A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center:
Alan Branch. No one has to remind the Seahawks’ new three-technique defensive tackle who the opponent is in Sunday’s home opener. Branch was selected in the second round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals and played for them the past four seasons before signing with the Seahawks on July 29.
Sunday, when he starts his third game for the Seahawks, Branch will equal his four-year total with the Cardinals.
“If anyone told you this isn’t a big deal, they’d be lying,” Branch said with a slight smile. “Of course it’s a big deal. I used to play with them. There’s still a lot guys on that team I’m friends with. So you want to do well against them.”
Branch is doing very well with his new team. Coach Pete Carroll and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley have praised Branch for his efforts on a Seahawks defense that ranks 10th in the league despite the team’s 0-2 start. Branch has five tackles to share the lead among the linemen with defensive end Chris Clemons.
The Seahawks targeted Branch in free agency because his presence allowed Brandon Mebane to slide over to nose tackle, and Branch also has the length (6 feet 6) and strength (325 pounds) to sub for Red Bryant at the five-technique end spot, if needed.
Branch is making more plays because he’s getting to play more.
“When you’re on the field a lot more, it will be better anywhere,” Branch said. “I’m playing here, so that’s why I’m loving it here.”
What happened in Arizona? Why didn’t a player the Cardinals selected in the second round get to play more?
“You know what, I got out of that mentality when I was there because when you think about why not when you’re actually there it makes it a long stay,” Branch said.
Now, he’s looking at the situation both from afar, as well as very up-close twice a season.
“I’m happy I get to play the Cardinals twice a year,” he said.
The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:
OG Robert Gallery (knee)
FB Michael Robinson (ankle)
CB Byron Maxwell (ankle)
OT Jarriel King (ankle)
WR Sidney Rice (shoulder)
LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring)
For the Cardinals:
TE Jim Dray (pectoral)
WR Chansi Stuckey (hamstring)
LB Daryl Washington (calf)
DeMarco Sampson (hamstring)
RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (hand)
RB Beanie Wells (hamstring)
LB Paris Lenon (groin)
LB Joey Porter (knee)
Thursday is “Turnover Thursday” on the Seahawks’ practice field. Marcus Trufant must have mixed up his days this week, because the veteran cornerback came up with two interceptions in today’s practice – including one that he tipped and then lunged to pick off just as the ball was about to hit the turf.
STAT DU JOUR
Last season, Carroll became only the second coach in franchise history to win his first game with the team (interim coach Mike McCormack in 1982 was the other). Carroll’s came in last year’s season, and home, opener. Sunday, Carroll will try to join Chuck Knox as the only coaches to win the home opener in his second season with the team – and the first to do it in his first two seasons. Here’s how the other coaches in club history fared in the home opener of their second season:
Coach (year) Result
Jack Patera (1977) L, 29-14 vs. Baltimore
Chuck Knox (1984) W, 33-0 vs. Cleveland
Tom Flores (1993) L, 17-13 vs. L.A. Raiders
Dennis Erickson (1996) L, 30-20 vs. Denver
Mike Holmgren (1999) L, 28-20 vs. Detroit
The players will have a walk-thru Saturday morning at VMAC and then meetings on Saturday night at the team hotel.
Tickets are available for Sunday’s game and you can purchase them here.
YOU DON’T SAY
“There was some report or something that John (Schneider, the GM) and I don’t get along. I think that’s extraordinarily irresponsible. It’s inaccurate. And it’s lazy. I wouldn’t believe a word they said. That’s so far from the truth. John and I are as close as it can get. I’ve never been any closer to anybody I’ve ever worked with. Every decision we make we make together. So they don’t even understand. I don’t know who those guys are or where it came from, but they’re dead wrong. It’s just weak that somebody would say stuff like that. They know nothing. They never talked to us. They’ve never seen us. They know nothing about what we’re all about.” – Carroll, responding to a Pro Football Weekly report.