Seahawks Rumors

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/23/20

Today’s practice squad moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Las Vegas Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Seahawks Place Greg Olsen On IR, Promote Snacks Harrison

The Seahawks have formally placed tight end Greg Olsen on injured reserve. To fill his spot on the active roster, they’ve promoted defensive tackle Damon Harrison. In addition, running back Bo Scarbrough has also been parked on IR.

Olsen was diagnosed with plantar fascia issue last week, an injury that could prevent him from returning this season. For his part, Olsen is hoping to recover quickly and return in the playoffs, though that would probably require the Seahawks to reach the NFC title game or the Super Bowl. With that in mind, it’s possible that the 35-year-old has played his final down in the NFL. Olsen has flirted with retirement for the last few years and he has a gig waiting for him at FOX Sports whenever he decides to hang ’em up.

Harrison, a former All-Pro nose tackle, hooked on with Seattle’s practice squad in October. After taking some time to get back into playing shape, Snacks is ready to be a contributor on clear running downs. In his peak years with the Jets, Giants, and Lions, Harrison was one of the game’s premiere run stuffers. He’s also been able to get after the quarterback when needed, as shown by his eleven career sacks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/21/20

Here are the latest practice squad moves from around the league:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

Seattle Seahawks

Brandon Mebane Announces Retirement

Longtime Seahawks and Chargers defensive tackle Brandon Mebane announced he will retire after 13 seasons.

The former Super Bowl starter called it quits via Facebook (Twitter link via SI.com’s Fernando Ramirez). This comes eight months after the Bolts released Mebane following a four-season stay.

Mebane, 35, enjoyed a lengthy career, coming into the league as a Seahawks third-round pick in 2007 and remaining a starter for almost all of the next 13 seasons. Mebane started 176 games in his career, with his most memorable stretch coming during the Seahawks’ 2010s ascent.

Drafted during Seattle’s Tim RuskellMike Holmgren regime, Mebane became an instant starter. He remained in that role through the 2015 season. During that time, the Seahawks made five postseason trips and won Super Bowl XLVIII. The Seahawks became the first team in the post-merger era to rank first in scoring defense in four straight seasons, doing so from 2012-15. Mebane graded as one of the NFL’s best defensive linemen during Seattle’s 2013 Super Bowl-winning season, in the view of Pro Football Focus.

Mebane did not play in Super Bowl XLIX, with a hamstring tear sidelining him midway through the 2014 season, but landed a three-year, $13.5MM deal with the Chargers in 2016. He ended up agreeing to two Bolts deals, the second one in 2019, and working as a starter for four seasons. While Mebane largely functioned as a run-stopping interior defender, he recorded a career-high 5.5 sacks and 18 quarterback hits in 2008. He notched a career-high 56 tackles for the 2012 Seahawks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks’ Greg Olsen Suffers Fascia Tear

Seahawks tight end Greg Olsen has been diagnoses with a a plantar fascia injury, according to head coach Pete Carroll. The injury could spell the end of Olsen’s season and, in turn, his career. For his part, Olsen is hoping to recover in time for the playoffs, though the Seahawks would probably have to make a deep run to make that happen (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport).

Olsen suffered the non-contact injury in the fourth quarter of last night’s game and had to be helped to the sidelines. Even before he was carted into the locker room, team doctors knew that Olsen’s injury was fairly serious.

The 35-year-old joined the Seahawks on a one-year, $7MM deal this offseason, though he also has a placeholder deal with FOX Sports to start his broadcasting career once he’s done playing. Olsen also experienced foot trouble late in his Panthers tenure. He missed 16 games between the 2017-18 campaigns because of multiple foot issues. After lots of rehab, he managed to play in 14 games last year.

In nine Panthers seasons, Olsen cemented himself as one the best players in franchise history. He eclipsed 1,000 yards en route to three Pro Bowls from 2014-16 and helped the Panthers to a 15-1 season that produced an NFC championship. From 2007 through 2019, Olsen registered 8,444 receiving yards — third-most in the NFL among tight ends in that span. With the Seahawks, he’s caught 23 passes for 224 yards and one touchdown through ten games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Who Will Win NFC West?

Exiting the NFL’s midway point, the NFC West serves as arguably the league’s most compelling division. Although injuries have made the 49ers’ road back to the playoffs exceedingly difficult, the division’s other three teams are surefire contenders.

The Cardinals’ re-emergence has created a crowded competition. Arizona, Los Angeles and Seattle enter Week 11 at 6-3. These three teams have four more combined games against one another, beginning with Thursday night’s Cards-Seahawks rematch.

This season’s top play thus far — the Kyler Murray-to-DeAndre Hopkins game-winner over the Bills — spotlighted the primary reasons behind the Cardinals’ resurgence. They have now beaten two winning teams — Seattle and Buffalo — and rank in the top 10 both scoring and points allowed. Their plus-56 differential leads the division, one this franchise has only won twice (in 2008 and ’15).

Through nine games, Murray has accounted for 27 touchdowns (10 rushing); that is more than unanimous 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson had at this time last season. Providing a predictably strong early return on the Cards-Texans March trade, Hopkins ranks second in the NFL with 861 receiving yards. Arizona’s defense, however, enters Week 11 with five D-linemen on IR — including big-ticket offseason signing Jordan Phillips. Chandler Jones also residing on IR will make matters tougher on Vance Joseph‘s unit in the second half.

The Rams have shown plenty defensively this season; the unit has powered their 6-3 start. Hired after stays as the Bears and Broncos’ outside linebackers coach, Brandon Staley has the Aaron Donald– and Jalen Ramsey-led unit standing second in points allowed. Staley’s troops held Russell Wilson without a touchdown pass and forced him to commit three turnovers Sunday.

Los Angeles also has one of this year’s top-graded offensive lines, though that unit stands to take a hit after Andrew Whitworth‘s knee ligament tears. Jared Goff‘s 25th-ranked QBR figure, however, threatens to impede the Rams from their third division title in four years. The Rams and Cardinals do not play until Week 13.

Seattle is 1-2 in divisional play, holding that mark after a near-70-minute loss in Arizona and Week 10 defeat in L.A. Wilson has lost the MVP lead, per Las Vegas, to Patrick Mahomes and lacks the defensive support Goff and Murray are receiving. The Seahawks enter Week 11 ranked last in yards allowed. Although their maligned pass rush sacked Josh Allen seven times, that game still included 415 passing yards from the Bills quarterback. While Wilson has thrown a league-high 28 touchdown passes and is on track smash his career-high figure (35 in 2018), Seattle’s soon-to-be 32-year-old superstar passer has also turned the ball over 10 times in the team’s three losses.

The 49ers have a somewhat one-sided win over the Rams on their resume, but the defending NFC champions are 4-6. “Decimated” may be too light of a descriptor to illustrate San Francisco’s injury situation.

The new seven-team playoff bracket will make it easier for the NFC West to send three teams to the playoffs. But which of these teams will have the highest seed and the playoff “home” game?

Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/19/20

Here are the most recent NFL minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Placed on IR: CB C.J. Henderson

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: FB C.J. Ham

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Seahawks To Place Quinton Dunbar On IR

The Seahawks will go a second straight game without one of their cornerback starters Thursday night, and Quinton Dunbar‘s injury-related absence will be extended to at least four weeks.

Dunbar will go on Seattle’s IR list, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The offseason trade acquisition is battling a knee injury — one that shelved him for the Seahawks’ Week 10 loss to the Rams.

Seattle will promote Snacks Harrison and running back Bo Scarbrough from its practice squad. Chris Carson is not expected to play against the Cardinals tonight, and Scarbrough stands to provide depth for a backfield that has not been at full strength in weeks. Technically, Seattle’s running back stable has been incomplete all season due to Rashaad Penny‘s absence.

Dunbar has started all six games he’s played with his new team. The Seahawks sent Washington a fifth-round pick for the sixth-year veteran. Pro Football Focus has not viewed the 2019 standout’s play as particularly strong this season, ranking him 106th among full-time corners. Seattle’s defense enters Week 11 last in yards allowed; its pass defense has been the primary culprit.

The 28-year-old defender was in talks with the Bruce Allen-led Washington front office about an extension, but the Ron Rivera regime traded him to Seattle. His current deal expires at season’s end. Dunbar broke through as a full-time starter last season, intercepting four passes and grading as one of the NFL’s top defenders (per PFF), but could use a strong stretch run to impact potential Seahawks extension talks or a 2021 free agency bid.

This will be Harrison’s second time in a Seahawks game uniform. The team waited several weeks before activating the former All-Pro nose tackle, and Harrison played 19 defensive snaps against the Rams. He should be ticketed for another part-time role tonight.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/18/20

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Activated from IR: OL Phil Haynes
  • Placed on IR: CB Neiko Thorpe

Tennessee Titans

Coaching Rumors: Crennel, Quinn, Fitzgerald

The Texans fired head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien last month following an 0-4 start, and interim HC Romeo Crennel has righted the ship a bit. Under Crennel’s watch, Houston is 2-2, and while those two wins came against the lowly Jaguars, the Texans came within an eyelash of toppling the Titans in Week 6.

Crennel, 73, has been viewed as a placeholder for 2020, but he could retain the gig through the 2021 season, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes. COVID-19 restrictions will probably not permit a traditional in-person search this offseason, so teams hiring a new HC could be committing a boatload of money to a person they have never even met. As such, the Texans might stick with Crennel next season and seek their long-term answer the following year. If that happens, VP of football operations Jack Easterby may continue serving as GM.

Of course, the team has been connected to Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, who is a favorite of QB Deshaun Watson. Bieniemy is widely expected to secure a head coaching job this offseason regardless of travel restrictions, so if Houston wants him, it might need to take a leap of faith. And John McClain of the Houston Chronicle says the Texans will indeed hire a new GM and HC at season’s end, while fellow Houston Chronicle scribe Aaron Wilson says the search remains active (Twitter links).

Now for more a few more coaching rumors:

  • The Falcons parted ways with HC Dan Quinn earlier this season, but it doesn’t sound like Quinn will be out of work for long. Per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, several teams have made it known that they would like to have Quinn on their staff in 2021, and coordinators who might become head coaches next season have tapped Quinn as their first choice for defensive coordinator. La Canfora says Quinn could rejoin the Seahawks given Seattle’s defensive struggles this year, and he could also end up as the 49ers‘ DC if Robert Saleh gets a head coaching job.
  • Given the financial toll that the pandemic has taken on college athletic departments, top college coaches have become increasingly receptive to a jump to the NFL, as La Canfora details in a separate piece. Names like Lincoln Riley, Jim Harbaugh, and Brian Kelly, who frequently come up in offseason coaching rumors, will again be at the forefront of the discussion in 2021.
  • Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has drawn interest from NFL teams in the past, and as of January 2019, he indicated he was not interested in NFL opportunities. However, COVID-19 might make him more receptive to an HC job in the pros, and his hometown Bears could come calling. La Canfora says Bears ownership is high on Fitzgerald, and if Chicago moves on from Matt Nagy, Fitzgerald might be on the top of the team’s wish-list.