A recap of the day’s activities:
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.
In the dime, however, Lewis has been playing inside against one of the slot receivers. It can be a different game when you move outside.
“It’s just a different mentality,” he said. “My workload has been different. Coming in on third downs, I’ve become a third-down expert. I know exactly what they’re going to do, when they’re going to do it, how they’re going to do it.
“Now, outside, I’m going to rely on the safeties and looking across the field at Tru (cornerback Marcus Trufant), making sure I’m getting my keys from the O-linemen. So it’s just a whole different dynamic. The technique changes and the mental game definitely changes.”
John Carlson. The third-year tight end caught five passes each in the Week 2 and 3 games, but has only four receptions combined in the past three games. It’s not that Carlson is no longer involved in the passing game. He was targeted six times against the Cardinals last week, four times the week before against the Bears and three times in the pre-bye game against the Rams.
But those numbers also are down from the games against the Broncos (targeted 10 times) and Chargers (nine).
“John is another guy where he just needs to maximize his opportunities and then you’ll get more opportunities,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. “There’s no doubt that everyone in the building loves him. We know that he can be a good player. But we’ve just got to make it happen on Sunday.
“The scheme is a little different, but I think there’s still ways to get him involved and I know that (offensive coordinator) Jeremy Bates likes him. I know everybody likes him. They feel good about his abilities. We’ve just got to make it happen. We’ve had good weeks in practice; it’s just a matter of making it happen on Sunday.”
Offered Bates, “I think John is a solid player. He can do everything. We have him pass protecting, running routes, run blocking. He’s a guy that’s very flexible. We’ve had him out in space, had him in a three-point (stance), had him in the backfield. He’s been a weapon for us.
“So we just have to keep trying to get him some catches, and I think it will come with time.”
Nnamdi Asomugha. Plenty already has been said about the Raiders’ Pro Bowl cornerback this week. By Carroll, Hasselbeck, Bates and leading receiver Mike Williams.
But veteran slot receiver Brandon Stokley has faced Asomugha six times while playing with the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts. So his take on the shutdown corner also in valuable.
“He’s a smart football player, so he reads routes well,” Stokley said. “If you give stuff away on your route, he does a good job of jumping those. And he’s long, so he’s got a great reach. So that’s what makes him so effective – it’s hard to get off the ball against him because he does so well in press coverage.
“He does a good job of knowing by which way you release on routes what routes you’re going to run. He’s got good speed, so he’s not afraid to let you get a step ahead of him. And he plays the ball well.”
ON THE FIELD
The players worked in the indoor practice facility for 75 minutes, in what was their final full practice before Sunday’s game. Trufant continued to have a strong week of preparation, as he intercepted another pass and also smothered the receiver on a couple of other passes.
The end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:
CB Kelly Jennings (hamstring)
LB Matt McCoy (hamstring)
DT Brandon Mebane (calf)
OT Russell Okung (ankle)
RB Michael Robinson (hamstring)
WR Brandon Stokley (oblique)
CB Walter Thurmond (head)
Stokley and McCoy were limited in practice today, after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday. But the other five injured players did not practice for a third consecutive day. Carroll said all the injured players will make the trip to Oakland, adding, “We’re going to have to figure it out when we get to game time.”
If Okung can’t play, Tyler Polumbus will start at left tackle. It’s the same situation to fullback, where just re-signed Quinton Ganther will start if Robinson is unable to play. On defense, Kentwan Balmer will start – just as he has in the past two games – if Mebane is not ready to return.
OL Chester Pitts not only is conspicuous by his absence from the injury report, Carroll said Pitts will dress for Sunday’s game and they he would like to see him get some snaps. Pitts has not played since having microfracture surgery on his right knee last September while a member of the Houston Texans.
“Chester had by far his best week,” Carroll said. “I would love to see him play in this game. It’s about time Chester plays now, if we’re fortunate enough to do that.
“This would be really the first time we get him in live action. But he deserves it by the way he has worked. He’s stepped up and he’s finally feeling really confident about what’s going on.”
Ben Hamilton will start at left guard. But having Pitts active could help at left tackle, as well as guard, because of Okung’s situation.
For the Raiders:
DT John Henderson (foot)
WR Louis Murphy (chest)
WR Chaz Schilens (knee)
RB Michael Bennett (hamstring)
OG Robert Gallery (calf)
LB Travis Goethel (back)
QB Bruce Gradkowski (shoulder)
LB Thomas Howard (knee)
CB Chris Johnson (concussion)
WR Nick Miller (ankle)
TE Zach Miller (foot)
LB Kamerion Wimbley (groin)
The big news from Raiders coach Tom Cable today was the expected announcement that Jason Campbell will start at quarterback against the Seahawks, although Cable told reporters in Oakland that he was encouraged by Gradkowski’s improvement this week from the right shoulder injury that has sidelined him for the past two games.
“In fact, I think if he had to do it, I think he could go out and play,” Cable said.
Also, Miller injured an ankle in practice today and was added to the report. He has been returning punts and was scheduled to get more playing time at receiver this week because of the injury to Murphy.
The players will have a walk-thru at Virginia Mason Athletic Center on Saturday morning before flying to Oakland.
STAT DU JOUR
Speaking of Asomugha, he has allowed five completions for 87 yards in seven games this season.
YOU DON’T SAY
“They’re very explosive athletically. They’re so fast, they’re unusually fast. So you have to account for that.” – Carroll, on the Raiders