Seattle Seahawks

Behold Seattle rookie TE Will Dissly; "He was like Mike Ditka out there."

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USA Today

Behold Seattle rookie TE Will Dissly; "He was like Mike Ditka out there."

DENVER - The word on Seattle rookie tight end Will Dissly during much of training camp was that he excelled as a strong blocker. 

Quarterback Russell Wilson, however, dropped more extensive hints regarding Dissly's all-around skills, referring to the fourth-round pick out of Washington as one of the best athletes on the team. 

During Sunday's 27-24 loss at Denver, Dissly went from potential backup blocking tight end to maybe one of the most added tight ends in the fantasy football universe when he hauled in three receptions for 105 yards (all in the first half) and scored the first touchdown of his career, and the season for the Seahawks.

According to NFL Network, Dissly became the first tight end in league history to have 100 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut. 

Not bad for a guy that played defensive end his first two seasons at Washington and amassed a modest 336 yards receiving during his collegiate career. 

“He was on fire," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "He was Ditka, he was like [Pro Football Hall of Famer] Mike Ditka out there. He just missed a couple other ones too. We just overthrew him a bit. He might have had two or three more catches. He was really in the right spot and he deployed well for the game plan and all that. And again, we have been talking about this, he is doing great for us and I am really happy to see him contribute like that."

[RELATED: Seahawks' offensive line leaves Denver conflicted]

Dissly started the game along with Nick Vannett in a two tight end formation. Dissly is listed on the team's depth chart as the starting tight end in place of injured veteran, Ed Dickson, who missed the entire preseason. The Seahawks acquired Dickson, an eight-year veteran out of Oregon with a Super Bowl ring he won with Baltimore, to replace Jimmy Graham (Green Bay) and provide Seattle with more of a blocking presence at the position. Dickson not being able to perform appeared to be a huge detriment for the team. But Dissly clearly is quite the fill-in and has earned the trust of quarterback Russell Wilson. 

“It was just a cool opportunity to go out there that first game, and to do some special things," Dissly said. "Russ was awesome, putting the ball right where it needs to be. I just have to make some plays. Obviously, we have some work to do going forward, but it was a cool way to start for sure.”

Nobody seems to know when Dickson will return. When he does, Dissly figured to remain very much in the mix.  

Dissly's first reception on Sunday came in the first quarter on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to give Seattle a brief, 7-0 lead. Dissly, aligned to the left of the formation, pass blocked, delaying his release, and then slipped out to find nobody covering him over the top. Wilson lobbed an easy pass to Dissly for the touchdown. 

Dissly's biggest play of the game came on a 66-yard reception in the second quarter. 

From the Seattle 31, Dissly, aligned to the right, ran an over route and caught Wilson's pass at the 44 between two defenders closing in quickly. One went low, and missed Dissly's feet, the other went high and bounced off of Dissly like a child would an adult.

“You can’t slow down at all," Dissly said. "When you see green grass, you are pushing pedal to the medal and are trying to go as fast as you can.”

Dissly then cut left and speed to the Denver 30, where he received a helpful block from wide receiver Brandon Marshall and then shook another pursuing Denver defensive back. Now free down the sideline, Dissly looked like he might score but was eventually pushed out of bounds at the Denver 5-yard line by linebacker Brandon Marshall (no relation). 

The entire play, Dissly said, sort of just happened without much thought. 

"It's kind of funny," Dissly said. "You don't really think about a whole lot during those plays. You just try to get into the end zone. It was a cool play."

The big play set up a 35-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski to give Seattle a 10-7 lead. 

Dissly's performance only reinforced Wilson's faith in the rookie. 

“He’s been great all training camp," Wilson said. "He has been great all OTAs. He’s been a rock star for us. I think he’s been rock solid. He has been able to step into the role of playing tight end and making plays. He is very fundamental. He’s very smart. He gets the game. He is one of our best athletes in general. He can do a little bit of everything. He played a great game. We’ll get everyone else involved too, as well. I think it’ll be an exciting year for us."

Unfortunately, despite Dissly's exploits, Seattle did lose. That made it difficult for Dissly to rate even catching his first NFL touchdown in the list of sports thrills in his life.  

"Give me 24 hours," Dissly said with a smile. "Gotta get over this game, first. But that was fun. That was special. Catching the ball from Russell Wilson is always cool. And we're going to have a lot more opportunities going down the road."

-- Aaron Fentress covers the Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks for NBCSportsNorthwest. You can follow him on Twitter Facebook and Instagram.  

Seahawks' offensive line leaves Denver conflicted

Seahawks' offensive line leaves Denver conflicted

DENVER - Seattle center Justin Britt had the look of a disappointed player following the Seahawks' 27-24 loss Sunday at Denver.

A victory was there for the taking in one of the toughest places to play in the NFL and against what appears to be an improved Broncos team coming off of a disappointing 5-11 season. Unfortunately for Britt and the Seahawks, Denver's defense disrupted Seattle just enough to allow its offense to steal the game late at Denver Broncos Stadium at Mile High.

Hanging over the offensive line's head were a three-sack, two forced fumble performance from Denver linebacker Von Miller, one of the best in the game. His performance, and the other three sacks registered by Denver, jump off the stat sheet, especially given the microscope this offensive line is under after putting forth two miserable seasons. 

Yet, Britt didn't dwell on all that went wrong. Instead, he zeroed in on what the offensive line did well and left him and the team encouraged about the potential the Seahawks showed here today.  

"There's a lot of positives to grow from and learn from," Britt said. "We've just got to keep at it. This will not define us. This is a really good team and there are a lot of really good things that are going to happen in the future."

The tale of Seattle's 2018 season will likely be written with the blood, sweat and tears of the five men entrusted with protecting superstar quarterback Russell Wilson and paving the way for the team's running backs. They must rise as a group in order for the Seahawks to have a chance at improving on last year's 9-7 mark that caused them to miss the playoffs for the first time in six years.

To that end, it's safe to say that Sunday's performance might have revealed some promise but was also much of the same. Seattle rushed for just 64 yards on 16 carries. Seattle averaged 101.8 last season with Wilson leading the team in rushing. That and Seattle only handed the ball 14 times to its running backs (seven carries each for both Chris Carson and rookie Rashaad Penny) was also telling, especially given how close this game was.

"I thought whenever we were running, it was pretty good," Britt said. 

But they didn't look to run very often. Consider that Denver handed the ball to its trio of running backs 32 times. Not running the ball well forced Seattle into a lot of poor third down situations. The Seahawks converted on two of 12 third down attempts. Seattle coach Pete Carroll lamented what he called an all too familiar theme.

"Third downs were lousy..." he said. "And we didn't run the ball as well as we wanted to. And we wound up getting sacked a bunch of times." 

Penalties also didn't help. The offensive line had several, the biggest being a holding penalty on right guard J.R. Sweezy, negating a 44-yard gain by Carson on a screen play in the second quarter. 

Seattle, as it did last season, put the game in the hands of Wilson, who almost stole the game. He threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. But about those sacks, though. 

"I think they did an amazing job," Penny said of the offensive line, which was without right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring). "You can only do so much to 58 (Miller). That's a good defensive front. I think we played pretty well. And I think it was more execution for us."

Sack problems were also on Wilson, who admitted that three were his fault. He flat out tried to do too much against pressure on a few occasions. On a second down and one situation in the second quarter at Seattle's 41 with 37 seconds remaining in the half and chance to get into field goal range, Wilson elected not to throw the ball away against pressure but instead tried to spin to his left and evade a rusher only to encounter linebacker Shaquil Barrett. Sack. Minus 22 yards. Seattle then let the clock run out to end the half. 

"I think a couple of those were on me," Wilson said. "On third down, trying to make a play, if it's not there I'm not just going to give up on the play. So, I'd definitely say three of those were on me trying to make a play."

For the most part, Wilson said he felt like the line played well enough, but everyone needs to improve. They'd better. Life for Seattle's offensive line doesn't get any easier next week. After struggling with Miller and Denver's defense, Seattle will next face Chicago and newly-acquired former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Khalil Mack next Monday night on the road. 

Britt said this group will make the necessary changes. 

"We're competitive," he said. "We're grinders. We're smart. We're fast. We're physical. We just have to stay true to us."
 

Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin leaves Denver game with knee injury

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USA Today

Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin leaves Denver game with knee injury

UPDATED

DENVER - Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin left today's game at Denver in the first quarter with a knee injury. 

Baldwin went down in the first quarter. Seattle trainers attended to him and appeared to be examining his right knee. Baldwin did rise up and exit the field under his own power, but was noticeably limping. He returned momentarily but could not contiue. It was announced in the third quarter that Baldwin would not return. 

Denver won 27-24. 

“He has got a little MCL sprain in his other knee and so we have just got to see what that means," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after the game. "He went back in the game and played some, but, we just eventually kind of talked him out of playing because he wanted to keep going, you know, and we just want to make sure we take care of him.”

Baldwin missed all of the preseason with a left knee injury and upon his return to practice last week said that he wasn't quite 100 percent and probably wouldn't be all season. 

[READ: Seahawks' WR Doug Baldwin back in action, but not 100 percent]

Baldwin, a two-time Pro Bowl receiver, was targeted just one time and did not have a reception on the day. 

 

Seattle LB Shaquem Griffin ready to shine

Seattle LB Shaquem Griffin ready to shine

Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner is accustomed to having K.J. Wright next to him at outside linebacker.

Wagner knows Wright. He trusts Wright. They've won a Super Bowl together over the past six seasons. Sunday in Denver, however, Wagner will instead be flanked by a rookie because Wright is out with a knee injury.

It'll be a rookie selected in the fifth-round, at that. No worries. Wagner has expressed confidence in Shaquem Griffin's abilities. The Central Florida product will be making an historic start, becoming the first modern NFL player to play in a regular season game without one of his hands. Griffin lost his left hand at birth when he and his twin brother, Seattle cornerback Shaquill Griffin, came into the world 23 years ago.

It's a monumental achievement to be sure. But success will only continue if Shaquem Griffin is mentally ready for the moment.

"It’s just all communication," Wagner said. "At the end of the day, you just don’t want to make him think too much. So, if there’s anything I can do to take off of his plate, so that he won’t have to think so much, and just fly around and make plays, that’s what I will do."

Griffin continuously made plays during the preseason while leading the team with 26 tackles. But Sunday he will face a different situation and environment altogether. Griffin will be on the road in an extremely difficult place to play and going up against a team that actually put together a game plan. 

“I’m feeling good," Griffin said. "Got my legs under me, learned a lot. I think this week, practice-wise, was my best week from a fundamentals (standpoint). I feel so much (more) confident than any other game I’ve been in. I’m kind of excited to have the first start."

Griffin said he approached the first preseason game against the Colts by simply running fast and trying to make plays without worrying about mistakes. In the second game at the Los Angeles Chargers, Griffin sought to make the same types of plays while cleaning up past mistakes. 

"But they don’t want you to try to be perfect, they want you to have fun and play fast," Griffin said.

So that's been his approach. Play fast. Locate the ball. Make the tackle. Whatever errors occur can be cleaned up later. 

"I can’t put too much pressure on myself thinking that I’m going to make every single play, I’m going to be perfect, because you’re never going to have a perfect game," he said. "But, you can control your effort, you can control what you give, you can control your tackle, you can control a lot of things, but you can’t just think you just are going to be perfect because you never know what happens.”

Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.'s message to Griffin is to treat Sunday's game just like any other. Norton said Griffin has been a sponge for knowledge.   

"It’s been fun to coach him, it’s been fun to watch his growth, the questions that he’s asked over the days and weeks have been improving and getting better and it’s just amazing to watch his development," Norton said. 

Griffin has received a lot of attention this preseason because of his unique story. The exposure, for Griffin, has not been on his radar. He doesn't seek the limelight. Helping to keep him grounded is his brother. 

“He’s like the hardest critic on me," Shaquem said.

After other teammates and the coaches give Shaquem pointers on the field and in meetings, Shaquill doubles up at home. 

"It helps me though because each day, I’m able to do better than what I did the day before." Shaquem said. "So, that’s kind of cool when you can go home and watch film and walk through all the steps over again.”

Starting alongside his brother will be extremely special. 

"Once we get the time to sit down and think about it, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a cool moment," Shaquem said. "At this point, we know we’re both excited, we both talked about it before we got to the game. We’re just going to go out there and handle business and enjoy it while doing it."

Having Sunday be a successful day will require a win and Shaquem Griffin playing well. Both could rely on the rookie's ability to continue to learn on the fly and make plays. 

"It's going to be the first time on the road, so being calm and understanding that this is no different than any other game." Wagner said.

If that's the case, then Shaquem Griffin should do just fine. 

REPORT: Seattle safety Earl Thomas to start at Denver

REPORT: Seattle safety Earl Thomas to start at Denver

Seattle safety Earl Thomas will start Sunday at Denver, according to a report from ESPN. 

Thomas ended his holdout this week and returned to practice on Wednesday. 

[RELATED: Will disgruntled Earl Thomas give Seahawks maximum effort?]

Thomas will replace Tedric Thompson in the starting lineup and start alongside Bradley McDougald. 

 

 

Brandon Marshall could determine Seattle's fate

Brandon Marshall could determine Seattle's fate

If Seattle wide receiver Brandon Marshall remains healthy for most of the season and gives the team 80 percent of what he has been during his 12-year career, the Seahawks have a strong chance of returning to the playoffs after a one-year absence. 

If Marshall can't become a major contributor, Seattle won't have enough offensive firepower to overcome other deficiencies and reach .500. 

Of course, this is an opinion and not fact. But the addition of Marshall has always evoked thoughts of what could be should quarterback Russell Wilson add such a potent receiving target to the starting duo of Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. 

"Think about how many catches he’s had (959), he’s a true superstar, he can make all the plays," Wilson said of the six-time Pro Bowler. "I think he loves the game, too."

Marshall's passion for the game allowed him to work his way back from a serious ankle injury that cost him 11 games last season with the New York Giants and at age 34 made it appear that his career was all but done. But after months of rehabilitating and easing his way back into action, Marshall is good to go for the regular season, which begins Sunday at his old stomping grounds in Denver. 

"It took him a while to get in shape, so we just had to postpone the evaluation on him, but his intent has always been there," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "His smarts, his willingness, all of that has always been there and then when his body came into good shape and he settled down – he’s still showing us all of the things that he can do."

Marshall began his career in Denver as a fourth-round pick in 2006. He had three 1,000-yard efforts in four seasons with the Broncos and said he is looking forward to returning Sunday for the first time since Denver traded him to Miami in 2010. 

"It’s fun going back, that’s where I started, and it’s a first-class organization – it’s a special place,” Marshall told reporters.

Marshall's early bouts with mental health issues, coupled with off-the-field distractions, led to him being viewed at as an attitude problem. That led to him bouncing around the league to Miami, Chicago, the New York Jets, and most recently the New York Giants. But Marshall took control of his mental health issues years ago and became one of the first professional athletes to publicly address his problem and help create public awareness. 

It appeared that his career would end last year in New York until the Seahawks took a flyer on him with a modest one-year, $1.1 million contract. The trick for Marshall was to get healthy and back into shape. Now, he and the Seahawks believe he is close enough to his old self that expectations are high. Maybe being named NFL Comeback Player of the Year is in his near future.  

"Definitely had to overcome a lot of obstacles but that is the goal," Marshall said. "That’s my mindset. It’s a long season. Last week was the first week where I felt like 100%. Now it’s just, knocking the rust off and getting in game shape."

Marshall is motivated by not going out with a 154-yard season a year ago while coming off of 788 with the Jets in 2016. The year prior, Marshall caught 109 passes for 1,502 yards and 14 touchdowns with the Jets. However, there can be a huge difference between performing at 31, his age in 2015, and at age 34. 

"I’m still trying to prove myself to not only the world, but also most importantly my teammates and my coaches here," he said. "On paper, it’s a 34-year old receiver with two down years so every day I go out there, I remind myself I want to prove to #3 (Russell Wilson) what type of receiver I am and what he has out there, and (offensive coordinator) coach Schotty (Brian Schottenheimer) the same thing.”

Marshall shouldn't be expected to add a ninth 1,000-yard season to his career stat sheet. But gaining the needed 62.5 receiving yards per game over 16 outings is not completely beyond the realm of possibility, if he remains healthy. 

"We’re excited to include him in the offense," Carroll said. "We have some thoughts that we’re trying to make him look really good – that’s the idea."

If all goes well, Seattle's running game will be vastly improved and Marshall will add a dimension to the passing game as tall, reliable target on third down and in the red zone. Only then could Seattle have a legitimate chance of returning to the postseason. If Marshall can't deliver, the offense won't be able to overcome the shortcomings on defense to get the job done. Marshall believes he is on a potential playoff team. 

"We have the makeup," he said. " We have the leadership and the coaching staff and the locker room and we have the work ethic, but as you guys know, any given Sunday (anything can happen)."

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson embraces youth and return of Earl Thomas

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson embraces youth and return of Earl Thomas

Add Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson to the list of players happy to see All-Pro safety Earl Thomas return to the team after ending his contract holdout. 

Wilson and Thomas are two of only a handful of stars remaining from the Super Bowl years. 

"Guys were real excited obviously," Wilson told reporters on Thursday. "I think just to have our brother back, all the hard work he’s done. We all love Earl (Thomas) and the way that he prepares. Him coming out for the first walk-through yesterday, just how zoned in he is and how locked in his eyes are. He loves the game, he wants to be the best to ever do it. He arguably is. I think that as a friend, Earl and I have been close for quite a bit now. I think just to see him back and seeing him (do) what he loves to do. He loves his family and he loves playing football. I think that he’s in a good place to be ready to play and play well.”

Thomas will likely play Sunday at Denver in the season opener, but he might not start the game. 

--- Fresh faces abound

Seattle has seen its share of changes over the past couple of years, by never more than its undergone the past nine months. Consequently, there are a lot new faces on the roster and some in key roles. On offense alone, Wilson will be playing with starting right guard D.J. FlukerBrandon Marshall, Jaron Brown and David Moore as backup receivers, rookie Will Dissly and Ed Dickson at tight end and rookie Rashaad Penny at running back.

Wilson said the younger players on the team have added a sense of excitement. 

"They love the work and they love just being out here," Wilson said. "I reflect back to my first opportunity of playing and just having the opportunity. Sometimes, I won’t say you take it for granted but sometimes you forget how good these days are when you’re young and just forget. You go to practice and everything else, you play for years and years and you want to have a young heart. You want to have a young spirit, and I think that a lot of these guys definitely have that – and even our vets, we all have that."

--- Wilson comfortable with tight end group

Seattle made a big decision by letting Jimmy Graham go during the offseason, but Wilson is confident in the four tight ends on the roster. Most importantly, with veteran Ed Dickson still hobbled, Wilson said he feels comfortable with Nick Vannett and rookie Will Dissly protecting him when they are not out on pass routes. 

“I think (Will) Dissly and Nick Vannett, those two guys have really stepped up to the plate and they’re tough as nails," Wilson said. "They’re excited about getting in there and playing a lot. Obviously, Dissly’s being a rookie, has stepped into our offense in a big, big way. He’s done a tremendous job of knowing, he’s extremely knowledgeable. He’s one of the most athletic guys that we have on our team, in terms of all the things that he can do."

We will see how they do on Sunday when they get matched up with Denver's All-Pro linebacker, Von Miller. 

--- Moore better

One of the more impressive young players during the preseason was Moore, who made a big play, or two every week at receiver. He is the team's No. 5 receiver and someone Wilson is pumped about working with.

"He’s been exceptional, he’s worked really hard," Wilson said. "We had a bunch of time together in the offseason too as well. Down in L.A. we worked together and stuff like that, and just got a bunch of extra reps and everything else."

Moore, a seventh-round pick last year out of Division II East Central, appeared in one game because he simply wasn't ready to contribute. Through developing his talent and learning the NFL game, Moore will match that appearance for the season on Sunday in Denver.

"From year one to year two, he’s just grown tremendously," Wilson said. "He’s a strong, athletic, smart, tough kid and he really makes a lot of plays. When you think about playing with David Moore, he can make all the plays. I think he’s got a chance to be a star in this league, he’s just got to stay the course.”

--- Rambling Wilson

Wilson has used his mobility to his advantage during his career and happens to lead the NFL in scrambles over the past five year. Is that a good thing? Most of the time when a quarterback scrambles it's because the pass protection has broken down, which was common over the past two seasons. Wilson doesn't see it that way. 

“I think scrambles are good things, for the most part, you think about just the plays that we’ve capitalized on," he said. "I think the reality is, most defenses get a little bit nervous when that happens when I’m outside of the pocket and moving. (When) the play breaks down, there’s always a second play. For me, I’m always looking for something positive. Just being smart with the football, trying to throw it away if it’s not there. I think scrambles plays most of the time is actually a good thing.”

Denver's Miller said Wilson's mobility presents unques challenges. 

“You’ve just got to run and you’ve just got to be confident of where you’re rushing and how you’re rushing," he said. "You just want to rush. You just want to be great in the rush and really form a pocket around him and try to keep him in the pocket. He’s going to get out of the pocket regardless, so you can’t really put too much into it. Just got to pursue, try to get him down, try to make plays, and just stay in it.”

Will Seahawks regret selecting Rashaad Penny over Royce Freeman?

Will Seahawks regret selecting Rashaad Penny over Royce Freeman?

Seattle set out last offseason to add a running back to the roster after quarterback Russell Wilson led the team in rushing.

The Seahawks ended up selecting Rashaad Penny out of San Diego State in the first round, but not after taking a long look at Oregon's Royce Freeman

“We evaluated him thoroughly," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Freeman. "We thought he was a really good player. It was a great draft for running backs this year, so we went all the way through the numbers and he was right there."

Freeman ultimately went to Denver in the third round with the 71st overall pick. Seattle took Penny with the 27th overall pick after trading down, sending the 18th pick to Green Bay and acquiring picks in the third and sixth rounds.

So far, Freeman has made more noise than Penny, if we're reading anything into the preseason. Oregon's all-time leading rusher (5,621 yards on 947 carries) rushed for 84 yards on 15 carries and scored a rushing touchdown in all three Denver preseason appearances. Penny carried the ball eight times for 16 yards in the Seahawks' opener and then missed the rest of the preseason with a broken finger. 

On Sunday, Seattle will get an up-close look at Freeman when both teams open the season in Denver. Although most NFL Draft prognosticators had Penny ranked  ahead of Freeman, there is no denying that Freeman would have been a good fit for the Seahawks. He has some Marshawn Lynch in him. Punishing, with enough speed to finish off runs. 

It's altogether conceivable that down the line, Seattle could regret not targeting Freeman and maybe trading down again to snag him and some additional picks along the way. It's also quite likely that Penny will turn out to be the better all-around back. 

Freeman won the starting job in Denver over Devontae Booker and earned the trust of coach Vance Joseph. Even before Penny got injured it appeared that he wouldn't surpass former seventh-round pick Chris Carson as the starter. So, as for now, Seattle has spent a first-round selection on a guy that hasn't beaten out a guy barely drafted at all and one that rushed for just 206 yards last season before suffering a fractured leg. 

Denver, on the other hand, is very excited about Freeman's potential to become a true lead back. 

"He can carry the load from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint," Joseph told reporters this week.  

Seattle is preparing to see the 235-pound back coming straight at them. 

"You just understand that he's a bigger back and that he's going to try to lower his shoulders," Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said.

Denver figures to remain a run-dominant team, even after the acquisition of former Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum. That means Freeman could be headed toward gaining 1,000 yards should he remain healthy. 

"That's what he showed at Oregon," Joseph said. "He had a lot of work. He stayed healthy through the work. That's always an issue for most young backs. Can they carry the load for 16 weeks?"

Joseph added that Freeman won't actually have to carry all of the burden in Denver's backfield. Joseph said that Booker would likely be the third-down back and that there is a package of plays for Phillip Lindsay. 

Another question regarding rookie quarterbacks is: Can they do their part in protecting the quarterback? Joseph believes Freeman will excel in that area. 

"He's shown the IQ and the maturity to be a great pass pro guy on third downs, especially," Joseph said.

Carroll saw the same traits. 

"Big, strong, tough, really good pass blocker in college," Carroll said. "Probably the best pass blocker in college football last year."

But he and general manager John Schneider ultimately saw more in Penny. 

What Penny gives Seattle that Freeman could not is big-play speed. Penny ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. Freeman ran a 4.54. 

Seattle already as a ground-and-pound back in Carson, who has shown Seattle that he can grind out tough yards with little space to maneuver.

"Chris Carson is a beast, let me just say that," Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin said. "Chris Carson is a beast. I can’t say enough about Chris Carson. The mindset that he has, the ability that he has, he’s unbelievable. 

Adding Penny gives Seattle's running game another dimension, plus, he can return kick offs, something Freeman is not equipped to do.

In the short term, Freeman could end up looking like a steal for Denver while Penny operates as Carson's backup. In time, however, it is likely that Penny will develop into Seattle's lead running back. Either way, for Seattle, the combination of Carson-Penny makes more sense than Carson-Freeman would have. 

"He’s a really good player," Carroll said of Freeman.

He just wasn't exactly the right player for Seattle.

What They're Saying: Chatter from the Broncos on Seattle

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NBCSNW

What They're Saying: Chatter from the Broncos on Seattle

The pre-season is finished. The 53-man roster is set. Finally, the NFL football regular season begins. 

What a test to kickoff the regular season for Seattle. The Seahawks will travel to the mile-high city of the Denver Broncos to take on former Oregon Ducks running back Royce Freeman, who got the nod at starting running back for the Broncos this Sunday. How will the Seahawks o-line hold up against Denvers's Bradley Chubb and Von Miller? What about the flip side of Seattle rookie LB Shaquem Griffin, who is starting this week, vs. Broncos running back Royce Freeman? And how about the return of veteran safety Earl Thomas?

Let's take a look at what Broncos fans, players, and coaches are saying about the matchup vs. Seattle:

Game information:

Seattle Seahawks @ Denver Broncos, 1:25 PM (PT), Sunday, September 9th, Line: DEN -3.0.

 

 

The Rams-Seahawks rivalry just got a bit more interesting

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NBC Sports Northwest

The Rams-Seahawks rivalry just got a bit more interesting

This season just got a little more interesting in the Los Angeles Rams - Seattle Seahawks rivalry. Not just inner-division rivals, the climbing stock the Rams have this season, or the up-in-the-air season the Seahawks are rumored to have, but in the case of NBC Sports Northwest’s most recent higher: Dani Klupenger.

Klupenger, a former reporter for the Rams, now joins NBC Sports Northwest to cover the Seattle Seahawks with our own Aaron Fentress.

Despite the inner-division move, the #Ramily was truly happy for Klupenger:

However, some fans still managed to not put the rivalry aside:

Regardless of the NFC West rivalry, welcome to NBC Sports Northwest Dani! We are happy to have you!