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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.

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August 20, 2008 3:21 PM

C.J. Wallace: Innocent of blocking violation

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Safety C.J. Wallace was tagged the guilty party for blowing a block on one of the two punts blocked by the Bears on Saturday. Not so. Wallace wasn't assigned to block that man, someone else was assigned to make that block on the play.

A couple other notes from the special-teams practice: Nate Burleson is the No. 1 receiver, which puts him out of the mix as a punt-returner. That leaves Ben Obomanu, Justin Forsett and Josh Wilson as the top candidates for that position. Marcus Trufant and Seneca Wallace have also caught punts in practice.

As for the kickers, Brandon Coutu and Olindo Mare will mix up responsibilities more in the final two exhibition games. In the first two exhibition games, one was responsible for all field-goal attempts, the other handled kickoffs. Also, Ryan Plackemeier is expected to be ready to punt in Monday's exhibition game.

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August 20, 2008 3:04 PM

Roof it

Posted by Jose Romero

The real fun of special teams practice, which just ended, came after its conclusion. CB Kelly Jennings tried a punt just for fun, whiffing completely on the first one. And then real punters Ryan Plackemeier and Reggie Hodges swung their legs in an effort to blast a punt so high that it would hit the ceiling of the mammoth indoor practice field.

Plackemeier claimed to have hit it already, but that was questioned. He took all the questions out of it, though, this afternoon when he hit the ceiling twice.

Granted, Plackemeier had to kick the ball to the lower part of the ceiling, which slants upward from east to west.
The lowest point of the roof is 95 feet rising to 112.

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August 20, 2008 11:28 AM

Aug. 20 morning practice and updates

Posted by Jose Romero

Rookie DT Red Bryant didn't do much, but he made his first practice appearance since July 30. Bryant needed minor knee surgery and hasn't been able to practice since that procedure.

Looks like Charlie Frye will get the start again on Monday night against the San Diego Chargers. Matt Hasselbeck missed Wednesday's full-team practice (there is special teams in the afternoon) and coach Mike Holmgren said Hasselbeck's back is still "tight and sore."

Holmgren didn't seem too concerned. He feels Hasselbeck will be OK for the start of the regular season, though he added it was too early to say if Hasselbeck will play in the San Diego game.

Holmgren said is encouraged by the progress of C Chris Spencer. But he was ambiguous about WR Deion Branch, who was running backwards up the berm at the new headquarters during practice.

Holmgren told Danny O'Neil this: "I was hoping we'd have him for the first ball game. And I said it before, the important thing is how he feels about it. You come off that particular surgery and it's a bugger, it's tough."

Holmgren said he was hopfeul Branch would be back soon, but wondered how Branch might react when he gets into a game, based on what he has seen from other receivers coming back from ACL surgery.

"It doesn't really matter what I think," Holmgren said. "It's important how he feels and how he's going to do this."

QB Seneca Wallace took some snaps in the team portion of practice. He's been dealing with a sore groin.

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August 20, 2008 9:44 AM

Catching the clues on the receiver debate

Posted by Danny O'Neil

When Seattle traded a first-round pick for the privilege of signing Deion Branch to a six-year, $39 million contract, the Seahawks had Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram from Seattle's Super Bowl season and had signed Nate Burleson as a free agent over the offseason.

Two years later, the Seahawks needs at wide receiver appear more drastic, Joe Horn is a free agent after being released from Atlanta and Anquan Boldin has requested a trade from the Cardinals.

Don't expect the Seahawks to make a move to bring in a veteran, though. For one, the Seahawks have invested a great deal of money in the position with the contracts Branch and Burleson were signed to. Then there's the reality that even if Arizona considers trading Boldin -- something the Cardinals have said they won't -- the team that would acquire him presumably must be willing to rework his contract otherwise the main problem causing Boldin's unhappiness would remain.

Finally, the Seahawks have a group of young wide receivers that they felt so strongly about that they didn't choose a receiver in the draft or sign one in free agency. To think they're now going to press the panic button because Engram's out is a little silly.

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August 20, 2008 9:23 AM

Mike Holmgren provides injury roundup

Posted by Danny O'Neil

Coach Mike Holmgren appeared on Mitch Levy's show on KJR-AM (950) this morning before going out on the field for practice. He discussed some of the personnel specifics at the midway point of the exhibition schedule, and he also rounded up the injuries. Here's a roundup of what Holmgren said to Levy:

  • Center Chris Spencer has shown a great deal of improvement in the recent days and his presence on the practice field Monday was a positive step even though Spencer did not participate in 11-on-11 drills. Holmgren anticipates Spencer will be ready for the regular-season opener in Buffalo, and the coach went so far to joke he would push Spencer of the bus to make sure he was on the field to play.

  • The hope remains that tackle Sean Locklear will be ready for the regular-season opener. If not, Ray Willis will take his place, and Holmgren said Willis graded out pretty well from the exhibition game against Chicago. The issue was penalties.

  • Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck may not play in Monday's exhibition game at San Diego, Holmgren said. Hasselbeck sat out Tuesday's practices after his back tightened up. In most years, the third exhibition game is the one Holmgren plays his starters most extensively. Usually, they remain on the field to start the second half. Not this year, Holmgren said. "We're not doing that," Holmgren told Levy. "With the numbers and injuries we've had, I have to play it a little more carefully." Foremost in that group is Hasselbeck, who may not play. "It's only because he has to be just right for Buffalo," Holmgren said.

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    August 19, 2008 4:06 PM

    Seahawks not catching onto the screen -- 8.19.2008 P.M. practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Practice ended about 20 minutes later for the offense than Seattle's defense. That's because coach Mike Holmgren kept the offense around to work on a screen pass, which the team struggled to execute during the team portion of practice.

    Tackles Ray Willis and Walter Jones weren't on the field for the afternoon portion, but that's been standard as they are among the players recovering from offseason surgery. With Sean Locklear out with a knee injury, Seattle was left with two tackles participating in Tuesday's afternoon practice: Kyle Williams and Floyd Womack.

    Matt Hasselbeck was not on the field for the workout after leaving the morning practice when his back tightened up.

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    August 19, 2008 11:21 AM

    Hasselbeck "back" to the sidelines -- 8.19.2008 A.M. practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Matt Hasselbeck left the practice field on Tuesday morning with tightness in his back. He went into the locker room and did not return for the rest of practice. That left Charlie Frye the quarterback taking repetitions with the first team because Seneca Wallace is still out with an injured groin.

    TE Jeb Putzier was also sidelined by a tightened back.

    The other guys out: LS Tyler Schmitt, LB Will Herring, OL Samuel Gutekunst, RT Sean Locklear, OL Will Robinson, DT Red Bryant, WR Deion Brach, WR Bobby Engram, DE Chris Cooper and DT Larry Tripplett.

    Defensive end Lawrence Jackson is now working with the first-unit defense and that left him going against that Walter Jones guy who works like the witness protection program at left tackle. He can make people vanish without a trace.

    Jones doesn't say much when he works. In fact, Bryce Fisher once said that the most frustrating thing about going against Jones is that he would work his absolute hardest, even to the point he would feel a little fatigued only to see that Jones was barely sweating.

    Well, Jackson is getting a similar introduction as the Big Walt remains mostly silent even at practice.

    "I'll get a laugh every once in a while," Jackson said. "To him, he's going out there getting his work done and I'm fighting, trying to beat him."

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    August 18, 2008 3:18 PM

    Jackson to start Monday

    Posted by Jose Romero

    Defensive coordinator John Marshall said the plan is to start rookie Lawrence Jackson for the second straight exhibition game. Jackson started Saturday.

    Jackson and veteran Darryl Tapp are competing for a starting job at defensive end.

    Marshall also addressed questions about why the Seahawks blitzed Bears QB Rex Grossman so much early in the game, which seemed like a lot for a preseason contest. Marshall said the Seahawks were just "running their stuff" and didn't do anything out of the ordinary. Marshall felt Grossman had made the Seahawks pay in previous games, and didn't want him to get a rhythm right from the start.

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    August 18, 2008 12:18 PM

    This morning at VMAC (8/18)

    Posted by Jose Romero

    The rain and threatening thunder and lightning sent everyone indoors. It felt like walking into another room inside a building.

    The crown jewel of the Seahawks' new HQ is the indoor field, and certainly one big reason the team built the facility. The indoor field already justifies the building of the facility, because it was needed on the day of the first official team practice there.

    After walking through the glass door to wacth practice, it was just another day. For the most part. C Chris Spencer practiced for the first time since the first day of camp in Kirkland. He said his back pain subsided enough for him to take part. Spencer did not take part in team drills.

    DE Patrick Kerney and QB Matt Hasselbeck did, however. Hasselbeck didn't play in Saturday night's game to get more rest for a sore back, but he said he expects to play next Monday when the Seahawks are in San Diego. And DB Jordan Babineaux took part in his first full practice since hurting his knee in the scrimmage Aug. 2.

    Coach Mike Holmgren said RT Sean Locklear has a sprained ligament in his left knee and that it will require rest, not surgery. He still hopes Locklear will be back in time for the first games.

    Holmgren also said that after looking at the film from Saturday's game, he feels worse about what he saw. Maybe that's the reason he lit into his players during and after practice this morning.

    "We played a horribly sloppy game," Holmgren said. "We gained 500 yards, the other team gets 200 yards [It was actually 431 to 205] and you're in an overtime game? How does that compute? Well it computes because you have six turnovers [including two blocked punts], 12 was horrible, and I won't stand for it. Coaches or players. We gotta get crankin' again. It was too much 'at the playground' the other night."

    One more thing -- backup QB Seneca Wallace was held out of practice with tightness in his groin, but will be OK, Holmgren said.

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    August 18, 2008 9:30 AM

    Spencer is back

    Posted by Jose Romero

    Practice is just beginning here in Renton at the new HQ, and No. 1 center Chris Spencer is out on the field stretching. That means he could be practicing today for the first time since the first day of camp.

    The team started practice outdoors, but threatening skies caused them to abandon that and move indoors. Well, that's why they built this place, right?

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    August 17, 2008 9:50 PM

    Thunder and lightning...and a roster analysis

    Posted by Jose Romero

    As I write this the lightining has begun out my window. Nice show. So was the Seahawks game from Saturday, part of which I just finished watching on replay.

    A couple of things I noticed that I didn't in person: Justin Forsett got congrats from Bears players too, after his big effort. And Lofa Tatupu and Leroy Hill were looking across the field just before Brandon Coutu's winning field goal at the Bears sideline. Tatupu raised his arms and signaled "Good" before the ball was kicked.

    So the Seahawks are 2-0 in the preseason. Let's take a look at the roster -- keep in mind these are just projections and I wrote them to provoke further discussion. There's more games to play and more to observe and more could happen between now and the first roster cuts Aug. 26.

    On the team: Matt Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace, Charlie Frye.
    Longshot: Dalton Bell. He hasn’t even played in a game yet.

    Running back
    On the team: Julius Jones, Maurice Morris, Leonard Weaver, Owen Schmitt, T.J. Duckett, Justin Forsett.
    On the bubble: David Kirtman. He had a decent game, but Forsett went crazy, and the fact that he can be a return man makes him more of an asset. You know how the political analysts project a state for a presidential candidate based on early returns? I'm going to go ahead and project that Forsett makes the team. He just has to stay healthy and be productive when he gets his chance over the next two exhibition games. Duckett stays, too, because he is a weapon in short-yardage situations.

    Wide receiver
    On the team: Deion Branch, Nate Burleson, Bobby Engram, Courtney Taylor.
    On the bubble: Jordan Kent, Ben Obomanu, Michael Bumpus, Logan Payne, Bryan Gilmore.
    Longshots: Trent Shelton, Joel Filani. The injuries have allowed young players to step forward and show what they have. Payne made a key catch and got yards after the catch that really put the Seahawks in position to win Saturday. Bumpus leads the team with 80 receiving yards in two games, and is outplaying Obomanu, an experienced player, in games. Kent is almost a lock at this point, and if he has at least one more good game should be on the final roster.

    Tight end
    On the team: John Carlson, Jeb Putzier.
    On the bubble: Will Heller, Joe Newton. Heller has experience in his favor and the Seahawks often keep three tight ends.

    Offensive line:
    On the team: Walter Jones, Rob Sims, Sean Locklear, Mike Wahle, Chris Spencer, Steve Vallos, Mansfield Wrotto, Ray Willis.
    On the bubble: Floyd Womack, Kyle Williams, Pat Murray.
    Longshots: Ben Claxton, WIlliam Robinson, Nick Jones, Samuel Gutekunst. Maybe room for only one "bubble" guy here. Womack has the experience but keeps getting hurt. Still, he might be the best option with Locklear hurting. Murray threw a nice block on a long Forsett run Saturday. Vallos might have not been a lock had the Seahawks not lost Chris Gray to retirement and Chris Spencer for most of camp.

    Defensive line
    On the team: DE Patrick Kerney, DE Darryl Tapp, DE Lawrence Jackson, DT Brandon Mebane, DT Red Bryant, DT Craig Terrill, DT Rocky Bernard.
    On the bubble: DT Howard Green, DE Jason Babin, DE Baraka Atkins, DT Larry Tripplett.
    Longshots: DE Nu'u Tafisi, DE Chris Cooper. DT Kevin Brown. Green is very close to a lock to make the team. Babin and Atkins are the prime contenders for what could be the last roster spot at this position. Tripplett and Cooper, a pair of veterans, have been hurt and thus far have missed their chance to compete for a job.

    On the team: Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill, Julian Peterson, D.D. Lewis, Lance Laury.
    On the bubble: David Hawthorne.
    Longshots: Will Herring, Dallas Sartz. Hawthorne made three nice solo tackles Saturday and is closer to making the team. Herring has been injured and that could cost him, if he doesn't go on injured reserve.

    Defensive backs
    On the team: Marcus Trufant, Kelly Jennings, Josh Wilson, Brian Russell, Deon Grant, Jordan Babineaux, Kevin Hobbs.
    On the bubble: Jamar Adams, C.J. Wallace.
    Longshots: Omare Lowe, Kelin Johnson, Marquis Floyd. Babineaux has been injured but is too versatile and talented a player to cut. Hobbs really helped his chances Saturday and has game experience. Adams and Wallace might be battliog for the last spot.

    On the bubble: Ryan Plackemeier, Reggie Hodges.
    Placekemeier needs to kick well in the last two exhibition games and in practice, because Hodges has impressed.

    Long snapper
    On the bubble: Tyler Schmitt, Tim Lindsey. Schmitt seemed a lock until a back injury sidelined him last week and brought on Lindsey, who snapped well on Saturday.

    On the bubble: Olindo Mare, Brandon Coutu. This is going to be a dogfight. Coutu's five field goals Saturday really helped his cause, but Mare kicked off well and has experience going for him.

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    August 16, 2008 11:05 PM

    Thoughts on Saturday night

    Posted by Jose Romero

    What a game! I seriously thought they would stop it in regulation time but I guess they do play OT in the preseason.

    Coolest moment of the night: Just after 8 p.m., the scoreboards displayed that Michael Phelps had won his eighth gold medal, and Qwest went crazy. Some people even started chanting "USA! USA!" Gave me a bit of a chill.

    Speaking of chills, rookie TE John Carlson got them when he watched former Seahawk Paul Moyer raising the 12th Man flag before kickoff. "Couldn't ask for better fans," Carlson said.

    Others sold-out Qwest Field first-timers echoed Carlson. "It was wonderful," linebacker David Hawthorne said. "You just feel a lot of energy coming from the stands out there."

    QB Charlie Frye: "A great environment to play football."
    RB Justin Forsett: "It's like I was in the college national championship game, how loud it was. You feed off that and you try to keep pushing through your fatigue."
    K Brandon Coutu: "They definitely didn't disappoint. This is one of the loudest stadiums I've eved played in. It was exciting. The team got up for that."

    And this was only a preseason game. Wait until the rookies hear it on Sundays.

    Stars of the game: Forsett and Coutu. 136 yards in one half of action for Forsett. That's 194 rushing yards on 28 carries in two exhibition games for Forsett. And Coutu made all five of his field goals.

    Locklear update: It's a left knee injury. Should know more tomorrow or Monday. He could be out until the first week of regular season.

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    August 16, 2008 6:41 PM

    Locklear sprains knee

    Posted by Jose Romero

    Seahawks RT Sean Locklear has a knee sprain and won't return, it was just announced. Ray Willis is in for Locklear. More details after the game.

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    August 16, 2008 5:17 PM

    Greetings from sizzling Seattle

    Posted by Jose Romero

    The Big Fogg water misters are blowing, six behind both teams' benches. It's a scorcher out there but, hey, we'll all live and most players are used to worse heat.

    The return guys are out on the field (at 5:20 p.m.) and no one is kicking to them. Nate Burleson is not among the group so we'll see what's with that. Probably just saving him for the game since he's a starter now with all the injuries.

    The following players will not play tonight: P Ryan Plackemeier, WR Joel Filani, CB Jordan Babineaux, LS Tyler Schmitt, LB Will Herring, C Chris Spencer, T Samuel Gutekunst, DT Red Bryant, WR Deion Branch, WR Bobby Engram, DE Chris Cooper, DT Larry Tripplett and DE Patrick Kerney. Charlie Frye gets the start at QB.

    QB Matt Hasselbeck is in uniform. Still not expected to play.

    It's 86 degrees now.

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    August 15, 2008 2:12 PM

    Holmgren on the Olympics

    Posted by Jose Romero

    Coach Mike Holmgren was asked by KING-TV Thursday what Olympic event he would compete it in his prime as an athlete.

    "I threw the discus a little in college {at USC]. It'd be fun to win the gold medal in the discus. Those guys, I'm always amazed at those big men and how they can do those kinds of things. But after practice and our meetings, I tune in around midnight and watch some of the stuff. And what Michael Phelps is doing, I mean, it's remarkable. He seems like a good guy, and it's just wonderful.”

    Gotta love Phelps. What a performance.

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    August 15, 2008 1:54 PM

    Things I'll miss about Kirkland

    Posted by Jose Romero

    Wow, the end just got here so fast.

    It has only now just really hit me that I will no longer be making the drive to Seahawks headquarters in Kirkland anymore. Starting Monday, Danny and I and all the other everyday media will be working out of Renton and the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, new home of your Seahawks.

    Yesterday was the last day in Kirkland. As I write, the place is being emptied out and things being moved south on I-405. The team held a short practice today and then said goodbye to the building.

    Here's my goodbye to a place in which I spent about half of the past six-plus years. Goodbye to the moldy, dank practice bubble. To the media room where photos of reporters from the past 32 years covered the walls, mine included. To the windows in that room, since there are none in our area in Renton. To the little parking lot where my car once got hit by a driver (maybe a month after I bought it) because the spaces were so narrow and space was at a premium. To Teriyaki Madness, where I had gotten to the point where I could walk in and ask for the usual (chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli with sauce on the side) and speak Spanish to the cooks, and to the convenience of a nearby gas station, Bartell's, Houghton Market, Quizno's, B of A and the post office.

    But enough from me. Here's what Coach Mike Holmgren had to say about the farewell to Kirkland yesterday.

    "I think it's different for a player than a coach. I really do. I thought a little bit about that. The players are going into a facility that's [better]. The locker room, the training room, the dining hall, everything's wonderful. Couldn't be any nicer for the players. Now, the coach, give me a desk and a TV and a decent chair and nice fields, and that's really what we get used to. And so in that respect, this place is very comfortable. We're used to it, I don't get lost in this building. I got lost in the new one. But it'll take some time before that building becomes kind of like that nice, good pair of slippers you have."

    "This has been a very function, good building for us. The big advantage, and the thing I will not miss, is the bubble, or the moldy smell, or anything that went with that, [like] the darkness. Our indoor facility at the new place is phenomenal, and that'll be a really good thing."

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    August 14, 2008 4:21 PM

    Into the Frye-ing pan

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Quarterback Matt Hassebeck returned to practice on Thursday after missing the past four days because of a tight back.

    Just don't expect him back in the lineup on Saturday against Chicago. At least not based on the fact he had exactly zero repetitions he got with the first-unit offense in the team portion of practice on Thursday.

    "I have got a feeling based on reps," Hasselbeck said. "But I haven't been told anything."

    OK. We'll put on the detective caps then and since third-string quarterback Charlie Frye took 100 percent of the practice time with the first-unit offense on Thursday that he's going to be the starter on Saturday.

    "I knew at some point this preseason they were going to give Charlie more reps," Hasselbeck said. "More opportunities to show what he can do in a game. I've got a feeling, but that's all it is. A feeling."

    It's a pretty good hunch, and one of the factors is that the Seahawks will want to see exactly how Frye fares in extended play. He came to the Seahawks in a trade from Cleveland after Week 1 in 2007 and as the third-string quarterback in Seattle, he didn't get practice repetitions other than the scout team.

    He comes from a college that used the shotgun formation, and he's had to adjust to the precise timing of Seattle's five- and seven-step drops. If Frye is a capable backup, it would also free the Seahawks to use Seneca Wallace on other positions at offense. So expect to get a long look at Frye on Saturday.

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    August 14, 2008 2:18 PM

    Cougars -- No joking matter at 'Hawks camp

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Wide receiver Michael Bumpus has been one of the surprising successes in camp, and he's played himself into competition for a spot on the 53-man roster.

    Bumpus went to college at Washington State, but Washington was among the schools that recruited him early. Bumpus initially committed to USC, but he de-committed because the Trojans wanted to red-shirt him his first season after Dwayne Jarrett said he'd come to play for the Trojans.

    Keith Gilbertson was coaching at Washington when the Huskies recruited him, and he had nothing but great things to say about Bumpus. As for a joking reference from a dopey reporter (OK, it was me) as to whether it was difficult for Gilbertson to coach a Cougar, well, he got downright grumpy. There's something pretty that's just endearing about a football coach who doesn't tolerate bad jokes (and the question was admittedly a pretty stupid attempt at humor).

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    August 14, 2008 11:38 AM

    The hurt begins to heal -- 8.14.2008 A.M. edition

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Defensive end Patrick Kerney, right tackle Sean Locklear, fullback Leonard Weaver and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck all returned to practice on Thursday morning.

    Not that coach Mike Holmgren was holding his breath. There's only two that have really been cause for concern, which were the injuries to Bobby Engram -- who's out six to eight weeks -- and Chris Spencer, who hasn't practice since training camp began because of a sore back.

    Now, the week began with only three-fourths of Seattle's roster practicing and the Seahawks had 11 players absent from Thursday's practice.

    So how about it coach, you worried about the volume of injuries this year than previous seasons?

    "No," Holmgren said. "The ones that I think about a lot are Engram and Spencer. The other ones, they'll come back," Holmgren said. "I think some of it is we're a lot more careful than we used to be. Not the Seahawks necessarily, but with the MRI machines and all the stuff that they get tested with, I dare say if I stuck all of you in an MRI machine, they'd say, 'Oh, geez, look at this guy's back. Look at her.' You would find stuff."

    Engram's prognosis is clear. He suffered a broken bone in his shoulder and he's going to miss six to eight weeks, and the Seahawks expect him back at the end of September or beginning of October.

    Spencer's situation is less clear. He underwent offseason shoulder surgery, but was on the field for the first practice. His back tightened up and he hasn't practiced since.

    "He just can't do some stuff now," Holmgren said. "The pain won't let him."

    Holmgren said the team began a new course of treatment three days ago.

    "Each day he has gotten better," Holmgren said. "I'm hopeful, but it's one of those situations where makes the call. He's got to come back and sooner than later."

    With Spencer out, Steve Vallos is the starting center. He played tackle in college, moved to guard last season and is now the first-unit center.

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    August 13, 2008 6:53 PM

    Josh Wilson OK, Sean Locklear sore knee

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    I just finished a radio interview, and was reminded that I posted a mention of Josh Wilson appearing to come up limping after a play in the morning practice. He was on the field in the afternoon for special-teams practice and appeared fine.

    Also, right tackle Sean Locklear did not practice Wednesday because of a sore knee. It is not believed to be anything serious. Something like tendinitis where he's given a day off. We'll see if Locklear is on the field Thursday.

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    August 13, 2008 3:22 PM

    Getting a kick out of punts -- 8.13.2008 P.M. practice coverage

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Punter Ryan Plackemeier got his most extensive punting of training camp so far, returning to the field after recovering from surgery to repair a pectoral muscle.

    He returns to the field in a competition with Reggie Hodges.

    "I think Reggie has punted well enough to make it a competition," said Bruce DeHaven, Seattle's special teams coach.

    Hodges is likely to be the only one punting in Saturday's exhibition game against Chicago as Plackemeier hasn't yet had a full week of practices. As for what Plackemeier has shown so far, the special teams coach offered some praise.

    "He's punting better right now than he did last year," DeHaven said. "The third year is usually a lot of times the year that punters start to kind of get it all together. Punting is kind of an inexact science. It's not like you're hitting a golf ball. You've got to drop, chase it in there and kick it. Everything happens very fast. You don't find a lot of punters come into the league that are really polished their first couple of years."

    Plackemeier averaged 45 yards per punt as a rookie in 2006. That average dropped to 40 last season. That's a little misleading, though, because Plackemeier had great placement on his punts later in the season, putting eight punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line over the final four games. That also coincided with Seattle straightening out the difficulties it had with its long-snappers.

    "People don't understand how important a snapper is to a punter," DeHaven said. "It's really even more important than a kicker because you get the ball back to the holder and you put it down in the same spot every time and there's some variance on the timing. But with the punter, if the snap's not right on him, he has to move his feet to catch it. Once he moves his feet, he has to re-set."

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    August 13, 2008 1:16 PM

    Seahawks transportation plans Bus-ted

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Here's an announcement from the team regarding game-day bus service that was available last season, but won't be this upcoming season. The team's release, which is copied below, explains it:

    KIRKLAND, WASH. - Seahawks fans that normally use King County Metro Transit’s Seahawks game day bus service from park-and-ride lots will need to secure alternate transportation to the preseason games, the team announced today.

    This past April, the Federal Transit Administration ruled that if any private bus operators are interested in providing game day transportation services for fans then Metro would not be permitted to operate the bus service. The Seahawks were obligated to negotiate with those charter bus companies.

    The Seahawks received one bid which included an increase in passenger fares by $14. In addition, the bid did not include approvals to use roadways, park-and-ride lots and staging areas that are necessary to operate the service safely and effectively.

    “We are very disappointed,” said Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke. “We have made the game day experience one of our highest priorities. The bid we received did not address our requirements for a safe, effective or reliable bus plan. We will continue to work toward a resolution to meet the needs of our fans.”

    For those impacted fans, the Seahawks recommend using regular Metro service, Sound Transit ST Express buses and the Sounder Train. ST Express buses offer transportation from areas throughout Pierce, King and Snohomish counties with service every 30 minutes and stops within three blocks of Qwest Field.

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    August 13, 2008 11:18 AM

    The Heater turned back on -- 8.13.2008 A.M. edition

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Rookie linebacker David Hawthorne is back at practice after missing the past three days because of a sore foot. Hawthorne was a standout in the first exhibition game, forcing two fumbles with big-time hits and showing why his nickname is "The Heater."

    Lofa Tatupu came up with that nickname, and actually, it's the second moniker he came up with. Tatupu initially tried to tag him as "Heathorne" but that didn't really catch on. The Heater is much more popular.

    Patrick Kerney returned to practice Wednesday morning, but only briefly. He took part in drills early in practice, went back into the locker room to be retaped and then came back out toward the end with the rest of the rehabbing players.

    The new absence was right tackle Sean Locklear. Coach Mike Holmgren didn't answer questions afterward, and we haven't been given an injury status by the team yet. I'll let you know when they do. Update at 4:39 p.m.: Locklear is out with a sore knee. Apparently he has some tendinitis, but his absence is characterized as more precautionary, just to give Locklear a break.

    There was also one roster move: Seattle signed Tim Lindsey, a long-snapper. Rookie Tyler Schmitt is currently out with an injury so Lindsey was signed as a temporary fix for the position. The team terminated the contract of linebacker Eric Wicks to make room for Lindsey.

    The other injury to watch is Josh Wilson, who was watching a drill when secondary coach Jim Mora waved him onto the field, and told him to play left cornerback. Well, Wilson promptly gave up a deep ball to Jordan Kent, who caught a precisely thrown pass from Seneca Wallace. Wilson fell to the ground and stayed there, having apparently injured his leg. He watched the rest of practice.

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    August 13, 2008 9:39 AM

    Picking the drafts apart

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    The Seattle Times' Seahawks' coverage today focused upon the fate of recent first-round picks, noting that Marcus Tubbs becomes the latest to leave the team. Here's a link to the story.

    An analysis on this sort of topic is usually applied to explain how things go wrong. Certainly, you could use that perspective to explain the struggles of the Rams and the 49ers. The recent failings resulted partly from the failure of first-round picks to pan out.

    Now Seattle has only four of its previous 10 first-round picks still on the roster yet the Seahawks have made the playoffs five years running. That success has come in spite of watching those first-round picks depart in one way or another.

    I had an E-mail this morning that made a very salient point. What about coaching? Doesn't that have something to do with the success? And yes, it certainly does. That's a very good point so I make a nod to Hackabout1 for his note this morning.

    Here's a look at the teams with the highest attrition rate among first-round picks from 2000 to 2008 and the highest retention rates:

    The best The worst
    1st rd. picks
    still on team
    1st round
    picks gone
    1st rd. picks
    still on team
    1st round
    picks gone
    Dallas80 N.Y. Jets76
    Pittsburgh81 San Francisco66
    New England81 St. Louis56
    San Diego81 Seattle46
    Indianapolis71 Detroit55
    Tampa Bay61 Arizona55


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    August 12, 2008 4:12 PM

    Stop the press, Womack is back -- 8.12.2008 P.M. edition

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Floyd Womack was on the field Tuesday morning, participating in individual drills though he wasn't wearing his helmet and no pads. Well, he was back on the field in the afternoon this time his dome protected with a helmet and taking part in all drills. No pads, though. But then again, the afternoons have been unpadded practices.

    Kyle Williams remains working out with the second-unit offensive line.

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    August 12, 2008 11:41 AM

    Another cruel twist, Bernard limps off -- 8.12.2008, A.M. edition

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Rocky Bernard went down toward the end of Tuesday's morning practice after appearing to injure his right ankle. He was helped off the field, then sat down and was evaluated. As injuries go, it might not be quite that extreme, though. He was putting weight on the ankle and his limp lessened as time passed.

    But that further depletes a position in which the Seahawks released Marcus Tubbs and still haven't gotten Larry Tripplett back at practice.

    Tubbs' open roster spot has been filled by Nick Jones, an offensive linemen.

    Michael Bumpus made a pair of impressive catches in the seven-on-seven passing portion of practice. One was a diving grab behind D.D. Lewis that was especially impressive. The coaches like the way Bumpus competes, and he plays in the mold of a slot receiver who's shifty and sure-handed whereas Jordan Kent is tall, fast and his long strides make him a split end.

    Logan Payne made a diving catch behind linebacker Leroy Hill. Payne is wearing a red jersey to denote non-contact as he recovers from broken rib, but the man still was willing to lay out for a reception.

    The other reception worth noting was by John Carlson, who made a diving catch behind Hill in seven-on-seven drills.

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    August 11, 2008 4:21 PM

    The p.m. practice, Aug. 11, 2008

    Posted by Jose Romero

    Big Lo, the Seattle sports superfan, made an appearance this afternoon.

    On the field, the Seahawks have two new players after placing LB Matt Castelo and CB Derrick Johnson on the waived/injured list. One is LB Dallas Sartz, a former fifth-round pick of the Washington Redskins out of USC who was most recently with the Minnesota Vikings until May. The other is CB Marquis Floyd, who has spent the past five seasons playing arena football. Sartz and Floyd are wearing the jersey numbers vacated by Castelo and Johnson, 49 and 29.

    FB Leonard Weaver has a sore hamstring and did not partake in the afternoon practice.

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    August 11, 2008 11:31 AM

    Engram: Out 6-8 weeks; Tubbs; Gone -- 8.11.2008 A.M. practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Bobby Engram suffered a cracked bone in his shoulder and will miss six to eight weeks.

    Engram suffered in the injury on his first catch in Friday's exhibition game in Minnesota. He did not practice Sunday, but his injury was not disclosed.

    Holmgren said in the worst-case scenario, Branch won't be back until after the Seahawks by in Week 4. Seattle plays the Super Bowl champion New York Giants the week after its bye. That game is Oct. 4.

    The Seahawks already are practicing without wide receiver Deion Branch, who is recovering from knee surgery. The injury to Engram puts them in a situation in which the Seahawks may have to carry more receivers than they initially planned on the 53-man roster.

    "You have two receivers who are going to be on the roster, but might not be playing," Holmgren said. "You've got to keep those guys so you can't really fiddle around with that number too much. In fact, you might have to add a number to it."

    Defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs is a free agent after he was released. The technical term -- NFL-ese -- is terminated/failed physical. It sounds so drastic, but it just really means that he doesn't have to clear waivers. Tubbs was a first-round pick in 2004. He underwent surgery to repair a torn knee ligament suffered last season in an exhibition game. He had not practiced. Coach Mike Holmgren said Tubbs' did some running and had the knee swell up on him. The team released him because he failed a physical. He had not practiced yet this season.

    Linebacker Lofa Tatupu returned to practice. He sat out Sunday's workout with a sore knee. Matt Hasselbeck did not return. He's out with a sore back.

    The other player who returned was defensive end Nu'u Tafisi.

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    August 10, 2008 3:18 PM

    Plack is back -- 8.10.2008 P.M. practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Punter Ryan Plackemeier has been activated from the physically unable to perform list and participated in the Seahawks' special teams practice Sunday afternoon.

    Plackemeier is in his third season and suffered a torn pectoral muscle during the team's June workouts and required surgery. He has been doing rehabilitation work, but Sunday was the first day he was eligible to participate in practice.

    "How well he'll punt, I don't know," said Bruce DeHaven, Seattle's special teams coach. "But in terms of physically being able to punt, I think he's in pretty good shape now from what I hear."

    Plackemeier had a few wobbly kicks during Sunday's practice, but stayed afterward along with several players and his final kick of the afternoon was a booming one.

    Reggie Hodges was Seattle's only punter with Plackemeier out. His first punt in Friday's exhibition game was a 55-yarder.

    Coach Mike Holmgren said that Plackemeier has been ordered not to tackle anyone during the exhibition season.

  • The Seahawks allowed a kickoff return past midfield and a punt return of 24 yards, but that's not as much an indication of Seattle's performance on special teams. DeHaven uses the exhibition games to find young players with the combination of aggressiveness and ability to be special-teams contributors. That's how C.J. Wallace really distinguished himself last season.

    As for Friday's game?

    "I found some guys that wanted to go down in there and hit somebody," DeHaven said. "And that's what I'm looking for in the exhibition season. "

    It's a philosophical approach DeHaven learned while coaching under Marv Levy in Buffalo.

    "You threw all the young guys out there, take your lumps, and hopefully find some guys that might be able to help you," DeHaven said. "And if one of those rookies are going to have to be out there, I want to give them as many reps in the preseason as I can. I'm figuring the veterans have a little bit of an idea how to do it."

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    August 10, 2008 12:07 PM

    Julius Jones to start Saturday vs. Chicago

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Julius Jones will start at halfback in the team's second exhibition game, which will be Saturday against Chicago. Maurice Morris started Friday's game in Minnesota and gained 62 yards on his six carries. Julius Jones' opportunities were more limited, he carried only four times.

    Coach Mike Holmgren has said he will be using Morris and Jones as a tandem, considering them co-starters so to speak.

    "We're going to play both of them," Holmgren said.

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    August 10, 2008 11:16 AM

    Hasselbeck, Tatupu among absences -- 8.10.2008 A.M. practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    The Seahawks were missing more than one-quarter of the players on the roster for Sunday's morning practice, which was held without pads. There were seven new absences, players who were injured to at least a small degree in Friday's exhibition game in Minnesota.

    Coach Mike Holmgren said after practice that the injuries were bumps and bruises, nothing that should keep players out for any extended period. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck hurt his back and was not on the field for practice, but he could be back as soon as Money, Holmgren said. Linebacker Lofa Tatupu sat out with a sore knee, but he, too, could be back Monday. Linebacker David Hawthorne -- one of the standouts in Friday's game -- sat out with an injured foot. Holmgren said he thought somebody stepped on it during the game, but he's expected back this week.

    New absences: WR Joel Filani (leg), T Will Robinson (ankle), T Ray Willis, WR Bobby Engram, Hasselbeck, Tatupu and Filani. I'll post updates on the injuries to Willis and Engram later, but there was no indication either was serious.

    Logan Payne practiced, but he was wearing a red jersey denoting no contact to protect the broken rib he suffered in the team's scrimmage on Aug. 2.

    The Seahawks morning practice was without pads. The best competition was between wide receiver Jordan Kent and cornerback Kelly Jennings. The two dueled on a number of patterns. Kent caught a pair of tipped balls, one while on his back to beat Jennings. Jennings battled well to bat away a deep pass intended for Kent. Jennings made up ground on that play, which is really something considering Kent's speed. After Jennings batted the ball away, Holmgren urged Kent to go up and use his size to carve out space to make the catch.

    Kent caught the first touchdown in Friday's exhibition game, an impressive catch in which he got behind the defender and then leaped to make the catch. He didn't stick out so much after that, and he dropped one catchable ball. Kent's not only fast, but he's got such a long stride that defenders don't always realize how fast he's moving until he's by them. Football coaches like to talk about a receiver's ability to get separation, creating distance between himself and the defender. Kent's speed gives him that ability.

    Update, 11:40 a.m.: The Seahawks have eight linebackers currently on the roster. Only four practiced on Monday with Tatupu, Hawthorne, Eric Wicks and Matt Castelo injured. There are 81 players on the roster. Five of those are specialists. Of the other 76 players, only 56 practiced on Monday.

    Stands to reason the Seahawks would join the chorus of NFL teams grumbling abou the 80-man roster, right? Well, not really, no. And other teams aren't grumbling too much either. Wonder why?'s John Clayton reports the commissioner told teams to can the complaining about the limits on roster size. Isn't that a coincidence? Here's a link to Clayton's report right here.

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    August 9, 2008 12:29 PM

    "Reading Between the Lines" V.1

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    First a disclaimer: I read minds about as well as I read lips, which is to say not at all. So don't take these as literal translations of what the men were thinking at the time of the question. Rather take it as my interpretation of what they might say in their most brutally honest and caustic moment.

    So without any further ado, here are three questions asked after Friday night's game in Minneapolis followed by the actual answer and then my interpretation of what the answer could have been. Enjoy.

    Q: With all of the talk about Minnesota's defensive line, you didn't look too impressed?

    What Matt Hasselbeck said: No, I am impressed. I have a lot of respect for those guys. All the guys here in Seattle, those guys get are Pro Bowl votes every year. There's a reason they're in Hawaii. We always vote for 'em. Everyone in the league always votes for them and I don't think they all played tonight.

    What he meant: Are you crazy? Did you forget what happened two years ago when E.J. Henderson came barreling into my knee and twisted my season? Do you seriously think I'm going to add to the intensity of any future matchups by talking junk about the two brontosauri the Vikings start at defensive tackle, each named Williams? No thank you. Those guys are like two hulks. You wouldn't like them when they're angry. I'll bow or genuflect or do anything else you'd like in order to show proper respect and deference. Besides, Pat Williams wasn't even out there and the last thing I need is that guy looking to turn my right arm into dental floss the next time we play.

    Q: What did you think of the rushing game?

    What coach Mike Holmgren said: We got off to a great start, but we have a ways to go. Mo' [Maurice Morris] ran the ball well. I think we blocked pretty well. I think we had 95 yards rushing in the first half, which was good ... Overall, I'm going to like what I see, but it's really early.

    What he meant: Yes, the tragically depressed state of our rushing offense the past two years has made 95 yards on the ground in the first half against a team that sat out one of its Pro Bowl tackles has become cause for celebration. And true, the ground game was better, but we also failed to convert a third-and-1 in the first half, which made me mad enough to kick out a stained-glass window. Talk to me in September and see how things are going.

    Q: How do you evaluate the defense's performance on Friday in Minnesota?

    What safety Brian Russell said: We've got some stuff to clean up. I don't think we tackled as well as we want to. We missed a couple tackles that allowed some cheap extra yards, some assignment errors that allowed some more cheap yards. So you tighten those things up, and we'll be fine. We would have liked to have been dominant the whole time, but we gave up a couple points early. Then everybody settled down and our defense played good football.

    What he meant: Look, if you think we'd be sitting back in coverage in a regular-season game against Tarvaris Jackson you're crazy. We would have blitzed the bejeesus out of the Vikings and then see how many times they're willing to call 11 consecutive pass plays. We served him up a vanilla defense tonight. In a real game, it would have been a lot more rocky road.

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    August 8, 2008 7:58 PM

    Game notes

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    The good

    The running game
    Now, it's just an exhibition game. But it turned out to be an exhibition that the Seahawks running game may indeed be much improved. Maurice Morris gained 62 yards in the first quarter, Julius Jones put a blitzing Minnesota linebacker into a face plant and T.J. Duckett and Owen Schmitt each galloped to first downs on third-and-short. All good signs for Seattle.

    The passing game
    Matt Hasselbeck completed seven of eight passes and threw for a touchdown, and Seneca Wallace completed 15 of 20 and threw for three scores.

    Howard Green
    He plays a position thinned by injuries to Larry Tripplett, Red Bryant and Marcus Tubbs, who's still not back from knee surgery. But Green had two sacks in the game, one in which he tackled Gus Frerotte and the other in which he stripped the football from behind. Training camp began with him competing for a roster spot. It would be hard to see him not making the team at this point.

    David Hawthorne
    The rookie linebacker from Texas Christian forced two fumbles with a pair of thunderous hits. He blew up Albert Young on Minnesota’s first play of the third quarter and then sent the ball popping out of Maurice Hicks' hands later in that period after Hicks was stood up by safety Jamar Adams. The free-agent departures of Kevin Bentley and Niko Koutouvides leaves some openings on the defense.

    Michael Bumpus
    It would be a stretch to think he’s going to make the 53-man roster, but the receiver from Washington State looked good in practice and he made a pair of catches in the second half of Saturday’s game. That was two more receptions than Ben Obomanu and Courtney Taylor had combined.

    Lawrence Jackson
    The rookie defensive end chased down John David Booty, forcing a fumble in Seattle territory toward the end of the third quarter. Jackson showed some gumption, twice chasing plays downfield to be part of the tackle.

    The bad

    Marcus Trufant
    Now let’s not get carried. It was an exhibition game and all, but he certainly didn’t look like the cornerback who played his way to his first Pro Bowl last season. He missed a tackle in the first quarter that resulted in a 28-yard gain on third down and was penalized for pass-interference in the second quarter, setting up Minnesota’s second touchdown. He’s not going to get cut, obviously, but he wasn’t very good.

    Seattle's secondary
    Minnesota completed five of its first six passes in the first quarter against Seattle’s starting secondary on Friday and scored on a 6-yard pass to fullback Thomas Tapeh. Vikings starter Tarvaris Jackson – who was never confused with being an adequate quarterback last season – completed seven of 10 in the first half. He threw for 108 yards and had a quarterback rating of 138.8. He had a quarterback rating higher than 100 in only two games last season

    The ugly

    T.J. Duckett
    He fumbled twice and Seattle lost both. The first was negated by a face-mask penalty against Minnesota, the second overturned after a replay review showed Duckett was down before he lost the ball in the third quarter. That probably won't keep Duckett from getting an earful about ball security, though.

    Not-so-special coverage
    Kicker Brandon Coutu made a pretty good tackle at midfield, preventing a touchdown, but that’s always a bad sign for a coverage unit. The Seahawks gave up a 53-yard return on their first kickoff of the game. Seattle also allowed a 23-yard punt return in the second quarter.

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    August 8, 2008 5:42 PM

    Matt Hasselbeck nearly perfect

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck played the first two series in Seattle's game against Minnesota. He completed seven of his eight pass attempts for 70 yards. He completed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Kent to cap Seattle's first drive. Hasselbeck was knocked down once as defensive end Jared Allen knocked him down after he released the ball, but Hasselbeck was fine.

    Seneca Wallace came in to replace Hasselbeck at the end of the first quarter.

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    August 8, 2008 5:01 PM

    Cue Ragnar

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    There are nods to the Nordic nature of Minnesota's nickname all over the play. A horn sounds whenever groups of Vikings players run through the tunnel from the locker room and enter the field during pre-game warmups. There is an inflatable ship that is in place when the team runs onto the field.

    And then there's Ragnar, the wild-haired fur-clad Viking mascot, who led the team onto the field while riding a purple and gold Harley Davidson. That's what the great Nordic warriors rode around town on for their pillage and plundering, right? Garishly colored choppers?

    I didn't think I would ever see anything as dumb as Oregon's Donald Duck-looking mascot driven onto the field at Autzen Stadium aboard a motorcycle. I was wrong. A Viking riding a Harley is dumber. Or would that be more dumb?

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    August 8, 2008 3:51 PM

    Seahawks inactives

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    MINNEAPOLIS -- No surprises here. It's the guys who've been limited or held out of practice entirely: P Ryan Plackemeier, WR Logan Payne, S Jordan Babineaux, LB Matt Castelo, LB Will Herring, C Chris Spencer, DE Nu'u Tafisi, OT Samuel Gutekunst, T Floyd Womack, DT Red Bryant, WR Deion Branch, DT Marcus Tubbs, DE Chris Cooper, DT Larry Tripplett, DE Patrick Kerney.

    Minnesota's list of players who will not dress: CB Marcus McCauley, TE Garrett Mills and DE Brian Robison.

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    August 8, 2008 3:07 PM

    Ruskell-Hutchinson shake hands in the red zone

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Remember that Hutchinson guy who used to play next to Walter Jones?

    You know, the big guy who was pretty grumpy and went to Pro Bowls. The guy who played with barbed-wire toughness and whose exit was pretty prickly back in 2006.

    Well, he's here in Minnesota now preparing for his third season as a Viking and it'll probably be a while before Seahawks president Tim Ruskell shakes the grief Seattle fans feel for losing guard Steve Hutchinson in free agency in 2006.

    But Ruskell did shake Hutchinson's hand here just about two hours before the teams play in an exhibition game in Minnesota -- Hutchinson's new home. The two stood at about the 15 yard-line and talked. Ruskell even smiled slightly, and after the conversation Ruskell extended a hand and Hutchinson shook it.

    I was in the press box, looking through binoculars and I'm no hardly a professional lip-reader. So I'll leave the content of that conversation to your imaginations ... and your comments to this post.

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    August 8, 2008 2:32 PM

    Multi-media message

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Checking in from the press box here at the Metrodome. Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Frye and Courtney Taylor are on the field warming up while position coach Bill Lazor is watching. This hasn't been mentioned yet, but Lazor has to be the absolutely best name for a quarterbacks coach. Every time, I hear his name, I can't help but wishing there was a little Dr. Evil voice from Austin Powers when he's requesting sharks with lasers on their heads.

    Courtney Taylor and Ben Obomanu are playing catch, and the DBs are even trying their hand with the passing game. Kelly Jennings has a decent arm. He whistled a pass 20 yards downfield.

    I'll have another post before the game, and I'll also be appearing on KJR (950 AM) this afternoon at 3:40 Pacific time.

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    August 8, 2008 9:05 AM

    Position paper: Running backs

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    MINNEAPOLIS -- The Seahawks overhauled their backfield this offseason, signing Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett, releasing Shaun Alexander and then choosing Owen Schmitt and Justin Forsett in the NFL Draft.

    Now I didn't major in math in college, but a formula in which four backs are added and only one subtracted equals one pretty crowded backfield. The Seahawks are facing the possibilities of some difficult choices. I outlined one of those backs vying for a spot in Friday's story.

    Seattle has kept five running backs on the final roster cutdowns each of the past four seasons, but coach Mike Holmgren explained that the number the team usually shoots for is 11 players at the running back and wide receiver positions. Here's a look at the numbers from 2002 to 2007. Remember, this is at the time of final roster cutdowns before the regular-season begins so it does not reflect players added in midseason:

    RBs + WRs11101211109


    So that number of 11 is more of a guide than an absolute rule. And one other thing to consider when you measure the number of running backs the team might keep is where the special-teams players are going to come from. Remember, the Seahawks lost Niko Koutouvides and Kevin Bentley to free agency. Those pair werer standouts. Wesly Mallard was a candidate, but he's now on injured reserve. Some of Seattle's wide receivers may loom large in kick returns, but there's no coverage specialist in that group like Alex Bannister was. The road for rookies like Justin Forsett and Owen Schmitt to make this roster in a crowded backfield is going to be on special teams.

    Now, here's a look at the roll call for running backs on the 53-man roster over the past six seasons:

    Shaun AlexanderShaun AlexanderShaun Alexander
    Maurice MorrisMaurice MorrisMaurice Morris
    Alvin PearmanJosh ScobeyJosh Scobey
    Mack StrongMack StrongMack Strong
    Leonard WeaverJosh ParryLeonard Weaver
    Shaun AlexanderShaun AlexanderShaun Alexander
    Maurice MorrisMaurice MorrisMaurice Morris
    Kerry CarterKerry Carter 
    Mack StrongMack StrongMack Strong
    Heath EvansHeath EvansHeath Evans
     Chris Davis 


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    August 7, 2008 2:46 PM

    A chance encounter with Shaun

    Posted by Jose Romero

    So I'm taking a little down time with the team off to Minnesota and Danny in Minneapolis covering the game, and I head off to run an errand at University Village in NE Seattle. Such a pedestrian-friendly mall, the kind of place every motorist thoroughly enjoys. Yeah right.

    Anyway, this was about half an hour ago. I'm stopped at a crosswalk and guess who walks in front of me, with a group of youths? Shaun Alexander himself. So I stick my head out of the car window and yell "Shaun!"
    He turns and recognizes me, and we proceed to have a 20-second conversation that is hastened by the fact that he's headed somewhere and I'm in my car.

    Shaun asked what I was up to. I said I've been at training camp, and that I bet he really misses that (sarcastically). Shaun said he didn't, but that he'd be back in about a couple of weeks. And then he was too far away.

    Hmmm....two weeks? So does Alexander have something in the works with another team, and gets to miss training camp before reporting to that team? That's a pretty sweet deal for him if that is the case. Or was he just expressing confidence that he will be with a team soon? At any rate, he still looks like he's in shape. And you never know...after all the roster cuts are made and exhibition games are done, some team might take a chance on signing Shaun, who will turn 31 on Aug. 30.

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    August 6, 2008 7:42 PM

    Today with Matt

    Posted by Jose Romero

    It's always fun talking to Matt Hasselbeck. Colleague Dave Boling probably put it best after the handful of reporters spoke with Matt after the afternoon practice.
    "If he wasn't so darn rich, I'd give him whatever I had," Dave said. In other words, Hasselbeck is as good as it gets as a person and as someone who deals with the media very well.

    Hasselbeck was asked about what he thinks WR Bobby Engram is going through as far as practicing despite dissatisfaction with his current contract, which Engram wants redone.

    "He's not happy. He's not happy at all," Hasselbeck said. "But he's the kind of guy that puts the team first. I respect him. He's come to work."

    Hasselbeck touched on other subjects as well. Here's his thoughts on the exhibition game Friday:

    "Well, it'll be interesting. We've got a lot of guys who've never really played in games. They're going to get a chance to play with the first unit ... Mike [Holmgren] likes everything done a certain way, even travel. He just talked to us about it today. He feels that if you're disciplined in the way you travel, in the way you dress, all those kinds of things, he feels like those carry on to the game, onto the field. If you don't do those things right, that could upset him as well. For me, even though I know I'm not playing four quarters, I've got to prepare myself like I'm playing a game. That's part of the drill."

    On a side note, secondary coach Jim Mora really lit into one of the defensive backs during the afternoon practice. His glare and words seemed directed at CB Kevin Hobbs but that is inconclusive. Can't repeat what was said, but Mora was unhappy with the intensity and effort and not taking data from the position meetings and implementing it on the practice field. But overall, it was a very spirited and easy-going practice, as Hasselbeck characterized it:

    "I think today was called 'Teaching Tempo.' What I just tried to stress in the huddle was, 'This is a gift that he's given us. We got some injuries right now, so let's have the best practice that we can have assignment-wise, so that [Coach Holmgren] thinks highly of this idea and we do it again sometime.'"

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    August 6, 2008 4:33 PM

    Atkins OK -- 8.06.2008 P.M. practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    A tip of the cap is in order for coach Mike Holmgren, said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. That's because the Seahawks practiced without helmets on Wednesday afternoon, instead wearing camouflage caps with a Seahawks logo.

    Usually the team practices without pads in the afternoon, just wearing shells under the jerseys, but they generally have helmets on. Not Wednesday. The team had a longer-than-expected practice in the morning and then Wednesday's innovative practice technique.

    "What I tried to stress in the huddle was, 'Hey, this is a gift that he's given us. We've got some injuries right now,' " Hasselbeck said. " 'Let's have the best practice that we can have assignment-wise so that he thinks highly of this idea and he'll do it again some time.' "

    One injury that doesn't appear to be much of a worry was Baraka Atkins, who appeared to injure himself during the morning practice, but was back on the field in the afternoon.

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    August 6, 2008 2:50 PM

    John Marshall on Friday's game

    Posted by Jose Romero

    I asked the Seahawks' defensive coordinator about what he's looking at for the game at Minnesota.

    "The number one thing is organization and everybody making the right calls, the right substitutions, everything's organized and guys aren't at a loss for anything. They know exactly what to do and where to go. Sideline procedure. It all starts with those things. Then I'm looking for guys that are going to it. See how physical they can play the game."

    Q: Is this where the roster spot competition starts for real?
    A: "Sure. Sure. It's the first real go kind of thing. I want to see how players function out on the field by themselves when they don't have coaches reminding them about this and that before the snap. They've got to get their own juice going and their intensity and they've got to pull together and do that."

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    August 6, 2008 12:06 PM

    If only this were fantasy: Jerry Rice, fantasy football commissioner

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    NFL reporters are the frequent targets of E-mails from public-relations firms alerting us to so-and-so's latest activity.

    Sometimes it's a new book on the league. Sometimes, it's a non-profit company's fundraiser. One time, it was an E-mail promoting Dr. Johnny Benjamin's status as a chief of orthopedics who was "weighing in" on Adrian Peterson's knee injury.

    Today: This popped up in my in-box:

    "Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver of all-time, has been named the commissioner of the inaugural Fantasy Football Open Championship (FFOC) ..."

    Oooh, and if you win, Rice will award the "prestigious Millionaire Jacket" to the first winner, who will be made a millionaire by playing fantasy football. Remember when Jerry Rice went to the Denver Broncos training camp before finally calling it a career? Well, the record-breaking receiver has found something that's even more inauspicious after his career.

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    August 6, 2008 12:00 PM

    By the shores of Lake Washington

    Posted by Jose Romero

    The Seahawks moved practice to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in north Renton, their new home beginning Aug. 18, for a test run on the pristine grass fields with the water and Mercer Island in full view.

    After the morning session -- the afternoon practice will be back in Kirkland at current headquarters -- WR Nate Burleson, who grew up in Renton, shared his thoughts.

    "It's truly unbelievable," Burleson said. "I feel honored just to be here and to walk around and be one of the first players to actually set foot on this grass. I know I'm not going to be the last, but to be one of the first is special."

    Asked if it would be easy to daydream with the boats on the water in full view, Burleson said with Mike Holmgren running practice, the only daydreaming one can do is inside a playbook.

    "The surroundings are great, everything else is great, but at the end of the day it's still football."

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    August 6, 2008 11:53 AM

    Heller, Bumpus return to practice -- 8.06.2008, A.M. practice

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    The Seahawks practiced on one of the three grass fields outside their new team headquarters in Renton right on the shore of Lake Washington. Skies were clear, the breeze was slight and blowing to the northwest.

    Tight end Will Heller and wide receiver Michael Bumpus returned to practice after sitting out Tuesday because each had a tight hamstring.

    I'll be posting a more complete description of the facility later, but I'll start out by sketching some notes from practice.

  • Fullback Owen Schmitt laid a pretty stiff block on D.D. Lewis, blocking to open a hole for Justin Forsett.

  • Defensive end Baraka Atkins appeared to hurt himself during a goal-line drill. He was slow getting up and tended to by trainers.

  • Tight end John Carlson made a leaping catch in the corner of the end zone, jumping and then making a strong finger-tip grab on a fade route with Lance Laury providing good coverage.

  • Cornerback Derrick Johnson -- a former UW player -- was signed to the team on Wednesday, but injured his left foot during his first workout with the team. He could not finish the practice. Johnson was signed to fill the roster spot previously held by Wesly Mallard, a linebacker who was placed on injured reserve. Mallard injured his hamstring previously during this camp.

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    August 5, 2008 6:17 PM

    Vikings punter gets a kick out of video games

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    Some NFL players love Madden, the video football game whose player rankings in terms of speed, agility and accuracy are a source of locker-room conversation.

    Forget all that for punter Chris Kluwe, though. The video-game ranking he's concerned with is "Guitar Hero" and he told that he's probably among the top 100 people playing the game worldwide. Take a look at the video put together in Minnesota.

    Kluwe was with the Seahawks in training camp in 2005, but the team opted to go with Leo Araguz to begin the season.

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    August 5, 2008 3:14 PM

    Big Walt on Chris Gray

    Posted by Jose Romero

    Veteran left tackle Walter Jones played with Chris Gray for his entire 10-plus seasons in Seattle. Here's what he had to say about Gray retiring:

    "It's one of those things where a guy gave his all to this game and stuff. For it to end like that, it's sad, but you know, in that situation, you have to do what's right for you and your family. I think he made the right decision."

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    August 5, 2008 3:07 PM

    Ben Obomanu on the WR competition

    Posted by Jose Romero

    This morning, Obomanu had perhaps the best training camp practice he's ever had, and it got him some media attention. Here's a little bit of what he said:

    On battling college buddy Courtney Taylor for a spot: "It's fine. We've been used to that for four years at Auburn. From the day we first stepped on campus, it was competition. Every year our coach at Auburn had an open competition...we know how to handle it, and still we know how to maintain our friendship throughout the whole thing. We know how to push each other and make each other better because we both want to make this team."

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    August 5, 2008 12:07 PM

    Seahawks to practice at new training camp

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    First, a disclaimer: The practice is not open to the public.

    But the Seahawks will hold their morning workout on the fields outside their new team headquarters in Renton on Wednesday. The afternoon practice will be back in Kirkland, but the morning workout will take place on the shore of Lake Washington in the team's new digs.

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    August 5, 2008 11:44 AM

    Ben Obomanu stands out -- 8.05.2008, A.M. morning report

    Posted by Danny O'Neil

    WR Ben Obomanu stood out at the morning practice, so much so that coach Mike Holmgren stopped to give him a compliment on his practice. How's that for a gold star administered to the star pupil.

    There was a brief tussle between offensive lineman Ray Willis and defensive end Baraka Atkins, as the two stayed engaged after the play moved away. Neither hit the ground, though, and there wasn't anything more than a two men holding onto each other's jerseys.

    Lance Laury made two tips in a seven-on-seven passing drill. Laury is a big, physical run-stopper and improving the pass defense is important because Laury must be ready to step up for an injury with the departures of Niko Koutouvides and Kevin Bentley in free agency.

    The morning practice concluded with 11-on-11 red-zone drills, and the offense scored on its first two possessions, first with a pass to Ben Obomanu from Matt Hasselbeck and then Seneca Wallace finding Jordan Kent for a score.

    The biggest celebration of the morning practice? That was Matt Hasselbeck who outran Brandon Mebane to the corner, turned upfield and reached the end zone with a pronounced spike.

    New absences from practice: TE Will Heller and WR Michael Bumpus suffered from tight hamstrings. Samuel Gutekunst -- the team's international-squad allotment -- is also not practicing because of an undisclosed injury.

    Still absent from the practice field: Ryan Plackemeier, Deion Branch and Marcus Tubbs remain on the physically unable to perform list. LB Will Herring is still out with a non-football injury.

    Not practicing: DE Patrick Kerney, C Chris Spencer, WR Logan Payne, OL Floyd Womack, LB Matt Castelo, DL Chris Cooper, DB Jordan Babineaux,, DT Larry Tripplett, DE Nu'u Tafisi, DT Red Bryant, DB Eric Wicks.

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    August 4, 2008 4:00 PM

    Holmgren on Gray

    Posted by Jose Romero

    Coach Holmgren stopped to talk to reporters after the Monday special teams practice and was asked about retiring OL Chris Gray. It was funny when he smirked at me and said "This is my day off," sarcastically. Holmgren typically talks to media about every other day.

    Q: Thoughts on Gray's announcement?
    A: "He's one of the players, when I walk away I'll look back upon and say, 'He made it worthwhile for me to coach. That's why I coach, is a player like Chris Gray.' The other day when we found out what the decision was going to be, next to him, I felt worse than anybody else. Because he has been a trooper. A loyal guy. Dependable. Tough. Better player than he got credit for. I'll miss him. I really will miss him."

    Gray won't totally be out of the picture. Holmgren plans to have him come to practices and help out with the offensive linemen, serving as an extra set of eyes the way FB Mack Strong did after his retirement last season.

    "This was pretty much of a stunner for everybody," Holmgren said.

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    August 4, 2008 12:13 PM

    Farewell to Chris Gray

    Posted by Jose Romero

    The veteran of 15 NFL seasons called it quits today, out of pure necessity. He was told by Seahawks doctors that he was at risk for possible paralysis if he didn't stop football immediately after hurting his lower back on the second day of training camp. So Gray, who is married with two kids, bid farewell after a long and strong career that saw him play 208 games.

    Gray came to the Seahawks in 1998 from Chicago in free agency. He came to Seattle as a center but moved to right guard for good in 2001. From 2000 to 2007, Gray missed just one game, the regular-season finale at Tampa Bay in 2006.

    Gray said he still feels tingling in his legs and lower back soreness but expects to fully recover. After many years as a starter, including last season, he was slated to be a backup at center and right guard this season.

    Gray was poised and even funny with his comments, revealing a side of his personality rarely seen, even by the media who cover the team day in and day out. Gray was never one to say much and downplayed his "Ironman" streak of 121 consecutive regular-season games, a team record he set in 2006.

    PS from Jose -- My relationship with Chris was very cordial. He was always an approachable guy who gave honest responses, and his humility about his career and accomplishments was refreshing. Being the good-natured guy that he is, he shook mine and all the other beat writers' hands as we lined up after his news conference today to wish him well. One of the things that struck me was how proud he was that he was a big part of the the Super Bowl run in 2005.

    The Seahawks placed Gray on injured reserve and brought back DL Kevin Brown, who was with the team at its May mini-camp before being released. Brown made his training camp practice debut this morning.

    Seventeen players missed the morning practice, including Gray, who will not be back. TE Jeb Putzier was back, as was OT Kyle Williams for the first time since Saturday's scrimmage. Putzier had a sore hip that kept him out since last Wednesday. DL Chris Cooper did not practice this morning.

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    August 3, 2008 5:01 PM

    Ben Claxton, the newest Seahawk

    Posted by Jose Romero

    Seattle signed G-C Ben Claxton, who made his practice debut Sunday afternoon in Kirkland. Claxton, who turned 28 on July 30, replaces CB DeMichael Dizer on the roster after Dizer was placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL.

    Claxton last played football in pads with the Oakland Raiders in the summer of 2007 at their training camp, but was released before the regular season. He has also been with the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos and worked out for the New England Patriots. Claxton is 6-feet-2 and currently weighs 290 pounds, but he pledged to add weight. The former Mississippi player was preparing to take the LSAT for admission into law school at Ole Miss before the Patriots and then the Seahawks came calling.

    The afternoon practice featured a nice two-handed grab in mid-air from WR Jordan Kent, who just keeps making plays. Also, QB Matt Hasselbeck got a kick out of watching when FB Owen Schmitt had QB Dalton Bell in his sights for a massive block during a non-contact drill. Bell was working with the service team defense, with the Seahawks missing 20 players for the afternoon.

    "Oh yeah!" Hasselbeck shouted."Blow him up!"

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    August 3, 2008 11:05 AM

    Scrimmage takes its toll

    Posted by Jose Romero

    One had to imagine that there would be some guys that got banged up after the full-contact scrimmage Saturday. And all one had to do to see the effects of that was watch this morning's practice, as eight players joined the ranks of the injured.

    The good news is that all but one don't figure to be long-term injuries. CB DeMichael Dizer tore an ACL when he planted wrong on the field yesterday and will need surgery plus a very long rehabilitation. But the rest are minor in comparison -- WR Logan Payne has a cracked rib from a play in which LB D.D. Lewis hit him at the goal line, and only rest can heal it; CB Jordan Babineaux "tweaked" his knee, coach Mike Holmgren said, and will have a precautionary MRI; OL Floyd Womack also has a bum knee and will get an MRI, same goes for OL Kyle Williams, who expected to miss three or four days.

    DE Nu'u Tafisi injured an ankle and also figures to miss a few days. LB Eric Wicks has a quadricepts bruise and LB Matt Castelo also got a sore knee from the scrimmage. Holmgren characterized all but Dizer's injury as minor in that each player won't need long to return.

    More good news, though: LB Wesly Mallard took part in individual drills, his first practice since July 28, and WR Courtney Taylor got in some individual work for the first time since a hamstring flared up and sidelined him on July 29.

    "I'm back. I'm back and feeling good," Taylor said exuberantly after practice. "That training room is no place you want to be."

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    August 2, 2008 5:51 PM

    Red Bryant on his knee surgery

    Posted by Jose Romero

    The rookie DT spoke to reporters after the scrimmage, which he watched from the sideline.

    "I just felt something funny when I was getting ready for practice Thursday," Bryant said when asked how he got hurt. "They checked it out and said I had some damaged cartilage."

    Bryant said he must have gotten hurt during camp and not before. He had wanted to keep practicing over the injury but the team decided to clean up the loose cartilage and have him undergo surgery.

    "It's tough because I'm a rookie and I'm trying to get in this rotation and bring something to the table, but they've got my best interests in mind," Bryant said. "I'm glad it's over with...I'll be back out there before you know it."

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    August 2, 2008 2:13 PM

    Scrimmage stats

    Posted by Jose Romero

    Here they are, much thanks to the Seahawks media relations crew for compiling them. One side note: The most significant injury of the day was an unspecified knee injury to rookie CB DeMichael Dizer, an undrafted free agent. The injury appears to be serious, but no details were given.

    Att. Comp. Yds. Lg TD Int. Sacked
    Matt Hasselbeck 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
    Seneca Wallace 8 7 69 15 0 0 2
    Charlie Frye 14 10 137 53t 2 0 0

    PASSING – Red Zone
    Att. Comp. Yds. Lg. TD Int. Sacked
    Seneca Wallace 3 2 20 13t 1 0 1
    Charlie Frye 4 1 6 6t 1 0 0

    Rec. Yds. Avg. Lg. TD
    John Carlson 4 33 8.3 10 0
    Logan Payne 3 36 12.0 15 0
    Ben Obomanu 3 32 10.7 13t 1
    Bryan Gilmore 2 16 8.0 11 0
    T.J. Duckett 2 13 6.5 7 1
    Justin Forsett 2 5 2.5 6 0
    Jordan Kent 1 53 53.0 53t 1
    Michael Bumpus 1 23 23.0 23t 1
    Owen Schmitt 1 17 17.0 17 0
    Joe Newton 1 4 4.0 4 0

    -includes scrimmage and red-zone receptions

    Att. Yds. Avg. Lg. TD
    Justin Forsett 9 51 5.7 33 0
    T.J. Duckett 9 25 2.8 7 0
    Maurice Morris 3 9 3.0 6 0
    Owen Schmitt 2 5 2.5 5 0
    Charlie Frye 1 3 3.0 3 0
    Seneca Wallace 1 1 1.0 1t 1
    Julius Jones 1 0 0.0 0 0

    -includes scrimmage and red-zone receptions


    Olindo Mare 4/5 – (43) (38) (43) (48) (43 NG)
    Brandon Coutu 6/8 – (48 NG) (48) (38) (43) (48) (33) (51 NG) (56)

    Player TT UT AST Sacks PD
    D. Hawthorne 6 5 1
    J. Adams 6 2 4 1
    L. Laury 5 2 3
    J. Babin 4 3 1 2.0
    C. Wallace 4 2 2
    L. Hill 4 0 4
    J. Babineaux 3 2 1 1
    K. Hobbs 3 2 1 2
    E. Wicks 3 0 3
    C. Cooper 3 2 1 0.5
    O. Lowe 3 1 2
    D. Dizer 2 1 1 1
    K. Johnson 2 1 1
    N. Tafisi 2 1 1 0.5
    C. Terrill 2 1 1
    H. Green 2 0 2
    J. Wilson 1 1 0
    B. Mebane 1 0 1
    D. Tapp 1 0 1
    D. Lewis 1 0 1 1
    B. Atkins 1
    L. Jackson 1

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    August 2, 2008 1:28 PM

    Saturday at the scrimmage

    Posted by Jose Romero

    While I wait for the "official" stats from today's Seahawks' scrimmage from team media relations man Lane Gammel, here are some observations from today:

    1. GREAT atmosphere. Sure, this was pretty much just like another day in practice for me, but the crowd of an estimated 11,000 had a good time and really got to let loose when Mike Holmgren asked them to make some noise like it was the Washington playoff game from last season. A lot of kids. Several players signed autographs and slapped hands with fans after the scrimmage, and one of the best signs in the crowd was "Marry me Lofa."

    2. T.J. Duckett and Justin Forsett were the featured backs on a day in which the starters played very little if at all. Duckett was a load to bring down at times and plowed ahead for 6 and 7 yards a few times. Forsett, a rookie seventh-round pick who is a longshot to crack an already crowded backfield, turned in the two best runs of the day, one for 33 yards on a draw play.

    3. The receivers made plays. Ben Obomanu and Logan Payne made nice catches, but Jordan Kent and Michael Bumpus had the best ones. Bumpus, a rookie undrafted free agent from Washington State, caught a Charlie Frye pass from the 23-yard line, took hits from Josh Wilson and Kevin Hobbs, and managed to lunge into the end zone. Kent, a second-year player from Oregon, hauled in a 53-yard bomb from Frye that was close to a touchdown, beating a pair of defenders.

    4. The kicking competition is close. Rookie Brandon Coutu drilled on from 56 yards, giving him a slight edge over veteran Olindo Mare, who hit all but one try, a short attempt.

    5. A lot of regulars were held out or played one series and out. But this scrimmage was more about letting the younger players and those in contention for a roster spot show what they have. Nice day for rookie TE John Carlson, who made some good catches for short gains and showed he can be an effective receiver.

    6. Good day on defense for DEs Nu'u Tafisi, Jason Babin and Chris Cooper. I had said yesterday that Cooper was injured and wouldn't play, but his leg was apparently not serious enough to keep him out. Also Hobbs and S Jamar Adams played well in the secondary.

    7. LT Walter Jones didn't even suit up. Those unavailable to play were LBs Wesly Mallard and Will Herring, P Ryan Plackemeier, C-G Chris Gray, C Chris Spencer, DT Red Bryant, WR Courney Taylor, TE Jeb Putzier, WR Deion Branch, DTs Marcus Tubbs and Larry Tripplett and DE Patrick Kerney.

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    August 1, 2008 3:24 PM

    Cooper, Tripplett out of scrimmage

    Posted by Jose Romero

    Just been informed that DE Chris Cooper has an unspecified leg injury and DT Larry Tripplett a knee problem that forced them out of practices today and will keep them from playing in the scrimmage tomorrow.

    Both are expected back next week. I had forgotten to mention P Ryan Plackemeier in the players that are out two posts ago, and he could start kicking in practice next week.

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    August 1, 2008 1:59 PM

    Meeting with the officials

    Posted by Jose Romero

    The Seahawks beat writers just met with some NFL officials who are in camp to work practices and who will work the scrimmage tomorrow at Qwest Field. Referee Peter Morelli, head linesman George Hayward, back judge Kirk Dornan and first-year side judge Greg Wilson showed a video outlining the officials' points of emphasis this season. Highlights:

    -The force-out rule on catches will no longer be enforced. It's an incomplete pass unless the receiver gets both feet inbounds first or is ruled to be carried out after making the catch clearly inbounds.

    -No more 5-yard facemask penalties. All are 15 yards.

    -The defense can now have a player wear a speaker in his helmet, just like a quarterback, to hear signals. One starter and one backup can do so but cannot be on the field at the same time and must report themselves to the referee.

    -A snap untouched is ruled as a backward pass and can be advanced as a fumble. All muffed handoffs and forward handoffs that are fumbled can be advanced by the defense if it recovers.

    -Teams who win the opening coin toss can now choose to defer their option to kick or receive to the start of the second half, just like in college.

    -An offensive player who sticks his arm out can make contact with a defender's facemask, but if he grabs it it is a 15-yard penalty. Officials will be watching this more closely.

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    August 1, 2008 12:24 PM

    Status updates to come

    Posted by Jose Romero

    At some point this afternoon the media will find out why DE Chris Cooper and DT Larry Tripplett did not practice this morning. They are the latest two players who are out, joining LBs Wesly Mallard and Will Herring, G-C Chris Gray, C Chris Spencer, WR Deion Branch, DT Marcus Tubbs, WR Courtney Taylor, TE Jeb Putzier and DT Red Bryant.

    Bryant, the team confirmed, is to have knee surgery. UPDATE: Bryant had the surgery today, performed by team doctor Ed Khalfayan at the Seattle Surgery Center. He was on crutches today and will miss four or five weeks.

    The center-QB exchange was a big issue this morning. No. 1 center Steve Vallos, who is there because Spencer and Gray are out, accidentally tripped QB Matt Hasselbeck on a play coming out from under center, which had Hasselbeck limping for several plays thereafter. No. 2 center Mansfield Wrotto, a true guard, struggled on the exchange with QB Seneca Wallace three times.

    MLB Lofa Tatupu was not in on team drills but did participate in individual stuff. And both the No. 1 and No. 2 offenses drove for touchdowns in the final drill of the morning. FB Leonard Weaver caught a screen pass on third-and-goal and ran it in, and TE Joe Newton made a TD grab on fourth-and-goal.

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    August 1, 2008 7:55 AM

    Surgery for DT Red Bryant

    Posted by Jose Romero

    That's what coach Mike Holmgren announced this morning in an interview on KJR-AM. Bryant, the rookie fourth-round pick from Texas A&M, will miss four or five weeks, Holmgren added.

    Bryant underwent tests Thursday to determine the severity of an injury to his left knee after missing practice Thursday. Holmgren said Bryant has cartilage damage but was not specific.

    Bryant's loss is critical because the Seahawks are already without their other big and tall body in the middle of the defensive line, Marcus Tubbs, at least for the time being. The timing of the injury for Bryant means he could be ready to play by the first week of the regular season, but will miss invaluable time in exhibition games.

    Holmgren also updated the injury and rehabilitation status of some other players. C Chris Spencer and Tubbs are expected to be able to practice next week, Spencer perhaps on Monday. C-G Chris Gray has gone home to Alabama for a few days but is also expected to be able to practice Monday. P Ryan Plackemeier could start punting next week.

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