A recap of the day’s activities:
Taking this show on the road. For the third time this season, the Seahawks will venture away from the comfort zone that is Qwest Field – this time to Chicago for a post-bye week game against the Bears on Sunday.
When coach Pete Carroll was asked Monday if he planned any changes this week compared to the weeks when the team traveled to Denver and St. Louis, he offered, “Yeah, hopefully we’ll play better.”
But there is a change this week: The team will leave for Chicago on Friday.
The Seahawks traveled to Denver and St. Louis on Saturday, only to lose 31-14 and 20-3. Last year, they left on Saturday for each of their eight trips, and were 1-7 on the road.
The Seahawks have traveled a day earlier in the past, but this week’s schedule includes another tweak: The team won’t leave until after conducting its regular Friday practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Carroll knows it’s important to reverse the team’s current road trend because four of the Seahawks’ next six games are at Chicago, at Oakland (Oct. 31), at Arizona (Nov. 14) and at New Orleans (Nov. 21).
“These games are enormously challenging, and it’s not going to be easy in Chicago,” Carroll said.
Marshawn Lynch. The running back who was acquired last week in a trade with the Buffalo Bills has been with the Seahawks for only seven days – and on five of those the players were off because of the bye week and today’s regular “off” day. In fact, Lynch has practiced with his new team just twice – Monday and last Wednesday.
But he looks ready to roll against the Bears, if only because of one explosive run on Monday where those standing on the sideline immediately glanced at one another – with eyes wide open.
“He’s very much into it,” Carroll said. “I don’t think there’s going to be any problem for him to play a lot in this game.”
Leading rusher Justin Forsett, who will lose carries to his former college teammate and still best friend, agreed with that assessment.
“Oh yeah, he’s definitely ready to step in and help,” Forsett said. “He’s a great guy and a great talent. The things that he can do, man, he’s going to open up some things for us.”
Right tackle. Sean Locklear did not start the pre-bye game against the Rams because of a sore knee. But he did finish it, after Tyler Polumbus had to slide back to left tackle because first-round draft choice Russell Okung was experiencing pain in the sprained right ankle that had forced him to miss 5½ weeks.
So who will be at right tackle against the Bears? Locklear, if he’s healthy enough to get ample practice time this week. Locklear did not practice Monday.
“He’s going to play in the game,” Carroll said of Locklear. “He played well with that (knee) situation last week. We plan on him practicing Wednesday. How much? I don’t know that yet, but he should be ready for the ball game.”
But Carroll does not want to fall into the situation where players start on Sunday after not practicing much – if at all – during the week.
“I don’t want to go week to week where he can’t practice and then he plays on game day,” Carroll said. “I don’t think that’s what’s best for him or for us. So we’ll see if we can get him out there and the plan is that we will.”
If not, then it’s Polumbus, who didn’t joined the team until Aug. 31 but has started all four games – the first three at left tackle for Okung and the last one at right tackle for Locklear.
ON THE FIELD
Not today. It’s the players’ “off” day, although many were in to work out on their own. Tuesday is the day the coaches put together the game plan, although the Seahawks got a jump on preparing for the Bears because of their bye week.
“We introduced some stuff and thoughts about this game plan – kind of check some things out in preparation for the full installation on Wednesday,” Carroll said after Monday’s bonus practice.
EX MARKS THE SPOT
Wide receiver Deion Branch, who was traded back to New England by the Seahawks, passed his physical and practiced with the Patriots today. Branch had been acquired in a 2006 trade with the Patriots.
“First of all I’d like to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to come back to a great organization, and to be part of another great opportunity in Seattle,” Branch told reporters after his first practice with his old team. “Unfortunately things didn’t work out, but that’s part of the business. … I’m thankful to be back.”
Also, running back Julius Jones, who was released after Lynch was acquired, signed with the New Orleans Saints.
STAT DU JOUR
Entering Week 6, 20 teams are .500 or better – 10 in each conference, including the Seahawks. That ties the NFL mark for the first five weeks that was set in 2001.
YOU DON’T SAY
“This is a volatile offense with a guy with that kind of gun back there.” – Carroll, on the Bears’ offense when QB Jay Cutler is playing – which he didn’t do last week because of a concussion, but is expected to do this week