This afternoon’s practice was a special teams affair, which afforded the opportunity to speak with special teams coach Bruce DeHaven.
DeHaven said he is going to spend this week once again on finding guys who can play — and want to play — special teams, then in the third and fourth weeks he starts playing the guys he think will make the 53- and 45-man rosters a little longer. Having said that, you may perhaps see Devin Hester rip off a few big runs this Saturday.
Interestingly, DeHaven said he thought Ryan Plackemeier is kicking better now than he did all of last year. He said with punters, it takes until about the third year for them to settle down and settle in. He said there were a number of reasons that Plack’s averages were down last year: new system under DeHaven, three different snappers and an increased focus on getting the ball inside the 20. He said the snappers affect the punters more than the kickers — don’t tell Josh Brown that — because if the snap is not on, the punter has to move his feet, then reset them. The kicker mostly gets the ball placed down at the same spot all the time.
DeHaven did say that Reggie Hodges has punted well enough to make this an actual competition for a job. Mike Holmgren said the same thing on Monday. Don’t know if that is the incent Plack to do better or for real, but Hodges certainly continues to look good. My guess is Hodges gets the punting duty again this week because Plack still is not healthy enough to go a full game and the coaches probably don’t want to risk him getting hit and hurt.
DeHaven also said he will switch the duties of Mare and Coutu this week, with Mare kicking off and Coutu doing field goals. DeHaven said they certainly take into account that Coutu was able to kick off in a dome. He said he thinks Coutu never will be in the top third of kickoff guys, but he would not be bottom third either. This is just my opinion, if I am Mike Holmgren going into my final season, I am going with Mare.
Josh Wilson was on out the field after his morning injury, but he did not take part in the special teams drills. Still no word on the Locklear injury.
The returners once again were working on catching punts with two balls under their armpits. Brian Russell dropped one of the punts, but then caught one one-handed at the end of practice.
By the way, newly acquired snapper Tim Lindsey was on his honeymoon when the Seahawks called. The guy bailed on his wife in Florida to fly up here. Now that, my friends, is dedication. Of course, the wife just got an annulment (kidding).