A recap of the day’s activities:
Marcus Trufant, through the eyes of Larry Fitzgerald. The veteran cornerback and the Pro Bowl wide receiver will go at each other for the 13th time on Sunday when the Seahawks play the Cardinals in Arizona.
Fitzgerald has won his share of battles, with 48 receptions for 620 yards and five touchdowns the past three seasons against the Seahawks (Trufant missed the first game last season). But Trufant also has had his days, intercepting a career-high three passes against the Cardinals in 2007 and teaming with rookie cornerback Walter Thurmond to limit Fitzgerald to three catches for 30 yards in the Seahawks’ victory at Qwest Field three weeks ago.
“I think we have a good relationship,” Fitzgerald said this week during a conference-call interview. “I definitely respect him and the kind of player that he is and what he can do on the football field.
“But I got a chance to know him as a man over at the Pro Bowl (following the 2007 season) – him and his family – and I really respect him as a human being, as well. I root for him to do well, just not when I’m playing against him.”
And what’s at the root of Trufant’s game that Fitzgerald respects so much?
“He’s definitely a technician,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s probably got the best transition of any cornerback in the league – getting out of his (back) peddle, man, he really breaks on the ball tremendously well. He’s playing the football well and, when he’s healthy, he’s one of the premier guys in the NFL.
“And I love to tell him, when I step it up with him, I’ve got to be at my best.”
So there is trash talking between these two during games?
“No,” Fitzgerald said. “Tru is a consummate professional. When he steps on the field, he’s all business. He doesn’t like to do much talking. He always tells me to be quiet because I like to talk a little bit – not in a negative way, just talk, you know.
“But he doesn’t like us doing it anymore. He always tells me to shut up and go back to the huddle. So I just do what he tells me now.”
Offensive line. The Seahawks were moving toward getting their preferred starting quartet on the field, until first-round draft choice Russell Okung was limited in practice today after splitting with Tyler Polumbus at left tackle on Wednesday. Okung missed the past two games because of a sprained ankle.
Whether it’s Okung or Polumbus, who sat out last week because of a sprained knee, having one of them against the Cardinals would allow Chester Pitts to start at his preferred spot – left guard.
How bad has the injury situation on the line been for the third season in a row? Only center Chris Spencer has played every offensive snap in the first eight games.
“That’s just become normal for us,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “We don’t really talk about it. It’s almost expected.
“It seems like it’s been different almost every week.”
When Okung does return, and Pitts is at left guard, it will be the sixth different combination on the line this season.
The Seahawks have used three starters at left tackle – Polumbus (four games), Okung (three) and Pitts (one). Last season, it was four. In 2008, it was three. There also have been two starters this season at left guard, right guard and right tackle. Last season, it was three at left guard and center and two at right guard. In ’08, it was four at right guard and two each at left guard, center and right tackle.
“It’s very different from the years where we knew who the five were every single play, every single practice,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s not that way. We’re mixing and matching. We’re just doing what we can.”
ON THE FIELD
The players started practice outside but moved to the indoor practice facility because of the rain that began to fall, making the footing precarious. The short break to make the transition meant that they were on the fields for almost two hours.
The official report, as released by the team:
Did not practice
DT Colin Cole (ankle)
MLB Lofa Tatupu (knee)
WR Golden Tate (ankle)
RB Michael Robinson (hamstring)
DE Raheem Brock (back)
FS Earl Thomas (not injury related)
Limited in practice
RB Marshawn Lynch (thigh)
OT Russell Okung (ankle)
OG Mike Gibson (ankle)
WR Mike Williams (finger)
TE Chris Baker (foot)
Baker was back after sitting out Wednesday. But Brock and Thomas joined the list of those not practicing, while Gibson and Williams were limited after full participation on Wednesday.
David Hawthorne continued to sub for Tatupu, with Will Herring replacing Hawthorne at weak-side linebacker. Junior Siavii continued to replace Cole and will start his second consecutive game. Jordan Babineaux stepped in for Thomas.
For the Cardinals:
Did not practice
LB Paris Lenon (ankle)
RB Beanie Wells (knee)
Limited in practice
LB Clark Haggans (groin)
LB Will Davis (knee)
DT Darnell Dockett (shoulder)
LB Joey Porter (knee)
FS Kerry Rhodes (hand)
Haggans, who has missed the past two games, practiced after sitting out Wednesday. Wells stepped in as the starter after the Week 7 game against the Seahawks, but has been sidelined because of swelling in a knee.
STAT DU JOUR
The Cardinals have allowed 26 sacks in their first eight games – two shy of their total from all of last season; equal to the total from 2008; and four more than they allowed in 2007.
One reason is the retirement of QB Kurt Warner, who was difficult to sack. He has been replaced by a combination of Derek Anderson (16 sacks), who will start against the Seahawks on Sunday; and rookie Max Hall (12 sacks), who started against the Seahawks in Week 7.
“Teams are playing us with a lot more eight-in-the-box, bringing pressure,” coach Ken Whisenhunt told the Arizona Republic. “I don’t think it’s as much our linemen getting beat … that’s the way it’s characterized. We’ve made quite a few mental mistakes with our backs in protection and completely missed guys.”
Stats, Inc., agrees, crediting 15 of the Cardinals’ 28 sacks to the linemen – led by tackles Brandon Keith (5½) and Levi Brown (3½).
YOU DON’T SAY
“I saw coach Whisenhunt after the game and I think I said, ‘Congratulations.’ It was like a programmed response. It’s like I’m used to saying that to him. It was just an accident.” – Hasselbeck on the Seahawks’ Week 7 victory at Qwest snapping a four-game losing streak against the Cardinals, who have won four in a row against the Seahawks in Arizona