Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said in his Monday news conference that center Chris Spencer very well could be placed on injured reserve. Holmgren said they were going to wait a few days to make sure, but he certainly sounded as if they knew what was wrong with his back -- disc problem -- and that he likely is not going to be able to come back.
Same could be true for Mike Wahle. Holmgren said last week that Wahle should be able to play against the Patriots. But today he said that his shoulder is not responding the way they think it should, and if that too is going to be a long-term thing they are likely to place him on IR as well. It sounds like the Spencer decision is more immediate though since they don't have anyone besides Manny Wrotto to back him up.
With all the news about the offensive line -- Walter Jones is nursing a leg injury and won't practice this week but will play -- Matt Hasselbeck was asked if he has thought about shutting it down this year, to save his health. He said no. He said you have to have tunnel vision in this case and just keep playing. I asked him if he would reconsider if Walter actually decided to shut it down. Hass gave about a one-minute answer praising Walter but never answered the question. When I asked him to actually answer the question, he said he would not shut it down, but he wanted to say how much he appreciated Walter. He did admit that it was tough playing behind a makeshift line, mostly because he has not practiced with the guys standing in. Not to knock those players, he said, but he acknowledged there is a reason that the other guys are starters, after all.
Leroy Hill also may be out of the New England game. He had the stinger against the Cowboys. Holmgren said he has not returned to full strength and his injury is "problematic." D.D. Lewis will start if Hill cannot go.
Somebody asked me earlier about a report that John Marshall will be fired before the season is over. I have not seen the report, but Marshall wandered into the locker room while we were talking to players, so he has not been fired. I asked to speak with him but was told that he was speaking on Wednesday.
Holmgren addressed some of the stuff coming out of the locker room after the Dallas loss regarding Marshall's scheme. He said that he thinks it was the frustration from the loss boiling over and that it was a natural reaction to that. He said it is easy in hindsight that when a certain scheme does not work to go back and say we should have done something else. He also said, however, that when players say things, the coaches sometimes need to take into account what they think will work, and they may do that this week. But, he said, he can also show the players 10 instances at least this season of the defense blitzing, not getting to the QB and the cornerback being burned deep. Basically, I think he agrees that they should have pressured more, but he thinks the players should take some responsibility for failing to execute the game plan that was in.
Holmgren re-iterated that he is not going to play younger players in place of veterans. He said he told the players that they are playing the last four games to win. He said again that there is really not a diamond in the rough that they need to groom. They know what they have and they are not going to cash in the season. The one tangible change he said he may make is getting T.J. Duckett more involved in the running game.