As big a reason as any for the big-time improvement in the Seahawks' defense as of late has been the rock-solid play of MLB David Hawthorne. We hear it only has been within the last couple of games that Hawthorne has considered himself finally fully recovered from the knee injury that forced him to miss Week One. "He just wasn't himself initially, but he's back to being the leader," one daily team observer said of Hawthorne. "The first time he had to take over in the middle when Lofa Tatupu got hurt, he was always worried about his responsibilities," the observer said. "But he's very confident this time around." Hawthorne also has become a bigger influence in the locker room. "Even though he's only in his fourth season, he's all of the sudden become one of the team's veterans," the observer said. "He's definitely the sounding board for the other linebackers."