Category Archives: Pete Carroll

Quick hits: Robbins/Jonson, Vettleson, Pumas, Montero/Zunino, QB Wilson

Conner Robbins, former University of Washington golfer and a Central Kitsap grad, tied for second and Bainbridge’s Carl Jonson, who just turned pro after playing four years at UNLV, tied for fourth at the 52nd Lilac City Invitational in Spokane earlier this month. Here’s the story from The Spokesman Review.

The long-hitting Robbins gave the mini-tour grind a while a few years back, took some time off and has played well in the tournaments he’s entered. He’s now playing out of the Tacoma Country Club.

Jonson is playing in this week’s Colorado Open at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver.

Drew Vettleson update: Drew, another Central Kitsap grad, turned 24 on Sunday. The former first-round (42nd overall pick in 2010) of the Tampa Rays, is with the Washington Nationals’ Double-A club in Harrisburg, PA. Vettleson, an outfielder, went on the DL early last season and it took him some time to find his swing. Once again, he found himself on the DL this year after breaking his hamate bone. He is hitting .211 after going 2-for-5 on Saturday. He got off to a slow start, but has had five multi-hit games in his last nine going into Monday.

Harrisburg hitting coach Mark Harris had this to say about Vettleson at the league’s All-Star break:

“Drew missed a lot of time last year as far as experience in this league. … In Drew’s case, I think he’s adjusting to getting pitched a certain way. He’s learning the value of doing something with your pitch to hit when you get it, so you’re not always down in the count all of the time. … With him, I think he just needs to get at-bats.”

Pumas stand for defense:  The Kitsap Pumas start their USL Premier Development League postseason journey on Friday in Tucson, Arizona, where they will play host FC Tucson in a Western Conference semifinal at 8 p.m.. The Pumas (10-0-2) are one of two PDL teams in the 63-team league to finish the season without a loss.

Kitsap surrendered a league-low four goals in its 12 PDL games.

Pumas assistant coach Shaun Scobie praised the defense on the team’s website after its 1-0 win over the Sounders 23 last week:

“To have the best defensive record in the entire league is not a fluke. The boys work hard every day trying to be better than they were the day before and it’s that mentality that’s got us to this point.”

If the Pumas win, they will face the Sounders FC U23-Burlingame (Calif.) Dragons winner on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.. The champion moves on to the PDL’s Final Four. Kitsap won the tournament in 2011 when the Pumas hosted at Memorial Stadium and they were second a year ago to the Michigan Bucks.

On another Pumas’ note, The Sun’s Jeff Graham had an interesting take on owner Robin Waite’s interest in taking the team from the fourth-tier PDL to the third-tier USL.

More Montero, less Zunino: Jim Moore, who writes a weekly column for The Sun, also writes for 710 ESPN Seattle, where he co-hosts an afternoon radio show. Moore’s latest column for ESPN centered on why the Mariners didn’t keep Jesus Montero around. They sent Montero back to Triple-A Tacoma Monday. I’m thinking the same as Moore on this move. Why not send Jesus Sucre to Tacoma and make Montero the backup catcher? Yeah, yeah, he wasn’t much of a defensive catcher in the past, but he’s slimmed down, and according to what everybody is saying, he’s a more dedicated player than in the past. His bat just might be worth any defensive deficiencies he might have. ‘K’unino entered Monday’s game with a .158 batting average and was striking out almost 36 percent of the time. He’s the worst hitter in major league baseball. What do the M’s have to lose by letting Montero catch 2-3 games a week?

Wilson links: The quarterback’s contract-extension negotiations with the Seattle Seahawks has taken on a life of its own. Here are a few recent stories about it:

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk says the time to do a new contract it is now.

During an interview at the ESPYs Wilson said once again that his contract situation “will work out.” 

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times wrote about Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, and the relationship he has with Seattle’s young star.

Here’s what Pete Carroll had to say about the contract talks between the Seahawks and Wilson. “He’s crucial, as all of our guys are,” Carroll told the media in Los Angeles while accepting an award from ESPN for his humanitarian work. “We love Russell and we want him back playing for us forever. There’s a lot of work being done. It’s underway right now and maybe it happens, I don’t know. We’re hoping for it.”

 

Some Super Bowl storylines

Coming to you live from Arizona (no, I’m not staying for the Super Bowl), where the locals seem pretty pumped up about XLIX.

This is Cardinals country, and a lot of Arizona football fans don’t like the Seattle Seahawks, but judging by the comments I heard on Monday and the tone of the reports I’m hearing on the local television stations, there seems to be a lot of respect for the Hawks.

That said here are a few storylines you’ll be reading and hearing about in the days leading up to the Feb. 1 game against New England at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale:

Tom Brady vs. Russell Wilson: The Patriots quarterback will play in a record sixth Super Bowl and will be going for his fourth ring. That’s Joe Montana (and Terry Bradshaw) territory. Wilson, meanwhile, is back for this second straight Super Bowl and has a shot to do something no quarterback has ever done: Win two Super Bowls in his first three seasons. It’s the classic drop back passer (Brady) against the elusive play-maker (Wilson) who can beat you with his arm and his legs. A story in USA Today bills it as old-school vs. new-age QBs.

Richard Sherman vs. Tom Brady: Sherman will get more than his share of news, and not all of it will revolve around the elbow injury he played with over the final minutes of Seattle’s OT win against Green Bay. Remember the “You Mad Bro” moment following Seattle’s regular-season upset victory over the Patriots in October of 2012 at CenturyLink? It was, more or less, Sherman’s coming out party as a big-time trash-talker who has shown that he can back up all of that talk.

Former Legion of Boom member Brandon Browner vs. his old team: Browner’s now a cornerback with the Patriot. He was a big part of the LOB, but had to sit out the big game a year ago because of violating the NFL’s substance abuse violation. After Sunday’s games, Browner said he felt all along that a New England-Seattle matchup in Arizona was inevitable. 

Pete Carroll vs. Bill Belichick: Carroll was fired by Patriots owner Robert Kraft in 1999 after an 8-8 record in his third season.  Kraft then hired Bill Belichick and we all know how that worked out: six Super Bowls in 14 seasons. Carroll went on to turn USC into a powerhouse and now has the Seahawks knocking on dynasty’s door. Carroll’s youthful appearance and emotional coaching style seems the opposite of the dour-looking Patriots’ boss. There’s a mutual respect between the two. “I like Pete. I like him a lot,” Belichick told ESPN.com.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski vs. Seattle safety Kam Chancellor: Everybody’s waiting for The Collision in the Desert between those two hombres. If it happens, you might feel it back in Seattle.

Finally, Marshawn Lynch vs. the media: Will he talk? You remember Lynch’s memorable Super Bowl Media Day interview with Deion Sanders a year ago in New Jersey? “I’m just about that actin boss?” Can he top that one? Here’ s what I wrote a year ago after listening to that exchange:

Marshawn Lynch lasted 6 minutes, 20 seconds at Super Bowl Media Day before escaping the big stage.

Deion “Prime Time” Sanders of NFL Network hunted Beast Mode down, and the interview with the Seattle Seahawks star was priceless. Here’s a portion of it.

“You look good,” Sanders told Lynch, who was wearing sunglasses and had the hood of his Seahawks’ jacket pulled up.

“(Bleep), so do you,” said Lynch, fingering Prime Time’s suit coat.

Sanders told Lynch it looked like he was ready to play.

Lynch: “Yep, that’s what time it is.”

Sanders then asked if Lynch was a little shy.

Lynch: “I’m just about that action boss. … I ain’t never seen no talk win ya nothing. Been like that since I was a little kid. I was raised like that.”

Asked if he was excited about the game, Lynch, wearing sunglasses, said, “Hell, yeah. … yeaaahh!”

Sanders then said some think the Seahawks will be in trouble if Lynch doesn’t get untracked.

Lynch: “They gonna have to stop all of us. I’m a beast, but we got some dogs.”

Sanders: You don’t like podiums do you? What is your thing?

Lynch: “Lay back, kick back, mind my business, stay in my own lane.”

Sanders: He told Lynch that NFL Network and former star back Marshall Faust loved him.

Lynch: “That’s huge. He’s a great.”

Sanders: “We all love you.”

Lynch then went third-person on us.

“That’s big time. Beast Mode love and appreciate that.”

 

 

Tough road ahead for Hawks, Dawgs & links

OK, maybe we let our heart get in the way our our brains last week.

I didn’t pick the Washington Huskies to beat Oregon, but I thought the Dawgs were ready to give the Ducks a game. Surely, they’d cover the spread (20.5 points).

Wrong.

I thought the Seattle Seahawks would regroup and handle the Rams in St. Louis.

Wrong.

They did regroup, but it was too late. The Rams rode some special teams tricky to a 28-26 victory and the Seahawks are suddenly 3-3.

Seattle’s defense isn’t nearly as dominating as it was a year ago, but the biggest problem remains the Hawks’ offensive line. They allowed three sacks and had three holding penalties and QB Russell Wilson was running for his life, especially in the first half when the Seahawks fell behind 21-3 at one point.

At the start of the season, I thought these Seahawks might be even better than last year’s Seahawks.

Wrong.

Even after last week’s loss to Dallas, I thought the Hawks were still the team to beat in the NFC.

Wrong.

Arizona (5-1) might be the best team, even better than Dallas (5-1) and Philadelphia (6-1) and don’t forget about the Packers (4-2) or 49ers (3-3). The Seahawks are still in the mix, but they’ve put themselves in a precarious position. At 3-3, they don’t have a lot of room for error and the schedule is far tougher than it was a year ago with road games left against Carolina (Oct. 26), Kansas City (Nov. 16) and Philadelphia (Dec. 7) and home-and-home games still to play with the Cardinals and 49ers.

We were reminded that the previous eight Super Bowl champions didn’t win a playoff game the following year. So the Seahawks didn’t have history on their side when the season started, but to suggest they might not make the playoffs seemed pretty far-fetched.

Now? Well, maybe not so much.

Pete Carroll, interviewed on 710 ESPN radio Monday morning, said, “The story is not written right now.”

What about those Huskies?

The Oregon-Washington game was a total mismatch. Oregon’s 45-20 victory, their 11th straight over the Huskies, was far more convincing than I figured it would be. Washington’s defense, so impressive the week before while holding Cal to seven points, couldn’t stop the run or the pass. And Washington’s offense didn’t look so hot either against an Oregon defense that has struggled at times.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota played like a Heisman Trophy winner and the Ducks didn’t look anything like the team that barely beat Washington State 38-31 and lost to Arizona 31-24.

If Oregon runs the table against Cal, Stanford, Utah, Colorado and Oregon State, they should wind up in college football’s four-team national playoff. But in college football’s most unpredictable season, who can say for sure what’s going to happen from week to week?

As for Washington, it’s back to the drawing board, as a disappointed coach Chris Petersen pointed out after the loss.  The Huskies were also beat up physically in Eugene. QB Cyler Miles left with a possible concussion, and if he’s not available, it appears redshirt  freshman Troy Williams will be the starter. He won the backup job over Jeff Lindquist and played most of the fourth quarter after Miles was injured.

The UW has six games left, including a tough home game against Arizona State on Oct. 26 (7:45 p.m., ESPN), and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Huskies went 4-2 or 1-5. At the start of the season, I predicted Washington would finish 10-3, tied for second in the Pac-12 North. Now my brain tells me they’re looking more like an 8-5 team that will find itself playing in the Cactus Bowl (Jan. 2 at Tempe, Ariz.) or Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 20).

Some links

The St. Louis Surprise. Mike Silver of NFL.com writes about Jeff Fisher’s call for a fake punt on fourth down, the play that sealed the Rams’ upset of the Seahawks on Sunday.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com writes about how the Percy Harvin trade hurts Seattle’s chances to repeat.

At 3-3, Seattle is not in desperation mode, but the Seahawks’ flaws are showing, writes Don Banks of SI.com.

Percy Harvin trade makes sense for Jets.

Art Thiel of Sportspressnw.com puts the latest Seahawks loss on coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider.

Remember Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni? Well, if you’re old as dirt, like me, you do. He was the slugging first baseman for the Kansas City Royals’ 1985 World Series champions. Now? He’s an advance scout for the San Francisco Giants. It’ll be a strange, trip for Balboni when he returns to KC this week for the start of the World Series.

Hard to believe but Tim Lincecum, only 30, is now a bit player with the Giants, the backup long relief pitcher as San Francisco heads to the World Series.

Morning reading after a pretty impressive Week 1 Seahawks’ victory

Earl Thomas needs to call some fair catches.

If that’s the biggest criticism of the Seattle Seahawks following Thursday night’s 36-16 victory over Green Bay — and Peter King of mmqb.si.com writes that it is — then it’s safe to say that this is going to be another fun season for the 12s. He also writes about that read-option pass play where Russell Wilson pulled the ball out of Marshawn Lynch’s belly and instead of running it, he threw a quick pass to Ricardo Lockette for a 33-yard touchdown. The story details how the Seahawks came by the play, which was used by Auburn and other college programs. Look for it at the high-school level, too. When I talked to Bremerton coach Nate Gillam about his team a couple weeks ago, he said they were installing the same play. The Knights got it from UCLA.

Before I get to the links, Zach Miller gets my vote for most underrated Seahawk. He’s the perfect fit for their offense. Here’s another look at that catch he made against the Packers.

And here’s what Vic Ketchman, editor of Packer.com had to say about the Seahawks in a Q&A column with Green Bay fans:

” You can run any scheme you want if you have the talent to run it well. That’s a college offense: Bootlegs, spread-option fakes, jet sweeps. They made it work, though, didn’t they? On defense, the Seahawks were pure vanilla. The Seahawks are a breath of fresh air. That’s not a Madden team, that’s an old-fashioned, line up and knock your block off team.”

OK, here we go. Here’s what some others are saying about the Hawks:

Mike Silver of NFL.com wrote this about Marshawn Lynch:

The question I asked was this: After all the talk coming out of Seattle over the offseason, and particularly during his short-lived training camp holdout, that the Seahawks were preparing for life without the eighth-year runner, that he’d be splitting carries with young understudies Christine Michael and Robert Turbin, that he plays a position that simply isn’t that valuable, was Thursday night’s performance a de facto rebuttal?

“Well, you know … people say stuff,” Lynch said, shaking his head before offering up an abiding smile. “(Screw) ’em.”

You’ve got to admit, the Beast looked really good. Maybe better than ever. He was hitting the hole fast, reading his blocks, cutting when he needed to and dragging people all over the field.

Speaking of offensive weapons, how about Percy Harvin? That “jet sweep” was pretty effective, huh? Here’s what Terry Blount of ESPN.com wrote about Harvin.

Art Thiel of Sportspress.nw.com writes: ” … No Golden Tate, No Breno Giacomini, no Red Bryant . . . nobody noticed.” No hangover for the Seahawks was the theme of his column.

The Packers didn’t test Richard Sherman. No once. They never threw at him. Kevin Petra of NFL.com addresses that angle.

Here’s another story that I came across later in the day. Andrew Sharp of Grantland.com writes about Marshawn and Percy and how they’re proving some skeptics wrong.

 

Tuesday links: World Cup, Raul, Sherm and The Jet

Here’s some reading material before you settle in for the U.S.-Belgium World Cup match (1 p.m., ESPN):

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports upset the Belgians with this column about why the U.S. can’t lose to Belgium.

He writes:

Belgium has just 11 million people, which is like, what, a Dakota and a half? (Not certain since I was too lazy and distracted to look it up. You want worker productivity? Go hire a Belgian.)

These guys are Canada-Lite, one of these perfect, nice, polite, pretty countries that take pride in the fact they all ride bikes and recycle and don’t unilaterally invade other sovereign nations.

There is no place for someone like this on the global stage of the World Cup, where each match is life and death … literally in some places if you blow a critical assignment.

Jason Whitlock of ESPN.com writes about World Cup fever and the lessons our pro leagues can learn from it.

He writes:

Again, the point of a season-end revival is to showcase a sport as the best. The World Cup, the Super Bowl and the Final Four are primarily gigantic marketing events. They entice fans and media to come and worship for a month, a week and three days, respectively. These events are impossible to ignore. They help grow and maintain soccer, football and college basketball congregations.

It’s puzzling, and counterproductive, that the NBA and MLB haven’t constructed a season-end revival. Eight years ago it was still fashionable to laugh at and ridicule soccer in this country. And now the World Cup is drawing NFL-size television ratings and a lifelong football groupie is analogizing Cristiano Ronaldo to Joe Montana.

 

Joe Posnanski writes about Raul Ibanez, who is back in Kansas City with the Royals.

Posnanski writes this about the 42-year-old ex-Mariner:

There are a million Ibañez numbers I could throw at you to blow your mind — here’s just one: He hit 276 of his 303 career home runs after age 30. That’s 91% of his home runs. That is BY FAR the highest percentage among the 137 players in baseball history who hit 300 home runs.

He hit as many home runs after age 30 as Harmon Killebrew, more (at this moment) than David Ortiz, more than Yaz or Frank Thomas or (how about this one?) A-Rod.

Or this stat: Ibañez is one of only 15 players in baseball history to have more than 1,000 RBIs after age 30. With one more RBI for Kansas City, he will tie a pretty good player named Willie Mays with 1,091 RBIs after 30.

Or this stat: Ibañez has scored almost as many runs after age 30 (945) as Derek Jeter (977).

Or this stat: Ibañez has hit more doubles after age 30 than Stan Musial did. Or George Brett. Or Wade Boggs. Or Barry Bonds.

And just because y’all can’t get enough of Richard Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks, here’s where you can check out Sherman columns for Sport Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback (mmqb.si.com).

In his love letter to coach Pete Carroll, Sherm wrote:

I can’t imagine what life in the NFL would be like for me if he hadn’t used a third-day pick on a still-raw cornerback. I get texts from guys across the league which remind me how good we’ve got it in Seattle. They ask, “Is he really as cool as he seems?” and “I hear you guys have fun at practice?” Yes and yes. All he asks is that we be ourselves and protect the team’s reputation by not saying anything controversial.

In case you missed it, here’s Todd Dybas’ story on Mariners’ rookie James (The Jet) Jones. Don’t know if the nickname’s catching on, but don’t you think it should? Jones is now up to 17 steals after pilfering three on Monday night in Houston, when he went 4-for-5 at the plate.

Grading the Seahawks’ draft

ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. gives the Seattle Seahawks a C-plus for their drafting prowess this year. SI.com gave the Hawks a B-minus. They got a B-plus from CBSsports.com. What do you think?

Here’s Kiper’s thoughts:

Seattle Seahawks: C+

Top needs: WR, DL, OL, TE

Needs: B
Value: D+

Summary: There simply isn’t a better player development program in the NFL right now than Seattle’s. The players the Seahawks draft — the players I’ve spent many hours evaluating and making calls on — are often players that evolve, improve and become something new after Seattle drafts them. While they’ve had some notable misses in Round 1, both in value and development, they’ve been awesome thereafter. So when Seattle moved down to No. 45 overall and still had the chance to take either Stephon Tuitt or Marqise Lee, both players that would have been nice fits at pick No. 32, you almost had to laugh because you knew the Seahawks would go in another direction. Paul Richardson was the pick, and he hits a big need, though his lean frame is a concern. The key will be that he maintains his explosiveness as he adds some needed strength. The presence of him and a healthy Percy Harvin, will keep safeties on high alert. I also thought O-line was a necessity, and Justin Britt adds depth, but he was my 21st-ranked offensive tackle, and struggles to create any movement in the run game. I saw him as a likelier fit in the third or fourth round. Again: They trust their development, and they showed it again when they took what I’d kindly refer to as a deep sleeper in Jimmy Staten, a D-tackle I had at No. 44 at the position in my rankings. The Seahawks know what they are doing, but it’s fair to say they had a couple value questions again today. I look forward to seeing what becomes of these players.

2014 draft picks
Rd Pk Pos Player College
(2) 45 WR Paul Richardson Colorado
(2) 64 T Justin Britt Missouri
(4) 108 DE Cassius Marsh UCLA
(4) 123 WR Kevin Norwood Alabama
(4) 132 OLB Kevin Pierre-Louis Boston College
(5) 172 DT Jimmy Staten Middle Tenn. State
(6) 199 T Garrett Scott Marshall
(6) 208 S Eric Pinkins San Diego State
(7) 227 RB Kiero Small Arkansas

Here’s what SI.com (Chris Burke and Doug Farrar) had to say:

As usual, the Seahawks drafted unconventially, ignoring need at times in favor of players with specific athletic skills. The lack of a dominant guard could come back to bite them later, and I’m not totally sold on the prospects of second-round offensive tackle Justin Britt. However, getting Colorado speed receiver Paul Richardson, also in the second round, could be a major steal.

Alabama’s Kevin Norwood, a bigger target for the end zone and the red zone, adds a key component to Seattle’s offense. UCLA defensive lineman Cassius Marsh, who committed to Pete Carroll back in the USC days before changing his mind, reunites in an end/tackle role. Watch out for Marshall offensive tackle Garrett Scott as the possible sleeper pick — he has a lot of the qualities you’d like to see in a top-flight pass-blocker.

I have to knock Seattle down for passing on the two best guards in this class — Xavier Su’a-Filo and David Yankey — because it is a position of enormous need that wasn’t sewn up in free agency, either.

Grade: B-minus

Pete Prisco of CBSports.com gave the Hawks a B-plus.

The Seahawks traded out of the first round to add picks and added a lot of good players. Second-round receiver Paul Richardson can fly and I love fourth-round picks Cassius Marsh and Kevin Norwood. Grade: B-plus

Here’s how NFL.com wrapped up the Seahawks’ draft: 

Another draft in which Pete Carroll gets the guys he wants where he wants. There were perhaps some reaches in there, but you have to really like adding Richardson and the underrated Norwood on offense. Marsh can be very versatile in the Seahawks’ scheme.

Bleacher Report gave the Hawks a B:

Upgrading at wide receiver was important for Seattle and without many other holes, the team’s draft was solid.

 

Seahawks and DeSean Jackson? Read the latest buzz

The Jared Allen watch has ended for Seahawks’ fans, but it’s time to start a DeSean Jackson watch.

The Eagles released the star wide receiver on Friday, and it didn’t take long for everybody to start speculating on Seattle’s chances of signing him.

Here’s some of the buzz:

Here’s what Doug Farrar of SI.com wrote about the Seahawks’ possible interest in Jackson:

There are two things we know about Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll — they’ll turn every stone to improve their team, and they will take risks on players with “interesting” pasts. They took a shot on Marshawn Lynch in 2010, and Lynch rewarded the team by becoming the heart of the franchise. Lynch played with Jackson at Cal, and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane has Cal ties as well. The Seahawks need a speed receiver with Golden Tate moving on to the Lions and Percy Harvin’s injury status as a constant variable. This is a team with a fairly strong locker room, which could help. And if Jackson is looking to sign with a winner and will take a “prove-it” deal to do so, there are few better options.”

Farrar also lists some other possible landing spots for Jackson.

Here’s what USA Today had to say why Seattle might be interested in Jackson:

They have to replace Golden Tate. The combination of DeSean Jackson and Percy Harvin would be both scary for opponents and scary for the Seahawks. It would be must see TV.”

Thirty minutes after the Eagles released him, Jackson’ spokesperson told USA Today that six teams had called inquiring about his services. Jackson also released a statement denying any involvement with gangs.

From RantSports.com:

“If signed with the Seahawks, Jackson would immediately take over as Seattle’s top receiver. While they have Percey Harvin, he’s an injury waiting to happen and can’t be relied upon. Doug Baldwin showed some promise during their run to the Super Bowl, but is best suited as a No. 3 receiver. After that, the amount of talent is questionable at best. Jackson would bring legitimate No. 1 receiver ability to the Seahawks.

“The only issue standing in the way of a dealis Jackson’s alleged ties to a Los Angeles area gang, which are believed to have played a role in the Eagles’ decision to release him. The Cal product has vehemently denied such ties, but concerns will obviously linger. Before they get seriously involved in talks, expect the Seahawks to do their due diligence.

“Having Jackson in their offense would certainly make things easier for Russell Wilson moving forward, but off-field concerns must be alleviated first. Assuming there’s little to the gang ties story, expect the Seahawks to be big players in signing Jackson.”

More links:

Danny Kelly of fieldgulls.com wraps it up pretty good in this piece. It even includes a photo of Carroll and Jackson in Jackson’s living room when he was a high school all-american. Jackson originally posted the photo on Instagram.

Brady Henderson of 710 ESPN Seattle writes, among other things, about Jackson’s connection to Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll — he recruited Jackson when he was at USC — and to former Cal teammates Marshawn Lynch and Brandon Mebane.

Five days ago, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.nbc.com reported that the Seahawks had no interest in Jackson. Friday, after Jackson was released, Florio had changed his tune, writing that the Seahawks were one of the teams previously interested.

Blue Friday links

You might have heard about the football game that’s going to be played on Sunday in Seattle: Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers (3:30 p.m. FOX) for the right to advance to the Super Bowl.

I’m working on a story about Poulsbo’s Patrick Seahawk Duncan (yes, he changed in middle name to Seahawk). In the meantime,  here’s a few samples of what people are writing about the game. No, wait, I mean THE game:

Gonna start with this piece about the culture of the 12th Man as witnessed by an outsider. Really captures the passion of the Seahawks’ fans, and includes a video of the Seahawks anthem, or at least one of the anthems that’s been recorded by local artists.

Pete Carroll or Jim  Harbaugh? Who’s the better man? Who’s the better coach? Rick Reilly tackles those questions in this column on ESPN.com.

John Clayton, ESPN.com’s professor of football, calls the Seahawks-49ers rivalry one of the best in the NFL since he started covering the league in the early 1970s. He rates the top five rivalries in that time.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com studies the tapes of the first two meetings between the Seahawks and 49ers and he has some interesting thoughts on the matchup.

“I don’t know if there’s going to be handshakes after this one,” says Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.

Sherman praises fellow cornerback Byron Maxwell in his MMQB.com column. He writes: “At this point, he’s well-prepared, and he’s playing as well as any corner in the NFL …”

Who has the edge? NFL.com experts break it down position-by-position.

This Associated Press story deals with how the 49ers are going to try and handle the noise-factor at CenturyLink.

And this Associated Press story addresses the noise issue from a Seahawks’ defensive standpoint.

Want stats? Here’s AP’s capsule look at the 49ers and Hawks.

The year’s Final Four — Seahawks vs. 49ers in the NFC, and Broncos vs. the Patriots in the AFC — doesn’t get much better. Check out CBS.com’s rundown of the two games.

Writers — one who covers the Seahawks and one who covers the Niners — break it all down.

And a late story: Brendon Mebane, the unsung hero on Seattle’s defensive line, a story by Doug Farrar for SI.com’s MMQB.

49ers-Seahawks: Greatest rivalry in sports?

Seahawks vs. 49ers: The Trilogy.

That’s what some are calling Sunday’s NFC Championship game (3:30 p.m., FOX). Granted, it’s the third meeting between the Hawks and Niners this season, but this rivalry goes back to 2007, when Pete Carroll was coaching at USC and Jim Harbaugh was coaching Stanford. Stanford upset the Trojans that day, and two years later the Cardinal did it again. The 2009 game featured the now-famous post-game meeting when Carroll, apparently upset that Harbaugh attempted a two-point conversation late in the game with a healthy lead.

Carroll asked Harbaugh: “What’s your deal?”

Harbaugh came back with: “What’s your deal?”

Here’s the deal. These coaches, and these teams,  don’t like each other.

There are those who believe that Manning vs. Brady is the greatest rivalry in the NFL. It dates back to when Peyton Manning was slinging passes for the Indianapolis Colts and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were the toast of football. Manning, now with the Broncos, will take another shot at Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship game on Sunday (noon, CBS). By the way, Brady’s won 10 of 14 career meetings against Manning.

I think the Seahawks-49ers rivalry has eclipsed the Manning-Brady rivalry. Maybe it’s just because we’re so close to it, but these two West Coast rivals have forged perhaps the greatest rivalry in all of professional sports. The survivor of this game will be a lot like the cowboy who manages to hang on for eight seconds against the biggest, toughest, most physical bull in the world.

The teams are similar in makeup, featuring the most complete and feared defenses in football. The Seahawks have the best defensive backfield, and they’re deep and talented in the other spots, too. The Niners are loaded along the defensive line, and like Seattle, don’t have any weaknesses on that side of the ball.

Knowing the defenses are so sound, the offenses don’t ask a lot out of young quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, although both have been electrifying at times.

The Seahawks ram Marshawn Lynch behind a pretty good offensive line; the 49ers have Frank Gore, and perhaps the best offensive line in football.

The Seahawks have Percy Harvin, providing he’s cleared after sustaining a concussion late in the first half of the win over the Saints on Saturday. We’ve only seem a glimpse of the guy, but it’s pretty clear that Harvin is a rare talent, and opens things up for the Seahawks on offense. The rest of the receivers are sure-handed and have shown an ability to make big plays when they get open,. The 49ers have Anquan Boldin, who is as clutch as they come, Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis. As good as Seattle’s secondary is, these receivers will be tough to stop.

It’ll be interesting if any bulletin board material shows up during the week.

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, who played for Harbaugh at Stanford, called his ex-coach a bully and said he was part of the reason why he dropped to the fifth-round in the NFL draft. Cornerback Brandon Browner said he wanted to “put his hands around Harbaugh’s neck.”

San Francisco running back Anthony Dixon, in a tweet before the Week 2 game, which turned out to be a 29-3 Seattle victory, tweeted: “Extra weight on the racks all week getting less sleep preparing for these She-Hawks,” he wrote. “I love hostile environments Imma feel right at home.”

Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright responded: “lol the she hawks!! I’ll be sure relay the message to the fellas. Its gone be a long night for you and the forty whiners.”

Dixon and Wright both deleted their tweets.

After San Francisco beat Carolina 23-10 to earn a shot at the Seahawks, Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin tweeted: “Wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Pete Carroll talked about the game on his ESPN 710 Seattle radio show Monday morning.

“I think it’s the matchup that everybody wanted like to see,” Carroll said. “We don’t mind it one bit and they don’t mind it, either. It’ll be a great one.

“These are the two teams everyone was talking about early in the year, so it’s interesting how accurate all the (soothsayers) were. There’s not a better matchup you could find right now in the NFC. We’re thrilled about it.”

The 49ers are peaking. They’ll bring an eight-game winning streak to CenturyLink. One of those wins was a 19-17 victory over the Hawks last month in San Francisco.

Nevada oddsmakers favor the Seahawks by three points. In other words, the bookies give Seattle the edge because of the home-field environment. As electric as the 12s have been in the past, you know it’ll be even louder and more boisterous on Sunday. That’s going to be tough for the 49ers to overcome.

This game might come down to the team that can control its emotions and be the most disciplined. Leave the smack-talk in the locker room. Now’s not the time to go all Jimmy Graham on the opposition. Keep your mouth shut and play. I don’t see the Seahawks or 49ers losing sight of that, not with what’s at stake.

Here’s something to chew on: The home team has won four straight int his series.

Here’s something else to chew on. Since Carroll and Harbaugh have been in the NFL, Harbaugh and the 49ers are 4-2 against the Seahawks, but they’ve been outscored 71-16 in their last games, both losses, at the Clink.

So here’s the deal: If you’re going to the game, bring some sani-wipes because this is going to be like sitting ringside at a  classic heavyweight championship  fight. Snot and sweat and blood are going to be flying.

And when Harbaugh and Carroll shake hands after the game, the winner, no doubt, will be tempted to say: “Hey, you know what the deal is? We’re going to the Super Bowl and you’re going home.”

Some links

Here’s another look at the Seahawks-49ers rivalry.

As I type this, 63% percent of the fans in this ESPN poll feel the Seahawks will beat the 49ers.

Are Seahawks trying to keep 49ers’ fans from buying tickets to Sunday’s championship game?

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that no team has an emotional leader like Jim Harbaugh.