A recap of the day’s activities:
The pitcher, but also the catcher. Charlie Whitehurst put in his final full practice today in preparation for his first NFL start on Sunday against the New York Giants at Qwest Field. And he got to throw to leading receiver Mike Williams, who was back after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday to rest a bruise just above his knee.
“It’s a timing thing,” Williams said after practice. “I hadn’t practiced all week, so to get out there today just to get adjusted to the speed. Charlie’s throwing the ball a little different, it’s coming out fast with a lot more zip.
“It almost will knock you over.”
The amped-up Whitehurst is starting because Matt Hasselbeck has been ruled out due to the concussion he got while being sacked a career-high eight times in last week’s loss to the Raiders in Oakland.
While Whitehurst prepares as if he’ll play every week, this week he has prepared knowing he’ll be the starter.
“Charlie had an excellent week and is really excited – and so is the team,” coach Pete Carroll said. “They’ve seen him really respond. He’s been solid forever. But knowing that this is what’s at hand and all, he responded beautifully and had a great week and so we’re pumped up going into the weekend about it.”
Speaking of that excitement, his teammates realize this is Whitehurst’s first chance to show what he can do in a regular season game, after not throwing a pass in four seasons with the San Diego Chargers and his first seven games with the Seahawks.
“We’re excited for him,” Williams said. “As an offense and I really think as a team, we’re excited for him. In our (meeting) room, in our group, we’re excited to get out there and make plays for him. We know we’ve got to go kind of above and beyond. Not saying he’s not capable or anything like that, but I know how I was in my first game.”
Getting Williams back can only help Whitehurst. The 6-foot-5 receiver leads the club with 33 receptions – 13 more than tight end John Carlson – and 21 of those came in the team’s two-game winning streak. Against the Raiders, he was limited to one catch because of his sore leg.
“Nothing new,” Williams said. “I’ve kind of had something every week. So this is just something else. But I appreciate the guys kind of giving me a little time to heel up and get a little better.”
Backup QB. At some point, Zac Robinson will be signed off the practice squad to serve as Whitehurst’s backup in Sunday’s game. The rookie from Oklahoma State has spent the first seven games on the sideline, in street clothes.
“When you play football, you want to be out there,” Robinson said. “You don’t want to be in street clothes on the sideline. So I’m definitely excited and looking forward to it.”
In an ideal world, Robinson will remain on the sideline – in uniform. But every time his name, and situation, has come up this week, it has been followed by the obvious, “He’s one play away.”
Just like Whitehurst last week, when came to finish the Raiders game for the concussed Hasselbeck.
“Who knows?” Robinson said. “I’ve got to be ready, I know that. I feel good about the game plan. The past four or so weeks, I’ve started to get comfortable in the offense. So I studied a lot this week, because you never know.”
ON THE FIELD
The players practiced for 75 minutes on a day when the weather cool and cloudy – or 180 degrees from the warm, sunny conditions on Wednesday and Thursday.
Early in practice, at the conclusion of the special teams segment, rookies Dexter Davis and Kam Chancellor went to the middle of the huddle and got jiggy as the other players provided the rhythmic handclapping.
On back-to-back plays later in practice, strong safety Lawyer Milloy made an interception and cornerback Marcus Trufant forced a fumble.
The official end-of-the-week status report, as released by the team:
QB Matt Hasselbeck (concussion)
DT Colin Cole (ankle)
WR Golden Tate (ankle)
OT Russell Okung (ankle)
DT Brandon Mebane (calf)
OT Tyler Polumbus (knee)
RB Michael Robinson (hamstring)
WR Mike Williams (knee)
Chester Pitts missed practice to attend a funeral. He is scheduled to return tonight and will start at left tackle in Sunday’s game. Mike Gibson will start at left guard for Pitts, who slides outside due to the injuries to Okung and Polumbus.
On Okung, Carroll said, “Russell is as doubtful as you can get, but you never know.” Polumbus’ status will be a game-day decision, Carroll said. If Polumbus is available, he would serve as a backup.
Mebane, who has missed the past three games, got limited work the past two days and he’s also a game-day decision. If he can’t play, Craig Terrill will start, because Kentwan Balmer has moved to end to replace Red Bryant, who had season-ending knee surgery on Thursday. Junior Siavii will start at nose tackle for Cole.
Robinson has been out all week and Carroll said the status for the team’s fullback is in the Okung category.
For the Giants:
OT Will Beatty (foot)
RB Madison Hedgecock (hamstring)
C Shaun O’Hara (foot)
WR Darius Reynaud (hamstring)
OT Kareem McKenzie (illness)
DE Dave Tollefson (illness)
DE Osi Umenyiora (knee)
LB Gerris Wilkinson (hand)
STAT DU JOUR
The Giants allowed an average of 136.7 rushing yards in their first three games, but have trimmed that to 47.0 during their current four-game winning streak.
The players will have a walk-thru Saturday morning to continue their preparation for Sunday’s game.
Fans attending the game are asked to donate nonperishable food items or money to the Seahawks’ annual Tackle Hunger drive to benefit Northwest Harvest.
YOU DON’T SAY
“We’re not doing anything different than what we do. We’re calling on the special teams to control their aspect of the game and make things happen. We’re calling on the defense to do the same thing. We’re not going to change because our quarterback situation changed. We’re going to do what we know how to do and see if we can create some magic in the stadium again and work with the crowd and make the kind of atmosphere that gives us the games we’ve had in there. If we play like we’ve been playing here, then it’s going to be really hard on anybody that comes in.” – Carroll