Wednesday cyber surfing: Still talking about Irvin

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, May 2:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has some additional thoughts on Bruce Irvin in the wake of the Seahawks selecting the pass rusher from West Virginia with the 15th pick in the first round of the NFL Draft: “The Seahawks envision Irvin as a situational pass-rusher for now and the eventual successor to Chris Clemons in the “Leo” role. Clemons was a 236-pound linebacker coming out of college. He had a 4.7-second time in the 40-yard dash, went undrafted as a junior and floundered in Philadelphia. The Seahawks acquired him with a specific role in mind. Clemons ranks eighth in the NFL with 22 sacks over the last two seasons, more than Julius Peppers, James Harrison, Clay Matthews, Dwight Freeney, Trent Cole, Jason Pierre-Paul and others. Clemons now weighs 255 pounds and has become much stronger against the run. Irvin is Clemons’ height (6-foot-3) and weighs 245 pounds, but he is much faster, having run the 40 in 4.4 seconds. The plan would be for Irvin to grow into a bigger role, not to remain a situational player forever.”

Art Thiel at sportspress northwest recalls the scene in the media draft room when Irvin was selected, and also offers: “What is amusing is that most of the post-draft media analysis downgraded the Seahawks draft because Irvin was taken so high relative to the conventional wisdom. Yet it’s not as if there was documentary evidence that proves Irvin was not worth the purported value assigned the 15th pick. … (coach Pete) Carroll, who knows more about Irvin’s past anyone speculating on the draft, is betting a considerable portion of the Seahawks house that he can design a defensive role that maximizes Irvin’s biggest asset, speed, and minimizes his biggest liability, size. As to whether Irvin’s off-field actions turn him into the next Koren Robinson/Jerramy Stevens or the next Cortez Kennedy/Dave Brown, your guess is as good as anyone’s. And no one’s.”

Nick Eaton at PI.com passes along GM John Schneider’s comments on the Irvin selection from an interview with Dave Mahler on KJR: “In the NFL Draft last week, the Seahawks were clearly in the hunt for a quick and explosive defender. Their top three choices, according to General Manager John Schneider, were linebacker Luke Kuechly, safety Mark Barron and pass-rusher Bruce Irvin. Keuchly and Barron were on many draft analysts’ lists as top defensive picks. Irvin? Not so much. ‘They were, a little bit, standalone guys — not by a huge margin, but the three of them basically were up there all by themselves,’ Schneider said. “Obviously we felt strongly about Barron, we felt strongly about Kuechly as well, but we really wanted to address our pass rush. And it just fell to a spot where we said, maybe if we could move back a little bit, we could still acquire (Irvin). The only problem is, he was so quiet — people weren’t talking about him. And quite honestly that made me uncomfortable.’ ”

Also at ESPN.com, Sando provides a nice rundown on the Seahawks’ wide receiver situation while responding to the question about signing a veteran wide-out in his mailbag: “I’d stick with the current group. Drafting a receiver would have made sense if that receiver were a special player. There was no sense in drafting another receiver indistinguishable from the group. There would likewise be no advantage to signing a veteran stopgap in free agency. We might revisit that stance if Sidney Rice doesn’t rebound from the two shoulder surgeries he underwent this offseason. But with Rice back and the team also expecting more in the receiving game from tight end Zach Miller, I’d be inclined to give the younger players a shot. Golden Tate finished strong last season. He had no dropped passes. He has a chance to take a big step forward now that he’s been in the offense for a year. Doug Baldwin is already a good slot receiver and top option on third down. Ricardo Lockette flashed ability late last season and has a chance to become a dynamic threat down the field (two catches for 105 yards in the final two games last season). Kris Durham is back from injury and projects as a potential replacement for Mike Williams. He’s a big receiver. Ben Obomanu is still an option. Deon Butler will get another chance. I’d rather give snaps to some of the younger prospects than lean on a stopgap veteran unnecessarily.”

Peter King at SI.com lists Russell Wilson at No. 6 on his list of rookie quarterbacks who could have an impact this season: “How about GM John Schneider telling me Wilson was one of the three best players he scouted in 2011? That, plus the fact that neither Matt Flynn nor Tarvaris Jackson have a stranglehold on the starting job, tells me Wilson will have a fair chance to win the job at some point this season.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with Brandon Browner, who is coming off a Pro Bowl season in his first NFL season: “A year ago, Brandon Browner’s NFL career included zero regular-season games played and two training-camp stints with the Denver Broncos. And that was in 2005 and 2006. After one season with the Seahawks, check this resume for the extra-large cornerback who had spent the previous four seasons with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL: Sixteen starts, with Browner and Marcus Trufant the only cornerbacks in the past five seasons to do that for the Seahawks; One Pro Bowl berth, making him the fourth corner in franchise history to play in the NFL all-star game – along with the late Dave Brown (1984), Shawn Springs (1998) and Trufant (2007); Five of his team-high six interceptions coming in the final six games, making him only the fifth player in franchise history to lead the team in his first season – along with Brown (1976), Autry Beamon (1977), Darryl Williams (1996) and Earl Thomas (2010); Two franchise records – one for the longest interception return, 94 yards for a touchdown that iced the Week 5 upset of the Super Bowl champion New York Giants and broke a 33-year-old record; the other for most interception return yards in a season, 220 to break the record set by Brown in ‘84 (179); Two franchise records tied – one for returning two picks for scores, the other for intercepting a pass in four consecutive games. All this after signing a future contract last January and then winning the starting spot on the right side in training camp while Walter Thurmond was sidelined with a high ankle sprain. ‘It is absolutely remarkable what Brandon was able to accomplish last year,’ Kris Richard, a former cornerback for the Seahawks who now coaches the position, said while shaking his head. ‘From where he came, to where he was able to go in one season, it’s very good stuff.’ ”

Yesterday, it was the Top 30 players in NEXT year’s NFL Draft at NFL.com. Today, it’s a mock draft for 2013, complements of Andrew Perloff at SI.com. Here’s who he has the Seahawks selecting: “Matt Barkley, QB, USC. Barkley has been compared to Andrew Luck for staying at USC even though he could have been a high selection in 2012, but he may get picked apart in a way Luck did not. Some people wonder if Barkley is big enough, and how much his outstanding receivers and the system at USC help him look good. Trojans QBs have not done well in the NFL lately, but if anyone can overlook that it’s Pete Carroll.”

And just when you thought it was safe to resume surfing, there’s also a 2013 mock draft at FoxSports.com. But Peter Schrager has Barkley going No. 1 overall to the Raiders. So that leaves the Seahawks with … “Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas. Jackson’s father Jim Jeffcoat was a longtime NFL defensive lineman. Jackson hasn’t quite lived up to expectations yet, but should have a big season in 2012. Matt Flynn plays well in his first full year as a starter, but the Seahawks fall short of the playoffs.”


Tuesday cyber surfing: Wilson’s about more then just height

Good morning, and Happy May Day. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for May 1:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com says you have to use more than height to measure Russell Wilson, the quarterback the Seahawks selected in the third round of the NFL Draft: “His height, measured by NFL scouting combine officials at 5-foot-10 and five-eighths of an inch, doesn’t measure up to long-established league standards. That is why the Seahawks were able to draft the Wisconsin quarterback with only the 75th overall choice even though Wilson appears dynamic by other measures, including his arm, athleticism and leadership.”

Jerry Brewer at the Seattle Times deciphers what the Seahawks just accomplished in the draft: “There is a method to the Seahawks’ whimsical behavior, however. When you examine them closely, you realize they’ve made the right move more times than not. And so far, even their mistakes haven’t been of the franchise-killing variety. Despite all the confusion and debate they inspire, this has been a trustworthy front office. True to form, (coach Pete) Carroll and (GM John) Schneider are testing that theory again. In the aftermath of the NFL draft, you’re left to wonder what the heck they were thinking after they made a surprise pick in the first round, selected a 5-foot-11 quarterback in the third round and spent the weekend shocking the arrogance out of draftniks. …The Seahawks don’t employ the classic approach. But because they’re so thorough and believe so fully in themselves, it’s wise to couch skepticism or at least delay unleashing it until you see the plan in action. They’re eccentric, not stupid. Recognize the difference.”

Art Thiel at sportspress northwest digs a little deeper in the meandering journey that led first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin to the Seahawks: “The riskiest part of the selection of Irvin is that there is no way to measure how he will handle success, which is notorious for devastating pro athletes who’ve never known it. Irvin has had plenty of football success, but he’s barely known two days in a row that weren’t full of travail and headache. Just three years ago, he was living in a two-bedroom, one-bath rental home with another eight or nine players from the Mt. Sac football team, all Samoans. ‘They didn’t know me, but they were good-hearted people,’ he said. ‘They accepted me. But you better find a nice spot before everyone else went to sleep. In that situation, it’s every man for himself.’ ”

Pat Kirwan at CBSSports.com takes a look at the possible gems in those undrafted players who signed with teams as free agents, including kicker Carson Wiggs, who has agreed to terms with the Seahawks: “Wiggs is a big kicker that also kicks off. He has field goals of 59, 53, 53 and 52. I liked him at the Senior Bowl.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at the start of Phase 2 of the offseason program, which looked a lot like Phase 1 until you took a closer look: “At first glance, Phase 2 of the Seahawks’ offseason program looked an awful lot like Phase 1. The players ran through drills in the indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Monday and then shifted to the weight room – just as they had the past two weeks. But the sly grin that washed across Kam Chancellor’s face suggests that a closer look was needed. ‘It was very different,’ the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl strong safety said. ‘The tempo was up and it was more competitive.’ That’s because, unlike the eight sessions that comprised Phase 1, the coaches are allowed to work with the players during the three-week Phase 2 portion of the offseason program. ‘This is Phase 2 right here,’ Chancellor said. ’It’s building blocks, and we’re building up.’ ”

We also heat up some draft leftovers in a rare offseason “Monday metatarsal musings,” including: “Why didn’t the Seahawks take a wide receiver in one of the rounds, with one of those 10 picks? – General manager John Schneider was pretty blunt when asked this question on Saturday. ‘Quite honestly, I thought it was a pretty average group compared to the last couple years,’ he said. ‘It was just a little frayed all the way through.’ So average, that Schneider said wide-outs Doug Baldwin and Ricardo Lockette – who led the team in receptions and averaged 52.5 yards on two receptions last season, respectively, after being signed as free agents following the draft – would have been rated at the top of the fifth round this year. Also, there are three wide receivers among the 10 rookie free agents the club got agreements with right after the draft – Washington’s Jermaine Kearse, Oregon’s Lavasier and Ohio University’s Phil Bates.”

Peter King at SI.com revisits the Seahawks’ selection of Irvin in the first round of the NFL Draft in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” (which had not been posted when we went surfing yesterday): “The Bruce Irvin pick at 15 in the first round wasn’t that odd – at least not to two GMs I spoke with. ‘He was going in the first round, guaranteed,’ one said. ‘He’s got rare pass-rush skills.’ Now, Russell Wilson at 75? Well, believe me or don’t, but one coach within 20 picks of the Seahawks said to me Sunday he’d have pushed hard for Wilson with that pick in the third round. Clearly, though, the second-guessing with Seattle was hot and heavy through the weekend. ‘They just value players differently than almost every other team,’ one personnel director told me. ‘They get a feeling on a guy and it doesn’t matter if they’re the lone wolves – they’re going to take the guy no matter what anyone else thinks.’ ”

So much for the 2012 NFL Draft, Bucky Brooks at NFL.com already has his list of the Top 30 prospects for the 2013 draft, which is topped a quarterback that Pete Carroll knows a little about: “After bypassing an opportunity to enter the draft as a likely top-10 pick a season ago, (USC’s Matt) Barkley is listed atop most draft boards as the No. 1 senior prospect. He has shown the ability to masterfully orchestrate a pro-style offense that puts a lot of responsibility on the quarterback at the line, but he needs to continue honing his throwing mechanics and arm strength to solidify his status as the potential No.1 pick.”


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Wednesday cyber surfing: Countdown to the NFL Draft

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, April 11:

Mike Sando at ESPN.com checks in with the folks at Scouts Inc. for their offseason analysis of the four teams in the NFC West, including the Seahawks and their ideal scenario in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 26: “They have to be looking at Luke Kuechly. He would be a leader of your defense and a great fit. They have to consider the rush end from USC, Nick Perry, if Pete Carroll likes him. He could be the next Chris Clemons and line up opposite him on passing downs for now. Carroll would know. You add Jason Jones with a hand on the ground at defensive tackle and Brandon Mebane or whoever next to him, and suddenly the front four can get after people. The draft will probably work out well for Seattle. Someone better than Perry will fall to them, whether it’s David DeCastro, Kuechly, Michael Floyd or even Ryan Tannehill. I think they would jump on Ryan Tannehill if he is there at No. 12 and maybe even consider moving up to seven to get him. To me, he is a franchise quarterback and they do not have one on their roster, even though they got better at the position.’ ”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with the ridiculously fast Ricardo Lockette – and his former college track coach. But in his second season, Lockette wants to become a complete receiver, not just one who has more speed than most: “The dude isn’t just football fast; Lockette is only-a-blur-as-he-blows-past-you fast. Check this resume: NCAA Division II national champion in the 200 meters at Fort Valley State in 2008 with a time of 20.6 seconds; a PR (personal record) in the event of 20.3 seconds; Georgia state sprint champion at Monroe High School in Albany; tied for third-fastest time in the 40-yard dash at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine (4.37 seconds); a PR in that event of 4.26 seconds. And he could have been even faster. Says who? Tyree Price, Lockette’s track coach at Fort Valley State who now holds the same position at South Carolina State, Price’s alma mater. ‘Ricardo was a very good track runner – very good,’ Price said Tuesday. ‘As soon as got here, you could see the potential. If he had stuck with track, he would have been at the (U.S. Olympic) Trials this year.’ ”

Chris Burke at SI.com offers his draft needs for each NFC team, including the Seahawks: “1. Defensive end: Keeping Red Bryant was monumental for Seattle’s run-stopping ability, but he doesn’t help the Seahawks get to the QB. They need someone other than Chris Clemons capable of doing that. 2. Outside linebacker: David Hawthorne signed with New Orleans and Leroy Hill remains a free agent. Seattle did add Barrett Ruud to play the middle, but he’s currently flanked by K.J. Wright and Adrian Moten. Seattle needs better personnel out wide. 3. Cornerback: Richard Sherman had a strong rookie campaign, and Marcus Trufant’s re-signing gives Seattle viable competition between him and Brandon Browner. You can never have too much CB depth, though, especially with Trufant getting up there in years.”

At NFL.com, their series of do-over drafts is at 2008. They don’t, however, go all the way to No. 28 where the Seahawks selected defensive end Lawrence Jackson. But their video-only, beat-writer draft includes Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times selecting USC defensive end Nick Perry for the Seahawks.


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Photoblog: Ten Memorable Action Images From the 2011 Season

Here’s a look back at ten of the most memorable meaningful action photos of the season.

Marshawn Lynch Flips into the End Zone (Seahawks vs. Atlanta, October 2, 2011).

Marshawn Lynch decided to "flip" himself into the end zone at the end of an 11-yard touchdown run against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field.

Seahawks defense forces Eli Manning to fumble (Seahawks at NY Giants, October 9, 2011)

Seattle's visit to New York resulted in one of their best victories of the season which featured Chris Clemons forcing Giants quarterback Eli Manning to fumble.

Doug Baldwin’s Crowd Silencing Touchdown (Seahawks at NY Giants, October 9, 2011)

Undrafted rookie Doug Baldwin played fearlessly against New York, and his 27-yard touchdown reception from Charlie Whitehurst with 2:37 left in the game silenced the pro-Giants crowd at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Brandon Browner’s Pick-Six Seals the Win (Seahawks at NY Giants, October 9, 2011)

With the Seahawks trying to protect a fragile lead late in the game at the New York Giants, the defensive backfield came up big in the final minutes. An Eli Manning pass intended for Victor Cruz was tipped by Kam Chancellor and intercepted by Brandon Browner, who raced 94-yards for a game-sealing touchdown.

Chris Clemons Smiling and Sacking (Seahawks at Chicago, December 18, 2012)

Chris Clemons smiles as he sacks Chicago quarterback Caleb Haney during Seattle's victory at Chicago. Clemons equaled his 2010 output with 11 sacks again in 2011.

Big Red Heads to the House (Seahawks at Chicago, December 18, 2011)

Big Red Bryant does his best high step as he returns an interception to the end zone for a touchdown in the Seahawks 38-14 victory at Soldier Field.

“Feetball” (Seahawks vs. San Francisco, December 24, 2011)

Seattle's Marshawn Lynch reaches the ball into the end zone amid a sea of feet for a touchdown during the divisional battle with the San Francisco 49ers on Christmas Eve at CenturyLink Field.

Heath Farwell’s Blocked Punt (Seahawks vs. San Francisco, December 24, 2011).

Heath Farwell joined the Seahawks during the 2011 season and made a huge impact on special teams. His blocked punt against San Francisco set up a touchdown by Marshawn Lynch, the first rushing touchdown the 49ers had given up all season.

D-Backs Double-Team (Seahawks at Arizona, January 1, 2012)

Cornerback Brandon Browner and safety Earl Thomas both earned Pro Bowl honors for the 2011 season, and plays like this double-team against Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald in Week 17 were part of the reason why.

Rocket Launches (Seahawks at Arizona, January 1, 2012)

Rookie Ricardo Lockette earned his way into the active roster in Week 16 and wasted no time making his mark. This juggling catch on a deep route resulted in a 61-yard touchdown against the Cardinals. His season totals? Two catches for 105 yards (52.5 ypc) and a touchdown. Expect big things from Lockette in 2012.


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Wednesday cyber surfing: No news is good news

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Jan. 18:

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times wonders what he has missed the past two weeks, and answers his own query: Not much. Offers O’Neil: “For the first time since 2001, Seattle was not either a) in the playoffs, or b) making a significant front-office move. Seriously, go back, look it up. After the 2002 season, Mike Holmgren got defrocked of GM responsibilities. In 2003 through 2007, the Seahawks were in the postseason. After 2008, the Seahawks completed the world’s most ham-handed head-coaching transition from Holmgren to Jim Mora and after the following season, Pete Carroll was brought in as the Seahawks’ effectively hit the reset button. This has been a most uneventful offseason so far.”

Chris Clemons didn’t make Matt Williamson’s list at ESPN.com of the Top 5 pass-rushers in the league, but the Seahawks’ Leo end did get honorable mention.

Bucky Brooks at NFL.com ranks his Top 50 players for the April NFL Draft, including QBs at No. 1 (Andrew Luck) and No. 3 (Robert Griffin III) and a familiar running back at No. 50: “Chris Polk, Washington. Crafty runner with a workmanlike game that is built for the pros. He excels between the tackles, but is an underrated receiver capable of staying on the field as a three-down weapon.”

Also at NFL.com, Jamie Dukes breaks down his needs for each of the 32 teams and has this to say about the Seahawks: “Pied Piper Pete Carroll picked a pair of pickled quarterbacks. Though Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst haven’t been awful, their games have worms. See the above comments on serviceable quarterbacks (Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel are serviceable quarters in KC, but serviceable only wins Super Bowls once a millennium). Jamie’s Judgment: Find a franchise quarterback, wide receiver or cornerback.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we check in with rookies K.J. Wright and Ricardo Lockette, who had some flattering things to say about the 12th MAN crowd at CenturyLink Field after experiencing what they had been told about: “ ‘I loved it,’ Wright said as the players were cleaning out their cubicles in the locker room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Jan. 2. ‘Guys had told me about this crowd, but I wasn’t expecting this at all. This crowd has been amazing. It’s a blessing to play for this team because we get to play in front of that crowd.’ ”

There’s also a dandy video of Marshawn Lynch’s greatest hits from the 2011 season, as well as a blog item on the playoff success of the four NFC West teams that might surprise you: “Since 2004, the division the Seahawks share with the 49ers, Cardinals and Rams has won at least one playoff game in each of the eight postseasons – including the Seahawks from 2005-07 and again in 2010. No other division in the NFC can make that claim.”

The division-rival Rams have a new coach – Jeff Fisher – and Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers his first impressions from the introductory news conference including this one on Fisher’s immediate goal: “Fisher pointed to becoming competitive within the NFC West as his top priority. The Rams were 0-6 in the division this season. Fisher said he would field a “disciplined, tough, physical football team” that can win in the division. He wants to field a team that runs the ball, protects the quarterback and forces turnovers.” Welcome to the club, and the division, Jeff.


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Photoblog: Overtime and Out.

The Seahawks traveled to the Valley of the Sun for the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Both teams sought a victory to finish the season with an 8-8 record, but the Cardinals prevailed in overtime, 23-20.

The roster says he's a rookie but receiver Ricardo Lockette looked All-Pro in a three-piece suit as he boarded the team charter.

Upon arrival in Phoenix, Tarvaris Jackson walks from the plane to the buses in the warm sunshine.

On game day, injured left tackle Russell Okung talks with general manager John Schneider during the early warmup period.

Rookie receiver Doug Baldwin listens to music as they players make final preparations to take the field.

Players including Chris Maragos gather for their traditional team prayer shortly before leaving the locker room prior to kickoff.

Chris Clemons takes a moment to himself on the sidelines as the Seahawks wait for the Cardinals to be introduced.

Leon Washington is brought down after a gain in the first quarter.

Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson stiff-arms Arizona's Daryl Washington in the backfield.

Arizona's dangerous receiver Larry Fitzgerald is brought down by Seahawks linebacker David Hawthorne, who led Seattle's defense with nine tackles.

Seahawks defensive tackle Alan Branch breaks through to sack Arizona quarterback John Skelton.

Running back Leon Washington dives for the corner of the end zone to score Seattle's first touchdown on a 48-yard run in the third quarter.

Cornerback Brandon Browner (39) and safety Earl Thomas (29) both leap high to prevent a completion to Arizona's intended receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

David Hawthorne's hard hit on Arizona's Andre Roberts sent the Cardinal receiver's helmet flying.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman races down the left sideline after intercepting a pass that set up a Seattle field goal.

Atari Bigby put a big hit on Arizona's kickoff returner A.J. Jefferson with the help of Earl Thomas.

Seattle's biggest offensive highlight came when rookie receiver Ricardo Lockette made a juggling one-handed catch for a 61-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was pumped after Lockette's touchdown tied the game at 20-20 in the fourth quarter.

Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald showed why he's one of the best in the game, hauling in three catches on the final drive of overtime.

Seattle's Red Bryant had blocked three field goals already this season, but couldn't get his big hands on the final kick in overtime.

In the quiet locker room after the game, players brought their hands together for the final time of the 2011 season.

Head coach Pete Carroll spoke on the phone as the team boarded the charter bound for Seattle after the game.

Each member of the team's traveling party has a name plate above their seat, and the Seahawks Director of Video Thom Fermstad's was waiting for him on his final road trip. Fermstad is retiring after the season and has been with the club since Day One of its existence.


Cyber surfing: Monday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Jan. 2:

Steve Kelley at the Seattle Times looks at a very bright moment from the Seahawks’ 23-20 overtime loss to the Cardinals: “Tarvaris Jackson had all day to throw, which meant Ricardo Lockette had all day to run, and we’re starting to find out that when Lockette is running, amazing things can happen. Down 20-13 in the middle of the fourth quarter, Lockette streaked down the left sideline, gaining speed with every stride. He fought off cornerback Marshay Green with his right hand and somehow was able to keep his concentration and catch Jackson’s bomb in stride for a 61-yard game-tying touchdown. It was a truly remarkable play in the Seahawks’ unremarkable 23-20 season-ending overtime loss to Arizona. But more important, it just might have been the harbinger of many touchdown explosions to come from the free-agent rookie from Division II Fort Valley (Ga.) State.”

Also at the Times, Danny O’Neil looks at how the season finale mirrored the Seahawks’ season: “The game didn’t decide the fate of this Seahawks season. It mirrored it almost perfectly, though, from a first half that was packed with Seattle penalties but not much offense, to a second-half comeback that was impressive and unexpected, but ultimately futile. That story line of the Seahawks’ 23-20 overtime loss at Arizona on Sunday was pretty much the story of this whole year. ‘Typical of our season,’ quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said. ‘A slow start, us picking it up in the second half. Unfortunately we came up short, but I’m very proud of the guys in the locker room.’ ”

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at Larry Fitzgerald’s latest big day against the Seahawks, as the Cardinals’ Pro Bowl wide receiver had eight catches for 148 yards in the second half and overtime: “And Fitzgerald took over the game when his team needed him most, in overtime, with the decision in the balance. He made an acrobatic catch for 26 yards in the middle of the field on a third-and-3 play. He also had two more catches on the drive, including a one-handed, 12-yard catch across the middle that put his team into field-goal position.  ‘He is incredible,’ said Arizona quarterback John Skelton, who targeted Fitzgerald a game-high 18 times. ‘Whenever the ball is in his general direction, he makes plays. He makes your life as a quarterback much easier. The tenacity that he has when the ball is in the air is incredible, especially when it’s down in overtime like that and we need the yardage for the field goal.’ ”

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has a “Wrap-Up” of the Seahawks’ overtime loss to the Cardinals, and here’s what he liked: “This was another intense, physical battle between NFC West teams late in the season. Penalties are not something I would generally list under the “what I liked” category, but personal fouls against Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Paris Lenon, Early Doucet and Levi Brown reflected the spirited nature of this game. Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch continued to punish defenders with his aggressive running, breaking free from Calais Campbell and running over Daryl Washington on two early runs. He and Leon Washington gave the Seahawks another strong team outing on the ground (170-plus yards). Leon Washington’s 48-yard rushing touchdown and 47-yard kickoff return in overtime were key plays.”

Sando also takes a look at the 2012 opponents for each of the NFC West team, and has this to say about the Seahawks: “Another season, another trip to Chicago. The Seahawks will have played the Bears eight times since 2006, counting playoffs. The scheduling rotation sent the third-place team from the NFC East (Dallas) to the third-place team from the NFC West (Seattle). The Seahawks also drew the third-place team from the NFC South, which means they’ll be facing Cam Newton on the road. Also, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are coming to CenturyLink Field. Will the Seahawks have a new quarterback? Marshawn Lynch gets to face his old team, Buffalo, on the road.”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at the Seahawks’ 7-9 record this season being an improvement from last season’s 7-9 record: “Last season, their nine losses came by an average of 21 points; this season it was by an average of 9.8 points. Last year, the Seahawks lost games by 34 (to the Giants), 30 (to the Raiders) and 23 (to the Buccaneers) points. This year, their most lopsided losses were to the Steelers (24-0) and Bengals (34-12). In 2010, all their losses were by double-digits. This season, there were four losses by 10-plus points, but they also dropped games by two points (twice), three points (twice) and six points. On defense, they entered Sunday’s game ranked No. 9 in the league, after finishing 27th last season. On offense, the running game improved from 31st in 2010 to 21st entering their finale. ‘Without question, we’re a different team than we were last year,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘The way we’re playing. The margins we’re dealing with are so much better. Even when we got beat, we had chances to win.’ ”

We’ve also got our “Game at a Glance,” as well as Tony Ventrella’s video review.

For a look at the rest of the league on a wild final Sunday of the regular season, there’s Clark Judge’s “Judgements” at CBSSports.com; and Don Banks’ “Snap Judgments” at SI.com.


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Cyber surfing: Friday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 30:

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at Tarvaris Jackson, who has done enough this season to be the incumbent QB for next season: “Asked this week who will start at quarterback for the 2012 Seahawks, coach Pete Carroll said he plans to stick with Tarvaris Jackson. ‘Yeah, that’s where we are,’ Carroll said. ‘… Now, that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to look at the draft really hard and all the opportunities. We’ll always do that at every position.’ The sixth-year pro will be in the second year of a two-year, $8 million contract. He’s 7-6 as a starter, passing for 2,869 yards and 13 touchdowns with 12 interceptions – all career bests. He thinks he’ll be even better with a full offseason of work.”

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times offers his take on the same topic – Jackson as the QB in 2012: “Tarvaris Jackson will end this season Sunday in Arizona the same way he began it: as Seattle’s undisputed starting quarterback. Jackson outlasted the chants for backup Charlie Whitehurst early in the season. He came back from a strained pectoral muscle. He survived Seattle’s 2-6 start, more than 40 sacks at the hands of opponents, and he has started more games this season than any of his previous five. And after all that, coach Pete Carroll says he’s comfortable with Jackson as Seattle’s starter going forward. ‘That’s where we are,’ Carroll said. “That doesn’t mean that we’re not going to look at the draft really hard and all of the opportunities. We’ll always do that at every position. But (for) T-Jack, understanding what this season has been like for him is really important.’ ”

Alex Marvez at FoxSports.com has this to say about Golden Tate after interviewing the Seahawks’ receiver on a radio show: “His heart wishes the Seattle Seahawks had two extra weeks to vie for the postseason. The rest of Golden Tate’s body knows better. If the NFL had its way, the regular season would grow from 16 to 18 games. Under such a scenario, the 2011 Seahawks (7-8) would still be in contention for a wild-card berth with three contests left to play. Instead, the playoffs are now a pipe dream after last Sunday’s 19-17 loss to San Francisco. Tate is saddened that his season will come to an end Sunday. But the second-year wide receiver also believes the ancillary effects inherent in a two-game expansion aren’t worth it. ‘You’re adding two more games, you’re adding two more weeks of practice also,’ Tate said. ‘For guys getting hit constantly, that will do nothing but shorten careers. I like the schedule the way it is right now – 16 games and you’ve got the playoffs. I don’t see any problem with it.’ ”

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at Brandon Mebane, who has more tackles than any interior lineman in the NFC but whose tackles also are sometimes difficult to see: “The best way to put it is that Mebane makes a habit of making piles, with the ball carrier on the bottom and Mebane on top of him. There also are a couple of teammates, as well as a would-be blocker or two, in this mass of oversized humanity – protruding at various angles and attached from various directions. (Defensive line coach Todd) Wash smiles when that picture is painted and then offers, “It usually is in big glob of bodies. So it’s hard to see.”

We’ve also got a look at how Tom Cable handles his offensive linemen in “Thursday in Hawkville,” as well as Tony Ventrella’s video recap and his “Seahawks Insider” that this week features Ricardo Lockette.

And speaking of Lockette, Mike Sando at ESPN.com has “Five Observations” from last week’s loss to the 49ers, including: “No idea how that deep ball succeeded. The 49ers had to like their chances on the Seahawks’ second offensive play. Their Pro Bowl defensive end, Justin Smith, beat left guard Robert Gallery to the inside and was bearing down on quarterback Tarvaris Jackson right away. The 49ers had two about-to-be-minted Pro Bowlers, cornerback Carlos Rogers and free safety Dashon Goldson, shadowing an undrafted rookie receiver making his regular-season NFL debut. There is simply no way Jackson-to-Lockette should beat three Pro Bowlers for a 44-yard gain. Jackson gets credit for hanging tough and delivering the ball just as Smith was about to blast him. Lockette gets credit for catching a ball Rogers contested well. This was exactly the type of play Seattle needed early against a tough defense.”

Also at ESPN.com, Duff McKagan touches on his beloved Seahawks while answering readers’ questions: “It just seems that rock ‘n’ roll and sports go hand in hand for whatever reason. The Seahawks have made great improvement throughout this second half of the season, but alas, 10-6 was not our lot. Here is hoping for a .500 season anyways!”

For a look at the rest of the league, there’s John Clayton’s “First and 10” at ESPN.com; and Peter King’s “Weekend Pickoff” at SI.com.


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Thursday in Hawkville

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 29:

FOCUS ON

The rush continues. How is it that the Seahawks have been able to run for 100-plus yards in six of their past seven games, while losing three starting linemen during this stretch?

The linemen point to Tom Cable, while the team’s first-year assistant head coach/offensive line coach points to his system – and his approach to those who make the blocks that have helped Marshawn Lynch rush for a league-high 855 yards in the past eight games.

Breno Giacomini (for right tackle James Carpenter), Paul McQuistan (first for right guard John Moffitt and now for left tackle Russell Okung) and Lemuel Jeanpierre (for Moffitt) have been able to step in with the running game missing nary a beat because they’ve been treated like starters since training camp opened in late July.

“It’s the teaching, the coaching,” Giacomini said when asked the key to unlocking the continued success in the running game. “Every guy in the room prepares like they’re the starter, especially seeing all this change.”

Giacomini said his “moment” with Cable came during the second week of the season, when the Seahawks were not running the ball well but Cable stuck to his plan.

“That’s when I was like, ‘OK, I’m really going to listen to everything this guy says – every sentence; every “i” he dots and every “t” he crosses,” Giacomini said. “It’s been gradual, but you could see it pretty quick.”

It’s just the way Cable always has coached the position, and always will. And that starts with always treating all the linemen the same.

“I never have liked, or understood, how you can make this guy ‘all that,’ or this guy ‘all that,’ ” Cable said. “It’s B.S. to me. They’re all just tough guys who work hard, and want to get a job, and play professional football. So I think they ought to be treated that way.

“In our room, there’s no one bigger or greater than anyone else.”

With the possible exception of Cable, who has proved to be one the Seahawks’ best “gets” in a year where they’ve made 231 transactions.

ON THE FIELD

The players practiced for 105 minutes in the indoor practice facility as they continued to prepare for Sunday’s season finale against the Cardinals in Arizona. Linebacker Leroy Hill, rookie cornerback Byron Maxwell, practice-squad corner Coye Francies and cornerback Brandon Browner came up with interceptions on the final Turnover Thursday of the season. Browner made his in the end zone, while Maxwell’s came off a ball that was tipped by defensive end Chris Clemons.

IN ’N OUT

Leading tackler David Hawthorne and starting split end Ben Obomanu sat out practice for the second day, and were joined this afternoon by Giacomini and defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove.

With Giacomini out, Allen Barbre and Jarriel King got work at right tackle with the No. 1 line. K.J. Wright and Heath Farwell continued to replace Hawthorne at middle linebacker.

Obomanu ran sprints as well as routes on the side under the supervision of assistant trainer Donald Rich.

Here’s the official injury report:

Did not practice

MLB David Hawthorne (knee)

WR Ben Obomanu (knee)

OT Breno Giacomini (abdominal)

DT Anthony Hargrove (calf)

Full participation

CB Kennard Cox (hamstring)

QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)

DT Clinton McDonald (concussion)

LB Malcolm Smith (concussion)

For the Cardinals:

Did not practice

OT Brandon Keith (ankle)

CB Patrick Peterson (Achilles)

Limited participation

S Rashad Johnson (knee)

QB Kevin Kolb (head)

RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (hamstring)

RB Chris Wells (knee)

S Kerry Rhodes (ankle)

Full participation

CB Michael Adams (shoulder)

S Sean Considine (foot)

Rhodes got some work today after being sidelined on Wednesday, and it’s looking like John Skelton will get the nod over Kolb because the Cardinals’ starting QB continues to be bothered by concussion-like symptoms.

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks’ defense heads into Sunday’s season finale with a chance to do something only five other defenses in franchise history have accomplished: Finish in the Top 10 in the league in average yards allowed. If they pull it off, it will be the first time since 1997 it has happened. The Seahawks currently rank No. 9, allowing an average of 328.5 yards – only 2 yards fewer than the 10th-ranked Browns and 6.6 fewer than the 11th-ranked Chargers. The Cardinals are averaging 354.2 yards, so …

Here’s a look at how this year’s unit stacks up against the other Seahawk defenses that ranked in the Top 10:

Year    Rank; average yards allowed

1984    No. 6; 310.2

1990    No. 9; 288.1

1991    No. 8; 293.9

1992    No. 10; 286.4

1997    No. 8; 303.1

2011    No. 9; 328.5

UP NEXT

The final Friday of the regular season. The players will have a walk-through, practice and meetings in their final full day of preparation for Sunday’s season finale.

YOU DON’T SAY

“ ‘Lock’ came a long way. He was kind of a deer in headlights when he first got here; just running real fast.  Like Forrest Gump, just running. Just running. He’s gotten better throughout the season. He’s come out here and worked real hard every day. You see every day; he’s making a great catch or outrunning somebody. That shows his ability. But he’s building on it and working on the mental aspects of it. He’s come a long way since Day One of training camp. He’s got a long ways to go. But he can definitely do it.” – QB Tarvaris Jackson on rookie free agent wide receiver Ricardo Lockette


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Photoblog: A Close One on Christmas Eve

The Seahawks hoped to continue their five-game winning streak with a Christmas Eve game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Santa hats were everywhere, but the 49ers played the part of the Grinch and escaped with a hard-fought 19-17 victory, essentially eliminating the Seahawks from playoff contention.

Seahawks fans were both in the Christmas spirit and the Skittles spirit as they hoped for a big day from Skittles-loving running back Marshawn Lynch.

In the locker room, Lynch prepared a new pair of Skittles-themed Nike shoes for the game.

Seahawks receiver Golden Tate is introduced to a raucous crowd at CenturyLink Field.

Rookie wide receiver Ricardo Lockette was active for the first time in his young career, and wasted no time making his mark by hauling in a deep ball from Tarvaris Jackson.

San Francisco defensive back Carlos Rogers didn't make it easy, fighting for the ball as Lockette landed with a 44-yard reception on the second play from scrimmage.

Receiver Doug Baldwin celebrates after scoring on a 13-yard touchdown reception from Tarvaris Jackson, giving the Seahawks an early 7-0 lead.

Richard Sherman kept San Francisco's Michael Crabtree from making a catch on a deep ball in the first quarter.

Doug Baldwin flies towards the first down marker after a reception from Tarvaris Jackson.

Shoes were a hot topic but not these cleats as Marshawn Lynch (right) tried to stretch the ball over the goal line just before halftime. After an official's review, the ball was placed at the one-yard line.

Seattle's defense, including Chris Clemons, chased San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith all afternoon, but Smith's ability to buy time kept many 49ers drives alive.

Linebacker K.J. Wright tackles 49ers running back Frank Gore from behind for one of his four tackles.

Seattle's special teams came up big when Heath Farwell blocked a punt by San Francisco's Andy Lee in the fourth quarter.

Marshawn Lynch made sure the Seahawks capitalized on the turnover as he raced into the end zone from four yards out to give the Seahawks a 17-16 lead.

Lynch celebrated with Ricardo Lockette as Skittles rained down into the end zone after the touchdown.

Members of the Seahawks grounds crew used blowers in an effort to remove the Skittles from the field.

After a San Francisco field goal gave them the lead at 19-17, Seattle tried to rally but a fumble by Tarvaris Jackson ended hopes.

Doug Baldwin sat alone on the bench in the waning minutes.

Earl Thomas walks dejectedly towards the Seahawks locker room after the game.

Seattle's locker room was somber after the defeat, but head coach Pete Carroll reminded them how far they'd come this season and that they still had the opportunity to finish strong next week in Arizona.


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