By Eric D. Williams The News Tribune
Steven Hauschka arrived at a simple conclusion when faced with the task of consistently kicking the ball farther.
That strategy has paid off for the Seattle Seahawks kicker.
Hauschka said during the offseason he worked hard on his conditioning and endurance, along with building more power through his core muscles to increase his overall leg strength.
“It was something I felt I needed to work on,” Hauschka said. “I also kicked a lot of long field goals this offseason. In practice, we would kick a lot of them, and on my own I would kick a lot of them, so I feel comfortable back there. I’m swinging a little more naturally, a little more free.”
Hauschka’s comfort with long field goals was put on display during the preseason. He finished 8-for-9 on field-goal attempts, including three beyond 50 yards against Oakland in Seattle’s final exhibition game. Hauschka booted a career-long 56 yarder against the Raiders. His only miss during preseason play was a 61-yard attempt that glanced off the crossbar at San Diego.
Hauschka’s also had 68.3 percent of his kickoffs go for touchbacks.
Hauschka’s always been consistent inside 50 yards. He converted 49 out of 57 field-goal tries (86 percent), with a long of 52 yards, and 80 out of 82 extra points in his two seasons.
In 2012, Hauschka made 24 out of 27 field goals for a career-high 118 points. He set the franchise-record with 14 consecutive games with a made field goal from Oct. 9, 2011, to Sept. 16, 2012.
But Hauschka was just 3-for-8 from 50 yards or more with the Seahawks. And Hauschka’s 41.4 percent touchbacks was No. 22 in the league last season.
Hauschka had some competition early in training camp with Carson Wiggs, but said he did not need any external motivation to perform well. Wiggs was released from Seattle’s roster three weeks into camp.
“I feel like I’m self-motivated,” Hauschka said. “So I don’t think that’s what did it. It was just something that I wanted to address after last season.”
The Seahawks did not announce Sunday which players have been signed to the practice squad, and likely will announce Monday which eight players made the list.
But according to their Twitter accounts, offensive lineman Ryan Seymour, the Seahawks’ seventh-round draft pick, and defensive tackle Seavler Siliga will be back with the team on the practice squad.
Also, Chris Harper, Seattle’s fourth-round selection; defensive end Ty Powell, a seventh-round selection; offensive lineman Jared Smith, also a seventh-round pick; and tight end Cooper Helfet reportedly have been added to the practice squad.
Several former Seahawks found their way to active rosters and practice squads for other NFL teams.
The Seattle-to-Jacksonville pipeline continued, with safety Winston Guy claimed by the Jaguars, joining that team’s active roster along with ex-Seattle players Justin Forsett, a running back, linebacker Kyle Knox and cornerback Will Blackmon.
Defensive tackle Jaye Howard, tight end Sean McGrath and cornerback Ron Parker were claimed by Kansas City and signed to the Chiefs’ active roster. This development was no surprise because former Seattle personnel man Will Lewis is now working in Kansas City.
Quarterback Jerrod Johnson, with Seattle during the team’s offseason program, was added to Chicago’s practice squad, along with former Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette.
Seattle training camp invitee receiver Justin Veltung, a Puyallup High graduate and University of Idaho product, landed on the Rams’ practice squad.