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Wednesday in Hawkville: For Michael Bowie, one good start deserves another

Posted Jan 15, 2014

Surprised that Michael Bowie started at left guard against the Saints on Saturday? Don’t be, because the rookie will be there again on Sunday when the Seahawks host the 49ers in the NFC Championship game.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 15, when the Seahawks continued to prepare for Sunday’s NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field:

WORD OF THE DAY: COMPETITION

That was the first step in rookie Michael Bowie being inserted into the starting lineup at left guard for Saturday’s divisional playoff game against the New Orleans, and also the reason he’ll be there Sunday when the Seahawks host the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game at CenturyLink Field.

And that’s also where offensive line coach Tom Cable started with his explanation of going with a rookie in such big games.

“Competition, first of all. You want to put your best five guys out there,” Cable said after practice. “He did just fine. Had a couple things he struggled with, but was able to clean them up as the game went along. So that was good. So we’ll just get better this week.”

It was Bowie’s first start at left guard, where James Carpenter and Paul McQuistan had been rotating. But it was not the rookie’s first start. Bowie was at right tackle for seven games early in the season when Breno Giacomini was out with a knee injury. Bowie also started at right guard in Week 16 when J.R. Sweezy was out with a concussion.

Nine starts at three different positions? Did Cable envision this when the Seahawks selected Bowie in the seventh round of April’s NFL Draft?

“You don’t know that until you get them,” Cable said. “But once we got him and we messed around him on the left side in training camp and the fourth preseason game, and then kind of settled on him being a right-side player, so he’s just progressed. He gives us an extra guy to go to when we need to.”

Bowie’s development is a testament to the work he put in, but also Cable’s coaching. Cable won’t tell you that, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will.

“Obviously Tom does a great job of teaching,” Bevell said. “I think that’s the reason he’s able to move those guys around. That’s Tom’s ability to see what they do really well, and how much he can teach the things that carryover from tackle to guard.”

At 6 feet 4, 332 pounds, Bowie “presents some different issues for the defense,” as Bevell put it.

INJURY REPORT: K.J. WRIGHT LIMITED IN PRACTICE

The first report of the week, as issued by the team:

STAT DU JOUR: AND EARL MAKES SIX

All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas has become the sixth player in franchise history, and the first in 20 years, to have at least five interceptions and 100 tackles in the same season. Here’s a look at the group Thomas joined:

Player, season Int. Tackles
SS Autry Beamon, 1977 6 128
CB Cornell Webster, 1978 5 113
FS John Harris, 1980 10 119
SS Kenny Easley, 1981 5 107
FS Eugene Robinson, 1989 5 102
FS Eugene Robinson, 1993 9 111
FS Earl Thomas, 2013 5 100

Did not practice
DT Jordan Hill (groin)
WR Percy Harvin (concussion)
RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury related)

Limited in practice
LB K.J. Wright (foot)

Wright was limited, but he did practice for the first time since breaking a bone in his foot in the Week 14 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco. Coach Pete Carroll addressed the team’s injury situation during his midday session with the media, and Seahawks.com writer and producer Tony Drovetto provides the details.

For the 49ers:

Did not practice
LB Ahmad Brooks (illness)
DE Demarcus Dobbs (knee/shoulder)
C Jonathan Goodwin (foot)
DT Justin Smith (shoulder)

YOU DON'T SAY

“These are the toughest guys you are going to face.”

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White while discussing the Seahawks’ secondary on NFL.com

Limited in practice
CB Carlos Rogers (hamstring)
RB Will Tukuafu (knee)

Full participation
LB NaVorro Bowman (wrist)
WR Michael Crabtree (wrist)
RB Frank Gore (knee)
LB Dan Skuta (foot)

FUNDAMENTALLY SOUND: THAT’S EARL THOMAS AND RICHARD SHERMAN

The Seahawks’ All-Pro duo of free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman have been selected to the fifth annual 2013 USA Football All-Fundamentals Team, which honors 26 players who exhibit exemplary football techniques for youth players to emulate.

“I think fundamentals are the most important part of the game,” Sherman said when asked about his selection. “I think without fundamentals and without a base and understanding of the game and your technique, you have nothing to fall back on when things get tough and the game gets intense, and the game gets out of order. You try to do things that are outside of your character. Having a great set of fundamentals allows you to play the game at a high level and with some consistency.”

Sherman and Thomas will receive a $1,500 equipment grant to donate to the youth or high school football program of his choice.

In selecting Sherman, USA Football said, “Sherman’s ball skills are founded in his ability to read the receiver’s route and react when the ball in in the air. By rising to the highest point of the pass, he catches the ball away from his body and secures the interception.”

On Thomas: “Thomas plays with a low center of gravity, keeping his knees bent and his back is a flat, 45-degree angle. By keeping a low pad level, he takes short, choppy steps to close on ball-carriers and get underneath them, driving through runners for the tackle.”

HALAS TROPHY IN THE HOUSE

Carroll’s midweek session with the media was different this week, because the Seahawks’ coach was joined on the stage in the auditorium at VMAC by the George Halas Trophy that will be presented to the winner of Sunday’s game.

“I like it. I sure notice that it’s here,” Carroll said. “We all sense it. We know what’s going on.”

Quarterback Russell Wilson followed Carroll to the podium and offered, “It’s exciting. Obviously, it’s a huge game for us.”

STEVEN HAUSCHKA DRILLS ANOTHER ONE

Steven Hauschka has been drilling field goals for the Seahawks all season – 33 of 35 in the regular season and 3 of 3 in Saturday’s game against the Saints. Wilson shed some light on the situation when asked about Hauschka, who also was his teammate during his freshman season at North Carolina State.

“He wasn’t my roommate, but he was right next door,” Wilson said. “I knew Steve as going to be a dentist. I was going to get him to be my dentist. I asked Hauschka when I was in college if he could be my dentist if he ever decided to do that.”

Instead, Hauschka’s career went in another direction. “He’s got, obviously, a professional leg,” Wilson said. “So he’s making a good career for himself.”

UP NEXT: “TURNOVER THURSDAY”

The Seahawks practiced outside along the shores of Lake Washington on Wednesday, and they’ll practice again on “Turnover Thursday.” Turnovers have loomed large for the Seahawks all season, as they led the league with 39 during the regular season, including a league-high 28 interceptions. There was only one turnover in Saturday’s game against the Saints and the Seahawks had it – Michael Bennett’s fumble-forcing hit on Mark Ingram and recovery to setup Marshawn Lynch’s first touchdown.

The “Blue Friday” events this week include a noon rally at Westlake Park that will include Seahawks alumni, Sea Gals, Blue Thunder and Blitz. A “12” banner also will be towed behind a plane from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. along the I-5 and I-405 corridors.

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