Conference Call: Hasselbeck, Carroll

What did Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and coach Pete Carroll have to say Wednesday to the Chicago Bears media during their conference calls? JC was there and has the inside scoop.

Hasselbeck took Jones for granted at left tackle
Three-time Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselback is one of the few holdovers on a Seahawks team that has posted 217 roster transactions since the end of the 2009 campaign, although they are 2-2 so far this season and just half a game behind the NFC West-leading Cardinals.

Perhaps the biggest loss for Hasselbeck has been the retirement of future Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones, who was an All-Pro four times during his 12-year career in Seattle but hung up his spikes after 2008.

When asked if he ever took his blind-side protection for granted when Jones was in the lineup, Hasselbeck didn't hesitate: "Absolutely."

"I don't think I really understood how good he was," Hasselbeck said Wednesday via conference call at Halas Hall. "I'd get on these conference calls, and people would ask me about the defensive end on that side, and I'd fake it like I knew who he was. But we never talked about it. We never had to. That's just not been the situation for us since he's been gone. And it's one of those things, especially going up against a guy like Julius Peppers, very similar to what we had to deal with in the preseason against [Minnesota's] Jared Allen. It's one of those things that it can kind of disrupt your whole game plan a little bit, and you have to slide your line away from it and put all the backs and tight ends on it and that kind of thing. It's just one of those things that you've got to do sometimes when you play against a really special player, and that's kind of our situation this week."

While the Seahawks selected Russell Okung with the No. 6-overall pick in the NFL Draft, the former Oklahoma State Cowboy has been dealing with a high ankle sprain and missed some time before the team's bye in Week 5.

"I've seen him in the training room quite a bit," said Hasselbeck. "That's about all I've got right now. He was unfortunately hurt early in our season, and it's one of those things where you try to stay healthy. You see around the league teams that have been bit by the injury bug, and we've been pretty fortunate, but that was one of the areas that bit us a little bit. But he's back, and to my knowledge everyone is back, and that's a good place to be for us coming off the bye."

Because Seattle has so many new faces on both sides of the football, Hasselbeck said instead of game-planning against the upcoming opponent with scout teams on Wednesdays, starters on offense and defense have been squaring off against each other just to ramp up the competition a bit.

Carroll hoping Lynch can be his 'everything' back
The Seahawks have struggled to run the football since Shaun Alexander won the league's MVP award in 2005, as his body started to break down almost immediately thereafter and the organization has had a hard time replacing his production.


Pete Carroll
Elaine Thompson/AP

Marshawn Lynch, who Seattle acquired Oct. 5 from the Bills for a fourth-round pick in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012, topped the 1,000-yard plateau in each of his first two seasons in Buffalo but was deemed expendable because of Fred Jackson and rookie C.J. Spiller.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is quite familiar with Lynch, as Carroll was the head man at USC when Lynch starred at conference-rival Cal.

"He's a terrific all-around back," Carroll said. "He can run inside and outside. He's got power, and he's got burst. He can make you miss and break tackles. He's a good [pass] catcher. He's a willing blocker. I've known him since he was coming out of high school and watched him from then and played against him for years and watched him all those years in college. I have great respect for him, and I've been really endeavoring to find a way to get to him for some time now. And so when it finally came about, I was thrilled and really excited to bring him to our club. He's pumped up about the opportunity."

Seattle is currently the 29th-ranked rushing offense in the NFL, averaging 79.5 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry, as leading rusher Justin Forsett is perhaps better suited to be a change-of-pace option than a primary ball carrier.

"We need to get our running game going and we need to crank it up," said Carroll, "and [Lynch] can be a big factor in that, as well as the guys up front."

Despite getting gashed by the tandem of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs in Week 4, the Bears are still the No. 3 rush defense in the league, surrendering only 78.6 yards per game.


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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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