ”
Korey Toomer. The fifth-round draft choice from Idaho has been toiling in the shadows of first-round pick Bruce Irvin, a blur of a pass-rusher; and second-round pick Bobby Wagner, who is pushing to be the starting middle linebacker.
But Toomer is beginning to show that he also is worth keeping an eye on in Saturday night’s preseason opener against the Titans at CenturyLink Field. Today, he flashed as a pass rusher, forcing Matt Flynn to scramble, flushing Josh Portis from the pocket and also getting to Portis for what would have been a sack. Toomer stopped rookie running back Robert Turbin after a 2-yard gain. He was all over a short completion to running back Kregg Lumpkin. He basically was a wrench in the rhythm the offense was trying to establish.
“He’s a guy that’s just learning,” Bradley said of Toomer. “He’s playing multiple positions. We’re stretching him, just to see what he can handle. You’re seeing flashes from him. Some things he does really well, some things he’s a ways away.
“But he’ll keep getting better.”
PLAYS DU JOUR
Offense: We went into practice determined to not write anything more about Terrell Owens, who has dominated camp coverage since being signed on Monday. But the future Hall of Fame wide receiver canned that plan on the final play of only his second practice with the team.
Owens went over Trufant to tip a pass from rookie QB Russell Wilson in the end zone and then controlled the ball as he was falling out of bounds against tight coverage. Touché, Terrell.
“Terrell made a great catch,” Wilson said. “He came down with the football, and that’s the main thing.”
But with Owens, it’s obviously not the only thing.
“It is kind of surreal that I get to play with Terrell Owens,” Wilson said. “Obviously he’s a very, very talented receiver and I grew up watching a lot of his games. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He comes in to work every single day and he’s doing a great job.”
Defense: Let’s go with the first two plays of practice, as Brandon Mebane – yes, 311-pound nose tackle Brandon Mebane – was all over Flynn’s screen pass to Marshawn Lynch and then veteran linebacker Leroy Hill got to Turbin several yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Bradley saluted the double-whammy by yelling, “Two-for-two, men. That’s two-for-two.”
IN ’N OUT
Tight end Kellen Winslow and linebacker Jameson Konz returned to practice. Winslow’s practice time is being monitored because of a chronic knee situation, while Konz was back after missing several days to rest a sore knee.
Sitting out, in addition to Browner, Moffitt and Branch: wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette; tight end Cameron Morrah; linebackers Matt McCoy and Allen Bradford; and offensive lineman James Carpenter and Thurmond, who remain on the physically unable to perform list.
LANE’S OLYMPIC MOMENT
Rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane, a sixth-round draft choice from Northwestern (La.) State, has a signature move when the players move from pre-practice stretching to their first drill. He pops a flip, in shoulder pads and a helmet.
“I just like to do it to checkout my legs,” he said. “If I get real high, I feel my legs are fresh and it just starts my day.”
He started flipping out during practice last season, after a friend did it and encouraged Lane to give it a shot.
“He said, ‘You’ve got a high vertical. Just try it,” Lane said. “I trusted him. I stood there and I just flipped. I’ve been doing it ever since.”
But there’s nothing like that first time.
“It was very scary the first time,” he said, smiling. “My football career could have been over. But after I did it once I wasn’t scared anymore. I just got better and better at it.”
The players will practice on Friday, their final tune-up before Saturday night’s preseason opener. After the game, they will get their third off day of camp on Sunday.
JOIN THE CROWD
A crowd of 1,812 fans watched today’s practice. Only two more practices are open to the public before camp breaks next Thursday – those next Tuesday and Wednesday. You can register here to attend.
JOHN MOFFITT, TRAFFIC REPORTER
You may have heard that state routes 520 and 167 will be closed this weekend, but you haven’t really heard until you watch this advisory from Moffitt.
Because of the closures, traffic will be heavier than usual on I-5 and I-90, so the club is asking fans heading to the game to plan accordingly.
STUFF THE BUS
Fans attending Saturday’s game are asked to bring backpacks stuffed with school supplies for the team’s annual Stuff the Bus drive to benefit Communities In Schools of Seattle. Your donations will be distributed to students at 32 schools.
“Seahawks All Access” returns tonight on Root Sports. The weekly show that features player interviews and analysis from Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon airs at 10:30 tonight and will be replayed Saturday at 5 p.m. The first show spotlights defensive end Red Bryant and wide receiver Golden Tate.
YOU DON’T SAY
“I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing it. I hear so much negative stuff about me it’s kind of good to hear some positive stuff sometimes. I think that’s what separates me from a normal defensive end; I’m real fast and explosive.” – Irvin, when asked if he ever tires of hearing people gush about his speed off the edge as a pass rusher