Here's some notes from Jim Mora's Wednesday press conference.
The biggest question will be is to see how Sean Locklear reacts to practicing for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain. He’ll be limited in practice, but he will be out there.
"I need to see him function at a high level by Friday. We'll work him into it rather slowly. Today he'll be individual stuff, installation stuff, maybe get him a few snaps here or there. Ramp it up tomorrow, ramp it up on Friday. It will be good to get him back on the field in a team environment then on the side."
Mora said that if Locklear is able to go, he would likely play left tackle, and Damion McIntosh would go to the bench.
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LB Will Herring won’t practice today. He had an injection (shoulder) and won’t practice today, but should be ready to go on Sunday. Today he'll be individual stuff, installation stuff
WR Ben Obomanu “seems to be doing pretty well” and the strained oblique is responding to treatment and “there’s a good chance” he should be ready on Sunday.
CB Ken Lucas will be limited but will get some reps.
S Jordan Babineaux is a little banged up and will be limited.
QB Matt Hasselbeck, who was hit a plethora of times on Sunday, is a little stiff and sore will practice, but will be limited in some aspects.
Other than LB Will Herring, we’ll have everyone out there doing something other than Will Herring.
Mora addressed the player moves and even though he mentioned sending a message to his team, the three moves weren't sending a message.
"These were football related moves," Mora said.
He was asked specifically why he cut Edgerrin James now, and not earlier or later ...
"In our attempt to get Louis Rankin some plays and a look and see if we can utilize the speed he has, see if he’s a legitimate possibility as a running in the NFL, you have to put someone down," he said.
Rather than ask Edgerrin James and man of his stature in this league to be inactive and relegate to a position on the scout team during the week, I felt the honorable thing was to let him go."
For all the things that Mora praised James about - professional, good in the locker room, hard worker at practice - the results just weren't there. Edge didn't produce on the field. He rushed for 125 yards on 46 carries and his longest run was 10 yards.
So what will Rankin's roll be? That hasn't been determined. He's going to return kicks that's for certain. While Rankin has very limited kick returning experience at least at the NFL level - six returns for 108 yards and a long of 23 yards for Oakland this season - Mora still thinks he can be effective there.
"It's more of a hunch. I see his speed and I recognize his elusiveness when he's running on the scout team," Mora said. "He looks like a guy with some open space that a kick off returner has can make some things happen.
Momentary interjection of my personal opinion: Is he talking about the same guy, who was cut by the Raiders, and the same guy I didn't exactly see as a game changer when he played for the Huskies? Honestly, is this where the depth and talent level of the this team, particularly the running back position has fallen that they are getting this excited about Louis Rankin? Ok back to the press conference.
When asked about the running back rotation works and will either Rankin or Justin Forsett get the one series of snaps each half that James was getting, Mora was non-commital.
"That has not been decided yet," he said. "I thought Julius Jones played his best game for us Sunday. I liked the way he hit the hole. I though he hit it with aggressiveness, broke some tackles. I thought his vision was good. If he’s running well, then he might continue to be the guy. So we haven’t decided that yet. But we want to see Louis get some touches."
Mora said we will be seeing more of Nate Burleson at punt return. Forsett has had his issues in recent weeks, but Mora said it's more of getting Burleson more opportunities to touch the ball (providing he doesn't fumble it or drop it like last week).
"We think he has the potential to make game-changing plays as the punt returner," Mora said.
Mora was asked to comment about the emotional outbursts of T.J. Houmandzadeh and Deion Branch, he said he talked to both and is "comfortable with where they are at."
Would be making as big of a deal out of this stuff if the Hawks were 5-2 instead of 2-5, probably not. But when things are going wrong, this stuff get noticed and scrutinized a little more. It's understandable. Mora of course just kind of labeled it as competitive behaviors.
"It's frustration. I think they are both very competitive people. When you are dealing with 53 plays, there is diverse personalities. What you are always striving for and what we're striving for and trying to ingrain in this team is a sense of selflessness. Because I think that's what the best teams have. We're always searching for that. It's never going to be perfect and it's hard to get it perfect, especially when you are going through a rough patch. You certainly keep your eye on situations like that. Because if you ignore them it could lead to a critical error. But I also think it's important that you don't overreact to them. You monitor them, and we certainly do that.
"I know this about both of those men. They work hard. They compete. Tehy care about the team. When you pull out the comments and look at them on their own, sometimes they don't look great, but when you look at everything they say, they are competitive guys that care about winning."
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