NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks had a rough few days on the injury front, including fullback Derrick Coleman breaking his foot in warm-up drills Sunday at St. Louis. But several key players could return this week.

Starting cornerback Byron Maxwell, who has a strained calf, could be back, along with backup cornerback Tharold Simon, who suffered a sprained ankle in St. Louis is his first NFL start.

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"It blew up, but it's not a bad sprain," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Simon. "He's popping around pretty good [Monday], so he has a chance, and Maxey has a chance to get back, too. We'll see."

Carroll also said starting center Max Unger, who has missed the last two games with a foot injury, could return, but starting tight end Zach Miller (ankle surgery) still is out.

"Max is working at it," Carroll said. "He's doing some stuff this week and we'll see as the week goes along. Zach is a little farther away. He's still in a boot right now, so he's not that close yet."

Carroll expects back-up tight end Luke Willson to return after suffering a groin strain in practice last Wednesday and missing Sunday's game.

"He almost made it back [for the Rams game]," Carroll said. "But we felt like it was better to hold him out with the chance to be back fully this week."

Carroll said back-up defensive tackle Jordan Hill who missed Sunday's game with a sprained ankle, will practice on Wednesday. But middle linebacker Bobby Wagner still is out. He is wearing a cast over a turf toe injury.

"It's going to be a while," Carroll said of Wagner's status.

Jeremy Lane, Seattle's starting nickel cornerback who was placed on injured reserve/designated to return at the start of the season with a groin injury, will return to practice this week. But Lane can't come off IR until the New York Giants game on Nov. 9.

The one area where the Seahawks may need to make a roster move is at fullback since Coleman is the only true fullback on the roster and will be out at least six weeks. Running back Robert Turbin filled in a fullback Sunday.

Carroll was asked if former Seattle fullback Michael Robinson was an option. When the Seahawks didn't re-sign him after last season, Robinson retired and now works as an analyst for the NFL Network.

"He's doing a really good job in the media right now and he's quite busy," Carroll said of Robinson. "He seems to be very well-grooved in his business."
ST LOUIS -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman says he had the football in his arms at the bottom of the pile.

The officials said he didn’t and the last chance for the Seahawks was over in the 28-26 loss to the St. Louis Rams.

Rams running back Tre Mason fumbled on the next to last play of the game. The ball was loose and several players had a shot at grabbing it, but Sherman said he got it.

“I had the ball,” Sherman said. “I was down. I thought they would have blown the whistle, but they stopped the ball and moved it back to the old spot. Obviously they didn’t give it to us. I wasn’t surprised. That’s kind of how the game went for us.”

Seattle free safety Earl Thomas was shocked.

“We won everything last year, but we’re battling the referees now,” Thomas said. “I don’t know what’s going on with that. Sherm had it. We’re playing more than out opponents. We’re playing the referees, too. I don’t care what anybody says. Something’s wrong and that needs to be brought up.”

Seattle coach Pete Carroll was surprised the play wasn’t reviewed. At first he thought maybe it wasn’t reviewable because there was no change of possession. He later said he learned it was reviewable.

Most of the Seahawks thought they recovered it.

“I thought we had the ball, but I guess not,” said Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. “I don’t know.”

 

 
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ST LOUIS -- The St. Louis Rams entered Sunday's game with only one sack all season, the worst start in league history.

But the Rams sacked Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson three times in the first half Sunday in another bad performance by Seattle's offensive line. Wilson was hit seven times and under duress 14 in the 28-26 loss to the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome that dropped the Seahawks to 3-3.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesIt doesn't bode well for the Seahawks when Russell Wilson tops 100 rushing yards.
The offensive line was the weak link on a Super Bowl team last year. It still is, but it's worse now.

ESPN Stats & Information research shows Wilson was sacked, hit while throwing or under duress on 32.6 percent of his dropbacks Sunday. That's actually lower than his season average of 37.3 percent, which remains the worst rate in the league among 33 qualified passers.

He has been pressured on at least 30 percent of his dropbacks in five of Seattle's six games, the most in the NFL.

The Seahawks were also flagged for holding three times and had a false start. One holding call brought back a 15-yard touchdown by Marshawn Lynch. And it was called on Alvin Bailey, who was in the game to help block as a third tackle.

The Seahawks had 171 yards rushing, but that's misleading. Wilson rushed for 106 yards, most of which came when he was forced to scramble. The three running backs -- Lynch, Robert Turbin and Christine Michael -- rushed for 65 yards on 22 carries, less than three yards a carry.

By the way, in two of the three games in his career in which Wilson rushed for 100 yards, the Seahawks have lost because if he's running that much he's under too much pressure.

The line has been whistled for 14 penalties in the past three games that resulted in four potential touchdowns being called back. It isn't just one or two guys. Everyone is making mistakes at key moments that are hurting the offense.

St. Louis Rams rookie defensive tackle Aaron Donald, making only his second NFL start, consistently blew through the interior of Seattle's line. Donald had a sack, another quarterback hit and two other tackles for losses.

Yes, the offensive line is banged up. For a few plays Sunday they were down to their third-team center in Patrick Lewis when backup Stephen Schilling left the game briefly in the second half. And left tackle Russell Okung is playing with a labrum tear in his left shoulder.

Even so, the offensive line isn't playing well when all the starters are on the field and healthy. It appears to be a problem that isn't going away anytime soon, but Wilson remains optimistic after another game in which he had to improvise to try to stay upright.

"I think adversity is opportunity," Wilson said. "We have a team full of fighters. You can't look back. I believe in what we'll do moving forward."

Rapid Reaction: Seattle Seahawks

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
4:10
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ST LOUIS -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 28-26 loss to the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome.

What it means: The Seahawks are reeling and fall to 3-3, having lost the last two games and three of the last five. The team was completely out of sync Sunday. Were they still in shock from the Percy Harvin trade two days earlier?

Stock watch: What has happened to the Seattle pass rush? One of the team's strengths a year ago is almost non-existent now. The Seahawks didn’t have a sack Sunday, and they weren’t exactly facing the world’s greatest offensive line. The inability to get to Rams quarterback Austin Davis was a big factor in St. Louis' last touchdown that made it a two-score game with less than six minutes to play.

The offensive line is not much better: The Seahawks' offensive line was the weak link on a Super Bowl team last season. It still is, but it’s worse now. The Rams entered the game with only one sack all season. They had three sacks in the first half and put constant pressure on Russell Wilson. The Seahawks were flagged for holding three times and another false start. The line usually does a decent job in the running game, but not Sunday. Take out Wilson’s 106 yards, mostly while scrambling, and Seattle had 65 yards rushing on 22 carries. It wasn’t good even when they used Alvin Bailey as an extra tackle on several plays.

Receivers: Don’t blame the loss on Harvin being gone. Doug Baldwin, who called out his teammates last week, had his best game of the season with seven receptions for 123 yards and one touchdown. Rookie receiver Paul Richardson had four catches for 33 yards, and Jermaine Kearse had three receptions for 50 yards.

Game ball: That goes to another player making catches. The Seahawks were down to third-string tight end Cooper Helfet on Sunday. Don’t call him third-string anymore. Helfet had three receptions for 61 yards, including a brilliant 19-yard touchdown catch when he stretched to make the grab and came down with both feet in bounds in the end zone.

More injury problems: Maybe it was a bad omen when fullback Derrick Coleman hurt his foot in warm-ups and didn’t play. Cornerback Tharold Simon, playing in his first NFL game and starting for injured Byron Maxwell, suffered an ankle injury in the first half when he was flagged for pass interference and a face mask. He also had a shoving match with Rams receiver Brian Quick, who was flagged but it could have gone against Simon. He didn’t return after the injury but was listed as questionable. So was his judgment. Three other starters already were out -- tight end Zach Miller, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and center Max Unger. It has become painfully obvious the next man up isn’t ready to step up.

What’s next: The Seahawks will hit the road again with an East Coast trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, to play the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 26. The Seahawks opened the 2013 season with a 12-7 come-from-behind victory at Charlotte.
ST. LOUIS -- Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said things weren’t working out with wide receiver Percy Harvin and it was time to move on without him.

Harvin was traded to the New York Jets Friday for a conditional 2015 draft pick.

“We made a bold move in acquiring him [from Minnesota in March of 2013],” Schneider said on the 710 ESPN Seattle pregame radio show. “But it became apparent that things weren’t going to work out and it wasn’t a good fit.

“We have to prepare this team for moving forward all the time, and I’m not just talking about this week or next week. I’m talking about 2015 and 2016. We constantly have to look at how we improve the team. This was the appropriate move at the appropriate time.”

Schneider was asked what the Seahawks offense will look like without Harvin.

“Percy is such a unique talent that he has to be used in a specific manner,” Schneider said. “I think you’ll see us playing a little bit more like we did last year when Percy wasn’t playing. It’s an opportunity for guys like [rookie wide receivers] Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood to step forward.”
ST LOUIS -- Seattle Seahawks backup tight end Luke Willson is inactive Sunday because of a groin injury, which leaves the Seahawks without their first two tight ends for the game against the Rams.

Starting tight end Zach Miller is out after undergoing ankle surgery three weeks ago. The Seahawks are down to third-string tight end Cooper Helfet and rookie RaShaun Allen, who was brought up from the practice squad Saturday and will be making his NFL debut.

It’s possible the Seahawks could use offensive tackles Garry Gilliam or Alvin Bailey as a third tackle on the line. Gilliam played tight end for three seasons at Penn State and lined up a tight end for one play in the Washington game. Bailey came in as a third tackle on several plays in the last few games last season.

Four starters are out Sunday for the Seahawks – Miller, cornerback Byron Maxwell (calf) center Max Unger (foot) and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (turf toe). Backup defensive tackle Jordan Hill also is out with a sprained ankle. The other inactive of backup offensive tackle Andrew McDonald.
ST. LOUIS -- As expected, the Seattle Seahawks placed rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh on injured reserve Saturday and brought up two players off the practice squad -- cornerback Steven Terrell and rookie tight end RaShaun Allen.

Marsh suffered a broken foot in practice Wednesday and will undergo surgery that will take six to eight weeks to recover, but placing Marsh on IR has ended his season.

Terrell played in his first NFL game last weekend in the 30-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, coming in at nickel cornerback after Byron Maxwell injured his calf. Marcus Burley moved from nickel back to Maxwell’s cornerback spot. Maxwell will not play Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

The Seahawks added Allen because starting tight end Zach Miller is out after undergoing ankle surgery and backup tight end Luke Willson is questionable with a groin injury. Allen (6-foot-4, 250 pounds out of Southern University) will be playing in his first NFL game.

Five Seahawks on the 53-man roster are out for Sunday’s game -- Maxwell, Miller, center Max Unger, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive tackle Jordan Hill.

 

 
ST LOUIS -- It will be interesting on Sunday to see how the Seattle Seahawks align their offense against the St. Louis Rams. It’s possible they could move Doug Baldwin back to the slot receiver spot, where he excelled before moving to split end this season to replace Golden Tate and make room to start Percy Harvin in the slot.

Harvin
If so, the Seahawks could start Ricardo Lockette or rookie Paul Richardson outside in the three-wide receiver sets. Or they could leave Baldwin at split end and play Richardson or Bryan Walters in the slot.

Harvin also was returning kickoffs, so the Seahawks probably will use Walters or Baldwin in the role.

Almost 17 hours after news first broke that Harvin had been traded to the New York Jets, the Seahawks released this statement from general manager John Schneider:

"Although this was an extremely difficult decision, we are constantly evaluating our team and believe at this time, that this is in our best interest to move the team forward. We thank Percy for his efforts that contributed to a Super Bowl XLVIII victory and wish him well."

The Seahawks arrived in St. Louis Friday night, but did not say anything about the trade until releasing this statement at noon on Saturday. Harvin arrived in New York Saturday morning and underwent a physical. Both teams officially announced the trade afterward.
RENTON, Wash. -- No team in the NFL was better than the St. Louis Rams at getting to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson last season.

The Rams sacked Wilson 11 times in the two NFC West matchups. The Seahawks managed to win both games, but the St. Louis defensive line made for some painful moments for Wilson.

If the Rams are going to keep up the pace against Wilson, they will need to do a lot better job at rushing the passer than they have in the first six games this season.

St. Louis was third in the league last season in sacks with 53, but the Rams have only one sack this season. Defensive end Robert Quinn, who had a league-leading 19 sacks last season, doesn’t have a sack in the first six games this year.

[+] EnlargeJosh McCown
AP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackThe Rams' Robert Quinn isn't getting to the quarterback in 2014.
“The ball’s coming out pretty fast,” Quinn said Wednesday on a conference call with Seahawks reporters. “But what can you do? Our back seven are covering their tails off and making plays. One of these days, hopefully, we can have another big sack day.”

And it could be Sunday, based on what the Rams did against the Seattle offensive line last year. Quinn might line up a few times against rookie offensive tackle Justin Britt on Sunday.

“He’s a young guy, and I’m sure he’s still trying to learn and really getting the feel for it,” Quinn said. “But they believe in him, and there’s a reason why he’s out there. He must be doing something right.”

The Rams did a lot of things right in pressuring Wilson last year, but one of the key components to that pass rush won’t play this weekend. Defensive end Chris Long is out after undergoing ankle surgery last month. Long had a big night in the 14-9 loss to the Seahawks last year in the Monday night game at St. Louis.

“I had three sacks, and Chris had three that night," Quinn said. “We held them to 135 yards [total offense]. We played a heck of a ballgame overall. Of course, they came out with the W, but we went toe-to-toe with the world champs.

“That’s the same kind of team we have now. We just have to put it all together and catch fire. We just have to get momentum swinging our way.”

Quinn revealed a little bit on how the Rams were able to get to Wilson last season.

“He’s a shorter quarterback, but trying to take anything away from him,” Quinn said. “But if you keep him in the pocket with linemen who are 6-4 and 6-5 and make it hard for him to see his receivers, that’s the best thing.

“It kind of changes the way you rush a guy. You can’t do a speed rush every single down or Russell will get out and make a play downfield. It can be a little frustrating, but if you collapse the pocket, sometimes you can fall into a couple of sacks. If we have to do that to win a game, we’ll do whatever it takes.”
RENTON – Significant injuries are piling up for the Seattle Seahawks, with four starters and two backups out for Sunday’s road game against the St. Louis Rams.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Friday that starting cornerback Byron Maxwell will not play because of a strained calf he suffered last week in the game against the Cowboys.

Other starters already listed as out are middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (turf toe), center Max Unger (foot) and tight end Zach Miller (ankle surgery).

The Seahawks also are thin on the defensive live with defensive tackle Jordan Hill (sprained ankle) and rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh (broken foot) out.

Carroll said Marsh cracked a bone in his foot in practice Wednesday. He will undergo surgery and be out six to eight weeks.

The Seahawks also list backup tight end Luke Willson (groin) and wide receiver Percy Harvin (thigh) as questionable for Sunday.

“Luke has a sore groin, so we rested him again,” Carroll said after practice Friday. “We’ll take it all the way to game time to make sure he’s OK. Percy practiced and got through [Friday].”

With so many players out or questionable, expect the Seahawks to make some roster moves before Sunday’s game. They might bring up rookie tight end RaShaun Allen from the practice squad if Cooper Helfet is the only healthy tight end.

It’s also unlikely they would carry Marsh for six to eight weeks. He probably will be placed on injured reserve.

Carroll would not say who will start in place of Maxwell, but second-year cornerback Tharold Simon will make his NFL debut, whether he starts or not. Simon, who missed his entire rookie season after undergoing two foot surgeries, had minor knee surgery on Sept. 4.

“He looks in top shape and ready to go,” Carroll said of Simon. “He had an excellent week.”

The Seahawks re-signed defensive end Greg Scruggs Tuesday after releasing him last weekend to make room for defensive back Steven Terrell to move up from the practice squad. But Terrell was released Tuesday and later returned to the practice squad.

Scruggs (6-3, 310) played in 12 games as a rookie in 2012, but missed all of last season with a knee injury. He has not been on the active roster this season, but will be part of the defensive line rotation Sunday.

“We like the way he works,” Carroll said of Scruggs. “He’s a good, tough kid. He can play a lot of spots for us.”

K.J. Wright will move from an outside linebacker spot to start for Wagner, who is in a cast and is likely to miss several games.

Russell Wilson feeling the heat

October, 17, 2014
Oct 17
3:00
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RENTON, Wash. – The Seattle Seahawks' passing game ranks 31st in the NFL, and one of the reasons is the fact that quarterback Russell Wilson is getting pressured at the highest rate in the league.

Wilson
Wilson has been under pressure on 38.5 percent of his dropbacks, resulting in a sack or Wilson being put under duress.

You’re likely to see a lot of quarterback play under pressure for both teams Sunday because St Louis Rams quarterback Austin Davis is No. 2 on that list at 36.3 percent of his dropbacks being pressured.

Wilson was under pressure on a season-high 48.4 percent of his dropbacks last Sunday in a 30-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. It’s one of the reasons Wilson isn’t having success throwing the ball down field.

Wilson is completing only 39.3 percent of his passes thrown at least 15 yards downfield, which is 21st in the NFL and down from 51.5 percent last year (second in NFL).

But being under pressure is nothing new for Wilson. He was under duress or sacked at the third-highest percentage in the NFL last season, when the Seahawks went 13-3 and won the Super Bowl.
RENTON, Wash. -- Judging by what happened Monday night in St. Louis, this could be the week the Seattle Seahawks find their pass rush.

The San Francisco 49ers had five sacks in their 31-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams, compared to only five sacks for the 49ers in the previous five games.

St. Louis quarterback Austin Davis was sacked or under duress on 20 of 45 dropbacks in the game, including a game-sealing pick-six interception.

Davis is the only player to throw 15 or more passes under duress in multiple games this season. Quarterbacks have a 3-12 record the last two seasons when throwing 15 or more passes under duress.
RENTON, Wash. – Tight end Luke Willson and rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh were new additions to the injury report Thursday for the Seattle Seahawks as players who did not participate in practice.

Willson’s status is a bit of a concern, as starting tight end Zach Miller is out after undergoing ankle surgery three weeks ago.

Cornerback Byron Maxwell, who has a calf strain, also did not practice Thursday, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was hopeful Wednesday about Maxwell’s chances to play to Sunday at St. Louis. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill (ankle) didn’t practice for the second consecutive day.

Wide receiver Percy Harvin, who was listed Wednesday as missing practice (not injury-related), did not practice again Thursday, but this time was listed with a thigh injury. Harvin, however, spoke with reporters in the locker room Thursday and didn’t indicate he had any problems.

Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane missed practice, but it was not injury-related. Running back Marshawn Lynch was a full participant in practice, as was cornerback Tharold Simon, who was a limited participant Wednesday. If Maxwell doesn’t play, it possible Simon would start at cornerback in his first NFL game.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas is an All-Pro in his fifth NFL season, but he’s only 25 years old and still learning how to get through adversity as a football player.

This week is one of those moments after the 30-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last weekend dropped the Seahawks to 3-2 for the season.

“We have to understand who we are when situations get tough and not stray from the men we say we are,” Thomas said Thursday. “I think sometimes adverse situations bring you closer as a group. It makes you understand what you need to do to get better, because sometimes when you win you don’t look at the little bitty details that you really need to.”

Thomas
And what are those little details?

“To be totally honest, to me, it’s just character issues when it gets tough,” Thomas said. “Maybe we took home-field advantage for granted. Sometimes when you lose, it opens your eyes.”

For Thomas, that means getting back to basics and realizing what the Seahawks do best. Several times on Thursday, Thomas said they have to “stay true who they are.” In Thomas’ view, that's being the aggressive, attacking defense that made them successful.

“I’d rather be aggressive and go down," Thomas said. “If somebody beat me when I’m being aggressive, I can learn from that and have no regrets afterwards.

Thomas, of course, believes he will win most of those battles, and the games, if he and his teammates stay aggressive.

He also was asked what he thought of wide receiver Doug Baldwin's comments after the Dallas game, saying, “We need to quit BS-ing ourselves.”

“I think I’m good and I’m going to keep thinking I’m good,” Thomas said. “The only thing I take from what Doug said is if you don’t come out there with the right mentality, then you can get your butt whipped.”

Thomas said he can’t wait to get back on the field for the game Sunday at St. Louis against the Rams. The Seahawks enter the game banged with three starters out -- tight end Zach Miller, center Max Unger and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner -- but Thomas is confident the team can overcome the injuries.

“We have the right to be confident just in the way that we prepare for games,” Thomas said. “We’re not going to miss a beat. We’re going to be okay.”

Darrell Bevell answers his critics

October, 16, 2014
Oct 16
12:30
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RENTON, Wash. – Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell knows some fans aren’t all that happy with him these days after the team’s 3-2 start.

The biggest point of contention from Sunday’s 30-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys was that running back Marshawn Lynch only had 10 carries, and Bevell is the man taking most of the blame on radio talk shows this week. But Bevell knows it just goes with the territory.

[+] EnlargeDarrell Bevell
Bob Donnan/USA TODAY SportsDarrell Bevell says he knows the Seahawks need to create more opportunities for Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin.
“That’s part of it,” Bevell said Wednesday. “There’s going to be cries for everything all the time. But the fantasy owners, I’m not a fantasy owner and I don’t care about anybody’s points. But I do are about is winning the game, and Marshawn is a huge key to us winning the game. I do have to do a better job of getting him the ball.”

In the three Seattle victories, Lynch averaged 21 carries for 90 yards. In the two losses, Lynch averaged eight carries for 44 yards.

Bevell said the biggest issue is not converting on third downs. The Seahawks had five consecutive possessions in the Dallas game where they failed to convert on third down.

“That’s where you start having issues of not getting enough plays,” Bevell said. “And then long drives on the other side, so the clock's running. It all kind of goes hand in hand. It’s not just one thing that ends up with 10 attempts to Marshawn.”

Bevell also has been criticized for not trying to get the ball to wide receiver Percy Harvin on more downfield throws. The Cowboys completely shut down line-of-scrimmage perimeter plays to Harvin on hitch passes and bubble screens.

“Well, we know he’s got speed and we know he can go down the field with speed,” Bevell said of Harvin. “He’s got great quickness so we can use him in that. The test always is to make sure some of those guys get the ball in their hands.

“They’re such game breakers; whether it’s Marshawn or it’s [Harvin]. Some of those plays make it easier to get them to get the ball and make sure they’re in the stats sheet and had a play that can impact a game. We try to do some things to make sure we can get [Harvin] his touches.”

Bevell said the main issue the last two games for the Seattle offense is a failure to run plays properly.

“The biggest thing was just our overall execution,” he said. “I know it sounds too simple, but there are a lot of things for us that we didn’t do well enough, whether it was throwing the ball on time, [Russell Wilson] said he was off a little bit. And there are a couple of times we could catch the ball for him. And protection was off.

“There was a couple times in the run game where somebody goes the wrong way. On offense, if you don’t have all 11 guys working as one, you can have some negative plays, and that starts to set you back. Then, third down we didn’t convert and that was kind of the story.”

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