The Seattle Seahawks had a light practice today, working for about an hour in jerseys and shorts and no helmets.
Veteran wide receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch worked with the scout team along with linebacker Lofa Tatupu, perhaps a signal that we will not see very much of them on the field when the team travels to Oakland on Thursday.
Linebacker Aaron Curry was held out of practice today. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Curry hyper-extended his elbow against Minnesota and he does not know if he will be available for Thursday’s game.
However, Carroll said David Hawthorne’s hip injury is improving.
Offensive tackle Chester Pitts got some work in with the first unit today at left tackle, sharing time with Mansfield Wrotto. Ben Hamilton did the same thing with Mike Gibson at left guard, and also worked some at center with the second unit.
“It will be limited, but we’ll get him out there,” Carroll said about Pitts practicing. The 31-year old is returning from microfracture knee surgery and wearing a bulky brace on his right knee. “Unfortunately the week is not very long for him, but we’ll take him to the game and he’ll dress out for the game and all of that.
“This is an important step for us bringing him around. And he’s been incredibly dedicated to getting right. He’s worked as hard as anybody I’ve ever seen in the hours that he’s put in and the dedication to it.”
Carroll later said that trip allows Pitts to get another workout in, but he will not play.
Carroll said even though the starters will not play much, if at all, Thursday’s game is still important in terms of the team making roster evaluations for the final 53.
“We have so much work to do this week,” he said. “Even as short as it is, it’s really important for us. We’re going to suit everybody up and get everybody ready to go. And I want to keep us in a competitive mindset about getting ready for a game and all of that. And then we’ll make our adjustments on who we’re playing and how we do that. And you’re seen that on game time.”
Rookie Russell Okung was out at practice today watching on the side with a sleeve covering his sprained right ankle. Carroll is still hopeful Okung can make it back for the regular-season opener in two weeks.
“He’s walking all right and he’s coming along,” Carroll said. “So we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. I know for Russell’s sake he’s dying to play in first game, and he’s going to do everything he can to get back. And then we’ll just see how it goes.”
Carroll mentioned that he was pleased with the way the offense has taken care of the ball, with no interceptions or fumbles from the first-unit offense in six quarters of preseason work. During training camp Carroll has emphasized taking care of the ball offensively and forcing turnovers on defense.
“That has a lot to do with Matt’s decision making,” Carroll said. “He’s embraced the approach, and the running backs have embraced the approach of how important it is to take care of the football, and the receivers have as well. And as long as we do that, we’re going to be in every game.”
The not-so-good part of that equation is Seattle’s offense has went 3-and-out on seven of its 16 possessions (44 percent) and scored a whopping 20 points in those six quarters of work.
Hasselbeck talked about that after the game against Minnesota on Saturday.
“We’ve made a huge emphasis on, it’s all about the football, no turnovers,” Hasselbeck said. “And there’s a fine line there I’m finding myself where it’s yes, no turnovers. But at the same time you really got to let loose and cut it loose at times, too. And I think that’s part of the growing process. And that’s something I’m going to critique hard on myself and see where I can improve.”
Also, third team quarterback J.P. Losman, who has not played since the first preseason game, should get some time against Oakland according to Carroll.
Hasselbeck playing well: Carroll said he’s been pleased with the way Hasselbeck has played during the preseason.
And Hasselbeck’s numbers back up that statement. He’s 24 of 42 for 279 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions for an 85.3 passer rating. Hasselbeck’s been sacked three times and has a 57.1 percent completion percentage.
“I think he’s been very solid,” Carroll said. “I think he’s done very well. … Matt has taken a leadership position in leading the charge for taking care of the football the way we want to and prioritizing it properly.”
Whitehurst inconsistent: On the flip side, reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst has been up and down in his play so far this season, and the numbers show that.
Whitehurst is 35 for 68 for 425 yards, with three touchdowns and four interceptions for a 61.2 passer rating. He’s been sacked three times and has a 51.5 completion percentage.
“I think Charlie has done good stuff,” Carroll said. “He’s been in a couple, tough situations. And unfortunately he’s had a play in there in each game that is really regrettable. The turnovers, he’s had four I think in the games he’s played. But he’s thrown a lot of good balls. He’s shown that he can make all of the throws. He’s moved well. He’s been in command in the offense. … So I think he’s had a very successful preseason for us. And I’m hoping he’s going to be able to feel confident going in.”
More roster moves on the way? Carroll said the team will evaluate the cuts around the league and study to see if there’s any moves they can make to improve the roster.
“As always, we’re going to continue to compete and look at everything that has happened and see if anything can affect us in a positive way, and just keep battling,” Carroll said.
Starting running back job still up for grabs: Carroll again reiterated that the team has not come to a conclusion with who the starting running back will be for the opener Sept. 12 against San Francisco between Julius Jones, Justin Forsett and Leon Washington. Carroll went on to say he’s perfectly comfortable with going with a running back by committee, which he had done several times during his tenure at USC.
He did mention Justin Forsett as a guy they like on the field on third downs.
“We’re playing two backs in the two-back system nine or 10 years ago, or whatever it was now,” Carroll said. “And we thought that it was okay, and we were questioned about it way back then. I think it’s a pretty accepted that there’s a lot of teams that play with two backs, and I think it’s a good way to go.
“In my experience it doesn’t matter. It’s getting the best guys on the field and making the right choice at game time as things unfold for you.”