Seahawks notebook: Walter Jones eyes first-ballot Hall induction

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comJanuary 10, 2014 

Walter Jones on Thursday was named one of 15 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists for 2014.

Jones is fourth in Seahawks history in games played after 12 seasons at left tackle — during which he started all 180 games he played. He was named to the Pro Bowl nine times and was an Associated Press All-Pro six times. His “71” is retired in the Seahawks’ Ring of Honor.

He hopes to get into the Hall on his first chance — which is projected to be the case — and admitted it would be a disappointment if he did not.

“I think anytime you can get that title ... first-ballot Hall of Fame? That’s a great title,” Jones said. “I think just being in the Hall of Fame would be a great title. Would it be a letdown (if he didn’t get in the first time)? Probably will, but I think it’s still a moment that is going to be exciting whenever it happens.

“If it happens this year, it’s going to be exciting. If it happens two years from now, it’s going to be exciting. For me to be on that list is amazing. To be on that list and to be able to play with one team is exciting, too. I’m excited to be a product of the Seattle Seahawks and to have my whole career here in Seattle.”

Jones was at left tackle for the franchise’s only Super Bowl appearance, after the 2005 season. Not surprisingly, Jones would take that team over this current Seahawks squad.

“We’d dominate, man … ” Jones said. “We set the standard. I believe in our team. I wouldn’t go against that team. It was a fun ride, I think this team is special … this team has a chance to do something we didn’t get a chance to do. That’s to win a Super Bowl. I can’t wait to see what happens.”

LYNCH, IN BRIEF

Seahawks running back and reluctant interview subject Marshawn Lynch met with reporters Thursday for just the second time this season.

The NFL is holding a $50,000 fine of Lynch for not talking to the media all season in abeyance, as a result of his agreement to be available the rest of the season.

Lynch fielded questions for about three minutes and predominantly provided one-word answers. Fullback Michael Robinson, Lynch’s good friend, stood with his arm around Lynch for much of the interview.

When asked what he remembers about his 67-yard touchdown run against the Saints in a 2011 wild-card playoff game, nicknamed the “Beast Quake” because the crowd noise during the run set off a seismic monitor, Lynch had a simple answer.

“It was loud,” he said.

SEAHAWKS’ SECONDARY PRIMARY FOR SAINTS

Several Saints offensive players and coaches acknowledged this week that Seattle has one of the best secondaries in the NFL — and one of the most physical.

“Absolutely they do,” offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael said. “On the perimeter, they do a great job on you and making your routes take a little bit longer to develop.”

Coach Sean Payton was asked if the secondary also “pushes the envelope” when it comes to contact with receivers.

“Listen, they do a great job,” he said. “They play a lot of bump-and-run. They’re very confident. They have a deep position group. Three of the starters are first-team Pro Bowl players.”

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, who had three catches for 43 yards in the first meeting, was less diplomatic.

“They’re pretty good at getting their hands on guys,” he said. “And keeping their hands on guys.”

TRYING THEIR BEST TO MAKE THINGS WORSE

The No. 1 topic for New Orleans media this week has been the Saints’ return to Seattle, home of the 12th Man and wretched weather.

Payton did what he could to prepare his team from two time zones away.

During the week, the Saints practiced with a wet ball, with sound effects piped in during practice, and even having a Seahawks logo painted on the Saints’ natural-grass practice field.

“Listen, I think it’s significant, the noise level,” he said. “We’ve got the speakers. I think we blew out two different speakers in here (the indoor facility). I think we’ll be ready for it.”

As for the weather, several Saints pointed to similar concerns about the cold that they faced — and overcame — last weekend in Philadelphia. Others just stuck to the idea that football is football and weather is weather.

“It’s not like it’s something we can really go out and replicate because we can’t make rain,” Carmichael said. “But we’re going to have to deal with those conditions and do what we think is best for us going forward with the game plan.”

EXTRA POINTS

Seahawks tight end Luke Willson (ankle) is expected to play Saturday. ... The Saints wrapped up their home practices Thursday afternoon with an indoor session that included red-zone, short-yardage and goal-line work. Afterward, the team was scheduled to fly out and arrive in the Seattle area Thursday evening. ... Asked about Lynch, Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said, “I think he’s the premier power back in football.” ... One of the Saints’ heroes this week has been kicker Shayne Graham, a late-season acquisition who last weekend nailed the game-ending 32-yard field goal that gave New Orleans a 26-24 win at Philadelphia. However, the 13-year NFL veteran seemed well aware of how quickly parties thrown for kickers can end. “It was nice to be part of helping that win happen,” he said. “(But) when I line up for a kick in Seattle, that kick last week won’t mean anything.” ...

When the Saints visited Seattle last month, New Orleans fullback Jed Collins, a Washington State alumnus, was excited about the prospect of the Cougars heading off to their first bowl game in a decade. This week, he did his best to remain upbeat about how things played out: the Cougs surrendering 18 points in the final three minutes of a 48-45 loss to Colorado State. “I try to keep looking at the big picture, and the big picture is this was a step forward this season,” Collins said. “But, man, that was extremely difficult ... to wear my Coug gear (to a team meeting that night). I got a lot of stuff for that. Still: bowl game, positive.”

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com

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