A recap of the day’s activities:
Matt Hasselbeck. The team’s starting quarterback was back after being cleared to return to practice, and coach Pete Carroll said Hasselbeck will start this week’s game against the Cardinals in Arizona.
Hasselbeck, who sat out Sunday’s game with a concussion, will not talk to reporters until Thursday. But today, his actions said everything that was necessary. Hasselbeck was sharp and displayed no ill effects from the injury he sustained while being sacked a career-high eight times in the loss to the Oakland Raiders on Halloween.
“He’s full-go and looking good,” coach Pete Carroll before Hasselbeck matched that assessment in practice.
Is there any question whether Hasselbeck will start the crucial game against the two-time defending NFC West champion Cardinals?
“No. I think he’s ready,” Carroll said. “He needs to go through the week practicing and make it through, just like everybody else does. But I’m anxious to get him back out there and get him back to take over.”
In Hasselbeck’s absence, backup Charlie Whitehurst made his first regular-season start in Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants.
“I think Charlie will grow enormously from his experience and will be better for it,” Carroll said. “But Matt’s been our guy and that’s where we’re going.”
Leon Washington. Leading the NFL in kickoff-return average is one thing. Doing it less than a year removed from surgery to insert a metal rod in your severely broken right leg is something completely different.
That’s what Washington has accomplished, and his teammates have recognized everything he has been through by voting him the team’s Ed Block Courage Award.
“It’s an award that individually was given to me, but it takes so many other people to help me get that award – from the training staff; obviously my wife, family and friends,” Washington said. “So it’s a tremendous honor to receive, especially when you know your teammates voted on it.”
ON THE FIELD
The players practiced for 90 minutes on a chilly but sun-drenched afternoon on the shores of Lake Washington. It was “Competition Wednesday,” with a definite slant toward the second half of the season.
“We kick into high gear starting the second half of the season,” Carroll said. “We’re really actively trying to put together a terrific plan this week so that we can get it going, get off on the right foot.”
The number of transactions jumped to 249 since Carroll and general manager John Schneider were hired in January as the club made eight moves today.
Quarterback J.P. Losman was re-signed. He had been with the club during training camp, but was released on the roster cut to 53 players.
Carroll labeled the addition “a good get for us,” adding, “It’s good to have him back just for the security, and being uncertain about how the Matt thing was going to go this week we just got active to go get him and it’s a real good addition for us.”
Also re-signed was center Chris White, who was originally signed on Nov. 3 but released three days later. He and Losman filled the roster spots that opened when quarterback Zac Robinson and tackle Breno Giacomini were released. They had been signed off the practice squad on Saturday. Robinson was claimed by the Detroit Lions, but Giacomini cleared waivers and was re-signed to the practice squad.
Also signed to the practice squad were cornerback Josh Pinkard and wide receiver Antonio Robinson. Pinkard had been moved from the reserve/non-football injury list to the active roster and then released. When he cleared waivers he was added to the practice squad. Robinson replaces wide receiver Pat Williams, who was released from the practice squad.
The official report, as released by the team:
Did not practice
DT Colin Cole (ankle)
MLB Lofa Tatupu (knee)
WR Golden Tate (ankle)
TE Chris Baker (foot)
RB Michael Robinson (hamstring)
Limited in practice
RB Marshawn Lynch (thigh)
OT Russell Okung (ankle)
In addition to Hasselbeck, OT Russell Okung (ankle), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee) and DT Brandon Mebane (calf) returned to practice. Mebane has missed the past four games, but was back at his three-technique spot with the starting line today. Okung has missed the past two games and Polumbus sat out Sunday’s game, but they shared time at left tackle with the No. 1 line today. The returns of Okung and Polumbus allowed Chester Pitts to slide to left guard, after he started at left tackle against the Giants.
With Tatupu resting a sore knee, David Hawthorne moved to the middle and was replaced on the weak side by Will Herring. Lynch’s limited participation allowed Justin Forsett and Washington to get more reps.
For the Cardinals:
Did not practice
LB Clark Haggans (groin)
LB Paris Lenon (ankle)
RB Beanie Wells (knee)
Limited in practice
LB Will Davis (knee)
DT Darnell Dockett (shoulder)
LB Joey Porter (knee)
FS Kerry Rhodes (hand)
STAT DU JOUR
The Cardinals already have eight return touchdowns this season. That puts them on pace to break the NFL single-season record of 13 that was set by the Seahawks in 1998.
The players will practice again Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. The team will fly to Phoenix on Saturday for Sunday’s game.
The Seahawks travel to New Orleans next week to play the defending Super Bowl champion Saints, but then play four of their final six games at Qwest Field – against the Chiefs, Panthers, Falcons and Rams. Their other two games are at San Francisco and Tampa.
“No, I haven’t thought that way,” Carroll said when asked if he was stressing the importance of knocking off the reigning division champions this week. “It’s fact. It’s just a fact, but it’s not something that we’re dwelling on. We need to play really well regardless of who we’re playing. That’s the truth.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“I’ll let you guys use any word you want. I’m thinking the same thing you’re probably thinking.” – Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, laughing when asked what word he would use to describe the NFC West at midseason