Ryan Divish of The News Tribune profiles the Seattle Seahawks new kicker, 38-year-old Ryan Longwell. The 15-year veteran takes over for Steven Hauschka, who was placed on injured reserve with a calf strain suffered in Seattle’s playoff win last week at Washington.
Longwell sat out this year after being cut in May by Minnesota, who drafted rookie kicker Blair Walsh last April. Signing with the Seahawks is a homecoming of sorts for Longwell, who grew up in nearby Puyallup, Wash., before moving to Bend, Ore., in ninth grade.
Longwell said he’s been working out in Orlando, Fla., waiting for an opportunity.
“It’s kind of fun to come full circle and be back here and hopefully help this team win,” Longwell said. “It’s an honor to put on the helmet that you grew up watching,”
John McGrath of The News Tribune, reporting from the Atlanta Falcons headquarters, says Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan isn’t concerned about his 0-3 record in the playoffs. “We’re a different team, a different group than last year,” is Ryan’s stock reply. The answer could be construed as shallow if it weren’t the whole, undeniable truth: New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has installed a diverse, up-tempo attack that resembles nothing the Falcons brought to any of their three playoff defeats since 2008.
The Seahawks will use three players – Bruce Irvin, Greg Scruggs and new addition Patrick Chukwurah – to replace the product lost by the loss of Chris Clemons.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com writes the rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin is ready to take on a bigger role with Clemons’ out.
Jerry Brewer of The Seattle Times writes that Seattle head coach Pete Carroll is no longer taking the risks and gambles he did in his first season with the Seahawks, and it has paid dividends.
ESPN’s Mike Sando takes a closer look at Russell Wilson’s numbers throwing from inside and outside the pocket. Wilson has thrown 22 of his touchdowns from inside the pocket, five from outside the pocket.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times writes that Richard Sherman does more than talk the talk – he backs it up as well.
Matt Bowen of The National Football Post is looking forward to a Kam Chancellor vs. Tony Gonzalez matchup on Sunday.
Brian Burke writing for The New York Times Fifth Down Blog gives Seattle a slight edge – 51 percent – over Atlanta. He offers a nice statistical breakdown of the numbers favoring each team. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports talks with Jay Matthews, the Colorado Rockies scout who coveted Russell Wilson. Matthews says the same characteristics that have made him a success in his rookie season in the NFL would have propelled him to the major leagues. Matthews: "He's such a strong-willed and -minded person, if he put his mind to it, he could do it. When all the naysayers told him he's 5-foot-10, I was saying to myself, 'Don't dare say that.' He's the kind of person who would prove you wrong. If enough people told him he couldn't come back and play baseball, he might wake up one day and say, 'OK, fine. I'll do it.' I wouldn't say anything is impossible for that young man."
ESPN’s Stats & Info blog gives us eight things to look for in the Hawks-Falcons matchup.