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Thursday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Rookies. Pete Carroll used to be like most coaches when it came to using first-year players, in that he preferred not to. That changed when he arrived at USC in 2001.

“I always thought, like a regular coach thinks, that rookies and freshmen are going to beat you – they’re going to make mistakes,” Carroll said. “As soon as I got there (USC), I realized I was kind of the GM and head coach and personnel guy and all that, I just flipped.”

Not out, but in his perception of rookies and freshmen.

“I realized we were bringing in all these hot-shot and top-notch recruits and we weren’t really good at the time and we wanted to see how fast we could get right and get better,” he said. “So I just forced it on the coaches to play these guys.”

The members of the Seahawks’ Rookie Class are benefitting from that about-face in Carroll’s philosophical approach.

Rookie free safety Earl Thomas leads the team, and is tied for second in the league, with four interceptions. Fellow first-round draft choice Russell Okung has been impressive at left tackle, when available. Cornerback Walter Thurmond (fourth round) made his first start last week and was credited for his efforts in holding the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald to three catches for 30 yards. Strong safety Kam Chancellor (fifth round) got 17 snaps in the Bandit defense against Arizona.

“The key was to find things that they did well and utilize them in those things and as they felt the success and their confidence grew some, they could be a bigger factor and you could expand on that,” Carroll said of the USC approach that he brought with him to the Seahawks.

“That’s how we do it. That’s how we think it through.”

POSITION WATCH

Quarterback. After throwing six interceptions in the Seahawks’ first four games – including three in the Week 2 loss at Denver – Matt Hasselbeck has gone 98 attempts without one. It’s a streak that covers the past two games – both victories – and his final 20 attempts in the Week 4 loss at St. Louis.

The secret to his recent success?

“It’s sort of a …” Hasselbeck began before pausing. “I don’t know if I could really say. Well, I mean I could say, but I don’t know if I want to. I could say someday. I’m not going to say it now while it’s still working for me.”

Asked the same question, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates offered, “He’s just playing the game smart. Matt understands the situations we’re in and I think he knows when to take chances and when not to.”

Bates then shared a story from his past, involving his father – Jim, a long-time defensive coordinator in the league.

“When I was 4-years old, my dad taught me about planning quarterback and not throwing interceptions,” Bates said. “Matt’s going on quite a few years of playing the game, so hopefully somewhere along the line somebody told him to take care of the football.

“You’ve still got to be aggressive as a quarterback. I think (the Giants’) Eli Manning right now is leading the league in touchdowns (14) and interceptions (11). It’s a touchy subject. But Matt has done a great job recently.”

ON THE FIELD

The players worked for 105 minutes in their indoor practice facility at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. Among the highlights were an interception by cornerback Marcus Trufant on a deep pass and two nice plays against the run by strong safety and leading tackler Lawyer Milloy.

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as released by the team:

Did not practice

  • WR Brandon Stokley (oblique)
  • FB Michael Robinson (hamstring)OT Russell Okung (ankle)
  • DT Brandon Mebane (calf)
  • LB Matt McCoy (hamstring)
  • CB Kelly Jennings (hamstring)
  • CB Walter Thurmond (head)

DE Chris Clemons and LG Ben Hamilton were back after sitting out Wednesday. But Jennings and Mebane remained sidelined, although Carroll had been hopeful that they would practice today.

With Jennings and Thurmond out, Roy Lewis and Nate Ness got work at cornerback with the No. 1 defense, while Kentwan Balmer continued to play Mebane’s spot. Tyler Polumbus also continued to replace Okung, while just re-signed Quinton Ganther stepped in at fullback for Robinson.

For the Raiders:

Did not practice

  • DT John Henderson (foot)
  • CB Chris Johnson (concussion)
  • WR Louis Murphy (chest)
  • WR Chaz Schilens (knee)

Limited in practice

  • RB Michael Bennett (hamstring)
  • S Hiram Eugene (pectoral)
  • OG Robert Gallery (calf)
  • LB Travis Goethel (back)
  • QB Bruce Gradkowski (shoulder)
  • LB Thomas Howard (knee)
  • TE Zach Miller (foot)
  • C Samson Satele (concussion)
  • DE Matt Shaughnessy (concussion)
  • LB Kamerion Wimbley

Gallery was limited today after sitting out Wednesday, while S Hiram Eugene (pectoral), C Samson Satele (concussion) and DE Matt Shaughnessy (concussion) were back after being limited Wednesday.

Raiders coach Tom Cable told reporters who cover the team that he would name a starting QB on Friday. The only way Gradkowski could start is if he practices with no restrictions, Cable said. If not Gradkowski, Jason Campbell will start.

UP NEXT

The Seahawks will hold their final full practice on Friday in preparation for Sunday’s game – which will be blacked out in the Bay Area because it failed to sell out. It will be the Raiders’ 11th consecutive black out.

STAT DU JOUR

What Mike Williams has done the past two games hasn’t been just productive stuff, it’s been historic stuff. No receiver in franchise history has caught more passes in back-to-back games than the 21 Williams had against the Cardinals (11 for 87 yards) and Bears (10 for 123).

Hall of Famer Steve Largent caught 20 passes in back-to-back games twice (1984 and 1987), while Bobby Engram did it in 2007, when he finished with a club-record 94 receptions.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Halloween in Oakland, it should be interesting. I think when you talk about fans around the league, or stadiums around the league, I know our fans are known for kind of being loud and they take pride in it. I think the Raider fans are known for really getting into their costumes and really supporting their team that way. So I’m sure they’re just going to live it up even more so. … It should be great entertainment.” – Hasselbeck, on venturing into the Black Hole


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