Seahawks taketh, but don’t giveth away ball
ERIC D. WILLIAMS; Staff writer
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll tells his players that it’s all about the ball – protecting it on offense and taking it away on defense.
So far the Seahawks have followed Carroll’s urging, finishing with a plus-1 turnover margin in the team’s 31-6 win over San Francisco. The Seahawks finished with two interceptions, with just one pick thrown by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
Seattle’s handling of the ball is much different than last season, when the Seahawks finished with minus-8 in turnover margin – tied for 26th in the 32-team league.
Hasselbeck’s play had a lot to do with that, as he threw a career-high 17 interceptions.
But Hasselbeck says he has adopted the mentality brought on by Carroll in taking care of the ball and keeping the mental mistakes to a minimum.
“It’s a huge emphasis,” Hasselbeck said. “I’m really just following Pete’s lead on that. That’s what is most sacred to him. So all of us that get to touch the ball, that’s got to be what’s most sacred to us.”
One area of emphasis Hasselbeck has focused on is better communication with his receivers. His communication issues last season with T.J. Houshmandzadeh were well-documented. Even though Houshmandzadeh led the team in receptions in 2009, the vocal receiver still felt like he was not involved enough early in games, and never developed a good on-field rapport with Hasselbeck.
With Houshmandzadeh now in Baltimore, Hasselbeck has continued to focus on opening communication lines with starting receivers Deion Branch and Mike Williams, along with third receiver Deon Branch and tight end John Carlson.
And that work appeared to pay off on Sunday against San Francisco, with Hasselbeck finishing 18 of 23 with two touchdowns for a 108.3 passer rating.
“It’s been much better than last year,” Hasselbeck said. “I think part of that is that we’ve been really hard on (the receivers). It’s been very competitive at that position and we’ve been very hard on them. We’ve also been together for a little bit and the work that we put in this offseason paid off.”
WROTTO RETURNS, UNGER GOES ON IR
The Seahawks made several roster moves Tuesday, the team’s off day, re-signing offensive guard Mansfield Wrotto and adding linebacker Leroy Hill to the active roster.
To make room, the Seahawks released cornerback Kennard Cox and placed offensive lineman Max Unger on the season-ending injured reserve list.
Unger, a second-round draft pick in 2009 out of the University of Oregon, damaged the big toe on his left foot during Sunday’s game.
Seattle also brought back cornerback Cord Parks, adding him to the practice squad, and released defensive back Ross Weaver.
Wrotto, who started two games during the exhibition season for Seattle at left tackle, was released by the team during final cuts but now returns to his more comfortable position of guard.