Updated Feb 25, 2014 - 9:41 am
The Bob and Groz Show on 710 ESPN Seattle
Thursday, January 23, 2014 @ 2:11pm
It's been so long since Bruce Irvin even came close to a sack that merely hitting 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the NFC title game was enough to give him delight.
Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin hasn't recorded a sack since Week 8, a streak he can end in the Super Bowl against the Broncos and their pass-happy offense. (AP)
That will happen when a player drafted for his pass-rushing chops goes 10 games without bringing down a quarterback. Not since Week 8 has Irvin recorded a sack, a streak he can end in the Super Bowl.
The Broncos had the league's best offense during the regular season – both in terms of points scored and yards gained – and most of the damage was done through the air. Denver averaged just over 42 pass attempts per game, the second-most in the league.
"The Broncos have got a great offense and they're more of a passing team," Irvin said, "so hopefully the way it's looking I'm going to get a lot of chances to rush the passer."
Irvin hasn't had as many of late, playing mainly on early downs and then leaving the field when Seattle subs in its nickel defense. He was primarily a situational pass rusher a year ago when he led all rookies in sacks with eight after he was drafted 15th overall. But when the Seahawks added Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in free agency, it left their defense with a glut of pass rushers and led to the decision to move Irvin to strong-side linebacker as a way to get as many of them on the field at once.
The four-game suspension he served at the beginning of the season – for a violation of the league's performance-enhancing drug policy – didn't make his position switch any easier. There was nothing easy about the path Irvin took the NFL, and his second season has been no different. That makes the opportunity ahead of him even more special.
"I never thought I'd be in a situation like this, especially coming from where I've come from. My biggest thing back then was just to get out of the situation I was in," Irvin said, alluding to a past that includes jail time and a period in which he lived on the streets after flunking out of high school.
"But for me to tell you that I knew or dreamed of playing in the Super Bowl, I'd be lying to you. So I'm just going up here, just enjoying every moment of it because there's a lot of people wanting to be in this situation who played numerous years and never got to experience a Super Bowl."
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.
Thursday, January 23, 2014 @ 9:54am
By Brady Henderson
Bob Stelton, Dave Grosby and Dave Wyman are broadcasting live from Seahawks headquarters in Renton today for another edition of "The Huddle".
• Free safety Earl Thomas (press conference), 12:15;
• Strong safety Kam Chancellor (press conference), 12:30;
• Offensive lineman Alvin Bailey, 12:45;
• Linebacker Bruce Irvin, 1;
• Seahawks play-by-plan voice Steve Raible, 1:15;
• Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com, 1:31;
Note: Times and guests are subject to change.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 @ 12:19pm
By 710Sports.com staff
Boxing analyst and trainer Teddy Atlas joined Bob Stelton for a web-only version of "Get in the Cage". Listen here.
Saturday, January 18, 2014 @ 2:56pm
With the Seahawks set to play the San Francisco 49ers for the third time this season in Sunday's NFC Championship game, the division rivals are plenty familiar with each other.
That especially extends to Seattle's defensive line and the 49ers agile quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, as Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril told 710 ESPN Seattle's "The Huddle" this week.
Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril (56) had a hand in holding down 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a Sept. 15 game, as he forced a fumble on his one sack in the 29-3 victory. (AP)
"They know what we do, and we know what they do, and it's gonna be all about the team that doesn't make any mistakes," Avril said. "(Kaepernick) is a heck of a quarterback. He can hurt you with his feet. For us as pass rushers, you gotta adapt a little bit. You gotta change the way you rush. You gotta be able to have vision on the quarterback at all times while you're rushing."
Kaepernick, who threw for 3,197 yards and rushed for 524 more during the regular season, has a much different style of play than what the Seahawks saw against New Orleans and Drew Brees in their 23-15 playoff win last week.
"Somebody like Drew Brees or Peyton Manning, those guys aren't as mobile, so you know once you beat your guy he'll be in the pocket," Avril said. "You can rush too high and cut back in and you know he's gonna be there. But with somebody like Kaepernick, you can't rush too high because he'll step into those lanes and take off running. You just gotta adjust a little bit and go after him."
The Seahawks were able to hold down Kaepernick the first time the teams played this season, because even though he rushed for 87 yards, he managed only 127 yards passing and was picked off three times in the Sept. 15 contest at CenturyLink Field. Avril was a big part of making Kaepernick uncomfortable, as he had a strip sack that led to a Seattle field goal in the second quarter.
|"The Pete Carroll Show" | Blue 42 | Cold Hard Facts||• O'Neil: Errors may decide NFC championship||• O'Neil: Stopping the 49ers starts with Frank Gore||• Henderson: Taking a closer look at the 49ers||• Henderson: Russell Okung vs. 49ers' Aldon Smith||• O'Neil: How the rivalry became so heated | Timeline||• Moore: Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh deny animosity||• Moore: Crowd isn't enough for Hawks to beat 49ers||• Henderson: 'No better matchup,' Pete Carroll says|
Kaepernick fared much better when Seattle visited the 49ers on Dec. 8, throwing 15 for 29 for 175 yards and a score in a 19-17 San Francisco win.
The 49ers' physical offensive line is a big reason for Kaepernick's success, though Avril said he and the rest of the Seahawks defensive line are prepared for what they do.
"They're pretty good. You can't take anything away from them. But we feel like on the D-line, we're pretty physical too," he said. "It's just gonna be a lot of big hits in the middle. They're a good O-line, and we're ready for them."
The San Francisco line will also be looking to make holes for wrecking ball running back Frank Gore (1,128 rushing yards, nine touchdowns during the regular season), who is the biggest reason teams can't put too much emphasis on shutting down Kaepernick.
"It's all about being disciplined the whole game, all four quarters. Not trying to do too much, meaning jumping out of your gap when you feel like you can make the play, because Gore's pretty good with cutting it back and things like that," Avril said. "(We) just gotta be sound in our philosophy."
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 @ 9:54pm
By Brady Henderson
The 49ers have won eight straight games and 13 of their last 15, their two losses during that span coming by a combined four points. They are undeniably the hottest of the remaining four teams heading into Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Seahawks.
Matt Williamson, a former NFL scout who now works for ESPN.com, also thinks they're the best. The reason, he told 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" on Tuesday, is that they have the fewest holes of any team in football.
"I really had to pull my hair out to come up with one for San Francisco," he said.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, have a struggling passing game that Williamson thinks is a product of several factors – a lack of receiving threats outside of Percy Harvin, an "average" offensive line and a quarterback in Russell Wilson who hasn't been as sharp of late.
So what does that all mean for Sunday's title game? Williamson thinks that CenturyLink Field could not only be the equalizer, but a factor that could tip the scales in the Seahawks' favor.
"That home-field advantage is massive," Williamson said. "That pass defense is remarkable, their special teams is really, really good. So, can San Francisco go up there and run the ball enough and shut down the Seattle offense enough to win 13-10? I think they can, I'm just not sure that they will be able to pull it off or not."
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share their thoughts on the matter in the video above.
Monday, January 13, 2014 @ 4:57pm
By Brent Stecker
The running game came back for the Seahawks in their 23-15 win over the Saints in the NFC divisional playoffs on Saturday. The same can't be said for the passing game.
Second-year quarterback Russell Wilson was held to a career-low 103 yards passing by New Orleans, marking the fifth time in as many games he failed to throw for 300 yards, and the fourth time in five games that he finished short of 200 yards.
Though the Seahawks have lost just three times all season and are hosting the NFC championship game Sunday against the 49ers, the lack of production through the air is a cause for concern.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Postgame interviews||• O'Neil: What We Learned||• Henderson: Harvin roughed up | Carroll's take||• Stecker: Saints' offense meets its match again||• O'Neil: Irvin, Graham square off during warmups||• O'Neil: Another nail-biting finish for Seahawks|
Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin, who led the team with 30 yards on two catches against the Saints, acknowledged on 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" Monday that the Seahawks need to get their passing attack back on track.
"We've had our issues and we're working on fixing them. That's pretty much all I can say," Baldwin said. "But then you can't take away from the teams that we faced the past few games in the regular season. I think they were all in top 15 of defenses. … We weren't facing bad defenses. That's part of the struggle, but obviously we've got our own things that we've gotta correct and fix."
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby examine the Seahawks' passing woes further in the video above.
Monday, January 6, 2014 @ 2:47pm
By Brent Stecker
If there's one surefire way to draw the ire of the Seahawks fanbase, it's calling the 49ers the best team in the NFL.
Kevin Seifert, a national NFL writer for ESPN.com, learned that after his column declaring the 49ers the best team in football went online Sunday following San Francisco's wild-card win over the Packers in subzero temperatures in Green Bay.
Seifert joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" to discuss the controversy around his column on Monday, and he didn't back down from his stance. The fact that San Francisco hasn't lost since Nov. 17 is a big reason for that.
Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis is one of the reasons ESPN.com NFL writer Kevin Seifert called the 49ers the most "well-rounded" team in the league. (AP)
It's worth noting that there's a reason San Francisco had to get through Green Bay on Sunday while the Seahawks were on a bye, which is that the 49ers finished a game behind Seattle in the NFC West and had to settle for a wild-card berth due to four losses – all against playoff teams, including at Seattle 29-3 on Sept. 15.
"They had a little stretch in the middle of the year where they were trying to figure out their offense," Seifert said. "Colin Kaepernick was certainly having some struggles, but he seems to have found a groove, and getting Michael Crabtree back helped them, and I think they've been on a pretty decent roll here for a while."
While the 49ers ended the regular season on a six-game winning streak, the Seahawks lost two of their final four games, including a 19-17 decision in San Francisco on Dec. 8.
"(The 49ers are) pretty much across the board performing at a pretty high level, and I think you can look at a lot of the playoff teams, probably including the Seahawks, and say there's some things that towards the end of the year they were not doing as well," Seifert said. "In the Seahawks' case, the offense certainly hit a bump, and I don't think that's any big secret. And maybe that bump will get erased if Percy Harvin comes back and they get that element in their offense, but (it's) certainly a reason why the Seahawks finished the season 2-2 after an 11-win start."
When it comes down to it, Seifert believes San Francisco is the most balanced of the eight teams left in the postseason.
"I would say they're the most well-rounded. I don't see anything that they're really struggling at right now, or anywhere where there's a hole or a significant weakness," he said.
Friday, January 3, 2014 @ 6:01pm
By 710Sports.com staff
Seahawks defensive backs Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are all members of the 2013 Associated Press NFL All-Pro team, which was announced Friday.
Marshawn Lynch is not, an unjust omission according to some who feel Seattle's running back was worthy of at least a second-team selection ahead of Packers rookie Eddie Lacy.
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby, however, don't think Lynch was snubbed. They explain why in the video above.
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