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You’d think the NFL, the corporate and cultural behemoth of American sports, would have a set of rules governing the attributes of a franchise quarterback.

You’d think, 100 years into this thing, it would have a stone-scroll template that determines how it chooses the young men who become the most exalted and fetishized athletes in the game.

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You would be wrong — not that it doesn’t try. Oh god, how it tries. It has the combine and the pro days and the interviews and the individual workouts and the jumps and the leaps and the shuttles and the endless measuring and the computerized timing and whatever else it can think of to analyze a human being within a centimeter of his life. And yet, when it comes to what’s important and predictive as it pertains to a presumptive franchise quarterback, your guess is probably as good as theirs.

History shows us he can be slow. He can be weak. He can be dumb. He can be a bad teammate. He can even combine a few of those at once and still get drafted before the first bank of commercials. But as the NFL defined itself as America’s favorite pseudo-religion, and as the dumb and the weak and the slow cleared the underbrush for future generations of dumb and weak and slow, there remained just one thing a quarterback couldn’t be: short. Football’s merchants of speculation might argue about Wonderlic scores, hand sizes and the pitfalls of a country-club background, but they all view short the same way: quantifiable and damned obvious. Short can’t hide.

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Being tall excuses just about everything. If he’s 6-4 and dumb, they’ll call him football-smart. If he’s 6-4 and slow, they’ll tout his real or imagined ability to move in the pocket. If he’s 6-4 and weak, they’ll change his diet and point him toward the weight room. If he’s 6-4 and a bad teammate, they’ll surround him with veterans who can fix that right quick. Every flaw can be worked around or compensated for or beaten out, organizationally speaking. Except height.

Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray measured 5-10 1/8 at the combine, and the number was reported as an achievement, maybe even a defining moment in the Heisman Trophy winner’s career. He is small, not just for a quarterback but for a high school point guard. And yet the Arizona Cardinals just might make him the first pick of the 2019 NFL draft.

How did this happen? Did the NFL’s thinking change? Or is Kyler Murray that rarest of humans — the kind who can change the NFL’s thinking?
“Here’s the one thing you need to know about Kyler,” says former NFL quarterback and coach Jim Zorn. “Short goes away when you see what he can do.” Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SPORTS
MURRAY IS MANY things other than short. He is wickedly fast, smart, strong and slightly mysterious. He throws the ball with both ease and a force that can be measured audibly. He possesses an undercover agent’s awareness of his immediate surroundings and a distant reserve that is easily — and inaccurately, according to those who know — taken for cold detachment.

Some of the stories seem to border on the apocryphal. He is so fast that his center at Oklahoma, Creed Humphrey, swears there were times he would block on a quarterback draw and “feel the wind coming off him when he’d go by.” At the risk of further hyperbole, Murray’s athletic ability might be generationally transcendent. By the end of April, he will be the only person ever drafted in the first round in both Major League Baseball (ninth, by Oakland, in 2018) and the NFL. The Athletics gave him a $4.7 million bonus and projected him to be their star center fielder of the future. They also gave him their blessing when he said he wanted to play one more year of football at Oklahoma, which he turned into 4,361 yards passing, 1,001 yards rushing and that Heisman. The Athletics’ generosity came with a cost; now he’s someone else’s quarterback of the future. (Unless, of course, they return with the offer of a major league contract that might be lucrative enough to change his mind one more time. Baker Mayfield got $32.7 million guaranteed as last year’s No. 1 pick — the A’s could double that if they choose.)

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The analytics that recommended Mayfield, another undersized Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma, serve Murray well. Murray’s 11.6 yards per pass attempt was the highest by an FBS quarterback since 2004. And despite his height, he had just four balls batted down or defended within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage last season. Daniel Jones, a 6-5 likely first-round pick from Duke, had 14. In addition, the NFL’s lean toward more spread-style offenses (the kind Kliff Kingsbury will employ with the Cardinals) has lessened the perceived risk of a short quarterback. Evaluators can point to Russell Wilson and Drew Brees as evidence that shorter quarterbacks can find passing lanes inside and outside the pocket, and they can fulfill themselves by comparing Murray to Wilson-despite vast differences in speed and style-because nobody has much of an imagination anymore.

“Kyler’s always had bigger people in front of him,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley says. “He’s always had to find creative arm angles, find different lanes, move in the pocket to create them. He’s had to deal with it forever. I’ve always said, ‘If you’re going to be short now, you’d rather be short the whole time.'”

It’s an interesting recommendation: Look, we know he’s short, but he’s always been short.

“Don’t look at his film from college or even high school,” says Tom Westerberg, Murray’s head coach at Allen High, north of Dallas. “Look at peewee football or middle school. He’s always been what he is now — a small quarterback. There was never a time when he was one of the bigger ones on the field. This is all he knows, and I think he’s going to challenge the NFL’s thinking and then blow it out of the water.”

Murray started for Riley at Oklahoma for just one year, and yet when Riley is asked if there’s one play that typifies Murray’s rare skills, he is silent for a full 13 seconds as he sorts them through his mind. Finally, he says it happened midway through last season, against Texas, when the Sooners’ offensive linemen so thoroughly botched a play that it’s a wonder they all made it out alive. The ball was snapped, and the right guard and right tackle pulled to the left while the left tackle pulled to the right. As they tried to dodge one another — there’s a split second where it seems plausible the right guard might ask the left tackle what he’s doing there — Murray acted as if this were the plan all along. He maneuvered past the pileup, sidestepped an unblocked defensive end, turned the corner and ran 67 yards for a touchdown.

“Here’s the one thing you need to know about Kyler,” says former NFL quarterback and coach Jim Zorn, who worked with Murray to prepare him for his pro day. “Short goes away when you see what he can do.”

THE MAKING OF a legend, in three parts:

I. Jeff Fleener was an assistant coach at Allen High — home of the $60 million, 18,000-seat stadium — when he first heard that Kevin Murray had started a business to train high school and college quarterbacks in the area.

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Another coach told him, “Kevin’s son can get it.”

That’s a good tip, right? Son of a former star quarterback is training in your area, be worth your time to check it out.

“Oh yeah? How old is he?” Fleener asked.

“He’s 9, but I’m telling you …”

Fleener cut him off. “OK, whatever. I mean — he’s 9.”

The guy shrugged and raised his eyebrows in a suit-yourself kind of way.

“I’m just telling you,” he said, “the kid can flat-out throw — and he can fly.”

“Yeah, but he’s 9,” Fleener said.

“Yeah,” the guy said, “but just you wait.”

II. When Oklahoma running back Trey Sermon was at Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia, the last thing his quarterback did before he took the field on Friday night was take out his phone and watch a highlight video to get hyped for the game.

Sermon asked him what he was watching, and the quarterback just held the phone up and said, “Kid from Texas. Kyler Murray.”

The quarterback knew this Murray kid had never lost a high school game. Eventually, he would go on to win three straight state championships at Allen and enter the conversation about the best and most famous prep player in Texas history.

Back in that locker room in Marietta, Sermon watched the video to its end, and when that little kid was finished running past people and throwing over them, Sermon looked at his quarterback and said, “Wow. He’s something else.”

III. Lincoln Riley is sitting in a deep leather couch in his office when he’s asked to recall his first impressions of Murray. The office has the feel of a sacristy — ornate furnishings, ceilings tall enough to create echo-y acoustics, a Vatican-level shrine of the sponsor’s brand of sneakers on one wall. It’s an oligarch’s office presided over by a 35-year-old guy in a sweatsuit and a baseball cap. The scene is worth mentioning because A) guys like Murray helped to build it, and B) it’s so comically outsized and ostentatious that even Riley seems a little embarrassed by it.

Asked about Murray, Riley tugs at the bill of his OU golf cap and starts talking about the one and only occasion he’s known Murray to run a timed 40-yard dash, right after Murray transferred to Oklahoma in 2015.

“He left Texas A&M and came here after the first semester ended, early December, so by the time we got him he hadn’t been playing a sport for about six weeks,” Riley says. “It was the first time in his life he wasn’t playing a sport, and it was easily the most out of shape I’ve ever seen him. For him, he was kind of pudgy. I knew he was very athletic, but I thought he might come in here and run a 4.5, which for a quarterback is blazing fast. Well, we tested him the first week he got here and he ran a 4.3 on a laser. That was just like — wow. Out of shape — wow. And that’s the last 40 he’ll ever run in his life.”

Is that why Murray didn’t run at the combine or his pro day?

Riley draws his words out like blown glass.

“There … is … no … need.”
“I think he’s going to challenge the NFL’s thinking and then blow it out of the water,” says Murray’s high school coach, Tom Westerberg. Brett Deering/Getty Images
VIEWED FROM A certain angle, Kyler Murray’s life has taken shape as a variation on a theme. Thirty-six years before Kyler became an Athletic, 18-year-old Kevin Murray, Kyler’s dad, was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers and played one unsatisfying year in the minors before deciding to play quarterback at Texas A&M. He was sued by the Brewers, who claimed breach of contract and demanded that Kevin’s $35,000 signing bonus be repaid.

2019 NFL DRAFT

When: April 25-27
Where: Nashville, Tennessee
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After leaving baseball, Kevin led the Aggies to two Southwest Conference championships, set SWC records for total offense and sat through 12 rounds of the 1987 draft without hearing his name. Nineteen quarterbacks — Mark Vlasic, Sammy Garza, Ken Lambiotte, Dave Walter from Michigan Tech — were taken in 12 rounds of that draft, and a Dallas Morning News story on Kevin after the draft ran under the headline, “He’s a QB Nobody Wants.” In the story, one NFL scout, as if calling out a 1987 bingo card for criticizing black quarterbacks, said the league decided Kevin was “a little arrogant, didn’t always go to school; his work habits are not good and he’s moody.” There was talk that he was an inaccurate passer, despite his completing nearly 60 percent of his passes at a place and time when throwing the ball happened primarily on third-and-10. An unnamed A&M official at the time told the Morning News that Kevin wasn’t drafted because he was black, and Lynn Amedee, A&M’s offensive coordinator, said, “Somebody blackballed him.”

Kevin, who still runs a quarterback-training service, was a prominent figure at Kyler’s pro day workout in Norman. He was on the field helping his son warm up before his throwing drills, and he and his wife, Missy, stood directly behind Kyler as Zorn led the throwing session. “Kevin isn’t there so he can say, ‘Look what I’ve done,'” Zorn says. “He’s supporting his son. The son could say, ‘Dad, go away,’ and he would. But Kyler respects his dad and appreciates what he’s doing for him.” When I introduced myself to Kevin earlier in the day and told him I’d like to interview him in the coming weeks for this story, he nodded noncommittally and flashed a look that discouraged further conversation.

“Kevin is tough,” Westerberg says. “He has a pretty good front to people who don’t know him. He definitely wants what is best for his son, but he is not a coddling parent. If Kyler does something wrong, he’s going to get the same look Kevin gave you.”

Camp Murray is a tightly sealed ecosystem but is not without its complications: Kevin’s brother, former big league outfielder Calvin Murray, is a longtime lieutenant of agent Scott Boras, who handled Kyler’s baseball negotiations. When Kyler announced his decision to play football instead of baseball, any further public discussion of baseball was prohibited. Kyler and his parents declined to be interviewed for this story, and two sources — despite having nothing but laudatory things to say about Kyler — had to clear it with the family before consenting to speak.

No man’s distrust is abstract, untethered to the lines and angles that shape his life, and in that light, Kevin’s protection of Kyler is understandable. Kyler is a 21-year-old public figure in a hypercritical environment where everyone has a voice, and opinions are wielded like knives. The insulation and learned circumspection is part of the reason Kyler lives in the spotlight and yet remains unconstrained by it. Athletes would seem to face a binary choice: Embrace the fame or avoid it. Either on guard or onstage. Murray resides in a third realm: He ignores its very existence. If you don’t acknowledge it, is it really there? And when it’s been there as long as you can remember — when coaches know your name when you’re 9 and kids four states over are watching your high school highlights as pregame hype — does it eventually blend into the background, just more white noise?

“Kyler’s aware of the attention — he just doesn’t care,” Riley says. “When he first got here, it was almost like he was a little anti-social. He’s come to embrace it a little more. He doesn’t dread that part of it now. When he first got here, he didn’t want to do interviews. He was like, ‘It’s not going to help me become a better football player, so why should I do it?’ Not to be a jerk — it’s just not him. I told him, ‘If you want to be what you want to be — an NFL quarterback or an All-Star center fielder — this is part of it. You have to develop this part just like you do other parts of your game.'”
Did he? Riley says Murray got better, that he tried, but there’s not a lot of conviction in his words, and the results are inconclusive. During Super Bowl week, Murray appeared on the Dan Patrick Show as part of a promotional gig for Gatorade, and the interview devolved into an excruciating question-and-nonanswer session about whether he would play baseball or football. He assiduously avoided any in-depth media interviews as the draft approached. CeeDee Lamb, an Oklahoma receiver who caught 1,158 yards’ worth of passes from Murray last year, says he’s never met anyone who can isolate himself from outside influences, good and bad, the way Murray can. He laughs just thinking about it and says, “Kyler, man — he’s away from everything. Honestly, I don’t know how he does it.”

And within those words is a mystery that remains unsolved: Is he blocking it all out, or taking it all in? Someone, probably someone in Arizona, is about to launch a revolt against the establishment, and who better to lead than a guy who leaves expectations flailing in his wake? Murray’s next challenge is both enormous and simple: upend decades of convention and, along the way, determine whether new expectations represent limits — or possibilities.

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A day after the Seahawks dropped their season opener at Denver, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made his usual appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle to discuss a game in which the Seahawks “missed an opportunity.”

“We had a great opportunity,” Carroll said. “We made the plays to get us ahead with a great touchdown pass to (Tyler Lockett), and we just needed to hold it, and we didn’t do it.”

Here are six takeaways from Carroll’s weekly appearance on the Brock and Salk Show:

1. Big plays were a killer.

The Seahawks defense played well in spurts, particularly in the second half, but when asked his single biggest takeaway from the loss, Carroll quickly pointed to the big plays Seattle gave up, which included two long touchdown passes.

“We didn’t play good enough football,” Carroll said. “I say that because we had two enormous plays on defense that changed the game, we busted both of them. They were just busts. Sometimes you survive those kinds of plays and get onto the next, but for them to throw a flat route for a touchdown, and then they throw a crossing route for a touchdown and it’s a gimme, that’s too much in that game. Make them earn their way down the field, maybe they kick field goals instead and it’s a totally different outcome. It’s our inability to just be really clean throughout the game. We showed some newness, and unfortunately it got us.”

2. Russell Wilson “got hammered,” but also can be better.
When asked to assess the play of his quarterback, Pete Carroll noted that Russell Wilson was under pressure quite a bit, though the quarterback himself acknowledged that a few of the six sacks he took were his fault.

“He got rushed,” Carroll said. “He got hammered, we got sacked six times in the game. He was in the midst of some of those, he bailed a couple of times and got in trouble, but we didn’t protect him as well as we needed to throughout… Unfortunately we didn’t protect him enough to have a really clean game.
“I think it was a hard game. Right off the bat we got hammered. He got hit a couple times in this game, it makes a difference. Every quarterback who has ever played feels that stuff, so you have to get around it. I thought he bounced back when he could, we didn’t quite it done—what really shows up is the third-down numbers, 2 out of 12, you’re not going to get it done. There were too many third-and-longs. That’s enough to wreck your day if you don’t overcome it. We weren’t as clean as we needed to be. He could play way better, he could have gotten us out of some issues early by getting rid of the football a couple of times… Russ needed to do better than he did yesterday, but we needed to help him a lot.”
3. The Seahawks didn’t run the ball enough.
In part because of the aforementioned third-down issues, the Seahawks didn’t get their running game going as much as they would have liked, particularly early, because the offense didn’t stay on the field long enough. The Seahawks finished the game with just 14 rushing attempts by running backs, seven each for Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny.

“We didn’t do it enough,” Carroll said. “That goes back to, we didn’t convert on third down, so then you’re off the field so you don’t get to use the ready list you have. We didn’t get through it, we ran the ball six times in the first half. How many plays did we have, 15 plays in the first half? That’s not enough to figure it out.”
That being said, Carroll still saw some things in those limited opportunities that leave him encouraged about the running game going forward.

“The angle block stuff happened again, we hit the trap, we hit a nice wham play,” Carroll said. “We did some nice stuff, there’s some things there for us that are going to be good, we’ve just got to get to them, we didn’t have the opportunity to access them.”

With another elite pass rusher coming up next week, the Seahawks know they need to run the ball better and more often to keep Khalil Mack from being too disruptive.

“It has to happen,” Carroll said. “It has to happen. We need to do that. You can’t get sacked when you’re running it.”

 

4. “Everybody should be really excited about” Brandon Marshall.
Brandon Marshall made his Seahawks debut a memorable one by recording his first touchdown catch since 2016, a 20-yarder in the third quarter that was also Seattle’s first third-down conversion of the afternoon. What excited Carroll most about Marshall, who had three catches for 46 yards, is that the veteran pass-catcher is just getting going with Wilson and Seattle’s offense.

“He played great,” Carroll said. “He really practiced beautifully through the last couple of weeks, really finally got into shape and looked good and felt confident in his breaks and his cuts and his catches and all that. He’ll improve a lot with Russ. There’s a chemistry here that can go to a real high level. They’re working at it and communicating well, but it’ll get better. Russ knows that he’s open, he knows he can make the catches, he’s looking at him with the thought that he can make some stuff happen. We went right to him in the red zone. Unfortunately we get the (offensive pass interference) penalty on the first one, he should have had two touchdown catches on the day. I think everybody should be really excited about this. I know we are.”
5. Earl Thomas’ return was handled well on all sides.

Earl Thomas returned to the team last Wednesday after a holdout that covered all of training camp and the preseason, and not only did Thomas play well on the field, recording five tackles and an interception that set up a touchdown, he and the rest of the team also impressed Carroll with the way everyone responded to Thomas’ return.

“What was really exciting to see is just how it all came down,” Carroll said. “The way Earl handled it, the way the players handled it. Our guys in here really dealt with it just right, and Earl was embraced. Everybody made him feel comfortable. We realized that he might be the most uncomfortable guy in the place, just not knowing how he would be received, and our guys couldn’t have done it better really.”

6. Injury updates.
Receiver Doug Baldwin left the game with what Carroll said was an MCL sprain, and as of Monday morning there were no new specifics for Carroll to report.

“I haven’t heard back,” Carroll said. “He was sore last night, but he was walking OK and all that, he wasn’t hampered in that regard. He got hurt. There isn’t anybody tougher than him, and if he can come back he’ll come back. That’s why he went back in the game, and they were trying to talk him out of it to get him out of there.”
Linebacker K.J. Wright, who missed Sunday’s game while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, will run hard on Monday, but Carroll made it sound like it’s unlikely Wright will be back for Monday night’s game at Chicago.

“K.J. is running today for the first time really hard, so we’ll find out,” Carroll said. “It would be a miraculous return if he makes it back this week.”

Carroll doesn’t yet know if D.J. Fluker will get back from a hamstring injury, but if he has to miss a second straight game, the Seahawks feel confident with J.R. Sweezy at right guard.

“D.J., we’ve got to make sure we don’t take him too far too fast, we’ve got make sure he gets through,” Carroll said. “And Sweez did a good job in there for him, so we’re OK there if we’ve got to hold him another week.”

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Back when David Moore was an under-recruited receiver at Gainesville High School, his mom offered up some advice before he eventually went on to a successful college career at Division II East Central University.

“Listening to my mom, she would tell me, ‘it’s not about where you go, it’s what you do when you get there,’” Moore said. “Then when I got (to ECU), I had a good connection with my coach, and it just felt like home. The rest is history.”

It turns out Angie Moore might have been onto something. Because even if her son had to go to a Division II school in Oklahoma to show what he could do on the football field, Moore’s talents still got him noticed by NFL teams, including the Seahawks, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. Moore spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad before eventually earning a late-season call-up, and now with a year of experience under his belt, he looks not just like somebody who’s likely to make the team, but like a potential impact player.

“He has shown us that he really has special catching ability,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s got really good ability at the point of attack… At the point of attack, he’s really strong. He doesn’t look as studly as he is, he’s about 216, 218 (pounds), and he plays to that strength and it works for him. And he’s really good when the ball’s contested. So, that’s the thing that we like the most about and we know he can make things happen, so we really want to keep working to fit him in. He came from a program that was not at the same level that we’re at, so he’s been in the catch-up mode for some time. But, he’s way farther ahead than he was last year at this time, and we clearly have an appreciation for what he can do with the ball. He can catch the kicks too and punts, he’s ready to do all that stuff when we want him too. He’s really just become a bigger factor, and now we got to see how we can use him and see if we can get him in the right spots to utilize his talent.”
What’s most noteworthy about that praise being heaped upon Moore isn’t so much that an NFL head coach said those things about a former D-II player and seventh-round pick, it’s that Carroll said all of that two weeks ago before Moore was a standout in Seattle’s second and third preseason games. In Seattle’s second preseason game at Los Angeles, Moore made one of the plays of the preseason, somehow snatching the ball away from two defensive backs for a 52-yard gain. On the very next play, Russell Wilson went back to Moore, who drug his defender to the 1-yard line for a 19-yard catch. Last week in Minnesota, Moore caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Alex McGough, and he also returned a punt 75 yards for a touchdown, but that play came back due to a holding penalty.

Through three preseason games, Moore has a team-high 142 receiving yards and his five catches are the most among Seahawks receivers. He has also been a regular contributor on multiple special teams units before adding return duty last week. Moore said a year of NFL experience, even if most of it came in the form of practice, has made a world of a difference.

“When I was a rookie, it was all new, so having a year to learn it and learn from the best, I’m a lot more comfortable and I’m playing faster,” he said. “.. It’s just having another year under my belt. Last year was a learning process, just gaining knowledge from the veterans and coaches, and just getting some trust. I’m just coming out here playing fast, being more comfortable.”
And for all the spectacular plays Moore has made in preseason games, what really helps his chances of having a bigger role in 2018 is the way he performs on a daily basis in practice.

“It’s really nothing that we don’t see every day in practice,” offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said of Moore’s big-play ability. “We see it all the time in practice. What he’s doing now, which is cool, is the consistency. He’s doing it day-in, day-out. It used to be, when I first got here, there’d be a practice he’d have a great one then he’d take a couple steps back. We’re not seeing that; we’re seeing him play consistent. He’s so big, so powerful, and how competitive he can be to go up and fight. And that one catch (against the Chargers), I still don’t know how he got it, it’s pretty amazing.”

Moore’s playmaking ability has him looking like a player capable of a breakout season in 2018, something that seemed a long ways off when he was heading off to begin a Division-II college football career. Fortunately for Moore and the Seahawks, he followed the advice of his mom, and continues to do so today.

It’s not about where you go, it’s what you do when you get there.

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RENTON Nothing new about Earl Thomas. He missed another Wednesday practice, for the fifth consecutive game week.

But this is new: Seattle’s All-Pro safety is much more iffy to play than he has been all season.

Thomas continues to rest and get rehabilitation on his strained right hamstring he sustained late in last weekend’s win over Houston. He may not practice until Friday, if then. The Seahawks may not know until pregame warmups before they host Washington on Sunday if Thomas can play.

“No, not yet. We are going to wait a couple days,” coach Pete Carroll said before Wednesday’s practice. “We will see on Friday.”
Bradley McDougald is readying to make his first Seahawks start.

General manager John Schneider and his personnel staff signed the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers starter in the spring, to backup both Thomas and strong safety Kam Chancellor. His coaches have been finding increasing roles for him as a bigger, fifth, “nickel” defensive back inside against big receivers including tight ends.

“I’ve been working to be a starter since I’ve been here,” McDougald said. “So this is nothing different.”

Carroll says the Seahawks are lucky to have him.

“Very fortunately, on our end of it, Bradley has been a starter in the league for years and he’s got the experience, the savvy,” Carroll said. “He is a play maker. He is really tough. He’s a good tackler, and we have spotted him all over the place to do things in coverage as well as the running game. He is just a really, really good football player to be able to set up.

“There is no question. We don’t have any hesitation in him playing or keeping the plan, principles intact or anything of that. This was a guy that we were very fortunate to get in the offseason. John figured this one out early on and he’s been a great addition to our team and now he is ready to go. He is excited about it and I’m anxious to see him play.”
The Seahawks had 10 players sit out practice. That’s not entirely alarming on any November Wednesday after banging for seven games.

#Seahawks practice: Earl Thomas may not play; Jarran Reed new. Others seem vet rest/maintenance–except for Lane still coming back from HOU pic.twitter.com/DV5hBXfCN9

— Gregg Bell (@gbellseattle) November 1, 2017
Of those, Chancellor, Wagner, Bennett and Freeney seemed like veteran rest and/or maintenance days for nagging aches.

Lane was still returning from Houston after he failed his physical exam following Seattle trading him to the Texans to get left tackle Duane Brown, who debuted in Seahawks practice Wednesday. McDougald acknowledged that the situation of Lane’s return to the team that dealt him away “is definitely different” and that “Jeremy might be at a weird stage.”

My News Tribune colleague John McGrath details how awkward that whole deal is.

“Jeremy Lane is having one hell of a season,” McGrath writes. “With an emphasis on the hell.”

Reed’s concussion listing was new. He was getting praise last week from Carroll for his advancement in his second NFL season inside on the defensive front.

Britt sprained his ankle two games ago in the win at the New York Giants but finished that game while missing only six plays. He played all of last weekend’s win over the Texans. Carroll said his center and 2016 Pro Bowl alternate is OK to play again Sunday.

“He is fine,” the coach said. “We are going to go light on him today just to make sure from the aftermath of the game but he will be fine and ready to play.”

Freeney didn’t practice because he’s 37 and a future Hall-of-Fame pass rusher, and doesn’t have to.

 

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Cheap Authentic NFL Seahawks Womens Nazair Jones Jerseys 2017

The Seahawks were as active in the 2017 NFL draft as any team. They tied the Vikings and Bengals for the most picks with 11, including seven in the first 111 selections. And though none is assured of walking straight into starting jobs, several could start, and several others figure to be at least rotational players. With training camp set to begin Sunday, here’s a look at each draft pick: DL Malik McDowell: Seattle’s first pick at No. 35 overall in the second round, McDowell is expected to be used at defensive tackle and end in a role similar to that of Michael Bennett. Given the veterans ahead of him, McDowell isn’t likely to earn an official starting designation. But the team is counting on him to be a significant part of the rotation with a chance to play 40-60 percent of the snaps. Featured Video Mariners manager Scott Servais discusses his team’s 6-5 win over the Yankees. (4:20) Most Read Stories Foreign buyers drop off as Seattle housing market hits hottest tempo since 2006 bubble What drivers can and cannot do under Washington state’s new distracted-driving law ‘A painful and frustrating experience’: Horizon Air scheduling havoc will continue into the fall 3 teens killed in Alderwood Mall Parkway crash from Mill Creek high school ‘Security concerns’ shutter Seattle’s Movie Night at Magnuson Park Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks. OL Ethan Pocic: Seattle’s second pick in the second round will be tried at right guard and tackle, and his best shot could come at tackle where he will compete with last year’s first-round pick, Germain Ifedi. Pocic’s ability to also play center means that at the worst he figures to be one of the active linemen on game day, able to back up just about everywhere. CB Shaquill Griffin: Griffin might have the best shot of any rookie to earn a starting role, as he will compete for the right-cornerback spot opposite Richard Sherman. Jeremy Lane is the leader for that job and his experience might make him hard to dislodge. Neiko Thorpe also is a factor in that competition. Lane, though, still could be the team’s nickelback, meaning Griffin and Thorpe could be competing to be the right cornerback when the team is in nickel, an alignment it could use roughly two-thirds of the time this season. SS Delano Hill: A third-rounder out of Michigan, he projects for this season as a backup to Kam Chancellor and a special-teams contributor, and he could get on the field in some sub packages. DL Nazair Jones: The third of the team’s four third-round picks, Jones will compete for time at tackle behind Jarran Reed and Ahtyba Rubin, specifically filling in at the three-technique spot. WR Amara Darboh: The fourth third-round pick, Darboh will compete for a spot in the receiving rotation, likely more for the outside roles. A spot on the 53-man roster seems to be a given. S Tedric Thompson: The last of the team’s seven picks in the top 111, Thompson figures to start out at free safety where he would back up Earl Thomas (veteran free agent Bradley McDougald can back up at both safety spots). But it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Seahawks put Thompson at corner to judge his ability to play there. He could emerge as a player who is similar to DeShawn Shead in his early years, able to back up at several spots. CB Mike Tyson: Primarily a safety in college, Tyson is being tried as a cornerback by the Seahawks, primarily as a nickel. There’s enough uncertainty at cornerback that it’s not out of the realm for Tyson to earn a roster spot and see time this season. OL Justin Senior: A sixth-round pick, Senior is competing at left tackle behind George Fant, Luke Joeckel and Rees Odhiambo. But when he was drafted the Seahawks essentially said they view Senior as a project — in part due to a need to lose some weight — and he seems ticketed for the practice squad. But given the nature of Seattle’s offensive line, you never know. WR David Moore: Moore will compete for a spot on the back end of the 53-man roster with Tanner McEvoy, Kasen Williams and Kenny Lawler. The big question could be if those four are competing for one spot or two — or who knows, three? — depending on how they play and how the roster shakes out elsewhere. RB Chris Carson: The Seahawks seem fairly loaded at tailback with Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise locks to make it and second-year player Alex Collins and former 49er Mike Davis also competing for a roster spot. But Carson is a favorite of coach Pete Carroll, who said “I really love this guy’’ after the Seahawks picked him. Carson was sidelined for most of the offseason program, so it’s hard to tell if he can claim a roster spot. But given Carroll’s endorsement he figures to get a long look.

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NFL training camp gets going in three weeks, and that means the NFL regular season is only two months away. I imagine most of us will be focusing on our San Francisco 49ers during training camp, but it will help to know a little bit about the rest of the league. SB Nation’s 32 NFL sites are putting together basic rundowns of what their team has been up to this offseason.

Each explainer includes free agent additions and departures, trades, draft picks expected to contribute as rookies, biggest offseason addition, biggest storyline, underrated storyline, and notable injuries. The idea is to give you a quick but thorough background on each team. We’ll use these to look at 49ers opponents, but if we have time, I want to try and use all 32 to give us a nice look around the league.

Today, we move on to the Seattle Seahawks, courtesy of our friends at Field Gulls. The 49ers travel to face their division rival in Week 2, and host them in Week 12.

The 49ers have lost seven straight to the Seahawks, and have not won in Seattle since 2011. It was an intense rivalry at times, but it has become decidedly one-sided. The 49ers hung close in their home game last year, but came up short.

The Seahawks remain the standard-bearer in the NFC West. They are heavy favorites to win the NFC West, but the bigger question is how much longer their window is open to win another Super Bowl. Most important right now is that they have put some work into beginning the overhaul of their secondary. They drafted a cornerback and two safeties, and it will be interesting to see how soon they begin the transition away from some of their notable names.

On offense, they signed Austin Davis over Colin Kaepernick to compete for a backup role to Russell Wilson. It was a bit of an up-and-down season for Wilson last year as he was banged up at different points. If he gets hurt, they’re in trouble.

Notable free agent additions: RB Eddie Lacy, OT/OG Luke Joeckel, OG Oday Aboushi, LB Michael Wilhoite, LB Arthur Brown, S/CB Bradley McDougald, QB Austin Davis, LB Terence Garvin, DE Dion Jordan, K Blair Walsh

Notable free agent departures: OT Bradley Sowell, K Steven Hauschka, OT Garry Gilliam, TE Brandon Williams, RB Troymaine Pope, FB Will Tukuafu, DT Tony McDaniel, LB Brock Coyle, DE Damontre Moore

Trades: RB Marshawn Lynch to Raiders

Draft picks expected to contribute as rookies:

DT/5-Tech Malik McDowell – The Seahawks traded down twice and eventually selected McDowell out of Michigan State to be their answer to a lack of an inside pass rush. As a rookie, I expect him to be a regular rotation player on the inside with run-stopper Jarran Reed, their second round pick in 2016. Fans and experts will keep a close eye on McDowell’s effort and commitment early on.

C/G/T Ethan Pocic – Seattle needed to address their league-worst offensive line at some point, and they did so with Pocic at pick 58. He was an All-American center at LSU but is competing at tackle and guard for the Seahawks. If he doesn’t win a starting job it would be mildly surprising, but at worst he’ll be the next man up as a super-sub.

CB Shaquill Griffin – The Seahawks needed someone to play either outside or nickel cornerback following the ACL tear to DeShawn Shead last season and the struggles of Jeremy Lane. Griffin has drawn immediate praise from defensive coordinator Kris Richard as one of the smartest players they’ve had at the position (third round is the earliest Pete Carroll has drafted a corner in his eight seasons with the team) and he’ll probably be the first man up for the slot when Seattle is in nickel. That pretty much makes him a starter as Lane played 71% of snaps last season while playing in the slot. Griffin could also potentially start on the outside opposite of Sherman.

S Delano Hill and S Tedric Thompson – The Seahawks clearly needed depth at safety after they struggled mightily following the broken leg to Earl Thomas last season and the constant bang-ups to Kam Chancellor. Depth is markedly improved but Hill and Thompson may play sparingly as rookies.

DT Naz Jones – Another third round pick (Seattle had four), Jones probably sits and learns for a bit, but Carroll will give him the opportunity to compete for a spot in the rotation.

WR Amara Darboh – The Seahawks drafted Darboh with their last pick in the third round, which is high enough to consider Darboh a player to watch this season. He’s been compared to Jermaine Kearse, a player that a lot of fans want to see replaced immediately as a starter. Darboh, and fellow rookies David Moore (seventh round) and Cyril Grayson (signed before the draft, a track star who never played football at LSU) are all drawing praise in offseason workouts.

Biggest offseason addition:

There are a number of players to seriously consider here, including Joeckel, Lacy, McDowell, and Pocic, but I’ll go with Shaq Griffin. The Seahawks have had the best secondary in the NFL for most of the last five years, but that started to crumble last season. Griffin could become a staple of the next iteration of the Legion of Boom and they may need him immediately. He has the ball skills and athleticism to excel in Carroll’s system, and Carroll is arguably the best defensive backs coach in NFL history. I’ll go with Griffin, followed by Lacy. Seattle needs to get their run game back on track too.

Biggest storyline heading into training camp:

The offensive line’s ability to protect Russell Wilson this year. The o-line was the biggest story for all the wrong reasons in 2016, but the additions of Joeckel, Aboushi, and Pocic, plus the hopeful maturation of Germain Ifedi and George Fant, could push it to at least getting out of the cellar. Wilson doesn’t need much to work with to stay on his feet, as he’s one of the most athletic QBs in the league, but he needs more than they gave him last year when he suffered three notable injuries. As Wilson goes, so do the Seahawks. Plus it wouldn’t hurt to open up more lanes for Lacy, Thomas Rawls, and secret superstar C.J. Prosise.

Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp:

I would keep an eye on the role that newly-signed safety Bradley McDougald plays. The coaches seem very excited about him and the role he’ll play in 2017, so I think there’s reason for optimism that he could become a key player and a fan favorite almost immediately. McDougald flew under the radar during his three-and-change seasons with the Buccaneers and signed a one-year deal in Seattle, but he could be just the type of guy who was bottled up and needs the right system to truly fly. If he does, there’s a good chance the Seahawks won’t be able to keep him and he’ll be one-and-done.

Notable injuries heading into training camp:

Seattle fans have kept close tabs on the broken legs of Earl Thomas and Tyler Lockett. Both seem on track for Week 1. DeShawn Shead (ACL) will probably start the season on PUP but could be a huge boost for the second half of the season. C.J. Prosise, Thomas Rawls, and Eddie Lacy are slated to be the running backs; none are dealing with specific injuries right now that should keep them out for Week 1, but all have extensive injury histories and that’s a concern that fans hope doesn’t pop up this season with much regularity.

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The Seattle Seahawks were active on day two of the draft, making six selections between 35 and 106. All six are almost certain to make the final roster, though they’ll be competing for various levels of important roles in 2017. At least two of them — second rounder Ethan Pocic and third rounder Shaq Griffin — may in fact be regular starters right away. Others could be basically right on that next cusp between starter and regular role player.

Here’s some of what the second and third round rookies have been up to in the two months or so since the draft, including tweets, film breakdowns, news articles, and more.

Malik McDowell, 35th overall, DT, Michigan State

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Malik McDowell ✔ @MSU_LEEK4
DatWay DatWay S/o to the 12’s
7:09 AM – 26 May 2017
98 98 Retweets 436 436 likes
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Malik McDowell ✔ @MSU_LEEK4
I’ve been waiting on my chicken wings for like 2 hours
12:20 PM – 14 May 2017
1 1 Retweet 65 65 likes
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As far as Malik’s film at Michigan State and his potential future with the Seahawks, there’s an in-depth RSP Film Room breakdown with Matt Waldman and Doug Farrar:
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Curtis Crabtree @Curtis_Crabtree
Carroll said Malik McDowell “has really come on already.” Said he’ll be able to play 5-tech spot for them.
4:52 AM – 3 Jun 2017
9 9 Retweets 30 30 likes
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Ethan Pocic, 58th overall, C/G, LSU
Pocic was an All-American center at LSU, but he’s been competing at tackle for Seattle. If he wins that job on the right side, it could keep Germain Ifedi at right guard, which may or may not be a good thing. Pete Carroll, to no one’s surprise, had good things to say about Pocic so far:

“He’s already studied his tail off to get here, you can tell,’’ he said. “He’s a bright football player, really tuned in, just all of the right signals in the first day and a half he’s been here as far as being ready to apply himself. He had a great experience at LSU. He’s played a ton of football, and it shows.”
Carroll added that they know what Pocic can do at center so there’s no reason to keep working him there. (Plus, Justin Britt exists and the Seahawks need help on the offensive line right now.)

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Liz Mathews ✔ @Liz_Mathews
Carroll said both Luke Joeckel and Ethan Pocic showing ability at guard and tackle. #Seahawks
4:06 AM – 16 Jun 2017
2 2 Retweets 6 6 likes
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You can also go back and re-visit Sam Gold’s film room breakdown of Pocic.

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Pro Football Focus ✔ @PFF
Ethan Pocic’s proficiency in pass protection is a welcome addition to the @Seahawks
4:16 PM – 23 Jun 2017
40 40 Retweets 153 153 likes
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Shaquill Griffin, 90th overall, CB, UCF

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Seattle Seahawks ✔ @Seahawks
Go get it, @ShaquillG. #LOB
6:16 AM – 14 Jun 2017
246 246 Retweets 994 994 likes
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The News Tribune’s Gregg Bell recently wrote that Griffin is very much in the mix for a starting job and defensive coordinator Kris Richard is excited about Griffin’s future:

“He’s got probably one of the best corner minds that we’ve had for a young guy around here,” Richard, the team’s previous defensive backs coach, said. “That’s just in regards to leverage, positioning, the understanding of our coverages and where we need him to be.”

“We’re going to be really excited to see him strap it up and get out there and actually be able to compete for the football while it’s in the air. That’s going to be the next phase,” Richard said. “But his technique has been improving day after day, and he has real strength. He has strength in his hands, you can tell he’s a powerful guy, and obviously his speed is there.”
Carroll chimed in too:

“He’s really diligent. He’s real fast. Technique-wise, it’s not hard for him to make it look right. Camp will be huge for him. None of the DBs were able to compete at the ball throughout this whole offseason, so we don’t see any of that. We have no evaluation of those guys. They can’t make a play on the ball unless it’s thrown right to them. So they have a lot to show still when they come back. The one-on-one work when they get back. The seven on seven against our best guys and all of that will show us a lot more. So it’s hard to make a full evaluation.”
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Shaquill Griffin ✔ @ShaquillG
I’m Here To Make An Impact! #TrustTheProcess
5:02 AM – 4 Jul 2017
121 121 Retweets 784 784 likes
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Shaquill Griffin ✔ @ShaquillG
Major #Respect ! ✊ @RSherman_25
4:14 AM – 19 Jun 2017
498 498 Retweets 2,543 2,543 likes
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Delano Hill, 95th overall, S, Michigan
Hill’s safety teammate Jabrill Peppers was a Heisman candidate and a first round pick, but Erik Turner of cover1.net had plenty of praise for the former.

But if you want a true safety, then you don’t have to look far. When you turn on the Michigan film, you will see his teammate, safety Delano Hill, consistently making plays. He may not have the ceiling or elite athleticism that Peppers does, but he is a safer pick. He is an NFL safety, a guy whose film is very good, a leader on and off the field. You know what you are getting with him, and that is consistency.
Hill may specialize against tight ends.

This play also exemplifies what Hill was asked to do at Michigan. Much like this play, in the NFL Hill will be matched up with tight ends frequently. Brown was so confident in Hill’s abilities that he often matched Hill up versus opposing tight ends and receivers in the box and in the slot. Hill is really good at pressing, disrupting and getting into the hip pocket of offensive players.
Carroll likes players who know how to tackle, and that is a strength of Hill’s.

Hill worked from a lot of single high and two high sets, often rotating down late, post-snap. When he recognizes run, he gets downhill and makes form tackles on play after play. Hill finished the 2016 season with 27 tackles versus the run and 11 stops. Overall, tackling ability definitely goes to Hill. He finished as the 5th highest (14.5) in combined tackling efficiency. When he gets ahold of the offensive player, he doesn’t let go. That is a trait that you want your safety to possess, as he is the team’s last line of defense.

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Todd Milles @ManyHatsMilles
Now it is SS Delano Hill showing off quick footwork backpedaling in pass coverage at Seahawks rookie mini camp Sunday.
3:33 AM – 15 May 2017
2 2 Retweets 5 5 likes
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Nazair Jones, 102nd overall, DT, UNC

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Carolina Football ✔ @TarHeelFootball
[email protected] forces the fumble and allows @ItsMeCT_7 to run it in for a TD! #FedorasTop40
11:00 PM – 26 Jun 2017
22 22 Retweets 143 143 likes
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Hoa Duong @HTD_38
Big Thank You to @nazjones90 for coming out today at @KingCash_7191 camp and coaching the kids. #CassiusMarshCamp
11:10 AM – 5 Jun 2017 · Renton, WA
4 4 Retweets 34 34 likes
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Carroll noted recently that Jones “hasn’t missed a beat” in camp, but didn’t go in much detail beyond that.

Amara Darboh, 106th overall, WR, Michigan
Doug Baldwin is known for being boastful, but not just about himself, also his teammates often. In this case, he was like a proud papa talking about Seattle’s rookie receivers Darboh, David Moore, and Cyril Grayson.

“What (Darboh) has shown us out here on the practice field , also in the meeting rooms, is that he is going to compete at the highest level,” Baldwin said. “That’s all we ask for is a guy to come in and be willing to work as hard as everybody else in the room.”
Baldwin added that Moore has great hands and that Grayson isn’t showing the rust of a guy who didn’t play football in college at LSU.