A recap of the day’s activities:
Russell Okung. This could be – and should be – the week the team’s top draft choice returns to the starting lineup at left tackle.
Okung took the starter reps in practice today. Afterward, and just before the team left for New Orleans, coach Pete Carroll said, “Russell practiced very well today, he went with the first group the whole time and he’s prepared to start. That’s a real good sign for us.”
Whether Okung does start in Sunday’s game against the Saints depends in part on his left ankle responds to his activity today. He has missed the past three games because of a high ankle sprain.
“We’ll see how he looks tomorrow,” Carroll said. “But he’s got a real good chance to be starting.”
The Seahawks’ Matt Hasselbeck and the Saints’ Drew Brees have six Pro Bowl appearances between them. But the opposing quarterbacks in Sunday’s game have never been on the NFC all-star team together – Hasselbeck going after the 2003, 2005 and 2007 seasons; Brees after the 2006, 2008 and 2009 seasons.
“I know Matt pretty well,” Brees said this week. “We’ve crossed paths quite a few times. Obviously he’s a guy who I have a lot of respect for and I just think he’s a great guy off the field, too – great family and everything else.”
What was Brees’ take on Hasselbeck coming back in the third quarter of last week’s game in Arizona after he cracked a bone in his left wrist during the second quarter?
“He’s a warrior,” Brees said. “He’s played a long time. Obviously adrenaline is pumping and you don’t want to miss a single second, and he’s just one of those guys. That’s why he’s played so long and that’s why teammates respect him and that’s why he’s been such a good player for a long time. You appreciate that as a teammate.”
ON THE FIELD
The players practiced for 85 minutes in their indoor practice facility, because they will play indoors at the Louisiana Superdome on Sunday. Among the highlights was a breakup of a pass near the goal line by cornerback Roy Lewis.
The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:
DE Colin Cole (ankle)
OL Mike Gibson (ankle)
TE Anthony McCoy (knee)
RB Michael Robinson (hamstring)
WR Brandon Stokley (calf)
WR Golden Tate (ankle)
QB Matt Hasselbeck (wrist)
OT Russell Okung (ankle)
LB Lofa Tatupu (knee)
FS Earl Thomas (not injury related)
Tatupu returned to practice today after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday. Rookie free safety Earl Thomas was excused to attend a family memorial service. He will rejoin the team in New Orleans. Jordan Babineaux filled in for Thomas.
Stokley’s status will be a game-day decision. “It looks like he has a real chance to play on Sunday,” Carroll said. Robinson and Gibson won’t play Sunday, but they have a chance to return next week, Carroll said.
For the Saints:
S Darren Sharper (hamstring)
TE Jeremy Shockey (rib)
RB Pierre Thomas (ankle)
RB Reggie Bush (fibula)
S Malcolm Jenkins (neck)
CB Patrick Robinson (ankle)
RB Chris Ivory (shoulder)
OT Jon Stinchcomb (knee)
Shockey was ruled out today, while Bush’s return remains questionable.
STAT DU JOUR
The Seahawks and Saints have run the ball 219 times this season. The Seahawks have 779 yards on those plays, for a 3.6-yard average; the Saints 843 yards, for a 3.8-yard average.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It was a very good week – attitude-wise, attention to detail. As each week brings us closer to the end we expect it. You feel it a little bit more. The week felt like that. We needed a great preparation to have a chance against this team, and I’m pleased with what happened here.” – Carroll