NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

2014 Predictions: Seattle Seahawks

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
8:00
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ESPN.com Seattle Seahawks reporter Terry Blount makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: Green Bay Packers

All the pregame hype will center around the so-called Inaccurate Reception, the controversial Hail Mary catch by Golden Tate two years ago that won the game over the Packers at Seattle on a Monday night. Tate has moved on to Detroit, but the Seahawks now have too many weapons for the Packers to stop, no Hail Mary required. Prediction: Win


Week 2: at San Diego Chargers

The Chargers better hope they play a lot better than they did in the preseason game at Seattle, a 41-14 victory for the Seahawks on Aug. 15. San Diego will play better, but not good enough to beat a much better team. Prediction: Win


Week 3: Denver Broncos

The Broncos and their fans got a tiny bit of meaningless Super Bowl revenge in the preseason opener with a 21-16 victory over the Seahawks in Denver. Enjoy it while it lasts, boys. Repeating that outcome in Seattle is not an option. Prediction: Win


Week 5: at Washington Redskins

Traveling coast to coast to play on the road for a Monday night game is a tough task against any NFL opponent, and even tougher against quarterback Robert Griffin III. But the Seahawks catch a break in this one by coming off a bye week with plenty of time to prepare and be fresh for the journey. Prediction: Win


Week 6: Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave Seattle a little bulletin-board material last month when he said the Seahawks were to blame for the increase in penalty flags during the preseason. There won't be near enough flags against Seattle for the Cowboys to win this one. Prediction: Win


Week 7: at St. Louis Rams

Any division game in the NFC West is a rugged battle. The Rams have a defensive line that gave the Seahawks problems a year ago. But they aren't strong enough overall to beat Seattle, even at home in their out-of-date dome. Prediction: Win


Week 8: at Carolina Panthers

The Seahawks were fortunate to win the season opener at Charlotte a year ago. That Panthers team was better than this one, but back-to-back road games against very physical defensive teams will end the Seattle winning streak. Prediction: Loss


Week 9: Oakland Raiders

Coming off their first loss of the season and returning home against an outmanned opponent, is there any doubt? Prediction: Win


Week 10: New York Giants

The Seahawks easily defeated the Giants 23-0 last year in New Jersey, a dress rehearsal for their Super Bowl victory at the same location -- MetLife Stadium. The Seahawks won't need a rehearsal to roll past the Giants in this one. Prediction: Win


Week 11: at Kansas City Chiefs

This likely will be a low-scoring game between two strong defensive teams. Odds are against any team that has to try to win by matching its defense against the Seahawks' D. Prediction: Win


Week 12: Arizona Cardinals

The last time the Cardinals played at CenturyLink Field was last December when they handed the Seahawks a 17-10 loss. That won't happen again unless the Seahawks get caught looking ahead to the 49ers game. The Seahawks don't look ahead. Prediction: Win


Week 13: at San Francisco 49ers

It's a Thanksgiving night, national TV game in the 49ers' shiny new stadium against the hated Seahawks. If San Francisco can't win this one, its time as a championship contender is over. Prediction: Loss


Week 14: at Philadelphia Eagles

This is the toughest part of the season for the Seahawks with back-to-back road games against likely playoff contenders. But the 10 days between games will help and be enough of a cushion to keep Seattle from losing two in a row. Prediction: Win


Week 15: San Francisco 49ers

This is a game that could decide which team wins the NFC West. No way the Seahawks lose to the 49ers twice in three weeks, especially not in front of a rabid full house of 12s. Prediction: Win


Week 16: at Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals probably will be fighting for a playoff spot, and the Seahawks already will be in at 12-2. That difference will be just enough for Arizona to win at home in the same stadium where the Seahawks will win the Super Bowl a few weeks later. Prediction: Loss


Week 17: St. Louis Rams

For the second consecutive year, the Rams close the regular season in Seattle. And for the second consecutive year, the Seahawks will beat them without much trouble. Prediction: Win


Predicted Record: 13-3

RENTON, Wash. -- After all the speculation in preseason about whether All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas really would be the punt returner for the Seahawks this season, and all the debate about whether he should be, Thomas said he’s ready to go.

“I get to play punt returner and free safety," Thomas said Tuesday. “I get to play both ways. This is what I did in high school, so it just feels good to be on the ultimate stage like this and have that opportunity.”

Thomas
His first official chance comes Thursday night in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field. Thomas was asked how many touchdowns he thinks he can score this season returning punts.

“I’m not putting a limit on anything,” he said. “I just want to be the best and have fun. I know when I get the ball in my hand I’ll make something happen, though.”

He hopes the same thing isn’t true for Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Thursday night.

“The biggest thing that he does that’s so great is he’s able to create with his legs,” Thomas said of Rodgers. “He hitches up and scrambles, maybe to his right, and his receivers do a great job at keeping the play alive.

“So we have to make sure our eyes are right. We can’t get lost in the backfield, because if we do that, that’s how big plays are being created. But that never happens with us. We understand our jobs.”
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch talked to the media Tuesday for the first time since the Super Bowl.

Actually, Lynch did everything he could to not talk to the media in regard to football questions, but still have a brief interview session around his locker with the music blaring behind him, making it almost impossible to hear his brief responses.

Lynch
Lynch did have a meaningful response to a question about his foundation.

TV cameras are not allowed in the locker room, not that any of Lynch's comments would be usable for video or audio because many of the words in the music are profane.

Lynch has completely outsmarted the NFL in it's requirement for him to talk to reporters. He has made it a mockery, while technically, fulfilling his league obligations.

It was much better when he didn't talk at all. Clearly, Lynch doesn't want to talk to reporters, but if the NFL is going to force him to do so, it should be done in a professional manner.

Quarterback Russell Wilson and free safety Earl Thomas spoke at a podium at the back of the team facility, but Lynch did not.

Here are Lynch's answers to football-related questions:

What he saw from Wilson in the preseason: "Just continuing to grow."

What does he think of the offensive line: "I see ‘em coming together."

On what he thinks of how running backs Robert Turbin and Christine Michael played in preseason: "I just want the best for them young men."

On whether the team will throw more this season: "I guess we'll find out."

On his goal for the season: "Have fun."

Lynch stared blankly when asked questions about his holdout. However, in his defense, Lynch wanted talk about his foundation when asked about it afterward.

"Of the kids who've gone through my foundation, a number of them are in [NCAA] Division I [football programs]," he said. "I've done had kids come from Barbados and Canada. I'm not turning down no kids."

Lynch spoke fondly of one young man he remembered specifically.

"I had a kid say he was committing suicide by him coming [to Lynch's offseason youth program in Oakland] because it put his life in danger," Lynch said. "But he wasn't gonna miss the opportunity to be a part of it.

"Helping that young man through his little situation is big for me. It's not something to boast and brag about, but it touched me dearly."
RENTON, Wash. -- Running back Christine Michael was among five players who did not practice Monday for the Seahawks. Michael strained a hamstring at practice last week and did not play in the final preseason game at Oakland Thursday night.

Others who did not practice were cornerback Tharold Simon (knee), tight end Cooper Helfet (knee) guard Lemuel Jeanpierre (neck) and rookie outside linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, who injured his left hamstring in the Oakland game.

Outside linebacker Bruce Irvin and rookie wide receiver Kevin Norwood -- two players who were out during training camp -- have returned to practice on a limited basis.

Irvin had hip surgery in June and Norwood had foot surgery a month ago to remove bone spurs from his ankle.

“We’re taking it day to day,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Irvin and Norwood. “We’ll see how they handle it. We’re hopeful they will have a chance to play.”

Cornerback Jeremy Lane also was limited in practice with a groin injury. Lane is the team’s starting nickelback. He did not play at Oakland.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett makes it clear that he doesn’t really like quarterbacks.

“It’s kind of like when you’re a kid and your mom feeds you Brussels sprouts,” Bennett said Sunday. “You eat ‘em, but they taste nasty. That’s how feel about quarterbacks. You need ‘em, but they taste nasty.”

Michael Bennett
The Seahawks gave Bennett a four-year deal worth $28.5 million after last season because of his ability to sack and harass quarterbacks.

“Quarterback is the only position where you can be mediocre and get paid,” Bennett said. “Any other position you hold to a higher standard than quarterback.

“I’m not going to say this quarterback’s name, but he’s won 15 games in five years and he’s made over 90 million dollars in guarantees. And I know one quarterback who went to the playoffs one time and he got over a 100 million-dollar contact.”

Bennett said that kind of situation doesn’t happen at other positions.

“If you’re a receiver and you only get 500 yards for three years, you’re gonna get a bad contract,” Bennett said. “But if you’re a quarterback and you throw 26 interceptions and 16 touchdowns, you’re OK.

“It’s good for the quarterbacks. Obviously, this is a fantasy-football type of league now. That’s why they make the rules the way they are.”

But Bennett said he gets it on the business side of things.

“The quarterback is the face of the franchise,” he said. “There’s a lot that goes into it from jersey sales and advertisements and commercials. For the $100 million they pay him, they probably make $500 million.

“Who knows a defensive lineman, unless they can dance and they’re good-looking.”

Bennett does do a provocative pelvis-thrust dance after a sack, though.

Speaking of quarterbacks, he was asked about his season-opening opponent, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Bennett said Rodgers is not a Brussels sprout.

“He’s more like a green bean,” Bennett said. “He’s a great quarterback.”
Most significant move: Releasing quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who didn’t do enough for the Seattle Seahawks to justify keeping a third quarterback on the roster, considering he would be inactive most of the time. This was the right call. Pryor cost the Seahawks a seventh-round draft choice to Oakland, but it was worth it to take a look at a guy who’s such an extraordinary athlete. In the end, Pryor was too inconsistent with his passing and his decision-making. It’s likely another team will sign him. The Seahawks also cut QB B.J. Daniels, but they probably hope to add him to the practice squad.

Going with youth: The Seahawks stuck to the usual formula of opting for talented young players over experienced older players. The team released nine-year veteran offensive tackle Eric Winston in order to keep undrafted rookie Garry Gilliam out of Penn State. Winston also would have cost them $1 million in salary. Gilliam is an outstanding athlete who still is learning the position after playing tight end part of his college career. It also means the Seahawks are completely comfortable with rookie Justin Britt, a second-round draft choice who will start at right tackle.

Undrafted over drafted: The Seahawks cut two draft picks -- fifth-round DT Jimmy Staten and seventh-round FB Kiero Small -- and kept two undrafted rookies in MLB Brock Coyle and Gilliam.

Cornerback trade: Here’s another example of going with younger players. The Seahawks cut CB Phillip Adams, a five-year veteran who they picked up in the offseason, and made a trade for Indianapolis CB Marcus Burley, a second-year player with potential. The Seahawks sent the Colts a sixth-round draft choice in 2015.

Seven receivers: For the moment, the Seahawks have seven WRs -- Doug Baldwin, Percy Harvin, Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson, Ricardo Lockette, Phil Bates and Kevin Norwood. The Seahawks probably are keeping Bates until Norwood is 100 percent recovered from his foot surgery.

What’s next: Some of these players will end up on the practice squad. Likely candidates are Small, Staten, OT Nate Isles, S Terrance Parks, RB Demitrius Bronson, TE RaShaun Allen, DT Andru Pulu and DE Benson Mayowa, but another team probably will want Mayowa.

Team moves: Terminated veteran contracts of OT Eric Winston and CB Phillip Adams. Waived QB Terrelle Pryor, QB B.J. Daniels, LB Korey Toomer, DE Benson Mayowa, WR Bryan Walters, FB Kiero Small, WR Arceto Clark, G Caylin Hauptmann, OT Nate Isles, C Patrick Lewis, S Terrance Parks, TE Morrell Presley, WR Chris Matthews, DT Jimmy Staten, DT Andru Pulu, TE RaShaun Allen, RB Spencer Ware, CB Akeem Auguste, RB Demitrius Bronson and S Steven Terrell. Placed DT D’Anthony Smith on injured reserve. The Seahawks acquired CB Marcus Burley from Indianapolis for a 2015 sixth-round draft choice.
The Seattle Seahawks had seven plays in the preseason of 40 yards or longer -- two rushing, one passing, two on special teams and two on defense.

Here’s the list:

Earl Thomas: 59-yard punt return against Chicago. Thomas got a hard time from his teammates about being tackled by the punter, Patrick O’Donnell, but he’s probably the fastest punter in the league.

DeShawn Shead: 54-yard pick-six at Oakland. Shead was in the right place to scoop up a pass that cornerback Phillip Adams deflected, making the catch and taking it to the house.

[+] EnlargeRobert Turbin
AP Photo/Stephen BrashearRobert Turbin's 47-yard run against San Diego was the longest play from scrimmage by the Seattle offense in the preseason.
Robert Turbin: 47-yard run against San Diego. On second-and-5 at the Seattle 7, Turbin took a handoff from Russell Wilson and saw open field off the right side, thanks to some solid blocking by right tackle Justin Britt and right guard J.R. Sweezy. It was off to the races before he finally was run down at the San Diego 46.

Percy Harvin: 46-yard return on the opening kickoff against Chicago. Harvin caught the kick seven yards deep in the end zone, but never considered downing it. He headed up the middle, saw an opening to his right and finally was stopped at the Seattle 39.

Terrelle Pryor: 44-yard touchdown run against San Diego. Pryor scrambled to his left, saw an opening, easily ran past a couple of defenders and showed off his speed to reach the end zone.

Jermaine Kearse: 44-yard reception at Oakland. On the first play from scrimmage in the game, Wilson dropped back and threw it deep for Kearse down the right sideline, who made a nice over-the-shoulder grab to the Oakland 36.

Jeremy Lane: 41-yard interception return against Chicago. The Bears had a second-and-goal at the Seattle 12 when Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler made a throw intended for Josh Morgan near the goal line, but Lane picked it off at the 2 and broke several tackles, returning it to the Seattle 43.

Seattle opponents had only two plays of 40 yards or longer, both on returns by Oakland on Thursday night. George Atkinson III had a 45-yard kickoff return and T.J. Carrie had a 45-yard punt return.

Seattle Seahawks' projected roster

August, 29, 2014
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Examining the Seattle Seahawks' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)
Whether or not to keep Pryor may be the most difficult decision the Seahawks have because keeping a third QB means they will have to cut someone else at another spot they would have kept. But Pryor may have done enough in his return to Oakland Friday night to earn the spot. He was 11 of 17 passing for 134 yards overall, including a 33-yard TD pass to cap an 87-yard drive at the end of the first half. B.J. Daniels also played well, leading the team on a 91-yard drive late in the fourth quarter and throwing a 7-yard TD pass to Bryan Walters.

RUNNING BACKS (3)

Michael didn't play Friday night because of a hamstring injury, but Turbin has done enough to earn the first backup spot behind Lynch. I don't think Spencer Ware has done enough to earn a spot at RB or FB. Rookie Demitrius Bronson ran well again Friday night and could end up on the practice squad.

FULLBACKS (1)

Coleman has played well as the starting FB and continues to improve his blocking skills. The other fullback is rookie Kiero Small (5-foot-8, 250 pounds), who could end up on the practice squad. Turbin can line up at FB if needed.

RECEIVERS (6)

Four of these spots are set -- Harvin, Baldwin, Kearse and Richardson, the rookie speedster from Colorado. But eight players are vying for the final two spots, or maybe just one. Kevin Norwood, a rookie from Alabama, had foot surgery and may be headed to a redshirt season on IR. Lockette and Walters are the likely candidates for the last two spots. Walters fumbled a kickoff return Friday, but he also had the TD catch from Daniels, along with a great catch on a 33-yard throw from Pryor. And Walters had five kickoff returns for 137 yards. He also returns punts. Lockette's 4.3 speed helps make him a excellent coverage guy on punts and kickoffs. Phil Bates looked good in training camp and helped himself with the 33-yard TD catch Friday, but it may not be enough.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

The question here is whether the Seahawks want to keep three tight ends. You would think on a team that relies on its power running game, that would be a given. However, the Seahawks often used OT Alvin Bailey as a tight end (or extra tackle) on running plays toward the end of last season. It looked like Helfet had the third TE spot locked down, but he injured his shoulder last week and didn't play Friday night. Undrafted rookie Rashaun Allen or rookie Morrell Presley could end up in the practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

All the decisions here are about which men will be the four backups. Any doubts about whether Britt could step in and start at RT as a rookie have been put to rest. Bailey and Jeanpierre probably are locked in so that leaves two available spots. One could go to the veteran Winston, who will cost the Seahawks $1 million, but he can give them quality snaps at either tackle spot. The other backup has to be a guard so it could come down to Stephen Schilling or Caylin Hauptmann. Last week I had Schilling, but now I think Hauptmann may get that backup guard spot. Schilling grew up in the Seattle area and was signed in the offseason. He has shown he also can play center. Hauptmann has a bit of a mean streak that offensive line coach Tom Cable loves. The coaches are high of rookie tackle Garry Gilliam, a quality athlete who also played tight end at Penn State. He may be headed to the practice squad.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

Really tough cut coming here. After outstanding play all preseason, Schofield has earned his spot as a nickel-package pass rusher. DE Benson Mayowa is on the bubble. Scruggs’ return after missing last season will help the depth because he can play defensive end or defensive tackle. The Seahawks are high on rookie defensive end Marsh, who will factor in in nickel packages. Rookie Jimmy Staten probably goes to the practice squad. Hill has his best preseason game Friday night, as did DT D'Anthony Smith, but someone has to go.

LINEBACKERS (7)

This comes done to what happens with Irvin, who hasn't been on the field yet this summer after undergoing hip surgery, but he is expected back next week. It's bad news for Korey Toomer if Irvin is ready to play. Coyle has been the biggest surprise at camp. He has started at MLB while Wagner was out with a hamstring injury and played pretty well. Backup MLB Heath Farwell is having groin surgery and is on IR, but his career may be over. Pierre-Louis is a super fast rookie who will contribute a lot on special teams this season if he's healthy. He injured his hamstring again Friday night.

CORNERBACKS (5)

It's probably down to Adams or Akeem Auguste for the fifth CB spot. Adams had good and bad moments Friday night, getting beat of a long TD pass. But he also deflecting a pass that DeShawn Shead returned fro a 54-yard pick six. Lane had a great game two weeks ago but has a groin injury. He'll start as the nickelback if he's healthy. Simon, who missed his rookie year last season with injuries, has impressed everyone with his athleticism.

SAFETIES (4)

Johnson has been solid all preseason and is the first backup at both safety spots. Shead is listed as a cornerback and played that spot Friday night at Oakland, but the team needs him more at the safety spots. Chancellor is back after offseason hip surgery. Thomas likely has won the job to also return punts. Terrance Parks could slide in here if the teams keeps another DB.

SPECIALISTS (3)

These spots are set unless an injury occurs.


In the most meaningless of four meaningless games, the Seattle Seahawks gave up five touchdowns in an ugly first half, including four TD passes, to end the preseason with a 41-31 loss to the Oakland Raiders at the O.co Coliseum.

Mental mistakes and sloppy play characterized a game where many of the players on the field won’t be in a NFL uniform next week. The Seahawks played better in the second half, but it’s still not the way they wanted to head into the regular season against Green Bay on Sept. 4.

Here are some other thoughts on the Seahawks' final preseason game of the year.

Wilson a preseason wizard: Russell Wilson was the clear bright spot on a rough night for Seattle. He was 3-for-3 on the opening drive, including a 44-yard deep sideline completion to Jermaine Kearse and a 25-yard TD throw to tight end Luke Willson over the middle. In the first half of the final three preseason games, Wilson completed 27 of 33 passes for 372 yards and three TDs, along with three rushing TDs.

Pryor and Daniels state their case: Picking a possible third quarterback didn’t get any easier with Terrelle Pryor and B.J. Daniels both having a decent showing. Pryor led the team on an 87-yard, 10-play drive in the final two minutes of the first half, including a perfectly thrown 33-yard pass to Phil Bates in the end zone for the TD. It also was a meaningful play for Bates, who is trying to earn one of the final spots at wide receiver. Pryor also led the offense on a 10-play, 57-yard drive for a field goal in the second half. He was 11-of-17 passing for 134 yards and a 108.5 passer rating. But Daniels also shined, leading the team on a 91-yard, 8-play drive in the fourth quarter, including a 28-yard run and a 7-yard TD pass. He was 5-of-9 passing for 71 yards and a 118.3 QB rating. The only QB who didn’t play well was backup Tarvaris Jackson, who was 2-for-4 for 19 yards and was sacked once.

Big night for Walters: It started horribly for receiver Bryan Walters, who fumbled on a kickoff return. But he more than made up for it the rest of the night. Walters, who is on the bubble for making the team, had a nifty run for a 7-yard TD on a bubble screen. He had five kickoff returns for 137 yards and a great catch on a 33-yard pass from Pryor to keep a drive alive.

Mixed bag for Adams: Veteran cornerback Phillip Adams, playing against his former Oakland teammates, gave up two touchdown passes in the first quarter, but Adams also had six tackles and a pass deflection in the second quarter that DeShawn Shead intercepted and turned into a 54-yard pick-six.

Sloppy play: It’s typical for a final preseason game with so many backups on the field, but still disappointing for the Seahawks, who had 12 penalties for 95 yards. Many were careless mistakes, like being offsides on back-to-back kickoff attempts and having 12 men on the field on defense in the second quarter. Cornerback Akeem Auguste was flagged for unnecessary roughness with a late hit in the end zone after a TD catch. Rookie wide receiver Paul Richardson frustrated Jackson when Richardson didn’t know where to line up on one play.
Beast Mode and Bam Bam are on the list.

  Running back Marshawn Lynch and strong safety Kam Chancellor are the two Seattle Seahawks to appear Thursday on ESPN.com’s continuing countdown of the Top 100 offensive and defensive players in the NFL.

Lynch comes in at No. 14 on offense, and Chancellor is No. 16 on defense.

Lynch, 28, has been the heart and soul of the Seattle offense since he was acquired from the Buffalo Bills in 2010.

Since Lynch joined the Seahawks in Week 6 of 2010, he ranks second in the NFL in rushing yards (4,624), rushing touchdowns (41) and yards after contact (2,000), behind only Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson in each category.

Lynch epitomizes the hard-hitting, aggressive style of football that the Seahawks play. He is a virtual bulldozer of a running back, possibly the most physical runner since Earl Campbell in the 1970s.

Lynch is the workhorse of the team’s power-running offense. He has 901 carries over the past three seasons, rushing for more than 1,200 in each of those seasons.

But he became an overnight cult-hero to Seahawks fans with his 67-yard TD run in the Jan. 8, 2011 playoff game against New Orleans that came to be known as the Beast Quake. As Lynch was breaking tackle after tackle on the amazing run, the frenzied reaction from the crowd as CenturyLink Field caused a seismic event in downtown Seattle.

It’s fitting that Lynch and Chancellor appear on the countdown together because Chancellor conveys the physical presence on defense that Lynch brings to the offense.

Chancellor (6-3, 230) is widely regarded as the hardest hitter in the NFL. He has a highlight reel filled with bone-jarring tackles on receivers, running backs and even offensive linemen.

It’s his big hits that people remember, but Chancellor consistently makes tackles that stop drives and disrupt what offenses are trying to do.

Chancellor tied Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner for the team lead with 34 tackles in the three postseason games last season, but ESPN Stats & Information revealed it was the most tackles in the postseason by a defensive back since 2001.

The Seahawks now have 11 players on the countdown so far. The four other offensive players are center Max Unger (84), offensive tackle Russell Okung (65), receiver Percy Harvin (50) and quarterback Russell Wilson (26).

The five other defensive players listed are defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (94), outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (87), defensive end Cliff Avril (57), middle linebacker Wagner (41) and defensive end Michael Bennett (34).

W2W4: Seattle Seahawks

August, 28, 2014
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The Seattle Seahawks (2-1) play the Oakland Raiders (1-2) in the final preseason game Thursday night at O.co Coliseum.

Three things to watch:

1. Terrelle Pryor – It’s possible Pryor will need to have a good game against his former teammates for the Seahawks to be convinced he’s worth a roster spot as the third quarterback. Pryor is expected to get a significant amount of playing time in the game, but the coaches also may want to take a good look at second-year quarterback B.J. Daniels, who has been with the team since the middle of last season, when Seattle picked him up off waivers from the 49ers.

2. Bubble guys – For some players, this is the most important game of their lives because it could be the last game of their career if they don’t find a way to stand out. Possibly the most competitive position battle for the Seahawks is at wide receiver, where 10 players still are vying for five or six spots. But it really comes down to six guys competing for one or two spots. Ricardo Lockette and Bryan Walters probably have the upper hand as quality special-teams contributors who have been with the team a while. But so has Phil Bates, whom the coaches have praised all preseason. The coaches also like Chris Matthews because of his size (6-foot-5, 220 pounds), but he needs a big game to move ahead of the others.

3. Beware of O.co – Not only is this the worst stadium in the NFL, it’s also the worst field, which is saying a lot considering the problems the Seahawks had on the Redskins’ field in the playoff game two seasons ago. Part of the field in Oakland is dirt from the infield for the A’s games. It’s an injury waiting to happen, which is a good reason not to play many of the starters, or to play them as little as possible.
RENTON, Wash. -- The final preseason game each year is viewed as relatively meaningless to many fans since the starters usually play only a few snaps, if at all.

But Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sees Thursday night’s game at Oakland in a different light, realizing some players are fighting to make the team.

‘‘There are a lot of guys with opportunities, battling for spots,” Carroll said. “It’s a highly competitive final opportunity and it’s a big deal to us. We hope to give guys any chance to make a statement to try to make this club.”

A few of the players believed to be on the bubble are defensive end Benson Mayowa, cornerbacks Phillip Adams and Akeem Auguste, receivers Bryan Walters and Phil Bates, safety Terrance Parks and running back Spencer Ware.

Carroll pointed out that the coaches have not made any final judgments on players fighting for a roster spot.

“There is stuff in the balance with guys that are really close,” Carroll said. “There are a number of spots where it’s one guy or the other. We’re going to take in all the information. It’s exciting to see these guys going for it. I’d like everybody to get good chances. There are times when guys just light up with this last opportunity.”
RENTON, Wash -- Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael will not play Thursday night at Oakland in the preseason finale because of a strained hamstring.

Michael
Michael's injury is the reason the Seahawks re-signed rookie running back Demitrius Bronson, who was released earlier this week. The team waived guard Greg Van Roten to make room for Bronson to return.

"He pulled up a little bit [Tuesday] in practice," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Michael, "so we're ensuring we have enough guys to run the football [adding Bronson]. He did a really nice job while he was here, but the numbers caught him and we're glad to have him back.”

Receiver Percy Harvin was not at practice for the second consecutive day, but Carroll said he was excused for personal business.

Cornerback Jeremy Lane and tight end Cooper Helfet are not expected to play Thursday. Lane has what Carroll described as a mild groin strain. Helfet has a bruised shoulder and Carroll said he was day-to-day.

Rookie defensive tackle Jimmy Staten has returned to practice after missing all of training camp with a hamstring injury, but Carroll said Staten will not make the trip to Oakland.

Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel did not practice this week. Carroll said McDaniel has a sore knee that they are resting.

Receiver Bryan Walters, who missed the Chicago game with bruised ribs, is expected to play at Oakland.
RENTON, Wash. -- Quarterback Russell Wilson is the ninth player for the Seattle Seahawks to make ESPN.com's countdown of the top 100 offensive and defensive players, coming in at No. 26.

Wilson moved up 21 spots from his 2013 ranking, which one would expect after leading his team to a Super Bowl victory in only his second NFL season.

And he would garner a better ranking if not for the unfair perception by some people that he is only a game manager, sort of a point guard on the field who gets the ball to the right people and rarely makes a mistake.

Wilson certainly does those things, but he is also a pin-point accurate passer with a strong arm and is a dangerous runner who makes things happen with his ability to avoid pass-rushers.

ESPN Stats & Information shows Wilson was fourth in the NFL last season in yards per pass attempt at 8.3, and had the most scrambling yards at 434.

Few quarterbacks in NFL history has accomplished as much as Wilson in their first two seasons. His 24 victories are the most in league history for a quarterback's first two seasons. His .750 regular-season winning percentage (24-8) is second best among all active QBs. Only New England's Tom Brady is better with a .775 winning percentage (148-43).

Wilson is the fourth offensive Seahawk on the ESPN.com countdown, joining center Max Unger (84), offensive tackle Russell Okung (65) and receiver Percy Harvin (50).

The five defensive players listed so far are defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (94), outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (87), defensive end Cliff Avril (57), middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (41) and defensive end Michael Bennett (34).
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RENTON, Wash. -- If you were to name a half dozen NFL teams that play it old-school in practice by getting rough and rowdy at risk to players, the Seattle Seahawks would not be one of them.

That's why it's surprising to learn the Seahawks are being fined and are losing two 2015 minicamp practice sessions for violating the no-contact rules in offseason workouts. The combined total of the fines for the franchise and coach Pete Carroll exceed $300,000, sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

The Seahawks are as cautious as any team in the league when it comes to protecting injured players and limiting their time on the field until they are fully recovered.

Receiver Percy Harvin might be the best example of that. The Seahawks took every precaution last season until they were convinced Harvin was in no danger of damaging his surgically repaired hip. He played in only one regular-season game.

The team also usually ends its practice sessions earlier than the time allowed by the league, but a practice session in June got out of hand and the team has paid a heavy price.

The Seahawks did not address the issue Tuesday. Carroll is expected to talk to reporters following Wednesday's walk-through practice.

The fine is a result of excessive contact from a mandatory veteran's minicamp practice session June 18 when cornerback Richard Sherman and wide receiver Phil Bates were involved in a fight.

It isn't the fight that caused the fine. It's the contact in drills that led up to the fight. The violation was for permitting the players to engage in excessive levels of on-field physical contact.

The 2011 collective bargaining agreement bans physical contact between players during the offseason. Specifically, the rule states: "There will be no contact work (e.g., "live" blocking, tackling, pass-rushing, bump-and-run) or use of pads (helmets permitted) at minicamps."

The fight was the headline of the day, but not the main violation. Both Sherman and Bates landed blows to the other's head. Neither player was injured. Obviously, coaches can't control whether a fight breaks out. That's not the issue.

The altercation began one play earlier when receiver Bryan Walters made a diving catch on the sidelines while being closely covered by free safety Earl Thomas, who fell over the top of Walters after the play.

Walters injured his right shoulder and was in obvious pain on the sideline. Receiver Doug Baldwin was clearly angry, believing Thomas had landed on Walters in the no-tackling scrimmage.

Sherman was playing press coverage on Bates the next play. They grabbed each other at the snap, and neither man let go. Sherman ripped off Bates' helmet and punches flew before Sherman also lost his helmet.

Moments later, Carroll briefly halted practice and called everyone to the middle of the field.

"He just told us we needed to regain our focus and remember why we're out here," middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said afterward. "Things got a little out of hand, but it was a lot of fun. I loved it. It felt like a game out there. And I felt like the defense won.”

The NFL later requested tapes of the practice session to determine if a violation occurred. The Seahawks appealed the penalty and lost.

It's the second time in the past two years the Seahawks have been penalized for violating offseason contact rules.

While the fine may seem excessive, the financial loss isn't the biggest problem for the Seahawks. Losing two days of practice sessions in next summer's minicamp is a big deal to the coaches.

The team will have a single practice session on the final day of minicamp. The players still will be paid for the canceled practice sessions.

In an era where every precaution is taken to protect players' safety, the NFL is sending a clear message here, not just to the Seahawks, but to every team. Excessive contact will not be tolerated.

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