A recap of the day’s activities:
This week’s opponent. With the players “off” today, the coaches are preparing the game plan for Sunday’s matchup against the Arizona Cardinals – or “this week’s opponent,” as coach Jim Mora prefers to call each week’s opponent.
This game has an added importance since the schedule was released because last season the Cardinals ended the Seahawks’ run of four consecutive NFC West titles, and then caught fire in the postseason to reach the Super Bowl.
This game has only gained added significance because the Cardinals are the opponent that stands between the Seahawks reaching their bye week at 3-3 – a goal the usually tunnel-visioned Mora set last week.
The winner of this game at Qwest Field also will gain ground on the division-leading 49ers, who are 3-2 entering their bye week. If the Cardinals win, they will pull into a tie for first place. If the Seahawks win, they will be half a game behind the 49ers.
Put it all together, and you can see why Mora isn’t worried about needing to come up with ways to motivate his team this week.
“We were very focused last week,” Mora said. “I told the guys (Monday) that the objective now is to get better – not just match it – but even be better this week as we prepare for Arizona than we were last week in playing Jacksonville.”
Left tackle. Walter Jones will not return this week. Neither will Sean Locklear. Whether Brandon Frye will be ready depends on the results of the tests on the “stinger” he got against the Jaguars to determine the extent of the trauma to his shoulder and neck.
So, Kyle Williams could begin – and possibly end – the week as the starter at this pivotal position.
Williams was signed off the practice squad the past two Saturdays so there would be a backup at either tackle spot. Sunday, the coaches had to cash in that insurance policy when Frye went down on the Seahawks’ eighth play of the game.
“I didn’t have time for emotions,” Williams said after the game. “I ran out there, then we got set up and it was like, ‘Let’s go.’ I didn’t really have time to think about anything.”
Not even the knee he tweaked during his first action this season. Williams kept playing because, well, there was no one else. The emergency option was backup tight end John Owens.
Williams did start two games last season, including the season finale against the Cardinals in Arizona when all five starters were on injured reserve.
“Last year, it was kind of the same situation with the O-line,” Williams said. “We had practice-squad guys last year that got moved up for the game. With the staff that we have, even with the practice squad they have everyone ready to play the game. So that helps the transition for the practice-squad guy when he has to get bumped up.”
If needed this week, tackle Na’Shan Goddard and guard Brian De La Puente are on the practice squad.
A LITTLE Q&A
Q: Gregory in England asks, “Will Matt Hasselbeck be fit enough for the next few games?”
A: Well, “fit enough” is a relative term when you’re talking about your quarterback playing with a fractured rib. But it definitely was a positive sign Monday when Hasselbeck’s health was a side note in Mora’s news conference, rather than the main focus as it had been the week leading up to the Jacksonville game. Getting out there for the game, and then getting through the game, were the primary hurdles for Hasselbeck. He now knows he can play with the injury, and play well. So, yes, he will be “fit enough” – physically. It’s now a matter of tolerance, as Mora put it Monday.
Hasselbeck is a nominee for FedEx Air Player of the Week after throwing four touchdown passes against the Jaguars.
Fans can vote for him until 9 a.m. Friday morning at www.NFL.com/FedEx. The other nominees are Colts QB Peyton Manning and Broncos QB Kyle Orton.
YOU DON’T SAY
“When I turned around and saw he had the ball in his hands, I thought somebody had taken the train off the tracks. I was trying to get a block, but trying to stay out of the way.” – Linebacker Aaron Curry, on defensive lineman Cory Redding’s 26-yard fumble return against the Jaguars