Seahawks gain notoriety as NFL’s bad boys

Seattle emerging as a team known for its aggressive, physical play, and coach Pete Carroll is OK with that

eric.williams@thenewstribune.comJanuary 9, 2013 

RENTON – Coach Pete Carroll walks a delicate tightrope when it comes to the aggressive, physical way the Seahawks play.

In the three seasons he’s been in Seattle, the Seahawks have steadily gained notoriety around the league as a team that likes to trash talk and play physical to the whistle — sometimes through the whistle.

And that aspect of Seattle’s play was evident in the Seahawks’ big road win against Washington in the NFC Wild Card game Sunday.

Cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, along with receiver Golden Tate, all had running battles with Redskins players.

Sherman could be heard by Washington players telling Redskins coach Mike Shanahan that he was scared to throw his way.

Sherman’s constant badgering proved effective again as he caused Washington’s Trent Williams to lose control, with the offensive tackle slapping the Seattle cornerback after the game, which will likely lead to a response by the league.

Browner body slammed Redskins receiver Pierre Garon at the end of Earl Thomas’ interception in the second quarter. Those two were at each other most of the game, along with Tate and Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

But Seattle finished with only four penalties for 30 yards, so Carroll said his team handled those minor dust-ups.

“Our guys responded and matched it up, and did the right thing,” Carroll said. “No penalties, no issues—no runs, no hits, no errors — none of that happened. We got out of that thing all right. … There wasn’t anything that was illegal about it. It was just very, very aggressive tough play.”

Carroll said his team gains an advantage by playing on the edge and being the aggressor. Offensive line coach Tom Cable teaches his linemen to play to the whistle, including picking defenders off at the end of runs so opponents can’t get an extra shot on bruising runner Marshawn Lynch.

Browner and Sherman play physical, bump-and-run style coverage at the line of scrimmage, adjusting to the way the game is being officiated. And the Seahawks play with a chip on their shoulder because they feel like the rest of the country still has not given them the respect that they deserve.

“Guys have high expectations for one another,” Sherman said. “Despite the fact that we have a nobody team – a team not filled with first rounders and things like that – we have a lot of guys who play at a high level. And I think we expect each other to play at a high level, and that’s what we did again. And we expect to keep playing like this.”

Those expectations start at the top with Carroll.

“I have no problem with any of it, none of it,” Carroll said about his team’s aggressive style of play. “When it crosses the line and you’re doing things that are illegal, or it’s something that is cheap, then we don’t want any part of that. But we want to take it to the edge. We’re trying to find a level that we can take it to, that gets everything that we can possibly get out of the moment.

“We’re ready to battle to that, but it’s composure and poise that allows you to make the right decision at the right time, and our guys did a great job of that.”

KICKER LONGWELL SIGNED

The Seahawks had a tryout with a handful of kickers at the team’s Renton headquarters Tuesday, and veteran Ryan Longwell apparently came out as the winner.

The Seahawks plan to sign Longwell to the active roster today as insurance, with Seattle’s starting kicker Steven Hauschka nursing a lower calf strain.

Longwell, a 15-year veteran, did not play for any NFL team during the regular season in 2012. The Seattle native and graduate of Oregon’s Bend High School was released by Minnesota a couple weeks after the Vikings drafted Blair Walsh in April.

Longwell, 38, has a career 82.3 percentage on field goals, but that number dipped to 76.8 percent (22-for-28) in 2011.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider is familiar with Longwell from his time in Green Bay. Longwell played for the Packers from 1997 to 2005 before signing with the Vikings as a free agent in 2006.

Carroll said he will closely monitor Hauschka and get him ready to play, but Longwell provides a backup plan if Seattle’s regular kicker can’t go.

CHUKWURAH TO REPLACE INJURED DE CLEMONS

According to NFL.com, the Seahawks also signed defensive end Patrick Chukwurah to boost the team’s depth at defensive end with starter Chris Clemons done for the season with a knee injury.

Chukwurah, 33, last played in the league with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008. Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and defensive line coach Todd Wash, who both worked as defensive assistants for the Bucs, have some familiarity with his skill set. Since then, Chukwurah has spent two seasons in the United Football League.

NFL.com also reported the Seahawks worked out linebackers Aaron Maybin and Travis LaBoy along with pass rusher Ray Edwards.

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437eric.williams@thenewstribune.com@eric_d_williams blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks

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