NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

RENTON, Wash. -- Veteran offensive tackle Eric Winston is 30 years old and the president of the NFL Players’ Association. After eight seasons and 119 consecutive starts, he wanted to be sure he was doing the right thing before continuing his career.

Winston
"I’ve been searching for the right situation and what I felt was best," said Winston, who signed with the Seahawks Tuesday. "I know they are definitely capable of winning here and winning big. It was exciting to think I could get a chance to play in some big games I’ve never played in before."

Winston (6-foot-6, 310 pounds) is insurance for the Seahawks at the right tackle spot. They have rookie Justin Britt taking the first-team snaps. The man who was expected to compete with Britt (second-year player Michael Bowie) has been out with shoulder injury.

With Winston’s presence, the Seahawks know they have a quality veteran they can use if they need him.

"We were just looking for depth and a competitive guy to come in and fill the spot," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We’re very young in the backup guys. Michael has been slowed down a little bit. Eric’s done a lot of playing in his time, so we’ll see how that works out. We’re glad to have him out here battling."

Winston started all 16 games last season for Arizona. He played for Kansas City in 2012, but spent the first six seasons of his career in Houston, where he makes his home.

"I’ve been sweating it out down there working out," Winston said. "I’ve never been around Seattle. What a gorgeous place. What great scenery. The lunch room [at the VMAC], you walk in and see the lake. It doesn’t get too much better than that, so yeah, it’s exciting to be here."

Winston also said he will do all he can to help Britt learn the position.

"I think anytime you become a vet in this league, you’ve got an obligation to the young guys to help them and teach them," Winston said. "If Britt wants me to do that, then I’ll do it. I’ll be here for him to help him, that’s for sure."
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RENTON, Wash. -- There has been a lot of confusion over the fines Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is incurring, so here a few of the main points:

As of Tuesday, Lynch was subject to losing 15 percent of his $6 million signing bonus, however, that's on a pro-rated basis per year. So Lynch incurred a $225,000 fine on Tuesday. He can be fined another 1 percent of his bonus per each day he misses going forward, up to 25 percent of the bonus.

Lynch also is subject to a $30,000 fine for each day of camp he misses, which was up to $180,000 as of Tuesday. That’s a total of $405,000 in fines, so far.

Lynch will not lose a regular-season game check for each preseason game he misses, which is the rule now under the collective bargaining agreement. But Lynch signed his contract before that CBA rule went into effect.

The fines add up quickly now, however, all these fines could become a moot point. The fines are at the team's discretion. So if Lynch said he would return to the team as long as all his fines were waived, the Seahawks could agree and he would owe them nothing.

Seahawks Camp Report: Day 4

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
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RENTON, Wash. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Seattle Seahawks training camp:
  • The national TV audience watching ESPN's live telecast from training camp Tuesday got to see exactly why the Seahawks drafted wide receiver Paul Richardson. The second-round pick from Colorado was the star of the day, once again displaying his blazing speed on two long touchdown receptions. The first one also proved that quarterback Terrelle Pryor has a big arm. He stepped up in the pocket and let it fly it 65 yards down the sideline to Richardson, who had cornerback Tharold Simon beat by six yards. The second one also was from Pryor in the back corner of the north end zone. The throw was a little late, but Richardson had beaten cornerback Phillip Adams so easily that Richardson had time to turn around and face the ball, waiting for it to arrive before Adams could get back to him.
  • Richardson wasn't the only receiver making big catches. Percy Harvin made several spectacular grabs that wowed the crowd, one of which was a leap backward over safety Earl Thomas. Harvin also made a tough catch on the sideline after a ball was tipped by cornerback Jeremy Lane.
  • Tuesday was a day of big plays on both sides of the ball. Defensive ends Cliff Avril and Jackson Jeffcoat, defensive tackle Jordan Hill, middle linebacker Brock Coyle and linebacker Mike Morgan all had sacks. Coyle had his best day of training camp by far, getting to play some with the first-team defense after Bobby Wagner got a cramp in a hamstring.
  • Veteran offensive tackle Eric Winston, whom the Seahawks signed Tuesday morning, got in the mix of things immediately. He played right tackle with the second-team offense and looked great for a guy who hasn't been on the field in months. Winston is used to playing the same zone-blocking scheme that the Seahawks use under offensive line coach Tom Cable, so he was ready to go.
  • Marshawn Lynch's holdout continues and the Seattle running backs continue to shine. Robert Turbin was the standout with a 35-yard TD run off right tackle.
  • Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was on KJR radio and noted four players who have impressed him so far in camp -- defensive tackle Jordan Hill, safety Jeron Johnson, defensive end Greg Scruggs and outside linebacker Mike Morgan.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks tight end Anthony McCoy, who missed all last season after undergoing surgery for a torn Achilles tendon in his right ankle, appears to have torn his left Achilles tendon during practice Tuesday.

"If it is what we think it is, it's just a real heartbreaker," said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. "Anthony has worked so hard to get back. If it was the same Achilles you might understand it, but it's the other one."

McCoy was expected to make the team as the third tight end behind Zach Miller and Luke Willson, but his injury opens an opportunity for Cooper Helfet and rookie RaShaun Allen.

Left guard James Carpenter and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner left practice early, but Carroll said both are OK.

"His calf just got tightened up a little bit so we pulled him out early," Carroll said of Carpenter. "It was the same type of thing on Bobby with the hamstring."

Rookie outside linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis missed practice Tuesday with a stomach injury.

"He's got a little oblique thing that has bothered him," Carroll said of Pierre-Louis. "We're hoping it's not a serious deal, but we want to make sure we don't push him too hard or two fast."

Outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield did not practice Tuesday, but he was getting a rest day.
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RENTON, Wash. -- Back-end roster moves are typical during training camp, but the Seattle Seahawks made a major move Tuesday by signing offensive tackle Eric Winston.

Winston, 30, is an eight-year veteran who has started 119 of the 124 games he has played, including all 16 games last season for the Arizona Cardinals. He also is the president of the NFL Players Association.

Winston played six seasons for the Houston Texans before signing with Kansas City in 2012. He has been working out this summer in Houston with Texans receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster.

Winston (6-foot-7, 300 pounds) has played most of his NFL career at right tackle, so this could be an indication that the Seahawks aren't comfortable with where things stand at that spot.

Rookie Justin Britt, a second-round draft choice from Missouri, has gotten all the first-team snaps at camp so far. Second-year tackle Michael Bowie, who was expected to compete for the starting job, is out with a shoulder injury.

Britt has looked good in run blocking but has struggled at times on pass blocking. Bringing in Winston gives the Seahawks a proven veteran if they aren’t comfortable starting a rookie right tackle in the NFC West, which is loaded with talented defensive linemen.
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RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks needed Marshawn Lynch to reach the pinnacle of the NFL. The Seahawks do not need Lynch to stay there.

Lynch has been the heart and soul of the Seahawks' success for four seasons. Other than Mount Rainier, the two best-known words in the Pacific Northwest are Beast Mode.

It’s an iconic term used to describe Lynch’s relentless running style, a symbol of the physical presence he brings to a team that takes pride in its aggressive style of play.

But as good as he is and as much as Lynch has meant to this organization, the Seahawks do not need him for the team to continue to play at a championship level.

Want a little statistical proof?

  • The Seahawks won the 2014 Super Bowl by 35 points over Denver on a night when Lynch rushed for 39 yards on 13 carries.
  • The Seahawks played seven games last season when Lynch rushed for fewer than 70 yards. They were 7-0 in those games.

That’s not to downplay his contribution. Lynch has led Seattle to many important victories. He is a unique player and one of the best running backs in the NFL. But because of this team's depth and talent, they can keep winning without him.

[+] EnlargeMarshawn Lynch
Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY SportsSeattle running back Marshawn Lynch has rushed for more than 4,000 yards over the past three seasons.
That’s why Lynch made a mistake in holding out to try to force changes to his contract. And it’s one reason his holdout could end soon, possibly Tuesday. The likelihood is this distraction will end and Lynch will be the team’s starting running back again.

The Seahawks, however, have talented running backs waiting in the wings -- second-year player Christine Michael and third-year back Robert Turbin are more than capable of carrying the load for a team that emphasizes a run-first philosophy.

“Both of those guys are going to be tremendous backs for us,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “Obviously, we want Marshawn to come back. We love the guy to death and all the things that he does. We have tons of respect for how Marshawn plays. But at the same time, Robert and Christine will be ready to go, that’s for sure.”

Exactly how good Michael and Turbin can be is a bit of an unknown, but neither of them can be what Lynch has been. Lynch is a throwback to a bygone era, a relentless power runner who sacrifices his body to do whatever it takes to move forward. Former Houston Oilers running back Earl Campbell might be the best comparison to Lynch.

That style of running also takes a huge toll on a player’s body. Lynch has rushed for 4,051 yards over the past three seasons while carrying the ball 901 times. No man can take that many hits and continue to play at a high level over the long haul.

That has been proved and is one reason the Seattle hierarchy is not inclined to give Lynch more money. General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll made it clear last week that they expect Lynch to honor his four-year, $30 million deal, which has two years to go.

Neither side is all right or all wrong in NFL contract issues. For example, it’s easy to say Lynch should honor his deal, but the team could release him after the 2014 season (a good possibility for salary-cap reasons) and owe him nothing on the final year of his contract.

So it’s not unreasonable for Lynch to want more money or some type of guarantee on his 2015 salary. But his leverage isn’t nearly as strong as he thinks. The Seahawks would move on without him if they had to without much concern.

“I feel good about it,” cornerback Richard Sherman said Sunday. “I think [Lynch] will be fine. I think whichever decision he makes, I will be fine with. I’m sure he is in shape and can take his 300 carries and be our workhorse. But if it’s his time [to quit], then other guys will step up.”

Sherman was speaking about the idea that Lynch might retire, which isn't likely because it would cost him $6.5 million in salary and bonuses this season.

Wilson has spoken to Lynch on the phone and texted with him the past few days.

“He wants to play,” Wilson said. “He loves playing. I hope that he comes back. He’s a great football player, and he can do so many great things for us. We love him in the locker room. We love him on game day. So we definitely want him back.”

Of course they do. But this team has a quarterback who is starting his third NFL season and is well on his way to becoming one the league’s top players. It has a receiving corps with a healthy Percy Harvin, one of the NFL’s most explosive players. And it has young running backs capable of becoming 1,000-yard rushers.

Everyone on the team wants Lynch to carry the load again this season, but the Seahawks don’t need him to carry it.
RENTON, Wash. – Live TV from training camp, actually showing the players on the field during individual and team drills, is a first. But it’s something viewers across the country will have the opportunity to see Tuesday on ESPN at camp practice for the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

The two-hour "SportsCenter" special starts at 1:30 p.m. ET (10:30 a.m. PT) right as practice begins. "Monday Night Football’s" Jon Gruden, studio analyst Darren Woodson, "SportsCenter" anchor Kenny Mayne and ESPN senior writer John Clayton will take part of the telecast.

All four men were watching practice on Sunday in preparation for the show.

“I’ve never seen this type of energy on a football field in training camp,” Gruden said Monday on 710 ESPN Seattle. “The energy level is amazing. If you want to see enthusiasm, watch the first three minutes on this show. It will be an eye-opener for people to see how the Seahawks conduct practice.”

Gruden also said he differs from his ESPN colleague Ron Jaworski on how they view Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. Jaworski said he would take Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles over Wilson.

“I just saw Russell walk away with the Lombardi trophy,” Gruden said. “I like mobility and players who create offense when nothing is there. Just watch [Wilson] play. I’ve never seen intangibles like Russ has – dedication, leadership, work ethic, everything.”
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RENTON, Wash. -- If Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is looking at his holdout from a standpoint of financial losses, he might want to show up on Tuesday when the players return to the field after an off day Monday.

With the help of ESPN colleague John Clayton’s expertise of the collective bargaining agreement, here are the actual dollars Lynch stands to lose if his holdout continues into the middle of this week.

Lynch
Lynch is incurring fines of $30,000 a day for each day he holds out. It’s up to the team’s discretion how they count those days, but camp officially started last Thursday. If the team counts the player’s off day Monday, Tuesday will be the sixth day of training camp.

Starting with the sixth day, the Seahawks can ask Lynch to return 15 percent of his prorated signing bonus, which would be $225,000. He was paid a $6 million bonus when he signed his four-year contract in 2012.

For each day he continues to hold out going forward, he can lose another 1 percent of his signing bonus ($60,000) for up to 25 percent of the total bonus.

Lynch would not be fined for missing preseason games. But if his holdout stretched to the regular season, he would be fined one week’s game check for each game missed or$312,500 per game.

Starting to get the picture here? This is a very costly stand if Lynch decides to continue holding out.

In a July 28 article posted on ESPN.com, it was incorrectly reported that Marshawn Lynch would be asked to return $900,000 from his signing bonus after the sixth day of his holdout and would be fined for missing preseason games.

Seahawks Camp Report: Day 3

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
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RENTON, Wash. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Seattle Seahawks training camp:
  • Wide receiver Phil Bates probably is a longshot to make the team, but he certainly hasn’t hurt his chances the last two days. Bates had two touchdowns catches Sunday. He made a circus-like sideline catch on a 30-yard throw to the goal line, grabbing the ball over cornerback Chandler Fenner. Bates later made a juggling catch in the back corner of the end zone, beating cornerback Akeem Auguste on a pass from Tarvaris Jackson. Bates went back to his high school quarterbacking roots Saturday, completing a pass to Russell Wilson on a trick play off a reverse.
  • It’s easy to take for granted just how good Wilson is when you see him at practice every day, but he was really on his game Sunday. His passes were sharp and on the money. His decisions come quickly as he consistently finds he open man, and he ran the ball well several times when his receivers were well covered. When you watch all the Seattle quarterbacks work, there’s Wilson and then there’s everyone else.
  • The Willson on this team with two Ls in his last name also is putting on a show at camp. Tight end Luke Willson was the team’s top rookie last season, but he looks like a seasoned pro now. Starter Zach Miller may be slightly better as a blocker, but not much better. And Willson is much better as a receiver. He consistently gets separation on pass routes and has great hands. Expect big things from Wilson to Willson this season.
  • It’s rare to see the offense way ahead of the defense at any Seattle practice, but the offense dominated the first day in full pads. All three running backs had big runs -- Robert Turbin, Spencer Ware and Demitrius Bronson. Christine Michael was out with a bruised shoulder. Big receiver Morrell Presley, who was signed two days ago, had a touchdown catch, as did tight end Cooper Helfet.
  • It wasn’t all bad for the defense. Richard Sherman made one of his signature tip deflections on a deep sideline pass intended for Arceto Clark. And defensive tackle Brandon Mebane had been a disrupted force inside the last two days by making several plays in the backfield.
  • Speaking of Sherman, Sunday was the first time he has spoken to the local media in six weeks. Sherman has been upset that the address of his new home was published by a few media outlets, causing some fans to camp out in front of this home.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael did not practice Sunday, but coach Pete Carroll said Michael is OK.

“He just banged his shoulder a little bit,” Carroll said of Michael. “The trainers think he’ll be back on Tuesday.”

The players have the day off Monday after practicing in pads for the first time at training camp on Sunday.

Receiver Percy Harvin was back full speed Sunday after staying out of team drills Saturday. Carroll said it’s part of a plan to allow Harvin to take a break every few days and not overdo it in camp.

Rookie receiver Kevin Norwood missed practice for the second consecutive day because of a sore foot, but he is expected back Tuesday.

Starting left tackle Russell Okung, who had offseason toe surgery, was in pads Sunday, but did not take part in any drills.

“We talked last night about Okung,” Carroll said. “He probably is about two weeks away so we’re really sure he’s ready to roll.”

Defensive tackle Jesse Williams went full speed Sunday after missing most of Saturday’s practice, but Carroll said they also were resting Williams Saturday.

Rookie defensive tackle Jimmy Staten is out with a hyper-extended knee and a pulled hamstring, which Carroll said could sideline Staten for a while.

Outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (ankle) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (hip) still are recovering from offseason surgery, but both players are expected back soon.
RENTON, Wash. -- Will the NFL allow the Legion of Boom to be who they are this season?

The Seattle Seahawks secondary is known for its aggressive play with tight, press coverage at the line of scrimmage. Opponents often accuse them of grabbing and holding downfield.

The NFL hierarchy, however, made a point in the offseason to say it plans to crack down on overly physical play by defensive backs, which some have said borders on defensive holding or interference. NFL officials have said they plan to throw more flags to limit that contact.

Physical play in the secondary is such a big part of what the Seahawks do that this decision seems deliberately directed at Seattle, so much so that some people are calling it the “the LoB rule.”

“That’s a beautiful thing,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “That’s respect, to me. If that’s the conversation, then it’s a sign of respect and people trying to figure it out. I think we’ve contributed to that.

“The rules that have been emphasized going into this year, there is some attention to the fact of aggressive play at the line of scrimmage. There was some talk of that at league meetings. The adjustments that we’ve made are palatable. We can handle it.”

The Seahawks secondary is an athletically gifted group, so doing whatever is necessary (depending on how tightly the officials call it) probably isn’t a problem.

But Seattle free safety Earl Thomas said the Legion of Boom won’t alter its way of doing things.

“We are who we are,” Thomas said. “People understand that we’re very aggressive. The corners like to do their thing and [strong safety] Kam [Chancellor] and me, we do the same thing. So we can’t worry about that. We’ve got to stay true to who we are. At the end of the day, defense is dictating the pace of what’s going on. We proved that.”

Thomas said he isn’t concerned about officials singling out the Seahawks secondary.

“If they call it, they call it,” Thomas said. “But we’re not playing timid. We’re going to stay on the attack. If you wait to get hit, you’re going to get knocked out.”

Seahawks Camp Report: Day 2

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
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RENTON, Wash. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of the Seattle Seahawks training camp:


  • The play of the day came when quarterback Russell Wilson caught a pass. The trick play started with a fake handoff before Wilson gave the ball to wide receiver Phil Bates on a reverse to the right. Wilson kept running into the left flat when Bates stopped in the backfield, turned and threw a nice pass to Wilson, who made the catch near the sideline past linebacker Mike Morgan.
  • It’s only the second day, but it appears the starting job at right offensive tackle is Justin Britt’s to lose. The rookie from Missouri is expected to battle Michael Bowie for the starting spot, but Bowie isn’t practicing because of a shoulder injury. Britt is taking all the first-team snaps and coach Pete Carroll praised him on Friday. Carroll even mentioned Wally Pipp in reference to Bowie. Pipp is the former New York Yankees first baseman who left a game because of a headache and was replaced by Lou Gehrig, who went on to play in 2,130 consecutive games.
  • Receiver Jermaine Kearse got a second chance at a great play Saturday. Early in practice, Kearse made an outstanding catch diving backwards on a deep sideline throw, but was flagged for offensive interference when the official said he pushed off. Near the end of practice, he got behind cornerback A.J. Jefferson on another deep sideline throw from Wilson and made a similar catch, but that one counted.
  • Left guard James Carpenter doesn’t look like the same player as one year ago, and that’s a good thing. Carpenter is slimmer, faster and healthier than he ever has been since coming to the Seahawks as a first-round draft choice in 2011. During Saturday’s practice, Carroll and offensive line coach Tom Cable made a point to come up and praise Carpenter for a pulling block he threw that enabled running back Christine Michael to get around the end on a sweep.
  • Safety Jeron Johnson, who missed most of last season with hamstring injuries in both legs, is healthy again and it shows. He had an interception Saturday when he pulled a short pass over the middle away from running back Robert Turbin. Johnson is playing strong safety with the first-team defense until Kam Chancellor returns from offseason hip surgery.
RENTON, Wash. -- Russell Wilson said he and free safety Earl Thomas have an unusual goal.

“We talk about trying to be legendary in some way,” Wilson said Saturday.

Some Seahawks fans might say both players already have reached that status after winning the Super Bowl last season. But Wilson’s point is they push each other to be the best they can be.

Thomas
Wilson
“Earl and I, we have a connection that’s really good,” Wilson said after Day 2 of training camp. “We talk about football and talk about life.”

Wilson and Thomas also have a contest each day to see which man is the first one to arrive at the team facility and which is last to leave.

“We do things together because I think we feed off each other," Wilson said. “We want to be great players, great human beings and great leaders. So being around each other is a good thing.”

They spent more time together in the offseason, two men who want to make sure the Seahawks don’t get complacent about their success.

“We have something to protect now and we love that,” Thomas said. “All we focus on is getting better.”

Thomas entered the NFL two years before Wilson and has watched Wilson continue to improve.

“He’s a different guy now,” Thomas said of Wilson. “He’s more in control and he’s a great leader. I’m excited to see what he’s going to bring this season.”
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seahawks made several roster moves Saturday morning, adding rookie safety Steven Terrell and rookie linebacker Brandon Denmark. The team also released defensive tackle Dewayne Cherrington.

Terrell (5-foot-10, 195 pounds) played college ball at Texas A&M. He wasn’t drafted, but signed with the Houston Texans as a rookie free agent before being released at the end of May.

Denmark (6-3, 245) played at Florida A&M. Denmark attended the rookie minicamp of the Green Bay Packers. The Seahawks are a little short at linebacker for now with Bruce Irvin and Korey Toomer on the PUP list, and Malcolm Smith still not practicing after offseason ankle surgery.

The Seahawks were able to add two players and release only one because running back Marshawn Lynch does not count as a roster spot while he’s holding out.
RENTON, Wash. -- Here are few interesting comments from Seattle Seahawks' training camp:

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor put to rest any talk of him playing another position.
“I can’t catch,’’ Pryor said Friday. “I’m either going to play quarterback or I’m going to be out of this league.”

Receiver Percy Harvin said Friday the Seahawks need running back Marshawn Lynch, who is holding out.
“He’s the engine that gets this thing going,” Harvin said. “We’re going to need him out here to piece this thing all together. We know Beast Mode. It’s a business and he has things he’s going to get worked out. Until then, we’re going to keep working.”

Coach Pete Carroll said he believes wide receiver Sidney Rice did the right thing in deciding to retire.
“He took his time figuring it out and I think he’s making a great choice,” Carroll said. “He’s had a series of injuries and problems staying healthy. He’s had a number of concussions and that goes into it as well, so he’s very comfortable with the decision.

“Of course, he’s lament that he’s not going to be able to play, but I think he feels strongly that he’s making a good decision and so we support the heck out of him. We’ll miss him and he’ll always be a part of us."

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