A recap of the day’s activities:
Russell Okung. The Seahawks’ first-round draft choice played in his first regular-season game in the pre-bye week matchup against the Rams in St. Louis. Sunday, the rookie left tackle will look to finish his first NFL game when the Seahawks play the Bears in Chicago.
Okung had to leave the Rams game after experiencing pain in the sprained right ankle that had sidelined him for 5½ weeks.
Sunday, Okung will be matched for a good part of the afternoon against defensive end Julius Peppers, the Bears’ big free-agent acquisition this year.
“This is a classic opportunity for him – for a young pup to break in and get started in his career going against one of the best guys in the world,” coach Pete Carroll said. “It’ll be a great opportunity. Really, in our minds, back in St. Louis we wanted to make sure that he got to play and get some game time – at least get on the field before this challenge comes about.
“So we’ll see where he is when we get there.”
The steps leading to this challenge have been much less painful for Okung. Literally. He has moved much better in practice the past two days.
“You could tell it had been awhile, but it was good to get him in,” line coach Art Valero said of Okung’s performance against the Rams. “There’s always going to be growing pains. Whether he was here the entire time or just coming back, there’s always going to be those things.
“He’s confident, and you want him to stay that way and be totally healthy. But he was OK. Nothing great. Nothing to put on a billboard or anything.”
So the Seahawks’ starting line against the Bears will feature – from left tackle to right – Okung, Ben Hamilton, center Chris Spencer, Stacy Andrews and Sean Locklear. Because Locklear did not start the Rams game, this will be the Seahawks’ fourth different starting unit in five games.
Wide receiver. The Seahawks moving on after the trade of Deion Branch on Monday has been the buzz topic of the week. But today was the first chance to get quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s take on the young receivers who now must step – Deon Butler, who replaces Branch as the starting flanker; and second-round draft choice Golden Tate.
“They’re both good depth threats,” Hasselbeck said. “That’s the first thing that jumps out about both guys. Deon Butler is very, very fast. Golden Tate does a great job of going up and getting the ball in the air when it’s up for grabs.”
Each has caught eight passes in the first four games – Tate for a 14.4-yard average; Butler for a 10.4-yard average with a touchdown.
“I just think there’s huge potential there for both guys to really improve as they go,” Hasselbeck said. “They’ve got the things that you can’t coach and the things that you can coach are the things where they’ll get better as we go over time. There’s a huge opportunity for those guys to take advantage of, and it’s right here. My hope is that they do it.”
ON THE FIELD
The players practiced for an hour and 45 minutes, leaving the field just as the rain began to fall.
Nickel back Jordan Babineaux slapped an exclamation point on the Turnover Thursday session by intercepting a pass, while strong safety Lawyer Milloy popped the ball carrier twice during a running drill – the second with such a thud that defensive coordinator Gus Bradley gave Milloy a fist bump for the effort.
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
OG Chester Pitts (knee)
Limited in practice
DT Brandon Mebane (calf)
DE Dexter Davis (hamstring)
CB Marcus Trufant (ankle)
Trufant was back after sitting out Wednesday, Monday and the two bye-week practices to rest the ankle he sprained in the Sept. 26 game against the San Diego Chargers. Davis also returned after missing Monday’s bonus practice. But Pitts did not practice after working on Wednesday.
For the Bears:
Did not practice
LB Lance Briggs (ankle)
OG Roberto Garza (knee)
S Major Wright (hamstring)
Limited in practice
CB Charles Tillman (calf)
LB Brian Urlacher (groin)
Garza is scheduled to have microfracture surgery on his knee, so Chris Williams will start at left guard after missing 3½ weeks with a sore hamstring. If Briggs can’t play, Brian Iwuh will start. QB Jay Cutler practiced for the second consecutive day, removing any doubt that he will play Sunday after sitting out last week’s game with a concussion.
Today is running back Justin Forsett’s 25th birthday, while tight end John Carlson was celebrating a different type of “birth” day. His wife, Danielle, gave birth to their first child on Wednesday night – William Daniel, who checked in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces and 20½ inches.
“It was intense,” Carlson said. “I’m glad I didn’t have to give birth, because I don’t think I could have done it. I know people always say that, but she didn’t take any pain medicine and it was just amazing how strong and tough she was.”
The player will hold their usual Friday practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center and then fly to Chicago for Sunday’s game.
STAT DU JOUR
The Seahawks’ 2-2 start is their best since 2007, when they won three of their first four games. That also was the last time the Seahawks advanced to the playoffs. In fact, the Seahawks started 3-1 in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007. The only time during their run of five consecutive playoff appearances that they started 2-2 was in 2005, the season the Seahawks made their run to the Super Bowl.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Julius Peppers is a great, great player. When he was in Carolina they were playing him at wide receiver. It’s not often that a guy’s playing defensive end and wide receiver who’s not like in the sixth grade. It’s amazing that he’s doing it in the NFL.” – Hasselbeck