NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch did not start Sunday’s night’s game against the Arizona Cardinals because of an upset stomach. That was the official reason given. Robert Turbin started in the backfield for the Seahawks.

Lynch went through the pregame warmups and seemed OK. When the game started, Lynch was walking around behind the Seahawks bench wearing a stocking cap.

He did not practice Wednesday and Thursday. It is typical for the Seahawks to give Lynch time to rest his back, but he was a full participant in practice Friday.

Lynch has rushed for 1,133 yards this season, his fourth consecutive season with more than 1,000 yards rushing.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril said he’s starting to get an old feeling about what’s going on with the Seattle Seahawks.

Fresh off signing his new four-year $28.5 million contract extension Friday, one day after linebacker K.J. Wright signed a $27 million, four-year deal, Avril sees some continuity that he appreciates.

Avril
Avril and Wright are the latest defensive starters to receive long-term deals from the Seahawks. Since the end of last season, defensive end Michael Bennett, free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman also received big-money contracts. The Seahawks did the same for strong safety Kam Chancellor after the 2012 season.

“It kind of gives you that college feel," Avril said. “You sign with a college and you know you’re going to be with those guys a few years. You grow together and get better. It’s cool to know the locker room won’t change too much. That’s rare in the NFL.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the two signings this week show their commitment to the players that have helped them become successful.

“We’ve been able to make a couple of really strong statements here with K.J. and Cliff,” Carroll said Friday. “We’ve found the core guys we really like and we’re trying to keep them together. We had the chance to do this financially right now at the end of the year and we jumped at the chance.”

They had the chance because the Percy Harvin trade earlier this season saved the Seahawks $12 million in salary-cap space over 2014 and 2015.

Avril, who came to Seattle last season as a free agent after five years in Detroit, said it was a relief to get the new deal done.

“I didn’t want to go back into free agency,” Avril said. “I didn’t like that whole process two years ago. I love what Coach Carroll is doing here and the guys make it so fun to play here with the environment we have. I want to keep the party going. I’m happy to know that I’ll be back in Seattle with such a great group of guys. The talent on this team is amazing and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Carroll said the signings this week are part of the plan he and general manager John Schneider had when they first arrived in Seattle almost five years ago. Next up for the Seahawks will be quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner after the season ends.

“What John and I have tried to create here is a real stable program," Carroll said. “We want to grow together and see how far we can take it.”

Avril, who had one season at Detroit when the Lions were 0-16, was asked how he has grown a player since arriving with the Seahawks.

“I’ve learned how to win," he said with a chuckle. “The way Coach Carroll runs things is a little different. It’s not an uptight environment. We have a great group of guys and it’s fun to come to work every day.”
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks center Max Unger and left tackle Russell Okung will not play Sunday at Arizona, but right guard J.R. Sweezy returned to practice Friday and will start against the Cardinals.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said receiver Paul Richardson also will play Sunday after missing practice Thursday with a hamstring injury.

Okung
Alvin Bailey will start at left tackle for Okung, who suffered a bruised lung last weekend against San Francisco. Carroll said Bailey struggled in the second half against the 49ers when he stepped in for Okung, but Carroll believes a full week of practice will help him in this game.

“It’s make a big difference because every snap he took was focused on playing left tackle,” Carroll said of Bailey. “He had a good, solid week.”

Carroll would not say who will start at center between Lemuel Jeanpierre and Patrick Lewis, only that both players took first-team snaps this week. Jeanpierre started the last three games at center and Lewis started in the 19-3 win over Arizona on Nov. 23 when the Cardinals sacked Russell Wilson seven times.

Unger injured his knee and ankle in the Kansas City game on Nov. 16. Carroll said Unger’s knee is fine now, but not his ankle.

“It’s one of those high ankle [sprains] that takes a long time,” Carroll said. “But he ran today and hopefully we can get him back next week.”

The good news is Sweezy practiced Friday after missing the previous two days with an ankle injury.

Carroll said defensive end Demarcus Dobbs still is out with an ankle injury. Tight end Tony Moeaki is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury.

Receiver Chris Matthews suffered a hamstring injury in Thursday’s practice and also is listed as questionable for Sunday.
RENTON, Wash. – Thursday’s injury report was not encouraging for the Seattle Seahawks as receiver Paul Richardson was added with a hamstring injury and the six players who didn’t practice Wednesday did not return.

Richardson
Three starting offensive linemen – center Max Unger (knee and ankle), left tackle Russell Okung (bruised lung) and right guard J.R. Sweezy (ankle) -- missed practice again. It’s a concern going into a game Sunday at Arizona against a Cardinals defense that sacked Russell Wilson seven times in the game last month at Seattle.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll does not speak to the media on Thursdays, so an update on those players won’t be known until after practice Friday.

Running back Marshawn Lynch did not practice, but it’s not unusual for him to rest his back for two days during the week. Tight end Tony Moeaki (shoulder) and defensive end Demarcus Dobbs (ankle) also still were out.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor interrupted the media scrum Thursday to ask a question to the star of the moment -- linebacker K.J. Wright, the man who just signed a four-year, $27-million contract extension.

"Hey, I want to know what’s the first thing you’re gonna buy with all that money," Chancellor asked Wright.

"Nothing for me," Wright said. "It’ll be something for my momma. My momma comes first."

Wright
Wright has his priorities in the right place. So do the Seahawks.

Thursday was another example that general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll mean what they say. Since winning the Super Bowl last season, they have said all along they wanted to do everything they could to keep their core players together.

Wright’s new deal is the latest step in that plan.

"We’ve been talking about this since the spring," Wright said. "It’s only human that sometimes you wonder, 'Am I going to be here or am I not?' But they told me all along they would find a way to make it happen and they did. It’s a blessing. Pete called me [Tuesday night] to tell me how much I mean to them. I’m glad they chose for me to stick around.”

Every Super-Bowl winning team loses players to other teams. Eleven players from last season moved on for various reasons, but the Seahawks have re-signed cornerback Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas, defensive end Michael Bennett, wide receiver Doug Baldwin, kicker Steven Hauschka, and now Wright, since the end of last season.

"This is starting to turn into cement," said Thomas, who signed a 4-year, $40 million deal in the offseason. "We have a special group. If you ball out, you’re gonna get what you need. I’m happy for [Wright]."

Sherman, who signed a four-year, $57 million deal in the spring, said it means a lot to the players because it shows the commitment of team management.

"For the most part, if you play well, you will be retained," Sherman said. "They’ve kept their word with us. And obviously, it means a lot to the defense to know K.J. is going to be here."

One reason the Seahawks were able to complete the deal with Wright was the money they saved by trading receiver Percy Harvin, about $6.4 million this season.

Now two other players take priority for the Seahawks in terms of reaching long-term deals -- quarterback Russell Wilson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Wilson is likely to get a contract is excess of $100 million, with more than $40 million guaranteed. Wagner probably is looking for a multi-year contract that will pay him between $8 and $10 a year. Both Wilson and Wagner are in their third season.

In the salary-cap era, it’s impossible for a winning team to keep everyone, but the Seahawks have proven they will do all they can to keep the young players that made them winners.
RENTON, Wash. – Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell didn’t want to jinx it when asked about quarterback Russell Wilson’s durability.

Wilson
“It’s so remarkable, I probably don’t want to talk about it,” Bevell said. “Knock on wood.”

Wilson has taken more than his share of punishment the last two seasons with an offensive line that has suffered through injuries and struggled in pass blocking at times. But Wilson’s elusiveness, toughness and knowledge of when to slide has helped him stay healthy.

Bevell also coached a quarterback who managed to stay healthy enough to play 20 seasons. Brett Favre played for Minnesota 2009-10 when Bevell was the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings.

“I’ve been so fortunate in my career,’’ Bevell said. “I was able to coach a guy that was able to play forever and ever, and you expected him to be at every game regardless. I think we have a similar guy in Russell. He’s taken some hits, but the best thing we talk about with him every time is the decisions that he makes.

“Most of the time, he keeps himself out of harm’s way and he’s able to escape some things. When he gets out and runs, he gets down or he gets out of bounds, so all those decisions really help him to stay in there.”

Now Wilson faces the Arizona Cardinals, a team that sacked him seven times in a 19-3 Seattle victory on Nov. 23 at CenturyLink Field. Wilson also was sacked five times last weekend against the San Francisco 49ers in the 17-7 Seahawks win.

“We’re practicing to improve the things we need to improve,” Bevell said. “We just have to block better. We have to get the ball out quicker. We’ve got to get open on time. We have the conversation all the time on how they all work together. We have to be on point all the time, particularly this opponent that we’re playing. They bring tons of pressure. They can bring it every single down if they so choose, so we have to be prepared for it.”
RENTON, Wash. – Three offensive line starters did not practice for the Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday, which could be a big concern heading into the NFC West game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals with the division title on the line.

Starting center Max Unger, left tackle Russell Okung and right guard J.R. Sweezy all were out.

Sweezy was the surprise on the injury report with what was listed as ankle injury. Okung has a bruised lung from the game last Sunday against San Francisco.

“But he’s still in the mix,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Okung’s status for Sunday. “He’s going to have some stuff done [Thursday] that will let us know where he sits and all that. He’s not out of the plan yet.”

Unger has missed the last four games with knee and ankle injuries. He practiced last Friday, which was believed to be an encouraging sign about his chances of playing this week.

“Max had a tough recovery from last Friday’s practice, so we’ll see how he is [Thursday],” Carroll said. “We’re taking it one day at a time now. It’s close enough where we have a chance.”

The game Sunday comes against an Arizona team that sacked Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson seven times in Seattle’s 19-3 victory over the Cardinals on Nov. 23 at CenturyLink Field. Unger is the only one of the three who did not play that day, but starting left guard James Carpenter was out with an ankle injury.

Also not practicing Friday were defensive end Demarcus Dobbs, who missed last Sunday's game with ankle sprain, tight end Tony Moeaki, who injured his shoulder against San Francisco, and running back Marshawn Lynch, who always takes Wednesdays off to rest his back.

Tight end Cooper Helfet, who missed the last three games with an ankle injury, was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice.
RENTON, Wash. -- Every week is championship week to the Seattle Seahawks, but Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said his team is embracing Sunday's big NFC West matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC).

"Yeah man, you don't get to play for these damn things very often," Arians said Wednesday on a conference call with Seahawks media. "And it isn't like Seattle has been doing it for 100 damn years. You fight your ass off all year to get into this game, so sure you embrace it. But the way you prepare for it is still the same process."

A victory by the Cardinals (11-3) would clinch the division title, but they enter the game as 8-point underdogs to the 10-4 Seahawks. Arians isn't surprised to see his team an underdog at home.

"That's been the sentiment for about a month," he said. "I haven't heard anybody pick us in a long time, so there's no difference. You know, they have to play these games for somebody to win 'em. You just don't hand it to 'em. I think our guys will be more than ready."

One reason the Seahawks are big favorites is the fact Arizona is starting third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley, who was cut by the Cardinals at the end of the preseason before returning on Nov. 11 after spending 10 weeks on the San Diego Chargers practice squad.

"We're not going to change what we do," Arians said. "I really like Ryan. I love how he prepares. I'm very comfortable with him."

Arians also is confident the Cardinals will play better than they did in a 19-3 loss at Seattle on Nov. 23 when second-string QB Drew Stanton was on the field. Arians pointed to two plays that hurt Arizona that day.

"Hopefully, we'll have 11 guys out there for a punt this time," he said. "And catch balls that are thrown to us [Jaron Brown] in the end zone for a [would-be] touchdown."

Arians pointed out the Cardinals made other key mistakes that day.

"We let Russell [Wilson] get out of the pocket and make plays that led to field goals," Arians said. "We had seven sacks and it should have been 11. He makes plays out of the pocket as good as anybody in the National Football League. But we had some good plays in that game and it isn't like they thrashed us."
When Sunday’s game ended at CenturyLink Field, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh met a midfield, shook hands and seemed to have a cordial conversation.

Carroll
Carroll
Harbaugh
There was no, “What’s your deal, man?” as Carroll once asked Harbaugh back in their Pac-10 days, and no dead fish, phony handshake (at least not visually) as has taken place between the two men in the past.

Both men knew they probably were meeting for the last time as rival coaches in the NFC West, with Harbaugh likely moving on after this season. One close observer said Harbaugh told Carroll, “Thanks for the rivalry. It’s been fun.”

But neither man confirmed what was said between them. During his Monday news conference, Carroll was asked if the longtime foes had a brief, warm moment.

"I don’t know if I would refer to it as a warm moment,” Carroll said. “We had a moment. You’ll have to ask Jim if he felt it as a warm moment. It was a nice exchange, just two coaches talking.”

OK, maybe a warm moment is stretching it, but I’d like to think two men who had often been at odds, realized they had made each other better. And they knew the fierce competition between them was ending, at least for now.

Offensive line needs to protect Russell Wilson

December, 17, 2014
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ESPN Seahawks reporter Terry Blount says as long as the line protects Russell Wilson, the defense should be able to hold off Ryan Lindley and the Cardinals.

QB snapshot: Russell Wilson

December, 16, 2014
Dec 16
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A quick observation of quarterback Russell Wilson and how he played in the Seattle Seahawks' 17-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15:

Wilson
No matter what happens the rest of the way this season, Wilson has done something that no other quarterback has ever done. Wilson now has 34 regular-season victories, the most of any quarterback in NFL history in his first three seasons. With Sunday's victory, he passed the number that Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino had from 1983-85.

And as usual, Wilson found a way to get it done with the game on the line, throwing a 10-yard TD pass to rookie receiver Paul Richardson that gave Seattle a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.

However, if upcoming opponent Arizona wants to know how to keep Wilson in check, a look at what the 49ers did defensively might be a clue. Wilson completed a season-low 27 percent of his passes against five or more pass rushers, including an interception.

He was 3-for-11 against the 49ers' blitz with an average of only 5.7 yards per throw. Wilson also was 0-for-8 throwing while under duress, the most attempts without a completion by a player in a game this season.
Sunday at Arizona will not be the first time the Seattle Seahawks have faced Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley. That was back in 2012 when the Seahawks beat Arizona 58-0 in Seattle.

Lindley
Thomas
Lindley, who was a rookie in 2012, didn't start that day, but went 8-of-17 for 59 yards and a 55.8 QB rating. Lindley is 1-3 in his career as a starter, but never has thrown a TD pass in 181 career passes. It's the most attempts in NFL history without a TD, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Arizona coach Bruce Arians said Monday they also may play rookie quarterback Logan Thomas in certain situation Sunday.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll was asked how they'll prepare for the Cardinals QBs.

"We have to figure that out," Carroll said. "It's too early to assess that for us. We know of [Lindley]. We studied him hard when he was coming out [of San Diego State], watched him in college and all of that. And Logan, as well, so we have background on those guys.

"Not a lot of film on them, but Bruce is a terrific quarterback coach and he knows what he's doing. He'll get the most out of these guys. It sounds like they want to play both of them, so that will be interesting to see how they want to do it. We'll have to figure out how to adjust to what they're doing."

Lindley has the worst passing numbers in the NFL over the last three seasons in his limited play. He has a 51.4 completion percentage and only 4.3 yards per attempt.

Thomas, a fourth-round pick this year out of Virginia Tech, is 1-for-8 passing this season, but his one completion was an 81-yard TD (62 yards after catch) to Andre Ellington against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 5.
Seattle Seahawks starting left tackle Russell Okung suffered a bruised lung at the end of the first half Sunday and his recovery time probably is one or two weeks, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Monday.

Okung
Okung was taken to a local hospital during the game and was treated and released.

"He feels quite a bit better today, but we've got to be cautious," Carroll said of Okung. "He was really uncomfortable initially. In couple of days we'll see how he's feeling. It sounds like it's a week or two unless we get a really good report. We'll hope for the best and see how he does."

If Okung doesn't play, Alvin Bailey is the likely starter at left tackle this weekend against Arizona Cardinals, a game that could decide the NFC West title. Bailey played the second half Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

"He had some good plays and some bad plays," Carroll said of Bailey. "He wasn't on his best game. He'll be better this week with the whole week to prepare. He's done OK for us in the past playing at tackle, so we'll count on him to do that."

Bailey started at left tackle against Oakland when Okung was out with an injury. His best position probably is guard, where he started three games this season while left guard James Carpenter was out with an ankle injury.

Carroll also left some doubts about whether starting center Max Unger would return this weekend. Unger has missed the last four games with a knee and ankle injury.

"Max will practice again Wednesday and we'll see how that goes," Carroll said. "He wasn't 100 percent [Sunday] or he would have played. He's real anxious to get back, but he needs to make some more improvement. There's still some question."

Carroll expects tight end Cooper Helfet to return this week after missing the last three games with a sprained ankle, and the Seahawks may need him. Tight end Tony Moeaki suffered a bruised shoulder Sunday. His status this week is uncertain.
The NFL's vice president of officiating admitting Monday morning that referee Ed Hochuli was wrong on a personal foul call against the San Francisco 49ers in their 17-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks did nothing to soothe sore feelings in Santa Clara.

Harbaugh
In fact, Niners coach Jim Harbaugh intimated it may have had the opposite effect.

"Is it worse to hear (the acknowledgement) after the fact?" Harbaugh said, repeating the question Monday in his weekly media conference. "It's worse to get the penalty at the time."

To recap: the Seahawks were facing third-and-5 at the 49ers' 15-yard line early in the fourth quarter when Russell Wilson threw an incompletion into the end zone. The incompletion would have forced the Seahawks to attempt a field goal to go up 13-7, but Hochuli flagged linebacker Nick Moody for roughing the passer because, in Hochuli's opinion, Moody hit Wilson in the chest with the "hairline" of his helmet. Two plays later, Wilson found Paul Richardson for a 10-yard touchdown pass that put Seattle up 17-7.

On the NFL Network's "NFL AM" show, the league's vice president of officiating said the call was wrong.

"In looking at it, it was not (the correct call)," said Dean Blandino. "The rule protects a passer from two types of hits: Hits to the head or neck, or hits with the crown or forehead, which is just below the crown part of the helmet, and that's what the referee called.

"It's close, but when you look at it on tape, Moody's head is up, he hits with more of the side and the facemask to the body of the quarterback, and in our review, with the ability to look at it in slow motion, it's not a foul."

Blandino also said if Hochuli did not see the play clearly -- replays show him behind and to the right of Wilson -- he should not have thrown a flag.

"Ed was getting into position and he saw him, or what he thought he saw ducking the head and making the contact," Blandino said. "So he wouldn't throw the flag if he didn't see it. But it obviously happens quick -- it's full-speed -- and (Hochuli) doesn't have the benefit of the slow motion replays that we all do after the fact."

Had the foul not been called and assuming the Seahawks make the short field goal, the Niners would have had the ball needing only a touchdown and extra-point to take the lead. But keep this in mind: the 49ers' first-string offense has only one fourth-quarter TD drive this season, and Colin Kaepernick is the only qualified QB in the NFL without a TD pass in the fourth quarter this season.

So pulling off a late score against the Seahawks' top-ranked defense would have been a chore in itself. Still, the Niners would have loved to at least have had the opportunity.

"I mean, I thought it was a clean hit," Moody said after the game. "Gotta check the film, but it felt clean to me."
Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was a beast in the second half of Sunday's 17-7 win, rushing for 76 of his 91 yards in the last two quarters after the Seahawks put the game in his hands.

Lynch
Lynch rushed for 48 yards after contact in the second half, the second most in a game this season. His second-half yards, and yards after contact, were the most allowed by the San Francisco 49ers defense this season.

Lynch now is one of seven players in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards and have 10 rushing touchdowns in four consecutive seasons. He has rushed for 1,133 yards this season and is on pace to rush for 1,295 yards, which would be the second-highest total of his career to the 1,590 yards he rushed for in 2012.

He also has 34 receptions for 331 yards, which already is the most receiving yards of his career. He needs only 110 total yards rushing and receiving in the last two games to surpass his total last season of 1,573 yards.

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