Apparently, the shroud of uncertainty that the Seattle Seahawks attempted to create on Marshawn Lynch’s playing status for Sunday has not fooled Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
“I expect him to play,” Whisenhunt said, when asked if he was preparing for Seattle’s offense any different because Lynch’s back spasms might keep him out of the game. “It’s not affecting our preparation. We’re preparing that he’s going to play.”
Whisenhunt did go on to say that his team understands it’s not all about Lynch. Seattle’s offensive line is much improved, and rookie Robert Turbin has looked good so far during the preseason.
“I know Marshawn Lynch is a good football player,” Whisenhunt said. “But as with anything, when the unit plays together, they get more confidence. They do a nice job on their blocks, and you could see the run game pick up for them last year. And it’s looked good for them in the preseason.
“They got the young kid Turbin, who’s looked good running the football for them in preseason. So we know from playing them in the last game of the season that they have a strong running game. And that’s going to be a challenge for us.”
Whisehunt discussed the challenge of facing rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
“Russell Wilson’s had a great preseason,” Whisenhunt said. “I liked him as a young man and a player coming out in the draft. He’s been successful at the college level. He’s a very smart young man. He’s done a nice job in the preseason.
“So we’re definitely aware of how successful they have been with him in there. And we know that it’s going to be a challenge defensively for us, especially when you’re going against a team that has talent at running back.”
Whisenhunt also talked about his decision to go with John Skelton over high-dollar pick-up Kevin Kolb as the team’s starter at quarterback.
“Ultimately, in evaluating all of the factors and all of the different things that we looked at, we just felt at this time John gave us the best chance to win going forward,” Whisenhunt said. “And that’s the decision that we made. But it was definitely a tough decision.”
Choosing Skelton over Kolb appears to have boiled down to wins for Whisehenunt.
“John played in a lot of games for us last year,” Whisenhunt said. “He was 5-2 as a starter for us. Actually, if you count the San Francisco game when he came into the game three plays in, he was 6-2. So he’s played in the system, and he’s been successful, as has Kevin.”
And he went into detail on what makes second-year pro Patrick Peterson such a dynamic returner.
“He’s such a natural catcher of the football, that I think he can see the field while he’s catching the football, which I think is probably one of the most important things,” Whisenhunt said. “So he can make that initial cut and avoid the coverage.
“But he’s just got such great speed and vision when he gets into the field. He’s hard to bring down. He’s a strong kid. He’s thick, and he’s got good agility. He’s definitely got a knack for it, and it’s been big for us.”