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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
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August 31, 2007

Seahawks and Mark Brunell

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:39 AM

The Seahawks' interest in Mark Brunell is going to be a hot topic the next day or two. The Washington Post reported in Friday's editions Seattle inquired on Thursday about Brunell. Brunell began last season as Washington's starter, but was replaced by Jason Campbell, who is now the team's starter.

The Seahawks are looking for a third-string quarterback. Third-year player David Greene played in only one of the team's four exhibition games and was intercepted three times. He did not play on Thursday against Oakland. He has served as the team's No. 3 the past two years.

Another name that could come up in the discussion of Seattle's plans could be Chris Simms of Tampa Bay. He may not make Tampa Bay's team and the prevailing thought from Florida is he is still recovering from the splenectomy he underwent last season.

August 30, 2007

Injury updates

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:10 PM

  • CB Josh Wilson suffered a bruised hip, but coach Mike Holmgren did not believe it was serious.

  • DT Marcus Tubbs suffered a knee injury and underwent tests. His status won't be known until Friday, but it's thought to be a pretty serious injury.

  • WR Ben Obomanu suffered a strained hamstring. Holmgren said he feared Obomanu wouldn't be ready for the season opener at Tampa Bay, but said he may be OK by then.

  • S Michael Boulware suffered a strained hamstring, not an injured ankle. That's why he missed the exhibition game.

  • DT Marcus Tubbs, sprained right knee

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 7:53 PM

    His injury was announced in the press box as a sprained right knee. He will not return to the game.

    DT Marcus Tubbs injures right knee

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 7:42 PM

    Tubbs suffered an injury to his right knee during the first quarter. He limped off the field, was observed on a table on the sideline and was driven on a cart into the locker room.

    Tubbs underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee last November. Trainers were examining his right knee on the sidelines.

    S Michael Boulware out, too

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 7:05 PM

    Boulware won't be playing on Thursday. He may have injured an ankle.

    Lineup changes

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 6:34 PM

    Four players won't play in the game: CB Kelly Jennings (bruised leg), LB Julian Peterson (knee), T Walter Jones (shoulder) and TE Will Heller (ankle).

    The Seahawks swapped out six starters on offense, nine on defense.

    WR Nate Burleson starts at wide receiver, not D.J. Hackett

    G Mansfield Wrotto starts at right guard, not Chris Gray

    TE Leonard Stephens starts, not Marcus Pollard

    QB Seneca Wallace starts, not Matt Hasselbeck

    FB Leonard Weaver starts, not Mack Strong

    RB Maurice Morris starts, not Shaun Alexander

    DEFENSE

    DE Darryl Tapp starts at LE, not Patrick Kerney

    DT Marcus Tubbs starts at NT, not Chuck Darby

    DT Craig Terrill starts, not DT Rocky Bernard

    DE Bryce Fisher starts at RE

    OLB Will Herring starts, not Leroy Hill

    MLB Niko Koutouvides starts, not Lofa Tatupu

    CB Pete Hunter starts, not Marcus Trufant

    S Mike Green starts at SS, not Deon Grant

    S C.J. Wallace starts at FS, not Brian Russell

    "Cool" Papa

    Posted by Jose Romero at 5:58 PM

    For this light-hearted post, I step in momentarily for your favorite Seahawks blogmaestro, Danny O'Neil.

    As a kid in the Portland area, I grew up listening to Golden State Warriors games on that AM radio blowtorch that is KNBR 680-AM. That is, of course, when the Trailblazers weren't on.

    The voice of the Warriors back in the day was Greg Papa, and as I have shown a knack for imitating voices, I picked up Papa's inflections and displayed them to anyone who cared.

    A couple of years ago, my co-worker Larry Stone saw Papa at a Mariners game and had him give me a call. Papa was doing the A's telecast and is now the Raiders' radio play-by-play man. At first I didn't believe it was Papa on the phone until I listened harder to his voice. I told him it was good to talk to him. He said he'd heard I did an impression of him, but he didn't put me on the spot.

    Last year at the Seahawks-Raiders exhibition game in Seattle, I ran into Papa and introduced myself. He was kind enough to indulge in my imitation. Today I ran into Papa again, and this time he didn't seem so into it.

    I'm pretty sure he didn't remember that crazy sportswriter who imitates him, and when I did his signature "Touchdown...Rrrraiders!!!!" radio call, he just said "That doesn't sound like me!" But he was gracious in shaking my hand as he walked away. I guess I have to keep refining my craft. Maybe when they do a roast for him I can be one of the speakers.

    By the way, one of my boyhood heroes, Jim Plunkett, is here with the Raiders broadcast crew. Plunkett's autobiography was one of the first "big" books I ever read. It was an honor to meet him when I did last year.

    -Jose Romero


    August 28, 2007

    Walter Jones, 10th best player in the NFL

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 4:52 PM

    Sports Illustrated's Peter King ranked the Seahawks left tackle No. 10 on his list of the 500 best players in the NFL. Walter Jones is one of three Seahawks in the top 50. Matt Hasselbeck is listed 20th (No. 6 among quarterbacks) and Shaun Alexander is No. 36.

    King ranked the Seahawks first in the NFC West and wrote the team preview for the magazine's NFL preview.

    ESPN.com's Gregg Easterbrook previewed the NFC in his Tuesday Morning Quarterback column, which is like a million words long. I'm exaggerating, but only slightly. The man can pile words on a page. Here's a link just to the Seahawks' portion otherwise you may never find it given the man's prodigious prose.

    Hasselbeck and the president

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 4:01 PM

    Matt Hasselbeck talked about his chance to meet President George W. Bush during his visit to Washington Monday to help raise money for Republican Congressman Dave Reichert.

    "It was a thrill," Hasselbeck said. "The coolest thing was probably seeing how the Secret Service operated, just how tight security was, both the local security, the Bellevue Police Department and also with the Secret Service. It was a thrill. The tough part was probably just getting into the Hyatt."

    Hasselbeck said fullback Mack Strong was originally chosen to go, and then Hasselbeck was asked if he wanted to accompany Strong.

    "It was an opportunity to get out of meetings and meet the president," Hasselbeck said. "That's win-win for me."

    Hasselbeck said he voted for Bush in the past two elections, and that voting is generally the extent of his political involvement.

    "I don't think you'll ever see me campaigning," he said. "That's not my desire at all. But I definitely think it's important that you vote and that you have an educated vote, and I pride myself on that."

    Hasselbeck was asked if he worried about being pigeonholed by appearing in public with the president.

    "There's always that chance, but I'm not afraid of that," Hasselbeck said. "This is America, and I respect other people's opinions. I know there's been a lot of bad publicity lately, but I've been to for Fort Lewis twice in the last three months. Those guys would have gone in a heartbeat so in a way I feel like I'm supporting them also."

    In a more humorous note, I asked Hasselbeck the significance of the No. 43 Seahawks jersey given to Bush.

    "It happens a lot when politicians go somewhere they get a jersey or a ball or something," Hasselbeck said. "To my knowledge he'd already been here he had a 12th Man. I think he had a No. 8, maybe, so we thought maybe 43 would be more appropriate."

    That's because he's the 43rd president.

    Afternoon practice update

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:38 PM

    DT Chuck Darby returned to practice on Wednesday.

    The players who sat out were LB Julian Peterson, who is wearing a brace on his right knee, DT Marcus Tubbs, CB Kelly Jennings, S Jordan Babineaux and LT Walter Jones.

    Babineaux looks close to returning. He stayed after practice each of the past two days running sprints along with Deon Grant, one of the Seahawks' new starters at safety.

    Wide receiver Ben Obomanu suffered a leg injury during practice and did not return.

    Seahawks announce 12 cuts

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:35 AM

    The Seahawks trimmed their roster down to 75 players on Tuesday. Here's the list:

    T Jonathan Alston, QB Erik Meyer, CB Dennis Davis, G Jason Murphy, S Patrick Ghee, WR Robert Ortiz, RB A.J. Harris, LB Marcus Rucker, WR Chris Jones, K Kurt Smith, C Austin King, TE Andy Stokes.

    Eleven of those players were absent from practice on Monday, making it clear who would be cut. Meyer practiced Monday, but has now been let go.

    Former Washington safety C.J. Wallace remains on the Seahawks roster. The team must trim the roster to 53 players this weekend.

    August 27, 2007

    Lamborghini genies

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 6:38 PM

    Not that you need it, but here's the answers to the matching quiz from earlier today:

    Player     Lamborghini incident
    c): DE Mario Williams     c) Video posted on YouTube of Williams driving a burnt orange Lamborghini at what appears to be a high rate of speed while passenger eventually pleads to slow down. "It was a stupid thing to do," Williams told the Houston Chronicle, "and I apologize to the fans, the organization and my teammates for not being smart. I shouldn't have put myself in that situation, and I have definitely learned my lesson."
    a): CB Pacman Jones     a) Cited for tag violation on orange Lamborghini and two other violations. Citations are eventually dismissed.
    b): LB Lance Briggs     b) Black Lamborghini found abandoned after wreck. He is cited for leaving the scene of the accident.

    Afternoon practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:42 PM

    The team roster is a little bit lighter. So is the beard linebacker Lofa Tatupu was working on the past month. He trimmed it down to a Fu-manchu with soul patch and two wooly '70s-style sideburns. Coach Mike Holmgren passed him in the hallway after practice:

    "I thought it was Antonio Banderas," Holmgren joked.

    Attendance at the afternoon practice: LB Leroy Hill (hamstring), TE Will Heller (ankle) and TE Leonard Stephens (ankle) returned to the field. DT Chuck Darby, DT Marcus Tubbs (knee), LB Julian Peterson (knee), T Walter Jones (shoulder), S Jordan Babineaux (bone bruise) and CB Kelly Jennings (bruise) were out. I'll provide an update on Darby's injury if we get one.

    Coach Mike Holmgren confirmed the Seahawks cut 12 players. The 11 players who weren't at practice and one more. The team won't announce the roster decisions until Tuesday when teams must be down to 75 players.

    Seahawks a day away from first cuts

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 2:06 PM

    Seattle has not announced any roster decisions and it won't have to until Tuesday, but there were 11 players who were not on the practice field for Monday afternoon's workout. To repeat, nothing official, but the 11 guys not present figured to be longshots to make the team. Here's the 11 missing:

    K Kurt Smith
    S Patrick Ghee
    WR Robert Ortiz [Editor note: Not included on original list]
    WR Chris Jones
    CB Dennis Davis
    RB A.J. Harris
    LB Marcus Rucker
    TE Andy Stokes
    G Jason Murphy
    C Austin King
    T Jon Alston

    I'll check in if there is any official word on roster decisions.

    NFL players and their hot rods

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:39 AM

    According to the ConsumerGuide Automotive, Lamborghini sold 876 cars in the United States in 2006. That gives you an idea of just how few of those cars there are out there. Now consider that three NFL players have been involved in notable incidents involving Lamborghinis in the past calendar year.

    Here's a matching game that shouldn't be too tough. Match the NFL player to the automotive incident so the incidents at the right correspond to the correct player on the left:

    Player     Lamborghini incident
    __: DE Mario Williams     a) Cited for tag violation on orange Lamborghini; lawyer claims stop premeditated by police.
    __: CB Pacman Jones     b) Black Lamborghini found abandoned after wreck; player still makes practice.
    __: LB Lance Briggs     c) Video posted on YouTube of player driving burnt orange Lamborghini at what appears to be a high rate of speed with female passenger eventually pleading for him to slow down.

    If you want to cheat, here's the answer to one question with a news story to the latest Lamborghini incident.

    Monday morning links

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:02 AM

    José Miguel Romero provided a roster analysis three-quarters of the way through the exhibition schedule. That is linked here. The first round of NFL cuts is less dramatic this season. Teams must be down to 75 players, which is 10 more than previous seasons. Coaches like the change because you get one more game to evaluate players before taking the biggest bite out of the roster.

    There are some interesting roster debates going on at training camp. Running back, defensive tackle and linebacker are the current hotspots as José points out in his story today.

    The Seahawks also shift to a one-practice schedule beginning Monday, and I'll post a report after that practice.

    August 26, 2007

    Age, nothing but a number?

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:20 PM

    Tight end Marcus Pollard played his most productive game since joining the Seahawks when he caught three passes during the Seahawks' only first-half touchdown drive in Saturday's exhibition against Minnesota.

    He's in great shape, has an incredible story coming to the NFL after playing college basketball at Bradley and he's an engaging and personable interview. Coach Mike Holmgren even praised his blocking in training camp, calling it better than expected.

    After five years of unfulfilled expectations at tight end, looks like a great fit for the Seahawks, right? That was the premise of my story for Sunday's paper.

    Well, I came across this little tidbit that I found very interesting during my exciting Sunday evening reading NFL statistical analyses. The Pro Football Prospectus 2007 included a tidbit that since 1978, exactly six tight ends in the NFL have ever caught 10 or more passes in a season at the age of 35 [Editor's note: Clarified after read input]. Ten receptions. Ten. If I believed in using exclammation points I would have punctuated the last two sentences with that there because 10 is not a very big number at all. In fact, it would be disappointment if Pollard finished with that many, and yet only six guys have done it over the past 29 seasons. Granted, a couple of them did it multiple times, but it shows that 35 really is a ripe old age at that position.

    So in pursuit of full attribution, I'm cribbing the info right out of the amazingly informative Pro Football Prospectus 2007 ($19.95). The chart was included in the skill-player profile of Pollard, and I expanded it a little bit to include the players with multiple seasons of 10 or more catches, but here's the list of all tight ends since 1978 they found who caught more than 10 passes at the age of 35. (Note: Jimmie Giles turned 35 in November of the season referenced here).

    Player Team Year Age Rec. Yds. TDs
    Shannonn Sharpe Broncos 2003 35 62 770 8
    Wesley Walls Panthers 2001 35 43 452 5
      Panthers 2002 36 19 241 4
      Packers 2003 37 20 222 1
    Pete Metzelaars Panthers 1995 35 20 171 3
      Lions 1996 36 17 146 0
      Lions 1997 37 17 144 0
    Jimmie Giles Eagles 1989 34 16 225 2
    Russ Francis Patriots 1988 35 11 161 0
    Bob Tucker Vikings 1980 35 15 173 1

    Now here's the counterargument to that gloomy list of historical precedents. Pollard didn't play college football so subtract four years of wear and tear off his body. At least that's what his new quarterback thinks. Matt Hasselbeck was asked if he was surprised a player who didn't play college football has been able to last so long in the NFL. Hasselbeck said not playing college football is perhaps a reason Pollard lasted so long in the NFL.

    Also, Pollard hardly looks rundown. He's in immaculate shape. And during the team's summer minicamps he talked about the difference between his age and his mileage. The audio of his answer was linked here, but pulled down to comply with NFL restrictions.

    The Seahawks are banking pretty heavily on Pollard at a position that is the biggest unknown for the offense entering the season. What exactly can the Seahawks expect from their tight end considering they have -- in order -- a veteran who's 35, a blocking specialist who caught more than five passes in only one NFL season and a guy who has been placed on injured reserve at some point in three of the four seasons since being drafted. Will Heller is the blocking specialist, Ben Joppru is the one who's fighting a history of injuries.

    [Ed note: Also, take a look at here where Seth Kolloen [Editor's note: spelling corrected] did some poking around the history books to look at the production of tight ends who are older.]

    Note that didn't make Sunday's paper

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:03 AM

    A wealth of coverage awaits you this Sunday morning:

  • José Miguel Romero's game story is linked here.
  • Steve Kelley's column can be found here.
  • A collection of game-day notes is linked here.
  • A story on Marcus Pollard's impact is included here.

    Here's one note that didn't make Sunday's paper because of space considerations:

  • Seattle's special-team units were penalized six times in last week's loss to Green Bay, and allowed an 83-yard kickoff return. The Seahawks had a much better start to this week's exhibition game. Josh Brown kicked three field goals, Nate Burleson returned a punt 53 yards and rookie Josh Wilson returned a kickoff 38 yards, cutting his run back against the blocking scheme of the return.

    "I just want to go out there and try to make a play," Wilson said. "I just want to see there's an opportunity to possibly gash the defense on kickoff, and go out there and just make a play."

    Coach Mike Holmgren was asked about Wilson winning the job as kickoff returner, and he said he expects that's still Nate Burleson's job.

    "It's nice to have two," he said.

    (Note to readers: I'll be gone for the day, but will check back again this evening.)

  • August 25, 2007

    Saturday night synopsis

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:49 PM

    The Seahawks played their starters through the first half of the third exhibition game, making it the most meaningful of the team's meaningless games. We'll try to wade through just how meaningful that was.

    The Seahawks blitzed more on defense this game, the Qwest Field crowd rattled right tackle Ryan Cook who also had his hands full going against Patrick Kerney and one guy in the southeast corner of the stadium showed he has neither forgiven nor forgotten guard Steve Hutchinson by holding a sign that said, "Hutch just another paycheck player."

    Matt Hasselbeck looked sharp this game and the Seahawks offensive line stood up very well against the Vikings, whose defensive front includes one of the game's best tackle tandems in Kevin Williams and Pat Williams.

    Certainly it's concerning for Seattle to have the Vikings gain 51 yards on its first four rushing plays to start the second half when the Seahawks' first-unit defense remained in the game. The Seahawks secondary showed it's still susceptible to the trick play, too, but it's still the exhibition season and the Seahawks aren't focused on their opponent so much as preparing their own roster. To that end, here's a quick scan of players on the bubble who may have altered their standing:

    Player Position Stock
    Leonard Weaver RB Falling
    Comment: Got a shot as Seattle's third-down back on Saturday. He made a great one-handed catch and rushed five times for 12 yards, but Weaver's holding penalty nullified a 12-yard run by Maurice Morris and he also lost a fumble. "We'll look at the film," coach Mike Holmgren said. "It's the time of year for me that's least fun because we have to make decisions on who stays, who goes." Gulp. That doesn't sound promising for Weaver.
    Player Position Stock
    Ben Obomanu WR Rising
    Comment: Not many doubts about his status entering the game since most figure he's got a hammerlock as the fifth wide receiver on the 53-man roster. He caught his second touchdown pass in three exhibition games on Saturday.
    Player Position Stock
    Michael Boulware S Falling
    Comment: The play didn't end up costing Seattle because Brooks Bollinger overthrew Cortez Hankton on a third-and-13 play from Seattle's 31. But Hankton was behind Boulware on the play, a reminder of the safety's struggles against the deep ball.
    Player Position Stock
    Will Herring LB Even
    Comment: He intercepted a pass in the end zone to seal Seattle's goal-line defensive stand, but he also missed a tackle in the second half, allowing a big gain. There's going to be a real roster crunch if the Seahawks stick to the plan Holmgren hinted at and keep only six linebackers on the 53-man roster.
    Player Position Stock
    Russell Davis DT Rising
    Comment: Craig Terrill and Brandon Mebane worked at tackle with the second-unit defense, not a great sign for Davis, but he made the big hit and was credited with forcing a fumble by Mewelde Moore during Seattle's goal-line stand in the fourth quarter.

    Halftime notes

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 7:39 PM

    Trick plays continue to undermine the Seahawks defense as the only touchdown Minnesota scored in the first half came on an end-around handoff to Vikings wide receiver Bobby Wade, who then threw 6 yards to Visanthe Shiancoe for a touchdown.

    The Vikings scored on a trick play against the Seahawks in last year's game as running back Mewelde Moore threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Wiggins on a halfback option.

    After that game, one of the defenders remarked to me about the similiarities to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks gave up touchdowns on a long run and a trick play for a touchdown against the Steelers in the Super Bowl and again to the Vikings the following season.

    Fourteen yards was Minnesota's longest run of the first half, but that trick-play TD will definitely give the coaches something to talk about.

    Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck played all of the first half and was pretty spot on, completing 12 of his 17 pass attempts. The only real goof was the pass picked off by Antoine Winfield. Seneca Wallace replaced Hasselbeck to start the second half.

    Bobby Engram led the Seahawks with three catches for 47 yards in the first half. Tight end Marcus Pollard also caught three passes, all during the Seahawks' touchdown drive.

    Saturday's scratches

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 5:37 PM

    The following Seahawks are not playing in Saturday's game against Minnesota: QB Erik Meyer, CB Jordan Babineaux, LB Julian Peterson, T Walter Jones, WR Courtney Taylor, TE Leonard Stephens.

    Linebacker Leroy Hill is not listed among the scratches, but I haven't seen him in uniform yet. We'll still have to see if he plays. Lance Laury and Kevin Bentley are the first-unit linebackers during warmups.

    The Vikings not playing: S Mike Doss, CB Mike Hawkins, TE Richard Owens, LB Vinny Ciurciu.

    August 24, 2007

    Linebacker roster analysis

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 4:32 PM

    Coach Mike Holmgren said this week the team may not keep more than six linebackers on its 53-man roster. That would be a departure from recent history. The Seahawks have kept at least seven linebackers after the final training-camp cuts each of the past five seasons. They even kept eight in 2003.

    This year, the incumbent starters are Lofa Tatupu, Julian Peterson and Leroy Hill. Kevin Bentley provides versatility while Niko Koutouvides has led the team in special-teams tackles two of the past three seasons. Lance Laury was a standout on special teams in the eight games he played a year ago and rookie Will Herring has appeared to be a key element of the special-teams unit so far in training camp.

    This position is something to keep an eye on over the next two exhibition games as the Seahawks look to finalize their 53-man roster.

    2006 2005 2004
    7 7 7
    Lofa Tatupu Lofa Tatupu Orlando Huff
    Julian Peterson Jamie Sharper Isaiah Kacyvenski
    Leroy Hill D.D. Lewis Chad Brown
    Kevin Bentley Leroy Hill Niko Koutouvides
    Niko Koutouvides Niko Koutouvides Solomon Bates
    Isaiah Kacyvenski Kevin Bentley Tracy White
    D.D. Lewis Isaiah Kacyvenski Anthony Simmons
    2003 2002  
    8 7  
    Anthony Simmons Anthony Simmons  
    Randall Godfrey Isaiah Kacyvenski  
    Chad Brown Chad Brown  
    D.D. Lewis Marcus Bell  
    Orlando Huff Orlando Huff  
    Isaiah Kacyvenski Tim Terry  
    Tracy White D.D. Lewis  
    Solomon Bates    

    August 23, 2007

    Seahawks' training camp ends

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:54 AM

    In Cheney, this is usually the hardest day of training camp to get interviews. The last day of camp because the players are moving full tilt toward the exit, anxious to get showered and then get home.

    Well, it's a little different this year. Training camp ends, but the Seahawks aren't moving anywhere since practices have already been located at the team's headquarters and the players vacated the dorms earlier.

    Coach Mike Holmgren said he was worried about the location of camp, the proximity to home and the potential for distractions. He thanked the team at the conclusion of this morning's practice for their professionalism. He was pleased with the responsibility the team showed.

    "The players upheld their end of the bargain," Holmgren told reporters after Thursday's morning practice.

    The Seahawks have a walk-through on Friday for Saturday's exhibition game against Minnesota. They switch back to a once-per-day practice schedule next week.

  • Julian Peterson did not practice on Thursday. He has missed most of this week after hurting his knee last Saturday in Green Bay.

  • Marcus Tubbs will be on the field for 10-15 plays on Saturday, Holmgren said. It will be his first playing time in the exhibition schedule.

  • Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will play most of the first half, perhaps all of it, and then will be replaced by Seneca Wallace.

  • August 22, 2007

    Seahawks to fly Hawaiian this season

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:07 PM

    Paul Allen sold the Seahawks' team plane since last season, leaving the Seahawks in need of a new ride to out-of-town games. They'll be using Hawaiian Airlines charter service, the team announced on Wednesday, and flying a 767 that will be affixed with the Seahawks logo.

    At least one other team in the NFL uses the Hawaiian charter service. The Raiders.

    The 767 the Seahawks will use is a twin-aisle aircraft that can carry 264 passengers. The Seahawks will play five games in the Eastern time zone this season.

    Taking it up a notch

    Posted by Jose Romero at 12:45 PM

    I'm stepping in for Danny for this entry, as your favorite blogmaster is tending to other business.

    Without repeating what coach Mike Holmgren shouted to his players in practice this morning, I'll say this: Holmgren had a point to get across, and that point was eliminate the mistakes.

    Pick up the blitz. Complete the pass. Get off the field on defense. Don't line up offsides. Holmgren was more animated than normal in letting his expectations be known.

    Today's was by far the most intriguing practice session of camp, which officially breaks tomorrow though the team will continue practicing at team headquarters.
    The schedule will be altered next week from two-a-days to one full practice per day.

    "You'll see a little bit more of that sort of thing now until we play the first [regular-season] game," Holmgren said when asked about the extended team drills this morning.

    In other team happenings, LB Julian Peterson sat out a second straight day with a sore right knee and QB Erik Meyer missed practice with shin splints. WR Courtney Taylor returned to practice for the first time since injuring his knee in the intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 4.

    Holmgren said Peterson has a slight chance of playing in this week's exhibition game against Minnesota, but if not he will be ready for the fourth game on Aug. 30.

    QB Matt Hasselbeck, who didn't play last Saturday in Green Bay, will play this weekend for sure, and no decision has been made as to whether he will play the following week. Holmgren's plan, at least for now, is to have his starting units play into the second half on Saturday.

    Sean Locklear, the team's No. 1 right tackle, will move to left tackle for Saturday with Ray Willis opening at right tackle. Also, DT Marcus Tubbs will see his first action of the exhibition season this week, and rookie DT Brandon Mebane might see time with the No. 1 defense.

    "He's one of those guys that we have to see more of, just to really know him a little bit more," Holmgren said of Mebane.

    Wednesday morning links

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:26 AM

    The news from Tuesday was Seneca Wallace's extension with the Seahawks. The Seattle Times' news story on that can be found right here. José Miguel Romero's notebook from practice can be found here, leading with the comments from Matt Hasselbeck on Tuesday.

    The Chicago Tribune checked in on the NFC West in Wednesday's paper. Here's the link to Dan Pompei's overview.

    Pompei's most biting observation is this assessment of Darrell Jackson:

    "Darrell Jackson might catch a lot of passes, but it speaks volumes that the Seahawks would rather have him play in San Francisco than in Seattle. Jackson is not known for being one of the league's more courageous receivers. Next time you see him with a defender closing in, watch how fast he hits the deck."

    Pompei also predicts Darryl Tapp will make an impact as a pass rusher this season. Tapp has three sacks in two exhibition games and is taking some plays with the first-unit defense during practice this week. Pompei also says if it's not the Bears who have the league's best group of linebackers, then it's the Seahawks. [Ed note: Thanks to Dylan for pointing out an improper synopsis of Pompei's statement. Pompei doesn't assert the Seahawks LBs are better than the Bears.]

    August 21, 2007

    Seneca Wallace contract update, with audio

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 4:15 PM

    President Tim Ruskell spoke to reporters after the practice, confirming Wallace signed an extension. Wallace is now signed through 2010, Ruskell said, going three years beyond his current deal, which would have expired after this season. As is team policy, no monetary terms were reported.

    Wallace talked to reporters after practice to explain his decision:

    "I'm glad to be here in Seattle. I've been here five years and I have no complaints about anything so I'm glad I'm here."

    Of course, not all players would look at something in that way.

    Some players would start thinking that a better opportunity to play would be just a team away. Here's an audio file with Wallace's explanation of why he decided it was better to stay put.

    Wallace has moved up the depth chart, progressing from a No. 3 quarterback to a backup the past two seasons.

    Seneca Wallace signs extension

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 2:10 PM

    On Monday, coach Mike Holmgren said the team was lucky to have a quarterback like Seneca Wallace ready as a backup. On Tuesday, it became clear the Seahawks intend to keep him there.

    Wallace agreed to a three-year extension with the Seahawks. This is the second consecutive year Seattle signed Wallace to an extension during training camp. Last season, news of the extension didn't come out until midway through the regular season as Wallace stepped in to replace Matt Hasselbeck as the starting quarterback.

    This time, it's a larger contract with more security. A link to our online story is here. The NFL Network's Adam Schefter reported the three-year deal totals $5.4 million.

    The question is what to make of that? Well, first of all, it certainly shows the Seahawks like Wallace's development as a quarterback. Everyone likes to talk about the impact he could make on special teams or even as a wide receiver, but the reason he doesn't get those opportunities is the coaches don't want to endanger his status as the backup. Wallace also had a great training camp throwing the ball aside from an atrocious first half in San Diego during the first exhibition game, and even then he pulled himself out of it in the second half. As for the coaches' feelings about him? Well, take it from Holmgren. He was asked on Monday about Wallace and whether he had anything to prove this exhibition season. Here was the audio of Holmgren's response, taken down in compliance with NFL sound monitors.

    What about the benefit for Wallace? Well, he is going to get a raise from the $800,000 he was scheduled to make this year, according to the NFL Players Association. He also must feel like he's progressing under this system. It would be easy for a player as talented as Wallace to feel the grass would be greener somewhere else without a quarterback who's already gone to the Pro Bowl. But Wallace chose to forego the possibility of unrestricted free agency, which says something about how he feels about both his situation and his possibilities here in Seattle.

    M.Hasselbeck on E.J. Henderson: "I don't know what I'd say. Thanks for ruining my season?"

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:14 PM

    Matt Hasselbeck hasn't spoken to Minnesota linebacker E.J. Henderson since the game last season. He said he doesn't know what number Henderson wears and isn't sure if he plans to speak to him at any point on Saturday when the Vikings plays the Seahawks in an exhibition game.

    "I don't know what I'd say," Hasselbeck said Tuesday. "Thanks for ruining my season?"

    Hasselbeck suffered a sprained knee ligament when Henderson landed on his knee. Whether the collision could have been avoided remains an area of debate. Henderson said after the game he was blocked into Hasselbeck, and fullback Mack Strong did shove Henderson as he went by. Hasselbeck felt Henderson could have avoided the collision.

    Henderson was not penalized on the play, was not fined afterward and Hasselbeck clearly pointed out that he doesn't hold any sort of personal grudge with the player. It's just the play itself that remains a sticking point.

    "I don't have an issue with him necessarily, I just have an issue with the rule," Hasselbeck said. "Like I've said before, I don't have a problem with a guy leading and hitting me in the ribs with his helmet. I've got no problem with that. I don't have a problem with a guy even hitting me in the head. I do have a problem with a guy late around the quarterback's knees unnecessarily. I just think that's something that needs to be talked about.

    "That's not an issue with their team or an issue with a certain player. I just think if we want to protect the quarterback, that's the place to start. That's my opinion."

    Rookies on a role

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:15 PM

    The Seahawks left the practice field this morning when Deion Branch waved urgently and called for Courtney Taylor to come back to the edge of the field. Branch smiled and it seemed like he wanted the rookie receiver to come take a look at something.

    As Taylor walked down the cement pathway from the locker room, Branch shed his shoulder pads and helmet. Taylor broke into a smile. He was already carrying one veteran's helmet and pads in one hand. Now he had another. Taylor, a draft pick from Auburn, laughed as he picked up Branch's pads.

    Consider it a rite of passage. A veteran can ask a rookie to carry his pads off the field. It's almost always someone who plays the same position. Earlier this season, while I was interviewing Deon Grant, he summoned rookie safety C.J. Wallace to grab his pads.

    Every team has its own way of enforcing a code of seniority. Call it respect for elders or paying your dues, teams find all sorts of ways to do it. Baseball teams have been known to make rookies dress in women's clothing for a roadtrip. Last year, the Mariners newest rookie reliever was required to wear a pink backpack on the trek out to the bullpen.

    Used to be that rookie offensive linemen were required to bring donuts to the team's weekly film sessions. Well not just donuts, but Krispy Kremes. Of course that was when center Robbie Tobeck was the veteran voice in the locker room. We'll see this season if someone else enforces a code of seniority. For right now, a short walk with an older teammate's equipment counts for that rite of passage.

    M.Boulware returns to practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:10 PM

    Michael Boulware returned to practice on Tuesday morning. He missed Monday because of a sprained ankle, but coach Mike Holmgren said he expected Boulware to be available for Sunday's game.

    TE Ben Joppru, DT Marcus Green and LB Julian Peterson did not participate in the morning workout. An update on their injuries will be passed along once it's available.

    Sacked like a bag of groceries

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 9:52 AM

    Pass protection -- or more accurately the lack of it -- was one of the biggest differences between the Seahawks' Super Bowl season of 2005 and last year when their quarterback was beaten up. Some of it was because of a turnover along the offensive line. Some because left tackle Walter Jones was injured and then there was that Hutch guy who turned purple.

     
    Team
    2006 sacks
    allowed
    2005 sacks
    allowed
     
    Increase
    Detroit 63 31 32
    Oakland 72 45 27
    Seattle 49 27 22
    Pittsburgh 49 32 17
    Miami 41 26 15
    Cincinnati 36 21 15

    The Seahawks experienced the third largest rise in sacks allowed in the league last season. The teams who experienced the six largest increases are listed at the right.

    Calling the seven sacks Seattle allowed in Saturday's exhibition game in Green Bay a continuation of last season's problems is a stretch. The guys responsible for some of the most conspicuous breakdowns (Leonard Weaver and Marquis Weeks) weren't part of the problems last season. Tom Ashworth started six games at right tackle where he played much better than he did in his brief relief appearance for Walter Jones at left tackle in the season-opener. He struggled on the left side again on Saturday. A story about his reaction to the performance is linked here.

    Saturday's game is a reminder the quarterback is often only as good as the time he's provided to pass.

    Monday morning practice notes:

  • LB Julian Peterson was not on the field early during Monday's practice. He was banged up during Saturday's game, but it's not believed to be serious.

  • DT Marcus Green was not on the field for Monday's practice, and LB Leroy Hill is not participating in practice drills.

  • August 20, 2007

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:18 PM

    Coach Mike Holmgren on how he would respond to the players after Saturday's loss:

    "They talk about consistency and negative reinforcement, you should never do that. You should always be positive. That's a bunch of bologna. They all know me. If I .. brought cupcakes out there, we all had a deal, they'd go, 'Hmmm. That's different.'

    "That wouldn't work. I'm going to be who I am. They know that. And I expect them to respond."

    Needless to say, the players weren't given cupcakes on Monday.

    Holmgren audio on tackles

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:28 PM

    Coach Mike Holmgren mentioned after Monday's practice that the injury situation at tackle was cause for concern. Is that a long-term or short-term concern? Here's audio of Holmgren's answer removed to comply with NFL guidelines. to that question as the coach explains it's more a short-term concern given the return of Sean Locklear. He also talked about Walter Jones' status with his shoulder injury.

    As for Tom Ashworth's play on Saturday, Holmgren discussed that as he answered why Ashworth seemed to play better at right tackle than at left. Here was part of Holmgren's assessment of Ashworth, similarly removed to comply with the league's sound police.

    S.Locklear back at practice, R.Willis still working at tackle

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:46 PM

    Sean Locklear returned to practice on Monday after missing last week because of tendinitis in his knee. He did not play Saturday in Green Bay, leaving Ray Willis working at right tackle and Tom Ashworth at left tackle.

    Willis was still working at right tackle during practice on Monday, which is significant because he had been competing with Chris Gray for time at right guard through the first couple weeks of training camp. Tackle is Willis' more natural position, though, and while coach Mike Holmgren said Willis will continue to see time at both tackle and guard, it appears his competition for playing time at guard is done.

    Ashworth started at left tackle on Saturday in Green Bay, and he again looked overmatched lining up on that edge. Holmgren said Ashworth looked much better at right tackle than at left in his time with the team. Ashworth practiced with the second-unit line at right tackle on Monday.

    Third-string quarterback David Greene's issue has been accuracy as he showed in the exhibition game in Green Bay when he completed six passes to Seahawks and three to Packers.

    "His accuracy is a big thing," Holmgren said. "He runs the team decently. He's a hard worker. He moves well enough. It's just the balls fly on him on occasion."

    Holmgren was asked later if Greene needed to show more urgency.

    "Well, I would think so, yeah," Holmgren said. "Well, David has been here three years. He knows the program."

    Safety Michael Boulware did not practice on Monday, sitting out because of a sprained ankle. Holmgren said Boulware should be available to play on Saturday against Minnesota. Linebacker Julian Peterson did not participate in all of practice after getting a little banged up in the exhibition game.

    Pittsburgh's "Insane Hardhatted Caveman"

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:59 AM

    OK. That's not really his nickname, but the Steelers have introduced their new mascot, Steely McBeam (though there's some Seahawk fans may think that spelling should be 'Stealy' given the outcome of Super Bowl XL. Here's a link to a picture right here. Not sure what he looks like. The best I could come up with is he looks like the Purdue Boilermaker only angrier with bushier eyebrows and a downright unsettling glint in those cartoon eyes. He kind of frightens me.

    Gotta' admit I wasn't out there trolling for new mascots around the league. I found it here, on the Football Outsiders week in quotes. That's a great site by the way for much more than just its collection of quotes. You can read their observations on the Seahawks-Packers exhibition game here, which is about two-thirds of the way down this page. The three observers -- like most people who watched the game -- panned Tom Ashworth's play at left tackle.

    Here's the story in our paper on Monday from José Miguel Romero, who wrote about Mack Strong. He made his second consecutive Pro Bowl last season, but as he told José he really wore down over the course of last season.

    August 19, 2007

    An emphasis on the offensive line

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:38 AM

    Not surprisingly, coach Mike Holmgren was none too happy with the Seahawks' performance in their second exhibition game in Green Bay. Even the fact no one got hurt evoked a wry comment. It "isn't surprising, seeing as how we didn't hit anybody," Holmgren said.

    José Miguel Romero covered the game, and his notebook leads with an assessment of David Greene's performance.

    While Greene's performance may have an impact on the final roster, but it's not going to have much of an impact on the season. He doesn't figure to play.

    So let's look at something that is more pressing. The offensive line and the seven sacks allowed.

    We'll start with a little bit of history here. Two years ago I was making the transition from covering the NBA and the Seattle Sonics to reporting on the Seahawks. Running back Shaun Alexander was Seattle's franchise player at the time, agreeing to a one-year deal with the caveat he would not receive the franchise tag again.

    Tim Ruskell was in his first year as team president and it seemed to me that Alexander's situation this was the overwhelming question facing the franchise and its future. When I termed the question that way to Ruskell he pointed out to me the identity of this team was really found on the security of its offensive line and not the uncertainty of Alexander's future.

    He was absolutely right. That line was the Seahawks signature during its Super Bowl run when Walter Jones was considered by many to be the human playing football that year, Steve Hutchinson provided the clenched-jaw toughness and Robbie Tobeck and Chris Gray provided the veteran seasoning that allowed Seattle to mix in third-year tackle Sean Locklear seamlessly after Floyd Womack injured his triceps in an exhibition game.

    The offensive line again became the identity of Seattle's team in 2006, a year marred with injuries and inconsistency. Seattle's starting offensive line changed eight times and failed to provide Hasselbeck with the protection he needed. The quarterback's ribs were injured the first week, his non-throwing hand was broken another. He missed games because of a knee injury and all around found it difficult to trust he was going to get protection and the underlying question to Seattle's 9-7 season was: Did losing Hutchinson to Minnesota really make that big a difference?

    This is not going to be another rehashing of Seattle's miscalculation in that regard. The Seahawks goofed. They underestimated both what the payscale for guards would become under the new collective-bargaining agreement and they underestimated Hutchinson's willingness to agree to a deal that hamstrung Seattle's ability to match it.

    That's history. The question facing the Seahawks in the present is whether they can find the consistency the offensive line provided in 2005. Their protection -- or more accurately the lack thereof -- is what really stood out on Saturday in Green Bay. It's unfair to judge the unit on that game alone since the Seahawks were missing the two tackles who will presumably start the season, but Green Bay is hardly noted for a dominant defensive line and the Packers had their way with the Seahawks up front.

    Tough to blame Seneca Wallace for the first fumble returned for a touchdown. He got clobbered from his blindside after left tackle Tom Ashworth failed to put much more than a fingernail on Green Bay's defensive end.

    On the flip side, left guard Rob Sims has acquitted himself well. He developed some scar tissue last season, thrown into the fire of short-yardage situations, but he has the mobility that has the coaches salivating about the idea of letting him pull and get out in front of the ball carrier.

    Now, it's too early to jump to any conclusions, especially after a game in which the Seahawks played without their starting two tackles, but a performance like Saturday should put everyone on edge and serve as a reminder that this team's identity is going to be forged in large part by its offensive line, for better or worse.

    August 18, 2007

    48-13, ouch

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:24 PM

    The Seahawks allowed more points in this game than any exhibition game since their inaugural season and believe it or not the defense can't be blamed for too much of that.

    Seattle quarterbacks combined for five turnovers. Seneca Wallace fumbled twice, each returned for touchdowns and third-string quarterback David Greene completed almost as many passes to Packers (three) as he did to Seahawks (six).

    Now, the Seahawks allowed seven sacks, scored only one touchdown and it would be really easy to blow the significance all out of proportion. The Seahawks didn't play quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and starting tackles Sean Locklear and Walter Jones didn't even make the trip. The big problem would be if those two weren't ready for the regular season and there's no indication that is even a consideration.

    Still, this one was ugly.

    The Seahawks special teams allowed an 83-yard kickoff return to set up the Packers first touchdown and committed five of the team's 10 penalties.

    If there is a bright side to a game in which the Seahawks allowed more points than any exhibition game since the inaugural season of 1976, it's that Tom Ashworth isn't expected to be starting at left tackle when the season begins.

    He looked pretty overmatched in this game. Cullen Jenkins beat him soundly with a spin move and then Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila ran almost untouched around Ashworth en route to clobbering Wallace from behind, forcing a fumble Packers linebacker Nick Barnett returned for a touchdown.

    The Seahawks repeatedly talk about how they do not game plan for exhibition games, and that may explain breakdowns like failing to pick up a safety blitz like the one in which Atari Bigby forced a fumble that Tracy White returned for a score.

    But some of the protection breakdowns were straightforward blocking assignments that were missed and that's where the absence of Jones and Locklear really stood out.

    This was a flashback to the protection problems the Seahawks had last season, but let's not jump to conclusions just yet. The starting tackles were out, but one of the strongest impressions from the exhibition opener in San Diego was the Seahawks allowed only one sack in that game. The inability to establish an offensive rhythm in the first half of Saturday's game in Green Bay was directly a result of the protection problems.

    For the record, the only time the Seahawks allowed more points in an exhibition game was when the Seahawks lost 52-7 to Denver on Aug. 21, 1976.

    Other observations:

  • Leonard Weaver showed the positives he brings on the Seahawks' only touchdown drive with a 13-yard reception on the first play and then throwing the key block on linebacker Desmond Bishop on Maurice Morris' 15-yard touchdown run. Weaver's block was so effective on that play that Bryce Poppinga ended up getting hung up on Bishop, too. Two defenders for the price of one block.

    But Weaver also showed why his blocking remains an area in need of improvement. He completely whiffed on a safety blitz by Bigby and also failed to pick up linebacker A.J. Hawk on another play.

  • Rookie Josh Wilson showed a lot of explosiveness on kickoff returns. He returned kicks for 56 yards, 42 and then 46 yards. The first two returns were wiped out by penalties, but after losing a fumble in the exhibition opener in San Diego, Wilson's performance was a bright spot on an otherwise dismal day for special teams.

  • Seattle's special teams were largely dreadful from the 83-yard kickoff return allowed in the first half to the five penalties the units committed. Three different Seahawks were penalized for holding on Wilson's 56-yard return: Michael Boulware, David Kirtman and Omowale Dada all assessed penalties and a drive that would have started on the Green Bay 44 instead began on Seattle's own 11. Wilson's 42-yard return in the third quarter was wiped out by a holding penalty against Nu'u Tafisi.

  • Third-string quarterback David Greene did not play well from the first interception, which he overthrew by several feet to the last of his three interceptions, which he tried to force into coverage. And as badly as Greene played, it could have been worse. Packers defensive back Jarrett Bush let one sure interception go through his hands.

  • Maurice Morris showed some explosiveness in this game. The question with Morris has always been his ability to get past first contact, and he showed a good combination of burst and vision in this game. He scored Seattle's only touchdown in the second quarter.

  • Defensive end Darryl Tapp continued to play well with another sack, giving him three in two exhibition games.

  • Hasselbeck not playing

    Posted by Jose Romero at 4:01 PM

    Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck made the trip to Green Bay, but he'll join the spectators in the rain tonight at Lambeau Field. Hasselbeck will not play, it's been announced.

    Seneca Wallace starts in his place. Other roster notes: Tom Ashworth starts at left tackle and Ray Willis at right tackle for Walter Jones and Sean Locklear, who are not on the trip. Kevin Bentley opens at linebacker for Leroy Hill, who isn't here.

    Nate Burleson will start at wide receiver in place of D.J. Hackett, who will still play. Burleson got significant snaps with the starters this past week.

    As for the weather, it's raining pretty good an hour before kickoff. But that didn't stop assistant coach Jim Mora from running stairs, getting in his daily exercise, it appeared.

    August 17, 2007

    Defensive tackle breakdown

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 4:48 PM

    Marcus Tubbs won't play in this Saturday's exhibition game in Green Bay, but his return to the practice field helps give a little fuller picture of the situation at defensive tackle.

    Rookie Brandon Mebane and his tree-trunk legs have made a strong impression in his first training camp, not only with his gap-plugging ability in the run defense but his proficiency in getting up the field and after the quarterback. Tubbs is the anchor in the middle of the Seahawks rushing defense and in 2005 he paired well with the tireless Chuck Darby.

    Rocky Bernard, Craig Terrill and Russell Davis also worked into the rotation last season. Terrill suffered a knee injury last season and was also slowed by injuries during this training camp.

    The Seahawks generally keep five defensive tackles on the 53-man roster. Will they stick with that this year or possibly go with six since Tubbs' number of plays may be limited even in the regular season. The Seahawks kept 10 defensive linemen on the 53-man roster last season, and they don't figure to keep more than four defensive ends this season.

    The rotations at that position will be something worth watching on Saturday night.

    Here's a listing of the Seahawks recent history at defensive tackle on the 53-man roster:

    2006 2005 2004
    5 4 5
    Chuck Darby Chuck Darby Cedric Woodard
    Marcus Tubbs Marcus Tubbs Rashard Moore
    Craig Terrill Craig Terrill Marcus Tubbs
    Rocky Bernard Rocky Bernard Craig Terrill
    Russell Davis   Rocky Bernard
    2003 2002  
    5 5  
    John Randle John Randle  
    Cedric Woodard Chad Eaton  
    Norman Hand Cedric Woodard  
    Rocky Bernard John Hilliard  
    Rashad Moore Rocky Bernard  

    August 16, 2007

    Playing time plans for Saturday's exhibition game

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:55 PM

    José Miguel Romero just phoned in to report coach Mike Holmgren's playing-time plans for Saturday's game in Green Bay:

  • How much -- if any -- playing time quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will get hasn't been decided. Holmgren said he needs to talk to his quarterback later on Thursday.

  • Offensive starters RB Shaun Alexander, FB Mack Strong, WR Bobby Engram, TE Marcus Pollard and OL Chris Gray will play more than they did in Sunday's game in San Diego, but probably not much beyond the first quarter.

  • Third-string quarterback David Greene probably will play most of the second half.

  • Tackles Sean Locklear (knee) and Walter Jones (shoulder) won't travel. LB Leroy Hill, DB Jordan Babineaux (knee), TE Will Heller (ankle), WR Courtney Taylor (knee) and TE Leonard Stephens (ankle) also will remain behind.

  • Rookie lineman Mansfield Wrotto left the practice field on Thursday after being poked in the eye.

  • Thursday morning links

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 9:09 AM

    José Miguel Romero reported on the growing connection between Deion Branch and Matt Hasselbeck in a story for Thursday's paper. You can read about that here. Highlights from the day at training camp can be found here.

    Coach Mike Holmgren has not announced how much Matt Hasselbeck will play in Saturday's exhibition game in Green Bay, but that's something that will be updated today. It's the Seahawks last day of practice before traveling to Green Bay on Friday to play in Saturday's game.

    Remember Chike Okeafor? The defensive end who skipped off the field, wore a chaos medallion and didn't so much march to the beat of his own drummer as he had a personal percussion section? Well, he underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn biceps. It's an injury that typically takes four months of recovery, but Okeafor believes he can make it back in weeks not months. The link to the story from the Arizona Republic is here.

    August 15, 2007

    Jerramy Stevens' motions to dismiss denied

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:44 AM

    Jerramy Stevens' attorney made an array of motions to suppress evidence and dismiss the drunk-driving charges against Stevens in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Tuesday. Those motions were all denied, and according to the Scottsdale prosecutor, the case is scheduled for trial, which begins Sept. 5.

    Stevens now plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who face the Seahawks in the season-opener on Sept. 9.

    Seahawks travel itinerary

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:11 AM

    Dallas Morning News NFL columnist Rick Gosselin names the Seahawks the top team in their division, but he includes an interesting note about their upcoming season:

    "The Seattle Seahawks are the team to beat in the NFC West this season and their No. 1 foe may be jet lag. The Seahawks make five cross-country trips to play teams in the Eastern time zone: Atlanta, Carolina, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh."

    A link to his column can be found here.

    We published a story Wednesday on a few Seahawks' plans to get in tip-top shape by running up Cougar Mountain. A link to that story is here. Highlights from the day at training camp can be found here.

    Also, NFL.com ranked the top 10 plays from the first week of exhibition games. Ben Obomanu's touchdown catch from Seneca Wallace was ranked No. 2, just ahead of Franklin alumni Jesse Chatman's 74-yard touchdown run for the Dolphins and the top play was a helmetless tackle by a Washington player. That video can be found on NFL.com.

    August 14, 2007

    Marcus Tubbs' return

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:36 PM

    Marcus Tubbs underwent arthroscopic surgery after playing the first three games of 2006. He missed one week, came back and played two games before the knee flared up again. He then underwent microfracture surgery, which is more common among basketball players. Amare Stoudemire, Matt Harpring and Chris Webber all underwent the surgery. Mariners pitcher Mark Lowe recently came back from the operation in his elbow. Cleveland's Kellen Winslow underwent microfracture surgery. So did former Seahawks defensive tackle John Randle. Jacksonville defensive tackle Marcus Stroud underwent a microfracture surgery in his ankle. The desired result is the procedure will stimulate development of new cartilage will form.

    Here's what Tubbs said, talking about the necessity of surgery:

    "I think it came to the point where that operation is kind of just what I needed. I knew rehab would be a long process, but I was willing to do it to get back out and help this team."

    Tubbs practiced for the first time on Tuesday, activated from the physically unable to perform list.

    Coach Mike Holmgren said the goal remains to have Tubbs ready to play in the third exhibition game against Minnesota.

    "He's a talented man and he has been injured a bit, but when he's played, he's played well," Holmgren said. "That's the tough part. We have to be careful about pushing him a little too fast."

    Doubting the difference Tubbs makes? Just look at the numbers for Seattle's rushing defense when he's in compared to when he's out the past two seasons:

     
    2006
     
    G
    Rush yds.
    per allowed
    Avg. yds.
    per carry
     
    Rush TDs
    With Tubbs 5 82 3.9 2
    Without 11 147.2 4.8 10
     
    2005
     
    G
    Rush yds.
    per game
    Rush avg.
    per carry
     
    Rush TDs
    With Tubbs 13 89.2 3.4 4
    Without 3 117 3.4 1

     
    Other notes

  • Rookie cornerback Josh Wilson sat out practice because of a sore heel, coach Mike Holmgren said. The injury may have resulted from the shoes he wore.

  • Right tackle Sean Locklear has been diagnosed with tendinitis in his knee. He played in the first half of Sunday's game in San Diego and experienced soreness afterward. He underwent a magnetic-resonance image (MRI) test on Monday, which found no tears and led to the diagnosis of tendinitis.

  • Left tackle Walter Jones did not practice. He started Sunday in San Diego, but coach Mike Holmgren said his shoulder was sore and he will rest. Holmgren said Jones will do a lot of cardiovascular conditioning and some light lifting, but Jones might not play in the three remaining exhibition games to let the shoulder "quiet down" according to Holmgren.

  • Seahawks sign Groce

    Posted by Jose Romero at 10:28 AM

    The Seahawks have signed former St. Louis Rams defensive back DeJuan Groce, the Times has learned.

    Groce, a fourth-round pick of the Rams in 2003, replaces kicker Kyle Stringer on the Seahawks roster. He played for the New Orleans Saints last season but was released in June of this year.

    Groce, 5-foot-10 and 191 pounds, is in his fifth pro season from Nebraska. He started 15 of 16 regular-season games in 2005, his last with the Rams. Groce was also a return specialist in the first two years of his career.

    This signing is an interesting one. The Seahawks figure to keep three cornerbacks -- Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings and Josh Wilson -- but beyond that, no one has really stood out in practice and in the exhibition game. Jordan Babineaux is injured but should make the team as a cornerback-slash-safety, and the safety position is stocked with four proven NFL veterans. Still, veteran presence is the preferred option among the coaching staff.

    Marcus Tubbs returns to the practice field

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:07 AM

    Marcus Tubbs is on the practice field Tuesday morning, which means he has been removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list. Tubbs had not taken part in practices yet as he continued his recovery from microfracture surgery on his knee.

    Tubbs' return is not a surprise. Coach Mike Holmgren previously said the target date for Tubbs' return was the third exhibition game. His return is important because he is the largest member of what is a largely undersized line. There is a significant decline in Seattle's run defense after he was injured last season.

    Also returning to practice on Tuesday: Fullback David Kirtman (broken hand), Floyd Womack (hamstring), Niko Koutouvides (chest contusion), Craig Terrill (knee) and Leroy Hill (hamstring). The Seahawks are down to three healthy tight ends, Marcus Pollard, Joe Newton and the newly signed Andy Stokes.

    Walter Jones and Sean Locklear are not taking part in the team practice on Tuesday, leaving Tom Ashworth to fill in at left tackle and Ray Willis at right tackle.

    Wide receiver roster breakdown

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:47 AM

    It certainly appears that Ben Obamanu has grabbed hold of the Seahawks' No. 5 roster spot, establishing possession with five catches and a remarkable touchdown during Sunday's exhibition victory.

    That was the highlight for the receivers in a game where Rob Sims and Tom Ashworth had more catches than Nate Burleson and D.J. Hackett.

    NBC announcer John Madden speculated the Seahawks might only keep four wide receivers on the final 53-man roster. That has only happened once in the previous five seasons at wide receiver, the position where the Seahawks fluctuated more than any other at final training-camp cuts.

    Draft pick Courtney Taylor played well the first week of training camp, but will be out a month after suffering a knee injury. Chris Jones and Logan Payne each stood out at during different points of training camp.

    Here's the Seahawks stockpile at receiver on the 53-man roster the past five seasons after the final training-camp cuts. Note that Maurice Mann made the final cut last season only to be let go later that week when the Seahawks signed return man Willie Ponder.

    2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
    5 7 6 4 5
    Darrell Jackson Darrell Jackson Koren Robinson Koren Robinson Koren Robinson
    Bobby Engram Bobby Engram Darrell Jackson Darrell Jackson Darrell Jackson
    Nate Burleson Joe Jurevicius Bobby Engram Bobby Engram Bobby Engram
    D.J. Hackett Peter Warrick Alex Bannister Alex Bannister Alex Bannister
    Maurice Mann D.J. Hackett D.J. Hackett   James Williams
      Jerheme Urban Jerheme Urban    
      Alex Bannister      

    August 13, 2007

    Here to Alaska

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 2:24 PM

    Sports Illustrated's Peter King was in town last week to visit the Seahawks' training camp. His most interesting observation regarding the Seahawks in his Monday Morning column has nothing to do with what he saw here, but rather what they'll hear in Alaska this season:

    "The Seattle Seahawks have signed with a radio station in Fairbanks, Alaska, to carry their games this season. Fairbanks is 2,244 miles away from Qwest Field, and it would take 42 hours to make the drive from there to the stadium.

    To get some sense of the distance between Seattle and Fairbanks, imagine if New England got a station in Cheyenne, Wyo., to be Wyoming's home of the Patriots. Foxboro is 314 miles closer to Cheyenne than Seattle is to Fairbanks -- and it would take 13 fewer hours to make the drive from the Rockies to eastern Massachusetts than it would to drive through large chunks of the Yukon to make it to Qwest.

    Parts of Russia are closer to Fairbanks, in fact, than Fairbanks is to Seattle. It is a 1,050-mile flight (air miles) from Fairbanks, flying west across the Bering Strait, to the eastern tip of Russia."

    Here's a link to the page you can find that tidbit on.

    Jerramy Stevens follow-up

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:11 AM

    Tampa Bay tight end Jerramy Stevens has an evidentiary hearing on Tuesday morning in Scottsdale, Ariz., regarding his drunk-driving arrest from back in March. The defense made motions to suppress evidence and dismiss the case, according to James Nesci, Stevens' attorney.

    Stevens was arrested in March and faces a charge of extreme DUI because his BAC was measured at .204, according to the Scottsdale police. An extreme DUI carries a mandatory 30-day jail sentence.

    The trial is scheduled to start at the beginning of September. The Bucs play at the Seahawks on Sept. 9.

  • According to Nesci, one issue at the evidentiary hearing regards the police department's application for a warrant to draw Stevens' blood after he refused a breath test. The application for a warrant to draw blood was made over the phone, and Nesci said the officer is required to inform the judge what happened as well as the officer's credentials. Nesci said the officer who applied for the telephonic warrant informed the judge of his credentials, but did not inform the judge another officer is the one who conducted the investigation. Nesci also said an eye test of Stevens was performed by an officer not qualified to administer the test.

  • Another issue regards Stevens' right to an independent test of his own blood. Nesci said Stevens was informed he could have an independent test of his own blood after he was released from jail. However, the application for the warrant stated a blood draw would be useless after 6:30 a.m. Stevens was not released until 7. If the blood draw was useless after 6:30 as the warrant application stated, Nesci said, then Stevens essentially did not have his right to an independent test if he was in fact told he could get an independent test once he was released.

  • Nesci said the defense has a forensic toxicologist that will be called to the stand in the evidentiary hearing to explain Stevens' blood was mishandled after it was drawn.

    The Tampa Tribune published this story last week on Stevens talking about both his stumbles and his potential.

    "I don't think people know me as a person hardly at all. Obviously I've had some issues and people have a perception of who I am, but I'm a real type of person. I pretty much tend to keep it that way.

    "I know there might be a bad perception of me, but I know I need to be more about making plays."

  • Monday-morning look around the division

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:30 AM

    NFC West roundup

  • Arizona lost one exhibition and possibly two starters along its line on Sunday. Chike Okeafor suffered a torn biceps, right tackle Oliver Ross a torn triceps, according to the Arizona Republic. Both may be gone for the year.

  • The 49ers are the last team in the division to open their exhibition season. They play the Broncos tonight. The San Francisco Chronicle's look ahead to that game is here.

  • The Rams Steven Jackson went and found the football Brian Leonard carried for his first touchdown in Friday's exhibition game. Oh, how considerate of him. St. Louis Post-Dispatch story is here. Leonard is the Rams' second-round pick, chosen to spell Jackson. The Rams are practicing in pretty intense heat there in St. Louis.

  • Monday morning recaps of Sunday's game

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:09 AM

    What Matt Hasselbeck started, Seneca Wallace finished.

    That wasn't just the Seahawks' quarterback sequence during Sunday's exhibition game in San Diego, it was the formula for the victory. Hasselbeck guided the Seahawks to a touchdown on their opening drive and Wallace rebounded from a dreadful first half to guide the team to a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

    José Miguel Romero's game story can be found here. The matchup between the past two NFL MVPs never emerged as LaDainian Tomlinson sat out the exhibition game, as is his standard-operating procedure. The notebook for the game can be found here.

    The Seahawks don't practice Monday, the players getting their first day off since training camp began. Right tackle Sean Locklear will have his knee examined Monday.

    August 12, 2007

    Exhibition opener observations

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:08 PM

    A breathless exhibition victory. Well. OK. Maybe that's overdoing it.

    C.J. Wallace's interception sealed a comeback victory. You can find the Gamebook of stats courtesy of NFL.com, here. But the outcome isn't nearly as important as who won and lost in the chase for a spot on the roster.

    RB Marquis Weeks led the Seahawks with 37 yards rushing on five carries. He mixed a couple impressive spins into his 21-yard run in the second half and scored a touchdown.
    Why it matters: Josh Scobey was the Seahawks' third running back entering the past two seasons. He's gone now. That presumably leaves an opening unless the Seahawks plan to use Leonard Weaver as both the backup fullback and third-string halfback, but coach Mike Holmgren emphasized again last week that Weaver is a fullback. That leaves Weeks an opening. Can he run through it and reach the roster?

    WR Ben Obomanu scored Seattle's second touchdown, deadening the ball with his right hand and then grabbing hold with both hands while still getting both feet down. People will talk about Deion Branch's touchdown catch from in the first quarter as a sign of his improved rapport with Matt Hasselbeck. I say this one was more important for the shape of the roster. Not only was it a remarkable catch, it was Obomanu's third receptoin during the drive as he gained 41 of Seattle's 75 yards during that scoring drive. He finished with a team-high five catches for 83 yards.
    Why it matters: John Madden mentioned the possibility during the NBC telecast that Seattle might start the season with only four wide receivers given the questions at fullback and tight end. Seattle had only four receivers on the 53-man roster in 2003, but Obomanu continued his strong case to be the fifth receiver this season. He even returned punts in the second half.

    QB Seneca Wallace played well in the second half, but he was dreadful early, fumbling away the ball one play after his defense pounced on a turnover. Wallace also threw a pass intercepted by rookie safety Eric Weddle is certainly the kind of play his coach hoped Wallace had outgrown. Wallace completed 15 of 20 passes in the second half.
    Why it matters: Not only did Wallace show his chops as a backup last season, but his performance during the first two weeks of training camp produced glowing reviews. Not sure the reviews of Sunday's game will be so sterling.

    DE Darryl Tapp had two sacks in the game, one in each half. He had only three sacks all of last season so consider it a fast first step to his sophomore season.
    Why it matters: Tapp fits with Seattle's philosophy on defense of speed over size, but he had trouble making much of a dent last season other than that interception return for a touchdown in Denver.

    Other notes

  • Seattle gave up only one sack and that was on a fourth-down play. The Chargers play a 3-4 defense with one of the best front sevens in the league. They are fast and aggressive and I anticipated something like Dallas' exhibition game in Seattle two years ago when the Cowboys gave the Seahawks line fits. Instead, the Seahawks stood up very well.

  • The Seahawks defense continued to hemorrhage in third-and-long situations. They allowed the Chargers to convert three of seven third-down plays in the first half. More concerning: Seattle allowed an average of more than 9 yards on those third-down plays. The results of the first-half third-down plays are listed below.

    3-17 16-yard completion to Darren Sproles
    3-21 23-yard completion to Sproles
    3-4 13-yard completion to Malcolm Floyd
    3-21 13-yard completion to Vincent Jackson (fumbled)
    3-8 10-yard completion to Kassim Osgood
    3-2 Incompletion
    3-11 Billy Volek sacked by Darryl Tapp

    Throw in San Diego's two fourth-down conversions on its final drive and that's entirely too much ground the Seahawks defense gave up when it had chances to get off the field.

  • Seattle's pass rush produced five sacks. Hey, that's great and all, but let's not get too carried away. This is the exhibition season after all, and two plays in the second half showed San Diego's line simply did not deal well with the stunt in which the defensive end rushed to the inside, running past as the defensive tackle engaged the offensive tackle. That's the play that produced Tapp's second-half sack. That was San Diego's second-string line. It won't be that easy in the regular season.

    Me? I'm just excited at the prospect of John Cougar Mellencamp performing during NBC's regular-season opening weekend telecast. I've always said that it's not nearly enough for a network to broadcast a compelling game between two of the top teams from last season. We need to spice it up with actors whose contemporary work is found in commercials.

  • Lesson in division

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:17 AM

    The 49ers have become this season's trendy pick to challenge the Seahawks' recent dominance of the division. ESPN.com's John Clayton takes a look at their pending emergence right here. That's what beating the Seahawks twice last season and spending millions in the free-agent market will get you: preseason buzz.

    The question is whether that carries over. It didn't for Arizona the past two seasons when the Cardinals were a common pick to be a breakthrough team.

    One of the biggest questions I see in the 49ers is the impact Norv Turner's departure will have on quarterback Alex Smith. As a rookie, Smith seemed lost and the 49ers finished last in the league in both offense and defense. Last season, he made strides, which Seattle certainly saw in its Thursday night loss to the Niners.

    Now that Turner is in San Diego, coaching the Chargers, the question is whether Smith will take a step back.

    Kerney and Seahawks defensive ends

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:56 AM

    The Seahawks began free agency last offseason with two immediate goals: Signing guard Kris Dielman and bolstering the pass rush with Patrick Kerney. Going 1-for-2 is pretty good in baseball, and now we'll see how it works out for Seattle since it signed Kerney in free agency, but watched Dielman walk away and re-sign with the Chargers. The Seahawks play San Diego on Sunday at 5. Here's a link to The Times' game-day preview.

    Kerney walked an interesting path to the NFL, coming to Virginia as a lacrosse player. Here's a feature about that progression. Did the Cavaliers know just what they were getting when Kerney showed up on campus? Well, let's ask Kerney. Audio of his answer was linked here on Sunday. Gone now, though. Sorry. Gotta' comply with National Fascist Football League rule regarding audio on the Web.

    Bryce Fisher moved from left to right end to accommodate Kerney's arrival, and Darryl Tapp will be expected to play a more prominent role in his second season. As a rookie last season, he never made the impact some expected. Rookie Baraka Atkins hasn't done much to jump out at me so far in training camp, but he has an impressive build and comes from a great college program. I'll be interested to watch him in Sunday's game. Also, any mention of Seahawks depth end has to mention Julian Peterson, who often moved forward to line up at end in the Seahawks nickel packages.

    The Seahawks tied for first in the league in sacks in 2005 with 50. Last season, that total declined to 41.

    Some of that has to do with situation. Seattle played with a lead for much of the Super Bowl season, which meant the defense knew opponents would have to pass. The 50 sacks didn't mean the Seahawks had a dominant pass rush, but it did show they were effective in getting to the opponent's quarterbacks.

    Here's a look at how many defensive ends the Seahawks have kept after final training-camp cuts over the past five seasons:

    2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
    5 4 5 4 4
    Grant Wistrom Grant Wistrom Grant Wistrom Chike Okeafor Lamar King
    Bryce Fisher Bryce Fisher Chike Okeafor Antonio Cochran Anton Palepoi
    Joe Tafoya Joe Tafoya Antonio Cochran Anton Palepoi Antonio Cochran
    Darryl Tapp Alain Kashama Anton Palepoi Brandon Mitchell Brandon Mitchell
    Chris Cooper   Brandon Mitchell    

    August 11, 2007

    Safety in numbers

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 4:44 PM

    José Miguel Romero wrote a story today about Michael Boulware and Mike Green, two strong safeties with the same first name who figured prominently in plans last season, but now are fighting for a role on the team.

    No position changed more in the offseason for the Seahawks than safety. Seattle signed Brian Russell and Deon Grant in free agency and retained Jordan Babineaux, a restricted free agent. Then there's Green and Boulware.

    How many safeties will the Seahawks keep? Four for sure. Seattle hasn't kept five safeties since 2002. Babineaux's presence offers some flexibility since he can play cornerback, too. Of course, he's hurt right now, but he missed only one game over the past two seasons and the fact the Seahawks tendered him with a qualifying offer of more than $1 million means they have plans for him.

    Babineaux's flexibility offers another possibility. Could the team could go with three corners and five safeties with Babineaux able to slide from safety to corner? Don't know if that's what the Seahawks plan to do, but it is a possibility.

    Here's how many safeties the Seahawks kept after the final training-camp roster cutdown over the past five seasons:

    2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
    4 4 3 4 5
    Michael Boulware Michael Boulware Terreal Bierria Reggie Tongue Reggie Tongue
    Ken Hamlin Ken Hamlin Ken Hamlin Ken Hamlin Marcus Robertson
    Jordan Babineaux Marquand Manuel Michael Boulware Damien Robinson Terreal Bierria
    Oliver Celestin John Howell   Terreal Bierria Curtis Fuller
            Harold Blackmon

    Seahawks cut CB Ross, sign tight end

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:09 AM

    The Seahawks announced a roster move Saturday morning. They released cornerback Gerard Ross, who played in one playoff game for the team last season, and signed tight end Andy Stokes, who was released by the Arizona Cardinals.

    Stokes is a 6-foot-4 tight end from William Penn University. His draft profile can be found here. He was the last pick of the 2005 draft by the New England Patriots. He was waived by Cardinals during their 2006 training camp.

    The move comes after injuries whittled the Seahawks' already thin group of tight end [Danny O.'s note: Thanks to Bruce M. for pointing out an earlier mistake in which I wrote "wide receivers." Arrrg. That's the kind of thing that leaves a reporter red-faced. The tight ends are kind of the tomato of the offense. Fruit or vegetable? Lineman or receiver? Well, that's simply a mistake that should not happen. My apologies and thanks to Bruce M. for pointing out the earlier mistake]. Ben Joppru suffered a hip injury during the Seahawks scrimmage last week, and Will Heller was slowed by an ankle injury.

    August 10, 2007

    Nine Seahawks not traveling to San Diego

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:53 PM

    OT Sean Locklear, DT Chuck Darby, S Mike Green and LB Leroy Hill missed at least some of Friday's morning practice, but José Miguel Romero reports coach Mike Holmgren said all four are expected to play on Sunday in San Diego.

    Players who are not traveling for the exhibition game on Sunday: DT Marcus Tubbs (knee surgery), FB David Kirtman (broken hand), TE Ben Joppru (hip), TE Will Heller (ankle), LB Niko Koutouvides (chest contusion), OL Floyd Womack (hamstring), DT Craig Terrill (knee), S Jordan Babineaux (bone bruise) and WR Courtney Taylor (knee).

    CNNSI.com put together a photo gallery profiling the top 10 defensive players under the age of 25. Linebacker Lofa Tatupu made the list at No. 4. That link can be found here. No. 1: Shawne Merriman, Chargers linebacker. No. 2: Sean Taylor, Washington safety. No. 3: Tommie Harris, Bears defensive tackle.

    Friday links

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:25 AM

    Steve Kelley wrote a column this morning on Patrick Kerney and his work ethic. Jim Mora, assistant coach, was involved in recruiting Kerney during the trip, but Mora emphasized he didn't need to sell the Seahawks on Kerney's worth as a free-agent target. Tim Ruskell and the front office already established him as a target the Seahawks would pursue. That's not necessarily surprising considering Ruskell's year of experience with the Falcons, where Kerney played.

    Ruskell explained how Kerney's evolution from a walk-on football player at Virginia to a first-round draft pick to a dominant pass-rusher is a tribute to just what Kelley talked about today. Hard work.

    Other stories today:

    José Miguel Romero finds that Brendan Mebane and the tree trunks he has for legs are fitting nicely into the middle of the Seahawks defense. Highlights from the day at training camp can be found here.

    August 9, 2007

    Thursday look around the league

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:33 PM

    "I want to prove I am the greatest team-sport athlete," Pacman Jones' said in a statement when his pro-wrestling deal was announced. Yes. There's truly nothing like participating in an event with scripted endings, pre-written speeches and where participants pretend to be hurt to prove you're a team-sport athlete. Jones, the erstwhile Titans cornerback who's suspended for the year, makes his debut on Spike-TV tonight. The Tennessean's story can be found here.

    Keith Bulluck, Tennessee linebacker, wears Timberland boots into the weight room. That's fantastic. Not quite as fantastic as when Sonics forward Reggie Evans wore pink Timberlands, but imagining someone lifting in Timberlands is pretty intimidating. I'm sure the Titans wouldn't have minded if Bulluck had buried one of those boots in Jones' backside last year in an effort to set him straight.

    The Cardinals went to the movies as a team on Wednesday, and offensive lineman Deuce Lutui saw "The Bourne Ultimatum" thinking it was going to be about food. Must be one hungry dude to mistake a spy movie for a four-patty cheeseburger or whatever he thought the Bourne Ultimatum might be.

    The Dolphins need a linebacker named "Have" so they can separate him from Hadnot, who is back working with the Dolphins' first unit .

    Dwight Smith was cited for indecent conduct before last season, but it was the fact the Minnesota safety was benched for the first game of the Vikings' season by coach Brad Childress that really set Smith straight, according to what he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

    "That's bigger than anything that could be done to me ... It hit home that he (Childress) wasn't going to stand for stuff like that. It really was a slap in the face like, 'Wake up.' "

    So the citation and the publicity that followed weren't enough? It was missing a football game that emphasized which behaviors are unacceptable in a parking-lot stairwell?

    Thursday's roll call at morning practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:43 AM

    Linebackers Leroy Hill and Niko Koutouvides returned to practice on Thursday morning. Hill had been out with a hamstring injury, Koutouvides a chest contusion.

    Coach Mike Holmgren and assistants Dwaine Board and Ray Rhodes missed practice on Thursday to attend services for Bill Walsh. Seahawks executive Gary Wright also attended the service. Gil Haskell ran practice in Holmgren's absence.

    The point about point differential

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 6:00 AM

    Peter King of Sports Illustrated came to Kirkland on Tuesday as part of his annual training-camp tour. He rated the Seahawks No. 9 in his preseason rankings from last month:

    "Seattle was outscored last year. Isn't that shocking? It is to me. I expect the Seahawks to win 11 games, win the NFC West, and win at least one playoff game because they have their offensive health back."

    2006
    Team W L PF PA
    Seahawks* 9 7 335 341
    Giants* 8 8 355 362
    Panthers 8 8 270 305
    Packers 8 8 301 366
    Titans 8 8 324 400
    Made playoffs

    Lucky or good, that's the question isn't it? Was a team fortunate to win so many games by so few points or strong enough to pull out wins when it counted? Houdinis or heroes?

    The Seahawks were the only team in the league to have a winning record last season despite being outscored. But what does that mean, and more importantly what does it indicate?

    The question is complicated because an NFL team plays only 16 games. A statistician would call it a small sample size. That means the numbers could be misleading because a few lopsided results could throw everything off. A sample of only 16 games can allow an aberration appear to be mistaken for a trend.

    And the other thing is that all points are not created equal in the NFL. The 28 points the Seahawks gave up to the Giants at the end of a rout are not nearly as important as a field goal surrendered in a close game. By the same logic, a positive point differential might mean nothing more than a team waxed opponents that were pushovers and couldn't pull out the close games that really mattered. Jacksonville outscored opponents 371-274 yet finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs. They lost five of their final eight games and three of those five defeats were by three points.



    2005 Next season
    Team W L PF PA W L PF PA
    Minnesota 9 7 306 344 6 10 282 327
    2004 Next season
    Team W L PF PA W L PF PA
    Seattle 9 7 371 373 13 3 452 271
    St. Louis 8 8 319 392 6 10 363 429
    Jacksonville 9 7 261 280 12 4 361 269
    2003 Next season
    Team W L PF PA W L PF PA
    Cincinnati 8 8 346 384 8 8 374 372
    2002 Next season
    Team W L PF PA W L PF PA
    Buffalo 8 8 379 397 6 10 243 279
    2001 Next season
    Team W L PF PA W L PF PA
    Seattle 9 7 301 324 7 9 355 369
    Washington 8 8 256 303 7 9 307 365

    So is a team that finishes with a winning record despite a negative point differential doing it on smoke and mirrors? Is its success coming on borrowed time? I thought it might be interesting look at recent NFL history and find teams that finished .500 or better despite not scoring more points than their opponents. From 2001-2005 there were eight teams that fit that criteria. What happened the following season? If it was a matter of simple luck, the bounces would figure to even out over time. Sure enough, five of the eight teams had a worse record the following season. Only two improved their records.

    Granted, comparing a team's performance from one season to the next is inevitably flawed. It overlooks coaching changes, personnel overhauls, injuries and all the other factors that change a team from one year to the next. The Seahawks' defensive personnel was very different from 2004 and the Super Bowl season of 2005.

    But teams that find their way to .500 or better despite being outscored tend to experience a decline the following year. At least that's what recent history shows.

    I also found it interesting that three of Holmgren's teams made the list of 13 squads since 2001 to finish .500 or better despite being outscored. I'm still working on digesting that information. You could make a case that it's a sign the coach made the most of his team's performance. Please feel free to chime in with your interpretation.

    August 8, 2007

    Roll call on Wednesday morning

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:08 PM

    Safety Patrick Ghee returned to practice on Wednesday morning for the Seahawks workout at Husky Stadium. He had been out with an injured hamstring. Tackle Walter Jones continued to practice after returning to the field on Tuesday afternoon.

    And while everyone is talking about the Seahawks' new safety tandem of Brian Russell and Deon Grant, one of Seattle's former safeties was sitting out Dallas' practice. Ken Hamlin apparently got the worst of a goal-line collision on Monday and didn't practice on Tuesday according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He is not expected to play in the team's first exhibition game. Here's the update from the Dallas Morning News:

    "Coach Wade Phillips said the trainers will treat Hamlin like they did Kevin Burnett, who missed about a week.

    " 'I'd like to see him out there,' Phillips said, 'but we've got three more preseason games.' "

    Hamlin returned to the field for the Seahawks in 2006 after missing much of Seattle's Super Bowl season because he suffered a head injury when he was assaulted outside a night club in October 2005.

    Links roundup

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:54 AM

    The Seahawks practiced at Husky Stadium this morning, and I'll pass along an attendance report from José Miguel Romero later today.

    Today's stories include Walter Jones' return to the practice field. That story can be found here. Camp highlights from Tuesday can be found here.

    Here's an interesting story on Kris Dielman. Remember him? He's the guard the Seahawks flew in on the first day of free agency, a free agent out of San Diego. The Seahawks were very close to agreeing to a contract, a seven-year deal worth $49 million that may sound very familiar because it's what Steve Hutchinson got to go to Minnesota in 2006.

    But Dielman went back to his hotel room, was bombarded with phone calls from his teammates in San Diego -- including fullback Lorenzo Neal -- and on Saturday morning he informed his agent to get a deal done to send him back to the Chargers.

    August 7, 2007

    Walter Jones practices ... and everyone can exhale

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:46 PM

    Walter Jones is out on the field. José Miguel Romero just called to provide that tidbit. The team is practicing without pads -- so there's no contact -- but Jones is out there working with the first-unit offensive line.

    Jones had not practiced since Friday, and Holmgren explained this morning that while Jones suffered from shoulder soreness initially, the absence from practice was not a concern. Jones could play, Holmgren said, and now the big fellow is out practicing this afternoon.

    Walter Jones still out, but don't worry, says Holmgren

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:21 PM

    Tackle Walter Jones missed his fifth day of practice on Tuesday, not that coach Mike Holmgren is counting.

    "We're not going to have one of these diary, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8 are we?" Holmgren said after Tuesday's morning practice. "He's going to be fine. He's fine. He could practice today, but honestly with him, I really just want him ready to play in the first ball game. He's very honest about how he feels, and he could play, but he's in good shape and I'm just kind of taking it real slow."

    Does that mean he won't play in any of the Seahawks' four exhibition games?

    "I don't know," Holmgren said. "We'll have that meeting Thursday and decide who's going to play and how much."

    The Seahawks play in San Diego on Sunday.

    Holmgren said the decision to hold Jones out was made after some soreness in Jones' shoulder.

    "That just triggered, 'What am I doing?' " Holmgren said. "I've got to be smart with this guy. He's going to be one of our guys we need to play all season long and play well. I'm probably being a little bit nice to him."

    Tight end Will Heller returned to practice Tuesday morning. He has suffered from an ankle injury. Linebacker Niko Koutouvides suffered a chest contusion and missed the morning workout.

    Safety first on Tuesday morning

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:52 AM

    The Seahawks' have two full practices today. The past two days of work have been less intense, to be expected coming off Saturday's full-contact scrimmage. There is an ebb and flow to training camp and the intensity likely will get dialed up over the next couple of days.

    Today's story on Deon Grant can be found here. Day 9 camp highlights are here.

    Two things worth noting that didn't find their way into the story on Grant. Grant said the two people who had the biggest impact on his free-agent visit to Seattle were coach Mike Holmgren and linebacker Lofa Tatupu.

    "Lof came and met me out on my visit at dinner," Grant said. "I didn't know this guy from a can of paint and then him being a second-year guy, very young, and the things that he said at dinner, it just stuck with me that you wouldn't even expect from a guy that young.

    "But with so much wisdom he had. I said, 'If I go there with him controlling that thing at linebacker and I control that thing at that back end, we won't have no choice but to rise.' "

    That's a great example of the charisma and magnetism Tatupu wields in the locker room.

    The other thing is Grant always wanted to work with Jim Mora. Mora said he liked Grant when he scouted him coming out of college, but the Panthers ended up picking him. Grant lives in Atlanta and Mora said their paths crossed occasionally in the offseason.

    August 6, 2007

    Monday special-teams practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:06 PM

    Josh Brown was a state high-jump champion in high school, and he ran some drills with the Nebraska wide receivers while he was in college. During Monday's special-teams practice he showed off his arm. José Miguel Romero attested to his skills, reporting that during a punt-coverage drill, Brown threw the ball, in lieu of a kick, and had between 40 and 50 yards of distance. Not bad.

    Walter Jones still out

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:27 PM

    Left tackle Walter Jones did not participate in practice on Monday morning, the fourth day he's missed with soreness in his shoulder.

    The question is how much to make of the absence? For now, there's no indication that this is anything other than discretion getting the better part of valor. Jones is the kind of guy who plays hurt. Look at last season when he never mentioned the ankle and shoulder injuries that affected him.

    But what is there to gain by playing through discomfort in training camp? For Jones, not much. It's not like the guy needs to prove his worth or own his spot. He's earned seven consecutive Pro Bowl selections, three of those coming in seasons when he missed training camp because of a holdout.

    Another thing worth noting: Ray Willis continues to work exclusively at guard during training camp. If there really was any question about Jones' long-term availability, the Seahawks would probably consider Willis at tackle, which is more his natural position. The fact that he's competing at guard is a sign there's no underlying questions about Jones' status.

    To be short: Jones' absence is something worth noting, but there's no cause for panic. No alarm bells are sounding that his status is in doubt.

    The roll call at practice remained the same. Guys missing: S Patrick Ghee, S Jordan Babineaux (bone bruise), FB David Kirtman (hand), TE Ben Joppru (hip), LB Leroy Hill (hamstring), Jones (shoulder), OL Floyd Womack (hamstring), TE Will Heller (ankle), WR Courtney Taylor (knee), DT Marcus Tubbs (knee surgery) and DT Craig Terrill (knee).

    Burleson's role

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 9:12 AM

    The Seahawks practice twice on Monday, a regular practice in the morning and special-teams workout in the afternoon.

    Here are links to the stories in Monday's paper. Nate Burleson is healthy this season after trying to play his way through last season despite a thumb injury. Link to that story is here. The day's highlights can be found here.

    There isn't a lot of uncertainty about the Seahawks' lineup this season, and one of the only unanswered questions is how the rotation at wide receiver will shake out.

    Burleson is a player who excels in yards after the catch, a great all-around athlete who never became enmeshed in the offense and then had his role further diminished after the acquisition of Deion Branch. But through all that Burleson proved he will remain a positive part of the team even if his individual performance or role wanes. He embraced a role as a kick returner, and his 90-yard punt return against St. Louis remains one of the defining plays of last season. It will be interesting to see how Burleson's role shakes out this season now that he's healthy.

    I'll check back in after the first practice.

    August 5, 2007

    B.Obomanu back at practice, C.Taylor out a month

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 5:14 PM

    Wide receiver Ben Obomanu returned to practice on Sunday afternoon. He suffered a neck injury during Saturday's scrimmage. Obomanu said he told the coaches he could go back in the game, but instead he was steered toward the ambulance where he was examined further. Obomanu said it was mostly range-of-motion tests.

    Rookie receiver Courtney Taylor's suffered an injury to his left knee. Coach Mike Holmgren didn't specify the exact injury but said Taylor is expected to miss about four weeks.

    Tight end Ben Joppru suffered the most serious injury from the scrimmage, Holmgren said. Joppru suffered a pretty serious hip pointer and also injured a muscle. He wasn't on the practice field and Holmgren didn't provide a timetable for his return.

    Linebacker Leroy Hill suffered a hamstring injury and is day-to-day. Tackle Walter Jones sat out practice, the third day of work he's missed. Holmgren said it's because of soreness in Jones' shoulder.

    August 4, 2007

    Scrimmage injuries

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:16 PM

    Three players were hurt during the scrimmage. Ben Obomanu suffered an injury to his neck, Courtney Taylor injured a knee and Ben Joppru suffered a hip injury. We'll follow up on their status Sunday afternoon at practice.

    Depth chart notes from scrimmage

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 8:06 PM

    Starting offensive line is still thrown off by Walter Jones' absence. He missed the scrimmage after sitting out Friday's practice.

    LT -- Sean Locklear
    LG -- Rob Sims
    C -- Chris Spencer
    RG -- Chris Gray (Ray Willis also worked some with the first unit)
    RT -- Tom Ashworth

    Second team
    LT -- Jon Alston
    LG -- Mansfield Wrotto
    C -- Pat Ross
    RG -- Steve Vallos
    RT -- Kyle Williams

    WR Ben Obomanu continues to look very impressive, which has earned him some attention this camp. He caught three passes in the scrimmage. Obomanu and rookie Courtney Taylor are both playing extremely well.

    WR D.J. Hackett caught five passes in the scrimmage, the top target. His 39-yard touchdown catch came behind Josh Wilson on a perfectly placed throw from Seneca Wallace.

    No hits on quarterbacks in the scrimmage, but here were the players credited with sacks: Russell Davis, Will Herring, Patrick Kerney, Lance Laury, Darryl Tapp and Lofa Tatupu.

    CB Kelly Jennings intercepted a pass from Seneca Wallace and then returned it from one end zone to the other for a touchdown. Wallace almost chased him down twice, showing amazing athleticism even if his pursuit didn't end up being effective.

    Saturday slow until scrimmage

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 9:57 AM

    The Seahawks have their first morning off the practice field since training camp began on Sunday. Their scrimmage Saturday night is open to the public. A story detailing specifics of the workout can be found right here. A notebook collecting notes from Friday's practice can be found right here. Camp highlights from Day 6 are right here.

    I'll be covering the scrimmage tonight at Memorial Stadium and will check back after. The deadlines for my newspaper stories are going to be very tight, but after filing my stories at about 8, I'll check back here to provide some thoughts.

    August 3, 2007

    Size matters on special teams

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:05 PM

    The Seahawks' afternoon practice concluded with special-teams drills, notable for the presence of a pair of defensive linemen out there on the kickoff return team. That would be Bryce Fisher and Russell Davis, and special teams coach Bruce DeHaven said he likes having that kind of size on the return team.

    Walter Jones gets a day off

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:48 AM

    The wall that is Walter Jones has stood steady on the left side of Seattle's offensive line for 10 years and counting, and that longevity earns him a few perks. Like this morning. He didn't have to practice.

    "A cookie," coach Mike Holmgren called it.

    It's the kind of reward Holmgren said he will share with a few veterans at various points of training camp. Guys like Chris Gray and perhaps Marcus Pollard. Of course, Holmgren couldn't resist one subtle joke about Jones' day off, referring to the fact that Jones' can't be all that used to training camp considering he missed it for three years while he was Seattle's franchise player.

    Sean Locklear slid to left tackle with Jones out, Tom Ashworth played right tackle and Ray Willis got some time at right guard with the first-unit line this morning, but that information is delivered with a caveat. It's too early to start reading into configurations or setting a depth chart. Personnel is getting juggled as the coaches take a look at players -- especially with Willis' transition to guard -- but the first-unit line for most of training camp has been (from left to right) W. Jones, Rob Sims, Chris Spencer, Chris Gray and Locklear.

    Tight end Will Heller returned to practice after missing the Thursday afternoon workout with an ankle injury. The other players who sat out: S Patrick Ghee (hamstring), S Jordan Babineaux (bone bruise), FB David Kirtman (broken hand), G Floyd Womack (hamstring) and DT Marcus Tubbs (knee surgery). Tubbs is on the physically unable to perform list.

    The offensive line continues to have procedural miscues that can make a coach angry enough that he wants to put his foot through a wall or into a player's backside. There was a false start and later a mistimed snap from center on Friday morning. When Holmgren called the players in to address them before moving onto the next session of practice, he looked down at his playsheet to find there was an error on it. He threw the playsheet in the air.

    "I have 8,000 people doing that for me to get it right and it was wrong," Holmgren said. "The timing was bad. I thought it was kind of pointless that I had this card that meant nothing. So I threw it up in the air. The players got a chuckle out of that. They like to see me upset about things like that."

    The procedural mistakes were just part of what soured Holmgren on his offense's performance Friday morning even though it played extremely well during the red-zone drills.

    The first-unit offense needed three plays to score against the first-unit defense on the first series: a completion to Shaun Alexander, a pass to Deion Branch and finally a run by Alexander. The first-unit offense scored on its first play its next series against the first-unit defense, a perfect strike from Matt Hasselbeck to D.J. Hackett, who ran inside of Kelly Jennings on the play.

    In Holmgren's estimation, those plays didn't make up for the overall performance of the offense.

    "Really today the offense didn't play very well other than that period," Holmgren said.

    A series of other random notes: Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace is earning praise from coaches for his performance in training camp, and on Friday he placed a 40-yard pass to Robert Ortiz [Edit: This was not David Ortiz, Red Sox slugger as initially written. It's Robert Ortiz, San Diego State product. Kudos to Mac for the correction.] perfectly down the right sideline. Sometimes it's difficult to gauge how the second-string quarterback is playing because he's playing behind the second-string offensive line, but Wallace is earning compliments for his play so far.

    Friday's agenda

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 7:20 AM

    The Seahawks have two practices today. A morning workout followed by a special-teams session in the afternoon. The team's scrimmage is Saturday at Memorial Stadium at the Seattle Center.

    A couple of notes. First, here's you're dining options from today's newspaper. A feature on Marcus Pollard is linked here. A roundup of news and notes, including proud papa D.J. Hackett's return to training camp, is linked here. Day 5 Camp Highlights can be found here.

    KC Joyner, who has the humble moniker of "The Football Scientist" had a chat on ESPN.com on Thursday. Here's what he had to say about the Seahawks:

    Stan (Rochester): KC, If the Seahawks stay healthy the whole season, are they unstoppable? Thanks.

    KC Joyner: Stan, the Seahawks could be the most talented team in the NFL. My scouting eye says they don't get nearly as much out of their talent as they should, though, so it is more than a matter of Seattle staying healthy. They need to play up to their talent level.:

    He answered another question about Seattle later:

    Carl (Seattle): If Deion Branch is moved to the other side of the field (where Darrell Jackson played last year) will he be able to have a big year?

    KC Joyner: I'm of two mindsets on this one, Carl. Branch had to learn two positions in the Hawks offense last year, so that probably contributed to his decline. Having said that, Branch's metrics have been down for both of the last two years.

    August 2, 2007

    Scrimmage tickets update ...

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 4:04 PM

    The Seahawks had sold about 7,000 tickets as of this morning. Tickets can still be purchased on www.seahawks.com. Any ticket purchases on Saturday at the scrimmage -- if tickets are still available -- will be sold at the box office. Only cash will be accepted.

    Will Heller, day-to-day with ankle injury

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:53 PM

    Tight end Will Heller suffered an ankle injury during the morning practice. He is day-to-day. He did not take part in the afternoon session, which was a relatively quick workout.

    Thursday morning practice update

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:09 PM

    José Miguel Romero covered this morning's practice for The Seattle Times and he just checked in to relay a few news and notes. D.J. Hackett is back after his wife gave birth to their son on Tuesday.

    Fullback David Kirtman will undergo surgery to repair the broken hand he suffered on Wednesday. He might only be out for a week to 10 days.

    Jordan Babineaux, Floyd Womack, Marcus Tubbs and Patrick Ghee all remain sidelined by injuries.

    NFL referees were at the Seahawks practice, making calls. Coach Mike Holmgren instructed the officials to explain any penalty they called to the player. Penalties have been a hot spot for Holmgren this training camp, but using referees are an annual institution.

    Ryan Plackemeier outdid his 75-yard punt from Wednesday's practice, booming an 80-yarder on Thursday morning. I'll be out in Kirkland in the afternoon and will check in after that.

    Thursday menu

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 7:44 AM

    Two practices scheduled today in Kirkland, a morning session in pads and the afternoon in shells.

    The Seahawks believe they have more depth at wide receiver than previous years and earning a roster spot in training camp is going to be a tall order. José Miguel Romero has a look at Joe Fernandez, who's one of those guys battling for a spot, and this fellow has a name (and a game) you might be familiar with since he's the son of (Swervin') Mervyn Fernandez. Jos´'s story is right here. Here's a list of Wednesday's training-camp highlights.

    August 1, 2007

    David Kirtman, broken right hand

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:01 PM

    Second-year fullback David Kirtman suffered a broken right hand during practice on Wednesday morning. The team now has a couple of options, which it will evaluate. Coach Mike Holmgren is expected to provide a better prognosis for Kirtman's future this season when he answers questions on Thursday.

    The Seahawks concluded Wednesday's practice with a special-teams workout, which is shorter. José Miguel Romero said the Seahawks worked on coverage units this afternoon and punter Ryan Plackemeier boomed a 75-yard kick.

    David Kirtman leaves practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:09 PM

    Second-year fullback David Kirtman left the field in the middle of Wednesday morning practice. An update on if he was injured should come later in the day.

    Burleson continues strong camp, Wednesday A.M. recap

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:46 AM

    The Seahawks had their hardest hitting session in four days of training camp on Wednesday morning. Nate Burleson made a pair of athletic plays, leaping for to a catch a pass from Matt Hasselbeck in front of cornerback Marcus Trufant. Later in the practice Burleson curled in front of Kelly Jennings for a reception. D.J. Hackett was not present for the morning practice. He left the team's facility on Tuesday because his wife is expecting.

    Bobby Engram made a great diving catch on a pass from Matt Hasselbeck, catching a ball despite pretty good coverage from rookie cornerback Josh Wilson. Rookie receiver Courtney Taylor had a nice catch.

    The biggest hit of the morning came from Gerard Ross, corner, who put a pretty good pop on Ben Obamanu. It didn't put him down as the plays go to first contact and not finishing the hit. Still, Ross provided enough of a pop for his teammates to take notice.

    Mike Holmgren continues to get more than a little bent out of shape over procedural issues. Center Austin King and quarterback David Greene botched a snap exchange during an 11-on-11 drill, and Holmgren called a stop to it, sending all the offense down for a meeting with coordinator Gil Haskell.

    Holmgren showed a short fuse on the issue on Monday, too, after veteran Chris Gray committed a false start. Holmgren made his intolerance of such mistakes clear to reporters after that practice:

    "If I could think of something really horrible to do to someone who jumped offsides, I would do do it. But then you would all write about it and it would be terrible."

    Consider Wednesday a continuation of that zero-tolerance policy.

    Wednesday morning updates

    Posted by Danny O'Neil at 9:22 AM

    Shaun Alexander appeared on KJR-AM this morning, and he added to a growing list of one-liners delivered over the past three days. A quick recap:

    Monday: "Sometimes I make people miss and sometimes I make people miss bad," Alexander said.

    Later Monday, Alexander on new tight end Marcus Pollard, "I told him that I expect him to catch a lot of balls in the red zone -- and fall on the 1-yard line."

    Wednesday morning he appeared on KJR-AM, and during the interview host Mitch Levy began reciting his rushing totals: 1,318 yards in 2001, 1,175 the year after that, 1,435 in 2003 followed by 1,696 and 1,880 in 2005 when he earned NFL MVP honors. In 2006 he finished with 896.

    "Seems like there's a '1' missing, huh?" Alexander joked.

    From other players it would sound brazen and cocky. From Alexander, it's more comical. Maybe it's because he's always smiling. Maybe it's because the guy throws around verbal bouquets like every day's a wedding. Perhaps it's because he's quick to laugh, but those sort of pronouncements come off as more comical than cocky the way he delivers them.

    Here's the Monday roundup. José Miguel Romero reports on the first day of practice in pads here. The Day 3 camp highlights can be found here.

    In news unrelated to the Seahawks, the Giants' crossroads with defensive end Michael Strahan is no closer to resolution. The New York Daily News reported today that Strahan feels "betrayed" according to one of his confidantes. Hilarious. Here's a Clift Notes version. Strahan doesn't show up for work amid speculation that he may not be happy with his salary. He's reportedly contemplating retirement. Now, he's mad the team has the gall to seek to hold him to his contract and inquire about potential replacements.

    Comical as it is, the saga still has a ways to go before it reaches the top of my favorite training-camp controversies. That would be the sniping between Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck and Adam "Pacman" Jones in 2005 while Jones was holding out. Bulluck refused to use Jones' nickname, and Jones took offense leading to this absolutely fantastic quote in The Tennessean:

    "But Keith saying he is not going to call me Pacman," Jones said, "he is going to call me Adam -- 'Who is Adam? I don't know if this guy can help us' -- that is a little outrageous for my teammate to say that."

    Yes. Refusal to use the Pacman moniker, the ultimate sign of disrespect.

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