Packers Offer Bounce-Back Opportunity

The Seahawks have won two of their last three games, but it doesn't feel that way heading into a Monday night home game against Green Bay. Losing to the 49ers last week was bad enough. Giving up 262 yards rushing was the more significant development.

The Seahawks must bounce back by playing with more discipline on defense, of course. But they also must cut out the turnovers they've been suffering on offense.

Starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is back in the lineup at a good time. Backup Seneca Wallace played well most of the time Hasselbeck was out, but his 2-2 record was a tale of two players. Wallace tossed five interceptions in his two losses as a starter. He had no interceptions in the two victories.

Hasselbeck had four touchdowns without an interception in the six quarters he'd played prior to suffering a knee injury against Minnesota. He will probably be rusty upon returning against the Packers. His experience will be key in avoiding the kind of mistakes that plagued Wallace against the 49ers.

"You see it every week in the league and it's hard to explain why a quarterback gets a little careless," Holmgren said. "He is not expected to win the game by himself, ever. But at the same time, that position has a lot of responsibility and Seneca has handled it very well, he really has. But (the 49ers game) was tough."

Wallace tossed interceptions on two of Seattle's first three possessions. That absolutely cannot happen because the Seahawks aren't strong enough on defense to stay on the field longer than normal. The 2005 Seahawks jumped on teams early and took away the ground game. The current team can win by following that same formula, particularly at home.

The Packers aren't a very good team. That will help Monday night. But Green Bay does have a 3-2 road record.

Brett Favre's injury status isn't a big concern for Seattle. Holmgren said he would "bet the ranch" his former pupil will make consecutive start No. 232. That is a reasonable expectation given Favre's history.

In past meetings, Favre foiled the Seahawks' pass rush by getting rid of the ball quickly. Seattle has been mostly concerned with preventing big pass plays. They have allowed zero passes of 25-plus yards over the last three weeks after allowing 17 in the first seven games. That will again be a point of emphasis against Favre, who has 13 touchdowns with seven interceptions.

Seattle could be in some trouble if Ahman Green gets going early. The Seahawks traded Green years ago, essentially giving up on him, and the former second-round pick will surely have extra motivation in this game. That should be a concern for the Seahawks.

Seattle misses run-stuffing defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs. Tubbs was the only massive lineman the Seahawks had, and he is missed (out for the season following knee surgery). The Packers' interior offensive line isn't as formidable as the ones Kansas City and San Francisco used to rack up big yards on the ground. Still, the Seahawks can't afford to get behind.

11th meeting. The Packers lead the series, 6-4, plus 1-0 in the playoffs. Eight of those games were played in Wisconsin. Mike Holmgren led Seattle to a victory over his former team in 1999, but the Packers have won both regular-season games since then, plus a playoff game.


--Seattle rookie corner Kelly Jennings was a third-grader in Georgia when Brett Favre took over as the Packers' starting quarterback in 1992. "I have Brett Favre's football card back home in my drawer," Jennings said. Favre, 37, is questionable on the injury report, but Mike Holmgren said he would "bet the ranch" that Favre will play Monday night. Jennings is not yet a starter in Seattle, but he plays extensively in the nickel and dime defenses.

"My friend was in town last week and he was like, 'Man, you're about to face Brett Favre,'" Jennings said. "We really grew up talking about Brett Favre and how he good he was and just watching him."
Jennings, 23, grew up a 49ers fan. Jerry Rice was his favorite player. "If I was playing quarterback, I was Joe Montana," Jennings said. "I used to get upset with Brett Favre, too, because the 49ers used to lose every now and then when Steve Young was the quarterback."

--Matt Hasselbeck expects more from some of Seattle's younger players. "We are all in the same meeting, but sometimes when you have been with a coach a long time, you understand what he is saying," Hasselbeck said. "I know for Mike Holmgren, playing the San Francisco 49ers means a lot to him. He expects a perfect week of practice and we didn't have that last week. ...

"I just think the guys that have been around understand a little better what he is talking about when he says, 'Hey, we're setting the standard high.'

"I do wonder if everyone is understanding that, really, and I think it is the job of the guys who have been here to let everybody know, 'Hey, we're not in this just to be OK. We're in this to be great.'

"The way we are practicing may or may not get it done."

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- The number of 25-plus-yard pass plays Seattle has allowed over the last three games, after allowing 13 in the first seven games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Clearly, we have some things to fix. But it's a hard-working group and we just keep trying. I think getting our guys back will give us a little boost in the arm and now the season comes down to six games. So that's where it sits." -- Coach Mike Holmgren following a loss to the 49ers.


The Seahawks are carrying four quarterbacks on their active roster, an unusually high number. They added Gibran Hamdan when Matt Hasselbeck went down to injury. Hasselbeck is coming back this week, but Hamdan has stuck around.

The team knows Hamdan might resurface in San Francisco if Seattle releases him. Hamdan went to camp with Seattle, then signed with the 49ers' practice squad when the Seahawks released him. Seattle then signed him to its active roster a few weeks ago.

The 49ers already have an edge with former Seattle QB Trent Dilfer on their active roster. Giving Hamdan back to the 49ers is something they apparently want to avoid, at least for now.


--QB Matt Hasselbeck worked with the starters Wednesday and the team expects him to start Monday night. Hasselbeck has missed four games with a knee injury. He is still wearing a brace on the knee, but he is moving better.

--QB Seneca Wallace continues to get a few snaps with the starters in case Matt Hasselbeck suffers a setback in practice. Hasselbeck is probable on the injury report. He is moving better. The team expects him to return from his knee injury Monday night against Green Bay. Wallace could miss some practice time as he continues to tend to his ailing mother.

--RB Shaun Alexander is no longer on the Seahawks' injury report. His left foot appears healed.

--LB D.D. Lewis missed practice Wednesday with a toe injury. He will not play Monday.

--FB Josh Parry missed practice Wednesday with a foot injury. He probably will not play Monday.

--WR Bobby Engram practiced Wednesday despite a thyroid condition. He is probable on the injury report after being questionable last week. Stamina remains a concern because of the medication Engram is taking.

--RT Sean Locklear missed practice Wednesday with a high ankle sprain. He is questionable on the injury report. His status is a game-time decision, coach Mike Holmgren said.

--C Robbie Tobeck missed practice Wednesday. He is questionable on the injury report with a hip injury. Tobeck has had elbow problems and he has been ill. The hip injury is a new one. His status is a game-time decision, coach Mike Holmgren said.

--DT Rocky Bernard missed practice Wednesday with a foot injury. He is questionable on the injury report. His status is considered a game-time decision.

GAME PLAN: Seattle needs to start quickly and keep its defense off the field. The team tossed zero interceptions in its two victories with Seneca Wallace at quarterback. Wallace tossed five interceptions in the two starts he lost. Matt Hasselbeck is back in the lineup Monday night. That should help. This would be the time to get Shaun Alexander fully comfortable in the offense. He was a bit tentative last week in his return from a foot injury, at least early in the game. He should be better this time. The crowd noise will help Seattle's pass rush put some pressure on Packers QB Brett Favre. Seattle has been a different team at home this season.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Seahawks CB Marcus Trufant vs. Packers WR Donald Driver. Trufant is coming off his best game of the season, but he is not making plays on the ball. Driver has 58 catches with four touchdowns this season, with a long of 82 yards. The Seahawks have done a much better job against the deep ball in recent weeks. That should continue playing at home.

--Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck vs. Packers S Marquand Manuel. Hasselbeck is coming off a knee injury. He could be a little rusty, but still represents an improvement for Seattle. Manuel is a heady player who signed with Green Bay after starting for Seattle in Super Bowl XL. As a safety, he'll be instrumental in getting the Packers lined up properly against an offense he knows well. Hasselbeck must mix up his audibles to keep the Packers off-balance.

INJURY IMPACT: Seattle is slowly getting healthier, but QB Matt Hasselbeck could be rusty after four games out of the lineup. It's becoming clearer that DT Marcus Tubbs' absence is hurting the run defense. RT Tom Ashworth is playing well enough in place of Sean Locklear, and C Chris Spencer is more physical than injured starter Robbie Tobeck. The team does suffer in its protection adjustments when Tobeck is out of the game, however. Top Stories