The topic of the league moving to an 18-game season was broached with reporters interviewing Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck after practice.
NFL owners met in Atlanta today. And during that meeting league commissioner Roger Goodell reaffirmed his support of moving to an 18-game schedule.
Goodell is targeting 2012 to begin the new schedule, reasoning that fans want fewer preseason games and more regular-season action.
Owners also see the added games as a way to generate more revenue during a struggling economic period, and plan to bring up the issue as part of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement once the current deal runs its course at the end of this season.
Like most players, Hasselbeck is not in favor of an 18-game season.
“I haven’t met a player that likes the sound of that, or thinks that’s a fair trade,” he said. “But our focus right now is trying to get ready for this season. And next year is looming, there’s this big question mark. It can be a distraction if you allow it. And right now it’s there, but I think everybody is trying to do the best they can to focus on this year.”
Hasselbeck, who is a player rep alternate for the Seahakws and attend the NFL players association meetings in Maui during the offseason, admits the 18-game proposal could be a potential stumbling block in negotiations.
“I am very hopeful that everyone can work something out,” he said. “I think everything is really good. I know on the players’ side, we want to play. If we’ve got to make a sacrifice like that, I for one would be willing to make a sacrifice.
“But there’s got to be a tradeoff there. And I don’t know what exactly that would be. Whether it’d be health care later on in life or whatever, something has got to be a win-win there.”
On the game against Minnesota, Hasselbeck understands Seattle’s is facing one of the best defensive fronts in the league, so the Seahawks’ offense needs to be ready.
“The Vikings are really, really good on defense,” he said. “They’ve probably get the best d-line in the league in terms of getting sacks. I think they were No. 1 last year. And they rush four guys and they’re able to get tremendous pressure that way.
“But there’s nothing we can do to change that. So we’ve just got to go out and do the best we can against them, and just realize that, Hey, they’re going to win some, so just stick to the plan and stay focused.”
*Offensive tackle Chester Pitts was in uniform today but did not do any work on the field, working with the trainers before practice got started. Guard Ben Hamilton also sat on the sidelines icing what appeared to be an injured knee, so the starting left side for Saturday appears to be Mansfield Wrotto at left tackle and Mike Gibson at left guard.
* Running back Leon Washington looked explosive running with the first unit today. He appears to be playing with a lot of confidence, so it will be interesting to see how he performs against a good defense like Minnesota on Saturday, particularly with the struggles of Julius Jones and Justin Forsett in the first two games with the first unit.
* TE Cameron Morrah was not in attendance for the second straight practice. No reason has been given for Morrah not being here.
* On the sidelines at practice were LB Leroy Hill (knee), LB David Hawthorne (unknown), DT Kentwan Balmer (ankle), DE Nick Reed (knee), Ray Willis (knee), Josh Pinkard (PUP, knee).
* TE Chris Baker returned to practice today and worked with the first offense in two, tight end sets.
* LB Will Herring played Will linebacker in place of David Hawthorne with the first defense.
* Jordan Babineaux and Marcus Trufant had back-to-back interceptions today during team drills.
* Safety Lawyer Milloy decleated receiver Deon Butler on a flat route today that brought out some “Oohs” and “Ahhs” from players on the sideline. Players are usually just tagging off and not bringing guys down to the ground at this point of the season, but I don’t think anyone is going to question Milloy at this point of his career.
* For the second straight day head coach Pete Carroll had the crowd noise going as the Seahawks prepare for playing in the Metrodome. Last year the crowd noise rivaled Qwest Field, but this is a preseason game.