NFC West: O'Brien Schofield

Linebacker/defensive end O'Brien Schofield sent out a tweet Friday that seems to indicate he has re-signed with the Seahawks.



Schofield was a free agent at the end of the season and signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the New York Giants in March. But that contract was voided when he failed a physical because of a previous knee injury.

Schofield, 27, spent three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before he was claimed off waivers by the Seahawks last summer. He played in all 16 regular-season games and two of the three playoff games, including the Super Bowl.
Few people expected him to return to the Seahawks, but now it's official. Brandon Browner signed a three-year deal Friday with the New England Patriots worth $17 million.

Browner
The Patriots now have signed two big-name cornerbacks for big dollars. They signed Darrelle Revis on Thursday to a deal worth $12 million for the 2014 season.

And obviously, the fact that Browner has to serve a suspension of four more games at the start of the 2014 season was not a deterrent for New England. Browner also will have to forfeit four additional weeks of salary as part of his suspension for his 2013 substance-abuse violation over a positive test for marijuana.

Browner tweeted this statement Friday evening:

"Today, I am proud to announce that I am a New England Patriot. I am honored that the Patriots are making me part of their legendary organization, and am
grateful for the opportunity Mr. Kraft, Coach Belichick, Nick Caserio and the entire team have given me.

"I intend to diligently work with the same passion and dedication that I have displayed since coming into the NFL to uphold the great traditions and qualities that are embodied by the Patriots."

Browner also thanked the Seahawks organization:

"I would be remiss if I didn't thank the Seattle Seahawks for giving a CFL player the once in-a-lifetime opportunity to return to the NFL, making a
young boy's dream come true.

"To Coach Pete Carroll, GM John Schneider, [former Seahawks vice president, now Jets GM] John Idzik, [defensive backs] Coach [Kris] Richard, [defensive passing game coordinator] Rocky Seto, the LOB, [Legion of Boom], my teammates, the training staff, the equipment guys the Seahawks organization as a whole and most importantly the 12th Man, I say thank you for everything you have done for myself and my family. I am a truly blessed person."

Browner, who made the Pro Bowl in 2011, missed the final six regular season games of 2013, along with the playoffs, because of a groin injury, and subsequently, the suspension.

He becomes the sixth free agent the Seahawks have lost this week. The others are wide receiver Golden Tate, offensive tackle Breno Giacomini, safety Chris Maragos, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and defensive end O'Brien Schofield (although his deal with the New York Giants was canceled because of a knee problem).

The Seahawks met Friday with former Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton. Former Raiders defensive tackle Vance Walker was scheduled to meet with the Seahawks, but he signed Friday with Kansas City.

It's still possible the Seahawks will sign former Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley, who met with team officials earlier this week.

Seahawks have a lot to say

December, 21, 2013
12/21/13
8:00
AM ET
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks were quite a talkative group this week, so here are a few interesting quotes that stood out:

Defensive linemen Michael Bennett, who has 7.5 sacks this season and 22 quarterback hurries, was asked the difference in playing for the Seahawks and playing for his previous NFL team at Tampa Bay:

Bennett
“At Tampa you just had one position and kind of stayed there,” Bennett said. “Here, everybody [on the defensive line] has to be able to play multiple positions. I think that’s one of the strengths of our defense. You can’t know where one player is. We move around and make plays.”

Bennett on the Seahawks' chances of clinching the NFC West title and home-field advantage in the playoffs with a victory Sunday against Arizona:

“We don’t want to put too much emphasis on it,” Bennett said “When you do that, guys get afraid to make mistakes and get too uptight. They don’t play the way they are capable of playing.”

Cornerback Byron Maxwell, on playing so well he will cause the coaches to make a tough decision next week on who starts when Walter Thurmond returns from his four-game suspension.

"That’s a good thing, I guess,” Maxwell said. “The end goal is getting to the Super Bowl, so it’s all about what’s best for the team. It’s a blessing we have all these guys [in the secondary]. We’re getting each other better.”

Maxwell also was asked when was the last time he had two interceptions in a game, which he did against the Giants last weekend:

"High school," he said.

Sherman
Cornerback Richard Sherman on who should be the NFL defensive player of the year between him and Seattle free safety Earl Thomas:

“I would have to give it to Earl,” Sherman said. “I think if there is anywhere that the defensive player of year should be, it should be in Seattle, whether it’s myself or Earl.”

Outside linebacker O’Brien Schofield on whether the NFL should expand the playoffs:

“I think they should keep it just like it is,” he said. "We don’t have a seven-game series like baseball or basketball. You show up and get it done or you don’t. If they added [playoff] teams, I think the competition goes down. I think the way the system is now is what makes the NFL what it is. You’ve got to be in the right position to get in the playoffs, and that makes any division race tough.”

Quarterback Russell Wilson on how important consistency is to his progress:

“Well, that was my number one goal, to be honest with you,” he said. “My number one goal coming into the season was being consistent, so that’s kind of my approach to the game, to practice, to just each day. I think that’s been a good thing so far.

“I want to keep growing. There’s so many more things that I can do better, and so many things I can learn. That’s the exciting part about being a quarterback in the National Football League. You never really know it all.”

Double Coverage: Seahawks at Texans

September, 27, 2013
9/27/13
12:00
PM ET
Matt Schaub and Russell WilsonGetty ImagesMatt Schaub and Russell Wilson have combined to throw 12 touchdowns through Week 3.
When they saw each other at the Pro Bowl earlier this year, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt told Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson that if Watt had just stayed another year at Wisconsin, they might have won a national championship together.

“I wish I knew he was coming,” said Watt on Wednesday, who left Wisconsin after his junior year, just as Wilson arrived.

Sunday at Reliant Stadium, they might see a lot of each other. The matchup between the Texans and Seahawks will pit the league’s two best defenses against each other. But Wilson won’t be easy to contain for a Texans’ defense that gave up only 236 yards in last week’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are coming off such a dominating win over the Jacksonville Jaguars that Wilson didn’t need to finish the game.

Texans reporter Tania Ganguli and Seahawks reporter Terry Blount take a look at the matchup.

Ganguli: So Terry, what makes Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman special?

Blount: Preparation, enormous athleticism and confidence are what makes him special. I know many people outside of Seattle just see Sherman as a arrogant guy with a big mouth. That's a big mistake. Sherman is an extremely hard worker who spends hours studying film of every receiver he faces. Consequently, he rarely gets fooled on a play, and the few times when he does, he has the athletic ability to react quickly, overcome it and get back to the ball.

Tania, how do you think Andre Johnson will do against the talented Seattle secondary, and especially a head-to-head matchup with Sherman?

Ganguli: The Texans are considering Johnson day-to-day right now. He didn’t look right when he tried to play Sunday after suffering a shin bruise in Baltimore and ultimately recognized that it was better for him to leave and heal than play hindered by the injury. If they don’t have him, the Texans will look to rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins, a budding star who has shown talent from the moment he arrived in Houston, but also improved steadily as a rookie.

And speaking of young players, how has quarterback Wilson changed in his second year?

Blount: Wilson is willing to take a lot more chances on difficult throws now because he understands what his receivers are going to do and where they will be. In the Jacksonville game, he made what appeared to be a dangerous throw in the middle of the end zone when Sidney Rice had three defenders near him. But Rice had signaled Wilson to toss it up high and Rice would get it, which he did. Wilson knows the offense now and has complete confidence to make plays at clutch moments, and his teammates believe in him.

Wilson is at his best when he scrambles and improvises, often resulting in big plays downfield. Can the Texans defense contain him?

Ganguli: The most mobile quarterback they faced so far this season was Titans quarterback Jake Locker, who threw two touchdown passes but had a QBR of 44.3 against the Texans. They haven’t faced a quarterback who is such an accurate passer while having the ability to use his legs and improvise. Wilson’s numbers have been among the best in the league this season. That will be a challenge for a defense that wants to be the best in the league.

You wrote that the loss of left tackle Russell Okung didn’t hurt much against the Jaguars, but how do you see it impacting the Seahawks going forward?

Blount: Tania, this has to be Seattle's biggest concern entering the Texans game. The Seahawks may be the deepest team in the league, but the offensive line, and particular the tackle spots, is a thin area. They are no match for J.J. Watt. Paul McQuistan moved from guard to left tackle to replace Okung, but the team is weaker without Okung on the field. Right tackle Breno Giacomini probably won't play because of a knee injury. That means rookie Michael Bowie, a seventh-round draft choice, will have to go head-to-head with Watt. Bailey is talented, but he has a lot to learn. Throwing him out there this week against Watt is truly scary for the Seahawks.

I know the Seahawks have major concerns about trying to stop Watt and keeping him off Wilson. Do you see Watt having a big game Sunday?

Ganguli: Watt has a keen ability to exploit weaknesses in inexperienced players. And if he doesn’t know it right from the start, he figures it out eventually. He’s a player with work ethic to match his talent, which isn’t always the case with athletes of his caliber. Watt has been the third most effective player at disrupting opponents’ passes since he entered the NFL. He ranks behind San Francisco’s Aldon Smith and Minnesota’s Jared Allen. Watt has played very well this season and he’s determined to have a better year than he did last year when he led the league with 20.5 sacks and 16 batted passes.

The Seahawks secondary gets the most attention, but how has their defensive front played and what are their strengths and weaknesses?

Blount: This was an area of needed improvement at the end of last season, so the staff made a major effort to bring in veterans who could help with the pass rush. It worked. Defensive linemen Michael Bennett, a free agent Seattle signed after he spent four years in Tampa Bay, has been a force up front. Cliff Avril, the biggest offseason acquisition, was hurt all preseason, but is back now and just starting to contribute. Defensive end Chris Clemons, the team's top pass-rusher last season, returned last week after offseason ACL surgery. And O'Brien Schofield, who was released at Arizona, has been strong at linebacker and defensive end. This is a much stronger, deeper and quicker group than it was a year ago, and it still doesn't have Bruce Irvin. He returns next week after a four-game suspension for PEDs.

Tania, these teams have two of the best running backs in the NFL in Arian Foster in Houston and Marshawn Lynch at Seattle. Which running back do you think will have the upper hand on Sunday?

Ganguli: The running back situation has been interesting in Houston this season. The Texans eased Foster into the season after he missed the entire preseason and in the meantime backup Ben Tate has played very well. Tate is in a contract year and if he keeps up the way he’s started, he’ll be making some money after the season. His yards per carry have been strong and even better have been his yards after contact, 4.5 yards, the best in the NFL. If we’re talking fantasy numbers, Lynch will definitely have the upper hand on Sunday. Foster will be sharing his load with Tate.

Last question from me: What is one name Texans fans might not know that they will after Sunday’s game?

Blount: Great question. I'll pick a couple. First might be middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, a second-year player who is growing into one of the best linebackers in the league. Another is slot receiver Doug Baldwin, an exceptional possession-type receiver who has a knack for making the big catch on third down.

And finally, everyone talks about how the Seahawks have the best home-field advantage in the NFL, but I’m a Houston native who has seen some pretty rabid fans down there, as well. How much of a factor can the crowd be Sunday at Reliant Stadium?

Ganguli: They are a rabid bunch and have the added benefit of a perpetually closed roof that keeps their rabidity trapped like a greenhouse gas. They’ve been frustrated recently, but if their team plays well on Sunday, it will be loud.

.

Upon Further Review: Seahawks Week 3

September, 23, 2013
9/23/13
2:00
PM ET
An examination of four hot issues from the Seattle Seahawks' 45-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars:

[+] EnlargeSidney Rice
AP Photo/Stephen BrashearSidney Rice pulled in two touchdown passes in a 45-17 rout of the Jaguars.
A cleaner and better offense: The Seahawks offense accomplished two big goals Sunday of cutting down on senseless penalties and getting off to a better start, especially in the passing game, than in the first two games. Seattle had only three offensive penalties for 20 yards. Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes, including three in the first half, and Tarvaris Jackson also had a touchdown throw.

Was Pro Bowl tackle Russell Okung missed?: Well, not much when you play a team as weak as the Jaguars, but the real question is whether it will hurt the Seahawks in coming weeks against better opponents. First up are the Houston Texans and monster defensive lineman J.J. Watt. Paul McQuistan had some good moments and some bad moments Sunday in Okung's left tackle spot. “He did alright and hung in there pretty nice,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of McQuistan. Carroll was happy rookie tackles Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey got to play in the lopsided game. “To have a chance to get them in the game was awesome,” Carroll said. “They got significant playing time.”

An abundance of riches on the defensive line: With the return of defensive end Chris Clemons, who looked good in pressuring the quarterback on passing downs, the Seahawks have a scary bunch up front. The coaches had a goal in the offseason to shore up the pass rush with free-agent acquisitions, and it worked. Defensive end Michael Bennett has been sensational. He had 1.5 sacks Sunday and a tackle for loss. O'Brien Schofield has been a solid contributor, starting at linebacker Sunday for injured Malcolm Smith. And defensive end Cliff Avril is another pass-rush specialist who adds to the attacking defense. Defensive end/linebacker Bruce Irvin will add to the depth in two weeks when he returns from suspension.

Staying focused: The Seahawks pounced on the Jaguars from the outset, not allowing for any type of letdown or lack of effort against a lesser opponent. Seattle led 31-0 before Jacksonville scored. The Jaguars had only 20 yards rushing in the first half and only 44 yards passing. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch had 55 yards rushing in the first quarter on nine carries. Seattle came out smoking and had the game won by halftime, when they were up 24-0. The final score is misleading because the Seahawks were playing mostly reserves in the second half, and all of Jacksonville points came in garbage time long after the outcome was decided.

Carroll hopeful Browner, Avril can play

September, 11, 2013
9/11/13
9:41
PM ET
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, who has a hamstring injury and didn’t play in the season opener, did not practice Wednesday. But coach Pete Carroll is hopeful Browner can play Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers in the Seahawks' home opener.

Avril
Browner
“He is going to run today and he’s going to practice [Thursday],” Carroll said. “He’s been running all week. It looks like he’s got a good chance to make it back. We will try to do it right and not push it too soon. But tomorrow will be a big day for us to understand [if Browner is ready], and we will go all the way to Friday to see how he responds. So we won’t know for a while.”

Defensive end Cliff Avril, who also missed the season opener with a hamstring injury, practiced on a limited basis Wednesday. Carroll also is optimistic about Avril’s chances of playing Sunday.

“Cliff is good possibility if he makes it through the week,” Carroll said. “He practiced well enough last week. He was very close to playing [at Carolina]. We are planning on him being part of it this week unless he has some kind of setback we can’t foresee. So that would be a nice little boost to get him back in the game.

“But I thought O.B. [O’Brien] Schofield did a very good job playing the Leo [defensive end] spot for us. He rushed well, had a nice sack and a couple of good pursuit plays. He really did a good job starting for us for the first time.”

Defensive end Chris Clemons, the team’s leading pass-rusher last season who is recovering from offseason ACL surgery, returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.

“He’s still working his way into that position right now,’ Carroll said before Wednesday's session. “He’s going to practice today and it’s the first time that he’ll go and get live snaps.”

Brandon Mebane was a bit of a surprise on the injury list Wednesday with an ankle problem. He did not participate in practice.

Wide receiver Sidney Rice (knee) was limited in practice, but he is expected to play Sunday. Rookie tight end Luke Willson, who is listed with an oblique injury, was a full participant in practice, but the Seahawks signed veteran tight end Kellen Davis Wednesday as a third tight end if needed.
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks defense knows how dangerous Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is when he runs with the football. So what’s the plan?

Newton
Newton
“We can’t let Cam run on us,” Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “We want to make him try to beat us throwing, which I don’t think he can do.”

Wagner has great respect for Newton’s athletic ability, but he feels the Seahawks have to focus on taking something away from him.

“We want to force him to make tough decisions,” Wagner said. “In the read-option, you have to be disciplined. If one person doesn’t have their man, you could see Cam run for 80 yards.

“Everything is not going to happen the way it’s supposed to for us. Somebody is going to have to step up and make a play.”

Newton completed only 12 of 29 passes for 141 yards in Seattle’s 16-12 victory in Charlotte last October.

“The most important thing we did [in the Carolina game last year] was get after the quarterback,” safety Earl Thomas said. “We got under his skin a little bit.

“Basically, just keep getting hits [on Newton]. With a quarterback like that, you try to move him off his spot. It makes it hard for him. It’s delaying his decisions. That’s what you’re talking about when you play Cam Newton. You have to pressure him.”

Defensive end O’Brien Schofield, who probably will start Sunday because of Cliff Avril’s hamstring injury, said the defense has to be ready for Newton’s speed.

“He definitely has a motor,” Schofield said. “So if he gets by your first pass-rushing move, you have to be able to chase him down when he gets outside of the pocket.”

What to watch for: Seahawks-Raiders

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
6:44
PM ET
SEATTLE -- With one last warm-up before the regular season, here are four things to watch -- and one you won’t get to watch -- Thursday night in the Seattle Seahawks game against Oakland.

The Seahawks pass rush: Hopefully, there is one to watch. Oakland has one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. If Seattle can’t get to the quarterback in this game, it’s time to worry. And they’ll have to do with backups. Defensive ends Chris Clemons and Cliff Avril won’t play. Neither will defensive tackles Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel and Michael Bennett.

Clemons and Avril probably won’t play next weekend in the season opener at Carolina. So it is increasingly important to watch Benson Mayowa and O'Brien Schofield to see if they can continue to shine as pass-rushers. Ty Powell, a hybrid linebacker/defensive end, also will see some time as a down rusher.

Penalty flags: Just keeping the yellow flags under double figures and less than 100 yards would look decent at this point. The Seahawks haf 14 penalties for 182 yards last week in the 17-10 victory at Green Bay. Seattle has 354 yards on 34 penalties in the three preseason games.

“We just want to be really disciplined with our offense and make sure we’re not getting any penalties,’’ quarterback Russell Wilson said Tuesday. “That’s our No. 1 focus.”

Coach Pete Carroll has harped on this for the past two weeks.

“We have to show progress before we head into the opener in terms of getting out of our own way,” Carroll said. “We have to comply and we’re a little out of compliance. The guys know. They don’t want to play like that. They just have to make better decisions.”

Pass blocking: The Seahawks offensive line struggled to stop the blitzing Packers last week. That has to improve, along with cutting down on holding calls and false starts. James Carpenter finally will get back on the field at guard, which could help. This is a good line overall, especially in run blocking. But a better showing on pass plays needs to happen tonight.

Bubble boys: No team in the NFL has tougher roster cuts to make than the Seahawks. The depth on this team is extraordinary and the coaches have difficult decisions to make after this game.

Some players need to shine to earn a spot. Receiver Stephen Williams probably already has done so, but one more good game wouldn’t hurt. Rookie receiver Chris Harper needs to step up. Will the Seahawks keep three fullbacks -- Michael Robinson (who won’t play tonight) rookie Spencer Ware and Derrick Coleman?

The toughest cuts will come in the secondary, where some of the backups could start for many NFL teams. Cornerback Ron Parker needs a good game. So does Winston Guy and DeShawn Shead. The coaches really like rookie linebacker John Lotulelei, but is there room for him?

No Matt Flynn: Some Seattle fans probably were looking forward to seeing quarterback Matt Flynn play against his former Seahawks teammates, but Flynn will watch from the sideline because of a sore arm.

He's probably got a few other sore places considering he’s been sacked seven times in the preseason. Flynn hasn’t played well, so it’s possible he could lose out on the starting-job competition for the second consecutive year. Terrelle Pryor will start against Seattle. He’s much better at running and avoiding the rush than Flynn, which is important with the Raiders porous offensive line.
Eleven days before the season opener, injuries are starting to become a concern for the Seattle Seahawks.

Chris Clemons and Cliff Avril, the projected starters at the defensive end spots, probably won’t be ready for the opener at Carolina on Sept. 8. Starting fullback Michael Robinson, recovering from a virus, also may not play in the opener.

The Seahawks already know defensive end/linebacker Bruce Irvin won’t play the first four games because of a suspension, reportedly for PEDs.

Two other starters -- defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and receiver Sidney Rice -- won’t play Thursday night against Oakland in the final preseason game. Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, a possible starter at the 3-technique spot, also won’t play Thursday because of a groin pull.

Mebane suffered a groin injury in practice Monday. Coach Pete Carroll hopes Mebane and McDaniel will be ready for the opener.

Carroll said Rice will play in the opener, but had an unusual comment: “He’ll be ready unless there is a setback next week at practice again.”

A setback again? When was the first practice setback? Rice flew to Switzerland four weeks ago for a 20-minute platelet-enriched plasma treatment on his knee. But he later returned to practice and didn’t show any problems. He has not played in the preseason.

The biggest concern for the Seahawks is the defensive line. Defensive tackle Michael Bennett also won’t play Thursday because he having a procedure done on an injured toe. Carroll expects Bennett to play in the opener.

Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill is out with a shoulder injury and fellow rookie defensive tackle Jesse Williams is on injured reserve with a knee injury.

The Seahawks hoped to shore up their pass rush this season, but two key cogs are iffy in Clemons and Avril. Clemons, who led Seattle with 11.5 sacks last year, still is recovering from off-season ACL surgery.

“He’s making great progress,” Carroll said of Clemons. “We have a big decision to make there.”

The decision is whether to place Clemons on the reserve/ physically unable to perform (PUP) list or to place him on the 53-man roster. If Clemons goes to the PUP list, he can’t play until Week 6. Either way, it’s doubtful he plays in the opener.

Avril, Seattle’s top free-agent acquisition in the offseason for the defense, has a hamstring injury and hasn’t played in the preseason. His status for the opener is tentative at best.

“As of this morning he’s feeling better and we’re hoping he will be able to go next week,” Carroll said. “But we won’t know until we get there.”

Even if Avril does play, how effective will he be after missing so much time?

On the bright side, starting tight end Zach Miller will play Thursday and guard James Carpenter also will see action in the Oakland game.

“It’s necessary for him to get out there and play again,'’ Carroll said of Carpenter. “He was really making some progress and missed a couple of weeks here, so it will be great to get him out.”

But the injury problems, especially on the defensive line, are worrisome. The Seahawks may have to rely on two players who weren’t part of the picture a month ago -- free agent defensive ends Benson Mayowa and O'Brien Schofield.

Both have looked good in the preseason, especially Mayowa, an undrafted rookie from Idaho. He has 2.5 sacks and 10 total tackles in three preseason games. Schofield, who played for the Arizona Cardinals the previous three seasons, has a sack, force fumble and fumble recovery in the preseason.

If needed, starting defensive end Red Bryant can move inside and play tackle. Bryant has seen quite a bit of action inside during the preseason.
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seahawks continue to stockpile defensive lineman, adding two more in the past two days. Seattle now has 11 defensive lineman who were not with the team one year ago.

The John Moffitt trade, which took two tries (first to Cleveland, that was voided, then to Denver the next day) resulted in Seattle acquiring Broncos defensive tackle Sealver Siliga.

The Seahawks also added defensive tackle Dewayne Cherrington, a rookie free agent from Mississippi, after releasing kicker Carson Wiggs on Monday.

Siliga, 6-2 and 325 pounds, is in his second season out of Utah. He had two assisted tackles against the Seahawks in the preseason game Saturday night at Seattle. Siliga already was at practice Wednesday.

“A true pro in the way he worked,’’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said of Siliga. “You could see his strength right away.”

Cherrington (6-3, 335) played college football at Richmond. Cherrington was not drafted, but signed with New England as a free agent before being released last week.

Both Siliga and Cherrington are longshots to make the 53-man roster, but the Seahawks coaches are trying to make sure they don’t come up short with the players on the defensive front.

The others who are new this year include Cliff Avril, Tony McDaniel, Michael Bennett, O'Brien Schofield, Martin Parker and Michael Brooks (veteran players who were signed and brought in), draft choices Jordan Hill and Jesse Williams, and rookie free agent Benson Mayowa.

Obviously, some of these men will be gone when cuts are made to get down to the 53-man roster (and eight possible practice squad players) before the regular season begins.

But a few of the newcomers have stood out, especially Mayowa and Schofield. Mayowa, a rush end from Idaho, has 2.5 sacks and four quarterback pressures in the first two preseason games.

Schofield, a fourth-year player from Wisconsin, has a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Schofield knocked the ball out of quarterback Brock Osweiler’s hands and recovered it in the backfield in the Denver game last weekend.

“We started him at linebacker and then moved him back to Leo (rush defensive end),” Quinn said of Schofield, who played three seasons for the Arizona Cardinals. “He’s doing well.”

Hill, a third-round pick from Penn State, also has looked strong at defensive tackle. He’s in the running for the starting spot at the 3-technique defensive tackle, a spot vacated when Seattle lost Alan Branch to free agency in the offseason. Quinn said no decision had been made there, but McDaniel and Jaye Howard probably have the best chance of earning the first-team spot.

Avril and Bennent, two proven pass-rushers, and McDaniel, a defensive tackle in his eighth season, were the biggest off-season acquisitions on defense. Bennett has played both tackle and defensive end. Avril has yet to get in a game, and missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury. He also missed mini-camp and OTAs with a foot injury, but the Seahawks are counting on him to be a major contributor this season.

It was clear after the 2012 season that the Seattle coaches wanted to upgrade the defensive front and improve their rush. With defensive end Chris Clemons still recovering from off-season ACL surgery and defensive end/outside linebacker Bruce Irvin suspended for the first four games, the Seahawks are trying to ensure they have enough quality depth to make an improvement in that area.
RENTON, Wash. -- O'Brien Schofield is more than just another waiver-wire pickup for the Seattle Seahawks. The outside linebacker is going to factor for the team this season. That much seems obvious from watching the team practice.

The Seahawks tried Schofield in the "Leo" role Wednesday after previously using him at 'SAM' linebacker and as a nickel lineman. The opportunity to compete for playing time at multiple positions has invigorated Schofield since his salary-related release from the Arizona Cardinals late last month. He's a happy man.

"I've got all these amazing teammates who are just very encouraging, a great coaching staff that has pushed me to be a great player and the expectation level here is phenomenal," Schofield said after practice.

[+] EnlargeO'Brien Schofield
AP Photo/Ted S. WarrenWorking on quickness has been a point of emphasis for Seattle defender O'Brien Schofield.
The Cardinals sought to upgrade their pass rush when they signed veteran John Abraham, who has consistently produced double-digit sack totals. They released Schofield in part because of a $1.3 million salary, lingering injury concerns and the likelihood that Schofield might sign elsewhere after the 2013 season, anyway.

Both teams could come out ahead.

Early reports suggest Abraham has become a team leader by example while upgrading the pass rush as anticipated. Seattle wasn't looking for defensive leadership. The team wanted another young rotation player with the versatility to contribute in multiple ways.

Schofield, 26, gets to join a team coming off an 11-win season and a playoff appearance after suffering through the Cardinals' 1-11 finish to the 2012 season.

"With the mindset of the players, to have a flat day out here is rare because everything is so competitive and you don’t want to look bad and be on that highlight tape once we get in for meetings," Schofield said.

Schofield mostly played left outside linebacker with the Cardinals. He moved around in some of the sub packages, depending on the opponent. The team typically used a three-man rotation at outside linebacker.

Seattle has put greater emphasis on developing Schofield, Bruce Irvin and Cliff Avril for use at multiple positions. It's not yet clear how each will handle the various responsibilities, but the team is going to need options. A suspension will cost Irvin the first four games of the season. Defensive end Chris Clemons, the team's prototypical Leo defensive end, has not yet returned from knee surgery and it's not clear when he will.

"To have four or five guys that can play multiple positions, for me to be able to play three positions, it’s great," Schofield said.

The SAM linebacker plays on the tight end side and drops into coverage more regularly in playing the run and blitzing on occasion. The Leo defensive end must be a top pass-rusher. Both are on the field across multiple downs and situations, so playing the run is important as well.

"And then as defensive end in the nickel, you are just playing your basic D-end: getting off the ball, setting the edge and if anything comes to you, spilling it to the guys behind you," Schofield explained.

Three roles equate to three ways to get on the field. That means Schofield, a fourth-round draft choice in 2010, could still factor even when Irvin and Clemons are available. The coaching staff has been working with Schofield to improve his quickness in getting off the ball at the snap. That is his No. 1 focus in camp. It helps, too, that the broken leg Schofield suffered against Green Bay last season is less of an issue.

"I'm just starting to feel good," Schofield said. "I've been mentally battling through the frustrations of feeling at one point like I wasn't as explosive, and I was telling myself that and that is how I was practicing. But I looked at film and I was like, 'I'm still that same guy.' "
O'Brien Schofield made his Seattle Seahawks practice debut this week after the team claimed him off waivers from the NFC West-rival Arizona Cardinals.

There were three potential winners in this arrangement: Seattle, Arizona and even Schofield.

A quick look at some of the dynamics for each of the involved parties:
  • Cardinals: Schofield was scheduled to earn $1.3 million in the final year of his rookie contract. The team had just signed veteran pass-rusher John Abraham to a two-year contract after determining in its judgment that Abraham was still playing at a high level. Schofield carries a high risk for injury. Had he gotten hurt, the Cardinals could have been on the hook for the full $1.3 million -- after adding Abraham, who figures to take away snaps from Schofield. By cutting Schofield, the Cardinals were basically indicating they didn't necessarily expect to keep him beyond the 2013 season, and they thought his salary no longer aligned with his value relative to the risk.
  • Seahawks: Seattle has short-term depth issues at defensive end and outside linebacker while Chris Clemons recovers from injury and Bruce Irvin prepares to serve a four-game suspension. Schofield is 26 years old and was a player the team valued in the 2010 draft. The Seahawks, like the Cardinals, cannot be excited about carrying a $1.3 million injury risk, however. Claiming Schofield off waivers meant claiming his contract, too, but we should expect Seattle to seek a streamlined deal featuring injury protections for the team. Giving Schofield a chance to earn back the lost salary would make sense as a reasonable tradeoff. Schofield wouldn't be able to command $1.3 million in the market after suffering a torn ACL (2010) and broken ankle (2012).
  • Schofield: The manner in which the Cardinals released Schofield had to hurt. Schofield was about to take his pre-camp conditioning test when the move was made. He was pulled from the practice field unexpectedly and in front of teammates, a rough way for a well-liked player to go out. On the positive side, Schofield gets a shot at his former team twice a year in NFC West play if he earns a roster spot. He joins a team with Super Bowl aspirations. This can be a "win" for him in the end if he plays well.

Camp Confidential: Seattle Seahawks

July, 30, 2013
7/30/13
11:30
AM ET
RENTON, Wash. -- This training camp marks the Seattle Seahawks' first since 2009 without some form of a starting quarterback competition. So comfortable, mature and in command is Russell Wilson this summer that you'd swear he's been the starter for a decade.

It's sometimes as though Wilson is 24 years old going on 42.

Wilson naturally took the driver's seat in the van Seattle players used when shuttling to the offseason practices Wilson organized in Los Angeles. While teammates joked around in the back like kids on a field trip, Wilson was their chaperone.

Asked during this camp what he knew of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick from their time together shooting a commercial and appearing at the ESPYS, Wilson, nearly 13 months Kaepernick's junior, described his rival as someone who loves football and is a good person to be around.

"Great kid," Wilson added.

Reporters can forget about prying a colorful quote from the player teammates have nicknamed "the robot" for his methodical approach to the job. Wilson has been known to favor coachspeak even inside Seattle's quarterback meeting room.

"We joke around all the time," backup Brady Quinn said. "There are some times when he'll state the obvious. We try to make sure he realizes that is a given. Like, for example, 'Hey man, guys gotta stay healthy this year.' Well, yeah. They always need to stay healthy. That's a big part of a team doing well, people not getting hurt. Times like that, you've gotta keep him on his toes, make him laugh a little bit, give him a hard time."

One year after Wilson won a three-way competition against Matt Flynn and Tarvaris Jackson, the player receiver Sidney Rice sometimes calls "the president" is running unopposed at this Seahawks camp.

"He's a champion when he steps out there on that field, even in practice," Rice said. "I’ve seen him run, I believe, 80 yards on one play on a scramble to try to get away and get us a first down. He is going to do whatever it takes. You have seen him running down the sideline blocking for Marshawn [Lynch] numerous times. That is the kind of guy you want leading your team."

THREE HOT ISSUES

[+] EnlargePercy Harvin
AP Photo/Ted S. WarrenThe Vikings aren't sure what to expect from their former receiver, Percy Harvin, who is expected to be in Seattle's lineup on Sunday.
1. Percy Harvin's health. The Seahawks were already a good team before they acquired Harvin. They became a popular pick for the Super Bowl once the versatile receiver and return specialist joined their roster in March. Now, with Harvin seeking a second opinion that could lead to season-altering surgery on his sore hip, those projections seem a little more tenuous.

How Harvin will proceed from here is not clear. His sometimes rocky past in Minnesota invites questions and fuels his critics. Is he smartly erring on the side of caution, as coach Pete Carroll seemed to suggest in initial remarks about the injury? Or, is this another one of those tough-to-explain Harvin plot twists like the ones that seemed to pop up regularly during his Minnesota tenure? With Harvin set to seek that second opinion Tuesday, Carroll noted that safety Kam Chancellor played through a similar injury last season. Was he saying Harvin should do the same?

"Guys around here trust [Harvin] and believe in him," Rice said. "It's nothing like coming out here and taking days off and doing his own thing. I don’t think he’s that type of person. You get that perception from people that don’t really know what's going on, and they just hear stuff and they just create their own [impression]."

Harvin is, by all accounts, plenty tough and competitive. If this is an injury Harvin can manage, it appears he'll do so on his terms, not on the Seahawks' terms. That surely wouldn't surprise the Vikings, even though Rice, himself an ex-Viking, said his teammate is misunderstood.

2. Bruce Irvin's position. There has been some confusion, at least on my end, regarding the role Seattle envisions for 2012 first-round draft choice Irvin. The team drafted Irvin with plans to use him initially as a situational pass-rusher, and later as the successor to Chris Clemons in the "Leo" position as a stand-up rusher in Carroll's defense.

Irvin collected eight sacks as a rookie in the situational role, as planned. He'll continue to play that role within the nickel defense while adding responsibilities as an outside linebacker in base packages. It's not so much that Irvin will be playing the strong side or weak side. Rather, he'll be one of two outside linebackers positioned on the line of scrimmage in what will look like a 3-4 scheme. He'll be asked to set the edge in the running game, rush the passer, match up man-to-man or cover the flat.

First, though, Irvin will have to serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.

3. Depth on the offensive line. The Seahawks drafted offensive lineman James Carpenter 25th overall in 2011 when they could have taken a quarterback such as Andy Dalton or Kaepernick. Finding Wilson a year later absolved the team from second-guessing on the quarterback front, but the Carpenter selection was still looking like a regrettable one heading into this camp. Injuries were threatening Carpenter's career, and he wasn't exactly dominant even when healthy in his rookie season.

Perceptions are beginning to change after Carpenter reported to camp in good enough shape to participate fully from the beginning. I noticed Carpenter running from one drill to the next when he could have jogged. It seemed like evidence Carpenter was feeling good and was eager to salvage his career. He's been working with the starting unit at left guard between Pro Bowlers Russell Okung and Max Unger. Adding a healthy Carpenter to the mix would upgrade the line's longer-term prospects.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM

Seattle has one of the NFL's best quarterbacks, best running backs and best defenses. That's a winning combination just about every time. Last season, Wilson struggled through his first few games while hamstrung by remedial game plans. He did not start to hit his stride until Week 8 at Detroit. Wilson did not break out all the way until leading 97- and 80-yard touchdown drives to win at Chicago in Week 13. That's the quarterback Seattle will have behind center from the beginning this season. That is why the Seahawks like their chances.

REASON FOR PESSIMISM

Potential depth issues at tight end, offensive tackle, weakside linebacker and defensive end (for now, while Clemons rehabs and Irvin faces a suspension) probably aren't serious enough to send the Seahawks plummeting into mediocrity. However, the margin for error within the NFC West figures to be small. Harvin, at his best, was supposed to put Seattle over the top. Now, the Seahawks can't be sure they'll have him for the regular season.

OBSERVATION DECK
    [+] EnlargeRed Bryant
    Steven Bisig/USA TODAY SportsRed Bryant, who had treatment for sleep apnea this offseason, says he has better stamina in practices.

  • Defensive end Red Bryant appears more comfortable, for good reason. Bryant had treatment for sleep apnea this offseason after former trainer Sam Ramsden, now the Seahawks' director of player health and performance, recommended testing for larger players. Bryant, who wears a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask when he sleeps, says he's feeling refreshed and has better stamina later in practices. This is a pivotal season for Bryant, who struggled with a foot injury last season after signing a $35 million extension. At Carroll's suggestion, Bryant has recommitted to his identity as a dominant run-stuffer after feeling pressure to improve as a pass-rusher upon signing his new contract.
  • Rookie fourth-round receiver Chris Harper didn't seem to be a factor in the first couple days of camp. The first time I really noticed him was when he caught a touchdown pass on the third day of practice. Perhaps not coincidentally, that was also the first day this summer that the Seahawks practiced in pads. Harper, oddly proportioned for a receiver at 6-foot-1 and 234 pounds, relishes the physical part of the game. Some young receivers flourish in shorts and struggle in pads. Harper might have it the other way around.
  • The Seahawks claimed off waivers former Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield despite a $1.3 million salary and a history of injuries. Seattle had a middle-rounds grade on Schofield entering the 2010 draft even though Schofield was rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered in Senior Bowl practices. The Cardinals used a fourth-round pick on Schofield just ahead of the range where Seattle was considering taking him. The Seahawks are continually looking for "Leo" defensive ends in the 6-3 and 245-pound mold. Schofield, 26, fits the profile and has a chance to earn playing time in a rotational capacity while Clemons recovers from knee surgery and Irvin serves a suspension.
  • Irvin's speed showed up in practice when he chased down rookie running back Christine Michael to force a fumble some 40 yards past the line of scrimmage. Michael ran the 40-yard dash in 4.43 seconds at the combine. He has appeared to be one of the more explosive players in camp. Irvin caught him despite outweighing Michael by about 25 pounds, 245 to 220. Raw speed isn't the question for Irvin. He has plenty. The question is whether he can handle some of the coverage and run-stopping responsibilities associated with his evolving role.
  • Remember those offseason stories about Lynch skipping chunks of the voluntary offseason conditioning program? They're pretty much irrelevant now, as anticipated.
  • Nothing has changed the perception that Jackson will beat out Quinn for the No. 2 job behind Wilson. Trading Jackson a year ago was tough in some respects because Jackson was so popular among teammates. I see no reason for the Seahawks to make the same decision again unless Quinn vastly outplays Jackson.
  • Between the practice field and the locker room sits a cart with a laptop connected to a sensor atop a stand. The setup from GPSports allows teams to monitor player performance in real time. Team owner Paul Allen's other professional Seattle sports team, Sounders FC, has used the technology. The GPSports website says systems include a GPS, accelerometer, magnetometer, heart rate sensor and a wireless transmitter. The company says its product can "accurately measure distance, speed, acceleration, heart rate, bodyload and impacts all in real time."
  • Former Cardinals receiver Stephen Williams is doing what he sometimes did while with Arizona: impressing during camp by making spectacular leaping catches. Williams has the talent, but he has been unable to make it transfer to the regular season. Working with a top NFL quarterback cannot hurt. Williams arrived in Arizona the year after Kurt Warner retired.
  • Linebacker K.J. Wright has stood out in past camps, but not so much in this one, except for the big hit he delivered on rookie fullback Spencer Ware.
  • Speaking of Ware, he has some work to do before making veteran fullback Michael Robinson expendable, at least from early indications. The offense didn't look the same or as good with Robinson and tight end Zach Miller sitting out. Robinson and Lynch have a special feel for one another. Ware, more of a halfback type for most of his college career, has dropped a few passes and is still adjusting to the physical nature of the position.
  • The offseason buzz about rookie Jesse Williams possibly starting at defensive tackle seems to have subsided for the time being. Veteran Tony McDaniel and 2012 fourth-rounder Jaye Howard have stood out more.
  • Is that really assistant head coach/offensive line Tom Cable? He has dropped a significant amount of weight since having back surgery, and he said after one practice, "You can’t imagine how nothing hurts on me. It’s awesome."
  • Richard Sherman, although sometimes combative when facing receivers, projects unfiltered joy other times. He is the player most likely to groove along to the music Carroll plays at practice. Sherman thrilled the crowd during one practice when he picked off a pass and lateraled to Earl Thomas during the return. Football is fun to Sherman, and it shows.
  • There aren't many open passing lanes in practice against the Seattle defense. This team is stacked at cornerback. If this keeps up in preseason, and there's enough depth that it should, Seattle could be in position to trade one of its backups.
RENTON, Wash. -- Former Arizona Cardinals receiver Stephen Williams has stood out for making acrobatic catches during the first few days of Seattle Seahawks training camp. He will soon see a familiar face in Seahawks camp.

Seattle claimed former Cardinals outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield off waivers Saturday, according to a tweet from agent Blake Baratz.

Schofield started nine games and had four sacks last season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury during a collision with teammate Darnell Dockett while the two were chasing Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Cardinals released Schofield after signing veteran pass-rusher John Abraham.

The Seahawks could use outside rush help while Chris Clemons recovers from knee surgery and Bruce Irvin serves a four-game suspension to open the season. There are no guarantees Schofield will fill such a role for Seattle. He would have to earn a spot on the 53-man roster to make that happen. But in Schofield, the Seahawks get a 26-year-old player with starting experience. Schofield is 6-foot-3 and 242 pounds, dimensions similar to those for players who have filled the "Leo" defensive end role for the Seahawks.

The Cardinals made Schofield a fourth-round pick in 2010, months after Schofield suffered a torn ACL during Senior Bowl practices. Schofield played 10 games as a rookie and all 16 during his second season, collecting 6.5 sacks in a situational role. He started each of the nine games he played last season before suffering a broken ankle against the Packers. The Cardinals have a new defensive staff without strong ties to Schofield.

Schofield's cousin Bobby Engram was a Seahawks mainstay at receiver during the Mike Holmgren era.
Good morning, NFC West.

The San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and St. Louis Rams opened training camps Thursday. The Arizona Cardinals will follow suit with a first practice scheduled for 2 p.m. local time Friday.

The division is already making headlines.

The Cardinals announced deals with veterans John Abraham and Eric Winston. They also cut projected starting outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield while announcing rookie receiver Ryan Swope's concussion-induced retirement.

Tarell Brown, cornerback for the 49ers, was in the news unexpectedly when Brian McIntyre reported Brown had unwittingly lost $2 million in salary simply by failing to show up for the team's offseason program.

The hip injury preventing Percy Harvin from practicing with the Seahawks was the biggest story of them all even though it's tough to know whether Harvin will miss an extended time.

One of the more positive NFC West developments slid a bit under the radar. James Carpenter, the Seahawks' first-round pick in 2011, participated fully in practice after battling a career-threatening knee injury over his first two seasons. Having a healthy and productive Carpenter would count as a significant bonus for Seattle. His situation is one to watch as camp progresses.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

NFC WEST SCOREBOARD