ESPN’s Mike Sando talked with Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald about the state of the NFC West, and one of the NFL’s best receivers had very nice things to say about Seattle’s new and improved secondary.
Sando: How do you think the Seattle Seahawks have changed the most under Pete Carroll?
Fitzgerald: They are much more physical, much more physical. At the Pro Bowl last week, they had three guys from their secondary, Brandon Browner and Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. When you look at Chancellor, Chancellor is 6-foot-3, 230 pounds and a phenomenal athlete with good ball skills, good range. Earl Thomas is like a young Troy Polamalu, flying around and making plays. And Brandon Browner is the biggest cornerback I’ve ever seen in my life. He can play, too. He can cover.
I really like the young rookie they have, (Richard) Sherman from Stanford. He is going to be a good player. Obviously, when they get Marcus Trufantback, that will only make them deeper. They challenge you at the point of attack. They want to pressure you and make things uncomfortable for you at the line of scrimmage, and their whole philosophy has changed. It’s fun to play against them.
John McGrath of The News Tribune admits baseball’s his first love in part because of the daily offering of games during the six-month season compared to weekly building of NFL games, which includes a two-week lull leading up to the Super Bowl.
McGrath has an interesting point, but from my perspective a Sunday of NFL games provides more excitement than a month of baseball during the regular season.
McGrath: “I keep hearing how the NFL’s popularity has lapped the field of other spectator sports, and there’s no denying the facts. This is a league able to connect with viewers who had nothing else to do last Sunday but watch a team that didn’t give a rip take on another team that didn’t give a rip. And yet the Pro Bowl, the ultimate TV trash-sport contest, garnered better ratings than baseball’s All-Star Game did last summer.
The Super Bowl figures to be seen Sunday by a television audience that could set a ratings record, despite a dearth of story lines since the conference championship games.
Maybe that’s the secret: Two weeks of nothing fuels an appetite for something, anything.”
Seahawks receiver Mike Williams tells Brock Huard and Mike Salk of ESPN 710 Seattle that he wants to come into camp lighter this season. Williams said the same thing last year, when he played at 240 pounds.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Peyton Manning has been cleared by doctors to resume his NFL career, which of course fuels speculation that teams will be lining up for his services once Indianapolis inevitably release him in a few weeks. But from what I understand Manning still has a long way to go before he’s ready to take the field. Stay tuned.
ESPN’s Trent Dilfer ranks the top 40 quarterbacks in the league, and as you would expect, Seattle’s Tarvaris Jackson is down the list. You must be an ESPN Insider to view this.
Dilfer breaks down the league’s QB as follows:
Hall of Fame Level: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger.
The Eli Zone: Eli Manning
A ring away: Philip Rivers, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub.
Mostly good: Cam Newton, Michael Vick, Andy Dalton, Josh Freeman, Carson Palmer, Matt Hasselbeck and Alex Smith.
Could go either way: Mark Sanchez, Sam Bradford, Kevin Kolb, Matt Cassel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kyle Orton, Matt Moore and Jason Campbell.
Short leash: Tim Tebow, Blaine Gabbert, Colt McCoy, Christian Ponder, Rex Grossman, Tarvaris Jackson, Curtis Painter, John Beck.
Intriguing wild cards: Matt Flynn, Jake Locker, T.J. Yates, John Skelton and Brian Hoyer.
Here’s what Dilfer had to say about Jackson: The Seahawks might believe in his future, but league perception is that they probably could do better. He has to show more, because the Seahawks aren’t devoid of weapons.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times believes a franchise tag could be in Marshawn Lynch’s future.
KJR’s Dave “Softy” Mahler talks with Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin about his 2011 season in this audio link.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters in Indianapolis that the league will expand to 13 Thursday night games on the NFL Network, helping to guarantee that all 32 teams will have at least one prime time game in 2012.