Left tackle. There will be no official announcement until Sunday, so it’s down to Tyle Polumbus and Chester Pitts to see who will start at left tackle in the regular-season opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Qwest Field.
Polumbus, who was acquired Aug. 31 in a trade with the Detroit Lions, has gotten most of the work in practice this week and seems to be the best option to replace first-round draft choice Russell Okung, who remains sidelined with a sprained ankle.
The 6-foot-7, 300-pound Polumbus started eight games last season for the Denver Broncos. When the Broncos released him last month, the Seahawks put in a waiver claim. But Polumbus went to the Lions because they had a worse record last season than the Seahawks.
Asked what he liked about Polumbus, offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates offered, “He’s got great length. He’s got good size. He’s good for the zone (blocking) offense. Good left tackle. Can play right tackle. Likes the game of football.”
Last season, when since-retired Walter Jones was unable to return from having microfracture knee surgery, the Seahawks started four players at left tackle: Sean Locklear, Brandon Frye, Kyle Williams and Damion McIntosh. Only Locklear is still around, and he’s starting at right tackle.
So having a new starter on the pivotal left side is nothing new for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
“If you’re a quarterback and you’re worried about your offensive line, you’re probably not going to be successful,” Hasselbeck said. “I’ve got all kinds of faith that those guys will get their job done.”
Quarterback. With only two on the 53-man roster, who would be the emergency QB, if needed?
“Yeah, I’ve been working on that,” said a smiling coach Pete Carroll, who does have an impressive arm.
He then added, “Really, the guy that would be the emergency guy is Michael Robinson.”
Robinson joined the team this week, and will help on special teams and possibly at running back against the 49ers. But he also was a quarterback at Penn State.
In addition to the Seahawks, nine other teams are carrying only two quarterbacks – the Giants, Saints, Patriots, Vikings, Chiefs, Jaguars, Colts, Packers and Ravens.
Golden Tate. The team’s second-round draft choice made an impressive play almost daily during training camp. But once the preseason started, the wide receiver/returner who Hasselbeck described as being “electric when you get the ball in his hands” became an unplugged version of his big-play persona.
“At some point, we need Golden Tate to step up and be a playmaker for us,” Hasselbeck said. “I’m sure we drafted him for that reason. He came in in the OTAs and training camp and did a wonderful job and made some big plays – a very exciting, electrifying player.
“We lost T.J. (Houshmandzadeh), who was a great player and had a lot of production. So we’re going to need everybody to step up and Golden Tate, absolutely, he’s one of those guys we’re counting on.”
Mike Williams. A lot already has been said and written about the wide receiver the Seahawks signed in April after he had been out of the league the past two seasons. And rightfully so. As Hasselbeck put it, “He came in; people gave him close to no chance.”
But Williams will start at split end against the 49ers.
“I think he has done everything in his ability to make the team and be a starting X (split end),” Bates said. “He came in underweight, like we asked. He’s been working his tail off and he’s made a lot of big plays during the preseason. So I look forward to him exploding onto the scene again.”
ON THE FIELD
The players practiced for 80 minutes in their final full session before Sunday’s game. At one point, a plane carrying a huge 12 banner flew over the practice fields as part of the “Back to Football” festivities.
Here’s the first status report of the season:
OT Russell Okung (ankle)
OT Chester Pitts (knee)
DL Raheem Brock (back)
TE Anthony McCoy (ankle)
Pitts, Brock and McCoy were limited in practice. But McCoy being listed as probable, meaning he has a 75-percent chance to play.
Brock, who joined the team this week, is expected to see time as the backup to Chris Clemons at the “Leo” end spot and also rush the passer as a tackle in the nickel line.
“We brought him here to help us in the pass rush,” Carroll said. “He has flexibility to play inside and outside in the nickel package. He’ll play Clem’s spot in early downs, and that’s something we didn’t have – a legitimate defensive end type of a backup. … But in the third down package, we’re anxious to get him to fit in. It’s been kind of the missing element for us, to get another factor in the pass rush. We waited all along for it. Of all the things that happened last weekend, that’s the one I’m most focused on to help us immediately and get some push out of that.”
Also, linebacker David Hawthorne appears ready to return to the starting lineup after missing some time with a hip problem.
“He’s ready to go and he’s really pumped up,” Carroll said of the team’s leading tackler from last season. “He’s real anxious to get back out there. So we’re happy about that.”
For the 49ers:
Out: LB Ahmad Brooks (kidney), C Eric Heitmann (fibula) and WR Kyle Williams (toe)
Doubtful: CB William James (ankle)
Probable: LB Diryral Briggs (concussion)
The players will have a walk-thru on Saturday morning, their final tune-up for Sunday’s opener.
YOU DON’T SAY
“This is really exciting to be this close to kicking the season off. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to being in the stadium, and the whole fans factor and the opportunity for our people to go crazy for the Seahawks. Of course, we need to play well to really get them roused up. And that’s our goal, to get in there and play really good football.” – Carroll