Record-setting defense plans to get better

Earl Thomas and Pete Carroll (The Seattle Times via Twitter)The Seahawks’ defense has put together an unprecedented run — becoming the first modern NFL team to go four straight years as the No. 1 scoring unit.

After Seattle shut down Arizona 36-6 in the 2015 season finale to clinch the top spot again, a beaming Pete Carroll said, “I don’t know if there is a record that I could be more proud of than to see our guys go for four straight years and lead the league in scoring defense. I think that is a remarkable accomplishment by a bunch of guys dedicated to the program and what we are doing.”

Carroll’s defense also has given up the fewest yards over the last three years, ranking first in the 2013 and 2014 Super Bowl years and second last season.

That’s a pretty darn good run of defense — and yet the Seahawks know they can become more consistent if they can cover their Achilles’ heel.

Because they have so many veterans on the unit now, the coaches apparently are finally planning to address the soft underbelly of their defense, which has been prone to giving up big chunks of yards and too many touchdowns to tight ends, running backs and slot receivers.

Their plan to fix that issue figures to be one of the big stories of training camp, which begins Saturday.

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Not a ‘knucklehead’ anymore, but is it too late for Michael?

Michael to CowboysIt took Christine Michael a long time to figure out how not to be a “knucklehead.” But is it too late now?

The 2013 second-round pick never cared enough to try to unseat Robert Turbin as Marshawn Lynch’s backup. And then, last year, he lost his roster spot to undrafted Thomas Rawls, who was such a revelation that he is expected to replace Lynch permanently as Seattle’s No. 1 back.

It took injuries to Lynch, Turbin (waived injured last summer) and Rawls for Michael to finally get some playing time in Seattle. And that happened only after he was traded to the Cowboys, released, picked up by the Redskins and released again.

Michael did well in his return to Seattle, averaging 4.9 yards per carry in the final three games of the season and rushing for 70 yards in the playoff win over Minnesota (Lynch returned for the loss to Carolina, so Michael did not get a carry in that game).

Michael recently told USA Today that he started taking the game more seriously.

Continue reading Not a ‘knucklehead’ anymore, but is it too late for Michael?

CHAWK LINES -- Training camp new

With training camp starting in one week, let’s look at some pre-camp player reports:

Michael Bennett is griping about his contract yet again. But don’t believe him when he says, “Just get rid of me.”

Russell Wilson, who now looks almost as hulked up as Robert Turbin, told Q13 Fox: “We’ll try to bring back Super Bowl 51 if we can. We’ll do everything we can, every day. That’s a promise.”

Justin Britt’s switch to center is one of the major camp stories to watch.

Pete Carroll reminds us why the Seahawks think J’Marcus Webb will succeed with them.

Can Thomas Rawls take over for Marshawn Lynch — even if he doesn’t play in the preseason?

John Clayton projects Rawls to get 16-17 carries a game, with the other backs getting six or seven.

Christine Michael — among those trying to replace Lynch — admits, “I was just being a young guy, just being a knucklehead.”

Like last year, all eyes will be on Jimmy Graham — from camp through the season.

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