RENTON, Wash. -- The shoes were the solution, according to Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor.

Chancellor said his issue with ankle pain has been alleviated for now by changing the type of shoes he was wearing.

“It must be the high tops,” Chancellor said Tuesday after practice. “I was playing with low tops. I switched, well, maybe to more mid tops. But I have more support for my ankles.”

[+] EnlargeAntonio Gates
Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY SportsSeahawks safety Kam Chancellor struggled in Week 2 against the Chargers with ankle pain, but switching shoes appears to have been the answer.
Chancellor said changing his shoes made him realize he could get by without undergoing surgery for bone spurs in his ankles, something he considered after struggling in Seattle's 30-21 loss at San Diego.

“Yeah, I was thinking about [surgery] before the Broncos game,” Chancellor said. “We found some ways to get around it and get better comfort. It feels better now. It’s feels good. No concerns at all.”

Chancellor had surgery for bone spurs in his ankles two years ago. The problem recently resurfaced.

“It just came back up," he said. “It started the Tuesday before that game [at San Diego]. It was hurting a little bit, but I didn’t want to talk about it because I’m not a guy to talk about pain or complain. So I went along with it and thought it would be OK by the time game time got here. But it wasn’t, unfortunately.”

Chancellor had one of the worst games of his career in the loss to the Chargers, when San Diego tight end Antonio Gates caught three touchdown passes.

“That’s football,” Chancellor said. “If you’re a man, you take your beatings like a man and you get back up to fight again. Of course it was stressful playing in pain like that, but it’s something that goes with football. Some of the best play with pain and beat people [while] in pain.”

Nevertheless, Chancellor knew something had to change.

“I talked to the trainers the next couple of days after that game,” he said. “I got some rest and adjusted the shoes. I went out to see how I felt on the grass in the shoes and it felt good.”

Chancellor, who also had offseason hip surgery and missed training camp this summer, played well in the next game with nine tackles and a big interception in the fourth quarter against Denver.

He thinks the issues with his ankles are something he can manage the rest of the season, thanks to the change in shoes.

“I manage everything during the season,” Chancellor said. “The way I play, I have to manage my whole body anyway. I get early treatment in the morning and get massages. I have to take care of my body so it’ll take care of me.”

Chancellor was asked why he didn’t recommend his new shoes to tight end Zach Miller, who opted to have ankle surgery last week to remove his bone spurs.

“That’s two different physiques,” Chancellor said, smiling. “He can’t support all that weight with the shoes I’ve got. He’s a big guy [6-foot-5, 260], but he took care of it and he’ll be back soon.”

Revealing Sherman profile on E:60

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
Who is Richard Sherman?

That’s the theme of Tuesday’s profile of the successful and sometimes controversial Seattle Seahawks cornerback on the fall premiere of E:60 at 8 p.m. ET.

ESPN’s Kenny Mayne shows sides of Sherman some people haven’t seen -- reserved, thoughtful and generous -- words not usually associated with the Pro Bowl player who often is viewed as boastful and arrogant.

But this profile proves there is much more to Sherman than the brash-talker the world has come to know.

Sherman has achieved many of his NFL goals -- winning the Super Bowl, leading the NFL in interceptions and receiving a $57 million contract extension.

But Sherman also talks about how he demands more of himself and must be a success off the field, as well, like promoting education for children from underprivileged backgrounds similar to his own.

This is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the Seahawks star and his journey from Compton to Stanford, how it shaped him and how he is raw and refined at the same time. Sherman always will be hard to define.

Seahawks are tough in prime time

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
RENTON, Wash. -- Prime time is the right time for the Seattle Seahawks, especially Monday nights.

The Seahawks will enter the road game against the Washington Redskins Monday night with an eight-game winning streak on the line in Monday night games.

The last time they lost on Monday night was Dec. 6, 2004 in a home game against the Dallas Cowboys, a 43-39 defeat.

Seattle also has a streak of six consecutive victories in regular-season prime-time games. That includes the last two homes games against San Francisco (both on a Sunday night) a road victory at Arizona last year on a Thursday night, two Monday-night wins in 2013 (at St Louis and home against New Orleans) and the 2014 opener on Thursday night against Green Bay.

The last time the Seahawks lost any prime-time game was in San Francisco on a Thursday night, Oct. 18, 2012. Seattle has won 10 of its last 11 games in prime time.
RENTON, Wash. -- It’s a bad week for the Seattle Seahawks to lose their starting tight end, considering how poorly the Washington Redskins played against the New York Giants’ tight ends last week.

Eli Manning was 10-of-11 while targeting his tight ends in New York’s 45-14 victory on Sept. 25 -- including 7-of-8 for 54 yards and three touchdowns to Larry Donnell.

Seattle tight end Zach Miller is out for at least the next two games after undergoing a clean-up procedure on an ankle. That makes second-year player Luke Willson the starter for the Monday night game against Washington at FedEx Field.

[+] EnlargeZach Miller
AP Photo/Scott EklundThe Seahawks are going to be without tight end Zach Miller for at least two weeks.
Willson (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) has only one reception this season. He had 20 receptions for 272 yards and one touchdown as a rookie. Willson is viewed as a good receiver, but not the blocker that Miller is.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to step up,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Willson. “He’s improved in every area. He’s stronger and faster than he was a year ago, but this is a lot to ask of him.”

The Seahawks also have tight end Cooper Helfet, a Duke graduate who spent last year on the practice squad. Helfet played in his first NFL game on Sept. 21 against Denver, only on special teams.

Carroll said the team could bring in another tight end, but he was more inclined to stay in-house.

“We looked hard and brought a lot of guys in here and worked out a lot of people,” Carroll said. “But we would like to stay with our people, banking on the communications and the system working for us. We're going to get it fixed right here.”

That leaves a few options, including rookie offensive tackle Garry Gilliam, who played tight end for three seasons at Penn State before moving to tackle.

“He has it in his background,” Carroll said. "He’s eligible to do it. He’s pretty quiet. He hasn’t come up and banged on my door about that, but he’s more than willing. He knows. We’ve talked about it since he first got here that this could be a possibility. He’s ready if we call on him.”

The Seahawks also have RaShaun Allen on the practice squad. He's a 6-4, 250-pound rookie out of Southern. And rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh lined up at tight end a few times at UCLA in goal line situations, catching two touchdown passes.

“Oh yeah, now he has banged on my door a few times,” Carroll said of Marsh. “He’s not as quiet as Garry.”

The biggest issue with Miller being out is the loss of a quality blocker on the edge. Miller has lined up quite a bit on the right side to help out rookie right tackle Justin Britt.

Another option for the Seahawks is to use a third tackle on the line in Alvin Bailey, which they did a few times at the end of last season. But that takes a receiver option out of the game.

No option gives the Seahawks everything they get from Miller, an eight-year veteran who played his first four seasons in Oakland when Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable was there.

“Zach does a ton of things for us’’ Carroll said. “He was with Tom those years in Oakland. That background they’ve built really helped us a lot in so many areas with all the little things [Miller] knows how to do, like being in motion, playing as a fullback as well as a normal tight end. And we’ve moved him everywhere, including outside. He’s a very versatile player that we will miss a lot in him being out.”

But the Seahawks felt it was better to get Miller healthy now, using the bye week, than risk losing him later in the season.

“It wasn’t going to get any better,’’ Carroll said. “He had some loose bodies [in his ankle] and it was very uncomfortable. It’s been bothering him for a number of weeks. He’s been playing with it and we don’t want him to have to tolerate it any longer. We wanted to fix him up and hope he has a speedy recovery.’’
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is hoping that tight end Zach Miller only misses a couple of games after undergoing a clean-up procedure on his ankle, but there was some good news on the injury situation Monday.

After saying last week that strong safety Kam Chancellor could have ongoing ankle problems all season, Carroll had a more optimistic response to Chancellor’s situation when asked about it after practice.

“It bothered him a lot in the San Diego game [Sept. 14],” Carroll said of Chancellor. “But he did a really good job against Denver [Sept. 21] and he looked fine [Monday]. We might be able to put that behind us. We hope so.”

Carroll also was encouraged about the progress cornerback Tharold Simon has made since undergoing minor knee surgery on Sept. 4, but Simon won’t return for the Monday night game at Washington.

“He’s doing great,” Carroll said of Simon. “He’s only a couple weeks away from getting back out here.”
Zach Miller, Yeremiah Bell
AP Photo/Rick ScuteriZach Miller caught 33 passes for 387 yards and five TDs during the Seahawks' march to the Super Bowl title last season.

Seattle Seahawks starting tight end Zach Miller underwent surgery on his ankle during the bye week and is expected to miss two games, a source told ESPN.

The Seahawks announced only that Miller would be out for an undetermined amount of time.

"He had his ankle cleaned up. There's a lot of speculation about how long it's going to take," Carroll said Monday. "We'll just have to wait and see. We don't know yet. We'll give him a couple of weeks, then we'll go week to week and see how he does."

Miller, an eight-year veteran out of Arizona State, played the entire game against the Denver Broncos in Week 3. He was on the injury report that week and did not practice the Wednesday and Thursday before the game.

"It's been bothering him for a number of weeks. He's been playing with it and we don't want him to have to tolerate it any longer," Carroll said. "We wanted to fix him up and hope he has a speedy recovery. He had some loose bodies [in his ankle] and it was very uncomfortable."

Miller, 28, restructured his contract in the offseason to stay in Seattle, reducing his salary to $3 million a year plus $1 million in possible incentives.

(Read full post)

Sound-Off Saturday results

September, 29, 2014
Sep 29
Your votes are in and there are two clear winners, and one clear disappointment, from the Sound-Off Saturday survey on the start of the season for the Seattle Seahawks.

The three questions for the bye weekend were most improved player, biggest surprise and biggest disappointment.

Left guard James Carpenter was a landslide winner for most improved. Wide receiver Ricardo Lockette easily won the vote for the biggest surprise, and former Pro Bowl offensive tackle Russell Okung was your choice for biggest disappointment after the first three games.

Carpenter, a third-year player from Alabama, finally is living up to expectations everyone had for him when he was a first-round draft choice by the Seahawks.

Carpenter is in the best shape of his career after working hard in the offseason to lose 20 pounds. But he’s also healthier than he’s ever been as a pro after numerous knee problems.

When training camp started, Carpenter talked about how he was able to run freely without pain for the first time in two years. It shows. Carpenter has been a road grader in the running game, opening some big holes for Marshawn Lynch.

Lockette got quite a few votes in two categories with some fans selecting him from most improved. He certainly qualifies, but he won the biggest surprise category probably because he was 50/50 at best for making the team this season after the Seahawks drafted two receivers in the first four picks -- Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood -- in the 2014 draft.

Lockette has proven with worth as a big-play receiver with two long touchdown receptions, along with some big hits as a super-fast gunner on punt coverage.

At 6-2, 210, he gives the Seahawks a big-receiver presence it needs on the perimeter, along with having 4.3 speed.

The voters listed 26 different things as the early-season disappointment, but Okung garnered the most votes. Fans obviously feel he hasn’t played up to the standards he set as a Pro Bowl left tackle in 2012.

Okung had surgery in the offseason to repair a torn ligament in a big toe that caused him to miss half the season last year. But he returned at midseason and played well, despite not being healthy, helping stabilizing the offensive line in the stretch run to the Super Bowl.

Okung missed all of training camp this season, so he may just need more time to get in game shape and play at his best. The big key for Okung is staying healthy, something that’s been a problem throughout his career. He injured his left shoulder in the Denver game, but returned later and was OK.
LOS ANGELES -- The reaction was as subdued as the introduction.

During halftime of Saturday's USC-Oregon State game, Pete Carroll's name was quickly read along with the seven other USC Hall of Fame inductees who were unable to the game. It was so quick that the response when his name briefly echoed throughout the Coliseum was nonexistent.

Carroll wasn't on the field for the halftime ceremony, but nothing should be read into that. Carroll had always planned to spend the Seattle Seahawks' bye week in Miami with his son, Brennan, who is an assistant coach for the Miami Hurricanes, daughter-in-law, Amber, and grandchildren, Dillon and Colbie.

Throughout Carroll's coaching career, he has always dedicated bye weeks to his children, and this was the one chance he was going to get to see his son and grandchildren, who are 3 and 1, for six months.

Carroll had been told the halftime ceremony for the 16 inductees would be brief and slightly rushed with the late kickoff and he had already committed to attending the formal induction ceremony on campus in May. Each inductee ended up getting about a 20-second introduction for the six-minute, on-field ceremony.

[+] EnlargePete Carroll
AP Photo/Scott EklundCarroll abdicated his USC post right before the NCAA levied sanctions, but he claims he would've stayed had he known how severe the Trojans' penalty would be.
If his son were a quarterback in the game (as was the case with Jack Del Rio, a fellow 2015 Hall of Fame inductee, whose son Luke is a backup quarterback with the Beavers), he would have been there.

Whatever ill will that existed between Carroll and USC fans after the coach's departure five months before the school was hit with crippling sanctions has long since faded away.

(Read full post)

With the Seahawks enjoying their bye weekend, it’s an opportunity for a Sound-Off Saturday to let the readers comment about what they think about the team’s 2-1 start and give some opinions.

So here are your questions:

1. Who is the most improved player for the Seahawks so far?

2. Who has been the biggest surprise?

3. Who has been the biggest disappointment?

Cast your votes over the weekend and I’ll total it all up and list the results Monday morning. You also can vote under the hashtag #Seahawksvote on my Twitter page @TerryBlountESPN.

Sherman profiled on E:60 fall premiere

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is one of two NFL players, along with Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, that are profiled in the season debut of ESPN’s E:60 program, Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.

 Sherman recounts his journey from Los Angeles’ Compton neighborhood to Stanford. He also talks about his draft-day snub as a fifth-round pick, his legendary brashness and last season’s journey to become Super Bowl champions.

And of course, he speaks about the infamous moment of his post-game rant on national television after saving the day in the NFC Championship Game against the hated San Francisco 49ers and receiver Michael Crabtree.
Here are a few notes the Seahawks probably took on Thursday night’s game when Washington, Seattle’s next opponent, lost to the New York Giants 45-14:

1. Washington entered the game tied for the league lead in sacks with 10, but Giants quarterback Eli Manning was sacked or under duress on only two of his 41 dropbacks, per ESPN Stats & Information. Entering Thursday, Washington had pressured opposing quarterbacks an NFL-best 36 percent of their dropbacks.

What it means for the Seahawks is maybe they saw some ways to control Washington’s pass rush, which is important since Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was under duress on 45 percent of his dropbacks against Denver last weekend.

2. Manning was 10 of 11 while targeting his tight ends Thursday, including 7 of 8 for 54 yards and three touchdowns to Larry Donnell. This has significance to the Seahawks for several reasons.

First, it could mean a big game for Seattle tight ends Zach Miller and Luke Willson on Monday night, Oct. 6 at FedEx Field. This also ties into the above stat on pressuring the quarterbacks.

If the Seahawks are confident they can protect Wilson without having to use the tight end to stay on the line and block, Wilson should be able to find them open downfield at times.

3. And finally, the big eye-opener of the night was the poor play of Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, who threw four interceptions while under almost constant pressure from the New York defensive line.

Before Thursday, Cousins had played well in replacing Robert Griffin III, but the pass rush from the Giants was a factor in causing him to make mistakes. So the pass rush for the Seahawks could be a big factor in the outcome of the game.

Also, all four of Cousins’ interceptions Thursday came on throws outside the numbers, a stat that probably has Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman salivating. But Cousins had the NFL’s second-highest total QB rating on those throws entering the game (94.6), throwing three touchdowns with zero interceptions.

Cousins was only 4 of 12 for 76 yards Thursday night on throws of more than 10 yards, including three interceptions.

And here’s a key note for the Legion of Boom: Only four of Cousins’ 19 completions were to wide receivers.

Just a few things for the Seahawks to study while preparing for their next game.

'Beast Mode' is all about the feet

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
So what is it that makes Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch so good in "Beast Mode?"

You might guess his physically battering running style. But if you go by what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll thinks, maybe Lynch should go on "Dancing With The Stars." Carroll said it's all about the feet, even comparing him to a world-class Alpine skier.

“He has extraordinary control of his ability to move his feet,” Carroll said of Lynch. “There were really a couple of cool runs [against Denver last weekend] where you see him hop over a guy.

[+] EnlargeMarshawn Lynch
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesSeahawks coach Pete Carroll marvels at Marshawn Lynch's footwork.
“He’s like a slalom skier, almost. He can hop out and get back on, sometimes the outside foot, sometimes his inside foot. He will hop from the same foot back on the same foot. It’s really unusual footwork that you don’t see many guys have command of. It makes him unusually shifty.”

Of course, it’s isn’t just his footwork that has enabled to Lynch to get off to a fast start this season with 234 yards rushing (a 4.5-yard average) and five touchdowns (three receiving and two running).

“And then he’s a load and he’s tough and he’s aggressive,” Carroll said. “He has run so physically, consistently tough in all these starting games. He’s really on it.”

Lynch (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) is a powerful runner who dishes out as much punishment as he receives, but it leads to questions about how long he can continue to play at a high level.

He had 901 carries the previous three seasons for more than 4,000 yards. He is on pace for 277 carries and 1,248 yards rushing this season, but that might be low considering he only had six carries in the loss at San Diego.

“It’s great we get him to the break now,” Carroll said. “He will come back and should be in great shape when we return for the Washington game [Monday night, Oct. 6]. It takes marvelous instincts and savvy to do what he does. He also has this ability to move laterally and to navigate through issues that very few people do.”

He’s also underrated as a receiver. Lynch is third on the team with eight receptions, averaging 10 yards per catch. And he might be the best blocker of any premier running back in the league.

Using receiver Percy Harvin on the jet sweep is a big asset this season for Lynch. If quarterback Russell Wilson sees the defense is keying on Harvin getting the ball as he comes across the backfield, he can fake a handoff to Harvin and give it to Lynch, who often finds running room from the spots vacated by defenders who were looking at Harvin.

It means the Seahawks have three dangerous running options in the backfield with Harvin, Wilson and Lynch, the man with the magic feet.

Seahawks to watch Kirk Cousins tonight

September, 25, 2014
Sep 25
For the second time this season, the Seattle Seahawks get to sit at home and watch their next opponent play a game. That didn’t help much against the San Diego Chargers, but this situation is a little different.

The Seahawks will get a close look Thursday night at a quarterback they’ve never faced in Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins, who are playing the New York Giants at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

The Seahawks will play the Redskins on Monday, Oct. 6 at FedEx Field. It'll be the first time they face Washington since the 24-14 victory in the playoff game two seasons ago.

That was a battle between rookie quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III. Griffin suffered a torn ACL and LCL in the game. Griffin is out now after suffering a dislocated ankle in Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But Cousins, in his third season out of Michigan State, has played well. He finished the Jacksonville game with 250 passing yards and two touchdowns in a 41-10 victory over the Jaguars.

On Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Cousins threw for career-high 427 yards, but Washington lost 37-34. Cousins enters the Giants game having completed 52 of 81 passes this season (64.2 percent) for 677 yards, five TDs and only one interception for a 105.8 passer rating.

Grading the defense after three games

September, 25, 2014
Sep 25
At 2-1 after the first three games and now in their bye week, here’s my position-by-position grade on the Seattle Seahawks defense:

Defensive line: B. Defensive end Michael Bennett is proving he’s worth every penny of the $28.5-million deal they gave him to stay in Seattle. He already has three sacks and five other quarterback hits. But overall, the defense has only five sacks. It’s a bit misleading because the Seahawks had eight QB hits on Denver’s Peyton Manning Sunday, including one sack. They have excelled against the run, virtually shutting down Green Bay and Denver’s running game. But the D-line rotation is still a work in progress after losing Red Bryant, Chris Clemons and Clinton McDonald off last season’s unit. With their new teams this year, those three players have totaled 25 tackles and 2.5 sacks in the first three weeks.

Linebackers: B-. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner continues to be a tackling machine with 35 stops already this season. Outside linebacker K.J. Wright has 22 tackles. But as a unit, they haven’t made many game-changing plays. They need Bruce Irvin to get healthy and make a difference as a speed rusher, and Malcolm Smith needs to play the way he played at the end of last season.

Secondary: B-. The Legion of Boom had its worst outing in a long time in the 30-21 loss at San Diego in the sweltering heat, giving up three TDs from Philip Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates. We later learned strong safety Kam Chancellor was playing with significant ankle pain, but he came roaring back Sunday and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Week for his effort against the Broncos. The secondary was superb all day against the Broncos until the final drive when they allowed Manning to go 80 yards in only 41 seconds to tie the game. For the most part, the opposing QBs are staying away from Richard Sherman and picking on cornerback Byron Maxwell, but he hasn’t given up any big plays. The LOB depth isn’t what it was a year ago without Walter Thurmond, Brandon Browner and Chris Maragos. The secondary misses nickel cornerback Jeremy Lane, who is out until November with a groin injury.

Punter: A. Jon Ryan was spectacular against the Broncos, averaging 50 yards a kick, pinning the Broncos inside their 10 twice and booming a free kick after a safety 79 yards. Coach Pete Carroll said he was the game’s MVP. Ryan is averaging 48.3 yards per punt, and seven of his 12 punts have been inside the 20.

Grading the offense after three games

September, 25, 2014
Sep 25
The Seattle Seahawks have the earliest bye week this season, coming after only three games. It means they will have to grind it out for the final 13 weeks of the regular season, including seven roads games.

At 2-1 after three games, here's my position-by-position grade on how things have gone so far, first on offense:

Quarterback: A. As I said on our NFL Nation TV show this week, Russell Wilson is the best quarterback in the league. If you don't know it by now, you just aren't paying attention. His 80-yard touchdown drive in overtime Sunday was masterful.

Running backs: A. Marshawn Lynch is sixth in the league in rushing with 234 yards, but he's third among those top six in yards per carry at 4.5. His five touchdowns -- three rushing and two receiving -- are tied for the league lead. And his numbers would be higher, but he had only six carries in the loss at San Diego. Robert Turbin also has played well as the backup, including a touchdown catch at San Diego.

Tight ends: B. Starter Zach Miller has six catches for 76 yards, but he's had to stay on the line and block quite a bit to help rookie tackle Justin Britt. Back-up tight end Luke Willson has only one catch for 7 yards.

Wide receivers: B. Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse do not have a touchdown catch yet, but Ricardo Lockette has been the biggest surprise on the team so far with two long scoring receptions. And Percy Harvin is everything fans expected him to be in a full-time role. Using him on the jet sweep has defenses reeling, whether he gets the ball or is a decoy. And he had a 51-yard touchdown run at San Diego (he appeared to step out of bounds but it wasn't called) when he lined up at tailback and took a pitch to the left. Rookie receiver Paul Richardson hasn't played much and rookie Kevin Norwood has yet to suit up.

Offensive line: C+. Run blocking has been solid most of the time, but pass blocking continues to be an issue. Wilson was under duress on 45 percent of his dropbacks Sunday and on almost every play on the overtime touchdown drive. Most of it is coming off the edge where Britt still is learning and left tackle Russell Okung has not played up to his usual standards. That area has to improve to ensure that Wilson stays healthy all season.

Kicking: A-. Steven Hauschka had a rare miss on a 46-yard field-goal attempt against Denver, but his kickoffs this season have been exceptional. Eleven of 16 were touchbacks and no kickoff has been returned past the 30.