NFL Nation: 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.
NEW YORK -- Denver Broncos coach John Fox is fond of saying the NFL is a "bigger, faster, stronger" league, where the matchups decide the issue.

A league where those who hide, or exploit, their weaknesses the best usually will find a way to win.

In that light, here are a few matchups, beyond the Broncos' no-duh need to keep quarterback Peyton Manning upright with room to throw, to watch in Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII:

WRs vs. DBs:

It is the marquee positional matchup. The Seattle Seahawks' defensive backs are the foundation of the league's No. 1 defense and play with a physical edge that often overwhelms receivers. The Broncos' receivers are the league's highest-scoring group with four players with at least 10 receiving touchdowns. Demaryius Thomas leads the way with 92 catches, 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns.

And, given that flags routinely stay in the officials' pockets in the title game -- see last year's Super Bowl if you have any doubt -- the Broncos' wideouts have to find a way to keep the Seahawks' physical defensive backs from altering their routes or disrupting the timing of the Denver offense.

If Denver's receivers don't get their expected releases off the line of scrimmage, that often forces Manning to hold the ball a bit longer and the dominoes start to fall because the Seahawks' defensive front, especially the players on the edge, will have the time to get to Manning that rushers don't usually have.

A look at the video shows the Seahawks prefer to play man-to-man on the underneath routes and play zone coverages down the field for the most part, often with three deep defenders. That type of alignment makes the inside receivers -- for the Broncos, that's players such as tight end Julius Thomas and wide receiver Wes Welker -- important pieces of the puzzle.

Those are the pressure points for those coverage looks, so Manning will be looking there for the seam routes. Julius Thomas and Welker will have to perform well in those high-traffic, high-contact areas.

And, when it comes to the matchup people want to see -- Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman against Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas -- the Broncos figure to move Thomas all over the field, but Sherman usually remains in the left cornerback spot.

So, unless the Seahawks are willing to break from their usual plan, Demaryius Thomas will line up across from Sherman only when Thomas is on the offensive right, on the outside. Look for the Broncos to bunch the receivers, as well, to back the Seahawks' defensive backs away from the line of scrimmage a bit. Defenses routinely attack the point of the bunch, or the receiver who is closest to the line of scrimmage, so the Broncos could tuck Thomas behind a bit to give him slightly more room to work.

Broncos DT Terrance Knighton vs. Seattle C Max Unger:

Knighton, who will shade over toward the guard at times, has been the key in the Broncos' improved run defense down the stretch. And, although the Broncos simply can't afford to miss a tackle against Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, Knighton has to consistently win at the point of attack for the Broncos' plan to work.

For all of their defensive troubles this season, the Broncos have played better against the offenses that chose to attack them with heavier formations. It allowed the Broncos to play bigger, something they've done with more consistency and production than they have in some of their other personnel groupings.

The Broncos surrendered a league-low 2.84 yards on rushing attempts over the opposing center this season, surrendered a league-low 1.88 yards per attempt over the right guard and 2.74 yards per carry over the left guard. The Seahawks gained 4.8 yards per carry on runs behind Unger.

The Broncos do expect the Seahawks to go to a three-wide look more often with Percy Harvin in the lineup, so, as a result, Denver will be forced to defend the run a little more out of its nickel (five defensive backs) and dime (six defensive backs) packages.

Broncos special teams vs. Seahawks special teams:

There is a school of thought in the league that, in the end, the league-leading Denver offense and the league-leading Seattle defense will cancel each other out in some fashion.

Those same folks also will say they believe the Seahawks' special teams are more consistent than the Broncos' special teams, especially down the stretch of the regular season and especially with Seattle set to have Harvin returning kickoffs. Harvin, who has played just 38 snaps on offense this season because of a hip injury as well as a concussion, returned one kickoff this year -- for 58 yards.

For the Broncos, Trindon Holliday has to be more consistent handling the ball, as few things turn a playoff game -- especially a title game -- as drastically as a special-teams bobble. Overall, the Seahawks have not surrendered a yard on punt returns in two postseason games and opponents averaged just 3.9 yards per punt return in the regular season.

Jack Del Rio vs. Darrell Bevell:

These two coach the "other" units, the ones folks aren't really zeroed in on, and the one who has come up with the best plan and gets his guys to carry it out the most efficiently certainly could decide this game.

Del Rio's Denver defense certainly has had moments of struggle this season, but it has been better down the stretch. The Broncos figure to show more of a 3-4 look against the Seahawks' power formations. Overall, Denver has to keep Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson tucked in the pocket; the Broncos can't let him break their containment and can't get washed out of the play in the Seahawks' zone-run attack.

Harvin's appearance in the Seahawks' offense is a wrinkle the Broncos will have to adjust to quickly in the game. And Del Rio will need an answer when the Broncos go to some of the specialty packages on defense if Wilson decides to pick on cornerback Tony Carter.
Russell WilsonSteven Bisig/USA TODAY SportsRussell Wilson passed for a career-low 103 yards as Seattle's offense struggled against the Saints.

SEATTLE -- There is the end, and then there are the means. On Saturday, the former justified the latter for the Seattle Seahawks. After watching their 23-15 victory against the New Orleans Saints, however, it seemed more than fair to question the capacity of their offense to complete a widely anticipated coronation as Super Bowl champions.

Is your glass half full? Then you believe the Seahawks played a smart, largely mistake-free game after taking an early lead in brutal weather conditions even by Seattle standards. You're not worried that quarterback Russell Wilson completed only nine passes, for a career-low 103 yards, or that the Seahawks managed 44 total yards for the first 26 minutes, 11 seconds of the second half. Why? Because on the most important play of the game, Wilson threw a perfect pass to receiver Doug Baldwin to convert a third-and-3.

You're a half-empty type? OK. You understand that the Saints acted and played like absolute fools for most of the game. The Saints never, ever should have been within one score in the final minutes of this fourth quarter.

The Seahawks’ disappearing act allowed the Saints back into the game, you half-emptiers are thinking, and demonstrated how some season-long offensive issues could in fact impact their playoff fate. On this day, it gave the Saints a genuine opportunity to steal a victory had they not neglected the tenets of game management -- and then forgotten some basic rules of football. (Two 45-plus-yard field goals attempts into the wind? Throwing into the middle of the field with 26 seconds remaining and no timeouts? Two downfield passes on one play?) Had the Seahawks played that way against a sharper opponent, they would be packing up their lockers instead of preparing for the NFC Championship Game.

Those are the two sides. Consider my glass half empty. NFL teams and their fans rarely pause to question the means of a playoff victory. They're hard to come by, no matter how they happen. But do you realize how close the Seahawks were to a divisional round knockout at the hands of a lesser -- and much dumber -- team? And do you agree that it provides at least a pause in anticipating a Super Bowl championship?

"In the third quarter, we were going against the wind," Wilson said, "so we played it conservative. We played it smart. We had the lead. We wanted to make sure that we got to the fourth quarter without taking any risks. ...

"I knew how the game was going, that it was going to come down to a big-time throw. I wasn't my best all day or whatever, but I knew it was going to come down that. I knew I was going to have to make a big-time throw and someone was going to have to make a big-time catch, and Doug Baldwin made that catch."

Look, I don't want to minimize the impact of the weather. The rain was sideways from CenturyLink Field's south end zone to the north. There were moments when I thought the "12th man" flagpole was about to topple. But the Seahawks started that third quarter with a 16-0 lead, and the score hadn't changed when it ended. The Saints did all of their scoring in the fourth quarter with the wind advantage reversed.

Did the Seahawks play it safely and conservatively? Or were they simply unimaginative and ineffective? Were they too reliant on their dominating defense? Or were they smart to let their best players lead the way?

"With Russell Wilson, you have a guy who takes advantage of the opportunities when they're there," Baldwin said.

From my vantage point, however, the Seahawks looked like they were struggling more than they were just waiting for the right moment to strike. They lost whatever momentum they gained by the brief return of receiver Percy Harvin, whose concussion puts his availability in doubt for the NFC Championship Game. The Saints play good defense, but are they better than the San Francisco 49ers or the Carolina Panthers, one of whom will stand between the Seahawks and the Super Bowl? By my count, Wilson missed on two easy slant passes that would have converted third downs during that 26:11 stretch. Running back Marshawn Lynch, meanwhile, managed only 33 yards on 11 carries in that span.

"There were some plays where the Saints had 11 in the box," fullback Michael Robinson said. "You're not going to shake off two or three guys on every run. ... It's kind of like boxing: Early in the fight, you want to hit them with body punches. Eventually, when you take that shot in the fourth quarter, you knock them out."

Indeed, there is no doubt that Wilson made the play when it counted, changing the call when he noticed the Saints set to blitz seven men on third down with 2:57 remaining. He knew that meant single coverage, and he placed a perfect ball for Baldwin to haul in at the Saints' 31-yard line. On the next play, Lynch ran for a touchdown to put the game out of reach -- or, at least, beyond anything short of the miraculous comeback the Saints nearly pulled off.

"Our plan was to run the ball," Seattle center Max Unger said. "We needed to run the ball to open the pass up. We'll go back and look at what went wrong on that part, but in the end we got where we wanted to be and thought we would be."

Yes, the Seahawks are in the NFC Championship Game, just like everyone thought they'd be. What we saw Saturday was a winning formula against the Saints. But does it provide a path to a Super Bowl victory? The Seahawks don't want to find out.
RENTON, Wash. -- The division title and home-field advantage are on the line Sunday for the Seahawks against the Arizona Cardinals, but you wouldn’t know it talking to the Seattle players. Feeling pressure is not their nature.

[+] EnlargeSeattle Seahawks
Ron Antonelli/Getty ImagesEarl Thomas had some good-natured criticism for teammates Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell.
This is one loose bunch going into the most important game of the season so far.

Some of the topics of conversation are celebrations dances and TV commercials of the players, along with hairstyles.

“It’s all about having fun,” said free safety Earl Thomas. “Every game this year we’ve taken a championship opportunity, so when a game like this one came around we’d be ready for it.”

Thomas was on a roll when he spoke to reporters Wednesday. First, he had a message for cornerback Byron Maxwell, the new sensation in the Legion of Boom with three interceptions in the last two games.

“Byron is very humble,” Thomas said. “He wants it and he gets it. He’s very familiar with this system. But one thing I need to say about him. He needs to cut his hair. He’s getting to look like a caveman out there.”

Thomas had long hair until this season, when he cut his dreadlocks.

Thomas also wanted to talk about the best dancer on the team, especially among the defensive linemen. Brandon Mebane has his belly roll after a sack and Michael Bennett has his provocative pelvic thrust, similar to Elvis Presley.

“They’re not afraid to show their jelly,” Thomas said. “It’s creative. All of it’s good because when we’re doing that, it means we’re having a lot of success.”

Bennett’s dance move is getting most of the attention these days.

“Whatever I feel like doing, I’m just doing,” Bennett said. “But the media went crazy on the last one, so I don’t know if I’ll do it again. Mebane’s been doing his for a while, so I’m just second to his.”

Bennett said cornerback Richard Sherman probably is the best dancer on the team, but he’s not Bennett’s favorite.

“Sherm is a great dancer, but the best to me is Red Bryant,’’ Bennett said. He’s so big (6-4, 325). He’s not really a dancer, but when he does, it’s funny.”

Several Seahawks are seen regularly in Seattle on local TV commercials, including Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger and Sherman.

“They could be better actors, especially Sherm,” Bennett said.

And Bennett said he knows exactly the commercial product he wants to endorse.

“A Rolls Royce,” he said. “I’m never gonna shave, so I won’t be in a shaving commercial. But I’d be happy to be in a Rolls Royce commercial.”

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 center Max Unger and defensive linemen Red Bryant will not play Sunday at Atlanta, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll confirmed after practice Friday. Both suffered concussions against Tampa Bay last weekend.

"We're going to take care of them this week and have them ready for next week," Carroll said. "We have some rotations we've been working on [in Bryant's absence] in practice, but the same guys will be playing for the most part."

Carroll said rookie defensive tackle Jordan Hill also will not play because of a biceps injury.

Lemuel Jeanpierre will get his third start of the season for Unger, who missed two games earlier this season

"He's done really well," Carroll said of Jeanpierre. "Whenever he has played for us he's come through."

Receiver Percy Harvin will not be activated this weekend, but Carroll is pleased with his progress.

"Percy is the best he's been," Carroll said. "He had another good workout [Friday]. He's not ready to play this week, but will return to practice, hopefully, next week. All the signs are really encouraging. He feels good and he's not having any issues after he works out. We're hoping he'll be able to jump back into it next week."

Starting right tackle Breno Giacomini, who returned to practice this week, is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday; he will not start and isn't likely to play. Giacomini and left tackle Russell Okung could return against Minnesota next week.

"They practiced and were able to handle the work, so that's a really good sign," Carroll said. "Those guys are dying to play. We will go into next week to see if they can handle it [at practice] and get ready to play."

Fullback Derrick Coleman continued to rehab a hamstring injury and is out for Sunday. Backup safety Jeron Johnson is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury.
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.
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.