Seahawks hand ball to Wallace for Tampa Bay
Renton – The Seattle Seahawks will roll out their third different starting quarterback in six games on Sunday at Tampa Bay.
After the team’s Friday practice, Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren announced that backup quarterback Seneca Wallace will get the starting nod over third-string quarterback Charlie Frye, replacing injured starter Matt Hasselbeck, who remains out with back issues.
It will be Wallace’s first start since Nov. 19, 2006, a 20-14 loss at San Francisco. Wallace finished 2-2 as a starter in 2006 while filling in for Hasselbeck, who was out with a sprained ligament in his right knee. Wallace could not go last week because of a strained calf muscle he suffered two weeks ago.
Frye started his first game for Seattle and struggled in the team’s 27-17 loss to Green Bay last week, finishing just 12-of-23 for 83 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Frye also was sacked three times.
Holmgren said Wallace is much better than he was two years ago.
“Yeah, he has (come a long way), in just his understanding and the mastery of the offense,” Holmgren said. “The hard part of it is, he’s got some new folks he’s throwing the ball to, that’s one thing. And then, you always get better when you’re playing. And he didn’t get much of a chance to play very much last year. One side is good, and one side is, I think he wishes he’d played more.”
Wallace is a step up from Frye because of his mobility, accuracy and knowledge of the offense. Wallace has been with Seattle for six seasons, while Frye joined the club just last year.
“They both give you everything they got,” Holmgren said. “I’m comfortable with both. But I think I can call a few more things with Seneca. That’s my feeling. Now, Charlie would probably argue with me on that, but Seneca’s been with us longer. That’s the main thing.”
Wallace said his calf is fine, meaning he should have his running skills at his disposal Sunday. Wallace has been polite but curt when talking to reporters this week, and seems to be taking a serious approach to Sunday’s game.
“I’m not sitting up here jumping up and down,” Wallace said about getting his first start in nearly two years. “We’ve still got to go out there and win a ballgame.”
At 1-4, the Seahawks are hoping Wallace can spark Seattle’s sluggish offense. In 2006, when Wallace started four games and played in eight, he completed 58 percent of his passes, throwing eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.
More than anything, Wallace should give Seattle’s offense and better chance to move the ball and keep the Seahawks’ defense off the field. Last week Seattle was 4-of-11 on third down and had five drives of three plays and out.
“Everybody knows what a phenomenal athlete Seneca is,” said wide receiver Bobby Engram. “But I think he’s really matured as a quarterback and being able to run this offense. Everybody on this team has tremendous confidence in him”
WR McMullen breaks finger
Free-agent pickup Billy McMullen is the latest Seattle wide receiver to catch the injury bug. McMullen suffered a compound fracture on his right pinkie finger in practice on Thursday and will miss Sunday’s game against Tampa. Holmgren said he doesn’t know when McMullen will return, but did not rule out that the injury could end McMullen’s season.
With McMullen out, only four receivers on the 53-man roster are available.
Jones, Morris splitting time?
Holmgren said he’d like to get running back Maurice Morris some more touches this week. Morris returned to action against Green Bay for the first time since suffering a sprained right knee against Buffalo in the first game of the season.
Morris had been named the starter to begin the regular season, but since Morris’ injury, Julius Jones seized control of the starting job. Jones ranks eighth overall in the league in rushing with 417 yards on 90 carries and two touchdowns, with a 4.6 per carry average.
Holmgren would like to see the carries even out as he envisioned at the beginning of the season.
“That sounded really good,” Holmgren said. “And on paper it looks pretty good, and it should work for us because they do a lot of similar things. But if a guy’s hot and playing well, whether it’s Julius or Mo, I’d probably leave them in for a little longer.”
Receiver Jordan Kent
will make the trip and should be on the active roster for Sunday. ... Holmgren said Sean Locklear
will get the start at right tackle, not Ray Willis
, although Willis will see time at right tackle. The two split reps during practice on Friday. “He brings a physical presence,” Holmgren said about Willis. “He’s a physical guy. That’s a little more about Willis than it is about Locklear.” ... Safety Deon Grant
practiced Friday and should play on Sunday. ... Holmgren is still undecided on whether linebacker Will Herring
will be activated this week. Herring was on the physically unable to perform list because of swelling in is knees and ankles. “We have three weeks to make the move, but if he’s feeling good, then why wait,” Holmgren said about Herring. ... Deion Branch
tried to go today but his bruised heel is still sore. However, Holmgren said Branch will go on the trip and they’ll test his heel Sunday. ... Tight end Will Heller
(knee) and Hasselbeck will not make the trip to Tampa Bay.