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Sunday in Hawkville: Seahawks setting their sights on Aaron Rodgers, again

Posted Aug 31, 2014

The last time Aaron Rodgers played at CenturyLink Field, the Packers’ quarterback was sacked eight times in a 14-12 loss to the Seahawks. Rodgers returns on Thursday night as the Seahawks and Packers kick off the NFL regular season.


A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Aug. 31, when the Seahawks held their “Competition Wednesday” practice because they open the regular season on Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field:

WORD OF THE DAY: RODGERS

As in Aaron Rodgers, the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers and his team are headed back to CenturyLink Field for Thursday night’s nationally televised regular-season opener against the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.

The last time Rodgers played at CenturyLink Field, he spent a lot of time on the turf while being sacked eight times and too much time talking about the controversial ending to the game as Golden Tate caught a 24-yard pass in the end zone on the final play to give the Seahawks a 14-12 victory.

A lot has changed since that Week 3 matchup in 2012. Chris Clemons, who had four of the sacks, is now playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. And Tate, who caught the game-winner, is now playing for the Detroit Lions.

But the Seahawks still feature a fast, aggressive, physical defense that last season led the league in average points and yards allowed.

YOU DON'T SAY

“He’s more athletic than they give him credit for, but he’s super chill in the pocket.”

Seahawks Leo end Cliff Avril on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who Avril faced twice a season from 2008-2012 while playing for the Detroit Lions

“There’s a challenge at every level,” Rodgers said Sunday during a conference-call interview when asked about the defense he’ll face Thursday night. “They’re really talented up front. They’re as good as they come on the backend with the safety-corner tandem. And they’re very talented and long and rangy and athletic and physical in the linebacker group.

“So they can throw a lot of different personnel groupings and a lot of different guys lined up in different spots at you. And then they can rush just four and lock you down outside and inside. This is as talented a defense as you’re going to see in the league.”

Cliff Avril, who has stepped in fulltime at Leo end for Clemons, knows Rodgers well. Avril faced the Packers’ QB twice a season from 2008-12 while playing for the Detroit Lions.

“You know you’ve got to wrap him up, because even if you have his legs he’ll flip the ball out with his right or left hand,” Avril said after practice. “So he’s a crafty vet. But we definitely feel like we can get to him a little bit.”

Rodgers also is well aware of how noisy CenturyLink can get with the 12th Man crowd in regular-season roar. And Thursday night, Rodgers will be taking the snap from a rookie center – Corey Linsley, a fifth-round draft choice who will start Thursday night because J.C. Tretter is out with a knee injury.

“I think it has an impact on everybody’s game when you come in there,” Rodgers said. “You have to account for it. They’re really great, smart fans up there who know when to cheer and it makes it very difficult for the offenses they play there.”

Rodgers also is well aware of how noisy CenturyLink can get with the 12th Man crowd in regular-season roar. And Thursday night, Rodgers will be taking the snap from a rookie center – Corey Linsley, a fifth-round draft choice who will start Thursday night because J.C. Tretter is out with a knee injury.

PRACTICE SQUAD: EIGHT PLAYERS RELEASED ON SATURDAY RETURN

The Seahawks have signed eight players who were released on Saturday’s roster cut to 53 to their 10-man practice squad: tight end RaShaun Allen, running back Demitrius Bronson, quarterback B.J. Daniels, offensive lineman Nate Isles, wide receiver Chris Matthews, defensive backs Terrance Parks and Steven Terrell and defensive tackle Jimmy Staten

INJURY UPDATES: BRUCE IRVIN BACK AT PRACTICE

Linebacker Bruce Irvin was one of eight players who did not play in Thursday night’s preseason finale, or were injured in the game against the Raiders in Oakland, that returned to practice. The others were wide receiver Kevin Norwood, cornerback Tharold Simon, defensive end Cassius Marsh, running back Christine Michael, defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Tony McDaniel and cornerback Jeremy Lane.

It was the first day in a helmet and shoulder pads since the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 for Irvin, who missed training camp and the preseason games while completing his rehab after having offseason hip surgery.

RANK ’N FILE: RICHARD SHERMAN, EARL THOMAS 2-3 IN ESPN.COM POLL

The Seahawks’ All-Pro duo of cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas came out No. 2 and No. 3 in an ESPN.com poll to determine the best defensive players in the league. Houston Texans end J.J. Watt was rated No. 1, while 2013 NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly and New England Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis round out the Top 5.

Thomas finished third (7.5 votes) and Sherman was fifth (four votes) in the balloting for NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season.

NUMBER, PLEASE: BROCK COYLE NOW NO. 52

Middle linebacker and rookie free agent Brock Coyle has switched from the No. 45 he wore during the preseason to No. 52, and tight end Cooper Helfet has flopped digits from 48 to 84. Cornerback Marcus Burley, who was acquired Saturday in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts, is No. 28.

STATS ’N STUFF: RUSSELL WILSON NFL’S TOP-RATED PASSER IN PRESEASON

STAT DU JOUR: ANY-NIGHT LIGHTS

The Seahawks are 9-1 under coach Pete Carroll in primetime regular-season games, which is pertinent because the team opens its 2014 regular season on Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field.

Here’s a look at the outcome of those ten night games since Carroll became coach in 2010:

Opponent (night, season)  Outcome
Rams (Sunday, 2010) W, 16-1
Eagles (Thursday, 2011) W, 31-14
Rams (Monday, 2011) W, 30-13
Packers (Monday, 2012) W, 14-12
at 49ers (Thursday, 2012)  L, 13-6
49ers (Sunday, 2012) W, 42-13
49ers (Sunday, 2013) W, 29-3
at Cardinals (Thursday, 2013) W, 34-22
at Rams (Monday, 2013) W, 14-9
Saints (Monday, 2013) W, 34-7
Totals 7-1, 250-112

Russell Wilson had the highest passer rating in the NFL during the preseason – 133.8. Not surprising when you consider that the third-year QB completed 78.6 percent of his passes and threw three touchdown passes and no interceptions. He also ran for three TDs, which tied him for fourth in the league in scoring among non-kickers with 18 points.

Steven Hauschka was third in the league in scoring overall with 38 points and tied for eighth with seven touchbacks on his kickoffs. Earl Thomas was sixth in punt return average (17.0).

As a team, the Seahawks’ offense ranked second in average yards (369.3) and fourth in rushing yards (141.5), while the defense was eighth in average yards allowed (283.8).

Robert Turbin led the team with 123 rushing yards, while Percy Harvin, Paul Richardson and Christine Michael were the leading receivers with seven catches. Coyle led the defense with 22 tackles, while O’Brien Schofield and rookie Cassius Marsh had two sacks each.

UP NEXT: SEPTEMBER, AND ALSO “TURNOVER THURSDAY”

The Seahawks will kick off September with a Labor Day practice that’s their “Turnover Thursday” session because the Super Bowl champions open the NFL regular season on Thursday night by hosting the Packers at CenturyLink Field.

That also means that Tuesday will be “No Repeat Friday” and Wednesday will be “Review Saturday.”