Seahawks Insider

Friday practice — Wahle a proud papa

Post by Eric Williams on Sep. 5, 2008 at 2:06 pm with 23 Comments »
September 5, 2008 2:06 pm

Halfway through practice today a group of reporters shared perplexed looks because we could not find No. 68 anywhere out on the field.

Pork Chop Womack worked in Mike Wahle’s place during team drills until near the end of practice a smiling Wahle jogged onto the practice field.

His fellow lineman greeted him with applause and handshakes. Wahle became a father this morning.

Wahle and wife Trina had a son, Maddox, the couple’s second child. The couple also has a daughter, Teagan.

Said Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren: "She’s doing fine and the baby is doing fine. We made arrangements for Mike to travel there tomorrow, but I didn’t expect him to come to practice."

Deion Branch practiced again today, and ran a couple routes during team drills in this practice without pads. However, Branch will not play on Sunday, Holmgren said. Bobby Engram also will not suit up, and right tackle Sean Locklear is likely will not play, although Holmgren did not rule Locklear out. Ray Willis would start in Locklear’s place.

"Again the process is to get him feeling good at what he’s asked to do," Holmgren said about Branch. "So next week will do a little bit more and get him into some competitive things. At some point he has to do that just so he knows he can do it. That’s the big hurdle now."

With both Branch and Engram out it puts more pressure on receivers like Courtney Taylor, Logan Payne and Jordan Kent to make plays to keep the chains moving.

"I’m expecting a lot of the young guys," Holmgren said. "It’s very important that they play well. Now, it’s as an unusual situation at that position as I’ve ever had. So we’ll see."

Holmgren said Josh Wilson will return kicks, and the punt return situation still has not been settled

"When we line them up, you’ll see whose catching it," Holmgren said about who will return punts.

Holmgren talked about the team’s defensive struggles on the road, and said Seattle must do a better job of handling adversity away from home.

"What we thought was on the road is we got shocked, either by a big play or a bad thing happening," he said. "And it took us awhile to recover. And then that led to something else, and then we got behind."

Holmgren went on to say at home it’s easier to overcome adversity with the home crowd behind you providing a boost, giving the team a better ability to recover from momentum-changing plays.

As he stated earlier this week, Maurice Morris will start at running back, although Holmgren did reiterate that Julius Jones may start in Week 2. Holmgren said Morris was not handed the starting job but earned it, and he expects Morris to play well on Sunday.

"Mo has been a loyal soldier, if you will," Holmgren said. "And played very well for us. This is not a hand out. He’s played very well and earned this. And he’s been a person that’s been pretty unselfish in my opinion. To get his chance, I think it’s a good story."

Holmgren also addressed center Chris Spencer’s status. Seattle’s starting center only played two series against Oakland in preseason action, so Holmgren has concerns about Spencer’s conditioning.

"We have no choice; Chris is our center," Holmgren said. "The only question I would have – and I have confidence in his ability to get this done – is his stamina for the game. He hasn’t played much, and now he’s going to have to play the whole game. So if I think he needs a blow then (Steve) Vallos can go in the game and play, and we’ll how that sorts itself out.

“But it’s nice to have him back. He’s a very important part of our lineup."

Linebacker Lofa Tatupu went through the entire practice and looks ready to go.

Notes from practice
Leave a comment Comments → 23
  1. YeeHaawks says:

    Bring on the Bills!!! Got extra sauce and my bib for that Bison grillin feast! YEE HAW!!!!!

  2. Dukeshire says:

    My god, is it Sunday yet?? There’s been a lot of talk here about the ‘Hawks run D on the road. That interior line is so much bigger and athletic than it has been in years, I’d be very surprised to see teams able to run right at them, Lynch and co. included. We’ll find out soon enough.

  3. Chris de Lemos says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bills test Craig Terrill on Sunday.

    Once Rocky is back though – it will be a wonderful day.

  4. T_Roy27 says:

    I hope they do test him. He will seranade them with music and sacks!!


  5. Holmgren not giving out any information on the punt returner is interesting. I think he knows who it is already, but does not want to let the Bills ST know who to plan for. Obviously the options are Forsett, Burleson, Seneca, and Wilson. I think that it is going to be Seneca or Nate until they feel comfortable with Forsett catching punts cleanly. And personally as much as I like Forsett, I think both Nate and Seneca are better all round returners, the only question is do you want to risk their health?

  6. Haven’t heard much about Mebane this pre-season; I assume he’s been solid? Shown improvement since last year?

    Like others on here, I’m a little surprised by how many of the experts are picking the Bills over us on Sunday. Can’t say I really watched them much last year, but other than Lynch, do they have any weapons of note on offense? I know their QB is pretty green.

  7. Dukeshire says:

    How do you know that Seneca is a “better all round returner”? When has he ever retuned a punt? This thing with Seneca is crazy. He is a great athlete but how do people know (and they seem to be convinced) be is a better option as a returner, reciever etc., than what is already in place? It may turn out to be that way, but let’s stop acting like this is a known fact.

  8. I was just about to write that Duke…

    We know he’s an amazing athelete…but that doesn’t automatically mean that he will be the best for that role, or he will automatically be good at all. I think he could be…but none of us know…so no use giving him an award until he actually does it.

    And with that said, I think there is a 10% chance of Wallace returning punts or even kickoffs. I’m suprised that they’re even saying he’s a possiblity. We’ve been hearing that for 3 years now, but Holmgren has always ruled it out due to our QB situation. He is our backup QB first and foremost…and we do not want to risk him getting injured and leaving our QB situation in dangerous waters. Especially with the big hits that happen on ST’s….you got guys flying downfield at fullspeed trying to clobber the returner which leaves them open for big, big hits. Too risky.

    I really think that Burleson will return punts before Wallace, as will Wilson and Forsett.

  9. JoeHawk51 says:

    The general sense that Seneca can run comes from an amazing play he made in college that is know just as “the run”. I saw a tape of it this week and he has some moves, at least back then. He is a competitor, he is in great shape, and I would expect he would enjoy getting some real time touches and contributing to the team effort. Yes, seneca will be returning this week, my tea leaves say so. Go Hawks!

  10. Dukeshire says:

    Thought this was interesting: In the current SI NFL preview issue, The Pop Culture Grid piece they run, has Justin Forsett as one of the 4 pannelists. His answer to the question “I’d be the perfect person to…”, is punt return. Not many people volunteer for that assignment, got to love his attitude.

  11. I don’t know why there is a reluctance to put Nate in to return punts. I don’t think there’s any evidence that punt returners tend to get hurt more.

    I can’t remember a punt returner getting hurt for the Seahawks. I certainly can’t recall it since Holmgren has been here.

    After the first move or so, it’s not any different than any other play. He runs with the ball and people try to tackle him. It’s football. Play the best man who isn’t going to drop the ball. Who else do we have that has demonstrated this capability in game situations?

    I’d put money on Nate being back there.

  12. Golfhack1396 says:

    If Nate is back there, or even Seneca come Sunday, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them in “fair-catch mode.” I think they just need to survive at this position until the other WR’s get healthy and can give them more options.

  13. badicalturboradness says:

    I also think Nate will be returning punts. Wilson has never done it in a game, neither has Seneca, and it’s questionable whether Forsett will be active for the game. If Forsett is active, it’s because he’s returning punts. Otherwise, it’s hard to justify having 6 active RB’s for a game.

  14. “The general sense that Seneca can run comes from an amazing play he made in college that is know just as ‘the run'”


  15. chucko24 says:

    Go Hawker Dawkers!!! Time for some ass kickin’ Sea CHickens to start 1 and 0 !

    This playing on the road thing has got to be mental
    (look what the NY Giants did last year. Ten in a row ON THE ROAD! WE must get that monkey off our back this year. After all, I was at Superbowl XL in Detroit and it was a road game for us, and it probably will be this year in Tampa! We have to be able to win the BIG game on the ROAD.

  16. earther says:

    lordtd:I don’t know why there is a reluctance to put Nate in to return punts. I don’t think there’s any evidence that punt returners tend to get hurt more.

    They don’t. Playing wide out in a WCO is riskier because of the tendency to throw into coverage. The hits that are most prone to cause injury are the ones that catch a guy in an awkward position like when a receiver lands just after catching a pass or a QB just as he’s planting his feet for a throw.

    It’s risky because there is probability of injury on every play. If Burleson returns punts then that risk exists but not if he doesn’t. You see? The argument goes that you don’t want your starting players injured on special teams plays. That’s all.

  17. I don’t think they plan on having Forsett active on Sunday. My bet is on Wallace to return punts. Holmgren is going to leave no bullets in his gun this year.

  18. Dukeshire says:

    earther. ? I don’t see. How is anything you said exclusive to the WCO?

  19. airbags says:

    curious – who’s the new seahawks nflpa rep? did russell agree to that one?

  20. highimpactstaffing says:

    Congratulations Mike and Trina on the birth of your second child! As the proud papa of a daughter and a son born in the same order as yours, I know you both are beaming with pride. Hopefully Trina has somebody to help her get some rest while you’re in Buffalo.

    I’m hopeful you can one day tell your son that three days after his birth you and Walter Jones orchestrated the most lopsided running attack in the history of the franchise, with two backs running for over 175 yards each. Just kidding…kinda. ;o) Seriously, I wish you and your family all the best! Again, congratulations!

  21. earther says:

    Dukeshire:earther. ? I don’t see. How is anything you said exclusive to the WCO?

    It’s not. I guess I didn’t phrase that remark very well, did I? It would have been better if it went something like, “Playing wide out is riskier, especially in a WCO, because of…”

    I only emphasis the WCO because it’s reliance on timing, tempo and precision makes for more close contact receptions, especially on the quick drops. In fact, when it’s working really well, that bang bang tempo is the WCO’s best weapon. It makes opposing defenses feel like they can’t cover, pursue or contain any better than they have been and still they can’t stop the drives.

  22. I completely agree with lordTD. If Holmgren’s biggest fear is an inexperienced punt returner fumbling the ball, just let Burleson get back there.

    Tell him to fair catch anything that doesn’t have a clear opening and to run to the sideline and get out of bounds.

    Anyone else they stick back there could make a major mistake we don’t need.

  23. I think Nate will return punts and from what Holmgren said after practice, I think we just might see Seneca on a few third downs at WR Sunday. I think he could be a safety blanket for Matt due to his knowledge of defenses and finding the soft spot in zones, just like Bobby…

    is it Sunday yet?

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