Wallace has been playing behind a banged-up offensive line. Seahawks coach Jim Mora said nine-time Pro Bowl tackle Walter Jones will not return until at least November, and there’s a chance he could miss the rest of the season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars needed a couple of games before getting on track. The Seattle Seahawks, meanwhile, only seem to be regressing.
Coming off two strong efforts offensively, the Jaguars look to take advantage of a hobbled Seahawks team that may again be without quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on Sunday.
Jacksonville (2-2) scored a combined 29 points in losing its first two games but had more than 30 in each of the last two while evening its record. The Jaguars had 442 yards of total offense last Sunday in a 37-17 win over Tennessee, one week after beating Houston 31-24.
“It’s about time,” Jacksonville wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker said. “We knew we were capable of doing it. It’s just time we did it.”
An easy schedule over the next month gives the Jaguars a good chance to remain hot. Their next four opponents have a combined 1-15 record.
Jacksonville, though, was 3-3 entering a similarly soft stretch last season and ended up losing two of its next three games.
“I think our guys have bought into focusing on one day at a time,” Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. “It’s allowed us to execute a little better.”
Jacksonville now faces a Seattle team that has allowed an average of 27.3 points in losing its last three games since beating St. Louis 28-0 to open the season. The Seahawks gave up 353 yards passing to Peyton Manning in a 34-17 loss to Indianapolis last Sunday.
David Garrard is coming off his best game of the season for the Jaguars, throwing for 323 yards and three touchdowns. He’s been helped by a veteran presence at receiver in Torry Holt and the continued development of Sims-Walker.
Sims-Walker, in his second year, leads Jacksonville with 19 receptions for 278 yards and three TDs. He’s already surpassed his totals from all of last season, when a knee injury limited him to nine games.
“Mike is a weapon. Now he’s just being used,” Garrard said. “When he’s on the field and not hurt, he’s one of the best.”
The same can certainly be said of Hasselbeck, who has missed two straight games with a broken rib. The three-time Pro Bowler returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since getting hurt Sept. 20 against San Francisco.
While Hasselbeck gave a tepid “OK” assessment of his practice, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said he looked a bit out of football shape but his energy was excellent and his throwing motion was fine.
Jones, trying to come back after undergoing two knee surgeries, will be reassessed after Seattle’s bye week prior to a contest at Dallas on Nov. 1.
Rob Sims, the starting left guard after Mike Wahle was waived for failing a physical before training camp, will miss at least two games with a sprained ankle suffered at Indianapolis.
Mora remains optimistic, particularly if his team starts getting healthier.
“Call me crazy,” Mora said, “but I see great things on the horizon for this team.”
Mora, a former defensive coordinator with San Francisco and Seattle’s secondary coach the previous two seasons, has been without 2007 Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Trufant (back) since July. Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Patrick Kerney, meanwhile, is doubtful for Sunday’s contest with a strained groin.
That won’t help a defense that has been hurt by mental mistakes, according to Mora. He said Manning “at one time or another took advantage of an error by just about everyone on our defense.”
Mora isn’t happy with a defense that has two interceptions and two fumble recoveries after emphasizing takeaways in training camp. Seattle’s minus-4 turnover ratio is second-worst in the NFC.
Seattle didn’t force a turnover in its last matchup with Jacksonville and lost 26-14 at home Sept. 11, 2005.