The Seattle Seahawks, coming off a short week after their 21-3 win over the Green Bay Packers, open up their first home preseason game of the year against the Denver Broncos on Saturday night, minus many of their starting offensive line.
Center Robbie Tobeck is expected to play, but standout left tackle Walter Jones is still a holdout, and right tackle Chris Terry is out with a shoulder injury. Porkchop Womack and Matt Hill will start at the tackle position.
In addition All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson is not expected to play after missing a week of practice to be with his wife after the birth of their daughter. Eight-year veteran guard Jerry Wunsch, who started in Hutchinson's place last week, suffered a sprained ankle during Monday night's game and will not play. Seattle's third-round draft pick out from North Carolina State, Sean Locklear, is expected to start at guard.
The quarterback situation is equally depleted. Matt Hasselbeck, who completed 5 of 9 passes for 56 yards against Green Bay, will start the game but his playing time is expected to be limited. Backups Trent Dillfer and Brock Huard are sidelined with back injuries, giving way to rookie Seneca Wallace, Seattle's fourth round draft pick from Iowa State, who is expected to receive the majority of playing time behind center.
On the defensive side of the ball first-round draft pick tackle Marcus Tubbs, will sit out with a hamstring injury. Solomon Bates, engaged in a three-way battle for the middle linebacker job with Orlando Huff and Niko Koutouvides, will get the start this week. Defensive end Grant Wistrom, Seattle's biggest free-agent acquisition in the off season, is recovering from a foot injury and will not join the team for practice for at least another week.
Despite the injury situation, head coach Mike Holmgren has high expectations for the team after reaching last year's playoffs with a 10-6 record. It marked the first time Seattle had reached the post-season since 1999.
Equally impressive was the fact that during Monday night's victory over the Packers Seattle committed only four penalties for 37-yards.
"I was very pleased for the first game with our penalty situation," Holmgren told reporters.
Despite the shortened week Holmgren expects Seattle to be ready against a Broncos team that has struggled so far in preseason.
"It's just part of the deal," Holmgren said regarding the limited preparation time for the Denver game. "If you get too wrapped up about that, it can be a distraction. I choose not to."
BRONCOS vs. SEATTLE:
During the regular season, Seattle holds a
17-33 record against Denver, the worst among any former AFC West opponent.
The flip side is the fact that Seattle has won 11 consecutive games at Qwest Field, including preseason, dating back to the final home game of the 2002 season.