For the first time in a month, rookie offensive tackle Russell Okung will line up as the starting left tackle for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Coach Pete Carroll announced the news to reporters after practice Friday, saying that – barring any setbacks – the Oklahoma State product was set to start against New Orleans.
“Russell practiced very well today, went with the first group the whole time, and he’s prepared to start,” Carroll said. “That’s a real good sign for us – we like that. We’ll see how he does and how he looks tomorrow coming off this practice, but he’s got a real good chance to start for us.”
Okung missed Seattle’s previous three games with a high-ankle sprain in his left leg, which he injured on the first series against Arizona on Oct. 24. Okung has played only one full game so far this season, missing the first three after suffering a high-ankle sprain in his right leg during Seattle’s second exhibition game.
On Sunday, the Seahawks will finally get to see their projected left side of the line at the beginning of the season in action, with Chester Pitts getting his second straight start at left guard.
“We needed a great week of preparation to have a chance against this team, and I’m pleased with what has happened here,” Carroll said.
Carroll said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who has been practicing with a splint to protect a broken left wrist, came through the week OK and will start Sunday.
“He had a great week,” Carroll said “We really did it just right. Even when you go back to the week he missed, that helped him physically, and you can see it. He’s throwing the heck out of the football today.”
For the first time during the regular season, the Seahawks did not make a roster move this week. They’re focusing on playing their best in the final seven games in hopes of qualifying for the postseason.
Seattle still leads the league with 251 transactions since the beginning of the season.
“We’re trying to manage the roster,” Carroll said. “There’s things that happen, and there’s things that we’re talking about every day. But we’re at a point where we’re really depending on the roster we have, unless we have issues that we have to solve. We’re pretty settled in.”
That pleases veteran safety Lawyer Milloy, who committed to play one more season with his hometown team but didn’t want to hear any talk about rebuilding. With the Seahawks sitting atop the NFC West standings at 5-4, the 37-year-old Tacoma native is looking to win now.
“Our organization has been very aggressive getting guys in here with all the moves that we’ve had,” Milloy said. “And to not only build for the future but to get us competitive right now. And you’re starting to see it pay off, especially on the offensive side. They’ve had a lot more movement than we’ve had on the defensive side, and you’re starting to see that continuity.”
Safety Earl Thomas was not at practice on Friday, leaving early to attend a memorial service back home in Texas. Thomas will meet the team in New Orleans. … Carroll said receiver Brandon Stokley (calf), who was a limited participant in practice for the first time this week on Friday, still could play. Stokley was downgraded to questionable last week after suffering a calf injury during practice the Friday before the game against Arizona. He’s doubtful for Sunday … Also listed as doubtful are fullback Michael Robinson (hamstring) and receiver Golden Tate (ankle). Offensive lineman Mike Gibson (ankle), defensive tackle Colin Cole (ankle) and tight end Anthony McCoy (knee) are out.