RENTON – Sometimes, in the NFL, you’ve gotta coach hurt.
Tom Cable, the Seattle Seahawks’ assistant head coach and offensive line coach, has proved that during the past couple of weeks as he recovers from the serious and extensive back surgery that he underwent Sept. 26.
He’s back on his feet now, having progressed from coaching from his hospital bed via Skype, then from a flatbed golf cart, and then from a hard-backed chair.
“It’s an old injury that all of a sudden got really bad,” Cable said after Tuesday’s practice. “So the choice is either you lose the use of your left leg or you go get this done and now you can move forward. I feel great – it obviously worked. The incision is a big one, so that’s the only real negative left just letting that heal up.”
Cable did not know the name of the procedure but said: “I know there’s four rods in there and a cage and a couple bone grafts.”
“I don’t know what that means,” he said.
Cable’s dedication apparently has paid off. The Seahawks rallied in a narrow loss to Atlanta, then scored 36 points Sunday in an upset of the New York Giants.
He said the up-tempo offense that has been so effective was a product of trying to find an approach that would best work for the young offensive line, which he said has shown impressive maturation recently.
“I told them going into (the Arizona game), ‘You’re not a bunch of kids anymore, you’re NFL linemen now. So even though we have struggles, you’re ready for this. You have to believe you’re ready for this,’” Cable said. “And I think they started to (believe it) that week. Now it’s go out and take over a game, start growing the confidence it takes to succeed and they’re doing that.”
Cable is still walking tentatively between sessions, and he sighed a bit when asked about the team’s bye week.
“Comes at a good time,” he said.
Cable isn’t the only Seahawk who can use some rest.
The most surprising player who sat out Tuesday’s practice was center Max Unger, who wore a boot protecting what Cable called “a swollen foot.” The injury did not show up until Monday, Cable said.
“It doesn’t look to be too bad, and right now we should plan like we should have him (ready) next week,” Cable said.
The Seahawks travel to Cleveland following the bye.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (pec strain), running back Marshawn Lynch (ankle), cornerback Marcus Trufant (back), receiver Mike Williams (concussion), offensive lineman Lemuel Jean-Pierre (shoulder), guard Robert Gallery (groin), linebacker Leroy Hill (hamstring) and defensive end Raheem Brock sat out. Because it’s Tuesday and a bye week, Seattle did not have to file an official injury report.
No prognosis has been provided regarding Jackson’s recovery time. The injury, suffered when he ran the ball against the Giants, meant that Charlie Whitehurst was asked to come on in relief in the second half to secure the win.
Whitehurst said the uncertainty over Jackson’s injury would not affect his preparations.
“I’ll prepare like I’m the starter the next two weeks, and if they need me, I’ll be ready,” he said.
Whitehurst also said the up-tempo offensive approach “really helped us out; we’re running the football more effectively as well, and that helps the passing game.”
But as Jackson’s backup all season, Whitehurst has not been able to spend much time practicing with the starting unit. So, he polishes his skills whenever he can.
“You kind of do it in your hotel room, yourself,” he said. “You can kind of call some plays and make sure you call formation things correctly.”
In the hotel room?
“Sure, I’ve done that in bed. I often wonder if people can hear me through the wall.”
Jackson and Whitehurst have benefited from the surprising performance of undrafted rookie receiver Doug Baldwin, who had eight catches for 137 yards against the Giants.
Whitehurst won’t label Baldwin a surprise, though.
“The first few days of training camp, we kinda had a smirk on our faces. How in the world did we get this guy? I really like him. I think he’s improving; I think he’ll be better moving forward. I’m glad we have him.”
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com