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NFL Power Rankings Preseason - National Football League - ESPN: The lockout ended, mercifully. Players changed teams in droves. Training camps opened almost all at once. Yes, the past few weeks have been a whirlwind. As the dust begins to settle, where does your team stand? With the 2011 regular season in sight, our voters (ESPN.com's John Clayton, ESPN.com's Ashley Fox, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, NFC West blogger Mike Sando and AFC North blogger James Walker) have taken the first stab at separating the contenders from the pretenders. Predictably, the defending Super Bowl champs were held in high regard, but, as you'll see, not every playoff team from 2010 was afforded the same kind of respect. So without further ado, here is the preseason edition of ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings.
NFL.com news: Crabtree could return for 49ers by end of preseason schedule: Michael Crabtree may finally play a preseason game for the San Francisco 49ers, but don't hold your breath. Crabtree, currently on the physically unable to perform list with a foot injury, is expected to be ready for action late in the preseason, CSNBayArea.com reported Tuesday, citing a team source. However, it's more likely the Niners will hold out the wide receiver until the Week 1 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle Seahawks Blog - Hawk Blogger: Things I Think Right Now: My head is too full of Seahawks-related content. It must be exorcised. The following is a collection of thoughts I have about the Seahawks right now, after the bulk of free agency has passed, after a few weeks of practice, and before the first pre-season game:
SMCC's Neal Howey in Seahawks camp: ‘Trying to make plays' - MonroeNews.com: "We’re up at 6 and we either have lifting or meetings in the morning, then walkthroughs, more meetings, practice and more meetings. Of course there are breaks for lunch and dinner in there." Those are long days, but Howey does not mind. "It’s going great," he said. "I am having a lot of fun. It’s been a great experience so far. Everyone is bigger, faster and stronger, but it’s still football. I am having fun doing what I’ve been doing for so many years." Howey said new Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who left Southern California to return to the NFL, keeps the atmosphere light.
Revisited: Predicting NFC West standings - NFC West Blog - ESPN: Let's just say my 2011 forecast for the NFC West is evolving. First, though, a big "thanks" to those who advanced our discussion on the matter beginning Friday. The item asking for feedback on the subject amassed nearly 2,000 comments in a few days. We have recorded more than 21,000 votes in unscientific polling, with the Seattle Seahawks narrowly leading the San Francisco 49ers for the top spot. It's early. Newly signed veterans are not even one week into practicing with their new teams. But with ESPN.com's first power rankings for 2010 hitting the site later Tuesday, the moment of truth was near. I had to go on record with my initial predicted order of finish.
Looking for niche, Tate may find it in the slot - Seahawks - The Olympian - Olympia, Washington news, weather and sports: With 6-foot-4 receiver Sidney Rice on one side and 6-foot-5 Mike Williams on the other, second-year Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate figured out pretty quickly that he needed to find a specific role for himself. "I understand what’s going on," Tate said. "I understand we’ve got two big, big targets with great hands on the outside. But I don’t think you have too many 6-4 slots, so I’m trying to make that my spot.
Snag, stick, and the importance of triangles (yes, triangles) in the passing game | Smart Football: When Sid Gillman revolutionized and all but invented the modern passing game, he did it through a "conceptual" approach to pass plays based on three "pass concepts". Because football is governed by its immutable twins of strategy — arithmetic and geometry — these remain the foundation for all effective pass plays:
BECOMING A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS: Treat Goal-Line Defense as a Special Team: A good friend of mine, Coach Hoover, asked me to expound a little on an axiom I included in my last posting. (By the way, Coach H has a terrific post breaking down Manny Diaz on his website...check it out at www.coachhoover.blogspot.com/ ) I am going to share some info on our Goal-Line philosophy, as well as my thought process considering it a Special Team.
17 Power, A Seattle Seahawks Blog: On Tarvaris Jackson, Part 2: Funny the difference a year makes. As the 2010 season opened, the national media was hailing Pete Carroll and John Schneider's new Seattle front office. They'd loved our draft, and the dumpster-diving roster strategy and frenetic transactions made for good oddball news, as did second-chance stories like Mike Williams and Lendale White (heh). They were the new kids on the block, and sportswriters everywhere were eating it up.
Now, the recent anointing of Tarvaris Jackson is starting to sap the goodwill. This is typical, I suppose. The media doesn't like having its collective opinion challenged. As long as you're good for interesting sound bites and not treading on its established mindset, you're fine. But once you touch an issue that already has popular opinion attached to it, that opinion will push back. By declaring Tarvaris Jackson the starter, Pete Carroll has kicked the hornet's nest.
Matt Barkley may be the #1 overall prospect " Seahawks Draft Blog: What if I suggested Matt Barkley could be the best 2012 eligible player in college football? Would you assume I’d gone crazy? That may be fair. Would you write this piece off as a token gesture a matter of weeks before the new college football season begins? I haven’t got time for that, honest. Or would you consider for a moment that maybe – just maybe – Matt Barkley might be a marginally better quarterback prospect than Andrew Luck? Is that possible?
Seahawks | For new Seahawks guard Robert Gallery, looks aren't everything | Seattle Times Newspaper: Robert Gallery has a beard long enough to comb, and a bachelor's degree in education from Iowa. His hair hangs down past his shoulders, and he is tattooed down the length of his left arm. He's also an Eagle Scout who has envisioned himself perhaps teaching elementary school. The Seahawks' new guard may look like a Hells Angel, but he's truly a product of the American heartland.
Seahawks | Seahawks feeling the pressure as first exhibition nears | Seattle Times Newspaper: As fresh as training camp feels for the Seahawks, the team's first exhibition game is only a couple of days away. In fact, only one practice remains before a 5 p.m. road game against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday — exactly one week after free agents were allowed to start practicing with their new teams. Everybody ready?
NFL Draft Mock 2012 | NFL Draft Mock Draft: Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama CB Reach/Value: +8 Height: 6'2" Weight: 192 Alternate Pick #1 Morris Claiborne Alternate Pick #2 Alfonzo Dennard
The Seahawks ranked 27th against the pass in 2010. Their starting corners - Kelly Jennings and Marcus Trufant, were ranked #41 and #49 by Pro Football Focus.com. They added two late round corners in the 2011 draft - Richard Sherman (R5) and Byron Maxwell (R6) as Coach Carroll chose to address the OL. They will continue to need starter level CB help in the 2012 draft, but will be very fortunate to land top prospect Kirkpatrick.
Free Agency 2011 - 10 Players Ready to Step Up | ProFootballFocus.com: Leroy Hill, Seattle Seahawks Replacing: Lofa Tatupu Why He Can: It’s not a like for like replacement, but with Hill moving to the outside and David Hawthorne moving to replace Tatupu inside, the Seahawks linebacker group got stronger. Tatupu had seen his play drop off after Hawthorne noticeably outplayed him as his replacement in 2009. Hill has had some off the field problems, but on it he brings more physicality to Seattle and their run defense. Keep him out of trouble and watch him go.
Rookie guard John Moffitt is getting comfortable - Blog - MyNorthwest.com: Seahawks rookie right guard John Moffitt is a funny guy. After his selection by the Seahawks with the 75th overall pick in April's draft, the Wisconsin offensive lineman spoke with the media via conference call and said he knew little about Seattle save for Nirvana and grunge music. He also waxed sentimental about his days in the Peace Corps -- a tall tale to say the least. Surviving his first week of training camp, Moffitt has begun to settle into a routine and his new life here in Seattle.
WR Mike Williams out for Thursday with sprained toe; QB Jackson will start against San Diego | Seahawks Insider: Pete Carroll said today after practice that starting quarterback Tavaris Jackson will start on Thursday and play a handful of plays against San Diego. However, other free agents like receiver Sidney Rice and offensive guard Robert Gallery will have to be evaluated in terms of conditioning to make sure they are ready.
NFL.com news: Kolb hopes for extra playing time in Cards' preseason opener: After only five practices, Kevin Kolb will lead the Arizona Cardinals into their preseason opener Thursday night at Oakland. Kolb said he hopes coach Ken Whisenhunt gives him as much playing time as possible as he works to learn a new system and develop chemistry with his teammates.
HeraldNet.com - Sports: Seahawks, Washington have great expectations: Running back wants to be a bigger force for the Seahawks this season, and his coaches are looking for him to make a big impact
HeraldNet.com - Sports: 'Bam Bam' Kam out to prove he's all grown up: Second-year safety Kam Chancellor is being called upon to be a leader on the Seahawks' defense.
HeraldNet.com - Sports: Well-traveled Portis finds spot with Seahawks: The free agent quarterback likely to take majority of the snaps in Thursday's preseason opener.
Marshawn Lynch could thrive in run-friendly Seahawks attack - SI.com - Fantasy: We all have our opinions on which players, coaches, etc. should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. However, there are three people yet to be honored who I believe deserve induction into the Hall of Fame, and no one can really make an argument against them. Those three people are Wilfred Winkenbach, Scotty Stirling and George Ross. Never heard of them? They're the guys credited with creating fantasy football way back in 1962.
Seahawks Fandamonium: Offensive Overhaul " 12th Man Rising | A Seattle Seahawks Blog: It’s taken only two offseasons for Carroll and crew to inject the 12th man with a much needed shot of hope. Maybe not even hope- just excitement. Of course every Sunday I’ll watch my team, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited to. Just look over the message boards and blog comments. Our Pete Carroll-esque sense of enthusiasm is palpable… we’re PUMPED and JACKED, as it were. Prior to free agency, I wrote about my expectation for the running game; how I anticipate a post-bye week surge of Lynch and Washington credited mainly to the gelling of a very young, inexperienced offensive line. Truth be told, the run game’s transformation was really the only thing that was truly thrilling. Then came free agency. I still expect a shaky start to the year, but despite the shortened offseason, lack of continuity, youth, and the tough schedule, there’s a lot to look forward to.
Seahawks Blog | Camp Carroll 2.0: Day 10 | Seattle Times Newspaper: There is a difference in the offensive line. That comes across first in the pace of practice. Tom Cable wants everything done on the hop whether it's the reps within a particular drill or the transition from one drill to the next. "We go very fast," said center Max Unger.
Seahawks Blog | Starting over again up front | Seattle Times Newspaper: Turnover is rarely a good thing in football. That applies not only to fumbles and interceptions, but frequent changes in the starting lineup. To look at the number of different starters Seattle has used at each position over the previous five seasons is to identify this team's sore spots. No position has had more turnover than left guard, the spot that opene up when Steve Hutchinson signed a free-agent offer sheet with Minnesota and left Seattle sucking on a poison pill. Here are the five positions with the highest number of different starters over the previous five seasons. It shouldn't be surprising that the three spots with the most starters are located on the offensive line, which is the position where the team has had so much trouble establishing continuity:
DE Raheem Brock happy to be back with Seahawks - Daily Links Blog - MyNorthwest.com: An already long offseason was a little longer for Raheem Brock. While NFL teams sprang into action after the end of the four-and-a-half-month lockout, the veteran defensive end stayed in his hometown of Philadelphia, working out, weighing his options and waiting restlessly to find out where his next job will be. "It was kind of frustrating because you want to be on the field, but that's the way it goes -- it's a business," Brock said. "I was just home training and trying to get ready for the season -- wherever I was going to end up at."
17 Power, A Seattle Seahawks Blog: Seahawks Depth Chart for Thursday vs. SD: The Seahawks just issued a press release for Thursday's preseason opener against San Diego, and boy does this PDF throw everything at you but the kitchen sink. Season schedule, training camp schedule, offseason narratives, player highlights (BMW, Earl, Leon, Beastmode, and more), detailed position breakdowns, a transaction history (that'll prove helpful), game histories, 2010 statistics (ugh), and the 90-man roster compiled four different ways. I don't know if this level of detail is typical for all teams, but if it is, don't ruin my jones by telling me. I'm loving this team right now. And at the end, a projected depth chart for the game (complete with pronunciation guide!). That's fun because we're all hoping for news of the camp battles' progress. This early in the preseason, a depth chart probably reveals virtually nothing concrete. Then again...maybe it does. I haven't felt this excitedly, irrationally, jumping-the-gun spoiler-hungry since Season 2 of Lost. Cover me, I'm goin' in!