It's clear the Hawks will benefit from getting some time off during the bye week, as a number of key players sat out Tuesday's practice. The most visible was center Max Unger, who wore a protective boot. While it looked serious, line coach Tom Cable said it was a problem with a foot that swelled up Monday morning. He said he was told to expect that Unger would be available for the Cleveland game after the bye.
Tarvaris Jackson (pec strain), Marshawn Lynch (ankle), Marcus Trufant (back), Mike Williams (concussion) Lemuel Jean-Pierre (shoulder), Robert Gallery (groin), Leroy Hill (hamstring) and Raheem Brock sat out. Since it's Tuesday and a bye week, the Hawks don't have to file any official injury reports with the league.
One Seahawk making a remarkable recovery is Cable, who has not missed a game despite a serious back surgery that implanted four rods and a "cage" in his back, as well as doing "a couple bone grafts," he said. Cable was coaching even while he was still in the hospital, connecting to the players through Skype from his bed. He said that the staff did a great job helping him stay involved in scheming the game plans, but kidded that they had to pay attention to his medication schedule as it might affect his clarity of thought.
Cable said it was an old injury "that all of a sudden got really bad." His choice, he said, was to lose the use of his left leg or go in and have the surgery. "It obviously worked," he said. "The incision is a big one, so the only real negative one left is just letting that heal up."
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Cable was delighted that the Hawks' offense has grown more balanced with a running attack, and also with the maturation of his young offensive line. "I told them going into (the Arizona game), 'You're not a bunch of kids anymore, you're NFL linemen now. So even though we have struggles, you’re ready for this; you have to believe you’re ready for this.' And I think they started to that week. Now it’s go out and take over a game, start growing the confidence it takes to succeeed ... and they’re doing that."
Charlie Whitehurst shared his thoughts on being thrust into the starter's role after Jackson's injury. He said he will just prepare as if he's the starter regardless of Jackson's recovery, and if he's needed, he'll be ready.
He said that the up-tempo and no-huddle approach has been important in their offensive growth, and in the advancement in the running attack. He said he had not had much chance to practice the no-huddle stuff as a back-up to Jackson last week. However, he added that he sometimes practices such things in his hotel room, lying in bed, calling out plays and formations to simulate various scenarios. "I often wonder if people can hear me through the walls."
He had a comment that showed that the productive play of rookie free agent receiver Doug Baldwin was hardly a surprise. "I thought the first few days of training camp we kinda had a smirk on our faces ... how in the world did we get this guy?"
For my money, Baldwin had the play of the day in one-on-one routes against Walter Thurmond. Thurmond showed impressive quickness sticking with Baldwin through a series of cuts, but when Baldwin reached the end zone, he leaned back, over his shoulder, and made a remarkable falling catch of a ball from Whitehurst.
The Hawks will practice again Wednesday before getting a break until next Monday.