The focus of my story today is the Seattle Seahawks defense matching up against talented San Francisco running back Frank Gore. The University of Miami product has the most rushing yards against Seattle than any other team in the league, and has twice rushed for over 200 yards against the Seahawks.
Gore leads an San Francisco rushing offense that is tops in the league, averaging 176.8 yards a contest.
So how do the Seahawks bottle up Gore?
“You got to hit him hard and hit him early,” Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright said. “Let him know that it’s not going to be your day to get a bunch of running yards. We’re going to come out and set the tone, and make sure he doesn’t get rolling.”
John McGrath of The News Tribune writes that Mike Holmgren’s legacy in Seattle is not tarnished by his failing to turn things around in Cleveland as president of the Browns. Holmgren will retire at the end of the year, as a new ownership group decided to move in a different direction in Cleveland. McGrath: “When Holmgren declined an offer to take over the Hawks’ football operations almost three years ago, it produced consequences in two cities. In Cleveland, the Browns have sputtered and stalled and generally alienated the most loyal football fans in the land.
“In Seattle? By just saying no, the only coach ever to lead the Hawks to the Super Bowl provided them with a jump start on their quest to go to another Super Bowl.”
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times echoes similar sentiments. O’Neil: “This isn’t to say Holmgren couldn’t have rebuilt Seattle. He is an incredible coach, a charismatic person, and bringing back the man most responsible for the most successful era in Seahawks football isn’t exactly going out on a limb.
“But the fact that he didn’t return cleared the way for the Seahawks to start over cleanly. To not just reboot the machine, but reprogram the entire franchise. Three years later, Seattle is seeing the results of that decision to start from scratch.”
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com offers a pretty in-depth look at the impressive play of Seattle’s defense, including an explosive pass rush and what he calls the best secondary in the league. Brooks uses screen grabs to show how the Seahawks are getting consistent pressure up front and creating havoc in the back end of the defense.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com details rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner’s obsession with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in his Tuesday practice report.
Matt Williamson of Scout Inc. says that Wagner is legit in his rookie scouting report. You must be an ESPN Insider to view this. Williamson: “By no means is Wagner freeloading here. He has fantastic range and explosive movement skills without sacrificing leverage or power at the point of attack. He has developed into an astute blitzer to go along with very good skills as a coverage player and run-stuffer. Wagner will only get better, particularly in coverage, as that can be a very difficult transition for rookie linebackers against tight ends, running backs and wideouts on crossing patterns.”
Larry Stone of The Seattle Times previews the heavyweight battle between Seattle and San Francisco on Thursday.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports that San Francisco offensive tackle Joe Staley, who left last week’s game against the New York Giants in the third quarter with a concussion, is symptom-free and hopes to play on Thursday.
Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News writes that San Francisco must figure out how to stop Russell Wilson.
ESPN’s Mike Sando writes that Wilson has five touchdowns on deep throws – passes travelling 20 yards or farther – which leads the league. But he says that Wilson could have trouble continuing that type of performance against San Francisco’s stingy pass defense.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman talks with the NFL Network in this video link.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle talks with San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who confirms the Niners were interested in defensive end Bruce Irvin.