NFC West: Max Unger

RENTON, Wash. – Seahawks center Max Unger jokingly said he would be happy to do all he could to convince running back Marshawn Lynch to show up for the mandatory minicamp next week.

“I need to give him a call,” Unger said Thursday after practice. “He’s never listened to me before, but I can always give it a try and give him a hard time about it.”

Lynch may skip the minicamp because he would like to restructure his contract, sources said Wednesday.

“He has his own things going on,’’ Unger said of Lynch. “We’d love to have him, but by no means would it change my view of him. Not at all. The guy has more than proven himself and shown he’s capable of coming to training camp in shape. As long as he does his thing on Sunday I’ve got no problems with him at all.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll did not speak to the media Thursday, so the team had no official comment of Lynch’s situation. But it was reported by a couple of outlets that Lynch has not spoken to the Seahawks.

Lynch has yet to comment on whether he will attend the minicamp. He sent out a couple of tweets Thursday, but nothing about his plans for minicamp.

The Seahawks are unlikely to give Lynch a contract extension. He is starting the third-year of a four-year deal worth $30 million. Lynch has a base salary of $5 million in 2014 and $5.5 million in 2015.

It’s possible something could get worked out to restructure some of the money in the form of an additional bonus to give Lynch more overall in 2014, but not more in the contract overall.

Zach Miller, Max Unger will play Sunday

December, 13, 2013
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks tight end Zach Miller returned to practice Friday and will start Sunday against the New York Giants, as will center Max Unger.

“Zach got work [Friday], and all the guys that we were sort of taking care of made it back,” said Seattle coach Pete Carroll. “They’re good.”

Miller did not practice earlier in the week because of bruised ribs. Unger returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday after suffering a strained pectoral muscle in the San Francisco game.

Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel wasn’t at practice Friday because he was sick, but he is expected to play Sunday.

Receiver Percy Harvin did not practice this week and will not play.

“It’s looking like it’s going to be a bit before we get it right,” Carroll said of Harvin. “He’s doing a ton of stuff to get it back but hasn’t turned the corner. We’ll keep doing whatever it takes to get him back.”

Harvin made his season debut against Minnesota on Nov. 17 but aggravated his surgically repaired hip and hasn’t played since. Carroll was asked Friday if Harvin still is vulnerable to injuring or aggravating his hip.

“If they [doctors and trainers] aren’t releasing him to get back out there, that means he’s vulnerable,” Carroll said. “We’re going to make sure we take our time, and we still have a number of games left. If we can get him there, we’ll take it when it comes.”

Cornerback Brandon Browner remains out with a groin injury while he awaits news on his appeal for a substance-abuse violation. Cornerback Walter Thurmond has two games remaining on his suspension for a substance-abuse violation.

Malcolm Smith will start Sunday at outside linebacker for K.J. Wright, who had surgery Wednesday to repair a foot fracture and is out for the season.
RENTON, Wash. – Seattle Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin was a full participant in practice Thursday for the first time since his hip surgery in August, increasing the likelihood that he will play Sunday against his former team, the Minnesota Vikings.

Harvin did not speak to reporters Thursday, but he is expected to talk Friday. If he plays Sunday, it would be his first appearance in an NFL game since Nov. 4, 2012, when, coincidentally, the Vikings played at Seattle.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he doesn’t anticipate much of an adjustment period once Harvin joins the offense.

“I feel so comfortable with Percy,” Wilson said Thursday. “I threw a ton with him this offseason before the injury really popped up, so it was one of those things where we had a really good relationship before. I trust what he does.”

Wilson believes Harvin can make an immediate difference for the Seahawks.

"He’s in and out of his breaks really quickly,” Wilson said. “He’s just a great football player. You want to give him the ball as much as you can. On our offense, we have so many guys that we can use. You add Percy into the mix and he brings a whole other explosive mentality to our football team.”

Cornerback Richard Sherman returned to full participation Thursday after missing practice Wednesday with what was listed as a hip injury. Sherman said he really just needed a day to rest.

Offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini and center Max Unger also were full participants in practice, as was defensive tackle Red Bryant. Unger and Bryant missed last week's game with concussions. The Seahawks will need to make a roster move by Saturday to activate Okung.

Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (hamstring) and cornerback Jeremy Lane (thigh) did not practice. Cornerback Brandon Browner has a groin injury and will not play Sunday, but the Seahawks have not said how long Browner will be out.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks center Max Unger and defensive lineman Red Bryant missed practice again Thursday as they continue to go through the league's mandatory concussion protocol this week.

What happens at Friday’s practice will give a clearer picture on whether either man will play Sunday at Atlanta.

If Unger doesn’t play, Lemuel Jeanpierre will start at center. Jeanpierre did a decent job earlier this season when he started two games while Unger was out with an upper-arm injury.

Bryant has starting every game this season, officially at left defensive end, but he sometimes plays inside in more of a defensive-tackle role. The Seahawks have lot of depth on the defensive line and rotate nine players. If Bryant doesn’t play, look for Michael Bennett and Chris Clemons to start at the defensive-end spots while Tony McDaniel and Brandon Mebane start at defensive tackle.

Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill also hasn’t practiced this week; he has a biceps injury. Fullback Derrick Coleman is out because of a hamstring issue, and will not play Sunday.

Strong safety Kam Chancellor was limited at practice with an ankle injury.

Running back Marshawn Lynch returned to full participation at practice after being limited Wednesday with a sore knee. Clemons returned to practice after being out Wednesday with a non-injury-related issue.

Harvin works out but doesn't practice

November, 6, 2013
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said receiver Percy Harvin did not practice Wednesday, but Harvin is progressing nicely in is rehab.

“Percy had a really good workout [Wednesday morning],” Carroll said. “I know he’s very encouraged about the work he did today. I threw with him a lot before the walk-through, so we’ll see what happens. But it’s still a day-to-day process.

“Really, I think the best way to say it is that we’re kind of in phase two of the rehab right now and we’re excited that he’s strong and feeling good. We’ll see what we can do in the days ahead.”

So how many phases are there in Harvin’s recovery?

“I knew you were going to ask that,’’ Carroll said. “I just thought I’d give you a term for it. I have no idea. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Still, it appears likely the Seahawks will wait at least one more week before activating Harvin and getting him in a game.

“I think it’s just a matter of time,” Carroll said. “We feel confident that the [hip] surgery [on Aug. 1] went very well. He has no pain in his hip. He’s working diligently to get things done. We just have to do it right, because we want him to finish the season with us without it being an issue. He’s such a tremendous competitor and he’s dying to get back.”

Center Max Unger and defensive lineman Red Bryant did not practice because they are going through the league's concussion protocol.

“We’ll see if they can make it back,” Carroll said of Unger and Bryant. “Both of them are really determined to do it if possible. We have a real good system in place to make sure we do the right thing there.”

Starting offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, but neither will play Sunday at Atlanta. Okung can’t return until Nov. 17, and Carroll wants to give Giacomini two weeks of practice before getting back in a game.

Safety Jeron Johnson (hamstring) returned to practice, but Carroll said he probably won’t play this weekend. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill (biceps) did not practice. Defensive end Chris Clemons missed practice, but it was not injury-related.

Running back Marshawn Lynch participated on a limited basis, which is not unusual for him on a Wednesday.

Unger and Bryant with concussions

November, 4, 2013
RENTON, Wash. -- Center Max Unger and defensive lineman Red Bryant both suffered concussion symptoms in Sunday's game, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday.

"Max had a good day [Monday]," Carroll said "He got hit in the head [in Sunday's game] and Red did as well, as we found out today. They both will go through the [concussion] protocol to see if they are able to return [to play this weekend]. We'll take great care in making those decisions."

Carroll also was asked about receiver Percy Harvin's status to return this weekend at Atlanta.

"I don't know that, but I'm not counting on that," Carroll said. "We'll see. We're still working to bring him back, and he had a good rehab work [Monday]."

Carroll also said it's unlikely right tackle Breno Giacomini will return to the offense this weekend, but he will practice this week, as will left tackle Russell Okung.

Okung can't come off injured reserve until Nov. 17, so it's possible both starting offensive tackles could come back for the home game against Minnesota that day.

"Breno could play this week, but it's not likely he'll be ready," Carroll said. "It's a lot to ask in one week on the practice field. We'll take a couple of weeks to get his legs under him."

Giacomini had arthroscopic knee surgery Sept. 30th. Okung has a torn ligament in a big toe. Both players worked out on the field before Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.
Lavonte David and Russell Wilson  USA Today SportsThe key for Lavonte David and the Bucs is to try to pressure Russell Wilson and to attack a line that gave up seven sacks on Monday.
Despite getting outplayed in almost every statistical category Monday night at St. Louis, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Rams 14-9 and reached the midpoint of the season at 7-1 after a rough stretch of four road games in five weeks.

Now Seattle returns to CenturyLink Field against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hoping to win at home for the 12th consecutive time. It looks like a mismatch, but so did the Rams game.

The Seahawks still have backups starting at both offensive tackle spots and now are missing receiver Sidney Rice, who tore an ACL on Monday night. Rice is in the last year of his contract with the team and probably has played his last game with Seattle.

Receiver Percy Harvin should return soon after undergoing hip surgery three months ago, but it probably won't be this weekend. Nevertheless, the Seahawks should win this game.

Blount: Pat, a lot of people thought the Bucs would have a new head coach by the time the team got to Seattle, but Greg Schiano is hanging on. If Tampa Bay comes here and loses by a big margin, is that the end for him?

Yasinskas: Terry, I've been pointing to the Seattle game for several weeks as a possible end for Schiano. I think he's still employed in large part because the Bucs are putting forth an effort. But I could see that changing on a long road trip against a good team and in a hostile environment. The interim route rarely works out well. But if this team lies down in Seattle, I can see ownership pulling the plug on Schiano.

Aside from the loss to Indianapolis, Seattle seems to have been nearly perfect. But there's no such thing as perfect in the NFL. What are the Seahawks' biggest weaknesses?

Blount: Without question, it's the offensive line. It's not just weak right now. It's awful. Obviously, missing Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini is a big part of it, but having to go with backups at the tackle spots is not the only issue. Neither starting guard has played well, and center Max Unger, who had an arm injury earlier this season, hasn't played up to his Pro Bowl level of last year. It will improve when Okung and Giacomini get back in a few weeks, which will enable the Seahawks to move Paul McQuistan back to one of the guard spots instead of being out of position at left tackle. But it has to improve dramatically if Seattle hopes to live up to the Super Bowl expectations.

Pat, speaking of the Seattle line, it's obvious right now that the way to stop the Seattle offense is to load the box and blitz like crazy against the backup tackles, along with the rest of the offensive line that hasn't played well. Russell Wilson didn't have time to breathe at St. Louis. Do you see this as Tampa Bay's strategy on Sunday?

Yasinskas: I think the Bucs will try a similar approach, but I'm not sure they'll have as much success as St. Louis did. The defensive line hasn't been generating much of a pass rush. Linebackers Lavonte David and Mason Foster have been effective as blitzers, and I think you'll see the Bucs use them as pass-rushers.

Terry, how much does losing Rice hurt the receiving corps?

Blount: When Harvin gets on the field, assuming he's healthy, the Seahawks won't miss Rice. In fact, they'll be much better with Harvin's speed and versatility. Rice never has lived up to expectations here. He hasn't played nearly as well this season as receivers Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. But if Harvin still isn't ready to come back, it hurts Seattle's depth at the receiver spot and enables any defense to use more double coverage on Tate and/or Baldwin. But this also could be an opportunity for Jermaine Kearse to shine. He's been a big surprise this season in limited play.

Pat, obviously, the Bucs aren't going anywhere this season. They spent a ton of money to bring in some top players on defense like Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson. What do you see as the team's goal for the rest of the season, and what do the Bucs hope to accomplish going forward in 2013?

Yasinskas: It's been a hugely disappointing year for a team with eight players on the roster who have been to the Pro Bowl. This team's struggles aren't entirely due to a lack of talent. Schiano prides himself on being a disciplinarian, but this team has struggled with mental mistakes and penalties. The thinking is that playing smarter will translate into some wins. But those might be coming too late to save Schiano's job. There is a segment of the fan base that wouldn't mind seeing the Bucs go winless so that they get the first overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Terry, the Seahawks are third in the league in pass defense, and we've heard a lot about their secondary. Is rookie quarterback Mike Glennon walking into the ultimate ambush?

Blount: That's what everyone thought Monday night for Rams backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, but he played pretty well most of the game. Clemens made two overthrows that became interceptions but came within one goal-line play of upsetting the Seahawks at the end of the game. The Seahawks do a great job of mixing things up and disguising coverages, but they do take chances to come up with turnovers. If Glennon doesn't recognize things quickly, they will make him pay.

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll believes things were better than they looked Sunday in the 20-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

The Seahawks had five fumbles (losing two) and gave up a 77-yard touchdown on a botched field goal at the end of the first half. But Carroll saw a lot of positives in the victory that moved the Seahawks to 5-1.

“I thought we got better some areas, though it didn’t always look like that way to you guys,’’ Carroll said. “I really feel positive about it, more so than you guys felt watching that game. We made progress.”

Carroll singled out a few areas of progress, starting with the offense line looking better with Max Unger back at center.

“I thought we really improved in pass protection,” Carroll said. “The whole mechanism of it was clearly better than it has been the last few weeks. Obviously, Max had a lot to do with that.

“It just looked better. It looked cleaner. It felt like progress. [Right tackle] Michael Bowie played better and [left tackle] Paul [McQuistan] had a nice game. They have to keep getting better, because they are going to be out there a while.”

Bowie is starting for Breno Giacomini, who still is out after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. McQuistan moved from guard to tackle when Pro Bowler Russell Okung tore a ligament in his big toe in Week 2.

Carroll sees even more improvement up front coming with the likely return of starting tight end Zach Miller for the Thursday night game at Arizona. Miller has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.

“Miller will back at practice [Tuesday] and we’ll take care of him this week,” Carroll said. “Zach is a big deal for us. He was really close to playing [Sunday], but hopefully, we’ll have full game participation [Thursday].’’

Carroll also singled out the play quarterback Russell Wilson, who completed 23 of 31 passes for 257 yards and no interceptions. Wilson also rushed for 61 yards on 10 carries.

“The quarterback play was exceptional,” Carroll said of Wilson. “No question he was on it. He felt everything happening the way it was supposed to be. He still overlooked a couple of reads, but he made all the adjustments and was on is game.”

Carroll also praised running back Marshawn Lynch, who had two touchdowns and 155 yards of offense. And Carroll was pleased how the defense held the Titans out of the end zone.

So Carroll was a little defensive over thoughts that the team isn’t playing all that well, despite having five victories.

“I’m not sure what you’re expecting, but we’re trying hard in all phases,” Carroll said. "We want to play hard enough and tough enough to have a chance to win, and we’ve done that.”

Carroll said defensive end Chris Clemons was the only significant injury from Sunday’s game. Clemons may not play Thursday night after suffering a hyperextended elbow.

Carroll wasn’t sure if middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, who has a high ankle sprain and didn’t play Sunday, could get back for the Arizona game. But he said Wagner is surprising the team trainers and how fast he’s recovering.

The same is true for receiver Percy Harvin, who had hip surgery Aug. 1.

“Percy won’t play this week, but everything going great,” Carroll said. “He’s ahead of schedule in a number of areas. He ran really hard on the field before the game [Sunday].”

Upon Further Review: Seahawks Week 6

October, 14, 2013
An examination of four hot issues from the Seattle Seahawks 20-13 win over the Tennessee Titans:

[+] EnlargeRichard Sherman
AP Photo/Scott EklundRichard Sherman and the defense held the Titans offense to just two field goals Sunday.
Defense corrects recent problems: Seattle's defense did not allow the Titans to reach the end zone. The only touchdown for Tennessee came of a 77-yard return by Jason McCourty of a botched field-goal attempt on the last play of the first half. The defense held Tennessee to two field goals, and the Titans rushed for only 66 yards on 20 carries. And the Seahawks' defense didn’t give up the big plays that have hurt them the past two games. “We cleaned up the things we needed to clean up," said cornerback Richard Sherman, who had one of two Seattle interceptions.

Pass blocking is improving: Quarterback Russell Wilson was sacked twice Sunday, but one was a running play for no gain. Max Unger returned at center and coach Pete Carroll was pleased overall. “Solid, he said. “A good job in pass protection. They gave Russell a ton of time. He ran when he needed to as opposed to when he had to. I thought it was the best pass protection in the last few weeks. I think Max had something to do with it, for sure.”

Browner take a seat: Cornerback Brandon Browner was having a hard time covering Tennessee receiver Kendall Wright in the first half, so the coaches took him out of the game and inserted Walter Thurmond, who started the first two games this season when Browner had a hamstring injury. “We just gave [Browner] a break,” Carroll said. “They were going after him. We have plenty of guys to play and I wanted to make sure we were fresh. I had a chance to talk to [Browner] about some of the stuff that was going on in the first half. I just told him we were going to go with the other guys for a little bit. Brandon is an excellent football player. He did a nice job in the second half.”

Help is coming on offense: Carroll emphasized some of the issues the offense is having likely will improve soon with players who will get back on the field, including tight end Zach Miller and receiver Percy Harvin. “We have some guys that are going to juice us up in a couple of weeks,” Carroll said. “Zach will be back next week for sure. Percy is coming around the corner.” Miller missed the past two games with a hamstring injury. Harvin has yet to play a game in a Seahawks uniform after undergoing hip surgery Aug. 1.
SEATTLE -- It's becoming a theme for the Seattle Seahawks: They make a lot of mistakes and play without discipline at key points of the game, but have enough talent and make plays at the right moment to usually come out with the victory.

That's what happened Sunday in a 20-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans. In addition to fumbling the ball five times (including twice on one play), the Seahawks were hurt by red-zone woes. Seattle made it inside the Tennessee 20 -yard line five times Sunday, scoring all five times, but three of those scores were field goals. And that doesn’t include reaching the Titans' 25 on a Russell Wilson scramble in the first quarter, only to have the play called back for holding by left guard James Carpenter. That drive resulted in no points.

"The red zone is still kicking our [tails]," said center Max Unger, who was back in the starting lineup Sunday after missing the previous two games with a triceps injury. "We need to get it done there. I don’t have an answer for it right now. We [will watch] the film and come up with something."

The Seahawks had 404 yards of offense and averaged 6.1 yards per play, but came up a little short when they moved into the red zone. Still, Wilson was more optimistic about it than Unger.

“I’m not concerned about our offense at all,” he said. “Before this week, we had a lot of guys out. We were 2 for 5 in the red zone. But the offense made some big plays when we needed to. After the second or third series, we were really rolling.”
Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he expects center Max Unger to play this weekend after missing the last two games, but tight end Zach Miller's status is uncertain.

“We’re counting on Max practicing this week,” Carroll said Monday. “We think he’s going make it this week. Holding him out [Sunday at Indianapolis] gave us the chance to say that now and we look forward to him playing.”

Unger suffered a triceps injury in the Jacksonville game on Sept. 22nd. Miller injured a hamstring in practice last week and did not play against the Colts.

“Zach is a day-to-day thing,” Carroll said. “We don’t know yet. We’ll have to see how it goes. It will take until the end of the week before we’ll know if we have a chance to have him back.”

The Seahawks played without four starters on offense in the 34-28 loss to the Colts, including tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini.

Okung is on injured reserve for at least five more weeks with a torn ligament in a big toe. Giacomini, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery one week ago, could return sooner.

‘‘He’s still hobbling around, but he should make a pretty good turn in the next week or so," Carroll said of Giacomini. “He’s progressing fine, but he’s not ready to go yet.”

The only significant injury Seattle suffered Sunday was a sprained ankle for middle linebacker Bobby Wagner.

“He went back in and finished the game,” Carroll said, “but we’ll have to see how that goes this week.”
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had said he was hopeful of getting Pro Bowl center Max Unger back for the game Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, but concerns remain since Unger was a limited participant in practice Wednesday and again on Thursday.

Unger suffered a triceps injury against Jacksonville on Sept. 22 and missed the game at Houston last weekend. He said Wednesday that he hoped to return against the Colts, but that remains uncertain.

Carroll also hoped for the best when talking about Unger on Wednesday before practice.

“We’ll see what it looks like,” Carroll said. “We’ll take that day-by-day and we’ll know more by the end of the week. We’ll see what happens.”

If Unger doesn’t play, the Seahawks would be without three offensive-line starters for the second consecutive game. Starting tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini are out. Okung is on injured reserve with a torn ligament in a big toe. Giacomini had arthroscopic knee surgery Monday in New York.

Rookie Michael Bowie will make his second career start in place of Giacomini. Paul McQuistan is starting for Okung.

Starting tight end Zach Miller also did not participate in practice Thursday. He has a hamstring injury, and his status for Sunday is unknown. It would be a major blow to the team if Miller doesn’t play because they need his blocking skills to help the backup tackles.

Cornerback Walter Thurmond was limited participant Thursday with a shoulder injury, but safety Jeron Johnson returned to full participation after being out with a hamstring problem. And rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill, Seattle's third-round draft pick, could see his first action of the season after returning from a shoulder injury.
RENTON, Wash. -- When Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson started his weekly interview session with reporters, the first thing he wanted to talk about was his new wallet.

It was a homemade, Seahawks-themed billfold, given to Wilson by an 11-year-old girl named Allison, who is having heart-transplant surgery. She gave it to Wilson during his weekly visit to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Terry BlountRussell Wilson was excited to show off a Seahawks wallet made for him by an 11-year-old girl who is having heart-transplant surgery.
“It’s one of a kind,” Wilson said, holding up the wallet. “The coolest part about it is it’s all made out of duct tape.”

Which led the first question of the day: “Russell, are you worried your offensive line will be held together by duct tape on Sunday against the Houston Texans and standout defensive lineman J.J. Watt?"

“I think we’ll do a great job,” Wilson said. “They’re obviously a very talented defense, and it all starts with J.J. and his ability to get to the quarterback and makes plays. We’re going to have to play our best football and step up to the challenge on the road.”

The Seahawks may start the game with backups at both tackle spots. Paul McQuistan will start at left tackle for Russell Okung (on injured reserve with a torn ligament in his big toe), and rookie Michael Bowie is preparing to start at right tackle for Breno Giacomini, who has a knee injury and has not practiced this week.

“I’m ready to go,” Bowie said Thursday. “I live for moments like this. I’m anxious. It’s a big test for me and it will allow me to see where I’m at. If I play pretty good, it will help my confidence and I’ll know I can only get better from there. I’m starting to learn the offense more and it’s allowing me to move faster.”

Bowie is a seventh-round draft choice who has played in one half of one game, last week against Jacksonville. So trying to go head-to-head with Watt, the 2012 NFL defensive player of the year, is a lot to ask.

Starting center Max Unger was limited at practice Thursday with a arm injury, but he is expected to play Sunday.

No one has to tell Wilson about Watt's talent. Watt left the University of Wisconsin the season before Wilson arrived.

“People love J.J. at Wisconsin,” Wilson said. “I remember at the Pro Bowl last year, J.J. and I were talking at dinner. He said, ‘Man, if I had stayed for my senior year we probably would have won the national championship.’”

But only one of them can come out a winner Sunday in Houston.

“It’s hard to stop a guy like that,” Wilson said. “The thing is, can we slow him down and make the plays when we need to? It’s about staying calm when the game is on the line.”

The Texans are an aggressive, all-out defense, which is the way defensive coordinator Wade Phillips likes it. The Texans blitz 80 percent of the time.

“I love playing for Wade,’’ Watt said Wednesday. “Wade is a great coach. Obviously, he’s been around the game for an extremely long time. He knows what he’s talking about. He trusts his players and he gives us opportunities to have success. He lets us go out there, fly around and have fun, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Wilson hopes the Seahawks can keep Watt and the Texans' defense from having too much fun.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Steve Dykes/Getty ImagesWith the Seahawks perhaps starting two backups on the offensive line Sunday, Russell Wilson will have to keep an eye out for J.J. Watt.
“The biggest thing is getting the ball out quick,” Wilson said. “It’s being smart with the football and protecting, making sure the communication calls are right. It’s not always going to be perfect, but you have to take advantage of the times when you can step up and make a play.

“I’m always trying to get it to our true playmakers. When there’s a chance to make game-altering plays, we have to capitalize on those moments.”

Wilson has completed passes to 10 players in the first three games. Six of those players have averaged more than 15 yards per catch. He said Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell helps him find mismatches.

“And I’m not the type of guy to just throw it to one guy all the time,” Wilson said. “I believe you have to spread the ball around and get the ball to the right guy [at] the right time. We have so many talented receivers.”

But some of those receivers may need to help block this week more than usual.

“We have three tight ends that can really block,” Wilson said. “And [running back] Marshawn Lynch has the ability to move his feet and be so physical. Obviously, he can run the football, but you can’t underestimate his ability to block as well.”

Wilson is doing everything he can to learn where they can get an advantage on the Texans' defense, despite having some concerns on the offensive line.

Wilson was asked if he planned to watch NFC West battle Thursday night between San Francisco and St. Louis.

“I probably won’t watch it at all,” Wilson said. “I’ll be watching Houston [on video tape] and their blitzes and trying to figure out what they’re doing.”

Injury update: Defensive tackle Red Bryant (back spasms) was a full participant in practice Thursday, as was wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (sprained ankle). Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill was a limited participant. Fullback Spencer Ware (ankle) and safety Jeron Johnson (hamstring) did not practice, along with Giacomini.

#NFLRank: A full NFC West accounting

August, 31, 2013
Fifteen San Francisco 49ers and 13 Seattle Seahawks helped the NFC West account for a disproportionate number of players listed in the #NFLRank project from ESPN.

Sixty-three voters helped rank 100 top players on each side of the ball. NFC West teams accounted for 20 players on defense and 16 on offense. The 36-player total works out to 18 percent representation for the NFC West, above the 12.5 percent expectation for any division.

The chart shows where NFC West players ranked on each list. I shaded offensive players in gray to better distinguish the rankings.

The 49ers' Patrick Willis and the Arizona Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald have long been perceived as the best players in the division. They've got additional competition, but those two ranked higher than anyone else in the NFC West.

There were sure to be oversights in a project of this scope. Defensive end Calais Campbell of the Cardinals stands out to me as the most glaring one. I might have placed him between Patrick Peterson and Chris Long in defensive rankings as they stood for this project.

Three Seahawks cornerbacks earned spots on the list even though one of them, Antoine Winfield, reportedly could be released by the team Saturday in the reduction to 53 players Saturday.

A quick look at ranked players by team:

San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Willis (3), Aldon Smith (10), Justin Smith (11), Vernon Davis (18), NaVorro Bowman (18), Joe Staley (25), Mike Iupati (32), Frank Gore (37), Colin Kaepernick (42), Ahmad Brooks (56), Anthony Davis (60), Donte Whitner (64), Michael Crabtree (78), Anquan Boldin (83) and Jonathan Goodwin (92).

Seattle Seahawks: Richard Sherman (8), Earl Thomas (17), Percy Harvin (26), Marshawn Lynch (27), Brandon Browner (46), Russell Wilson (47), Russell Okung (49), Kam Chancellor (49), Max Unger (57), Bobby Wagner (67), Winfield (70), Cliff Avril (74) and Chris Clemons (85).

St. Louis Rams: Long (40), James Laurinaitis (57), Jake Long (61), Cortland Finnegan (63).

Arizona Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald (7), Patrick Peterson (19), Daryl Washington (59) and Darnell Dockett (79).
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks may have more overall depth than any team in the NFL, which makes listing the team’s top 10 players a difficult task.

But what the heck. Here’s my list, from 10 to No. 1. No doubt your list will differ, but it’s a fun debate.

No. 10: Brandon Mebane: An anchor on the defensive line at nose tackle. Mebane (6-1, 310) is first in the NFC among interior lineman for total tackles the past two seasons.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Harry E. Walker/Getty ImagesRussell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch make the cut for the Seattle Seahawks' top 10 players entering this season. Would you rank them lower or higher?
No. 9: Brandon Browner: Maybe the most underrated player on the team in my book. Browner is “the other” starting cornerback, the one who is completely overshadowed by Richard Sherman. But at 6-4, 220, Browner is a talented athlete who can intimidate receivers with his size and strength.

No. 8: Chris Clemons: The 10-year veteran from Georgia has posted at least 11 sacks in each of the past three seasons from his defensive end spot. But he’s 31 now and coming off ACL surgery in the offseason, and it’s iffy whether he’ll be ready to play opening day. But if his leg is healed, Clemons still has a few productive years left.

No. 7: Max Unger: At center, he’s the glue on an offensive line that took huge strides forward last season. He was voted in as the Pro Bowl starter last season and first team All-Pro by Associated Press after starting every game in 2012.

No. 6: Russell Okung: It took a while for the former first-round draft pick to make his mark at left offensive tackle, suffering through ankle injuries his rookie year in 2010. But Okung (6-5, 310) was voted in as a Pro Bowl starter last season. He’s the man that needs to protect Russell Wilson’s blind side and keep him healthy.

No. 5: Kam Chancellor: A devastating hitter from his strong safety spot, Chancellor has flattened his share of receivers. At 6-3, 230, he’s one of the biggest safeties in the NFL.

No. 4: Richard Sherman: He may be the Mouth of Mount Rainer, but Sherman backs it up on the field with his aggressive play and enormous talent. He’ll gladly tell you he’s the best cornerback in the NFL, and he might be right. He was a first-team All Pro last year and a member of the NFL All-Rookie Team in 2011. He had eight interceptions last year and three forced fumbles.

No. 3: Marshawn Lynch: Just give him a few of his favorites Skittles to munch on, show him a tiny opening at the line of scrimmage, and Beast Mode takes over. Lynch had the best season of his career last year, rushing for 1,590 yards and a 5.0-yard average per carry. He would just as soon run over a defender as around one, but he can do either better than most running backs in the NFL.

No. 2: Russell Wilson: Listing him this high after a surprisingly successful rookie season might look like a stretch for the talented quarterback, but Wilson is one of those rare individuals who comes along once in a generation. He is small (5-11) and he doesn’t have the best arm in the league, but Wilson has all the intangible qualities you can’t teach. He’s a winner, a hard-working, high-character guy who makes everyone around him better. His teammates believe in him, and that’s half the battle.

No. 1: Earl Thomas: He’s the smallest man among the giant secondary known as the Legion of Boom, but Thomas is the true anchor of the group. He's only 5-10 and 200 pounds, but is quite possibly the best free safety in the NFL. He plays big in the big games. Thomas, who earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl spot last year, had three interceptions in the 2012 regular season, and two more in the playoffs. Thomas is an instinctive defender who leads an extraordinary secondary.

You probably noticed I left receiver Percy Harvin off the list, only because he won’t be on the field until late November or early December. But he’s clearly one of the most talented athletes on the team.

And my list leaves out some top players -- defensive end Red Bryant, tight end Zach Miller, fullback Michael Robinson and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, to name a few.

That’s why it’s so tough to only list 10. So who are your 10?