NFL Network to begin unveiling Top 100 players for 2013

Posted by Clare Farnsworth on April 25, 2013 – 1:41 pm

When we get to the end of the three-day NFL Draft on Saturday and you still haven’t had enough football, the NFL Network will be there.

The network will begin unveiling its Top 100 players of 2013, beginning Saturday at 5 p.m. PT with those ranked 91-100. At least one Seahawk will be included in the opening look at the Top 100, but the network isn’t saying who.

But the Seahawks have several players worthy of consideration at some point during the 11-week countdown: the All-Pro quartet of running back Marshawn Lynch, center Max Unger, cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas; left guard Russell Okung and quarterback Russell Wilson, who joined Lynch, Unger and Thomas at the Pro Bowl; and perhaps even strong safety Kam Chancellor, nose tackle Brandon Mebane and recently acquired receiver/runner/returner Percy Harvin.

Additional information is available here.


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Weighing in on the NFC West

Posted by Clare Farnsworth on April 22, 2013 – 10:24 am

Mike Sando, the NFC West blogger at ESPN.com, has turned Matt Williamson’s positional rankings for the division’s four teams into a series of informational and entertaining “conversations” with the website’s resident scout.

Williamson ranks the Seahawks as the second-best team in the NFC West behind the conference champion 49ers, but the Seahawks come out No. 1 at quarterback, running back, defensive line, cornerback and safety. They are No. 2 at wide receiver, offensive line, linebackers and head coach, and No. 3 at tight end.

It’s worth checking out the rankings and the dialogue on each:

Quarterback

Williamson: “If I were starting a team, (Colin) Kaepernick and (Russell) Wilson would rank among my top five picks. The upside for Kaepernick is so great. I don’t expect him to take a step back. I just don’t think he is as far along as Wilson in the fundamentals of quarterback play. Wilson coming into the league was ahead of Kaepernick in terms of being a pocket passer, reading defenses, not relying on his physical gifts so much and just in the mental side of things.”

Running back

Williamson: “Seattle has the best back in the division in Marshawn Lynch, and Robert Turbin is a heckuva backup. It’s not a knock on (Frank) Gore. I like LaMichael James and like Kendall Hunter, too. So, the 49ers have three guys to talk about instead of two for Seattle.”

Wide receivers

Williamson: “I’ll take (Percy) Harvin every day over (Michael) Crabtree and that is not a knock on Crabtree. Harvin is more dynamic, more versatile. He frightens defenses way more. You can do so much more with him. He has big-play ability and is just a better football player. When I rank the wide receivers in this division, it goes Larry (Fitzgerald), Harvin and Crabtree, but Harvin is closer to Fitz than Crabtree is to Harvin.”

Tight ends

Sando: “The Cardinals were the only NFL team without a touchdown reception from a tight end last season. Bad quarterback play had quite a bit to do with that, of course.”

Offensive line

Williamson: “Breno (Giacomini) has been serviceable. Marshawn Lynch has room to run. I think they have two good players (Max Unger and Russell Okung) and then a bunch of guys. I do think the whole is greater than sum of the parts. There is some truth to that in Seattle, which goes to coaching (by Tom Cable).”

Defensive line

Williamson: “They have a wide skill set, which I like, too. (Bruce) Irvin and (Red) Bryant are totally different players at defensive end. Irvin, (Chris) Clemons, (Cliff) Avril and Bryant give you versatility. For the Rams, (William) Hayes is an important part of that equation. He had seven sacks last year. (Robert) Quinn and (Chris) Long are questionable against the run. Hayes can be a base run defensive end. Plus, he moves inside and can be a quality rusher there.”

Linebackers

Sando: “The Seahawks found one starter in the second round (Bobby Wagner) and another in the fourth (K.J. Wright). They plan to use Cliff Avril at strong-side linebacker in some situations. But with Leroy Hill apparently having run his course in Seattle, the team figures to draft a weak-side linebacker to compete with Malcolm Smith.”

Safeties

Sando: “Seattle is really the only team in the division appearing set at safety for now. I could still see the Seahawks drafting one for insurance in case they have a hard time re-signing Kam Chancellor. In the meantime, Earl Thomas might be the best safety in the league. At least I’m assuming you’d agree in saying he’s moved past Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed, who were long considered the standards.”

Cornerbacks

Williamson: “Seattle to me has the best set of corners in the league, clearly (in Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner). And then (Antoine) Winfield might be the best slot corner in the league. It’s almost unfair.”

Head coach

Williamson: “(The Rams’ Jeff) Fisher is a heckuva coach, but he is behind two of the top five in the league (Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll) when it comes to ranking head coaches in the NFC West.”


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A happy Beast Mode birthday

Posted by Clare Farnsworth on April 22, 2013 – 10:07 am

Marshawn Lynch

What do you get a running back who seemingly already has everything for his birthday?

We ask, because today is Marshawn Lynch’s 27th birthday. And of all the impressive numbers the Seahawks’ Beast Mode back has put up in two-plus seasons with the team that just might be hardest to fathom: Lynch is only 27.

He’s been in the league for six seasons – the first three-plus with the Bills, the last two-plus with the Seahawks, who acquired him in a 2010 trade. Lynch has run for 2,794 yards and 23 touchdowns and had 16 100-yard games the past two seasons. And he’s only 27.

But we digress. Back to an appropriate gift for a player who does so much, so well.

Skittles? Too easy, and at this point almost a cliché. A lucrative contract? He’s already got one. A trip to the Pro Bowl? Been there, done that – three times. An All-Pro berth? Too late, he got that last season.

Leave it to Michael Robinson, Lynch’s lead-blocking fullback, to come up with just the right, well, if not gift, incentive for the driven and hard-driving Lynch.

In his latest “Real Rob Report,” Robinson explains to second-year back Robert Turbin that the offense’s goal this season is to get Lynch to 2,000 yards.

Now that’s a “gift” that would keep on giving, and could be shared by all of us.

Medium_100979_Game_Hm_24_BkWant your own Beast Mode gift? Our Pro Shop has got you covered from head to waist … http://shwks.com/Lynch


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How many primetime games will the Seahawks have?

Posted by Clare Farnsworth on April 18, 2013 – 9:15 am

Zach Miller

Happy Schedule Thursday.

Yes, the league will announce the 2013 NFL schedule today – at 5 p.m. PT. Until then, we thought you might want to weigh in on how many primetime games the Seahawks might get.

It was a topic for discussion at Virginia Mason Athletic Center yesterday, because the Seahawks are an ascending team and have some inviting matchups on tap this season: The NFC Champion and NFC West rival 49ers, home and away; the Falcons in Atlanta, where the home team rallied in the closing seconds for a two-point victory in January’s divisional playoff game; the Colts in Indianapolis, matching a pair of teams that won 11 games last season and are led by quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson; the Saints at CenturyLink Field, in a rematch of that memorable 2010 wild-card playoff game where Marshawn Lynch’s electrifying and earth-shaking 67-yard touchdown run iced the Seahawks’ 41-39 upset of the defending Super Bowl champions; and the Vikings in Seattle, with the Seahawks’ foursome of Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Antoine Winfield and Heath Farwell playing against their former team.

The Seahawks had a franchise-high five primetime games in 2006, following their run to the Super Bowl in 2005. They’ve had three primetime games in each of the past two seasons, and also had three in 1999, 1990, 1987, 1986 and 1985.


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Not just another mock draft, but the Ultimate Mock Draft

Posted by Clare Farnsworth on April 17, 2013 – 11:28 am

Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch

Russell Wilson a Saint? Marshawn Lynch a Viking? Richard Sherman a Jet? Percy Harvin a Colt?

Say it ain’t so. OK, it’s not – thankfully. But that’s where four of the Seahawks’ best players ended up in Mike Silver’s annual Ultimate Mock Draft at YahooSports.com. And how does his exercise work?

“As always, we take the original draft order and allow each of the league’s 32 teams to select any human in his current physical condition,” Silver wrote. “Obviously, this is an imaginary exercise, though the sentiment behind the selections is absolutely authentic. Many of the league’s top talent evaluators and coaches helped me determine which players would be deemed most valuable in such a scenario. And this year, in some cases, the general manager (or another powerbroker) of the team in question was actually put on the clock before providing me with the hypothetical pick.”

Here’s the rational for how the Seahawks players ended up with other teams:

9. Jets — Richard Sherman, CB: Desperate to win in 2013, embattled coach Rex Ryan makes one, final plea for cornerback Darrelle Revis. Before he can finish the sentence, owner Woody Johnson shuts him down. New general manager John Idzik, formerly the Seahawks’ vice president of football administration, lobbies for Russell Wilson, who went from third-round draft pick to franchise quarterback in a matter of months last season. Johnson, however, pledges loyalty to Mark Sanchez, to whom the team must pay a guaranteed $100 billion dollars in 2013. (Yes, that’s a slight exaggeration. But it does allow me to link to Dr. Evil, so there’s that…) Ever the pragmatist, Johnson comes up with a solution: “How ’bout we take a cornerback and a Seahawk? Everybody wins…” Well, except Revis …

15. Saints — Russell Wilson, QB: The thought of Wilson, who showed exceptional poise and touch in his revelatory rookie season, teaming up with Sean Payton, who spent his year-long suspension conjuring cutting-edge plays the way Tupac summoned a surplus of brilliant rhymes in prison, is downright scary. Together, the preternaturally mature quarterback and the hyper-motivated coach could make beautiful music together in the Crescent City for the next decade. And given his experiences with (Drew) Brees, we know Payton has positive associations with short quarterbacks.

(And why would the Saints need Wilson? Because Silver has Brees going to the Browns at No. 6)

23. Vikings — Marshawn Lynch, RB: With the game’s preeminent running back gone, general manager Rick Spielman gives coach Leslie Frazier the next-best thing. Lynch, while not blessed with

Peterson’s breakaway speed, is a punishing runner who averaged five yards a carry while gaining 1,590 yards for a playoff team. If he can provoke seismic activity in Minneapolis, the man will truly become legendary.

(And why would the Vikings need Lynch? Because Silver has Adrian Peterson going to the Dolphins at No. 12)

24. Colts — Percy Harvin, WR: When the Seahawks traded picks in the first, third and seventh rounds  for Harvin last month, it illustrated just how valuable this shifty, explosive receiver is in league circles. Second-year general manager Ryan Grigson can’t resist selecting this game-wrecker with rare skills, though the move is not without risk. Harvin has a history of getting grumpy toward his employers and making his frustrations known, and the fact that the Vikings deemed such a talented weapon to be expendable tells you all you need to know. Then again, Grigson’s willing to take a chance. When you’re the reigning NFL executive of the year, you can afford to swing big.

Also in this mock, the Seahawks get to keep the 25th pick they traded for Harvin. Silver has them selecting …

25. Seahawks — Darnell Dockett, DT: General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, who like to groove out to reggae music in the war room, do some Burnin’ and Lootin‘ of their NFC West rivals’ defensive line. While Dockett had his issues in Arizona last December, incurring a $200,000 fine for conduct detrimental to the team, the confrontation with teammate Kerry Rhodes that got him in trouble spoke to the player’s competitiveness: Dockett vehemently disagreed with the coaches’ directive to let the Jets score on purpose. Carroll can live with that, especially given Dockett’s consistently disruptive and aggressive interior line play.


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The Real Rob Report: The Best of Messin with Marshawn

Posted by Tony Drovetto on April 8, 2013 – 5:41 pm

When it comes to getting inside the mind of running back Marshawn Lynch, he’s usually content with letting his play do the talking for him.

And why not? After all, the relentless “Beast Mode” back has been the focal point of the Seahawks’ offense the last three seasons. He’s piled up 3,367 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns since joining the club in a trade with the Buffalo Bills on October 5, 2010, and over the course of 2012 when much of the media’s attention was on the impressive play of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, Lynch “quietly” put together a career-year – 1,590 rushing yards (third in the NFL, third-best total in club history) and 10 100-yard games.

“He’s a silent assassin,” Wilson said of Lynch’s play style in September of last season. “He doesn’t say too much, you can tell that he’s lasered in and focused.”

That’s just the way Lynch likes it. He’s not one to seek out the media spotlight, especially not after a notable individual effort, performance, or milestone. In fact, it’s usually after the tough days on the ground or as a team when Lynch will weigh in.

Even fullback Michael Robinson, who spends a great deal of time both on and off the field with Lynch, and whose locker sits adjacent to his at Virginia Mason Athletic Center and at CenturyLink Field, has trouble getting the Pro Bowl back to open up on his own show, “The Real Rob Report” – where Robinson himself is the one asking the questions and operating the camera. Lynch has been so reluctant to open up on “The Real Rob Report”, that Robinson has created an entire segment of the show based on the antics of their on-camera relationship, aptly titled, “Messin with Marshawn.”

In his spare time this offseason, Robinson has compiled “The Best of Messin with Marshawn” from throughout the 2012 campaign. Hopefully the video will hold you over until Seahawks players report for Phase 1 of the Offseason Program next week (April 15), when we expect Robinson will be back at VMAC with his video camera, right back in the face of the “silent assassin” Lynch – regardless of however much Lynch may or may not like it.


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Steve Young runs past Marshawn Lynch and into final

Posted by Clare Farnsworth on April 7, 2013 – 12:34 pm

Beast Quake
Someone has finally stopped Marshawn Lynch and his electrifying 67-yard touchdown run that iced the Seahawks’ upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Saints in their 2010 wildcard playoff game.

It’s Steve Young, the Hall of Fame quarterback for the 49ers.

Young collected 10,073,391 votes in his semifinal matchup against Lynch to advance to the championship round of NFL.com’s Bracketology competition to determine the greatest play in NFL history. Lynch got 1,915,562 votes.

Young’s touchdown run on Oct. 30, 1988, now goes against a walk-off punt return by the Eagles’ DeSean Jackson on Dec. 19, 2010. You can cast your vote here for the title matchup through Tuesday.


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Top impact acquisition? Matt Bowen says it’s Percy Harvin

Posted by Clare Farnsworth on April 3, 2013 – 12:54 pm

Matt Bowen played safety in the NFL for four teams over seven seasons, so his take on “impact acquisitions” this offseason carries a little more weight than the other opinions circulating in cyberspace.

Bowen, who played for the Rams, Packers, Redskins and Bills from 2000-06, listed his Top 5 Impact Acquisitions as a special contribution at EPSN Insiders. And No. 11 checks in at No. 1 – that’s Percy Harvin, the receiver/returner/runner the Seahawks acquired in a trade with the Vikings last month. The feature at ESPN.com requires registration and a fee, but here’s what Bowen has to say about Harvin:

“Creative ability is what you get from the former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks took a big risk when they made the trade to acquire Harvin and rewarded him with a new contract that paid out $25.5 million guaranteed. That’s big money for a slot receiver who isn’t going to consistently align outside of the numbers. However, Harvin gives the Seahawks multiple options from a play-calling and formation perspective, along with the value he brings to the return game. He’s an explosive player in the open field who can produce after the catch from a variety of alignments.

“In Seattle, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell can get the ball to Harvin out of the slot, aligned in the backfield, or use a pre-snap motion to create favorable matchups. Think of the bubble screen, inside option routes, seam or underneath crossing concepts – the idea is anything to get Harvin the ball in space. With Russell Wilson, the Seahawks will lean on some movement passes (boot, sprint) to get the quarterback outside of the pocket. That plays into Harvin’s skill set from an inside alignment.

“And don’t be surprised to see Harvin used in the read-option scheme to get to the edge of the defense. The Seahawks already have talent with Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice and Golden Tate. With the addition of Harvin, this offense becomes much more varied in its game plan approach. Harvin isn’t a conventional talent at the wide receiver position, but that’s why he creates opportunities within the playbook to attack and expose opposing defenses.”

Also on Bowen’s list, in this order: Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace, Falcons running back Steven Jackson, Rams tight end Jared Cook and Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.


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Marshawn Lynch runs into Elite 8

Posted by Clare Farnsworth on April 1, 2013 – 11:36 am

Remember Marshawn Lynch’s 67-yard touchdown run that iced the 2010 wild-card playoff victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Saints?

Of course you do. And, obviously, so do a lot of other NFL fans. Because Lynch’s electrifying, ground-shaking effort still has legs, as the run has made it into the Elite 8 of the Bracketology feature at NFL.com to determine the greatest play in NFL history.

After running away from Troy Polamalu’s interception in the Sweet 16 – 61,569 votes to 29,502 – Lynch now is up against the Titans’ Music City Miracle in the Elite 8. Voting ends on Wednesday, and you can cast your vote here.


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Marshawn Lynch runs into Sweet 16

Posted by Clare Farnsworth on March 28, 2013 – 11:01 am

Marshawn Lynch’s electrifying 67-yard touchdown run against the Saints in a 2010 wild-card playoff game is one of those plays that just keeps on running.

In fact, Lynch has run his way into the Sweet 16 of the NFL.com Bracketology competition to determine the greatest play in NFL history, where his tackle-breaking, ground-shaking effort is matched against an interception by Steelers safety Troy Polamalu against the Chargers.

Voting in this round continues through 2 p.m. PT on Saturday at NFL.com/Bracketology.

Lynch has advanced to the third round with “wins” over a Gale Sayers punt return in the first round and the Saints’ River City Relay in the second round.

Voting in the Elite 8 will start after 2 p.m. PT on Saturday and continue until April 2. The semifinals will be decided April 3-5 and the champion from April 6-8.


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