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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
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November 30, 2006

Today in Seahawks land

Posted by Jose Romero at 3:36 PM

Not a whole lot going on, except in the locker room where Jimmy Williams was crooning Christmas carols and the fun and good-natured joking continues.

The same six players who missed practice Wednesday were also out Thursday -- Robbie Tobeck, D.D. Lewis, Rocky Bernard, Sean Locklear, Itula Mili and Darrell Jackson. RB Shaun Alexander said Locklear is getting closer to coming back from a left ankle sprain.

CB Kelly Herndon didn't practice Thursday because of a toe problem and is probable for Sunday.

QB Matt Hasselbeck said he had planned to take snaps Thursday but was not doing that. Hasselbeck's throws looked fine, as his throwing hand isn't the one bruised.

November 29, 2006

Seahawks add Joppru, Parry to injured reserve

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:06 PM

The Seahawks signed Bennie Joppru, a tight end, and moved fullback Josh Parry to injured reserve. Parry missed the past three games with a foot injury. He was acquired in a trade from Philadelphia before the season began.

Joppru is in his fourth season in the NFL. He played one game with Chicago this season.

Hasselbeck's finger injury

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:52 PM

Coach Mike Holmgren began his Wednesday news conference by expressing both his admiration and amazement for the fans who went through incredible commuting difficulties on the way home from Monday's game.

"They had a lot to complain about and feel bad about and all that," Holmgren said. "But I didn't sense any of that ... That was just beyond the call of duty. As a group of folks that had to go through something that was pretty much an ordeal, it was amazing."

Then he moved on to the not-so-important stuff. At least it was not so important in his mind. Namely Matt Hasselbeck's finger injury, which is hurt between his index and middle fingers on his non-throwing hand.

"I'd be the last one to be critical of these Watergate investigative reporters because I think that was a very important time in our history and that was important that story came out."

But ...

"This, however, is not one of those situations," Holmgren said. "It really isn't ... I will go on record saying it's not that big of a deal."

The injury occurred in the first quarter. Holmgren said Hasselbeck worked out on Wednesday morning and will practice this week. He did say tests detected an injury in his hand, but the coach said the same could be said for numerous people that get tested.

"If I MRI'd you, there would be little cracks some places," Holmgren said. "I believe that."

Holmgren said that taking snaps won't be an issue by the time of Sunday's game.

In other updates, center Robbie Tobeck is out of the hospital and he will be evaluated next Monday to see how he has recovered from the infection. Tobeck was diagnosed with an abscess in his hip last week. He has not played the last three games.

Right tackle Sean Locklear will be a game-time decision this week. He has been out with a high ankle sprain. Tight end Itula Mili suffered a concussion in Monday's game, and Holmgren said he still showed symptoms of that injury.

November 28, 2006

What Brown did for you

Posted by Jose Romero at 2:31 PM

Seahawks kicker Josh Brown will be named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 12. That will be officially announced tomorrow.

Brown made all four of his field goal tries in the Seahawks 34-24 win over the Green Bay Packers last night. He did so in snow and cold temperatures the likes of which have never been seen at a Seahawks home game before.

Brown is 18-for-22 on field goals this season and has made 8 of 10 tries from 40 or more yards, including two on Monday. This is Brown's second time as NFC Special Teams Player of the Week this season [Week 6] and third time in his four-year career.

Hasselbeck hurt?

Posted by Jose Romero at 2:14 PM

So says a report on FOXSports.com. The story says the Seahawks QB injured his non-throwing hand last night and was to have an MRI today.

Hasselbeck is a right-handed passer. Monday was his first game back since he sprained a knee ligament on Oct. 22.

The Seahawks couldn't confirm the report, as very few team staffers are at headquarters today because of the weather. Coach Mike Holmgren is expected to address the severity, if any, of the injury during his news conference Wednesday in Kirkland.

Reading the opponent: Denver

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:01 AM

Jay Cutler hasn't even started a game yet in Denver, and already he's being compared to the gold standard of Bronco quarterbacks, John Elway. Mark Kiszla's column in the Denver Post says that Cutler's first job is to retrieve the big-play portions of the Bronco offense that have been missing since Elway retired. Geez. Talk about a shadow. Kiszla asks whether Cutler can, "restore the pizazz to a playbook that coach Mike Shanahan dumbed down for Jake Plummer." Yikes. Cutler hasn't started yet and already he has been compared to a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback. Maybe the pressure that comes with playing quarterback in that city explains why Jake Plummer was prone to grow a beard as Broncos QB. It's enough to make you want to be a hermit.

The Rocky Mountain News reports that Plummer handled his demotion with class in this story here.

The quarterback switch was exhaustively covered today, and one of the better broad-lens perspectives came from Dave Krieger of the Rocky Mountain News. His column here included this great assessment of what had happened to precipitate changing quarterbacks:

Why would a rookie give you a better chance than a 10-year veteran?

Because Jake is no longer the Snake, that's why. And it's the Broncos' doing.

Jake arrived 3 1/2 years ago a swashbuckler, a little like Cutler in cockiness, if not pedigree. He was the comeback kid for the Cardinals, the risk-taker who could throw 18 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, as he did in his final season at Arizona.

Checking in on the Broncos

Posted by Jose Romero at 10:04 AM

If you're at home today because of the snow and ice, here's what's going on with this week's Seahawks opponent, the Denver Broncos. It seems the team is in rookie QB Jay Cutler's corner as Cutler gets set to make his first career start after being named as Jake Plummer's replacement Monday.

But Plummer still has a role to fill even if he isn't the quarterback, the Denver Post says.

November 27, 2006

A snowy night

Posted by Jose Romero at 11:05 PM

I never thought I would see snow at a Seahawks game in Seattle. But there's a first time for everything.

What a difference the weather made. The Seahawks moved the ball but made too many mistakes while the snow came down and the receivers had problems bringing in the ball in the first half.

Second half, no more snow. A lot more points and much fewer mistakes. Coincidence? Who knows, but several Seahawks noted the weather change and how things got better when it did.

This game was big for the Seahawks. It was one they were expected to win, and they took care of business. The cornerbacks needed a night with their first interceptions of the season. Shaun Alexander was his old self, if not better. And Matt Hasselbeck proved that he's still the guy you want with the game on the line. Good for him in getting it together in the second half and leading the offense to 22 points.

There are still some issues. The tackling wasn't always great. Dropped passes happened too often. The Seahawks didn't get to Brett Favre for sacks enough times. But Nate Burleson showed he can be a force in the return game, and kicker Josh Brown is clutch when he is most needed.

Monday night inactives

Posted by Jose Romero at 4:37 PM

The Seahawks will be without starting center Robbie Tobeck for the third straight game, as Tobeck has an abscess in his left hip that required hospitalization last week. Tobeck missed the previous two games recovering from the flu.

Right tackle Sean Locklear is out for the fifth straight game, the fourth because of injury.

QB Gibran Hamdan, FB Josh Parry, LB D.D. Lewis, DT Robert Pollard and WR Bobby Engram are also inactive tonight. Engram is out for the seventh game in a row with a thyroid condition that is being treated but hasn't improved enough to allow him to play again.

QB David Green is inactive but is serving as the team's emergency third quarterback.

A QB change in Denver

Posted by Jose Romero at 11:35 AM

The Seahawks have a game to play tonight, but their opponent this Sunday, the Denver Broncos, announced a big move minutes ago.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan is holding a news conference to announce that Denver will start rookie Jay Cutler against the Seahawks on Dec. 3.

Cutler is in, veteran Jake Plummer moves to the bench. Cutler will be making his first pro start Sunday night on prime time TV.

Cutler was the Broncos' first-round draft pick last spring. He has yet to throw a pass in a regular-season game.

The Broncos are 7-4 but have lost two straight division games and are trying to stay alive in the AFC playoff race.

"He'll handle it well," Shanahan said in the news conference, which was carried live on the NFL Network.

Plummer had a 55.6 completion percentage as the starter and threw 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

November 26, 2006

What to watch for

Posted by Jose Romero at 8:34 PM

The Monday night game broadcast on ESPN will have some fun features.

Seahawks FB Mack Strong will introduce Seattle's offensive starters. LB Julian Peterson will handle the defensive starters.

Peterson will also be miked up for sound during the game.

And the following from ESPN:

The Monday Night Countdown pregame show will include a "Coffee with Matt Hasselbeck" feature. Hasselbeck toured some of Seattle's top coffee houses Saturday with former USA soccer standout and current ESPN reporter Julie Foudy.

The Seahawks will use ESPN character costumes of game and studio announcers Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser, Joe Theismann, Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Michael Irvin and Steve Young at the game Monday for a kids race on the field before the national anthem. The ESPN costumes were created for a special pre-Halloween halftime promotion in Minneapolis on Oct. 30. The Seahawks are borrowing them for this game. These costumed characters will walk around the perimeter of Qwest Field before the game and greet fans.

A clearer picture

Posted by Jose Romero at 8:09 PM

The St. Louis Rams helped the Seahawks in a big way earlier today when they rallied to defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 20-17.

The Rams and 49ers are 5-6, currently 1.5 games behind the Seahawks in the NFC West. A Seattle win Monday night against the Green Bay Packers would make the Seahawks 7-4, good for a two-game lead over St. Louis and San Francisco.

Seattle has the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over the Rams if the division ended in a tie, but it doesn't hold that edge over San Francisco. Still, the Seahawks have better division and conference records than both with two division games and four conference games left to play.

The Seahawks are going to be facing a depleted Packers team that has 11 players on injured reserve. And starting MLB Nick Barnett, one of the Packers' top defensive players, is out this week and will be replaced by rookie Abdul Hodge. Hodge is a third-round pick from Iowa making his first career start Monday.

November 24, 2006

Hasselbeck expected to start, Tobeck out

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:30 PM

Coach Mike Holmgren said he expects Matt Hasselbeck to start at quarterback unless he experiences a setback before Monday's game. Hasselbeck missed the past four games with an injured knee ligament, but Holmgren said his quarterback demonstrated better mobility this week in practice.

Center Robbie Tobeck is out, however, and a magnetic-resonance image of his injured hip detected an abscess. Tobeck was in the hospital, and the abscess is being drained. Chris Spencer will start at center in place of Tobeck and said he was planning to visit Tobeck today. Holmgren said he didn't have a timeline for Tobeck's return. Here is a Web page from Healthline with general information on abscesses.

Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace was excused from practice to return his mother to California. Wallace is expected back for Saturday's practice.

Sean Locklear was not back at practice today, and Holmgren doesn't expect him to be available Monday. Tom Ashworth has started in his place at right tackle.

Rocky Bernard has not practiced this week, but he has a chance to play against Green Bay, Holmgren said. Wide receiver Bobby Engram was listed as probable this week, but Holmgren said results of tests conducted this week weren't good enough for Engram to play. Engram suffered from a thyroid condition earlier this season, which required medication. Holmgren explained earlier this week Engram needs the medication to treat the condition, but the medication makes him sluggish.

November 23, 2006

Football practice on Thanksgiving

Posted by Jose Romero at 12:48 PM

Not much to say, but practice lasted one hour and 18 minutes, Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander continued working with the first team offense and the same five guys who didn't practice Wednesday missed Thursday as well with injuries.

Those were DT Rocky Bernard, FB Josh Parry, LB D.D. Lewis, RT Sean Locklear and C Robbie Tobeck.

A couple of interesting things...QB Gibran Hamdan drew some hoots and hollers of support from his teammates in practice after making two nice catches on back-to-back plays with the scout team offense.

And this scene from the locker room: Players apparently weren't too happy to speak to reporters on Thanksgiving. One called for media day off (I wish!) and another told us to go home to our families.

Mine is in Oregon, but I'm thankful to have some relatives in the area who invited me over. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

November 22, 2006

Injury report No. 1

Posted by Jose Romero at 10:40 AM

The good news is that the Seahawks' injury list for this week is shorter than in recent weeks.

But three starters are questionable for Monday night.

DT Rocky Bernard (right foot), RT Sean Locklear (left ankle) and C Robbie Tobeck (left hip) are questionable.

WR Bobby Engram is probable for this week after missing the past six games with a thyroid condition. QB Matt Hasselbeck is also listed as probable but is expected to play.

LB D.D. Lewis (right big toe) is out and FB Josh Parry (left foot) is doubtful.

The Packers, believe it or not, are in worse shape. QB Brett Favre is questionable with right elbow and groin injuries. RT Mark Tauscher, another starter, is doubtful with a groin injury, and MLB Nick Barnett is doubtful with a hand injury.

Also, CB Charles Woodson, who is also the team's punt returner, is questionable with shoulder and knee injuries.

November 21, 2006

Seahawks add to practice squad

Posted by Jose Romero at 3:30 PM

Seattle signed DT Eric Taylor today to the practice squad. Taylor was with the Minnesota Vikings last season.

Taylor, 24, played in college at Memphis. He's listed as 6 feet 2, 305 pounds.

Get ready for the Band-Aid Bowl

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:22 AM

A good deal of the build up to next Monday night's game is going to be spent on the health of these two teams and it might be the Packers who have the most questions. That doesn't mean the Seahawks are healthy so much as the Packers might be more beat up.

Quarterback Brett Favre left Sunday's game against the New England Patriots after getting hit in the arm. He is expected to play, but his backup -- Aaron Rodgers -- is out for the year after suffering a broken foot. Here's a story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the health at quarterback. This story from the Green Bay Press Gazette talks about the situation at backup. Rookie Ingle Martin is next on the depth chart, and the Packers are reportedly looking to add another quarterback.

Packers linebacker Nick Barnett suffered a broken hand toward the end of Sunday's game, but he still might play. If he does, it would be with a cast on the hand and padding around the cast for the "club" look that has been oh-so fashionable over the course of NFL history. This story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talks about the health of Barnett.

The Packers' season took a major step backward Sunday in their 35-0 loss to the Patriots. Green Bay has been shut out twice at home in one season for the first time since 1934. This story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel gives a good sketch of the significance of that game in the trajectory of Green Bay's season.

As for the Seahawks, they're starting to get healthy. Fullback Josh Parry and linebacker D.D. Lewis are the only two players coach Mike Holmgren said are unlikely to play. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and center Robbie Tobeck are expected back. Right tackle Sean Locklear and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard could be available later in the week.

November 20, 2006

Seahawks-Broncos on prime time

Posted by Jose Romero at 12:33 PM

Add another prime-time game to the Seahawks' schedule. The NFL announced today it has moved the Dec. 3 Seahawks-Denver Broncos game to a 5:15 p.m. (Seattle time) kickoff as part of the league's new flexible scheduling element.

The game was originally to start at 1:15 p.m. in Seattle and be carried on Fox. Now it becomes an NBC night game, the fourth of five prime-time regular-season games this season for the defending NFC champions.

Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all NFL Sunday time slots in the latter weeks of the season and gives teams a chance to play their way onto prime time. The Seahawks are 6-4 and the Broncos 7-3, and looking at the schedule for that Sunday, only a couple of other games (Dallas-New York Giants, New Orleans-San Francisco) have much intrigue.

Favre or no Favre?

Posted by Jose Romero at 12:21 PM

This report about the status of injured Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre doesn't shed a lot of light as to whether Favre will play against the Seahawks on Monday night.

It is, of course, the first time Favre will face his former coach and mentor, Mike Holmgren, in Seattle since Holmgren left Green Bay to become the Seahawks' coach in 1999. Favre injured his funny bone during Sunday's Packers-Patriots game

I wouldn't bet against the 37-year-old Favre being healthy enough to play. We'll see.

November 19, 2006

The Cisco Kid

Posted by Jose Romero at 8:09 PM

One of the great songs by a great soul group from the 1970s, War.

But seriously, Frank Gore was the Frisco Kid on Sunday. The Seahawks couldn't stop him. It looks like its back to the drawing board for the run defense which had been good since the Kansas City game.

That was really the story of this game. The positives for the Seahawks were the play of wide receivers Deion Branch and Darrell Jackson and a better effort from the defense in the second half. Ken Hamlin did a nice job tackling and the Seahawks might have been destroyed if not for some saving tackles by CB Marcus Trufant.

On the other side of the coin, the Seahawks' offensive line was inconsisent though Seneca Wallace got sacked just twice. Still, the line didn't give Wallace the time to set up and throw late in the game when the team needed some plays to be made. And S Jordan Babineaux missed several tackles in the open field that helped Gore break free in what was his worst game as a starter.

Ryan Plackemeier punted well and the special teams coverage was solid but the bottom line was that the Seahawks just didn't give their offense enough chances with the ball, and the running game was missing.

Hasselbeck third QB, Alexander will play

Posted by Jose Romero at 11:52 AM

That's the word handed down from the Seahawks just a few moments ago. Hasselbeck is throwing and rolling out and doing dropbacks as I write this, but he will be inactive as the team's emergency third quarterback today.

RB Shaun Alexander, as expected, will play, but it's not yet known if he will start.

Seneca Wallace makes his fourth start at QB today and David Greene will be his backup.

Starting right tackle Sean Locklear is inactive, but C Robbie Tobeck is expected to play after missing most of the week with the flu.

Two-sided alternative to Danny's picks ...

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:24 AM

This is a little belated update. I meant to post the outcomes of the coin flips on Saturday, but was delayed with severe travel problems.

Here are my picks for Sunday's games.

After last week's difficulties (2-8 in the morning games, 6-10 overall), I decided to start doing a coin-flip prediction for each game. Heads equals home team, tails equals away. The coin flips were completed this morning at 8:35 a.m. with a Massachusetts quarter.

New England at Green Bay (heads = Packers); Pittsburgh at Cleveland (tails = Steelers); Oakland at Kansas City (heads = Chiefs); Minnesota at Miami (heads = Dolphins); Cincinnati at New Orleans (tails = Bengals); Chicago at New York Jets (heads = Jets); Tennessee at Philadelphia (heads = Eagles); Washington at Tampa Bay (tails = Washington); St. Louis at Carolina (heads = Panthers); Atlanta at Baltimore (heads = Ravens); Buffalo at Houston (heads = Texans); Seattle at San Francisco (tails = 49ers); Detroit at Arizona (tails = Lions); Indianapolis at Dallas (tails = Colts); San Diego at Denver (tails = Chargers); New York Giants at Jacksonville (heads = Jaguars).

Alexander in, Hasselbeck out?

Posted by Jose Romero at 8:15 AM

That's how ESPN is reporting it will go for the Seahawks today. Look for RB Shaun Alexander to play today against San Francisco and Matt Hasselbeck to be in uniform, possibly as the No. 2 quarterback, but not likely to play unless needed.

That's the direction the team is leaning, the network reported on its NFL Sunday pregame show this morning.

Alexander looked more ready to play than Hasselbeck in practice this week, though the quarterback looked his sharpest on the final day of practice for the week, Friday.

November 17, 2006

The word on Matt and Shaun

Posted by Jose Romero at 1:28 PM

There is no word. Not until Sunday anyway.

Coach Mike Holmgren said he'll make a game-time decision on the playing status of QB Matt Hasselbeck and RB Shaun Alexander. That means we won't know if, or how much, the two stars will play until the day of the game at San Francisco.

That goes for another pair of starters, C Robbie Tobeck and RT Sean Locklear, two players who missed practices this week.

Alexander and Hasselbeck practiced all week. Alexander is returning from a broken foot and Hasselbeck a sprained knee ligament. Tobeck is recovering from the flu and Locklear a sprained left ankle.

"They're all healing up in various stages, " Holmgren said. "I believe they're all capable of playing. I just have to see how it's going to sort itself out, and I'll do that Sunday.

CB Kelly Jennings, who took a hit on his left knee Thursday in practice, is expected to play. CB Kelly Herndon didn't practice all week with a hamstring problem and also will be a Sunday decision.

Holmgren said Hasselbeck has good zip on his throws and is dropping back well. Alexander got more snaps Wednesday and a bit more rest Thursday.

A San Francisco treat

Posted by Jose Romero at 11:45 AM

The Marin Independent Journal had this collection of news items regarding the 49ers in today's edition. Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is a San Francisco native who was asked about the team's possible relocation to Santa Clara.

November 16, 2006

Hutch not so clutch?

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:59 PM

Steve Hutchinson is playing for Minnesota this season in case you missed the mountains of type that have been spent detailing that free-agent move. But for all the times it has been mentioned, the actual significance of the move is among the least understood simply because evaluating the play of interior linemen is so problematic.

Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman, better known as Dr. Z, is very well versed in analyzing the position so it's worth looking at his comment on Minnesota, which he has at No. 20 in his weekly power rankings. Here's the quote if you don't want to click:

They were going to present the best left side of an OL in football, rapidly improving Bryant McKinnie at LT and the league's supposed best, Steve Hutchinson, at LG. Hasn't quite worked out that way. McKinnie has regressed terribly and is giving up a sack a game and Hutch has been OK but disappointing.

Minnesota is averaging 107.3 yards rushing, No. 17 in the league, and they've allowed 22 sacks, which is tied for 18th-most.

Tobeck shows up; other updates

Posted by Jose Romero at 3:31 PM

The Seahawks welcomed back Pro Bowl C Robbie Tobeck to team headquarters today, but Tobeck didn't practice. He spent the past several days with the flu.

Chris Spencer has been filling in at center, just as he did for last Sunday's game.

Two other Pro Bowlers, Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander, continued making their push to play in this Sunday's game as they practiced for a second straight day. Alexander didn't get as many snaps as he did Wednesday while Hasselbeck threw three interceptions but appeared a bit more crisp with his throws and mobility.

Kelly Jennings, the team's first-round draft pick this year, injured his left knee during practice and couldn't participate thereafter. If he can't practice tomorrow he'll join the 10 other Seahawks on the injury report.

Sign a free agent, take your chances

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:16 PM

A major storyline in Seattle's game in San Francisco on Sunday is the impact linebacker Julian Peterson has had this season. He has eight sacks in nine games for the Seahawks this season, and has been as valuable as he is versatile. He's a linebacker known for his skill in covering opposing tight ends, but he's such a pass-rush threat that an opposing team can not expect an opposing running back to pick him up on a blitz.

Coach Mike Holmgren was asked about him.

"You don't expect with free agency to get a player of his caliber, it doesn't happen very often," Holmgren said.

Case in point: Ed Hartwell, Atlanta Falcons linebacker. The Seahawks were one of the teams chasing Hartwell in free agency in 2005. Hartwell was leaving the Ravens, and he chose the Falcons over the Seahawks. Seattle later signed Jamie Sharper. Hartwell has played in seven of Atlanta's 25 games since signing with the Falcons, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published this story about his impact in Atlanta or lack thereof because of the injuries. No one could have seen that coming as Hartwell played in 46 of 48 games in his time in Baltimore.

Wallace's contract status clarified

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:28 AM

Quarterback Seneca Wallace is signed with the Seahawks through 2007 because of an agreement reached before the season began.

Wallace was a restricted free agent this offseason, having played three years in the league. He visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during free agency, but did not sign an offer sheet with another team. Instead, he re-signed with the Seahawks.

Most assumed that Wallace was on schedule to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. However, he is signed through 2007 because of an agreement reached before the season began. Wallace's base salary for next season is apparently $800,000.

Wallace started the past three games at quarterback for Seattle. He has passed for six touchdowns this season, and had a passer rating of 140.6 in the first half of Sunday's game against St. Louis.

Nolan: Dressed for success

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:43 AM

Reebok's suit-and-tie ensemble suits San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan just fine. Jacksonville's Jack Del Rio, too. The pair have been approved to "test drive" the suits in the words of an NFL spokesman. They will wear them in two games this season. This story from the Sacramento Bee talks about Nolan classing it up a little.

Linebacker Julian Peterson is returning to San Francisco, which is where he began his career. Here's a story from the San Francisco Chronicle, asking whether the 49ers made a mistake in not ponying up the money the Seahawks were willing to commit to him.

November 15, 2006

Holmgren on Matt

Posted by Jose Romero at 7:50 PM

Here's more of what coach Mike Holmgren had to say about the possibility of Matt Hasselbeck's return from injury this week:

"What I have to see, if Matt can drop back, and push and go somewhere quickly without the leg not responding. If he can do that, then there's a good chance he could play," Holmgen said. "If he cannot do that, then we have to wait for a couple of days and continue to let it heal up. That's the test, as far as he's concerned. As far as dropping back and handing the ball off and those things, he can do that."

We should know by Friday whether Hasselbeck or Shaun Alexander will play Sunday.

Suiting up on Sunday?

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:48 PM

Coach Mike Nolan is in his second year in San Francisco, and he has been given permission to wear a suit and tie on the sidelines, according to this report from the Santa Rose Press Democrat. The report uses a quote from an anonymous source, saying that there's a chance Nolan could be in suit and tie for Sunday's game against Seattle.

Coaches are required to wear NFL-approved attire, and Nolan was denied permission to wear a suit when he asked for it after becoming 49ers coach in 2005. The Press Democrat reports that he has been given permission to wear a suit on a trial basis.

A mighty long list

Posted by Jose Romero at 11:51 AM

Ten players are on the Seahawks' Wednesday injury report, the first of the week.

QB Matt Hasselbeck (right knee) and RB Shaun Alexander (left foot) are questionable for Sunday. So are WR Bobby Engram (thyroid), RT Sean Locklear (left ankle) and C Robbie Tobeck (flu).

FB Josh Parry (left foot) is out. LB D.D. Lewis (right big toe) is doubtful.

DT Rocky Bernard (right foot), CB Kelly Herndon (hamstring) and CB Jimmy WIlliams (right ankle) are probable for Sunday.

November 14, 2006

49ers' Tuesday reading

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:03 AM

Running back Frank Gore gained 148 of his 159 yards in the first half of Sunday's victory over Detroit. He left the game with a concussion in the second half, but coach Mike Nolan expects he will be available for Sunday's game. This story from the San Jose Mercury News has a good round-up of 49ers' tid-bits, including the note that tight end Vernon Davis, the 49ers' first-round pick, could be back this week. Davis ran the fastest time ever by a tight end at the NFL scouting combine, but has not played since Week 3 because of a broken bone.

Quarterback Alex Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, but passed for only one touchdown as a rookie. He has passed for nine touchdowns this season, and plenty of people inside the league believe that Norv Turner -- hired as 49ers offensive coordinator this offseason -- is going to have a big impact on Smith. Among those is Troy Aikman, who played for Turner in Dallas. This story from the San Francisco Chronicle talks about Smith's growth in managing the game.

The 49ers have matched their win total of last season, and it has spawned talk of a playoff push from the 49ers. They haven't reached the postseason since 2002. Here's a story from the Sacramento Bee on the topic of postseason possibilities.

Danny O'Neil: Smarter than a penny

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 9:58 AM

Or at least I was for one game. I chronicled my futility in NFL picks this season on Monday and announced that I would be instituting a coin's two-sided assessment of games for the blog in addition to my own picks.

Well, the coin started off rough, coming up tails for Monday night's game. That was Tampa Bay, which lost. I predicted Carolina over the Bucs. Of course, I shouldn't spend too much time congratulating myself considering the Buccaneers have the lowest-scoring offense outside of Oakland.

November 13, 2006

Heads or tails?

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:24 AM

Nobody has e-mailed me about it yet. Maybe everyone is just being nice, but my picks for Sunday's games can only be described as abominable.

Of the 10 games that began at 10 on Sunday morning, I picked the correct outcome twice. Both of the victories were by a single point, Indianapolis over Buffalo and Baltimore over Tennessee.

Of the 15 games played Sunday, I predicted five correctly. The fact that I'm clothed this morning is unassailable proof that I don't gamble. I would have lost my shirt.

The picks are something I take seriously. I make notes on my initial impressions early in the week. I make my picks on Thursday. I then review my predictions from the previous week to try and detect trends in the failures. That won't be hard this week.

The result was this: My Week 10 picks.

I thought the Lions were coming alive, having won two of their past three games and adapting to Mike Martz's offensive scheme and playing a 49ers defense that gave up 130 points in losses to the Chiefs, Chargers and Bears. Detroit managed a single touchdown and San Francisco won its second game in a row.

I thought Tony Romo would get flustered facing by an Arizona defense that coach Mike Holmgren characterizes as if it were more puzzling than a Rubik's cube. The only mystery in that game now is why I picked the Cardinals, who haven't won since the season-opener.

Cincinnati has been a mystery to me all season. I haven't picked a Bengals game correctly since they started 3-0. In their last six games, they've lost the five games I predicted them to win and won the only one I predicted them to lose. Cincinnati led by 21 points at halftime and then allowed 42 second-half points to the Chargers and their offensive mastermind of a coach. Wait. Marty Schottenheimer coaches that team. Forget that whole "offensive mastermind" thing.

I could go on. I won't. Instead, I'm going to add a component to my picks. A coin flip. Heads is the home team, tails for the road. We'll list the results here on the blog along with my weekly picks and see if the coin's two-sided, 50-50 approach works better than my multi-faceted analysis. After this week, I doubt it could be much worse.

I'll start with Monday night's game.

Danny's prediction: Panthers over Buccaneers 26-20.

Coin result: Tails, which is the visiting team. That's Tampa Bay on Monday.

San Francisco treat

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:12 AM

The 49ers allowed 40 or more points three times this season. The other teams in the conference have allowed two 40-point games total, but that statistic may not apply much to Seattle's game in San Francisco this weekend. The 49ers have been stout for a couple of weeks now. They held Minnesota to a field goal in a 9-3 victory on Nov. 5, and gave up 13 points in their 19-13 victory in Detroit on Sunday. San Francisco has given up one touchdown in the last 10 quarters it has played. The Contra Costa Times had a story focusing on the team's defensive resurgence.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that a speech by linebacker Derek Smith stoked the 49ers heading into Sunday's game in Detroit.

Running back Frank Gore rushed for a career-high 159 yards in Detroit, but suffered a concussion in the game.

November 12, 2006

Why did Hamlin do that?

Posted by Jose Romero at 8:01 PM

It's been pointed out to me that Seahawks safety Ken Hamlin should have, I mean really SHOULD HAVE, dropped that interception he had with 10:27 left in the third quarter and the Seahawks leading 14-13.

The Rams went for it on fourth-and-5 from the Seahawks 31, figuring, I suppose, that they were too close to the end zone to punt and too far for a field-goal attempt. So QB Marc Bulger threw the ball deep for Torry Holt near the end zone.

The pass was way overthrown. If the Seahawks let it fall incomplete, they get first down at the 31 and better field position. But Hamlin caught the ball for the interception, his third of the year, and the Seahawks had to begin from their own 8, 23 yards down field.

Coach Mike Holmgren said he couldn't get too upset with a defensive back intercepting a ball, seeing as the Seahawks dropped two others in the game (one by Jordan Babineaux and another by Hamlin). But Holmgren said its something the defensive coaches will discuss.

Holmgren also said he'd never again try an end around and pass attempt like the one the Seahawks tried with Deion Branch in the third quarter that resulted in a 3-yard loss.

Bottom line though, the Seahawks squeaked by once again. It seems they're taking their opponents' best shot week after week as defending NFC champions.

Today's list of inactives

Posted by Jose Romero at 12:07 PM

It seems like every week there is a name on the list you don't expect, and this week its starting center Robbie Tobeck.

Tobeck practiced Thursday and Friday after missing Wednesday to rest a sore left elbow. But he'll miss his first game since the 2000 season, when he was recovering from offseason knee surgery and didn't play in Seattle's first 12 games.

Chris Spencer will start in Tobeck's place.

Other inactives: QB Gibran Hamdan (third QB), RB Shaun Alexander, QB Matt Hasselbeck, FB Josh Parry, LB D.D. Lewis, RT Sean Locklear and WR Bobby Engram.

November 11, 2006

Tubbs to IR

Posted by Jose Romero at 3:51 PM

The Seahawks released the following statement today regarding DT Marcus Tubbs. The former first-round pick, who has been injury-prone since his rookie year in 2004, has dealt with chronic knee swelling and soreness all season and the Seahawks decided to end his season by placing him on injured reserve.

Tubbs has missed 11 games with calf, ankle and knee injuries since the start of the 2004 season. Linebacker Lance Laury was signed off the practice squad to replace Tubbs on the 53-man active roster.

The Seahawks' news release:

The Seattle Seahawks have placed defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs on injured reserve and signed linebacker Lance Laury from the practice squad, the team announced this morning.

Tubbs, Seattle's first-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2004 NFL draft, played in five games this season, starting two, and recorded seven tackles (four solo) and 0.5 sacks. In his three-year career, he has played in 29 games with 16 starts and totaled 60 tackles (38 solo), 7.0 sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Laury signed with Seattle on May 1 as an undrafted rookie free agent from South Carolina and has spent the entire season on the team's practice squad.

November 10, 2006

Matt's return

Posted by Jose Romero at 1:28 PM

Matt Hasselbeck practiced today for the first time since Oct. 20, though he was limited to just eight throws with the scout team.

Hasselbeck wore a brace over his recovering sprained right knee. He completed three passes in 7-on-7 drills.

Coach Mike Holmgren said Hasselbeck "did fine," and the Seahawks hope to have him back in practice next week.

RB Shaun Alexander was scheduled to do some work at practice today but was not on the field. Holmgren said Alexander rested after running between cones and doing some cutting away from Thursday's practice.

Alexander is expected to have more tests taken on the cracked bone in his left foot next Monday.

Holmgren said the playing status of S Jordan Babineaux and WR Nate Burleson will be determined by Sunday. Both practiced for the first time this week. Babineaux has a sore right shoulder suffered when he landed on it Monday night, and Burleson has a right foot injury.

Game balls from the win over Oakland went to RB Maurice Morris on offense, DT Craig Terrill on defense and LB Kevin Bentley on special teams. Bentley wore injured teammate D.D. Lewis' practice jersey Friday.

WR Bobby Engram returned to practice after taking a day off because of the effects of a change in medications to treat his thyroid condition.

Mo' holding up to more hits

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 10:43 AM

Running back Maurice Morris hit his stride on Monday, rushing for a career-high 138 yards against Oakland.

Keeping him at full speed, though, has required some work in the training room. Morris is more than 20 pounds lighter than Shaun Alexander, and one of the big questions is how well he could hold up to the pounding of an every-down back.

"The ice bill for the organization has doubled," coach Mike Holmgren joked on Monday. "He has bags of ice on every part of his body almost."

November 9, 2006

The day at Kirkland

Posted by Jose Romero at 3:27 PM

Practice went smoothly but the Seahawks are still shorthanded with so many injuries.

I've noticed David Kirtman running some plays with the first-team offense. Kirtman is the rookie fullback and Mercer Island native who has been on the practice squad all season.

Bobby Engram was apparently given the day off to rest as he recovers from a thyroid condition. C Robbie Tobeck returned to practice after missing a day with a sore elbow.

On the lighter side of things, CB Jimmy Williams was thrilled to have the opportunity to "break down" practice, as in lead the post-practice huddle. It drew smiles from everyone present.

The locker room is a pretty funny place these days. Williams, Russell Davis, Bryce Fisher, Tobeck and practice-squad linebacker Lance Laury are the regular comedians.

A TV crew asked DE Joe Tafoya about what he recalled about the Arizona-Arizona State rivalry. Tafoya played at Arizona.

"They were dirty," Tafoya said of the Sun Devils.

November 8, 2006

Tyler Brayton apologizes for the incident

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:53 PM

Raiders defensive end Tyler Brayton just concluded his appearance on Dan Patrick's show on ESPN Radio.

Brayton was ejected from Monday's game in Seattle after he kneed Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens in the groin. Brayton said the incident was the result of an escalating confrontation, that he felt Stevens had tried to kick him. He read a prepared apology, and he made a statement that emphasized his personal responsibility for the whole incident though.

"A couple of plays before that, he got me knocked down and had a few choice words to say to me," Brayton said on the radio program. "That got me fired up."

Then came the confrontation on a play in which the two were engaged in a block and continued after the play stopped.

"We're trying to sling each other around," Brayton said. "He tried to kick me, and I just lost my cool and went after him pretty hard."

But Brayton emphasized he was responsible for his actions, and he apologized to both the Seahawks and to Stevens.

"Monday night I felt like I let a lot of people down," he said. "I let my personal frustrations and my emotions get the best of me. My actions were inexcusable."

Brayton said that the results of the season contributed to the situation.

"I was frustrated personally," Brayton said. "It had more to do with my level of personal frustration and he did one little thing that kind of sent me over the edge. That's why I reacted the way I did. I had a whole bunch of frustrations inside of me personally."

Statement from NFL on Stevens, Brayton

Posted by Jose Romero at 12:52 PM

Here's the release we just received:

RAIDERS' BRAYTON & SEAHAWKS' STEVENS FINED FOR UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS

Tyler Brayton of the Oakland Raiders has been fined $25,000 for unnecessary roughness and Jerramy Stevens of the Seattle Seahawks has been fined $15,000 for unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct in the Oakland-Seattle game on November 6, the NFL announced today.

NFL Director of Football Operations Gene Washington issued the fines.

Brayton and Stevens were involved in an altercation during a fourth-quarter run play.

Washington stated that Brayton kicked his opponent in the groin area, violating the NFL playing rule that prohibits kicking or kneeing.

On the same play, Washington said, Stevens attempted to kick his opponent in the groin area. Additionally, Washington noted that on a second-quarter pass play, Stevens head butted and taunted a different Raiders player. Stevens' actions violated the rules that prohibit kicking or kneeing, impermissible use of the helmet, and taunting.

Both letters emphasized that future infractions of this type will lead to increased disciplinary action up to and including suspension.

Player fines collected by the NFL are used to support the NFLPA Players Assistance Trust and charitable initiatives supporting youth, education and sports-related medical research.

Injury report

Posted by Jose Romero at 12:39 PM

The injury report is lengthy, with only WR Bobby Engram expected to practice all week. C Robbie Tobeck has an injury that makes him probable for Sunday's game, but he'll practice only a little this week, coach Mike Holmgren said.

Holmgren also said QB Matt Hasselbeck will try some things Friday in practice, as will RB Shaun Alexander to see how their injuries respond to some field work.

Fines forthcoming?

Posted by Jose Romero at 11:52 AM

ESPN.com has a report on possible fines for Oakland's Tyler Brayton and Seattle's Jerramy Stevens, who were involved in an altercation late in Monday night's game.

November 7, 2006

Sapp spews on Stevens

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:07 AM

This comment didn't make any of the papers, but a television camera captured Warren Sapp's reaction to Tyler Brayton's knee to Jerramy Stevens' groin. The Raiders defensive tackle said all he saw of the incident was Brayton's reaction -- presumably his below-the-belt knee -- but Sapp said that as soon as he saw who Brayton was tangling with, he knew what had happened.

"I saw who he was in it with and I knew exactly what it was," Sapp said. "He [Stevens] had done something cheap to him, and he was laughing and giggling just like that kid that steals a cookie out of the jar or pushes it over, and he's standing there by it, going, 'Nah, nah, nah.'

"He's a sissy. No more, no less."

November 6, 2006

Leak in the press box

Posted by Jose Romero at 10:59 PM

The rain finally got to this place. The press box sprung a leak from the ceiling two rows above me just a few minutes ago and the drip is pretty heavy.

The Seahawks' defense was certainly airtight, however. Enough so that it carried the game.

The way the Raiders were playing, they hardly were a threat to score. Their deepest drive in the game got to the Seattle 28-yard line but ended at the Seattle 39. But give this defense some credit after the past couple of weeks of criticism.

How about some for the offensive line, too? Yes, it allowed two sacks and right tackle Tom Ashworth was called for three false starts, but Ashworth did a decent job on the reigning NFL sack king from last season, DE Derrick Burgess.

You had Ashworth in his second start of the season. Floyd Womack was playing for the first time since Week 2. This hasn't been a consistent unit. So tonight was a good effort overall.

We'll see what's new with Shaun Alexander on Tuesday. The Seahawks are now second in the NFL in sacks with 30 as a team. And Seneca Wallace, I thought, did improve from one game to the next. No interceptions equals improvement, and the Seahawks dropped a few of his passes, too.

tonight's inactive players

Posted by Jose Romero at 4:25 PM

Two players who were on the injury report as of Saturday, FB Josh Parry and OL Chris Spencer, are active. Spencer and Parry had both been questionable to play.

Those who won't play include QB Gibran Hamdan, who'll only play if Seneca Wallace and David Greene are knocked out of the game; RB Shaun Alexander, QB Matt Hasselbeck, LB D.D. Lewis, OT Ray Willis, OT Sean Locklear, WR Bobby Engram and DT Marcus Tubbs.

No real surprises there. Locklear was to be a game-day decision. Tom Ashworth gets a second straight start in his place after Locklear was suspended last week and is injured for tonight.

No dousing the enthusiasm

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 3:14 PM

The weather hasn't drowned out the city's support. People are gathered around the set of ESPN's "Monday Night Countdown" in the north parking lot. A few guys held signs, and a couple held cut-outs spelling "ESPN." The TV set has a roof. The crowd?

My crowd estimates aren't the best, but I'd peg attendance at about 350. There were more people for FOX's pre-game show in Week 3, but that was also a sunny Sunday morning. This is a rainy Monday afternoon.

There were a smattering of Raiders fans I saw on the way in, including one whose hat said, "Los Angeles Raiders." The Raiders are famous for the "Blackhole" at their home stadium where fans paint faces and put spikes on shoulder pads. Didn't see any of that fanaticism here, but the spiked-costume wearers might also have concerns of rusting metal in this kind of weather, too.

Break out the mobile squeegee

Posted by Jose Romero at 3:13 PM

As I write this, I'm witnessing something I've never seen before: a squeegee on wheels wiping the water off the Qwest Field artificial turf surface.

The rain is coming down in droves with still more than two hours until kickoff. Safe to say that if this continues, it will be the soggiest day for a football field in the Seahawks' five seasons at the stadium.

If my memory serves me right, it has rained only two other times at the stadium on game day, once last season and once in 2002.

Raiders don't look forward to the rain

Posted by Cathy Henkel at 1:38 PM

Interesting story today by Bill Soliday of InsideBayArea.com (Ang Newspaper Group):

Headline is also fun: "Tonight may be deluge of dj vu for Raiders"

He's worried about ""significant amounts of rain, gusty winds up to 20 mph and a 55-degree chill in the air" expected for tonight's kickoff of Monday Night Football at Qwest Field.

Which reminded Soliday of a Dec. 16, 2000 game at Husky Stadium, when the Seahawks beat the Raiders in driving rainstorm, 27-24.

Here's his recollection:

"In that game Charles Woodson slapped the ball loose from Ricky Watters' grip, creating a fumble that bounded down the field toward the Oakland end zone. Raiders defensive back Marquez Pope recovered but in diving for the ball, slid across the slippery FieldTurf into the end zone. A safety was called, and the Raiders were forced to punt the ball back to Seattle, which scored again. That was the game. The Raiders argued to no avail the ball should have been ruled dead at the point Pope had control. The play resulted in a rule change several months later.''

So what about tonight? Same FieldTurf. Same weather.

No problem, Soliday says. Both of Oakland's quarterbacks know about the rain, especially a guy named Marques Tuiasosopo.

But Tuiasosopo tells him he never played in a game like that while playing at Washington.

"I may have just got lucky," he said. "The worst rain game I played in was down here at Stanford."

November 3, 2006

The possible inactives

Posted by Jose Romero at 1:19 PM

It would appear that the Seahawks' list of inactive players for Monday night is set, though it won't be made official until game day.

RT Sean Locklear (left ankle), WR Bobby Engram (thyroid condition), G Chris Spencer (left knee), LB D.D. Lewis (right big toe), DT Marcus Tubbs (left knee), RB Shaun Alexander (left foot) and QB Matt Hasselbeck (right knee) are likely to miss the game with their injuries.

The other inactive player would be emergency third quarterback Gibran Hamdan, who is healthy.

Coach Mike Holmgren said Locklear and Spencer would be game-time decisions. He'd hoped to have Spencer able to practice today but that didn't happen. Tom Ashworth will likely get his second straight start at right tackle and Floyd Womack is back in at left guard, though Rob Sims could see time there and Womack could be used at right tackle if Sims is at left guard.

Holmgren also said Engram is still about six pounds under playing weight before his thyroid problem, and that he needs to put that weight back on before he plays in a game.

WR Darrell Jackson returned to practice after missing Thursday because of a sore left foot and is expected to play. Tubbs will be re-evaluated Monday.


Cruising the national media

Posted by Cathy Henkel at 11:59 AM

Making their picks:

Ed McNamara, Newday: Oakland won its last two and its defense has improved quite a bit. Too bad the offense is still wretched. Even without injured Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck, the loud crowd and Monday night frenzy will fire up Seattle. The pick: Seahawks

Cam Inman, Contra Costa Times: Seahawks 28, Raiders 6: Rule No. 401 of "Life's Little Instruction Book" now reads: Don't ever watch hot dogs or sausages being made, unless your other option is viewing the Raiders offense.

San Francisco Chronicle: One would assume the Raiders, who have won two in a row thanks to their turnover-producing defense, would need to produce more than 98 yards of offense and score an offensive touchdown to contend with the defending NFC champions. Then again, Seattle's offense won't have quarterback Matt Hasselbeck or running back Shaun Alexander this week -- again. The pick: Seahawks.

Mark Potash, The Chicago Sun-Times: Outlook: Raiders QB Anthony Walter nearly eclipsed Rex Grossman's season mark for lowest passer rating by a winning QB -- his 17.3 rating against the Steelers was a pick away from beating out Grossman's 10.7 vs. the Cardinals. Pick: Seahawks 21, Raiders 9.

Toronto Star: Very quietly, inside the NFL's second-best division, the Raiders have crawled out of the gutter to become ... well, mediocre. Just good enough to cause problems for a Seahawks team without its Pro Bowl QB Matt Hasselbeck or its MVP running back Shaun Alexander, a duo replaced by QB Seneca Wallace and RB Maurice Morris. The Raiders are very good against the pass and need to use that skill to keep this game close. Pick: Raiders.


Greg Cote, Miami Herald: If Sunday night's Colts-Pats game is filet mignon, this Monday prime-timer is Spam. Oakland still qualifies as lousy despite two wins in a row, and Seattle -- minus Shaun Alexander and now Matt Hasselbeck -- is a ghost of itself. A venue call (Seattle on 24-4 run at home), but take Oakland with points.

Philadelphia Daily News: Raiders (+7) over Seahawks.
It's not that we love Oakland, but playing against Seattle without Shaun Alexander (and now, Matt Hasselbeck) has resulted in four straight spread winners.


Vinny, Ditrani, Bergen (N.J.) Record: Seahawks over Raiders, giving 7½ " Oakland's two-game winning streak ends in a 10-point Seattle win.


Calgary Herald: The Buzz: Raiders have won 2 in row, but both were at home. Wallace has shown Seahawks will have chance with him until Matt Hasselbeck returns from foot injury. Seahawks 24, Raiders 14.

The Sports Network: The Raiders have carved out an identity as a defensive-minded team, one that will only have a chance to win if it creates turnovers and keeps its opponent out of the end zone. That might be too tall an order on Monday night, as the Seahawks have their share of offensive playmakers, even without Hasselbeck and Alexander in the lineup. Look for Walter and the still-struggling Raider offense to give up a couple of short fields, and for Wallace and his receivers to cash in for a couple of pivotal touchdowns.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Seahawks 14, Raiders 6

John Clayton, ESPN: Seneca Wallace played much better than expected last Sunday as Matt Hasselbeck's replacement. He moved the ball well against the Chiefs and kept the offense competitive. But what is up with the Seahawks' defense? On paper, the defense is faster and more talented than the one that went to the Super Bowl last year. But this underachieving defense hasn't given up fewer than 28 points in a game since Sept. 17. If they give up 28 points to the Raiders, the Seahawks might as well raise the white flag instead of the 12th-man flag on Monday night. Even though the Raiders are on a two-game winning streak, the offense is regressing. Andrew Walter is really struggling at quarterback and the running game has been nonexistent. The Raiders concluded their preseason in Seattle and their hopes were high. They were 4-0 in the preseason and riding high. But the Seahawks dominated them, and the Raiders went into a funk that saw them start the regular season 0-5. For the Seahawks, this is a must-win game.

November 2, 2006

Under the dome

Posted by Jose Romero at 3:28 PM

The rain fell outside but the Seahawks stayed dry in their practice "bubble" Thursday.

RT Sean Locklear, WR Darrell Jackson and LG Chris Spencer missed practice with injuries. Spencer has yet to be added to the injury report but will be because he didn't practice.

Jackson (left foot) and Locklear (left ankle) have missed back-to-back days but are listed as probable.

I talked to Jackson about his appearance at the Sonics-Blazers game last night. He sat in a suite at KeyArena with teammates Ken Hamlin and Deion Branch. The three were announced to the crowd.

The play of the day at practice was Kelly Herndon's tipped pass that Lofa Tatupu scooped up before it hit the turf for an interception. Also, that wild and crazy Jimmy Williams was up to his antics again, making a play and then performing his version of San Diego linebacker Shawne Merriman's "Lights Out" dance.

Walter still Oakland's man under center

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 11:12 AM

Aaron Brooks is back practicing with the Raiders, but Andrew Walter will remain the starter, according to a report from ESPN.com.

Raiders coach Art Shell addressed the subject of his quarterbacks in a telephone conference call with reporters in Seattle on Wednesday.

"Aaron has to start working," Shell said. "He's supposed to start doing some things today [Wednesday]. But Aaron has to show me that he can do whatever it takes to play the quarterback position, and I have not seen that yet."

Walter passed for 51 yards in the Raiders' victory over the Steelers last week. He has been intercepted nine times this season compared to three touchdown passes.

November 1, 2006

Engram still not talking

Posted by Jose Romero at 3:36 PM

It's understandable. Reporters tried to talk to Bobby Engram about coming back from his thyroid condition, but all he had to say is that he's frustrated but getting better. Engram also promised he'd discuss his ordeal after he got a chance to play again.

The frustration is from missing three straight games while on medication to treat the overactive thyroid, which is causing Engram to be fatigued and taking away some of his energy.

Engram did practice today, running with the scout team and getting in on a couple of plays with the No. 1 offense.

In other news, WR Darrell Jackson has been added to the injury report as probable for Monday after missing practice with an unspecified left foot injury. OL Chris Spencer appeared to injure his left knee late in practice but said afterward he is OK. He has yet to be added to the injury report.

RT Sean Locklear was at practice but didn't participate. He's probable with a left ankle injury.

Holmgren goes low on Tobeck

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 1:03 PM

Coach Mike Holmgren was asked if he had heard about Robbie Tobeck's Halloween costume.

Holmgren said he hadn't. Holmgren was then told Tobeck dressed up as coach Holmgren.

The coach paused for a moment. He reached for a bottle of water.

"What did he wear, lifts?" Holmgren said, a jab at Tobeck's height.

Procedure for Alexander's clearance clarified

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:50 PM

Coach Mike Holmgren was asked Wednesday if Shaun Alexander still being out would be considered a setback in his recovery.

"It's not a setback, but I should probably address that," Holmgren said.

He then clarified the process by which Alexander will be cleared.

"What they're going to do is they're going to take pictures every Monday," Holmgren said. "If the pictures show the doctors what they want to see, he'll be able to play. If they don't, he won't. It's that simple."

Alexander has missed four games with a cracked bone in his left foot. Holmgren had hoped Alexander would be able to play in this Monday's game against the Raiders, but on Monday he said that Alexander wouldn't be back.

"We all hoped, Shaun included, that the pictures would show something this week, and they didn't," Holmgren said. "So he's not playing. It's conceivable the same deal will happen next Monday. I hope not. I'm hoping we get him back."

Womack returning, could start

Posted by Danny O'Neil at 12:39 PM

Floyd Womack is not on this week's injury report, and he is expected to be back. Coach Mike Holmgren said Womack will start at left guard against the Raiders if he feels good after practicing this week.

Womack has been out since suffering a knee injury in the second game. Chris Spencer replaced him in the starting lineup and last week in Kansas City, Spencer and rookie Rob Sims split time at left guard. Holmgren does not have a rule about a starter not losing his job to injury, but he believes that Womack -- if he feels strong at the end of this week of practice -- is the best option at that position.

In other injury news, defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs is doubtful with a sore knee. Tubbs missed the game in Kansas City. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery this season, and his knee is swollen, Holmgren said.

Linebacker D.D. Lewis is also doubtful with a toe injury. Wide receiver Bobby Engram is questionable, which means he has a 50 percent chance of being on the active roster. Engram is recovering from a thyroid condition that sapped him of energy.

Tackle Sean Locklear, who was suspended for last week's game, is probable with an ankle injury.

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