Williams called on to bolster Seahawks' thin offensive line
ERIC D. WILLIAMS; The News Tribune
RENTON – They total nine career starts between them, and Kyle Williams and Steve Vallos likely will be facing one of the best defensive linemen in the game in Arizona’s Darnell Dockett when the Seattle Seahawks face the Cardinals at Qwest Field on Sunday.
Seahawks coach Jim Mora said Friday that veteran offensive tackle Damion McIntosh, added this week, had done a nice job picking up the team’s offensive system in a short period of time but Seattle would go with fourth-string tackle Williams as the Sunday starter.
And Mora said either Vallos or Mansfield Wrotto would start at left guard. Vallos, the team’s backup center, subbed for Wrotto in the first half last week when Wrotto injured an ankle. Wrotto recovered from the injury this week and is healthy, but Mora said he likes Vallos’ ability to communicate on the front line alongside Williams and center Chris Spencer.
“To have Steve’s expertise in terms of calling protections and the things that he learned being a center,” Mora said. “That’s an added bonus for that position at left guard.”
Vallos started the last five games of 2008 at center along with the first two games this season with Spencer out injured, and has served as a backup at guard and center for Seattle.
With three projected starters out on the offensive line – Walter Jones (knee), Sean Locklear (ankle) and Rob Sims (ankle) – and none expected to be available until after the bye week for the Nov. 1 game at Dallas, the Seahawks only have seven offensive linemen available.
For Vallos, it would be his first career start at left guard, and he understands things won’t be easy going against the Cardinals’ top-ranked run defense. But he also understands the importance of protecting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who’s still nursing cracked ribs in only his second start back from the injury.
“Playing center really helps make playing guard a lot easier,” Vallos said. “We’re so down on guys right now that we need everybody to be able to play just about every position. ... We’ve just got to go out and do our jobs. We know our assignments. I mean, they’re a great defensive front. But I think we proved last week with a lot of guys out we can still get the job done, so hopefully we can go out there and do it again.”
Housh gets extra reps
Asked why he took extra reps with the scout squad this week, wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh found a new way to ask for the ball, joking that he had a better chance of getting the ball thrown to him during scout-squad reps.
“I’m just trying to get the ball, man,” Houshmandzadeh said. “So I think I can get the ball a little more on scout team. I’m trying to earn my money one way or the other, man. If they don’t want to make me earn it on Sunday, I’ll earn it during the week.”
Joking aside, pressed further on the scout-squad reps, Housh talked about not liking what he saw when he watched video from earlier weeks of him running routes, and wanted to improve on that this week.
“I looked at the film, and my thought was if I was watching myself and I had to cover me, watching the film I would probably be like, ‘Yeah, I can cover this guy,’ ” he said. “And I didn’t like the way I looked, so I actually feel pretty good now. I haven’t felt like this probably since the opening of training camp.”
Houshmandzadeh also commented on Rush Limbaugh being part of an ownership group seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams. Limbaugh was dropped from the group this week.
“What would make him think like with the majority of the league being African American players that guys would like be cool with him owning a team?” Houshmandzadeh said. “ ... In America, when you’ve got the money that he has, he probably felt like it didn’t matter. But it’s obviously not going to happen now. But it was odd, to say the least.”
Mora did not say that cornerback Ken Lucas
will start on Sunday, appearing to not want to speak for Lucas and wait see how he handles things after his father’s funeral service in Mississippi on Friday. ... Ben Obomanu
got a game ball for his play on special team last week. Matt Hasselbeck
(offense) and Darryl Tapp
(defense) also got game balls. ... Patrick Kerney
(groin) should be able to play, Mora said. Hasselbeck (ribs), Nate Burleson
(back), Lawrence Jackson
(ribs), Cory Redding
(shoulder), Wrotto (ankle) and Travis Fisher
(pelvis) were full participants in practice Friday and are probable for Sunday.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437