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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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February 29, 2008 11:23 PM

Lions eye two 'Hawk D-tackles

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Seahawk free agents Ellis Wyms and Chuck Darby are scheduled to visit Detroit next week, according to Yahoo! Sports.

The connection there is a pretty direct one. Lions coach Rod Marinelli coached both Wyms and Darby in Tampa Bay when he was the Bucs line coach. Darby signed with the Seahawks in 2005 and became an anchor and leader on Seattle's defense. He suffered a season-ending knee injury last season. The Seahawks signed Wyms after he was waived by the Bucs during training camp last season.

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February 29, 2008 5:24 PM

Report: Josh Brown to the Rams

Posted by Danny O'Neil

FSN Northwest is reporting kicker Josh Brown has agreed to terms with the St. Louis Rams. The terms were not disclosed.

Update 10:50 p.m. This post should have included a mention of Q13 (KCPQ), which also reported Brown's agreement with St. Louis. It was actually Q13's report that I first heard, but when I checked the station's Web site, it had a link to a story crediting FSN Northwest.

In the Internet era, when news scoops can last only a matter of minutes, I think it's important to provide proper credit. So with that in order, here's a full day's worth of acknowledgment.

KJR-AM's Dave Mahler reports on Friday morning Brown informed him via text message he would not be returning to the Seahawks.

KING-5 later confirms that report with Brown sending them a similar message.

FSN Northwest and Q13 (KCPQ) report Brown's indication he reached an agreement with the St. Louis Rams.

Subsequently, that deal was confirmed and indications are he signed a five-year, $14.2 million contract that includes a $4 million signing bonus. It is the largest deal ever for an NFL kicker.

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February 29, 2008 5:17 PM

Seahawks release T Tom Ashworth

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Seattle released reserve tackle Tom Ashworth two years after signing him as an unrestricted free agent from New England.

Ashworth was scheduled to earn $2 million in 2008.

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February 29, 2008 2:54 PM

Crumpler's agent: No deal with 'Hawks imminent

Posted by Danny O'Neil

James Williams, who represents Alge Crumpler, said no deal with the Seahawks is imminent. Crumpler is headed back home and will likely visit one more team before making a decision on where he will play next year.

Again, no deal is done and not only that, but to say one is close isn't accurate either.

Williams did say Crumpler was very comfortable during the visit, partly due to the familiarity with people like Jim Mora, Tim Ruskell and Patrick Kerney, all of whom he worked with in Atlanta.

Crumpler already visited Tampa Bay and Tennessee.

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February 29, 2008 1:50 PM

LB Kevin Bentley to visit Houston

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Linebacker Kevin Bentley, unrestricted free agent, has arranged a visit to Houston on Sunday, according to his agent. Bentley played the past three seasons with Seattle where he was a valuable linebacker because of his versatility and a strong special-teams player.

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February 29, 2008 1:46 PM

Report: Broncos interested in Koutouvides

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The Denver Post reports the Broncos are interested in Seahawks linebacker Niko Koutouvides, who is an unrestricted free agent. The link to the story is right here.

Koutouvides is visiting Tampa Bay on Friday, his agent confirmed this morning. Other visits had been arranged though which teams were not disclosed.

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February 29, 2008 12:45 PM

Report: Alge Crumpler, close to being Seahawk

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Free agent tight end Alge Crumpler is close to signing with the Seahawks, his agent told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Here's a link to the story right here.

Williams told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Crumpler's connection with former Falcons was an important factor, referencing Jim Mora, Patrick Kerney and Tim Ruskell.

Crumpler was released by Atlanta earlier this month, meaning he was free to negotiate with teams before the free-agency period began on Thursday at 9 p.m. PST. He visited Tennessee and Tampa Bay and arrived in Seattle on Thursday.

Ruskell said the medical evaluation would be an important part of the team's look at Crumpler, but he also talked about the first-hand impression that Crumpler made during Ruskell's year in Atlanta.

"The Alge I saw back in '04, he was a dominant tight end back then," Ruskell said. "Great hands. Had tremendous run-after-contact ability and make big plays and was a force as a blocker, a big man. One of the better ones I've been around, but I think injuries have taken their toll so we’ll just have to see where he's at. He's not an old guy. He's right at 30."

Crumpler played in 14 of 16 games last season. He caught 42 passes, the fifth consecutive season in which he finished with more than 40 receptions.

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February 29, 2008 10:25 AM

Josh Brown: Chiefs, Falcons may be among those interested

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The Falcons and Chiefs are two teams reportedly interested in kicker Josh Brown, an unrestricted free agent. The report regarding Atlanta came from ESPN's John Clayton. The Chiefs' interest was reported in this story in the Kansas City Star, which is linked right here.

It's worth noting that the other player mentioned in the Star's story -- center Jeff Faine -- already reached an agreement with Tampa Bay.

KJR-AM's Dave Mahler said on the air that Brown informed him in a message that the chances of him leaving the Seahawks are 100 percent. [Editor's note: This should have been included earlier, but I didn't know had a report on the story. Here's the link to that report.]

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February 29, 2008 9:39 AM

Koutouvides visiting Bucs

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The Pewter Report, which covers Tampa Bay, reports that LB Niko Koutouvides is visiting the team on Friday. The link to that story is right here. The Pewter Report also says the Bucs have expressed an interest in WR D.J. Hackett. The link to that story is right here.

Koutouvides has more visits arranged, according to his agent, though none of those destinations were revealed. The door hasn't been shut on a return to Seattle, but given the early interest in Koutouvides in free agency shows there are other opportunities out there.

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February 28, 2008 3:41 PM

Alge Crumpler, visiting Seattle

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Tight end Alge Crumpler is in Seattle Thursday afternoon, beginning what is expected to be a two-day visit. Crumpler is a free agent, released by the Atlanta Falcons earlier this month. He previously visited the Tennessee Titans.

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February 28, 2008 2:36 PM

RB Leonard Weaver, tendered

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Running back Leonard Weaver has been tendered, meaning that he will be a restricted free agent. He can negotiate with other teams once free agency begins at 9 p.m. PST on Thursday, but the Seahawks will have the right to retain him by matching any contract offer he signs. If they choose not to match, they will receive compensation for him in the form of a draft pick.

Still trying to clarify which level free-agent tender Weaver received. That will be updated later.

Update, 3:38 p.m. PST: Weaver was given a second-round tender. The offer is for $1.47 million. The Seahawks would receive a second-round pick as compensation if he signed with another team.

RB Alvin Pearman was not tendered. He therefore is free to sign with any team. It remains possible that he could come back to Seattle.

David Kirtman and Lance Laury were given tenders as well, making them exlusive-rights free agents. They can only sign with the Seahawks.

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February 28, 2008 11:37 AM

WR, wide-open market for D.J. Hackett

Posted by Danny O'Neil

D.J. Hackett is headed to free agency. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are projected to have more than $40 million in salary-cap space. Washington doesn't have much in the way of salary-cap space, but it does have a new head coach, Jim Zorn, with a whole lot of familiarity with Hackett.

Combine that with all the productivity Hackett has shown when he is on the field and that's sure to raise some team's interest. He steadily moved up the depth chart from 2005 when he caught 28 passes for 400 yards in a year when he started out No. 5 on the depth chart to last year when he was a starter, but played in just six games because of an ankle injury.

The Football Outsiders broach the question of what to expect from Hackett's production in the future by looking at other players who put together similar type production as Hackett. Their conclusion: "The upside for Hackett is probably not stardom, but instead a long career as a possession receiver, similar to Ike Hilliard." Here's the link to that story.

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February 26, 2008 9:52 PM

Packers missed on Wahle

Posted by Jose Romero

So says this story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The article also confirms what I speculated last week, that Wahle's signing bonus made the contract's total value around $20 million.

Interesting that the Packers would go after a guy they let go in the first place. Wahle never made it for his visit to Green Bay after the Panthers cut him. I guess the pull of West Coast (Northwest) living was strong, seeing as Wahle has roots in this part of the country.

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February 23, 2008 12:00 AM

Trufant trade talk

Posted by Jose Romero

Bob Glauber of Newsday wrote this Friday, and I can't say for certain if there is a chance this will happen. Read with interest, and maybe a grain of salt because it would take quite a bit to make the Seahawks part ways with Marcus Trufant after they just franchised him.

Fresh off a Super Bowl victory, the Giants are still looking to make roster upgrades.
There is speculation they're interested in dealing for Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who said Friday he will not return to the team after new general manager Thomas Dimitroff told him the club would consider trade offers for him. Add in another potential target of the Giants: Seahawks cornerback Marcus Trufant.
According to a league source familiar with the Giants' situation, Trufant is on their radar as a potential acquisition once the trading period begins next Friday. Seattle has designated Trufant as their "franchise" player, meaning Seattle has virtually exclusive negotiating rights with him for the 2008 season. But that does not preclude them from making a trade. He is coming off his best season, with a career-high seven interceptions.
Hall has one year left on his contract with Atlanta, and had initially expressed optimism about staying. But Friday, after hearing that Dimitroff would listen to offers for him, Hall told reporters in Indianapolis that he isn't coming back.

The story goes on from there, but I gave you the part that pertains to the Seahawks.

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February 22, 2008 11:21 AM

Crumpler has Seattle on his list

Posted by Jose Romero

Former Atlanta tight end Alge Crumpler, released by the Falcons last week, is on his way to the NFL scouting combine this weekend and could meet with several teams, including the Seahawks. So says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
On the surface, at least, it looks like there's some mutual interest.

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February 22, 2008 8:38 AM

The annual game of tag

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Happens every year about this time as teams apply the franchise tag as a protection against someone who just might slip away in unrestricted free agency.

Marcus Trufant was the player the Seahawks designated. Safety Ken Hamlin was tagged by the Dallas Cowboys (story from Dallas Morning News is linked here). In all, 12 players received the franchise tag and one received the transition tag Seattle discovered can be oh-so dangerous two years ago with Steve Hutchinson. That's almost double last year's total when seven players were designated with the franchise tag.

Year Franchise tags Transition tags
2008 12 1
  Jared Allen, Chiefs Stacy Andrews, Bengals Max Starks, Steelers
  Nnamdi Asomugha, Raiders Jordan Gross, Panthers  
  Karlos Dansby, Cardinals Albert Haynesworth, Titans  
  Marcus Trufant, Seahawks L.J. Smith, Eagles  
  Terrell Suggs, Ravens Corey Williams, Packers  
  Ken Hamlin, Cowboys Dallas Clark*, Colts  
  *Subsequently signed long-term contract with Colts.
2007 7 0
  Lance Briggs, Bears Justin Smith, Bengals  
  Cory Redding*, Lions Dwight Freeney*, Colts  
  Asante Samuel, Patriots Charles Grant*, Saints  
  Josh Brown, Seahawks    
  *Subsequently signed long-term contracts.
2006 3 1
  Nate Clements, Bills John Abraham*, Jets Steve Hutchinson, Seahawks
  Jeff Backus, Lions   DeSaun Foster**, Panthers
  *Traded to Atlanta. **Signed long-term deal.
2005 12 1
  Rudi Johnson, Bengals Edgerrin James, Colts Bubba Franks, Packers
  Charles Woodson, Raiders Donovin Darius, Jaguars  
  Adam Vinatieri, Patriots Darren Howard, Saints  
  John Abraham, Jets Corey Simon*, Eagles  
  Drew Brees, Chargers Julian Peterson, 49ers  
  Orlando Pace, Rams Shaun Alexander, Seahawks  
  *Eagles eventually rescinded tag on Simon.

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February 21, 2008 6:15 PM

Sean Locklear about to be locked up

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Offensive tackle Sean Locklear has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks, according to's Len Pasquarelli. He reported the contract includes $12 million in so-called guaranteed money, which is bonuses and salary Locklear is virtually certain to earn. The maximum amount of the deal is $32 million.

Locklear was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on Feb. 29. With Marcus Trufant designated the franchise player, that's a second of Seattle's free-agent priorities taken care of. Kicker Josh Brown remains unsigned. Same for wide receiver D.J. Hackett.

The Seahawks have not confirmed the deal with Locklear, an indication that the final paperwork for the deal is not completed.

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February 21, 2008 6:00 PM

Trufant, non-exclusive rights franchise player

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The Seahawks announced officially that cornerback Marcus Trufant is their franchise player on Wednesday, the deadline for making those declarations. Trufant was made a non-exclusive franchise player. That means the Seahawks will tender him a one-year offer worth a little bit less than $9.5 million. Trufant will be able to talk with other teams once free agency begins on Feb. 29, and he can sign an offer sheet, but the Seahawks would then have the right to either match the contract offer or receive two first-round picks as compensation from the team that gives him the offer sheet.

Here's the quote from president Tim Ruskell included in the Seahawks announcement: “We are excited that Marcus will remain a Seahawk. We will continue to talk with his representative in hopes of securing a long-term deal which is our goal.”

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February 21, 2008 5:57 PM

Hawks sign Locklear

Posted by Jose Romero is reporting that the Seahawks have reached an agreement on a five-year contract worth up to $32 million with starting right tackle Sean Locklear.

The move leaves K Josh Brown and WR D.J. Hackett left as the top free agents the Seahawks might be looking to sign by next week's start of free agency. Seattle franchised CB Marcus Trufant; that became official today.

Locklear is a four-year pro who has started 42 of 58 career regular-season games played as a Seahawk.

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February 20, 2008 5:43 PM

Seahawks appear ready to franchise Marcus Trufant

Posted by Danny O'Neil

It appears the Seahawks will designate cornerback Marcus Trufant their franchise player, thereby making him a restricted free agent.

That is not official. It has not been included among the league's official transactions, but it is believed the Seahawks have informed Trufant he will be their franchise player. The deadline for designating a franchise player is Thursday.

As the franchise player, Trufant will be tendered a contract that is the average salary of the five highest-paid players at his position. For 2008, that amount will be more than $9 million, higher than every position except for quarterback [Ed. note: Corrected. Earlier mistake read "cornerback"].

The move means kicker Josh Brown will be scheduled to head to unrestricted free agency.

The next question is whether Trufant was labeled an exclusive-rights free agent, which carries a higher salary but includes the caveat he can not negotiate with other teams. A regular franchise designation leaves the player free to negotiate with other teams and even sign an offer sheet, which his original team can then choose to match or accept two first-round draft picks as compensation from the team that signs the franchise player.

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February 19, 2008 11:29 PM

Mike Wahle's deal

Posted by Jose Romero

This one is for a blog reader (you know who you are) who asked about Mike Wahle's contract. It's a five-year deal worth $16 million in base salaries, according to the NFL Players Association salary database. I have yet to get the signing bonus figure, which would be the biggest remaining piece in the total value of the deal and probably pushes it up to the neighborhood of $20 million.

Translation: Mike Wahle is getting paid well, but still at around where the typical starting NFL guard is compensated. He's scehduled to make $2 million in base salary this season and $3.1 million each in 2009 and 2010. But he still saves the Seahawks money over prized free-agent-to-be guard Alan Faneca, who wants closer to Steve Hutchinson money at at least $7 million annually.

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February 19, 2008 12:09 PM

This week for the Seahawks

Posted by Jose Romero

Let's start by tempering all this talk about Alge Crumpler. Not to burst anyone's bubble, but Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell always prefers to build through the draft and supplement through free agency, so that would lead me to think that any impact player the team seeks will come from the draft. Also, while Crumpler has Seattle connections with his former coach, Jim Mora, here and his older brother Carlester a former Seahawks tight end, other teams will inquire about his services. Here's one, apparently -- the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It's a wait-and-see thing at this point.

The Seahawks have other concerns. They must designate a franchise player by Thursday -- if they choose to do so. That title belongs to K Josh Brown for now, but if the Seahawks can sign Brown to a long-term deal by Thursday they can get the tag back for possible use on CB Marcus Trufant. Or, who knows, they can sign both and have the tag for yet another free-agent-to-be. Or maybe they won't get either one done, but I don't expect the deadline to pass with nothing done.

This is also NFL Combine week. I have gone in the past but won't be this year. It's pretty interesting: Lots of coaches, scouts and executives walking the halls around the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. And of course the college prospects. The most memorable of those that I recall was 49ers DT Isaac Sopoaga, who walked into the media room wearing shorts, flip-flops and a straw hat with the top cut out of it for his hair to stick out. It looked like he was just at the beach. And even still, he was an imposing presence. He set the combine bench-press rep record that year but it has since been broken.

The Seahawks send just about everyone on their personnel and coaching staff to the combine.

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February 19, 2008 11:49 AM

Alge Crumpler, potential Seahawks target

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Tight end Alge Crumpler was released by the Atlanta Falcons on Feb. 15. Given the Seahawks' need at that position, it seems natural that he would be a target of Seattle. And Crumpler's agent has talked with the Seahawks. No visits planned or anything like that. This is still very early in the process and things will really start to move next week as free agency approaches in earnest.

Crumpler is 30. He caught 42 passes last season, his fewest in any season since 2002. He has caught more than 40 passes for five successive seasons, though. Here's a link to his profile on

The Seahawks had only 41 receptions total from their tight ends last season, 28 from Marcus Pollard and 13 from Will Heller, who is primarily a blocking tight end. Pollard signed a one-year contract with the Seahawks last season.

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February 15, 2008 1:50 PM

Checking on Crumpler

Posted by Jose Romero

I think everyone is right on in saying that this could be a good fit for the Seahawks, but Alge Crumpler is a guy who won't come cheap. That said, tight end is a priority for the Seahawks and they had to have saved money by signing Wahle. I'm keeping an eye on this one to see if Crumpler plans to come out here for a visit.

I'd say Crumpler is a better fit for the Seahawks as an organization over Jeremy Shockey, but we just don't know for sure about Crumpler and Tim Ruskell's relationship.

I'm glad to see a lot of people posting responses to the entries. Thanks for taking time.

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February 14, 2008 7:40 PM

Wahle's impact

Posted by Jose Romero

Hello blog lieu of posts I have been posting breaking news on the Times' Web site, so look for news on the site rather than the blog, at least from me.

That said, Danny is on vacation and I haven't posted much, so I'm making an appearance now and will do so as often as I can in the offseason.

The Seahawks landed their whale, er, Wahle, on Thursday. Not saying this guy is overweight, just making a play on words. Wahle is, in fact, a big man who will go into training camp as the starter at left guard barring any injury. And he doesn't have a long history of getting hurt, having started 128 of 142 games played in 10 seasons and started all 16 games for Carolina last season.

Wahle will replace Rob Sims at left guard, freeing up Sims to battle Chris Gray for the right guard spot. For now, this is a win-win situation for the Seahawks. Sims struggled last season but got much-needed experience and Gray is at the end of his long career. A hungrier, nastier Sims will have something to prove after the running game struggled with he and another young guy, Chris Spencer, on the line, and if I know Spencer he will take this challenge personally.

Wahle also has a relationship with Mike Holmgren and Matt Hasselbeck, which can only help, and should be able to make the transition into the offense fairly easily. Having Wahle means the Seahawks don't appear likely to pursue Alan Faneca, the top lineman eligible for free agency, and Wahle certainly is more affordable as far as the salary cap than Faneca.

This is a big move for the Seahawks and might in the end be their biggest free agent pickup of the offseason, though we'll wait and see on that. Wahle has been compared to former Seahawks Pro Bowlers Steve Hutchinson and Robbie Tobeck, a couple of Pro Bowlers with Seattle who played with an attitude and some nastiness. Wahle isn't Hutch, but two Pro Bowls say something about the caliber of player the team is getting. The question will be how effective Wahle can be at age 31 after so many seasons.

The Seahawks have only one more coaching vacancy to fill -- running backs coach. Bill Lazor is officially in as QBs coach, the team confirmed today. Lazor was the Washington Redskins' QBs coach last season.

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February 9, 2008 9:36 PM

Interesting reading

Posted by Jose Romero

After watching Josh Brown's appearance on the Gospel Music Channel's taped airing of the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration from Phoenix, I ran across a couple of interesting pieces that mentioned the Seahawks.

First, let me say that it was kind of funny watching all of the NFL players in the NFL All-Star Gospel Choir do their thing. Seahawks FB Leonard Weaver looked very much into the song they sang -- it was an upbeat number that had the crowd on its feet -- while Brown didn't move his feet much. But then again, he's paid to kick and not dance, right? I'm joking of course.

Anyway, Mike Florio wrote the following for Yahoo! Sports. It mentions the possiblity of the Seahawks opening the 2008 season on a Thursday night against the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. The game would be in New Jersey.

And here's a story from from the Associated Press about players at the Pro Bowl this week who are talking business. As in free agency and where they might end up playing in 2008, including Seattle CB Marcus Trufant.

It's likely that the Seahawks re-sign Trufant, but that doesn't stop other teams' players at the Pro Bowl from making sales pitches.

Speaking of the Pro Bowl, it might be kind of hard to focus on the four Seahawks in the game with 13 Dallas Cowboys playing for the NFC.

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February 8, 2008 5:39 PM

Turf talk

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The Public Stadium Authority on Friday unanimously approved a resolution to replace the playing surface at Qwest Field. The replacement was initially to be considered in March, but a special meeting was called to accommodate the six-week window necessary to install the turf. The field will be replaced at some point before an event featuring the Dalai Lama on April 12.

The playing surface was considered one of the best in the league, but Seahawks vice president and lead counsel Lance Lopes said the surface had hardened somewhat. It also had faded and frayed. The surface is suitable for hosting an MLS team, which is expected to begin play in 2009.

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February 8, 2008 4:05 PM

Report: Bill Lazor to be Seahawks QB coach

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The Washington Post reported Friday that Bill Lazor will be leaving Washington to becomme the Seahawks quarterbacks coach. The Seahawks have not announced any move, but could do so next week. Lazor would fill the spot on the staff previously held by Jim Zorn, who went to Washington to become offensive coordinator.

Here's what the Post reported Friday: "Quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor will be leaving the team to take the same position with the Seattle Seahawks, league sources said. Lazor, who was not going to retain that title in Washington, will replace Zorn in Seattle." Here's a link to the story.

Here's a link to Lazor's biography on Washington's team Web site.

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February 6, 2008 11:07 PM

Second-chance points

Posted by Danny O'Neil

It's a little different now. Jim Mora has been on the Seahawks coaching staff a year now, and I think there was a pretty strong feeling that if he was still on the staff when Mike Holmgren decided to call it quits, well, he'd be the logical choice. Well, Holmgren decided he's going to call it quits after this year (or his wife, Kathy, decided he's going to call it quits) and Mora's still on the Seahawks staff and after Wednesday's announcement, he's not only the logical option, he's the official one.

The tea-leaf readers have spent the last 24 hours saying, "I told you so." There is a fairly vocal group that pointed to the win totals that declined each season as an example of why this isn't a decision for fans to rejoice over. Finally, there are those local fans bemoaning the fact he won't be headed to Montlake any time soon to coach the Huskies.

Well, there's a full 12 months worth of time to speculate about his Seahawks' head-coaching tenure. For now, I'll posit one observation about evaluations of Mora's previous tenure. It wasn't too shabby. He had a winning record in the regular season, 26-22. He reached the conference championship game his first year. It's hardly the kind of record that usually results in a dismissal though the radio interview with KJR-AM in which he talked about the Washington job probably played a role in poisoning the well for him in Atlanta, so to speak.

But recent NFL history has also shown that coaches improve in their second NFL job. Look no further than this past weekend's Super Bowl. Tom Coughlin won it and the Giants are the second team he's been head coach with after previously working in Jacksonville. The Patriots' Bill Belichick? The Patriots are his second head-coaching gig, too. He was fired in Cleveland before that franchise relocated.

Being the abacus-toting nerd that I am, I'll see if I can put some numbers behind that hunch that coaches have a better go at things their second time around and get back to you in the weeks ahead.

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February 6, 2008 1:19 PM

Brown and Weaver are All-Stars

Posted by Jose Romero

Not Pro Bowlers, but singers. Seahawks kicker Josh Brown and fullback Leonard Weaver will appear on TV this Saturday at 9 p.m. on cable's Gospel Music Channel. The two were part of the NFL All-Star Choir, an ensemble that featured current and former players from all 32 NFL teams, that performed last Friday in Phoenix as part of Super Bowl festivities.

I was in Arizona during Super Bowl week and heard this event was fantastic and very emotional, so it might be worth tuning into. If only just to see Brown, who I know loves music, and Weaver, who can really sing, do their thing.

The Super Bowl Gospel Celebration 2008 re-airs on Sunday at 7 a.m. and noon.

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February 6, 2008 1:17 PM

Jim Mora, five-year contract

Posted by Danny O'Neil

President Tim Ruskell said at the team's announcement the Seahawks agreed on a five-year contract with Jim Mora, the final four of which he will serve as Seattle's head coach.

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February 6, 2008 9:13 AM

Clarification re: Rooney Rule

Posted by Danny O'Neil

The NFL protocol of interviewing at least one minority candidate for an NFL head-coaching position has always included one provision for the elevation of a coach already on the staff. That promotion must be written into the contract. To call it an exception to the Rooney Rule is misleading because the guidelines were formed with that intent.

"First of all, we believe in the elevation or upgrading within the staff, front office and coaching," said John Wooten, president of the Fritz Pollard Alliance. "The guidelines, if there’s to be elevation or upgrading, future appointments, it has to be in writing in the contract. It can’t be word of mouth. It can’t be handshake. It has to be written into the contract when the contract is done."

The Fritz Pollard Alliance was formed in 2003, has worked with the NFL for the past few years to develop hiring guidelines for front-office positions in the league. Wooten said Wednesday morning in a phone interview he had spoken with Seahawks president Tim Ruskell, and has been assured Mora's promotion will be in writing.

"This is no different than what the Indianapolis Colts did with Jim Caldwell," Wooten said. "It does not affect us in terms of the Rooney Rule at all. It does not circumvent it because it was always written that way."

Greg Aiello, NFL spokesman, affirmed that. The Rooney Rule has always included a provision that states if the promotion of an assistant coach to become head coach then no further interviews are required. It does not matter if that is the coach's first contract with the team or an extension.

"It has to be in his current contract at the time the transition would take place," Aiello wrote in an e-mail.

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February 5, 2008 10:29 PM

Rooney Rule exception

Posted by Danny O'Neil

One of the things that will be discussed in the coming days is the application of the Rooney Rule, the nomenclature commonly applied for the protocol that NFL teams must interview at least one minority candidate for any coaching vacancy.

But there is an exception to that provision, one very clearly spelled out as early as December 2002 and that is if a team has a contractual commitment to promote an assistant coach to the head-coaching position -- as the Rams did in 2000 with Mike Martz -- then there is no need for additional interviews. So according to the NFL, if a promotion to head coach is written into Jim Mora's contract while he is an assistant, there is no need for additional interviews.

Mora is the second assistant coach to be designated a successor this offseason. Indianapolis' Jim Caldwell will succeed Tony Dungy when he steps down. Caldwell is African-American, which makes moot any discussion of the Rooney Rule and its application.

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February 5, 2008 7:55 PM

Mora to be named head coach for 2009

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Jim Mora is going to be the Seahawks head coach beginning in 2009. In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, reported the news first. We've confirmed it independently. The Seahawks don't have any confirmation, but there is a press conference scheduled for noon on Wednesday.

Mora came to the Seahawks after three years as Atlanta head coach. He coached the Seahawks secondary in 2008 and served as assistant head coach. He was a candidate for Washington's head-coaching job, but withdrew himself from consideration.

Coach Mike Holmgren will coach one final year with the Seahawks. His contract expires after 2008 and he announced last month this will be his final season with the franchise.

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February 5, 2008 12:30 PM

Giants = road warriors; Seahawks = road warier

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Remember the Giants team that came to Seattle in 2005 and was rattled by the din of Qwest Field? The one so flustered that someone to the NFL about the noise of Qwest Field at some point before the two teams played again in the first month of the following season?

Well, three consecutive road victories in the NFC playoffs and then a Super Bowl victory pretty much erased that legacy, and the Giants' ability to find success away from home is a big part of the difference between the Giants celebrating the third Super Bowl title in franchise history and the Seahawks being stuck 25 years and counting since their last playoff victory on the road (December 1983).

  Giants Home Road   Seahawks Home Road
Record   3-5 7-1     7-1 3-5
Points allowed   26.1 17.8     13.9 22.5
Rush yds. allowed   94.9 100.5     86.3 119.3
Pass yds. allowed   202 212.6     220 218.1
Sacks   28 25     29 16
Turnovers   10 15     23 11

Each team won 10 games this season. One showed an ability to win on the road, the other did not. One won on the road in the playoffs, the other did not. Look at the defensive breakdowns of the two teams, home vs. away. They are almost exact opposites.

That discrepancy was one of the most fundamental baffling things about the Seahawks season. A difference in offensive performance home vs. away would be more logical. Offense relies more upon timing and precision. Seattle doesn't play in a dome, but if the offense somehow felt more comfortable in conditions it was familiar with, well that would make more sense.

Defense is more about recognition, reaction and good old fashioned elbow grease. Now, the Qwest crowd certainly helps the pass rush because the offensive tackles can't necessarily rely upon hearing the quarterback's cadence, but must instead watch for the snap, but it's hard to believe that that split-second advantage translates into a difference of 9 points per game.

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February 4, 2008 11:49 AM

Golden oldies

Posted by Danny O'Neil

It took Tom Coughlin a little while.

More than 200 games as NFL head coach, to be more precise, but the man who's currently the third-oldest coach in the league won a Super Bowl in his first crack.

New coaches by age
Number of
new coaches
Average age
2007 7 45 years, 364 days
2006 10 48 years, 171 days
2005 3 52 years, 318 days
2004 7 51 years, 194 days
2003 4 50 years, 355 days
2002 8 49 years, 267 days
2001 7 52 years, 163 days
2000 8 48 years, 143 days
1999 9 49 years, 171 days
1998 4 48 years, 21 days
1997 10 52 years, 69 days
1996 6 54 years, 67 days
1995 8 46 years, 269 days
1994 6 50 years, 179 days
1993 5 48 years, 332 days
2002 9 48 years, 206 days
Ages listed for date of first game as head coach


Will that spur a change in the coaching demographics?

Nothing inspires imitation in the NFL more than success. The New York Jets hired Eric Mangini in 2006, the team makes the playoffs and the very next season there's two more 30-somethings hired to coach NFL teams: Lane Kiffin in Oakland, Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh.

Seven NFL coaches were hired last offseason, their average age was 45 years, 364 days. That's the youngest average age of new hires since at least 1992. The next closest was 1995 when the average age of the eight coaches hired as head coaches was 46 years, 269 days. Below is a chart that includes the number of coaching changes per year from 1992 to the present and lists the average age of the new hires.

Three coaches have been hired this offseason. John Harbaugh in Baltimore is the youngest. He's 45. Miami's Tony Sparano is the oldest at 56 and Mike Smith in Atlanta is 48. Washington still has a vacancy.

Of course, all those hires occurred before the Giants completed their most improbable run to a championship, but the success under Coughlin may have some resonance around the league. After all, this was a guy who'd had his shot in Jacksonville and as recently as last season was seen as a coach capable of getting a team to the playoffs, but perhaps not much more. Now, he's got a Super Bowl ring.

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February 1, 2008 1:36 PM

Holmgren's former boss laments lack of adjustments vs. Broncos

Posted by Danny O'Neil

We're getting in the way-back machine here, looking to the Super Bowl that the Packers lost 10 years ago to the Denver Broncos. Mike Holmgren was the coach and the Packers were favorites to win a second consecutive Super Bowl.

A decade later that loss to the Broncos still stings, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published a story today with comments from Ron Wolf, who was in charge of the Packers' personnel back then. The story states Wolf was interviewed in August, and the Packers' lack of adjustments that game must still stick in his craw because he lamented the team's failure to adjust to Denver's blitzes in that game.

Certain calls were to be made that weren't made. Mike Holmgren refused those calls. There would have been an adjustment on the blocking scheme and it would have been over.
      -- Ron Wolf to the Journal-Sentinel

Here's a link to the whole story right here.

Holmgren coached one more year with the Packers after losing that Super Bowl and then left to come to Seattle where he had control over personnel.

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