The Brock and Danny Show on 710 ESPN Seattle
Sunday, February 23, 2014 @ 6:33pm
By Danny O'Neil
The Seahawks are expected to release defensive end Red Bryant, according to a report on Sunday night from Alex Marvez of FOX Sports.
The Seahawks would clear at least $5.5 million of salary-cap space if they released defensive end Red Bryant, which the team is reportedly expected to do. (AP)
Bryant is 29, and he was scheduled to be paid a roster bonus of $3 million that was believed to be due next month. He was going to count $8.5 million against Seattle's salary cap in 2014, and releasing him would allow the Seahawks to save at least $5.5 million against the cap, potentially more depending on the way Bryant's release is designated if that is indeed the path the team is going to go.
Fellow defensive lineman Michael Bennett is scheduled to be a free agent, and the release of Bryant would free up money for Seattle to pursue re-signing Bennett. However, Bennett wouldn't necessarily take Bryant's place given that he weighs about 50 pounds less than Bryant.
Bryant started all but one game for the Seahawks over the past three seasons, serving as the run-stuffing defensive end on early downs. This season, however, Seattle rotated its defensive line more frequently, no one playing so much as 70 percent of the snaps. Bryant did not take the field until the second quarter of the Super Bowl as Seattle used its pass-rush package to start the game against the Broncos.
Bryant drew heavy interest from the Patriots two years ago, and was scheduled to visit New England before re-signing with Seattle.
Sunday, February 23, 2014 @ 2:01pm
By Danny O'Neil
INDIANAPOLIS -- Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has two words for any team seeking to replicate Seattle's success with taller cornerbacks: Good luck.
"They don't exist," Carroll said. "Big fast guys are the fewest people around ... There just aren't many humans like that in the world. It's rare when you find them."
The 6-foot-3 Richard Sherman combined with the 6-4 Brandon Browner to form the NFL's biggest and best cornerback duo, but that success won't be easy for other teams to replicate. (AP)
Easy to say, almost impossible to do.
"The perfect guys aren't there because there's no really tall, exceedingly fast guys," Carroll said. "Other than Calvin (Johnson). There's a handful. You have to make those guys come to life through your coaching and how you adapt, their style and their ability to fit it."
Sure enough, look at the list of top cornerbacks available in this year's draft, and there are only two guys taller than 6-1 who are expected to be chosen in the first half of the draft: Nebraska's Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Utah's Keith McGill, both of whom are 6-3.
"That's just how it goes," Carroll said.
Then Carroll caught himself. After all, why should he discourage teams from following the potentially futile draft of finding taller cornerbacks the same way Seattle has.
"I'd love people to try and copy that," Carroll said. "Get a bunch of tall guys out there. Awesome."
Running back Christine Michael was the first of 11 players the Seahawks drafted a year ago, and like many rookies, he had a hard time seeing the field. Michael was inactive for all but four games during the season, and didn't see any game time after mid-November.
He remains very much a part of Seattle's hopes for the future, though.
"He's really talented and is a really exciting guy in our program," Carroll said. "Probably has the most breakout potential of anybody because you haven't seen much of him yet. We've seen him. We know that he can do really special stuff."
So what kept that hidden during a rookie season in which he carried the ball a total of 18 times?
"He played in a very competitive position," Carroll said. "It's hard to get in there with Marshawn (Lynch) and Robert Turbin there, but he'll give those guys a real run when we come back to work. He'll grow a lot from Year One to Year Two. We all know in our program that he's going to be very explosive and a really exciting guy, and he showed that in his chances that he had."
Okung hopefully OK
Left tackle Russell Okung hasn't had surgery to repair the toe injury that sidelined him for half of last season, and there's still hope he won't need the surgery. That's not the last word on Okung's recovery, though, according to Carroll.
"It looks like we're not going to," Carroll said of surgery, "but that's not done yet. There's still some work being done there."
Saturday, February 22, 2014 @ 2:45pm
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has made it clear that he's not happy with the condition catcher-turned-first baseman Jesus Montero came into spring training in.
Jesus Montero has followed up a disappointing 2013 season that included an injury, a trip to Triple-A and a 50-game suspension by showing up to Mariners camp 40 pounds overweight. (AP)
Zduriencik was quoted in a Seattle Times article Thursday that he has "zero expectations" for the 24-year-old Montero, a former can't-miss prospect who Zduriencik acquired from the Yankees for phenom pitcher Michael Pineda prior to the 2012 season. The big reason for that is that Montero arrived in camp 40 pounds heavier than his prescribed weight, which has not helped the case of a player whose rocky 2013 included a prolonged stint in Triple-A, a torn meniscus, and a 50-game suspension for being involved in the Biogenesis scandal.
On 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Danny" Friday, Zduriencik further explained why Montero's stock has dropped.
"He's got a lot to prove, and the fact that he came in in the condition that he came in is disappointing," Zduriencik said. "If he doesn't see it – and I know he does – it would be even more disappointing. He's a young kid that had some problems last year, he's got a new position to play, he's coming back off of surgery, he's got a new manager coming into Major League camp, and he came in in not very good shape, and that is very, very disappointing."
Montero had a decent first year in Seattle, hitting .260 with 15 home runs in 2012. His 2013 season was a much different story. He began the year as the Mariners' starting catcher, but he struggled behind and at the plate and instead found himself learning to play first base in a Tacoma Rainers uniform by late May. After that experience, plus his troublesome offseason, Zduriencik said Montero has work to do to earn back a spot on the Major League roster.
"He's not gonna be given anything, and I don't have any expectations. I have no expectations for Jesus," Zduriencik said. "It's up to him to prove (it to) us, and I certainly hope he does. Am I counting on him? I'm not counting on him. Do I think he has the ability to help us? Of course he has the ability to help us. This is a big bat, but he's got a lot to work on to get to that point, and it's all in his lap. It's up to him, it isn't up to us."
If motivation is the problem for Montero, the Mariners may have the answer in their new manager, Lloyd McClendon. Zduriencik said McClendon's first spring training is going well so far, partly because of his fiery temperament.
"(McClendon is) a funny guy, and he's got this sincerity about him that's so genuine. He's a feisty guy, he's got fight in him," Zduriencik said. "I think the players are gonna feed off of it. It's no facade, it's who he is. He's got good internal confidence, and I think that as we go through and watch him manage this club, we're gonna see a lot of that stuff. The players like him. They really like him, so that's a good start right off the bat."
Saturday, February 22, 2014 @ 7:40am
By Danny O'Neil
INDIANAPOLIS – Russell Wilson's success is a set-up for future failure.
That has nothing to do with his career, and everything to do with the precedent he has set for vertically challenged quarterbacks as well as team seeking franchise cornerstones.
Wilson is an outlier, a most exceptional exception both in his ability to become a Pro Bowler at 5 feet 10 and five-eighths inches and to start for a Super Bowl champion in just his second year.
The shortest quarterback in the NFL is casting quite a shadow over this offseason whether it's in the draft prognosis of a quarterback like Johnny Manziel, who is shorter than 6 feet, or a contending team expecting a young quarterback to provide the finishing touch.
The double play Wilson performed is remarkable. Unprecedented even. Only two quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl at a younger age and neither was Wilson's height.
But Wilson's success doesn't make it any less difficult for another short quarterback like Manziel. Similarly, Seattle's success doesn't make it any more likely that a team that chooses a quarterback in this draft will be hoisting a Lombardi Trophy two years from now.
That's not to say teams won't try, though. Especially after seeing the bargain that Seattle got with a starting quarterback on a rookie contract that paid him a little more than $500,000 last season (or $17 million less than Denver's Peyton Manning made). The Seahawks parlayed that into signing defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, who more than made up for the difference in the Super Bowl.
"It was a big deal for us," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said regarding the salary-cap flexibility Wilson's contract provided. "We've been able to acquire other players, and they were definitely players we were able to acquire that helped us get over the top this year."
That bargain was more like a fortunate occurrence, though, as opposed to a premeditated plan. The Seahawks may have hoped Wilson would emerge as the starter, but they did not necessarily expect it. After all, he was one of three quarterbacks competing to be the starter his rookie season, and he only became a bargain once he played well enough not only to win the starting job but carry the team into the playoffs each of his first two seasons.
Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel would join Russell Wilson as the NFL's only starting quarterbacks under 6 feet tall. (AP)
That's something that is worth emphasizing with Manziel, Central Florida's Blake Bortles and Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater expected to be chosen among the first 10 picks in this year's draft. One of them is already drawing comparisons to Wilson not just because of his ability to improvise, but because of his height.
Manziel doesn't necessarily look up to Wilson. Not even after he measured in more than half an inch shorter than expected on Friday at the scouting combine.
But Manziel does look to Wilson as a precedent, an example that someone shorter than 6-feet tall can excel. And Manziel is shorter than 6 feet, measured at 5 foot 11 and three-eighths inches, though he said Friday that won't define him.
"I play with a lot of heart, play with a lot of passion," Manziel said. "I feel like I play like I'm 10-feet tall. A measurement to me is just a number."
But it's not entirely insignificant. It is more difficult for a shorter quarterback. Not impossible as Wilson has clearly shown, but definitely more difficult.
"Not everybody that's 5-10 and a half can play quarterback," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "You've got to be a great football player and a great player. Like we say, all the elements make up Russell, make him very, very unique regardless of how tall he is."
Carroll is a fan of Manziel's. Loves the way he plays, the flair and the ability, and he said Friday on 710 ESPN Seattle that Manziel is going to be long gone by the time Seattle picks for the first time in a draft where it holds the 32nd overall pick.
That's probably true. But chances are that whoever picks Manziel won't experience the same success because Wilson is such a tremendous success in terms of his height and his team's success.
Friday, February 21, 2014 @ 3:03pm
By Danny O'Neil
INDIANAPOLIS – Run, don't walk to the NFL draft.
It was the best path for Bishop Sankey after his junior season at Washington for any number of reasons.
Bishop Sankey's predecessor, Chris Polk, was an example of the risk running backs take by returning to school. (AP)
Good. Better late than never is no way for a running back to approach the draft. Just ask Chris Polk, who could have left Washington after his junior season but chose to return in 2011 and then fell out of the draft entirely largely because of concerns about the condition of his shoulder.
That's not to say Polk made the wrong decision. Draft position is hardly the only concern when it comes to a choice about leaving college. In fact, it shouldn't necessarily be the most important concern.
But returning to school isn't going to help a running back's draft prospects, either. And for running backs, it can often hurt it given the punishment that is absorbed at that position. Sankey said Friday at the scouting combine that the concern over the physical toll of playing running back was a consideration.
"I think that may have played a small part," Sankey said. "It wasn't the main reason why I came out."
Just where he will be picked is an intriguing question. Last year, not a single running back was chosen in the first round, and in fact, there were only five picked over the first two rounds of the draft.
There's no consensus first-round pick among this year's class of running backs, either. Sankey is considered one of the top five backs available, though a bit below Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey and Auburn's Tre Mason.
Sankey is a physical, between-the-tackles runner with good lateral quickness, and is likely to be chosen in the first three rounds, which probably explains why he was right to be in a bit of a hurry to get to the NFL.
Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that only two running backs were chosen in the first four rounds of last year's draft.
Friday, February 21, 2014 @ 1:34pm
Maintaining Seattle's championship roster is the biggest challenge for coach Pete Carroll and the front office as the Seahawks begin the process of defending their Super Bowl title. For the players themselves, though, it's about maintaining the edge that helped them get there.
"If some of our guys are fat and sassy we'll be kicking them in the ass," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. (AP)
"That's always been the battle cry for years, through the years at SC – it didn't matter what you did before, it's what you're going to do now."
That mentality helped Carroll's Trojans reach the BCS title game a year after winning a national championship and finish with at least 11 victories in seven of his nine seasons at USC.
The challenge is greater in the NFL, however. At least recent history suggests so. Only one team in the last 10 years has won back-to-back Super Bowls, which speaks to the financial difficulty of keeping a championship roster intact as well as the natural tendency to become less hungry after reaching the pinnacle of a given profession.
"That's just human nature. We're competing against human nature right now, and that's why we have to regain the stature of the work approach. That's what it is," Carroll said. "So if some of our guys are fat and sassy we'll be kicking them in the ass, to tell you the truth, to get them back to what they're capable of being. And they better look out, they better watch out because if that's what happens, we're going to bring in some other kids, too. That's not a threat, that's just what our mentality is, and they know that.
"So that's why we're going to be OK. This is going to be really exciting."
Carroll less familiar with college game
Now four years removed USC, Carroll no longer has the benefit of the insight he once had on prospects and young NFL players.
"It's just different. I just don't have the background that I can add to the makeup in this process of putting it together," he said. "I think the instincts that we gained over the years still help us and all that, but sometimes I had inside scoops."
That was true about players Carroll coached at USC like Malcolm Smith and Anthony McCoy as well as others he recruited like Bruce Irvin and Marshawn Lynch.
"Marshawn was a great example," he said. "We had recruited Marshawn and I had known who he was and we had played against him for all those years, that I thought I knew what we were getting. So that's why I was so emphatic about going after him and wanted to get it done. And it turned out great. So we do lose a little bit of that edge."
Praise for Manziel
The Seahawks don't need a starting quarterback nor would they be in position to take one of the top prospects this year if they did. But if Seattle was in a different situation, it sounds like Carroll would have plenty of interest in Johnny Manziel.
Carroll called the former Texas A&M quarterback "an extraordinary football player" despite not always being technically sound and described his Russell Wilson-like ability to keep plays alive and make something out of nothing.
"He has great sense, spacial sense, awareness on the field, movement. His orientation to what he needs to get done in a play as it breaks down is phenomenal," Carroll said. "So anybody that has a chance to take this guy, they've got to be nuts not to think about it. We'll never get a shot at a guy like that, but what a fantastic player. It has nothing to do with how tall he is."
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 @ 4:30pm
INDIANAPOLIS – The question isn't whether the Seahawks have a franchise player.
It's how many.
Michael Bennett led the Seahawks with 8.5 regular-season sacks while playing one a one-year deal. (AP)
Michael Bennett was one possibility after he led Seattle with 8.5 sacks last season while playing on a one-year contract with the Seahawks, but using the franchise tag on a defensive end comes with a price tag of more than $12 million. Even if Seattle argued Bennett were a defensive tackle, the price would be more than $9 million.
The other possibility was thought to be kicker Steven Huaschka, who led the NFC in scoring and made 22 consecutive field-goal attempts. The one-year price tag for a kicker is more than $3 million, and while Schneider didn't entirely rule out the possibility of using the franchise tag, he said he wasn't anticipating that.
That's not entirely shocking. The Seahawks have not used the franchise tag since 2010, Schneider's first year as general manager. Seattle designated kicker Olindo Mare the franchise player that year, but has not used it in any of the previous three seasons.
Golden Tate's future is a question as he prepares to enter free agency.
There's no doubt, however, about how Seattle's desire to keep him.
"It's a big priority," Schneider said. "Yeah. We have a number of unrestricted free agents that we're just kind of getting a lay of the land. This is actually the weekend it kind of starts. People start hearing from other teams and how well they're liked and appreciated. Golden knows where we stand, how much we love him and how much we want to have him back on our team."
Tate is one of two offensive starters who is an unrestricted free agent; right tackle Breno Giacomini is the other. Receiver Doug Baldwin is a restricted free agent.
Left tackle Russell Okung finished out the season despite a toe injury serious enough that there was some uncertainty as to whether he'd need surgery going forward. He hasn't yet, which is decidedly good news.
Thursday, February 20, 2014 @ 3:56pm
INDIANAPOLIS – Less will be more.
That's what Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins believes anyway, and it is the reason he weighed in at 262 pounds at the NFL scouting combine on Thursday, a full 20 pounds lighter than he played at last season for the Huskies when he bulked up to assume a larger blocking role.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins has dropped 20 pounds from the weight he played at last season at Washington. (AP)
We'll see. There might not be a player at this scouting combine with more to gain. If the sleeker Seferian-Jenkins runs well, he can shed the worries that he's a bit too lumbering to be chosen in the first two rounds.
That seemed like a slam dunk after his sophomore season as he had caught 110 passes in his first two years on campus. Not only that, he was athletic enough to not only play basketball as a freshman, but to see snaps as a defensive lineman as a sophomore.
Then came a junior year in which Washington changed offenses, going from a pro-style system to a hurry-up format. Seferian-Jenkins was suspended the first game after being charged with DUI, and he finished 2013 with 36 catches, fewest in any of his three seasons as a Husky.
"We changed our offense a little," Seferian-Jenkins said. "I was asked to block more. So I decided to gain weight. And it helped me out blocking."
Seferian-Jenkins is sure to be asked about his DUI, too, after a single-car crash resulted in his arrest. It was a mistake, a crime, that Seferian-Jenkins said was something that will never happen again.
"It's a learning lesson," he said. "I learned it, but it's one incident and that doesn't change who I am and I think people in Seattle and Tacoma know who I am as a person and character, and I don't think I am a character risk or a character issue at all."
Citizenship isn't going to determine whether Seferian-Jenkins is a first-round pick, though. That's going to come down to his performance as the NFL looks to see if less weight will translate to more athleticism.
Seferian-Jenkins seems pretty sure of that, saying he hopes to run the 40-yard dash in less than 4.7 seconds.
"Somewhere in the 4.6s," he said.
That kind of speed would improve his draft stock in a hurry.
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