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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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GREEN BAY, Wis. Jimmy Graham began the final season of his $40 million contract on Sunday.

It was not a roaring start.

On the first play of the Seahawks’ 17-9 loss at Green Bay in the season opener on Sunday at Lambeau Field, Russell Wilson threw incomplete to his star tight end. That was largely because Rees Odhiambo, making his first career start at left tackle, got beaten by a Packers pass rusher at the snap.

On the second play of the season, Wilson flipped a lateral outside right to wide receiver Doug Baldwin. Baldwin lost 3 yards because Graham didn’t block the Packer in front of him.

By midway through the first quarter Wilson was under siege behind the malfunctioning offensive line. The Seahawks began keeping Graham, second tight end Luke Willson, even running backs Tre Madden, Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise in to help on pass protection. At the end of helping, Graham would peel off into short, dump-off routes.

That and a couple incomplete passes on well-covered plays designed for him are why he had three catches on seven targets for only 8 yards on Sunday.
Wilson threw to Graham on two of the game’s bigger—and for Seattle, more frustrating—plays.

On third and goal from the 3 in the third quarter with the Seahawks down 7-3, Wilson scrambled away from more pressure and threw for the 6-foot-7 Graham in the back right of the end zone. Before the high pass arrived, two Packers hit Graham. The officials, two of them on the spot, did not throw a flag for pass interference.

Carroll said he was told it was because the officials deemed the throw uncatchable out of the back of the end zone. The coach noted he saw the ball land in the white, 3-yard, painted border that is immediately past the end line. Wilson also said he thought Graham got hit early on the play.

The Seahawks got Blair Walsh’s second field goal instead and still trailed 7-6. They never got closer to the lead.

With 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter Seattle trailed 14-6 and had another third and 3, from its own 44. Wilson threw a back-shoulder pass deep down the left sideline to Graham, who had beaten his defender deep in Packers territory. Graham turned to his left, had the ball on both hands—then dropped it before it plopped out of bounds into the triumphant Green Bay sideline.

Instead of being poised for a potential tying touchdown, the Seahawks punted for sixth and final time.
Graham is months from the end of the contract Seattle inherited when it traded two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger and a first-round pick to New Orleans for him in 2015. He could become a free agent in March. Some have looked ahead to the possibility the Seahawks will decide not to invest multiple years in the 30-year-old tight end and instead use their franchise tag to keep Graham for 2018 on a one-year contract. That would be either at the average of the top five salaries for tight ends next year or for a mandated 120 percent of the 2017 franchise-tag salary for tight ends of $9,865,555, or $11,838,666, whichever is higher.

On Sunday, that looked like a particularly steep cost for production gained.

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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.