Wednesday, December 11, 2013 @ 3:46pm
By Danny O'Neil
RENTON – Percy Harvin's status hasn't changed on Seattle's official injury report over the past three weeks as he once again sat out practice Wednesday.
That's not exactly news as Harvin has yet to practice with the Seahawks since they returned from their bye in the final week of November. That doesn't mean Harvin's condition has remained the same, though, as he continues his recovery from hip surgery.
"It has fluctuated," coach Pete Carroll said of Harvin's condition. "It has gone back and forth where he's gotten close and then it got aggravated a little bit. It just hasn't quite got over the hump where he's really clear. He has a whole lot of new movement in that hip that he hasn't had before and he's trying to become accustomed to that."
Percy Harvin has not practiced since he make his Seahawks debut in Week 11. (AP)
Two things are most important from that answer:
1) Just because Harvin's recovery isn't progressing smoothly, that doesn't mean it isn't progressing. He is getting better. It's just that each time he appears to be nearing the point where he's declared good to go back to practice, something changes.
2) The nature of Harvin's soreness is not a new injury, but the new movement he's experiencing in his hip after surgery.
Of course, nothing Carroll said provided any insight into when Harvin will be back. His status will be determined week-to-week, Carroll said, and once he does start practicing again it will be day-to-day.
Harvin has not practiced since he made his Seahawks debut on Nov. 17, playing 16 offensive snaps against his former team, the Vikings, and returning one kickoff.
Harvin did not practice Wednesday, instead continuing to rehab. Carroll offered no estimate on whether Harvin would practice at all this week.
"We'll have to make sure that he's right," Carroll said. "So we're going to take our time."
Unger front and center
Center Max Unger sat out Wednesday's practice, but he took part in Seattle's walk-through, which is a strong sign the Seahawks are hoping he will be able to play Sunday.
Unger suffered a strained pectoral muscle, which forced him out of Sunday's game at San Francisco after three quarters.
Primary care for the secondary
Jeron Johnson is lost for the season after suffering a hamstring injury on Sunday, and while cornerback Perrish Cox was re-signed to take Johnson's spot on the 53-man roster, it's DeShawn Shead who will actually take Johnson's spot as the backup strong safety to Kam Chancellor.
Cox was with the team earlier this season, signed after Walter Thurmond's four-game suspension was announced, but was released after one day to make room for Shead.
• LB K.J. Wright underwent surgery on Wednesday in North Carolina to repair a broken bone in his foot. Carroll had previously indicated Wright would have a screw inserted into the foot and would need four to six weeks to recover.
• Also not practicing Wednesday: CB Richard Sherman (foot), TE Zach Miller (ribs), RB Marshawn Lynch (shoulder), LB Mike Morgan (knee), WR Doug Baldwin (neck), DE Chris Clemons (not injury related).
• CB Brandon Browner did not practice and is not expected to be available this week. In that case, he would miss his fourth consecutive game after suffering a strained groin.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 @ 2:22pm
By Danny O'Neil
Everything is there for the taking.
That statement is as true for the Seahawks' game on Sunday against the Giants as it for Seattle's playoff positioning. No team has committed more turnovers than the Giants this season, and no team is closer to clinching the top playoff seed than the Seahawks.
So it's all right there. Seattle must simply grab hold.
That hasn't been a problem for the Seahawks. At least not this season. They have 28 takeaways, tied for second-most of any team in the league in what is a fulfillment of one of coach Pete Carroll's primary directives for his team.
It's all about the ball. It's what he said as soon as he arrived as the Seahawks' coach, and it's a statistic that has served as a spectacularly accurate weathervane for this team's success in his four seasons.
Since Carroll became coach, the Seahawks are 25-2 when they have more takeaways than turnovers and 4-15 when they commit more turnovers than they have takeaways. When Seattle is even in turnover margin, it is fittingly close to .500: 7-8.
Over the past four games, no one in the league has taken better care of the ball than the Seahawks. Their only turnover in that time came on Russell Wilson's final pass attempt Sunday in San Francisco, a desperation heave that was picked off.
Turnovers also explain the Giants' success this season – or more accurately, the lack thereof. Eli Manning has been the gift who keeps on giving. At least he has been for opponents, who've picked him off 20 times, most in the league.
That's the kind of thing to whet the appetite of a Seattle defense that has had a harder time recently in taking the ball off opponents. Seattle forced two or more turnovers in each of its first eight games this season, but has done that only once in the last five.
That's just part of what makes this weekend's game such an incredible opportunity. The Seahawks can clinch the NFC West if they win at New York and the 49ers lose to Tampa Bay. However, even if San Francisco wins its final three regular-season games, the Seahawks will clinch both the NFC West and the top seed in the NFC playoffs by winning any two of their final three regular-season games.
It's all right there, for Seattle to take it. They've just got to grab hold and refuse to let go.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 @ 12:52pm
The commercial for Dr. Dre's headphone company Beats by Dre, aired during Sunday's game between the Hawks and Niners. It shows Kaepernick arriving on a team bus into enemy territory. Nothing says Seattle, but it's clear that's what's intended as rain falls and angry fans clad in Seahawks colors scream at the bus while waving signs ripping the QB.
One guy gives the middle finger to Kaepernick while others surround the bus and pelt it with debris. Another throws a beer cooler at the front window and cracks it. And at one point, a fan seems to be urinating on the side of the bus.
All the while, Kaepernick merely smiles and then puts on his headphones, drowning out the rabid crowd as he smugly saunters past them into the stadium.
A lot of Seattle fans are calling for a boycott of the company because of the spot. And the guy known as Seattle's biggest sports fan says he's furious at the way the 12th Man is being portrayed.
"How can they do this to Seahawks fans? We're not the bad guys of the league," says Big Lo, the big guy you always see at Seahawks games holding up a Sea-Fence sign, in an interview with KIRO Radio at Night.
Big Lo admits the 12th Man can get a bit "persnickety" with opposing fans, but insists they'd never do anything as dirty as portrayed in the commercial.
"It's just the fact that it depicts us as bad people. Our fans are not that way. Our fans are pretty positive for the most part," he says.
Clearly, not everyone agrees. And there's no doubt civilized Seattle is getting a reputation around the league. Breaking the Guinness World Record for crowd noise twice will do that to you.
"I think Seahawks fans, we see ourselves here in Seattle as an intelligent, laid back, friendly city. We're nice fans, we're just excited about the team," says KIRO Radio guest host Chris Cashman. "But I think we have gotten to a point where much of the country sees us as the villain."
There's little doubt, if the Kaepernick commercial is any indication. Even though Big Lo doesn't like being depicted in such a negative light, he admits he's OK with the 12th Man at least getting a bit of a reputation for rowdiness, especially since the team backs it up on the field.
"We've never been able to be a cocky team and I like this. I like the attitude these guys have," he says. "I think this is a team that is starting to get hated on because they're good, they're talented, and they're deep. And that's the best part of this."
Still, you can be certain Lo and a lot of other 12's won't be buying Beats by Dre this Christmas. If the 49ers come back to Seattle for a playoff game, it'll be interesting to see how Seahawks fans welcome Kaepernick and crew that time.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 @ 12:03pm
By Brady Henderson
Most tight ends wouldn't prefer to be covered by Patrick Willis, perhaps the best linebacker in the NFL.
Then again, most tight ends aren't as fast as Seahawks rookie Luke Willson.
"I'm here to be kind of a stretch-the-field tight end," Willson told 710 ESPN Seattle's "Bob and Groz" on Monday, "and if you're going to put a linebacker on me, I should be able to win that matchup."
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Postgame interviews||• O'Neil: What We Learned||• O'Neil: Seahawks get an important reminder||• O'Neil: Should Seahawks have let 49ers score?||• 'The Pete Carroll Show': Wright to have surgery||• Henderson: Late-game lapse dooms Seahawks||• Henderson: Seahawks' penalties loom large|
On each play, Willson showed the speed that the Seahawks liked so much when they drafted him in the fifth round out of Rice even though he was coming off an underwhelming and injury-plagued senior season in which he caught all of nine passes in 11 games.
General manager John Schneider told 710 ESPN Seattle back in May that the Seahawks "really, really would have been disappointed" had they not come away from the draft with Willson. Sunday's game showed why.
"I think that's one of the things that I can bring to the team is [the ability to] stretch the field out a little bit," Willson said after the game, "and I was able to do that today."
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 @ 8:42am
By 710Sports.com staff
Another edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil is set for its usual time -- Tuesday at 12:30.
Monday, December 9, 2013 @ 4:59pm
By Danny O'Neil
RENTON – "Scare Tactics" is a show on the SyFy network, but score tactics was a conversation that followed Seattle's 19-17 loss to San Francisco on Sunday afternoon.
Specifically, should the Seahawks have allowed the 49ers to score a touchdown on one of the three plays leading up to the game-winning field-goal attempt?
"That's a serious decision you can make," coach Pete Carroll said Monday afternoon.
Only 26 seconds remained when the Seahawks took over after the 49ers kicked the go-ahead field goal. (AP)
Had Seattle let the 49ers score a touchdown right after Kaepernick gained the first down, Seattle could have gotten the ball back with more than 2 minutes remaining. Instead, the Seahawks stopped three straight runs before the 49ers kicked a 22-yard field goal.
But let's get hypothetical and reconstruct the situation had the Seahawks given up a touchdown on the next play after Kaepernick's first down. In that situation, the Seahawks would have trailed by either five points or seven points, depending on whether the 49ers converted the ensuing two-point try.
The upside is obvious. The Seahawks would have then had the ball back with more than 2 minutes on the clock, which was certainly enticing for Carroll given Russell Wilson's success in end-of-half drives this season.
"We know that our offense can go down the field in 2 minutes on anybody," he said. "You give us four plays to get a first down, we really believe we can get that done. Russell's great at it."
The downside? Not only are you asking your defense to stand down, but there's no guarantee the 49ers would take the touchdown. In fact, Frank Gore went down at the end of his 51-yard run so he could stay in bounds, showing an understanding of the clock situation. He didn't want it to stop. Had the 49ers not taken a gimme touchdown, they could have bled the clock inside of 30 seconds regardless of what Seattle did.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Postgame interviews||• O'Neil: What We Learned||• O'Neil: Seahawks get an important reminder||• 'The Pete Carroll Show': Wright to have surgery||• Henderson: Late-game lapse dooms Seahawks||• Henderson: Seahawks' penalties loom large|
It's a significant difference, but one that doesn't include the possibility that Seattle could have either forced a fumble or blocked the field-goal attempt in between.
And ultimately, Carroll decided it was better off to let his defense play tough, hope for an improbable turnover and then try to block the kick, knowing he would get the ball back with less than a minute remaining.
"There's a lot of gut in that decision," he said Monday morning during "The Pete Carroll Show" on 710 ESPN Seattle. "We had the talk, and it's just not in our mentality to let anybody have anything."
• LB K.J. Wright is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the broken bone in his foot on Tuesday. There's no specific timetable for recovery, but Carroll estimated it would be at least four and probably more like six weeks.
• C Max Unger will be limited in practice this week, according to Carroll, but has not been ruled out to return in time for this weekend's game.
Monday, December 9, 2013 @ 1:44pm
By Danny O'Neil
Three things we learned:
1. The importance of home field for Seattle.
The Seahawks had won two in a row against San Francisco by a combined total of 71-16, but both of those games were played at CenturyLink Field. At Candlestick Park, however, the two teams have played low-scoring slugfests with neither team surpassing 20 points. The Seahawks lost 13-7 in Week 7 last season before Sunday's 19-17 loss.
The good news for Seattle? If the Seahawks win two of their final three regular-season games, they won't have to come back to Candlestick Park ever again as Seattle would be assured of hosting any postseason game it plays up to the Super Bowl and the 49ers are moving to a new stadium next season.
2. Penalties are a potential Achilles heel for this team.
You can say a lot of things about the nine times Seattle was penalized for 85 yards. Unfortunate. Costly. Unnecessary.
Here's one thing you can't say, though: surprising. This is par for the course for this Seahawks team that has now been called for eight or more penalties in eight of the 13 games it has played. Seattle had been penalized 95 times entering the game, second-most in the league. The Seahawks were penalized 110 times last season, sixth-most in the league.
It's wishful thinking to believe all those flags are going to stop overnight.
3. Seattle's biggest lost on Sunday may not have been on the scoreboard.
The defeat in San Francisco won't matter a bit if Seattle wins two of its final three games. The injury to linebacker K.J. Wright, however, could be a tough one. He suffered a broken bone in his foot, something coach Pete Carroll characterized as a six-week injury.
We'll see if that means he winds up on injured reserve or if Seattle holds out hope he might be back late in the playoffs. Either way, Seattle is going to be missing a linebacker who is coming off one of the best games of his career in that Monday night victory over New Orleans.
Three things we're still trying to figure out:
1. Do the 49ers' coaches deserve an award for lobbying?
After playing the Seahawks in Week 7 last year, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he would seek clarification from the league on the amount of contact defensive backs are allowed to have with receivers. Last week, offensive coordinator Greg Roman talked about getting mugged by Seattle's defenders during a Week 2 meeting.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | Postgame interviews||• O'Neil: Seahawks get an important reminder||• O'Neil: Should Seahawks have let 49ers score?||• 'The Pete Carroll Show': Wright to have surgery||• Henderson: Late-game lapse dooms Seahawks||• Henderson: Seahawks' penalties loom large|
"You saw the calls, you saw the game," cornerback Richard Sherman said. "If that's the way they called it, that's the way they called it. There's nothing you can do about it. It's just unfortunate it had to affect the game so much."
It was reminiscent of Seattle's loss in Indianapolis in Week 5, and it's a potential cause for concern if the Seahawks have a tightly called playoff game in which referees place a microscope over the play of their defensive backs.
2. How did the Seahawks' defense play?
They allowed only two runs of 10 or more yards all game and only two completions of more than 20 yards. Not only that, but Seattle held San Francisco to a single touchdown despite the 49ers having four different possessions that reached at least the Seahawks' 20-yard line.
Yet, the biggest play of the game sticks out not just for the total, but the timing as Frank Gore's 51-yard run with less than 5 minutes remaining put the 49ers in position for the win. The 49ers hadn't exactly been gashing Seattle on Sunday. Gore had only 54 yards rushing prior to the 51-yard gain, which was 19 yards longer than any other run Seattle had given up over the first 12 games.
3. Will Percy Harvin be able to contribute down the stretch?
Seattle's two longest passing plays came on completions to Luke Willson, Seattle's backup tight end. That's a compliment for Willson, who has made more progress since training camp opened than any player on the team.
It also makes you wonder about the big-play potential for the rest of the offense. Harvin missed his second consecutive game since debuting for the Seahawks, and Carroll indicated this is going to be a big week for Harvin. We'll see if he can make it through the week of practice and get back in a game.
Monday, December 9, 2013 @ 1:16pm
By Danny O'Neil
RENTON – Center Max Unger left Sunday's game after the third quarter with an injury to his pectoral muscle. When Unger will be able to return is very much up in the air, and probably will stay that way all the way through this week, according to coach Pete Carroll.
"We've just got to see how he responds during the week," Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Danny" on Monday. "It's something that one of our guys has had before and played with it. So we'll find out how it is particularly for him."
That's very likely a reference to quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who played the second half of the 2011 season after suffering a severe strain to the pectoral muscle in his throwing arm.
Now, there are clear differences, the first being Jackson is a quarterback whose job is to throw a football while Unger is a lineman expected to block opponents who are the approximate size of a refrigerator.
It's a situation that bears watching, though. A completely torn pectoral muscle is generally a season-ending injury that requires surgery, and that's the injury that ended Russell Okung's 2011 season.
Unger missed three games earlier this season, two because of a triceps injury and then sat out the Nov. 10 game at Atlanta because of a concussion.
Lemuel Jeanpierre is Seattle's backup center.