Pete Carroll said today after practice that starting quarterback Tavaris Jackson will start on Thursday and play a handful of plays against San Diego. However, other free agents like receiver Sidney Rice and offensive guard Robert Gallery will have to be evaluated in terms of conditioning to make sure they are ready.
Also, receiver Mike Williams suffered a sprained toe on Monday and did not finish practice today. Williams likely will not play on Thursday.
“It’s not real serious but it’s enough to bother me,” Carroll said. “It’s a stretch to think he’ll be ready to play. I think we’re probably going to hold him out.”
Carroll said once they determine conditioning levels for all of the players, everyone that is healthy will play.
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“We’re going to play everybody that can go,” Carroll said. “We have a schedule for how we’re going to play them, and how many plays and all of that, to varying degrees depending on their conditioning, what we think they can handle and what they need, too.
“It’s an unusual start. This is an unusual first game, with kind of the different levels guys have come to camp, and the time that they have been here. But we’re figuring it out, and we’ll make the most of it.”
Although Jackson will start on Thursday with the rest of the first unit offense, Carroll did not say how long they would play. But other than Jackson playing just a series, I would suspect we might see the rest of the first unit offense and defense for about a quarter on Thursday, longer than traditional one series we generally see from starters in a first preseason game.
“I don’t want to wait a whole other cycle to get the process started,” Carroll said about Jackson starting. “He’ll get out there for just a handful of plays.”
Carroll said part of what has made it harder to determine how much a player will play is the different level of conditioning for each guy, because the team had no offseason program.
Further, even though the Seahawks have had no two-a-day practices with full pads, Carroll said guys are still getting dehydrated, especially the big guys, which is a sign that the players are not where they need to be in terms of conditioning.
“We’ve had a number of guys gas out on us, and it’s basically the big guys,” Carroll said. “And those big guys that didn’t have the offseason program to push them, and the guys around them to kind of maintain the standards of the conditioning, they’ve suffered a little bit in that regard, so we have to be real careful with those guys.”
Defensive end Red Bryant did not practice again today and will not play on Thursday. Carroll again reiterated that Bryant is okay, but they are taking a cautious approach, and the plan is to get him going again on Saturday for the team’s first practice after the San Diego game.
“We feel like we’ll rest him all the way through the game, and these last, three games will be enough to get him back,” Carroll said. “He’s OK. He’s not hurt. He just has a little wear and tear from the first time back at this level.”
Some tidbits from practice
* Leon Washington continues to shine during camp. He made several play in the running and pass game today, showing a quick burst in the opening field and great anticipation of where the hole was going to open up on the zone stretch play.
But Washington’s most impressive play was a pancake block on blitzing rookie linebacker Malcolm Smith in pass protection.
Carroll said Washington will continue to return kicks and punts as they try to get him more involved in the offense.
* Rookie cornerback Byron Maxwell showed up again today, making two interceptions, one at corner and as the Will linebacker in nickel.
“He’s been really special the last, two or three days now,” Carroll said. “It was about three days back when he started making things happen. He looks very competitive. He’s tough. He’s tackled well. He’s got a nose for the football. He’s really bright. He’s really picked things up. He’s right in the mix with the young corners now.”
Maxwell did get admonished by Carroll on Monday for knocking third team quarterback Josh Portis down on a blitz. It’s a no-no to hit the quarterback during practice, and one of the reasons they where a red jersey.
“You kind of don’t want to teach them too fast because you love the aggressiveness and you don’t want to take it out of them,” Carroll said. “So it’s kind of a fine line we walk, but we’re getting there.”
* Rookie receiver Kris Durham (hamstring strain) and defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer (neck stinger) did not practice today and will not play on Thursday. Defensive lineman Ryan Sims has a swollen knee and is day-to-day, so he could play on Thursday.
* Linebacker Aaron Curry and running back Thomas Clayton returned to practice today.
* Center Max Unger looked better in one-on-one pass protection, holding his own against Junior Siavii.
* Practice had a much quicker tempo today, with the offense getting up to the line quickly and going on first sound. They still had several off sides today.
* Rookie undrafted free agent running back Chase Reynolds has taken some vicious blows as the scout team running back, but he’s shown some toughness in getting back up and getting back in the huddle. And he made a couple nice catches out in the flat today.
* Earl Thomas had another interception today.