No surprises here. WR Deion Branch did not practice on Friday for the third straight day, and Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora said he’ll be a game-time decision. He's listed as questionable on today's injury report.
Branch ran wind sprints on the other practice field while the Seahawks worked on game-day preparation for the Rams.
Mora said he does not have a rule that players must practice at some point during the week to make it on the field on Sunday, and said he takes each situation on an individual basis.
However, Mora did say that having the player available over the long term of the season is the team's goal.
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If I had to bet I think Branch likely will not play on Sunday, which in the grand scheme of what Seattle wants to do this week probably will not play a significant role in terms of game planning.
The Seahawks have enough depth at receiver with Deion Butler and Ben Obomanu that they can get by without Branch for a game.
Branch is valuable in that he’s a guy you can count on to make plays if Nate Burleson or T.J. Houshmandzadeh are injured at any time during the season. I think the Seahawks have concerns with putting Butler or Obomanu in a role where they have to count on them to regularly make plays in the passing game, so Branch is your insurance policy at the receiver position. And you want your insurance policy to be ready to go when you need him.
CB Travis Fisher (hamstring) and DL Derek Walker (hamstring) also did not practice. Mora said Fisher is questionable and Walker is doubtful for Sunday. C.J. Wallace (ribs) returned to practice today and is listed as doubtful on the injury report.
You can listen to a snippet of the Mora conversation here.
For St. Louis, S Craig Dahl (hamstring) and T John Greco (hand) are listed as out. LB Larry Grant (knee) and QB Marc Bulger (finger) are listed as questionable, but indications from St. Louis is both will be ready to go on Sunday.
There was some good news in terms of the Seahawks getting healthy. Both Walter Jones and Chris Spencer worked with the training staff out on the field, running wind sprints and going through other footwork drills.
“We have to resist the urge to just throw them in there and make the right decision for them and for us as a team for the entire season,” Mora said. “And we’ll do that. We’ll do that for sure. But it’s nice to see them.”
And Marcus Trufant was in the weight room working out this afternoon, so he looks like he’s coming along.
Mora said he was pleased to see both Jones and Spencer working out, but also cautioned about bringing them back too early.
Some other tidbits.
• Mora said the team will choose between Justin Forsett, Nate Burleson and Ben Obomanu on who will return punts, depending on game situation. I think Forsett likely will be the regular guy, Burleson will be used if they need a big play and Obomanu, who is a little more sure handed, might be used in short-field situations.
• Mora said there’s still a concern with the depth at offensive tackle, but that he feels a little better about Brandon Frye there.
“While it’s not perfect, we feel OK about it,” Mora said. “I’m not going to tell you we feel great about. Shoot, the guy’s never been in a Seahawk uniform. But hopefully we won’t have to find out.”
• Mora said he and Gus Bradley will work together in calling the defensive plays, with Bradley taking over when Mora has to attend to his head coaching duties, and both being on the headset communicating with linebacker Lofa Tatupu on the field.
• He also said the reason why both offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and Bradley are on the field instead of in the booth because he likes having the coordinators on the field coaching the players, and that he feels the team has enough experience in the booth in terms of getting the coaching staff on the field the information they need to make adjustments.
“To have them disappear upstairs for the most important three hours of the week doesn’t make sense to me,” Mora said. “I think you need to be able to look your quarterback in the eye, or look your linebackers or defensive backs in the eye and talk to them, because they’re used to being able to hear your voice, instead of some voice in the headphone.”
Offensively, tight end coach Mike DeBord, quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor are in the coaching booth in the press box. And defensively, assistant defensive backs coach Larry Marmie, assistant defensive line coach Mike Phair and quality control coach Tom Headlee are in the booth.
• Mora said how much Julius Jones, Edgerrin James and Justin Forsett will carry the ball depends on how the game goes, but percentage-wise he diailed it in at 60 percent Jones, 30 percent Edge and 10 percent Forsett.
Mora said that could change if one of the running back gets into a rhythm and starts to perform well. Mora said that one back will not be designated the goal-line or short-yardage back, with the team using a guy based on the situation.
Fox Sports broadcasters Ron Pitts and John Lynch, in town to do Sunday’s game, were at practice as part of their pre-game workup to the game.
That’s all for now.