Pete Carroll said today after practice that starting quarterback Tavaris Jackson will start on Thursday and play a handful of plays against San Diego. However, other free agents like receiver Sidney Rice and offensive guard Robert Gallery will have to be evaluated in terms of conditioning to make sure they are ready.
Also, receiver Mike Williams suffered a sprained toe on Monday and did not finish practice today. Williams likely will not play on Thursday.
“It’s not real serious but it’s enough to bother me,” Carroll said. “It’s a stretch to think he’ll be ready to play. I think we’re probably going to hold him out.”
Carroll said once they determine conditioning levels for all of the players, everyone that is healthy will play.
“We’re going to play everybody that can go,” Carroll said. “We have a schedule for how we’re going to play them, and how many plays and all of that, to varying degrees depending on their conditioning, what we think they can handle and what they need, too.
“It’s an unusual start. This is an unusual first game, with kind of the different levels guys have come to camp, and the time that they have been here. But we’re figuring it out, and we’ll make the most of it.”
Although Jackson will start on Thursday with the rest of the first unit offense, Carroll did not say how long they would play. But other than Jackson playing just a series, I would suspect we might see the rest of the first unit offense and defense for about a quarter on Thursday, longer than traditional one series we generally see from starters in a first preseason game.
“I don’t want to wait a whole other cycle to get the process started,” Carroll said about Jackson starting. “He’ll get out there for just a handful of plays.”
Carroll said part of what has made it harder to determine how much a player will play is the different level of conditioning for each guy, because the team had no offseason program.
Further, even though the Seahawks have had no two-a-day practices with full pads, Carroll said guys are still getting dehydrated, especially the big guys, which is a sign that the players are not where they need to be in terms of conditioning.
“We’ve had a number of guys gas out on us, and it’s basically the big guys,” Carroll said. “And those big guys that didn’t have the offseason program to push them, and the guys around them to kind of maintain the standards of the conditioning, they’ve suffered a little bit in that regard, so we have to be real careful with those guys.”
Defensive end Red Bryant did not practice again today and will not play on Thursday. Carroll again reiterated that Bryant is okay, but they are taking a cautious approach, and the plan is to get him going again on Saturday for the team’s first practice after the San Diego game.
“We feel like we’ll rest him all the way through the game, and these last, three games will be enough to get him back,” Carroll said. “He’s OK. He’s not hurt. He just has a little wear and tear from the first time back at this level.”