Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll chose to sit several key starters in order to make sure they were healthy for next week.
They included QB Matt Hasselbeck, DB Marcus Trufant, RB Leon Washington, SS Lawyer Milloy, LB Lofa Tatupu, LB Leroy Hill, LB David Hawthorne, LB Aaron Curry, OT Chester Pitts, OT Ray Willis, OT Russell Okung, WR Deion Branch, WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, TE Chris Baker, TE Anthony McCoy, TE John Carlson, DE Kentwan Balmer and DE Nick Reed
“We prepared like we were getting ready to play, and then we let guys know who was going and who wasn’t for the most part,” Carroll said. “And hopefully that will work out for us.”
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Carroll did play the starting offensive line for at least a half, with Mansfield Wrotto working at left tackle, Mike Gibson working at left guard, Chris Spencer working at center, Max Unger working at right guard and Sean Locklear working at left tackle.
The second unit offensive line included Wrotto, Steve Vallos at left guard, Ben Hamilton at center, Mitch Erickson at right guard, and Tyler Polumbus at right tackle.
The only injury Carroll had to report was cornerback Cord Parks hurt his shoulder on one of his kickoff returns. Parks finished with 141 return yards, including a long of 54 yards.
And Louis Rankin had a 99-yard return for a score in the third quarter.
Even though Seattle finished 1-3 in preseason play, Carroll believes his team is ready.
“Tons and tons of stuff have happened in these four weeks,” Carroll said. “And we’ve learned so much, but we have a long ways to go and plenty of football left. So we have a chance to play great ball as the season starts.”
Receiver Deon Butler had another good game, finishing with seven catches for 85 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown.
“Deon Butler was really on fire tonight,” Carroll said. “He’s had a great season. He is by far the most improved player on the offensive side of the ball. He really is a factor, and I’m really excited about that.”
Butler said he’s just feels more comfortable in his second season.
“Now that I went through a season I know I can do it,” Butler said. “So now it’s more about being comfortable and making plays. I’m more comfortable out there and not as uptight as I was last year. So I’m more relaxed and just letting the game come to me.”
Along with resting key starters, Carroll said it was important for Charlie Whitehurst to get the start and work at least a half. Whitehurst finished 11 of 22 for 210 yards and a touchdown, finishing with a passer rating of 98.7. Whitehurst had three completions of 30 yards or more, showing nice touch and placement on the deep ball.
“I felt we made some good plays down the field,” Whitehurst said. “I thought that some of the deep balls were nice catches. I know Deon Butler made a nice catch on his. So it makes it easier for the play caller to call those plays when you make it down field.”
Carroll liked the way Whitehurst played.
“Charlie had a great preseason for us, save for a couple picks that he threw,” Carroll said. “He really had a very good preseason. And he’s Seahawk now. He knows what he’s doing. And he understands that he can run the offense. And we feel very confident that he can come in and help us if we need him.”
Carroll said in terms of the running back rotations, he didn’t want to put Leon Washington back out there coming off the compound fracture with the short week, so Julius Jones and Justin Forsett got most of the carries. Jones finished with 18 yards on six carries, while Forsett finished with 31 yards on six carries.
With Josh Wilson being traded to Baltimore two days ago, rookie Walter Thurmond played a lot against Oakland.
“He learned some stuff tonight,” Carroll said about rookie Walter Thurmond, who got the start at cornerback with Marcus Trufant resting. “He has really played a bunch of plays. He’s played more than any of the corners. We really are excited about him. We wanted to just get him out there and play a bunch of football. A lot of stuff that we can look at and evaluate and learn from. And we’re counting on him to play here.
Thurmond said that even though he got beat a couple times, he understand that is going to happen at this elite level of competition, and the most important thing to do is forget about it and concentrate on the next play.
“It’s very important, especially at this level of competition,” Thurmond said. “Everyone is really good. And so if you keep lingering on the last play, you’re going to mess up on your technique and mess up on the coverage. And you can’t let that happen.”