A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 21:
Paul McQuistan. Pete Carroll has let everyone in on a not-so-little secret.
“In our meeting today I made a big deal about Paul and the play that he brought in that game in Chicago,” Carroll said Tuesday during his midweek news conference. “He did a fantastic job for us.”
The trials and tribulations of the Seahawks’ injury-ravaged offensive line can he traced by following McQuistan’s progression from being a backup; to starting at left guard; to returning to his backup role; to starting at right guard; to starting at left tackle. McQuistan stepped in at left guard because Robert Gallery was out with a groin injury. He moved in at right guard after rookie John Moffitt went down with a season-ending knee injury. He slid over to left tackle when Russell Okung needed season-ending surgery to repair a torn pectoral.
McQuistan, who was signed to a future 2011 contract last January, never was expected to start. But in Saturday’s game against the 49ers at CenturyLink Field, he’ll make his ninth start – at what has become his third position. Before the season ends next week against the Cardinals in Arizona, and barring any more injuries, McQuistan will finish with more starts than anyone except center Max Unger (currently with 13) and Gallery (10).
“That system and approach and consistency is really good leadership by Tom and the guys on offense,” Carroll said.
Tom would be Cable, the offensive line coach/assistant head coach. The unit that helped the Seahawks rush for 100-plus yards in six consecutive games also includes Breno Giacomini at right tackle for Carpenter and Lemuel Jeanpierre at right guard, where McQuistan was playing for Moffitt before Okung went down.
“With the new guys plugged in, we’re still able to do what we do,” Cable said. “That’s the system: You lose someone, you can plug someone in.”
And Cable shared a little secret to that success, as well.
“I do not like to stand around and just talk things through,” he said. “I’d rather them experience it and fail, because I think that’s the only way they learn is to fail. So I try to make them fail. I try to get them to a point where they make mistakes or they get it wrong; or their foot is wrong or they’re helmet is wrong. So I can emphasis why it has to be in a certain place, or why you have to set the certain way.
“So that’s really important, and the only way to do that is to do it as fast and hard as you can.”
That way, it’s closer to game speed and game situation.
And McQuistan’s take on this hey-look-what-he’s-doing scenario?
“It’s nice, both ways,” he said of Carroll singling him out in the meeting. “You want to be able to go in with the mindset thinking you can play the game, or know you can play the game. And then for (the coaches) to see that, it’s cool.
“Four weeks into it, we’ve already shown that we can keep winning and keep running the ball. With Cable’s system, we step in and it’s next guy up.”
ON THE FIELD
The players took advantage of the sunny, but chilly, weather by practicing outside on “Turnover Thursday.” Linebackers Leroy Hill and Mike Morgan got into the theme of the day by intercepting passes.
Wide receiver Deon Butler turned in the offensive play of the 105-miunte practice with a falling, arms-fully-extended, all-fingers catch for a touchdown.
IN ’N OUT
Defensive end Red Bryant was excused from practice because his wife, Janelle, is expecting their first child. Janelle, of course, is the daughter of Jacob Green, the Seahawks’ all-time sack leader and a member of the team’s Ring of Honor. Anthony Hargrove filled in for Bryant in practice.
Leading receiver Doug Baldwin tweaked an ankle during practice and sat out the rest of the session.
Here’s the official injury report:
Did not practice
DE Raheem Brock (not injury related)
DE Red Bryant (not injury related)
CB Kennard Cox (hamstring)
DT Clinton McDonald (concussion)
LB Malcolm Smith (concussion)
WR Doug Baldwin (ankle)
OG Robert Gallery (pelvis)
QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)
MLB David Hawthorne (knee)
For the 49ers:
Did not practice
LB Blake Costanzo (not injury related)
WR Ted Ginn (ankle)
LB Patrick Willis (hamstring)
WR Braylon Edwards (knee)
RB Bruce Miller (knee)
STAT DU JOUR
Not only have the 49ers yet to allow a rushing touchdown, they’re on pace to break the NFL single-season record – which is two, set by the Lions in 1934 and tied by the Giants (1944), Cowboys (1968) and Vikings (1971). But the Seahawks also find themselves in the Top 7 in fewest rushing TDs allowed, and are tied for fifth in fewest defensive TDs allowed:
Team Rush TDs Total TDs
49ers 0 18
Dolphins 6 27
Steelers 7 22
Titans 7 27
Chargers 7 31
Seahawks 8 25
Texans 8 23
NFL averages 11 31
Thursday, which will be Friday at VMAC because this week’s game is on Saturday. So the players will have their final full workout.
Tickets for the Christmas Eve game against the 49ers are available and can be purchased here.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Seattle, I believe, is playing as good, if not better, football than anybody in the National Football League.” – 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh