A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 28:
James Carpenter. Last year’s first-round draft choice was smiling after today’s practice, and so was coach Pete Carroll. That’s because both once feared that Carpenter might not be ready to play until eight weeks into the season after the severe knee injury he got during practice last November.
Instead, Carpenter is scheduled to see his first action of 2012 in Sunday’s game against the Rams in St. Louis after practicing all week at left guard with the No. 1 line. How much Carpenter plays remains to be seen, but just the fact that he ready to play is “a great story for us,” as Carroll put it.
“I’m very excited to get back. It’s been a long time,” Carpenter said in the locker room. “I thought I was going to end up on PUP.”
That would be the physically-unable-to-perform list. It would have required Carpenter to sit out the first six weeks of the season and then get a three-week window to practice before the team either activated him or placed him on injured reserve.
“I didn’t want to go on PUP,” Carpenter said. “I worked hard this whole offseason trying not to get on PUP. That was like my motivation.”
Whatever works. And Carpenter is now working at left guard after making eight of his nine starts as a rookie at right tackle. Moving to guard and the left side has been like a double homecoming for Carpenter.
“I like it a lot, because I played on the left side my whole life until last year,” he said. “I’m very strong and powerful, so I think guard will be the best position for me.”
Carroll just likes having last year’s first-round draft choice back on the field.
“He’s in the best shape ever,” he said. “Everything about him, he’s stronger, he’s quicker. Everything is better, in all areas. And he knows the system way better. He studied really hard throughout the offseason and through the time in (training) camp. So he’s well, well ahead of where he was last year at any time.”
Sam Bradford-to-Danny Amendola. The fourth-year wide receiver is the Rams’ leading receiver, by a large margin with 25 catches (Brandon Gibson is next with eight). He’s also Bradford’s most-target receiver, by an even larger margin with 34 (Gibson has 15).
In fact, Bradford went to Amendola 13 times in the first half of the Rams’ Week 2 game against the Redskins, and he caught 12 passes.
“It’s just one of those things where we were seeing a lot of single high (coverage), a lot of man coverage, and Danny just kept winning,” Bradford said this week. “Me and him obviously have a great chemistry together and we spent a lot of time together, both here and in the offseason back home working together. I really trust him to get open.”
So the Seahawks need to make sure that happens as little as possible on Sunday.
“He’s definitely a guy they like to get the ball to, and Sam looks to him in critical situations,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “So we’ve got to be aware of where he is on the field. But sometimes you can get a little out of skew if you say, ‘OK, let’s double him. Or, let’s put two guys over here.’ Then all of sudden, something you didn’t know is a weakness becomes a weakness.”
As Bradley was saying, Amendola is not only second in the NFL in receptions, he leads the league in third-down catches (nine).
In Monday night’s game against the Packers that turned out to be a series of what-if? plays, Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner had a big one that was all but lost because of the way things ended.
When the Packers went for a two-point conversion after their fourth-quarter touchdown, it was Browner who used every inch of his long-limbed, 6-foot-4 frame to bat away Aaron Rodgers’ pass intended for James Jones in the end zone that would have made the score 14-7.
“I got good hands on the receiver (off the line), got my eyes back and he was throwing the ball,” Browner said. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time. But I’m mad that I dropped it. I wish that I would have picked it off.”
Just batting it away set the stage for the Seahawks to win with a TD pass on the final play of the game.
The official end-of-the-week status report, as released by the team:
OG John Moffitt (knee)
LB Leroy Hill (calf)
DT Jaye Howard (foot)
TE Anthony McCoy (groin)
OT Breno Giacomini (pectoral)
DT Jason Jones (knee)
DT Gregg Scruggs (wrist)
WR Doug Baldwin (shoulder)
CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)
Moffitt, Hill and Howard did not practice today. Carroll said he expects Hill to play, but Moffitt’s status is not as sure after he injured and then aggravated a knee in Monday night’s game. Paul McQuistan has been working at right guard for Moffitt this week, with Carpenter at left guard for McQuistan. If Moffitt can’t play, starting rookie J.R. Sweezy is one option, Carroll said.
“John’s still hurting,” Carroll said. “We’ll have to see where he is again tomorrow morning.”
Giacomini practiced for the first time this week and is expected to start.
For the Rams:
OT Rodger Saffold (knee)
S Matt Daniels (hamstring)
DT Matt Conrath (knee)
RB Steve Jackson (groin)
OT Wayne Hunter (knee)
DT Michael Brockers (ankle)
Jackson got limited work today after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday. But the Rams’ left tackle situation is in flux with Saffold being ruled out and Hunter, his backup, not practicing today. Hunter was with the Seahawks in 2003.
“I think so. I’m gonna have to,” Hunter told reporters in St. Louis when asked if he would play Sunday. “We’re kind of wearing thin on offensive linemen, I’ve got to keep going.”
Coach Jeff Fisher said Jackson’s status will be a game-day decision.
STAT DU JOUR
Chris Clemons isn’t just coming off a career-best four-sack performance in Monday night’s win over the Packers, he’s preparing to face the quarterback he has gotten to the most while collecting 27 sacks since joining the Seahawks in 2010 – Bradford. He’s a look at Clemons’ most-sacked list:
Quarterback, team Sacks
Sam Bradford, Rams 6.5
Aaron Rodgers, Packers 4
Eli Manning, Giants 2
Philip Rivers, Chargers 2
Caleb Hanie, Bears 2
Max Hall, Cardinals 2
Derek Anderson, Cardinals 2
HIGH SCHOOL HONOR ROLL
Sarah Carter of Sumner is the Seahawks’ high school athlete of the week, while Marysville-Getchell’s Davis Lura and Hoquiam’s Jason Ronquillo are the high school coaches of the week.
Carter is a senior defender on the Sumner soccer team that is ranked No. 1 among 2A schools and a three-time all-league player. Off the field, she has a 3.95 GPA.
Lura’s team improved its record to 2-2 with a 24-8 victory over Stanwood. Ronquillo’s Grizzlies upped their mark to 4-0 with a 54-7 victory over Rochester.
The players will have a morning walkthrough on Saturday before the team flies to St. Louis for Sunday’s game. They’ll return to face a short week, as the team will travel to Carolina on Friday next week for its game against the Panthers.
YOU DON’T SAY
“We’re not going to play at our best until we get rid of that stuff. You just keep giving those kinds of things to your opponent, you’re just making it easier on them.” – Carroll on the Seahawks being flagged for 32 penalties and 243 yards in their first three games