The Seahawks made an interesting move Wednesday when they claimed rookie quarterback B.J. Daniels off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers.
Plenty of NFC West observers want to chalk it up as another bit of gamesmanship between the teams, claiming the Hawks wanted to get even with the 49ers for claiming wide receiver Chris Harper after Seattle cut the fourth-round draft pick in August. In both cases, the team that waived the player reportedly wanted to place him on the practice squad after he cleared waivers.
But that conspiracy theory -- while fun for the drama queens -- makes little sense. There is too much at stake to be dropping good players just to play head games with a division rival you already embarrassed on the field earlier this season.
The Seahawks obviously see something in Daniels and plan to keep him. Why else would they let go a promising young player such as linebacker John Lotulelei to add a third quarterback?
The Hawks worked out Daniels just before the draft. They might have wanted him in the seventh round, but they ended up focusing on offensive linemen, and the 49ers drafted the South Florida QB with the first of their three seventh-round picks.
The 5-foot-11, 222-pounder finished his senior season with a broken ankle, but he is mobile (601 rushing yards as a junior) and reminds some of Russell Wilson.
With Tarvaris Jackson signed only for this season, it is possible that the Hawks want Daniels to learn the system and see whether he can develop into a dependable backup.
Meanwhile, Lotulelei joins linebacker Allen Bradford (a Seattle conversion project), offensive tackle Mike Person and defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith as players who have been released since the season began.
Bradford and Person were let go after Week 1, replaced by tight end Kellen Davis and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. Smith was let go for offensive lineman Jason Spitz last week.
The Seahawks will need to make another move this week if -- as expected -- they activate Bruce Irvin from his exemption.
The top options for that cut seem to be Benson Mayowa and Spitz, if center Max Unger can return.
As for Irvin, who is coming off his four-game NFL suspension, coach Pete Carroll said he wanted to see how the 2012 first-rounder practices before deciding how much he will factor this week.
"We've got to get him on the practice field first to see what he looks like," Carroll said.
Linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. thinks he is ready.
"It's just like having a new toy. It's really exciting. We're going to put him right in there and see him right away," Norton told reporters. "There's no waiting. He's just going to jump right in there and play, and we're really excited to get him going."
Irvin said, "If you have four weeks to chill, you'd better be ready. I’m itching right now. I’ve been itching for the past four weeks. I’m just honored that coach Pete Carroll has welcomed me back, and I’m just going to keep my nose clean from here on out and just play football."
Some are saying Brandon Mebane is playing his best football right now, but he played better in the first four weeks of 2012. He actually had an up-and-down day against Houston, making some good plays (five tackles, one for loss) and getting sealed off on a number of others.
"I think Brandon is right on it and he’s doing everything that we want him to do," Carroll said. "He’s playing really physical at the line of scrimmage and he’s causing problems more in the pass rush than he has. I think the complement of the guys around him is helping him. He’s playing good football. I don’t know if I’d call it his best."
However, fellow DT Clinton McDonald seems to have played his best since being re-signed after the opener. McDonald had another strong game Sunday, with a sack, two tackles for loss and a QB hit. He has 2.5 sacks in his last two games.
"He’s looked better than at any time in the last couple years," Carroll said. "I don’t know what happened, but he came back on fire and he’s done well in the running game and the passing game. So he’s reminding us that he should be here on a daily basis. ... He’s really come flying back."
The Hawks might get yet another D-tackle flying back, if rookie Jordan Hill finally is ready to go this week. He has been out all season with a biceps injury.
Carroll wants to see if the third-rounder can pick up where he left off in the preseason before he was injured.
"We were really excited about him," Carroll said. "He’s done a lot of cool stuff, learned really well, showed versatility and quickness and unique quickness for the position. … We had him early on schedule to be one of the four rushers, to go with Michael Bennett inside. So he made a very good impression that regard. We’ll just kind of start it up again, see where we are.”
On the other side, the Hawks know where they are. And it's not a good place. Their tackles had a tough time against Houston's J.J. Watt, Brian Cushing, Whitney Mercilus and company on Sunday.
The best Carroll could offer about tackles Paul McQuistan and Michael Bowie was that they survived. And he did not offer much hope that things would improve.
Of McQuistan, the coach said, “He’s surviving. It’s not his natural spot, but with smarts and utilizing the scheme he’s getting through it. That’s all we can hope for him to continue to do for us. It’s a big challenge out there. He’s getting great players week in and week out, he’s got another great one coming up this week (Robert Mathis, who has a league-leading 7.5 sacks for the Colts), and he’s going to work hard to survive it again.”
Of the rookie Bowie, Carroll said, “Yeah, he survived the game. I don’t know that we could ask for any more than that. He got through it. He did improve during the game, which is what’s most encouraging. We gave him quite a bit of help (against Watt). … But Mike is going to be a good football player; we really don’t have any question about that. He’s growing quickly. He was comfortable with it. It wasn’t too big for him. So I’m hoping that we’ll see real steady improvement here in the next couple of weeks until Breno (Giacomini) has a chance to come back.”
Expect Giacomini to be out 2-3 more weeks. He is still in New York rehabbing after having arthroscopic knee surgery, Carroll said. Of course, if he is out that long and Bowie shows great improvement, Giacomini might not get his job back.