Mike Holmgren still has not completely ruled out the return of Deion Branch, though Branch did not practice on Friday. While the team was in the bubble, Branch was on an outside field doing some individual stretching drills. I can't see how he would play, but who knows? Holmgren said that if he does play, it would be on a limited basis.
Meanwhile, Holmgren also would not commit to DJ Hackett starting, saying Nate Burleson may start. But Hackett has looked pretty good all week to me, and his timing with Hasselbeck has seemed pretty precise. As for Hasselbeck, there don't seem to be any lingering effects from his oblique injury. Holmgren said he did call any rollouts for Matt in practice this week, but his velocity looked good and I see him stepping into this throws.
Holmgren also said he thinks he is going to keep the current offensive line intact, though there is the possibility that Floyd Womack will be used. It was interesting, Holmgren said he was not using Pork Chop as a 300-pound sledgehammer to issue threats to guys or motivate them. He said that is not his M.O. Rather, if he does something it is because he means it. I'm not so sure I believe that statement, I think he knows exactly what he is doing, but that is what he says. I think he probably means that he is keeping things this way for now, but if the offensive line screws up against the Browns, he will not hesitate to insert Pork Chop during the game.
Holmgren also lectured the team on staying focused this weekend. The team is leaving today, meaning they get more than two days in Cleveland. Holmgren said he was speaking specifically to guys who have family and friends in the area. It is OK to see those people, but when Saturday afternoon rolls around, they need to leave the hotel and minds needs to be turned to football.
Game Balls were given to Darryl Tapp on defense, Will Heller on offense and Nate Burleson on Special teams.
Tapp, by the way, was not wearing the club that he has been wearing all week but a smaller protective device like a glove.
Marcus Pollard will not play this week for sure.
Just a reminder, which we all sometimes need, let's keep the discussion on the blog to football. Please avoid personal attacks or inappropriate language. We are all adults and I shouldn't have to spend the time to go through the comments like a school marm. This is for everyone's enjoyment, let's keep that in mind. Thanx