NFC West: Sidney Rice

Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider had some interesting things to say in an informal conversation with team beat writers Wednesday. Here are a few points:

Michael Bowie is the next man up. The 2013 seventh-round draft choice, who started eight regular-season games because of injuries to starters on the line, will get a chance to earn the starting spot at right tackle to replace Breno Giacomini, who signed with the New York Jets as a free agent.

Pryor
• Schneider said Terrelle Pryor is coming to Seattle to compete at quarterback.

"Right now, no other options have been discussed," Schneider said.

The key words there are "right now." The Seahawks sent Oakland a seventh-round pick to acquire Pryor, who is 6-5, 245 pounds and can run a 4.4-second 40.

"We felt he was a better athlete than what we could have gotten with a seventh-round pick," Schneider said, "so we felt it was worth it to bring him in."

• Schneider wouldn't say whether strong safety Kam Chancellor or left tackle Russell Okung had surgery since the Super Bowl. Schneider will leave those questions for coach Pete Carroll to answer.

"I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on those things," Schneider said. "It will be addressed by Pete once the players starting practicing."

Baldwin
Chancellor reportedly had minor hip surgery and Okung may have had surgery on the ligament tear in his big toe that caused him to miss eight games last season.

• Schneider didn't know when or if receiver Doug Baldwin plans to sign his tender offer of $2.187 million as a restricted free agent. Baldwin has until Friday to receive offers from other teams, which is unlikely now.

But Schneider did say Baldwin is part of the Seahawks' long-term plans. Signing the tender does not stop Seattle from trying to work out a contract extension with Baldwin. But Baldwin also has the option of signing the one-year deal and testing the free-agent market after the 2014 season.

• Schneider said he expects Sidney Rice to be 100 percent healthy by the start of the 2014 regular season. Rice, who was released before re-signing with the Seahawks in a one-year deal worth $1.4 million, had ACL surgery last October. Rice says he'll be ready by training camp in late July.
In what has to be the most unusual situation this year as far as a player signing goes for the Seattle Seahawks, wide receiver Sidney Rice visited the New York Jets on Wednesday, but later signed a one-year deal to return to Seattle.

Terms haven’t been announced, but the Seahawks obviously wanted Rice back bad enough to outbid the Jets.

Rice sent out this tweet Wednesday night:

 

It appeared the Seahawks' chances of re-signing Rice were in jeopardy when he visited the Jets. But apparently Rice already had an offer from Seattle and simply was testing the waters.

Rice had a connection in the Jets organization with general manager John Idzik, who spent six years in Seattle as the vice president of football operations before taking the GM job with the Jets in January 2013.

But Seattle was able to work out a deal for Rice to return for 2014. He was released by the Seahawks on Feb. 28 for salary-cap reasons; he would have counted $7.3 million against the cap.

Rice missed the second half of the 2013 season after tearing an ACL in a game at St. Louis, but was given clearance by his doctor to begin running and cutting drills on Monday.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said all along they were interested in bringing Rice back if the price was right. By re-signing the 6-foot-4 Rice, it could mean the Seahawks go in another direction with their early picks in the NFL draft next month -- possibly selecting an offensive lineman or defensive end.

Seattle brought in Indiana receiver Cody Latimer on Tuesday. Latimer has zoomed up the draft boards in the recent weeks and is seen as a late first-round or early second-round pick.

Rice, 27, caught 15 passes and scored three touchdowns before his injury last season. He caught 50 passes for 748 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012.
If the Seahawks hope to re-sign wide receiver Sidney Rice, they may have to outbid the New York Jets for him. Rice visited with the Jets on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Rice has a connection in the Jets organization with general manager John Idzik, who spent six years in Seattle as the vice president of football operations before taking the GM job with the Jets in January of 2013.

Rice was released by the Seahawks on Feb. 28 for salary-cap reasons. He would have counted $7.3 million against the cap. He missed the second half of the 2013 season after tearing an ACL in a game at St. Louis, but was given clearance by his doctor to begin running and cutting drills on Monday.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has said they were interested in bringing Rice back, but the price may become too high if the Jets have a serious interest in him.

Rice, 27, caught 15 passes and scored three touchdowns before his injury last season. He caught 50 passes for 748 yard and seven touchdowns in 2012.
Let’s look deeper into the San Francisco 49ers’ interest in free-agent receivers Julian Edelman of New England and Hakeem Nicks of the New York Giants.

Odds of landing them: There is competition. The Patriots want Edelman back and Cleveland has been connected to him as well. Nicks is visiting Indianapolis on Friday. Carolina is also interested. The 49ers don’t have a ton of salary-cap room, so they have to get creative in a deal with either player.

Nicks
Edelman
Who else is out there if Edelman and Nicks don’t end up with 49ers: The top available receivers include Steve Smith, James Jones, Santonio Holmes, Sidney Rice, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerome Simpson.

Who is the best fit? Probably Nicks because he is an outside receiver. Landing him on a short-term deal to see if he can become a top-notch player again could be smart. Don’t get me wrong; Edelman is good as well. You don’t catch 105 balls in a season if you’re not talented. But Anquan Boldin is essentially a slot guy as well. Still, I’m sure the 49ers could find ways to make it work.

How Crabtree, Boldin and the draft figure: Crabtree is a free agent next year and Boldin is 33. So, even if the 49ers sign Edelman or Nicks, I can still see them taking a receiver early in the draft.

Kaepernick factor: I’m sure quarterback Colin Kaepernick is paying attention. This passing offense could be nasty with Boldin, Crabtree, tight end Vernon Davis and Nicks or Edelman. It would open it up. It could also behoove Kaepernick to wait to get his contract done until next year. He could put up big numbers with another top weapon.

Should Seattle worry? Yes. The 49ers must get better on offense to beat Seattle. That was the reason why the 49ers couldn’t overtake Seattle in 2013. A big-time offensive weapon could even the playing field.

Scout's thoughts: “I was a little surprised to be honest, especially after the re-signing of Boldin. Quinton Patton also shows some promise, but this would be a heck of a receiver corps if is Patton is your No. 4. I would think if they were in the market for WR though, that they would be looking for a pure speed guy, which isn't Nicks or Edelman.” -- ESPN analyst Matt Williamson
The San Francisco 49ers likely aren’t going to spend much more money in free agency, but I would not be surprised if they consider adding a veteran receiver to help with their depth.

While the 49ers will surely address the position early in the draft, there has been enough whispers around the league to suggest they are not averse to bringing in a receiver earlier.

Golden Tate told a Seattle radio station, after he signed with Detroit, that the 49ers showed interest. It is doubtful they were willing to pay big dollars, though. Tate reportedly received $31 million over five years from the Lions.

The 49ers also had some interest in Dexter McCluster before he signed with the Titans and there has been some interest in Minnesota’s Jerome Simpson.

There could be some decent receivers available over the next several days. Among the top receivers who could potentially be signed at a reasonable price include Hakeem Nicks, James Jones, Santonio Holmes, Sidney Rice and Emmanuel Sanders. Then there’s the possibility Steve Smith could soon be free.

Again, the 49ers may not be big free-agent players at a position they will address in the draft, but they have been looking. And if the price is right, there could possibly be a connection.

Rice's release could help keep Tate

February, 21, 2014
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The inevitable release of wide receiver Sidney Rice, which ESPN Insider Adam Schefter is reporting will happen soon, is the move the Seattle Seahawks had to make to have any chance of keeping free agent receiver Golden Tate.

Tate
Tate
Rice
Rice’s release will save $7.3 million in salary-cap money for Seattle. It’s money the team will need to try to re-sign Tate, who made $880,000 in 2013 and likely will get offers in excess of $5 million per year in free agency.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Thursday that re-signing Tate was a big priority: “Golden knows where we stand, how much we love him and how much we want him on this team.”

Releasing Rice also will help the Seahawks re-sign receiver Doug Baldwin, a restricted free agent who made only $560,000 in 2013.

If Tate signs with another team, the Seahawks could use some of the money saved on Rice to try to keep defensive linemen Michael Bennett, a free agent who made $4.8 million in 2013.

Rice was due $17.5 million in base salary over the next two seasons. He missed the final eight regular-season games last season, and the playoffs, after suffering a torn ACL against St. Louis on Oct. 28.

But Rice never has been the player the Seahawks hoped he would be when they signed him to a five-year, $41 million deal in 2011. At 6-foot-4, Rice was the one big target among the Seattle receiving corps, so it’s likely the team will look for a big wide receiver early in the 2014 draft.

Rice’s upcoming release is only the first in what probably will be several difficult roster decisions by the Seahawks to add cap space. Defensive end Chris Clemons, who is scheduled to make $9.6 million in 2014, also could be a luxury the team can’t afford to keep.

The next big thing: Seahawks

January, 23, 2014
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RENTON, Wash. -- Obviously, the next big thing for the Seahawks is the Super Bowl against the Denver Broncos. Nothing else matters at the moment.

However, when the big game is over, the Seahawks have difficult contract decisions to make because they know a day of reckoning is coming when they will need to pay some star players big bucks in the near future.

It won't be this year, but soon for cornerback Richard Sherman and quarterback Russell Wilson. Sherman has one year left on a deal that counts only $690,000 against the salary cap next season. He will soon command a salary of well over $10 million a year.

Wilson will make only $662,000, next season, but after that, some big-time renegotiating is going to happen. And the day will come when the Seahawks will have to pay Wilson at least $20 million more per year than he's making now.

All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas also has only a year left on a deal that pays him $3.7 million in 2014.

So some maneuvering will be in order soon, and some players currently on the roster will have to move on because of salary-cap limits.

The immediate concerns are wide receiver. Golden Tate is a free agent who made only $880,000 this season. Doug Baldwin is a restricted free agent with a salary that counts only $560,000 against the cap. Can Seattle keep both of them and pay Percy Harvin's six-year, $67 million deal?

Maybe, but certainly not if receiver Sidney Rice stays. He has two years left on five-year, $41 million contract. It's unlikely he will return.

No doubt the Seahawks wish they had signed defensive lineman Michael Bennett to more than a one-year deal at $4.8 million. He won't be easy to keep after the sensational year he's had.

Seattle also must make a decision on starting right tackle Breno Giacomini, a free agent who counted $4.7 million against the cap this season.
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.

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks activated wide receiver Ricardo Lockette from the practice squad Wednesday to replace the injured Sidney Rice, which probably is a good indication that Percy Harvin will not return Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Harvin did not practice Wednesday and remains day-to-day as to when he might be activated off the physically unable to perform list.

“He’s with the rehab guys,” Carroll said of Harvin. “We’ll see how that goes, then see what [Thursday] brings. With the workload he’s endured to get back in shape, there’s going to be some stuff and he’s been a little bit sore.”

[+] EnlargePercy Harvin and Sidney Rice
AP Photo/Ted S. WarrenThe Seahawks had hoped that after Sidney Rice (foreground) got hurt, Percy Harvin would be ready to return. But it appears they'll have to wait a bit.
Harvin had hip surgery on Aug. 1 to repair a torn labrum. He returned to practice last week on a limited basis.

“We want to make sure we don’t go too far too fast,” Carroll said. “We’re looking for the long haul in his recovery. We want to make sure we manage our way through that. We’re being very careful. He didn’t do a whole lot last week. He did very little. It seems like it’s best to keep him in that mode a little longer.”

So for now, Harvin’s return remains on hold and the Seahawks will have to make it work without him and without Rice, who suffered a torn ACL Monday night.

“It affects us,” Carroll said of Rice’s loss. “We trust the heck out of him and he’s a terrific football player. He really knows the system and he helps the people around him play well. I was sick for him. It was a very unusual situation. It was a violent play and he didn’t think he was hurt that badly. Nobody did until we took the MRI.

“It’s very unfortunate, but we need Jermaine [Kearse] to step up and we moved up Lockette. We’ll count on all our guys to take up the slack.”

Kearse is a second-year player and a local guy from Tacoma; he’s popular with fans because of his college years at the University of Washington. He has played well this season in limited action, with two touchdowns on only eight receptions.

“It’s unfortunate to lose Sidney,” Kearse said. “He’s a good teammate and a really good friend of mine. But I see this as a really good opportunity to showcase my talents and showcase what I can do out there. It’s up to me to make the most of it.”

Kearse gets to play against his friend and former UW teammate this weekend, Buccaneers starting middle linebacker Mason Foster. "He sent me a text and said he’s proud of what’s I’m doing," Kearse said. "But if he gets the chance to hit me, he’s going to hit me. I said, 'Vice versa.'"

Kearse said Mason isn’t looking to cover him one-on-one.

“Oh, he doesn’t want that,” Kearse said smiling. “But Mason’s cool. That’s my guy. We hung out a lot in college, and the competition this weekend will be a lot of fun.”

Kearse also has returned kickoffs this season (only eight returns because so many kicks these days are out of the end zone), but he admitted that the lack of playing time has been tough.

“For me, the hardest thing has been to stay mentally focused with the limited reps I would get,” Kearse said. “So getting more playing time will help me a lot. I’ll be able to get into a rhythm of the game. I just want to help the team win any way I can.”

Lockette has been back with the Seahawks for a week after being waived by Chicago. He spent last season with San Francisco, but was originally signed by the Seahawks in 2011 as an undrafted free agent.

“He got caught up in a numbers game with us before,” Carroll said of Lockette. “But he’s always been a high-potential guy. He has great speed and fantastic hands. His experience with the other two clubs seems to have broadened his awareness.”

Lockette said he feels comfortable with the offense, even though he has only been back a few days.

“I was actually surprised at how much of the playbook I retained,” Lockette said. “With Sid out, it’s not something one person can replace. It’s going to take all of us. I learned a lot when I was in San Francisco and Chicago. But I think everything happens for a reason and there’s a reason I’m here."
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Getting wide receiver Percy Harvin back on the field as soon as possible just became a lot more important for the Seattle Seahawks.

The team announced Tuesday that wide receiver Sidney Rice is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in the Monday night game at St. Louis. Rice wasn’t having the best season among the Seattle receiving corps, but he still had 15 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns.

His loss leaves the team without a quality starter, something Harvin can more than make up for if he’s ready to play. But that’s still an unknown.

Harvin, Seattle’s biggest offseason acquisition, coming over in a trade with Minnesota, had major hip surgery on Aug. 1 to repair a torn labrum. He returned to participate somewhat in practice last week, but was not activated off the physically unable to perform list for the St. Louis game.

Seattle coaches have wanted to be cautious with Harvin’s return. He’s a $67 million investment ($25 million guaranteed) with the new five-year contract the Seahawks gave him. They want to make sure Harvin is healthy for the stretch run and the playoffs, and didn’t feel an urgency to rush it with four receivers who were playing well -- Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Rice.

However, Rice’s injury may have changed their perspective, along with the fact that the offense struggled and had only 135 total yards in the 14-9 victory over the Rams.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson did a lot of individual drills with Harvin last week. He believes Harvin can fit in and contribute immediately.

"I feel very comfortable with him already," Wilson said. "We talk about game stuff all the time. He’s up here all the time just getting ready. So I think the biggest thing is just continuing to throw to him, continue to just do what it takes to have that chemistry."

Harvin can help the Seahawks in many different ways -- as a speed receiver, a kick returner and even a man who lines up in the backfield.

"He’s a great football player," Wilson said. "He’s one of the best in the National Football League and he will bring electricity to our offense when he is able to come and play. We’re excited about that opportunity. But the great thing is we have so many other guys that have stepped up this season. Just to be able to add Percy, whenever that opportunity comes around, we’re excited about that."

Wilson was asked what’s the most important thing Harvin can bring to the offense.

"Just the fear factor," Wilson said. "I think Percy brings so much speed, he can do so many great things, and he just loves the game of football. You’ve just got to love having guys out there that just love the game like he does."

But whether Harvin is ready to step in and immediately fill the void left by Rice is anyone’s guess. That may take a little more time. If so, the Seahawks will have to make do until Harvin is ready to go.

Rapid Reaction: Seattle Seahawks

October, 28, 2013
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ST. LOUIS -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 14-9 victory over the St. Louis Rams Monday night at Edward Jones Dome:

What it means: The Seahawks can beat a weak opponent in a half-empty stadium on a night when Seattle's offensive line could not have played worse. But it came down to the last play when St. Louis had fourth-and-goal at the 2 but couldn’t complete the pass.

Stock watch: One big play was the difference, an 80-yard touchdown pass to receiver Golden Tate that will be remembered for his classless taunting instead of his exceptional athletic move to come up with the ball over the defender. Tate’s stock goes up by making an outstanding leaping catch on a deep throw, outbattling the defender for the ball. Then his stock goes way down as he heads for the end zone for an easy touchdown, but taunts St. Louis safety Rodney McLeod. Tate sticks his arm out and moves his fingers as if to say, “Don’t yap.” McLeod almost runs Tate down in the process. Completely uncalled for. Act like a pro.

Rice hurt: Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice walked to the locker room in the first half with a reported knee issue and did not return.

Defense can’t stop the run, but gets it done: The Seahawks gave up 200 yards rushing, but kept St. Louis out of the end zone and came up with two interceptions -- one by Bruce Irvin and one by Richard Sherman, giving the Seahawks 13 picks this season.

Horrendous offensive play: Worst effort of the season by the Seahawks' offensive line. Russell Wilson was sacked seven times and under pressure every time he dropped back to throw. And the run blocking wasn’t much better. If you're grading, it was an F.

Offensive lows: With the men up front playing so poorly, the Seahawks had 38 total yards in the first half, their fewest yards in any first half since 2001. Seattle had only 42 yards before Tate’s 80-yard touchdown.

What's next: The Seahawks play at home for the first time in three weeks when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to Century Link Field on Sunday. Seattle has won 12 consecutive home games.
Russell Wilson and Marshawn LynchMark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY SportsRussell Wilson didn't let his fumbles get him down, and ended up with three TD passes and the win.

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Russell Wilson fumbled three times Thursday night and lost two of them, which resulted in 10 points for the Arizona Cardinals.

If that’s what you take away from his performance, you’ve greatly missed the point. You just have to see it to believe it.

Despite constant pressure that caused Wilson to take a beating, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback was remarkable once again in leading his team to a 34-22 victory at University of Phoenix Stadium.

Wilson threw three touchdown passes and no interceptions, completing 18 of 29 throws for 235 yards and ending the night with a 122.1 passer rating. And while those numbers won’t wow anyone -- Wilson is not going to put up the gaudy stats of a Peyton Manning or a Drew Brees -- he is going to do whatever it takes to win.

“It’s an honor to play alongside him,” Seattle receiver Golden Tate said about Wilson. “He’s grown tremendously. I’m very proud of him. He’s such a dangerous quarterback with his speed and his arm. He’s definitely our leader.”

Yes, Wilson has a lot of help. He plays on one of the best teams in the NFL. His running back, Marshawn Lynch, rushed for a rugged 91 yards and dragged would-be tacklers down the field at times.

His receivers made huge plays -- a leaping touchdown grab by tight end Zach Miller, a touchdown and a drive-saving scoop-catch by Sidney Rice and 77 receiving yards for Tate. And the Seattle defense had a season-high seven sacks along with two interceptions.

Wilson, as always, gave his teammates all of the credit. He praised Rice for getting open consistently and said it was huge to have Miller back. Of Lynch, he asked, “Can anybody be any tougher?”

Yes, one man can. Wilson is the guy who makes this team special, the one player who each week overcomes every obstacle placed in front of him.

“Russell does what he does,’’ Rice said. “He extends plays, gets outside the pocket and gets first downs. He just makes plays happen.”

The last time Wilson played in this stadium was the first game of his NFL career, a 20-16 loss in last season's opener. He is 18-6 since that day.

“I think I’ve grown so much since then,” Wilson said. “And our football team has grown, too. We’re just trying to be the best team every week.”

Seattle coach Pete Carroll marvels at what he sees from Wilson.

“I don’t know what we would do without him,” Carroll said. “We would be a much different team. I don’t know how you can measure it at this point. He has become such a special aspect of our team. He’s instrumental to everything we do.”

There might not be another player in the NFL whose statistical numbers are less reflective of how much he does and how well he does it. Wilson consistently makes the key play that keeps a drive alive and puts points on the scoreboard.

Here are just two examples from Thursday night:

On their first possession, the Seahawks had a first down at the Arizona 31-yard line. Wilson was pressured out of the pocket, something that happens most of the time with an offensive line that's missing both starting tackles. Wilson rolled to his right but was running backward to avoid the defenders chasing him. Nevertheless, he let fling a perfect pass downfield to a streaking Rice, who made the catch near the sideline for a touchdown.

Try that sometime -- while running backward, throw the ball 40 yards forward right to where it needs to be.

But that wasn’t Wilson's most athletic play of the night. That came on a third-and-3 at the Arizona 48 when Seattle held a slim 17-13 lead in the third quarter. Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington chased down Wilson, who had scrambled to his left. Washington had him. Wilson was going down. But a split second before he hit the turf, Wilson somehow shoved a pass to Miller for a 6-yard gain and a first down to keep a touchdown drive alive.

“That was a huge play,” said Arizona coach Bruce Arians. “Most quarterbacks, the referee would have blown that down. But Wilson is such a great athlete that the referee let him continue playing.”

Wilson was sacked three times Thursday, but that doesn’t come close to expressing the punishment he took from the Cardinals' defensive line. Officially, Arizona had nine quarterback hits, and Wilson also was knocked flat on his back by defensive end Calais Campbell on a failed fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak.

The Cardinals knocked the ball out of Wilson's hands three times, recovering it twice. One came at the Seattle 5-yard line, setting up a touchdown. Another led to an Arizona field goal.

Wilson never wavered. He never became flustered. He never does. He gets up, shakes it off and comes right back at you every time.

“Russell is always accountable,” Tate said. “He comes out the next series ready to sling it. He didn’t let those turnovers affect the way he plays.”

Tate stopped and shook his head, then said: “You just have to admire him.”

Seahawks reach their teams goals Sunday

September, 22, 2013
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SEATTLE -- Check every goal off the list.

The Seattle Seahawks entered Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with some specific goals. When it ended with a 45-17 victory, the Seahawks had accomplished each task:
  • No letdown: check.
  • Fewer penalties: check.
  • No trap game against a lesser opponent: check
  • Get the passing game in gear: double check.

Despite entering the game 2-0, the offense struggled in the first half of both games with careless penalties and problems in the passing game overall.

Not this time. Russell Wilson threw for four touchdowns, including three in the first half. Backup quarterback Tarvaris Jackson had one touchdown throwing and one running. Together they combined for 331 yards and five touchdown passes, completing 21 of 29 throws for a 135.2 quarterback rating between them.

“I thought Russell played great,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. “He was all over the place making great plays and throws. And I thought T-Jack played lights out. He did everything just right. He handled himself beautifully.”

Tight end Zach Miller and wide receiver Sidney Rice had two touchdowns each. Both Miller touchdowns came off play-action fakes that left him open in the end zone.

One Rice score came when it appeared Wilson threw the ball up for grabs, but that’s what Rice wanted him to do on the 23-yard play.

“I rolled out and Sidney pointed to me to throw it up,’’ Wilson said. “So I thought, ‘You know what? Here ya go.’ You have to trust your guys.”

Rice made a leaping catch in front of two Jacksonville defenders.

“I saw the ball thrown so I went to attack it,” Rice said. “We take advantage of the opportunities that come our way.”

Doug Baldwin did the same thing on his 35-yard touchdown grab down the sideline when he got a signal from Jackson.

“T-Jack came to the line and gave me a little smile,” Baldwin said. “I knew the ball was coming my way.”

Part of the improvement Sunday was the fact that the Seahawks did not stop themselves with penalties, a big problem in the first two games. Seattle had only four penalties for 24 yards.

“That’s a big move up for us,” Carroll said. “I’m glad we could make that such an emphasis this week [at practice] and see a real change.”

And there was no letdown coming off the emotional 29-3 victory over the San Francisco 49ers last week.

“We talked about that early in the week,” Baldwin said. “We addressed it by saying we were not going to waste this opportunity [to be 3-0]. For us, every game is a championship opportunity. We weren’t going to let it slip away.”

The Seahawks also didn’t fall into the so-called “trap game.” Seattle was a 19-point favorite over the Jaguars. It would have been easy to look ahead to the game next week in Houston against the Texans.

“Those guys on the other sideline are an NFL team just like us,” said cornerback Brandon Browner, who played for the first time this season after being out with a hamstring injury. “We talk about never overlooking any team. We looked at them just like we did San Francisco.”

Seattle checked everything off the list and won the game they were supposed to win against an overmatched opponent. But it’s the way they did it that mattered the most to the players.

‘‘That’s the way we need to play football,” Wilson said. “We didn’t have crazy penalties and we executed when we needed to. When we do that, we’re hard to stop.”

Locker Room Buzz: Seattle Seahawks

September, 22, 2013
9/22/13
9:23
PM ET
SEATTLE -- Observed in the locker room after the Seattle Seahawks' 45-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars:

What letdown? The players had a lot of I-told-you-so looks over not having any letdown after the emotional victory over San Francisco last weekend and not falling into the so-called trap game against the lowly Jaguars. “We talked about it early in the week,” receiver Doug Baldwin said. “We addressed and said we weren't going to waste this opportunity.”

Rice
Just throw it: The communication between quarterback and receiver was a factor in two Seattle touchdowns. Russell Wilson said Sidney Rice signaled for him to just put it up when it appeared Rice was well covered in the end zone, and Rice leaped and made the grab. Baldwin said quarterback Tarvaris Jackson gave him a “little smile,” letting Baldwin know he was going to lob it up down the sideline and let Baldwin make a play, which he did for a 35-yard touchdown.

Touchdowns for the twins: Tight end Zach Miller was beaming about what his two touchdown catches meant to him the day he brought twin baby daughters, Remi and Kaydence, on the field. “I got one for each of them,” Miller said. “I had them on the field before the game, so now I guess I have to bring them on the field before every game.”

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.

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