A recap of the day’s activities:
Olindo Mare. The veteran kicker not only beat out Brandon Coutu for the second consecutive year, Mare also was elected a special teams co-captain this week by his teammates.
Mare has kicked in the league for 13 years – last year for the Seahawks, in 2007 for the New Orleans Saints, from 1997-2006 with the Miami Dolphins and in 1996 as a member of the New York Giants practice squad.
It was that experience, plus his accuracy on field goals last season (24 of 27) and big leg on kickoffs (22 touchbacks), that led to the Seahawks going with Mare again.
After practice, coach Jim Mora said Mare’s ability to drive the ball on kickoffs was “a pretty good percentage” of the decision. But he then added, “That and the fact that he was a really good field goal kicker for us as well. When you combine the fact that he has a good history here as a field goal kicker, with the fact that he can put it in the end zone, hang it high, control field position, that’s a factor. That’s a big factor.”
Mare’s big leg is attached to a 5-foot-11, 190-pound body. But his leg strength also is in his genes, because his father was a soccer player and Mare grew up playing the sport.
“I learned a long time ago that if you can hit a high percentage of your field goals and get the ball into the end zone consistently on kickoffs,” Mare said, “that you can kick in this league for a long time.”
Sage advice from a kicker who is about to kickoff his 14th season Sunday when the Seahawks host the St. Louis Rams at Qwest Field.
PRACTICE FIELD MOMENT
As the players were going through their pre-practice stretching, a plane towing a 3,000-square foot 12 flag circled the team facility – several times.
“I know a lot of guys got jacked up when they saw that plane,” Mora said. “I know I got some good bumps. Pretty neat.”
Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will be on the sideline Sunday, and for the entire season. It’s just another change from the past 10 seasons, when the offensive coordinator on Mike Holmgren’s staff – most recently Gil Haskell – was in the coaches’ box.
“I like the coordinators to be on the field,” Mora said. “And I’ll tell you why, because they’re the guys that stand in front of their unit all week. They start every meeting in front of their unit talking about game plan, talking about the opponent, our plan, all those things.
“Then to have them disappear for the most important three hours of the week doesn’t make sense to me. I think you need to be able to look your quarterback in the eye or look your linebacker or defensive backs in the eye and talk to them.”
Aiding decision is the quality of the coaches who will be in the box: quarterback coach Bill Lazor, tight ends coach Mike DeBord and football administration coordinator A.J. Durso on offense; assistant defensive backs coach Larry Marmie, assistant defensive line coach Mike Phair and quality control coach Tom Headlee on defense.
“So I feel like we’ve got good eyes on both sides of the ball,” said Mora, who singled out DeBord and Marmie because they have been head coaches and coordinators during their careers.
The first official status report issued Friday has safety C.J. Wallace (rib) and defensive end Derek Walker (hamstring) listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game, with wide receiver Deion Branch (hamstring) and cornerback Travis Fisher (hamstring) as questionable.
Mora said after practice that whether Wallace, Fisher and Branch play against the Rams will be decided Sunday morning.
Tackle Walter Jones (knee) and center Chris Spencer (thigh) will not play.
For the Rams, safety Craig Dahl (hamstring) and tackle John Greco (hand) are out; linebacker Larry Grant (knee) is questionable; and quarterback Marc Bulger (finger) is probable.
The players will have a short walkthrough on Saturday, their final tuneup for Sunday’s game.
Sunday, a display to honor Ed McMichael — a street musician known to fans as the “Tuba Man” — will be unveiled at 11:15 in the northwest quadrant at Qwest Field.