Wednesday in Hawkville: Saturday comes very early this week

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 17:

FOCUS ON

Saturday. Saturday? Saturday. The calendar might say it’s Wednesday, but it was a combined Friday and Saturday for the Seahawks as they practiced and then flew to San Francisco for their Thursday night game against the 49ers at Candlestick Park.

“No surprise this week flew by. I can’t believe that it’s already Saturday,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice.

The coaches and players have made the most of the limited time they’ve had after playing on Sunday, and what they’re about to face in the nationally televised matchup with the also 4-2 49ers did put a squeeze on their already limited prep time.

“We’re up against a very difficult team to play,” Carroll said. “It’s very challenging that they’re so good on defense and they’re so diverse on offense and they’re special teams are excellent. We have all we could want to matchup against.

“So we’re going to have to play really well, take care of the football and do all of the really basic fundamental things that make you have a chance. But we’re excited about the opportunity and looking forward to Thursday night.”

Which, of course, is Sunday this week.

PLAYER WATCH

Walter Thurmond

Walter Thurmond. The third-year cornerback was eligible to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list and start practicing this week. But the coaches have decided to wait until next week to start Thurmond’s three-week practice window because of the limited time the team had on the practice field this week, Carroll said.

“It’s been hard watching from the sidelines,” said Thurmond, who has not practiced since last October after getting a season-ending ankle injury in the Week 8 loss to the Bengals. “I’m just being patient and waiting. My time is about to come.

“I still get impatient sometimes. But you have to be patient, especially dealing with a situation like this. You don’t want to force things and comeback and hurt yourself and be right back on the shelf again. It’s been a long process, but it’s been worth it.”

OPPONENT WATCH

Colin Kaepernick

(AP Photo/Kevin Terrell)

Colin Kaepernick. Yes, Alex Smith remains the 49ers’ starting quarterback. But coach Jim Harbaugh is using Kaepernick, last year’s second-round draft choice, in a variety of ways.

The former Nevada QB is averaging 9.3 yards on 12 runs, with a long of 30. He also had completed 5 of 9 passes for 89 yards, with a long completion of 36 yards. Kaepernick also had a 75-yard TD run in the preseason.

“It’s just another element to prepare for,” Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “It’s another thing we have to prepare for and have a plan for. The looks that they get with him each week are different.

“So it just changes your mindset a little with him in there (because) of how they utilize him. They’ll run reverse with him. Alex Smith is in the game playing quarterback and Colin is in there and you can see a double pass or reverse.”

SACK IT TO HIM

Chris Clemons now has seven sacks, which ranks third in the league behind the Texans’ J.J. Watt (9.5) and the Packers’ Clay Matthews (8).

Clemons was credited with half-a-sack against the Panthers two weeks ago, but now gets the full sack on Cam Newton. In Sunday’s game against the Patriots, Clemons has been credited with the sack of Tom Brady on New England’s final possession.

Clemons had 11 sacks in each of his first two seasons with the Seahawks, but is on pace for 18.5 this season. The franchise single-season record is 16.5 by Michael Sinclair in 1998. Jacob Green, the club’s all-time leader in sacks, had 16 in 1983.

ALMOST HONORED

Yes, Russell Wilson was nominated for NFC Offensive Player of the Week after the rookie quarterback threw two touchdown passes in the final 7½ minutes to rally the Seahawks to a one-point victory over the Patriots on Sunday. But, of course, he didn’t win. The weekly honor became a slam-dunk decision Sunday night, when Packers QB Aaron Rodgers shredded the previously unbeaten Texans for six touchdowns and 338 yards.

Jon Ryan was nominated for NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after becoming only the third player in the 93-year history of the league to average at least 60 yards on at least four punts, and the first since 1946. But the nod went to the Lions’ Jason Hanson, as the former Washington State kicker hit a game-winning 45-yard field goal in overtime to beat the Eagles. He also kicked a 19-yarder with three seconds left in regulation.

INJURY REPORT

The official status report, as issued by the team

Out

OG John Moffitt (knee)

Doubtful

CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)

Probable

SS Kam Chancellor (ankle)

DT Clinton McDonald (groin)

Chancellor, who shares the team lead with 43 tackles, is “ready to go,” Carroll said, after being limited in practice on Tuesday because an ankle injury he got in Sunday’s game. McDonald also is expected to return after missing the game against the Patriots with a groin injury.

For the 49ers:

Questionable

WR Mario Manningham (shoulder)

OT Joe Staley (concussion)

RB Brandon Jacobs (knee)

Probable

K David Akers (illness)

P Andy Lee (hand)

QB Alex Smith (right finger)

LB Tavares Gooden (elbow)

STAT DU JOUR

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the best returner of them all? Not just kickoff returner. Not just punt returner. But the best – or least most productive – of that rare breed who do both. We decided to let the statistics supply the answer by looking at their combined averages. Here’s the Top 10, which of course includes Leon Washington:

Player, team                             Kickoffs     Punts    Combined

Leodis McKelvin, Bills                30.6          24.0        54.6

Joe Cribbs, Browns                    31.3          15.4         46.7

Marcus Thigpen, Dolphins       27.0          14.5         41.5

Leon Washington, Seahawks   31.7           8.8          40.5

Randall Cobb, Packers               27.6         10.7         38.3

Darren Sproles, Saints               28.7          6.5           35.2

Devin Hester, Bears                   26.9          7.8           34.7

Stefan Logan, Lions                    21.4        13.1          34.5

Darius Reynaud, Titans             27.3          6.8           34.1

Brandon Tate, Bengals              22.4        11.5           33.9

The Seahawks already have faced Cobb and will face McKelvin, Thigpen, Hester and Logan.

UP NEXT

Game day. The team flew to San Francisco after practice today and will hold another walkthrough Thursday morning before playing the 49ers at Candlestick Park.

But the players will get a break over the long weekend before returning for a “Bonus Monday” practice to start preparing for their Oct. 28 game against the Lions in Detroit.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Someone just asked the other day, ‘Is Richard Sherman cocky?’ I said, ‘No, he’s not. He’s just confident. He’s not cocky.’ Cocky people don’t want to learn, where Richard wants to learn. He’s just so passionate.” – Bradley on the team’s second-year cornerback

YOU DON’T SAY, PART II

“I think he’ll be their quarterback for a long time, and credit to them for seeing through his height and picking him.” – 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on Wilson

YOU DON’T SAY, PART III

“If Russell Wilson keeps throwing like he did in the mist of the fourth quarter against New England, I can see a ‘Slingin’ in the Rain’ ad campaign coming his way in Seattle this season. I don’t know if he can do a little Gene Kelly number in the street with the hat and umbrella, but the Seahawks rookie quarterback may be the most refreshing story in the NFL this season, and we’ve only just begun to hear about him.” – Don Banks at SI.com in listing the Seahawks at No. 8 in his power rankings


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