Friday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Roy Lewis. And the focus likely will remain on the third-year cornerback as he moves closer to starting his first game in the NFL because of injuries to right cornerback Kelly Jennings and backup Walter Thurmond.

Coach Pete Carroll stopped short of ruling Jennings (hamstring) and Thurmond (head) out for Sunday’s game against the Raiders in Oakland. But neither practiced this week, when Lewis got most of the starter reps. If Jennings and Thurmond can’t play, cornerback Nate Ness would be active for the first time this season and cornerback Kennard Cox for the second time.

“Roy has been playing all year long, and he’s been doing a nice job for us,” Carroll said. “So for him to just move over, it’s not a big deal.”

Lewis, the former University of Washington corner, is in his second season with the Seahawks and also the special teams captain. He already was playing in the dime defense, so Lewis could be very busy on Sunday.

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Friday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Just how big is big? With a win over the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field on Sunday, the Seahawks would be in sole possession of first place in the NFC West.

Let that sink in for a moment …

The last time the Seahawks cold make that claim this late in the season was 2007, when they started 5-3 and never trailed or were tied the rest of the way. Also, with a win Sunday they would be 4-2, matching their win total from 2008 and one shy of the number of victories they posted last season.

But getting too carried away with the significance of the moment is a good way to dent the momentum the Seahawks gained with last week’s 23-20 upset of the Bears in Chicago.

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Thursday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Chester Pitts. The Seahawks began the week hoping that the veteran offensive lineman would be able to play in Sunday’s game against the Rams in St. Louis. When it became apparent that his surgically repaired right knee was going to prevent that from happening, Pitts was released today.

“Chester wasn’t going to make it to the game, and wasn’t going to be able to play,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice. “In the situation we’re in, we’ve got to make a spot for a guy to be on the roster.”

That likely will be guard Mike Gibson, Carroll said. Gibson was released from the 53-man roster on Tuesday and signed to the practice squad today. Gibson started the season opener before being replaced by Ben Hamilton in Weeks 2 and 3.

“We’re hoping that Chester is going to get well,” Carroll said. “He’s just got to get over the hump. He’s close. But he’s not able to go yet. … He’s been working like crazy and we’re hoping we’ll be able to get back here before too long.”

Pitts had microfracture surgery last September, ending his eighth season with the Houston Texans after only two games. The Seahawks signed him in late July.

Wednesday, he got his most extensive practice session in almost a year, working at left guard with the No. 1 line. But his knee was sore after practice, and Pitts was not going to be able to participate today.

Carroll said that general manager John Schneider discussed the situation with Pitts.

“I’m hoping Chester understands what we’re doing here,” Carroll said. “We need a roster spot right now, and he can’t play. This is something we had to do.”

Still, it was not an easy decision, because Pitts had been so upbeat while continuing his arduous rehab from the surgical procedure.

“Chester has been a diligent worker to get right,” Carroll said. “It just hasn’t been enough time for him yet. As soon as it does, we’ll try to get him back out here.”

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Pitts released

Veteran offensive lineman Chester Pitts was released today because his surgically repaired right knee was not going to allow him to play in Sunday’s game against the Rams in St. Louis.

Mike Gibson was signed to the practice squad, after being released from the 53-man roster on Tuesday. It is likely he will be added to the active roster before Sunday’s game, coach Pete Carroll said after practice.

We’ll have more on Pitts’ situation later.


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Wednesday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Brandon Stokley. The Seahawks were just waiting for the time when the veteran wide receiver was healthy enough to sign. Turns out, that was Tuesday, when Stokley was offered a contract after being given a tryout.

Today, he was on the practice field getting a refresher course in an offense that is familiar – because he played in Denver (2007-08) when Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates was an assistant coach with the Broncos.

“I remember a lot of it,” Stokley said. “It’s been a year and a half since I’ve been in the system, so I have some homework to do. But I can catch on to it a lot quicker than if it was a new system.”

That catching up continued after practice, when Stokley stayed on the field to get some extra work with receivers coach Kippy Brown and rookie wide-out Golden Tate – as coach Pete watched his every move.

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Monday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

“Tell the Truth Monday.” That’s every Monday under coach Pete Carroll. But today was even more significant because it was Carroll who had something to admit – not just to reporters during his weekly day-after Q&A session, but to the players at their noon meeting.

“Yeah, today’s about telling the truth for us,” Carroll said when asked if he had been as forthcoming with the players as he was being with the reporters. “We’ve got to get to the essence of what happened. So you’ve just got to own up and face up to what’s going on, so we can get better.

“The thing that’s important for us on this day to come together and agree.”

For Carroll that included what happened at the end of the first half in Sunday’s game against the Chargers. After quarterback Matt Hasselbeck ran for 1 yard on third down to the San Diego 1-yard line to pick up a first down, the Seahawks ran out of time before Olindo Mare could attempt a field goal.

“We had a nice play thought down there, but under the circumstances we needed one more play,” Carroll said. “We were too bold in that regard.

“I’ll take note of that, and I can sense where it comes from.”

That would be nine seasons of being able to be as bold as bold can be while coaching an overpowering team at the University of Southern California.

“A little different setting here,” Carroll said. “We have to handle it a little differently.”

The practicing-what-you-preach moment definitely was not lost on the players.

“One thing that’s really important is for the coaches and the players to really feel like they’re on the same team, and feel like they’re in it together,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s not like an us-versus-them mentality.

“And I think this staff has done a nice job in a short amount of time building relationships and being vulnerable and being honest. I guess just making us feel like, ‘Hey, we’re in this together.’ … It’s a good working relationship that way.”  

RAMPAGING RETURNERS

Not surprisingly, Leon Washington is the NFL’s leading kickoff returner with a 46.3-yard average – or 11.5 yards more per return than runner-up Antonio Brown of the Steelers (34.8). That will happen when you have returns of 101 and 99 yards in the same game, as Washington did on Sunday.

But rookie Golden Tate also leads the league with a 25.2-yard average. And that will happen when the first time you touch the ball in a regular-season game you break a 63-yarder, as Tate did last week against the Broncos. Sunday, he also had a 31-yarder.

But as Washington stressed after Sunday’s game, a returner is only as good as his blockers. For Washington, that includes Roy Lewis, Matt McCoy, Kam Chancellor, Will Herring, Michael Robinson, Jordan Babineaux, Dexter Davis, Mike Gibson, Kentwan Balmer and Cameron Morrah.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

Hasselbeck continues to have the highest completion percentage in the league on third-down passes (.783, 18 of 23). His passer rating on the pivotal down (106.3) ranks fifth in the league.

Defensive end Red Bryant is tied for the league lead after recovering two fumbles on Sunday, and rookie free safety Earl Thomas is tied for second in the league after intercepting two passes against the Chargers.

INJURY UPDATES

Of the four players who emerged from Sunday’s game with injuries, Carroll isn’t counting any of them out for this week’s game against the Rams in St. Louis: cornerback Marcus Trufant (ankle), defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (calf), linebacker Aaron Curry (hamstring) and wide receiver Mike Williams (shoulder).

“We’ve got some guys we have to mend during the week,” Carroll said. “We’ll see how they do. We really don’t know how they’re going to turn out, really, until the end of the week.”

The good news is that left tackle Russell Okung is scheduled to start practicing when the players return on Wednesday and also that offensive lineman Chester Pitts is “full speed,” as Carroll put it. Okung has missed the past five weeks with a high ankle sprain, while Pitts has not played since having microfracture knee surgery last season.

“It’s exciting for us. We have a chance to continue to improve, and we need to improve. We’ve got a long ways to go,” Carroll said. “But those guys are guys that we had slated as guys that would be factors for us and would help us.

“It’s a boost for us.”

Okung and Pitts could eventually end up being the starters on the left side, but Carroll said the coaches will not rush either back into the lineup.

UP NEXT

Tate will sign autographs at the Qwest Field Pro Shop from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The players will return from their “off” day on Tuesday to begin preparing for the Rams on Wednesday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I guess you can play to win or play not to lose. I think a good way to characterize how we played offensively in the second half was playing not to lose. And it’s probably not the best way to go.” – Hasselbeck, on the second-half effort against the Chargers


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Friday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

Michael Robinson. The Seahawks signed Robinson this month after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers because of his athletic ability, but also his versatility.

The former quarterback from Penn State showed both in a limited, but diverse, role in last week’s game against the Broncos in Denver. Robinson had one carry for 15 yards, caught the only pass thrown to him for 7 yards and also had a tackle covering kicks.

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Monday in Hawkville

A recap of the day’s activities:

FOCUS ON

The left side of the offensive line. Mike Gibson will start at guard in Sunday’s regular-season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Qwest Field, coach Pete Carroll said after a rain-soaked 85-minute practice.

At tackle will be …

Not Russell Okung, the team’s top draft choice. He won’t be ready to play this week because of the sprained ankle that has sidelined him since the first series of the second preseason game. Chester Pitts was lined up at left tackle with the No. 1 line in practice, but Tyler Polumbus also is in the mix.

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