A recap of the day’s activities:
Lawyer Milloy. The veteran strong safety has been the talk of two towns this week. That’s because he now plays for the Seahawks, but used to play for the Falcons – and they meet Sunday at Qwest Field in what is an important game for both teams.
Milloy’s final season with the Falcons (2008) was the first for coach Mike Smith.
“Lawyer is a great guy to coach,” Smith said. “He was one of our mentors in our first year and really was a big contributor is terms of spreading the message. I believe you’ve got to have players that can be the messengers for your coaching staff. You can’t always be hearing it from the coaches. He did a great job with the secondary room.
“He loves the game. He’s a contact player. When he’s close to the line of scrimmage, you better be aware of where he is because he’s going to be coming to the ball with bad intentions. I enjoyed coaching Lawyer, and I really like the way he approaches the game.”
Milloy’s approach has been more toward the line of scrimmage this season, as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is using Milloy in a linebacker role in the “Bandit” package that includes seven defensive backs. Milloy has four sacks, his first since 2006 – his first season with the Falcons.
Roddy White, who leads the league with 99 receptions, also remembers Milloy from their time together with the Falcons. That’s why he’s not surprised that Milloy continues to play as well as he is at 37 and in his 15th NFL season.
“I’m not surprised about anything that guy does because he’s a warrior out there on the field,” White said. “When he was here, he was a warrior and he’s still playing that way. He goes out there and he flies around. He flies and gets to the football and he makes plays. That’s what this league is about and he’s a real special player.
“He does it the right way. He’s a pro. He goes out there and puts his heart out there in the game and, you know, you just love playing with guys like that.”
Milloy, in his second season with the Seahawks but first as a starter, has 74 tackles to rank second behind linebacker David Hawthorne (85).
And nothing anyone else has to say about Milloy surprises Pete Carroll. The Seahawks’ first-year coach also coached Milloy when both were with the New England Patriots.
“He’s a rare athletic, that’s why he’s been so durable,” Carroll said.
Milloy has missed only six games in his career – one in 2008 and five in 2004, while with the Buffalo Bills. He made his 200th career start this season, and that number is now up to 211.
“He’s a remarkable athlete, that he can maintain the kind of conditioning,” Carroll said. “He stays in condition all throughout the offseason. He’s never not been in good shape.
“He’s had great fortune, and that’s because he understands the game and knows how to play within himself. All those things have to come together. For a guy to do what he’s doing, it’s totally off the charts.
“He’s just a rare guy.”
That’s the way Milloy is remembered in Atlanta. That’s the way he will be remembered in Seattle.
Wide receiver. Of course, because Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu, the starters, practiced for the second consecutive day and looked better today than they did Wednesday.
“It’s great having those guys back,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. “They make such a difference.”
Each missed last week’s game – Williams with a sprained ankle and Obomanu with a lacerated hand. Having each back gives the Seahawks their best chance against the Falcons.
Here’s Hasselbeck’s take on each:
Obomanu, who caught 16 passes for 346 yards in the four games he started before being injured: “When you look at his injuries, just with the stitches and all that. He’s just really been mentally tough about it, been physically tough about it. I think it speaks volumes to your teammates about how committed you are to the program.”
Williams, who leads the team with 52 receptions and is the first player in franchise history to have three games with double-digit catches in one season: “It’s been amazing, to be honest. If you were to go back in March and give these hypotheticals like, ‘OK, here’s a guy who has been on the street for two years that this whole organization and team could be so reliant on him being able to play.’ You probably wouldn’t believe it. But he’s meant a lot to our team. He’s really stepped up. He’s taken on a big role in our offense. I think he’s developed into a great player. I think he’s a candidate for comeback player of the year. We just need to finish strong here. I just can’t say enough about what he’s doing and his attitude.”
ON THE FIELD
The players practiced outside again today, a luxury in December and also good preparation for Sunday’s game – when the forecast is for temperatures in the low 40s with rain possible.
The 100-minute session on “Turnover Thursday” included linebackers Matt McCoy and Will Herring knocking the ball from the grasp of receivers. The practice also featured a flyover by a regular attendee, as you can see in Rod Mar’s photo gallery.
The official report, as released by the team:
Did not practice
WR Brandon Stokley (hamstring)
CB Roy Lewis (knee)
CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)
K Olindo Mare (hamstring)
C Chris Spencer (shoulder)
WR Mike Williams (ankle)
QB Matt Hasselbeck (wrist)
WR Ben Obomanu (hand)
DE Chris Clemons (ankle)
Spencer was much more involved today than on Wednesday, while Clemons took part in all phases of practice after taking his usual day off to rest a sore ankle.
For the Falcons:
LB Curtis Lofton (knee)
RB Jason Snelling (hamstring)
DE John Abraham (groin)
DT Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder)
OT Tyson Clabo (ankle)
LB Stephen Nicholas (knee)
WR Roddy White (knee)
LB Coy Wire (head)
Abraham and White were back after sitting out Wednesday, while Lofton was able to participate in some drills after also missing the Wednesday practice. Lofton is the team’s leading tackler and Abraham the leader in sacks, while White leads the NFL in receptions.
A LEG TO LEAN ON
Deon Butler won’t be alone in the arduous recovery from the surgery that followed the Seahawks’ second-year wide receiver breaking his right leg while catching a touchdown pass against the 49ers on Sunday.
Leon Washington will be there to provide been-there-done-that support. Washington also had a steel rod inserted in his right leg last October after getting a compound fracture.
“I really felt his pain,” said Washington, who has returned to run three kickoffs back for touchdown this season. “I really, really felt his pain. But I told him, ‘Hey man, you’ve got an example. You’ve got somebody who’s going to help you through the whole, entire process. Because you can do it.’
“I know everything there is to know about that type of injury. So I’m going to be there for him.”
JUST THE TICKET
The Falcons have returned several hundred tickets for Sunday’s game. They are on sale at Ticketmaster outlets, Seahawks.com and the Qwest Field box office.
STAT DU JOUR
The 3,000-yard passer theme continues. Today, it’s Rams’ QB Sam Bradford. He needs 116 yards to become the third rookie in NFL history to pass for 3,000.
There’s a double Seahawks’ connection here. First, the other two rookies who have done it are the Falcons’ Matt Ryan (3,440 in 2008) – who comes to Qwest Field on Sunday – and the Colts’ Peyton Manning (3,739 in 1998). Also, Bradford’s Rams are tied with the Seahawks for the NFC West lead with three games to play.
YOU DON’T SAY
“If you look at our schedule, the playoffs kind of start now for us. We’re playing playoff teams. Atlanta is a playoff team. Tampa is a playoff team. The Rams, that’s a playoff game. So one way or the other, you’re going to have to play Atlanta. … They’re the best team in our conference. So, it’s good football. It’s a good challenge. It’s a huge challenge. I think it’s exciting, and I think guys are excited about the opportunity.” – Hasselbeck