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Tuesday in Hawkville: Obvious becomes official as Heath Farwell is placed on injured reserve

Posted Aug 26, 2014

The Seahawks lost their special teams captain on Tuesday when veteran linebacker Heath Farwell was placed on injured reserve because of the groin injury he got in Friday night’s preseason game.


A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Aug. 26, when the Seahawks held their “Turnover Thursday” practice as they prepare for Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders in Oakland:

WORD OF THE DAY: C

That’s actually a letter, and it’s the capital C that Heath Farwell has worn on his No. 55 jersey the past two seasons as captain of the Seahawks’ special teams units that really have been special.

YOU DON'T SAY

“I thought he was like the Michael Jordan of free safeties.”

QB Russell Wilson on his first impression of All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas

But Farwell won’t be wearing it this season. What was obvious after Friday night’s preseason game against the Chicago Bears became official on Tuesday when Farwell was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury that will require surgery.

And his loss will be felt.

“Just the leadership and all the experience, everything that he brings to the table, we’re going to miss it,” special teams coach Brian Schneider said after practice.

Farwell joined the Seahawks midway through the 2011 season after being released by the Minnesota Vikings. Despite playing in only 11 games, he led the NFL with 21 coverage tackles. He also led the Seahawks in 2012 with 15 and was tied for second last season with 10.

But even more than the plays Farwell made, it was the plays he helped others make that really will be missed. Schneider has said on several occasions that Farwell is like having a coach on the field, not to mention another set of eyes in the meeting room and on the practice field.

“That’s what makes Heath so valuable, he’s covered so many kicks,” Schneider said. “He’s done so many things. He’s looked at so much film. He’s a student of the game. And he affects other people in the room, which is a great thing.”

Farwell has played eight NFL seasons (five with the Vikings, the past three with the Seahawks). But he never has started a game at linebacker and his career-highs in defensive tackles came in 2009 with the Vikings (eight) and last season with the Seahawks (six).

So he has built his career by doing the dirty work on special teams. Farwell was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2009, when he had 24 coverage tackles for the Vikings.

Now, it’s times for others to step up and ease his loss. Players like safety Jeron Johnson and linebackers Mike Morgan and Malcolm Smith.

“We have a lot of guys that have trained a long time under us,” Schneider said. “So we’ve just got to keep expanding on all those guys’ role and the leadership picks up.”

Farwell being placed on IR was one of seven moves the team made Tuesday to reach the league-imposed 75-man roster limit. Defensive back A.J. Jefferson and offensive lineman C.J. Davis also went on IR; defensive back Eric Pinkins, a sixth-round pick in May’s NFL Draft, was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list; and three players were waived injured – defensive lineman Michael Brooks, linebacker Horace Miller and wide receiver David Gilreath.

The roster must be cut to 53 players by Saturday.

24: RUSSELL WILSON STYLE

Russell Wilson’s preparation has become the stuff of legend. He usually arrives at VMAC at 5:30 a.m. and doesn’t leave until 8 p.m. After practice the third-year quarterback was asked how many hours in a day he is not thinking about football.

“Is that considering dreams, too?” he asked, prompting laughter from the reporters gathered around him. “I don’t know. There’s usually about a good two-hour, three-hour period where I’m just kind of relaxing.”

And how does the man who made the line “the separation is in the preparation” famous relax?

“Those two or three hours, I usually find a show or two to watch,” said Wilson, who listed “Scandal” and “Orange is the New Black” as his must-see TV viewing. “And I play with my dogs. So I just kind of relax in that way.”

INJURY UPDATES: JIMMY STATEN RETURNS TO PRACTICE

STAT DU JOUR: IT’S ALL ABOUT THIRD DOWNS

“It’s all about third downs” isn’t about to replace “It’s all about the ball” atop Pete Carroll’s mottos to play by. But the Seahawks’ fourth-year coach has been pleased with the improved efficiency of the offense on the pivotal down during the preseason games. Here’s a look at how the Seahawks have progressed:

Opponent Third Downs Percent
Broncos 3 of 11 27%
Chargers 8 of 12 67%
Bears 10 of 14 71%
2013 Preseason 23 of 53 43%
2013 Regular Season 76 of 204 37%

Rookie defensive tackle Jimmy Staten, a fifth-round pick in May’s NFL Draft, returned to practice. He had been sidelined since hyperextending a knee and pulling his hamstring during the second training camp practice on July 26. But wide receiver Percy Harvin, defensive lineman Michael Bennett and cornerback Tharold Simon were held out.

Still sidelined are wide receiver Kevin Norwood, linebacker Bruce Irvin, tight end Cooper Helfet, cornerback Jeremy Lane and defensive lineman Tony McDaniel.

“The third-down efficiency has been great,” Carroll said. “We’ve done a nice job there. We were seven in a row last week at one time. I think that goes back to the quarterback (Russell Wilson) and really being confident.”

UP NEXT: “NO REPEAT FRIDAY,” AND THEN OFF TO OAKLAND

The team will fly to Oakland on Wednesday afternoon following its “No Repeat Friday” practice, the last on-field session before Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders.

And the Seahawks will be back at it sooner than usual following their last preseason game because the Super Bowl champions open the regular season on Thursday night, Sept. 4, against the Green Bay Packers in a nationally televised game at CenturyLink Field. So the players will return to practice on Sunday.