There was a great deal of stuff to cover from Mike Holmgren's press conferenc today, including the news that right tackle Sean Locklear is not likely to play Sunday against Buffalo.
As he tends to do, Holmgren danced around the issue and said that Ray Willis will get most of the work this week. He said if it was the Super Bowl that Locklear would play, but he thinks they should smart about it and not push him too quickly.
Deion Branch will practice today, but he is not likely to play either. Holmgren said the next hurdle is getting Branch comfortable with what he has to do on the job given the severity of the knee injury. I got the sense that Holmgren did not know a timeline until Branch himself got the chance to see how he feels actually running routes.
Lofa Tatupu will not go full bore in practice but he will play and Holmgren expects him to have a great game. Tatupu, by the way, was named a defensive captain, along with Deon Grant. Matt Hasselbeck and Walter Jones were offensive captains. Lance Laury and DD Lewis were special teams captains.
Mo Morris will start at running back. Holmgren said he is not sure how he is going to handle juggling Mo and Julius Jones, whether Jones gets the start next week or not. He will sit on that one and see how it plays out. As far as technical stuff, Holmgren said you might be see more split backfield and less I-formation in the running game, but otherwise you won't see too much different.
Chris Spencer will start at center. Holmgren said his biggest concern is Spencer's conditioning, but he thinks his line calls are up to snuff (he didn't use that term, I just wanted to write it).
He said he is not sure who will return punts and kickoffs. It is something that scares him, especially with Justin Forsett, because of the fumble Forsett had in the last preseason game. Holmgren said he may have put too much pressure on Forsett in that game, but at the same time you want to see how players react in those situations. He said other candidates for those jobs are Marcus Trufant, Nate Burleson, Mo Morris, Seneca Wallace and Josh Wilson.
John Carlson will start at tight end and Lawrence Jackson will start at defensive end. Holmgren said both players are very talented but he fully expects them to make their fair share of youthful mistakes. He likes Carlson because he feels he can stretch the field from that position, though he said Jeb Putzier can do the same thing. That is what we have seen in practice thus far.
Regarding the difficulties the Seahawks have faced on the road on the East Coast in the past, he said they are making one change. They used to have a curfew at 11, which he said was not completely fair because it was 8 o'clock Seattle time. So he said they will set something up like a game room or a movie or something else to keep the players occupied and set the curfew back. When I asked what the new curfew is, Holmgren said, "It's later."
Holmgren said he feels the Seahawks are one of the teams that has a realistic chance at the Super Bowl. He said that some teams proclaim that but are not realistic. But he said he thinks it has been realistic for the past four or five years with the Seahawks, and that there is an argument over the past two years that they have been only a few plays away from the championship game.
Holmgren said Hasselbeck is fine and that while you would hope that he would get more snaps, he has been in the league long enough to make limited preseason play workable.
Regarding Rocky Bernard, he is not even allowed on the premises of the practice facility this week. Jordan Babineaux is. Holmgren said he didn't think the punishment fit the crime with Rocky. He said that the league is moving to a zero-tolerance level, which is not a bad thing, but there are extenuating circumstances in everybody's story, and Holmgren said he felt that Rocky's story was not on the same par as some of the other guys who got suspensions. He did not elaborate why. It would have been nice to have more documentation beyond the original police report so the general public could know the details of what the extenuating circumstances are, but short of getting Rocky or the victim to detail what happened, we'll probably never know. And even then the stories would have a bias.
Holmgren said that he personally has some work to put in in terms of calling the game because the running game is so different. Now, he doesn't have to worry about what players can or cannot do (a Shaun Alexander reference) but he does have to worry about different formations and combinations of players and so he has to get used to that aspect.
There is a chance I left some stuff out, but I think that pretty much covers it all. Practice starts in a few minutes, I'll blog after that, particularly regarding how Branch looked.