The Seattle Seahawks need to get better at the little things. And that’s what they used the bye week for, as head coach Jim Mora worked his team for about an hour on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then gave his players the rest of the week off.
The Seahawks’ practices were more like training camp workouts, with the team focusing on individual work instead of game planning for an opponent. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said the bye week provided an opportunity to work on building better chemistry with receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
The two have not been on the same page at times this season. Part of the reason is the duo only has been on the field together for four of the six games, with Hasselbeck missing two games because of cracked ribs suffered against San Francisco on Sept. 20th. But if the team is going to rebound from a 2-4 start, Hasselbeck said it’s important that he and Houshmandzadeh improve their rapport on the field.
“We’ve made mistakes, but I think even from mistakes good stuff comes,” Hasselbeck said. “We stayed after practice — he and I yesterday — and just worked on a few routes that we misfired on, and a few routes that I think he does really, really well and I feel like I throw well.
“There’s no reason that we should be misfiring, and it was good to talk through those things. The next step would probably be to watch ourselves on film and study that more.
“There’s a lot of things that need to happen for us to turn this around. And one of those things in my mind is he and I have got to take it to another level.”
Houshmandzadeh hopes the extra work will lead to an improved performance on the field. “It’s cool,” he said. “We’ll find out when the games matter. It’s easy to do it after practice when nobody’s out there, so we’ll see. It’s just trying to get some extra work in. The practices aren’t very hard so it’s not real taxing on your body so we can always get out there and do something. We’ll probably do something next week as well.
“But again, who knows. Matt’s missed a couple weeks, and so when you feel like things are getting going, then you have a little setback. So I hope. But like I say, we’ll see. Talk to me next Sunday about 6 or 7:30.”
As far as some NFL observers writing the team off for 2009, Hasselbeck says Seattle still has a chance to get back into it. Although they’re third in the NFC West, the Seahawks are only a 11/2 games behind division leaders Arizona and San Francisco. “Our season’s not over,” Hasselbeck said. “Our goals are still there for us. It’s been definitely a tough start for us. But we set out some goals to start the year, and they’re all still there. We’ve just got to develop a little better mental toughness, and maybe physical toughness, and get out there and play our best football.”
Added Houshmandzadeh: “Every game is different. Every week is different. You can win every game you play as long as you approach it like that and prepare like that. What you do now kind of shows you what’s going to happen in the future, so if we put that work in on Monday and next week, the future should be great on Sunday.”
–The loudest roar during practice on Wednesday came when Seahawks offensive coordinator Greg Knapp went one-on-one with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, and hauled in a pass from quarterback Matt Hasselbeck on a double move. The entire Seahawks offense ran down the field to congratulate Knapp as he raised the ball in the air in the end zone. “It was tight coverage,” Knapp joked afterwards. “It was a great throw, and I got lucky to make the catch.”
Hasselbeck said he put the ball in a position for Knapp to make a play. “I gave it a little air,” Hasselbeck said. “If Gus wanted to make a play on it he had a chance. But it was great execution. It was like we never even practiced it.”
Asked to critique Knapp’s performance, T.J. Houshmandzadeh had this to say: “A lot of guys run bad routes, but they just catch the ball.”
–Houshmandzadeh continues to be one of the most fashion-conscious players on the team. The veteran receiver wore a pink suit after Sunday’s game against the Cardinals in honor of the NFL’s breast cancer awareness month. And on Wednesday, even though he played at Oregon State, he gave the University of Oregon the thumbs up for having the best football uniforms in college.
“Oregon’s got the best uniforms because they always switch them up,” he said. “You never know what they’re going to wear.” And going against popular opinion, Houshmandzadeh says he still likes the Seahawks’ alternative, lime-green uniforms they wore against Chicago a few weeks ago.
“People talk about that, but they have no fashion,” he said about criticism of the team’s green uniforms. “They have no sense of style. Khakis, brown shoes, white shirt. Those are the type of guys I’m talking about.”
BY THE NUMBERS: 15 — The number of yards Edgerrin James (12,229) needs to pass Marcus Allen (12,243) to vault into the top 10, all-time career rushing list.
85 — Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s passer rating so far this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I let him cover me a couple times just to get his confidence up. You know he’ll probably think he’s doing it, but I’m going to let him do it just to get his confidence up because we’re on the same team.” — Seahawks receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh joking about letting cornerback Marcus Trufant gain some confidence against him as he returns to practice for the first time this season.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Seattle continued to juggle personnel on the offensive line for the team’s active roster, adding offensive guard Mike Gibson and waiving offensive tackle Kyle Williams. The Seahawks later added Williams back to the practice squad. Williams struggled in his first start of the season against the Arizona Cardinals. Gibson gives the Seahawks another body for the interior line in case Rob Sims (ankle) can’t make it back for the Dallas game on Nov. 1.
–OL Damion McIntosh worked with the first unit at left tackle this week. If Sean Locklear is unable to come back from a high-ankle sprain, McIntosh would be the fifth player to start at left tackle in seven games for Seattle.
–DE Patrick Kerney (groin) missed practice for the second straight day.
–WR Nate Burleson and RB Justin Forsett worked on punt returns during the special teams portion of practice. Head coach Jim Mora would like to get more explosive plays out of the team’s punt return game, ranked 27th overall in terms average yards per return.
–LB Leroy Hill (groin) fully participated in his second straight practice and looked good running with the first defensive unit.
–OG Rob Sims missed practice again this week as he tries to return from an ankle sprain.
INJURY IMPACT: Seattle hopes to only have three, projected starters out of the lineup when they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on Nov. 1. Offensive tackles Sean Locklear and Walter Jones are still uncertain for next week’s contest, and linebacker Lofa Tatupu (torn pectoral) will be out for an extended period.