The Seahawks have a short walkthrough practice this morning at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton before they leave this afternoon for Oakland. The final exhibition game is tomorrow at 7 p.m., one week to the day before Seattle hosts Green Bay to begin the NFL season.
The only starters who could benefit by playing more than a series tomorrow night are left tackle Russell Okung, center Max Unger, linebackers Malcolm Smith and Bobby Wagner and safety Kam Chancellor. The rest really don't need to play a down. Okung, coming back from toe surgery that wiped out his entire offseason, looked wiped out after the first drive last Friday against San Diego. Eric Winston had to replace him for most of the second drive before Okung returned with what appeared to be either a strong limp or even stronger fatigue for the final couple plays on the goal line of that drive. Then he and Unger (groin injury that sidelined him for a week this month) left the Chargers game for good.
Asked what he needs to be ready for the Packers Okung said: “Just reps, man. I gotta get real reps.”
Smith and Wagner have come back in the last two weeks from offseason ankle surgery and a three-week-old hamstring injury, respectively. Wagner returned to practice Monday and said he would like to have a practice game to get back into the flow of the defense before Green Bay. And Chancellor got sick in the heat during practice yesterday, showing that perhaps he still isn't in top condition following hip surgery in the spring. He made his preseason practice debut two weeks ago.
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Other than that, really, why play the other 17 starters at all?
One Seahawks veteran who is likely to play plenty in Oakland is O'Brien Schofield. He has been fantastic this month zooming off the ball and living in the backfields of the Broncos, Chargers and Bears. He told me yesterday it's been since his rookie year of 2010 in Arizona since he had six quarterback hits in a month, let alone the consecutive games he's had them against San Diego and Chicago. He's seemingly won the job as weakside pass-rushing end over 2013 summer star Benson Mayowa, who hasn't been bad this month.
Why is a fifth-year veteran so revved for this preseason and beyond? Schofield feels scorned. He had an $8 million payday from the New York Giants in free agency taken away by a doctor who failed him because he "showed signs" of arthritis in his left knee that was reconstructed in early 2010. I wrote about this in today's News Tribune.
A quote to cut and perhaps paste into the Seahawks' narrative later this season: “I mean, I know a lot of guys are hungry, but I don’t think they are feelin’ what I’m feelin’.
"There is going to be disruption."
--Today's Seahawks Notebook in the TNT details the NFL fining the Seahawks and coach Pete Carroll $300,000 and taking away two practices from their 2015 mandatory minicamp next spring for too much contact during the June 17-19 minicamp. The fight between cornerback Richard Sherman and wide receiver Phil Bates is what caught the attention of the league to review films of the minicamp's practices, and that's when the league found the violation. The fight wasn't the reason, it was the trigger that caused the NFL to look. As to who in particular urged the league to look deeper, I'm sure you have your theories.
Pro Football Talk goes into the CBA outlining the league could have fined the Seahawks more, but that apparently commissioner Roger Goodell chose a fraction of the maximum penalties.