The Seattle Seahawks worked for about an hour and half outside in a steady drizzle at the VMAC, with a group of new players working to get familiar with the team’s new schemes
Head coach Pete Carroll said after practice that Justin Forsett will get the start, but that Leon Washington and Julius Jones also will get time and the starting job remains open competition.
Carroll also ruled that rookie offensive tackle Russell Okung (high-ankle sprain) will not play this week. Right now Seattle’s left tackle options are Chester Pitts and Tyler Polumbus, who both split time with the first unit today.
Pitts, who hasn’t played in a game in nearly a year, remains a question mark this week, leaving a player the Denver Broncos discarded last week as a very real option to protect Matt Hasselbeck’s blindside against an aggressive San Francisco defensive front on Sunday.
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As far as the several roster moves Seattle made over the weekend, Carroll said it should not affect his team’s ability to focus on San Francisco this week.
“It could challenge us if we focused on the wrong stuff,” Carroll said. “But we know that the guys that we have who have been working with us are the guys we’ve been counting on. And the other guys, we’ll bring then along as we can.”
Running back Julius Jones addressed the speculation that he would not be with the team this weekend. Jones said he received several texts and phone calls from family and friends wondering about his status with the team, but ultimately had to focus on getting ready for this week’s game against the Niners.
“My weekend went business as usual, just like practice went business as usual today,” Jones said. “So everything you guys heard was false, man. I got a lot of phone calls and a lot o text messages, but I’m still here”
Receiver Mike Williams has changed his number from No. 1 to No. 17. He said he has not been told that he will start on Sunday, but worked with the first group today. Williams also addressed the potential pressure the young receiving group will feel with T.J. Houshmandzadeh gone.
“I think that pressure would be the same if he were here, if he wasn’t here,” Williams said. “Especially with the theme around here – you all have been around here long enough to know – competition. Things are going to change and you’re really going to have to compete and make plays, on a personal level and for our group, whether T.J. was here or whatever.
“He’s a good guy. We liked him and that’s not here or there for me to speak on. But I know the group we do have, and we’re just going to move forward and try to ease that pressure you’re talking about as best as possible.”
New offensive coach Pat Ruel talked to reporters after practice, saying he “felt like a girlfriend that got left behind,” when he was not invited with the host of USC coaches that came and joined Seattle’s coaching staff.
“There was no hard feelings,” he said. “There were other gigs out there.”
Carroll said that Art Valero will run things with the offensive line for the time being, with Ruel playing catch up. And the Seahawks will continue to implement the zone blocking scheme, the same blocking scheme Ruel ran when he was at USC.