A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 3:
Plastering. That’s coach-speak for staying on the receiver you’re covering when the opposing quarterback breaks from the pocket.
It’s not only a talking point for the defensive coaches as the Seahawks prepare for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, it was the topic of a post-practice huddle with coach Pete Carroll, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and the team’s safeties.
That’s because the Cowboys’ Tony Romo can turn what appear to be broken plays into big plays with his ability to maneuver and buy time for his receivers to get open. He has thrown 70- and 53-yard touchdown passes to wide receivers Laurent Robinson and Miles Austin, and also has 64- and 42-yard completions to tight end Jason Witten and wide receiver Dez Bryant
“We were just talking about him right there,” Bradley said. “He makes a lot of things happens, so it’s important that we keep him contained. Because when he’s on the move, he can allow their explosive plays to happen.
“So plaster just tells our guys in zone coverage that really relate to the threat in your zone. It becomes almost like man (coverage).”
The last time the Seahawks faced Romo was in Week 8 of the 2009 season, also at Cowboys Stadium. He completed 21 of 36 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns.
But the only player in the Seahawks’ current secondary that was on the team that November day was Roy Lewis, and he played only on special teams. The cornerbacks were Ken Lucas and Josh Wilson, while the safeties were Deon Grant and Jordon Babineaux.
They have been replaced by Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, and Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. None of them were even in the NFL then. So Bradley was leaning on the expertise of backup safety Atari Bigby, who faced Romo three times in the past four seasons while playing with the Green Bay Packers.
Sherman. Another week, another start, another big challenge for the Seahawks’ rookie cornerback. Sunday, it will be a combination of Austin and Bryant, who have combined for 48 receptions, 717 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
“I thought he did a nice job,” Bradley said of Sherman’s first NFL start last week when he was matched against the Cincinnati Bengals’ A.J. Green. “He was put in a tough situation – first start, against a very-talented receiver. He made some mistakes, but for the most part he made some big plays for us, too.”
Those plays included an interception and a breakup of another pass that led to an interception by Chancellor.
But as Sherman will quickly learn, that was last week. The question now: What can you do for us this week?
IN ’N OUT
This is the appropriate heading for today’s almost two-hour practice, because linebacker Leroy Hill returned after sitting out Wednesday and Chancellor participated in all phases of practice after being limited on Wednesday. But wide receiver Sidney Rice did not practice, while defensive tackle Alan Branch also sat out after being limited on Wednesday and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was limited after taking most of the starter snaps on Wednesday.
Golden Tate filled in for Rice, Anthony Hargrove subbed for Branch and Charlie Whitehurst stepped in for Jackson.
Here’s the official injury report:
Did not practice
TE Cameron Morrah (toe/knee)
DT Alan Branch (knee/hip)
WR Sidney Rice (foot)
WR Mike Williams (hamstring)
QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral)
LB Leroy Hill (knee)
SS Kam Chancellor (knee)
For the Cowboys:
Did not practice
CB Mike Jenkins (hamstring)
RB Felix Jones (ankle)
LB Sean Lee (wrist)
P Matt McBriar (foot)
OG Kyle Kosier (foot)
QB Tony Romo (ribs)
STAT DU JOUR
Yesterday, we looked at the Seahawks’ defense yielding the fewest second-half touchdowns in the league (two). Today, it’s that the Seahawks’ defense also has allowed the fewest second-half points – by a two field-goal margin. Here’s a look at the Top 5 teams in that category:
Team (games) Points
Seahawks (7) 33
Ravens (7) 39
Browns (7) 49
Lions (8) 49
Packers (7) 50
The players will hold a morning practice on Friday before the team flies to Dallas for Sunday’s game.
YOU DON’T SAY
“If anything, it shows us that in the first half we need to get going. That’s how I look at it.” – Bradley when asked about the defense allowing a league-low 33 points in the second half, compared to 101 points in the first half