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  • Charles Humphreys
    Inside Slant The offensive line has been a bit of a mess during camp, a situation that has been more frustrating that troubling for the Seahawks. Coach Mike
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 11, 2004
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      Inside Slant

      The offensive line has been a bit of a mess during camp, a situation that
      has been more frustrating that troubling for the Seahawks. Coach Mike
      Holmgren expects to have his deepest and most talented line in six seasons
      in Seattle, but that won't happen until the regular season.
      LT Walter Jones, C Robbie Tobeck, RG Floyd Womack and T Wayne Hunter have
      missed all or part of camp for various reasons. Coaches moved RT Matt Hill
      into the starting spot on the left side for a recent scrimmage, with brutal
      results.

      "It's a frustration only because we're not playing with the guys I know
      we'll play with when the season starts," Holmgren said.

      Jones is skipping his third consecutive camp in protest of his contract
      situation. If the last two years were any indication, the Seahawks can count
      on Jones to show up for the regular season, when his franchise-player salary
      of $7.08 million kicks in.

      Tobeck picked a bad time to suffer a calf injury. The 34-year-old veteran
      hadn't missed a camp practice in years. And while he should return any day,
      backup C Dennis Norman looked pretty good in a recent scrimmage. Go ahead
      and pencil in Tobeck for the starting job this year, but don't be surprised
      if the job goes to a younger player at some point along the line.

      "You have to be real careful if you have a pretty close-knit, good group
      that works well together," Holmgren said. "Robbie and I have had this
      conversation before.

      "As long as a player is playing well, I don't look at his age. And Robbie
      had a really fine season last season."

      Womack is expected to challenge RG Chris Gray for the starting job, but
      first he'll have to play LT while Jones is away. That much became obvious
      after Hill struggled to play the role.

      Hunter might still emerge as Jones' eventual successor, but coaches are
      thinking about playing him on the right side for the time being. Hunter is
      rehabbing an injury to his left wrist, an injury he could more easily
      protect playing on the right side.

      While the offensive line struggled to get out of the gates this summer,
      other areas were looking better than anticipated. CBs Marcus Trufant and Ken
      Lucas have been absolutely dominant, while the depth at receiver has made
      for fierce competition.

      Some concerns are more troubling than the short-term instability of the
      offensive line. First-round DT Marcus Tubbs remains unsigned, while DE Grant
      Wistrom was sidelined for two weeks by a painful foot condition. MLB
      remained unsettled, although Solomon Bates has made some big hits.

      In another development worth watching, QB Seneca Wallace might be gaining
      the inside track on the third job after Brock Huard was sidelined by severe
      back pain.

      CAMP CALENDAR: Scrimmage was Aug. 7; camp breaks Aug. 25.

      NOTES, QUOTES

      -QB Matt Hasselbeck isn't getting as much rest as anticipated. Brock Huard's
      back troubles have left more reps for the other QBs.

      -Hasselbeck earned the nickname "Goldmember" after dying his hair a
      variation of blonde for camp. Seattle's balding QB planned to shave what was
      left of his hair, but his wife convinced him that a dye job would entertain
      their two young daughters. Teammates noticed, too.

      "The younger guys got a kick out of it," Hasselbeck said.

      -Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander said he expects Dolphins RB Ricky Williams to
      return next season.

      "I don't think the money is going to be it," Alexander said. "I think he's
      going to find something and realize, `You know what, I kind of had fun
      playing football.' And then he'll be back."

      -Chad Brown is back - for now. The former Pro Bowl linebacker has been
      practicing twice a day on his surgically repaired right foot. That's a big
      improvement over 2003.

      Brown is not yet out of the woods, however. The joint atop his foot remains
      a cause for concern.

      "The surgery was not as successful as we'd hoped it would be," Brown said.
      "There's a certain tolerance for gapping between those bones, and I'm way
      beyond that. The foot is not healed. It's better, and I've learned to deal
      with it, but it's not fixed. It's definitely something I have to deal with."

      QUOTE TO NOTE: "There have been two standout guys and we've been talking
      about them all camp as quarterbacks, and that's Marcus Trufant and Ken
      Lucas. To have two young corners that good right now, playing with
      confidence, is a huge, huge help for our team." - QB Matt Hasselbeck.

      STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

      BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Jerheme Urban vs. Alex Bannister for the No. 4 receiving
      job - The top three WR positions are set. Bannister is the incumbent fourth
      WR, but Urban is pushing him hard for the job. Urban, a former undrafted
      free agent from Trinity University, has made himself into a quality player.
      If he can keep it up, Seattle might have a new fourth receiver when camp
      breaks. Taco Wallace and Jason Willis are right behind Urban in the pecking
      order.

      OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Solomon Bates probably has the upper hand at MLB, but
      it's early. Orlando Huff and Niko Koutouvides still have time to win the
      job. ... Ken Lucas appears headed toward winning the starting job at RCB.
      That could change once Bobby Taylor returns from a sore knee, but right now,
      Lucas is looking like an All-Pro.

      PLAYER OF THE WEEK: CB Ken Lucas - Fellow CB Marcus Trufant has also been
      brilliant, but that's how first-round picks are supposed to look. Lucas is a
      former starter coming off a tough season, so his meteoric emergence has been
      a very pleasant surprise for Seattle. Not a day goes by without Lucas
      picking off a pass or making some kind of head-turning play.

      ROOKIE REPORT: DT Marcus Tubbs has yet to sign, so the first-round pick
      probably won't challenge for a starting job. ... SS Michael Boulware is
      working with the second unit for now. The team still hopes he can start as a
      rookie. ... G/T Sean Locklear is looking like a future starter. He's been
      much more solid than the average rookie. ... P Donnie Jones is losing his
      battle with veteran P Tom Rouen. ... D.J. Hackett was making some plays
      until injury troubles intervened. ... OL Isaac Herring faces long odds in
      earning a roster spot, but he's already the strongest player on the team.
      Herring benches 500, cleans 400 and squats 750. The 320-pounder also pumps
      out sets of 10 pullups while holding a 70-pound weight between his knees.

      INJURY REPORT: WR Koren Robinson (hip) started practicing Aug. 8. G/T Floyd
      Womack (calf), C Robbie Tobeck (calf), SS Michael Boulware (ankle) and CB
      Bobby Taylor could return at any time. DE Grant Wistrom (foot), OL Wayne
      Hunter (wrist), CB Jernaro Gilford (knee) and TE Ryan Hannam (knee) expect
      to return in mid-August. QB Brock Huard (back) hopes to return this week
      after receiving injections for back pain. LB Anthony Simmons (wrist) did not
      miss a practice after suffering the injury in the Aug. 7 scrimmage. FB Chris
      Davis (concussion) returned to practice Aug. 8. CB Kris Richard (ankle) was
      scheduled for an MRI and could miss some time. DE Anton Palepoi (hamstring)
      is day-to-day.
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