Dave Boling of The News Tribune writes about Seattle Seahawks rookie offensive tackle Russell Okung’s anticipated matchup with Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers. Of course, he does so without talking to the Oklahoma State product because of the offensive line’s ongoing policy of not talking to reporters, established when Alex Gibbs was the offensive line coach.
Boling notes that policy is in violation of the NFL media access policy, which states in part: “It is the club’s responsibility to deliver access to all players (during appropriate periods) and it is the player’s responsibility to cooperate. … It is not permissible for any group of players to boycott the media.”
Okung was drafted for games like this, although this is a tough “opportunity” for any rookie. The sixth player taken in the draft, he’s a cornerstone player for this franchise and represents a giant commitment to rebuilding an offensive line that has been a jumble of injuries and disappointment in recent seasons. Carroll assessed Okung at about “90 percent” healthy, and said that “his development is excellent for the time he’s been with us.”
“He’s such a gifted athlete at (tackle),” Carroll said. “His range of movement and quickness and the length that he has, and the wing span that he has – he looks like a special player to us and that’s why we drafted him where we did.”
Carroll said that Okung put his rehab time to good use, and he has learned the offense and benefited from his studies.
Okung politely dodged an interview request, in keeping with the offensive line’s media embargo. It’s a remnant of coach Alex Gibbs’ policy, which has been policed by veteran guard Ben Hamilton since Gibbs quit before the season.
I respected their approach and hadn’t talked to any of them until Wednesday, when Okung stood out as the most relevant story of the week for the Seahawks. Readers don’t care about media relations, so I divert here only to explain why a column on Russell Okung has no quotes from Russell Okung.
Receiver Deon Butler says it’s quieter in the meeting room with veterans Nate Burleson, T.J Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch gone, but he’s looking forward to the opportunity for more playing time now that he’s the starting flanker.
Greg Johns of Seattlepi.com talks to running back Marshawn Lynch, who says he feels like a rookie all over again.
Rod Mar of Seahawks.com offers these pictures from practice.
According to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Time-Picayune, former Seahawks running back Julius Jones is pleased to be in New Orleans.
Receiver Brandon Stokley joins KJR’s Mike Gastineau in this audio link.
Seahawks tight end John Carlson has his first child with wife Danielle, a boy named William Daniel Carlson.
Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune writes that placing tackle Chris Williams at left guard as he returns from an injury will cause the least disruption for the Bears offensive line. Free agent pickup Frank Omiyale remains at left tackle.
Matt Bowen of the National Football Post provides an inside look at Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s playbook.
David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune writes that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is back to normal after sitting out of last week’s game with a concussion.
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that even though the Bears are 4-1, they are still a work in progress.
St. Louis Rams
Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports rookie receiver Danario Alexander was signed off the Rams practice squad to the team’s active roster after Mark Clayton went down with a season-ending knee injury, and says he’s ready to contribute.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo is not fooled by the San Diego Chargers 2-3 record.
This very early look at the NFL playoff bracket by Yahoo Sports’ Shutdown Corner predicts the St. Louis Rams will win the NFC West.
San Francisco 49ers
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says former head coach Tony Dungy has offered current Niners head coach Mike Singletary some simple advice – Be yourself.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says former Niners quarterback Shaun Hill is pleased to be in Detroit instead of San Francisco. “It’s a mess out there,” Hill says.
Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports says a playoff berth may not be enough for Singletary to keep his job.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals defense needs to play the same way they did in a win over New Orleans in two weeks against Seattle.
More Somers: The Cardinals expect to get veterans nside linebacker Gerald Hayes and receivers Steve Breaston and Early Doucet back for the Seahawks in two weeks.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says the Cardinals have put their faith in 25-year-old rookie quarterback Max Hall.