The Brock and Danny Show on 710 ESPN Seattle
Thursday, May 9, 2013 @ 7:59am
Seattle's rookies show up for their first day of work on Friday, and while this is more like an introductory quiz than a final exam, it's never too soon to start asking questions about this year's crop of newcomers.
Here's five things we'll be trying to find out during this weekend's three-day minicamp:
Can Tharold Simon play the part he appears perfectly suited for?
He certainly looks like a Seahawks cornerback, standing 6-feet-2. He plays like a Seahawks cornerback, too, as he was known for his feisty man-to-man coverage at LSU. He was even picked in the fifth round, which is where the Seahawks have had remarkable success finding defensive backs since that's where they selected safety Kam Chancellor in 2010 and cornerback Richard Sherman a year later.
Sure, Simon was arrested in his hometown the day the draft began, but the Seahawks have been willing to overlook a legal scrape or two in the past. He sounds like an ideal fit for Seattle's secondary. Does his play match up?
Defensive tackle Jesse Williams might have the best chance of any Seattle rookie to crack the Week 1 starting lineup. (AP)
The Seahawks have had at least one rookie in the starting lineup the past four years, a streak that has a very good chance of ending this year with all but two of last year's starters still on the roster. But while there's no way this will be like 2011 when James Carpenter, John Moffitt and K.J. Wright were all Week 1 starters as rookies, there's certainly a chance that a newcomer will make an impact.
Defensive tackle Jesse Williams might be the best bet in that regard. At 6-feet-3, 323 pounds, he's the type of big-bodied player Seattle has found success with on the defensive line, whether it was with Red Bryant at defensive end or Alan Branch at tackle. Right now, new addition Tony McDaniel projects as the starter for Seattle as the three-technique defensive tackle, which means it's conceivable Williams could play his way to top of the depth chart.
Williams also has the distinction of being the only player John Schneider has traded up to acquire during his term as Seahawks general manager. Seattle gave up two picks to acquire choice No. 137, which was used to select Williams.
How's Spencer Ware's transition game?
He was the second running back Seattle selected, but the Seahawks are actually looking at him as a potential fullback. Will he make that transition quick enough to make the 53-man roster? Anyone thinking that his selection signaled the potential end of Michael Robinson's time with the Seahawks should think back to Mack Strong, who spent the better part of a decade beating out fullbacks like Heath Evans, Chris Davis and then David Kirtman.
Still, Ware is a big, physical back and it will be interesting to see how quickly he takes to the position whose job description reads like a battering ram.
How does Michael Bowie look?
Of the four players Seattle took the seventh round, this is the guy that just might have the best chance at making the roster. Start with the position: Bowie plays offensive tackle, a position where Seattle returns starters Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini while Mike Person is the primary backup at age 24, a member of the practice squad who was promoted to Seattle's 53-man roster last year.
Bowie spent time at a junior college, transferred to Oklahoma State where he played as a junior and was projected to start at left tackle for the Cowboys last season only to be kicked off the team the month before the season started. Bowie wound up playing at Northeastern State in Oklahoma, and Schneider said Bowie was chosen where he was for a reason: "He has a background," Schneider said.
There's also a reason he was drafted at all because he's got plenty of ability, he knows Okung and he plays a position that gives him a shot to make the 53-man roster.
Which undrafted free agent will find a way onto the team?
Great question. There's an average of one a year over the past decade, and anyone who questions the level of impact an undrafted player can have should be reminded that Doug Baldwin led this team in catches two years ago. Three undrafted rookies made the team that year: Baldwin, quarterback Josh Portis and safety Jeron Johnson.
None made it a year ago, but you could have one this year even with the stature of Seattle's roster. A big part of Seattle's pitch to sign undrafted linebackers John Lotulelei of UNLV and Craig Wilkins of Old Dominion was that Seattle didn't use a draft choice on anyone to play linebacker. We'll see if either of those can make a case for the regular-season roster.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 @ 10:55am
Linebacker Leroy Hill will not face a felony charge in King County for his January arrest on suspicion of domestic violence in Issaquah.
The King County Prosecutors Office decided the case against Hill was insufficient for a felony charge, a spokesman for the department said Wednesday. Hill may still face a misdemeanor charge, though, as the case has been referred to the Issaquah prosecuting attorney.
Hill was arrested on Jan. 29 after officers were summoned to his Issaquah home by a woman who identified herself to police as Hill's live-in girlfriend. She alleged Hill assaulted her, took her cell phone and held her against her will. She was taken to Swedish hospital, treated and released, according to a police statement. Police staked out Hill's home and later arrested him nearby. He was released later that week without being charged.
Hill, 30, was a third-round pick by the Seahawks in 2005, but he is currently un-signed. He has played on a one-year contract each of the past two seasons. The Seahawks have not indicated they are interested in bringing him back.
Hill and cornerback Marcus Trufant were the only two players on last year's team who were also part of Seattle's Super Bowl team in 2005. Trufant's departure became official Tuesday when he signed with Jacksonville.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 @ 2:57pm
The Seahawks had already started revamping their defensive line before adding a pair of tackles in last month's draft.
Seattle signed pass rushers Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett during the first week of free agency, then added Tony McDaniel before allowing fellow defensive tackle Alan Branch to sign elsewhere.
Defensive line was still the Seahawks' priority heading into the draft, where they selected Jordan Hill in the third round and Jesse Williams in the fifth, two more additions to what was already going to be a new-look unit.
The Seahawks will get their first look at Hill and Williams during the team's rookie minicamp, which runs from Friday through Sunday.
How will the rookie defensive tackles fit in with the other additions along the defensive line? Brock Huard and Danny O'Neil tackle that question as they continue their look at different position groups on the Seahawks.
You can listen to Tuesday's show here.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 @ 1:48pm
By Danny O'Neil
The transaction can be described in just four words: Jacksonville signs Marcus Trufant.
Really, it deserves more attention than that as it amounts to the end of a Seahawks career for the team's longest-tenured active player, and after his career in this state, it's hard to imagine a football season around here without him. Trufant grew up in Tacoma, attended Wilson High School and went on to enroll at Washington State before becoming a first-round pick in 2003.
Now, after 10 seasons as a Seahawk, he will be gone.
This is not a shock. The Seahawks nearly moved on a year ago only to have Walter Thurmond reinjure his leg in the offseason, opening up a role as the nickelback that brought Trufant back. And anyone who watched Trufant struggle to keep up with slot receivers like Miami's Davone Bess in 2012 could have guessed he was nearing the end of his run with the team.
When Seattle signed Antoine Winfield earlier this offseason, it made apparent what was made official by the Jaguars' announcement Tuesday: Trufant was done as a Seahawk. He moves on to Jacksonville, which is coached by Gus Bradley, the former defensive coordinator in Seattle.
But before Marcus moves on, let's pause a moment to give some attention to a player whose career may not be remembered as spectacular but should be acknowledged for its consistency. He was the first-round pick who spent a decade manning one of the loneliest positions, a cornerback isolated on the outside.
|Drafted:||11th overall in 2003|
|Games:||136 in regular season|
|Interceptions:||21 (two touchdowns)|
|Postseason:||Interception returned for touchdown, nine passes defended, 42 tackles in 11 games.|
Most of all, in a league where the injury list can become an excuse for sitting out a game, Trufant always did everything he could to be available on Sunday. He played in 136 games for the Seahawks, which might not sound like a lot until you realize that only four first-round picks in this franchise's history ever played more for the team: Walter Jones (180), Jacob Green (178), Jeff Bryant (175) and Cortez Kennedy (167).
It's a statistic that is testament to both Trufant's consistency and professionalism, and on the day it became official that he won't be back, it's worth to remember just how often Trufant was there for the Seahawks over the past 10 years.
Monday, May 6, 2013 @ 1:11pm
The same question was asked to Christine Michael and Spencer Ware when each separately spoke with Seattle-area reporters after they were drafted by the Seahawks: Which NFL running back is their style most comparable to?
"Marshawn Lynch, of course," Michael said after Seattle chose him in the second round on Friday, a day before Ware would give the same answer once he was picked in the sixth round.
The decision to draft two running backs was a surprise in itself given the Seahawks' overall strength at the position with Lynch, backup Robert Turbin and fullback Michael Robinson. More so considering their skillsets seem to be similar to what the Seahawks already have at the position.
Brock Huard and Danny O'Neil pick up the conversation there as they begin their look at different position groups on the Seahawks.
You can listen to Monday's show here.
Monday, May 6, 2013 @ 8:48am
The Seahawks waited two years before Golden Tate emerged as the game-changing talent they believed he would be, which makes it kind of odd there would be still be uncertainty about his future in Seattle beyond next season.
That's one of the side effects of having one of the NFL's most aggressive offseasons because Seattle went and added receiver Percy Harvin – among others – to what was already one of the league's youngest rosters.
Seahwks wide receiver Golden Tate caught seven touchdown passes and threw one himself during a breakout 2012 season. (AP)
Tate has arrived. There is no doubt about that after last season. The question is whether he'll be staying after this season, which is the last on the four-year rookie contract he signed with the Seahawks. It's a question that was complicated when Seattle added Harvin this offseason, giving up three draft picks – including this year's first-round pick – and $67 million to do it.
The players are the same age, each turning 25 this year. They are both receivers who've been compared to running backs in the way they move with the ball in the open field. Both will play a factor on special teams, Tate returning punts while Harvin handles kickoffs.
But Harvin is an inch taller, a bit faster and he's the one with a contract that runs through the next six seasons, which brings us back to Tate.
There might not be a player currently on Seattle's roster with more to gain this year than Tate, who will try to prove himself to be a player the Seahawks simply can't afford to lose.
Seattle's staff believes that the addition of Harvin – and the attention he will command – will open things up for Tate, but the question of how the Seahawks plan to use both players is going to be one of the most compelling subplots of this offseason.
Not that the scrutiny will be anything new for Tate. He has been under a microscope ever since Seattle drafted him in the second round in 2010 out of Notre Dame, the No. 60 pick overall but a player the Seahawks evaluated as a first-round talent. He certainly looked it during that year's rookie minicamp, raising eyebrows – and expectations – to anyone who watched practice.
It heightened expectations for a rookie season that turned out to be more of a false start. He was a healthy scratch for the season-opener, the discipline of his route running not up to the expectations of offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates. He didn't catch more than four passes in any game during his rookie season and failed to score a touchdown.
His second year didn't start out all that much better. He didn't catch more than two passes in any of the first eight games, but that changed over the final month of the season as he caught 19 passes over the last five games, generating a momentum that carried over to 2012.
Now, Seattle will be sticking with the same starting quarterback for the first time in Tate's tenure with the team, and he's in his third season in Darrell Bevell's offense.
It could be his time to shine if only there weren't those questions about whether he will be eclipsed after the addition of Harvin. No team can have too many playmakers, but Harvin's addition raises the stakes for Tate this year.
And so the scrutiny on Tate continues. The difference is that this year, no one is waiting to see if Tate finally plays up to his ability. The question now is whether he will be staying.
Friday, May 3, 2013 @ 3:37pm
Golden Tate's future beyond this coming season and Richard Sherman's outspoken nature were among the subjects discussed when 710 ESPN Seattle's Danny O'Neil hosted another edition of "Hawk Talk" on Friday.
You can find the transcript of the chat here. Below are some highlights.
cliff assumes Jaye Howard, Tony McDaniel and Clinton McDonald won't all make the team if Seattle chooses to keep 10 defensive linemen. He asked which of those two were most likely to be cut.
Danny O'Neil: It's too early to do that number crunching, primarily because the result of the experiments with Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin at linebacker. I do not expect to see McDaniel released. Of all the additions this year, it's only McDaniel and Jesse Williams that fit the big-bodied D-line blueprint previously embodied by Alan Branch.
From his Twitter spat with fellow cornerback Darrelle Revis to his contentious exchange with ESPN's Skip Bayless, Richard Sherman has been front and center lately. (AP)
Danny O'Neil: Here's what I think about Richard Sherman and his personality: He sees no downside to being front and center because he really doesn't care what others think of him. If it gets him more attention? Well, that's good he plays a position where the best players cause opponents to look elsewhere. He'll be happy people know him. If it makes opponents want to prove him wrong? Even better. He'll get opportunities to make plays.
And in the criticisms of Richard Sherman, people kept asking what was the upside in going on with Skip Bayless and getting into a rock fight? Well, I turn that around: What was the downside. If you don't care about being seen as egotistical and combative by the public – and I truly don't think he cares about that – then what's the problem.
dharmabruce thinks "it's obvious" that the Seahawks are experimenting with Irvin at linebacker because of his shortcomings as a defensive end. He suggested the move wouldn't be a consideration had Irvin collected, say, 11 sacks as a rookie.
Danny O'Neil: Not sure on that, and here's the reason: Seattle has shown a willingness to modify its defensive scheme to get as many talented players as it can on the field. It doesn't approach it like: Here's our system with its stated roles, and who fits best where? Seattle's goal in this case is to find a way to get Irvin and Avril on the field at the same time and to see how the format can be used.
Dr. Arakaki asked whether the Seahawks could conceivably keep both Michael Robinson and sixth-round pick Spencer Ware on the 53-man roster considering they both play fullback.
Danny O'Neil. Sure. Not uncommon for the team to have kept five running backs in the past, but in that situation, it's hard to see the team keeping more than five wide receivers.
ATotalWimp asked which of the Seahawks' nine undrafted free agents, if any, have the best shot at making the team.
Danny O'Neil: One of the linebackers Seattle signed, John Lotulelei out of UNLV and Craig Wilkins out of Old Dominion. A big selling point Seattle made in the pursuit of those two was that the possibility of making the roster was increased by the fact the team didn't draft a linebacker.
Michael asked for some information on Chris Harper, the wide receiver Seattle drafted in the fourth round.
Danny O'Neil: Recruited out of Wichita, went to Oregon as a quarterback and Mike Bellotti found him not quite as tough as he wanted. He transferred back home to Kansas State with the intention of staying at quarterback before moving to wide receiver for the final two and a half years of his college career. He scored a touchdown rushing, receiving and passing as a freshman at Oregon – first player at the school to do that in eight years. Had about 1,700 yards receiving total over his final two seasons in college, and is distinguished by his lower-body strength and ability to fight for the ball.
An anonymous guest asked whether wide receiver Golden Tate will be re-signed when his contract expires after this coming season.
Danny O'Neil: It's a great question. Perhaps the most compelling one after not only the acquisition of Percy Harvin but drafting Chris Harper. I don't think the door is closed on that in any regard, and in fact the team believes the acquisition of Harvin will really open things up for Tate. However, if you're asking my opinion, I think he ends up taking a bigger contract elsewhere, but we'll see.
Ryan asked where Brady Quinn ranked among the backup quarterbacks who were available.
Danny O'Neil: It's an interesting question. Given what I've seen from him – and the fact that three different franchises have let him go – no, I'm not sold on it. However, I'm going to say that one of the things that's very interesting is that the traits you're looking for in a backup quarterback here are different. You want someone who is going to work well with Russell Wilson, and by all indications, Quinn is someone who is very studious. "He's all about ball," was one description I heard. And then, he's obviously a talented player. A first-round pick, and for him it might be a matter of getting in a less pressure-packed situation to see if he can tap into that talent.
Friday, May 3, 2013 @ 1:23pm
First baseman Justin Smoak's hot streak has coincided with the Mariners winning five of seven games on their recently completed homestand.
Smoak is 11-for-31 (.354) with a home run and three doubles over his last nine games, raising his average 52 points during that stretch. The Mariners, meanwhile, hadn't won a series before taking three of four from the Angels and then two of three from Baltimore.
Now comes the challenge of doing it on the road, where the Mariners will play 14 of their next 17 games.
Brock Huard and Danny O'Neil pick up the conversation from there.
You can listen to Friday's show here.
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