Mike Holmgren and his coaching staff continued to mix and match combinations of players during practice as a game approaches that likely will not see the starters last the entire time.
Rocky Bernard, Walter Jones and Deion Branch did not practice. Niko Koutouvides banged up his knee in practice, colliding with a teammate on a play where he tried to pull up and looked like he knocked knees with somebody. It did not look super serious, but the guy is the captain of the special teams and a very important player.
With Walter out, Pork Chop got most of the time at left tackle. Ray Willis was getting some time at right guard in place of Chris Gray. This Sunday's inactive roster will be interesting because, for instance, if Holmgren wants to get Willis some time he has to place somebody else on the inactive list. Perhaps Walter.
The wide receivers also were mixing and matching, with D.J. Hackett back and looking like he is close to full speed. Ben Obomanu had a dropped pass on a beautifully thrown ball by Matt Hasselbeck, everybody's knees buckling when the ball hit the ground.
We also spoke with Jim Mora, and he was very guarded (and probably well coached) about his return to Atlanta, from which he got fired last season. He essentially said he is looking forward to seeing some friends he made there, he has no hard feelings toward Arthur Blank or the organization and he has not followed super closely all the things the Falcons have gone through this year because he is so focused on the Seahawks' secondary. He also said he still has a foundation there that he has kept going, and 35-50 kids that the foundation supports will be at Sunday's game wearing Seahawks jerseys. They play in the Jim Mora flag football league.
Some good media catfighting after practice, when we were interviewing Matt Hasselbeck. A photographer from one of the papers was trying to get a shot of Hasselbeck, and a KJR producer who shall remain nameless but who goes by the moniker Josh Sabrowsky had his microphone in her way. She wanted him to move. He made a face at her. Vehement chastising ensued afterward. Good stuff. I guess Xmas is over.
Hasselbeck said he is planning to play the whole game though he knows he probably won't. He said he has been told that if they get up points early, he can rest sooner. Not that the Falcons are going to be a pushover, but obviously they have had their struggles. Compared to that game against Green Bay in 2005, he said they were basically handing off the ball on third and 9 both to give Shaun carries and to keep Hasselbeck's out of harm's way. Hasselbeck said he did not think that was the approach they were taking to this game.