Notebook: Seattle's M*A*S*H Unit Gets Busier

The injury news keeps getting worse for the Seahawks. Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander are back, but leading receiver Darrell Jackson will miss the Thursday night game against San Francisco with a turf-toe injury. Starting left guard Floyd Womack will also miss the game after aggravating a groin injury.

And that wasn't even the worst of the bad news for Seattle. Craig Terrill, a key member of the rotation at defensive tackle, was lost for the season with a knee injury Sunday. He suffered ligament damage and will need surgery. The team placed him on injured reserve.

"It's hard and it's frustrating but that happens," coach Mike Holmgren said of the injuries.

Seattle entered the season with strong depth at defensive tackle. The team felt as though it had five quality players at the position. Two of those five -- Terrill and former first-round pick Marcus Tubbs -- are out for the season. Starter Rocky Bernard remains unable to practice between games while battling a foot injury. Veterans Chuck Darby and Russell Davis are good enough to start, but depth is very much an issue at the position.

The team already signed defensive tackle Marcus Green from the Giants' practice squad last week. Robert Pollard, a former Seattle practice-squader who was inactive against the Cardinals, might also figure into the rotation Thursday night.

Pollard's role could hinge on whether defensive end Joe Tafoya can play against the 49ers. Tafoya missed most of camp with a knee injury and he was banged up against the Cardinals. Tafoya is one of the Seahawks' core special-teams players, but he could be needed on defense the way things are going.

Replacing Jackson on offense will be a little easier. Veteran Bobby Engram, who led the team in receiving last season, could return this week after missing more than two months with a thyroid condition.
"I think we're going to try to fast-forward so Bobby can play a little Thursday night," Holmgren said.

Seattle has great depth at receiver since adding Deion Branch in a trade with New England back in September. Nate Burleson and D.J. Hackett provide two more starting-caliber options. Burleson will take over for Jackson in the starting lineup, with Hackett remaining in the role Engram played previously as the No. 3 receiver.

The Seahawks can clinch a third consecutive NFC West title Thursday night. For now, Holmgren would settle for some better news on the injury front. "Expectations are high and they still are high," he said. "No one is throwing in the towel here. We still have our goals set.

"The frustration and the uncertainty more than how they were going to play, was who was going to play. That has had an impact on us. Is it unexpected that injuries would have an impact on us? Absolutely not."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Mike Holmgren clearly isn't happy with the NFL's decision to schedule Thursday night games during the regular season. "It's like fighting city hall," Holmgren said. "You can have an opinion and you might listen to it briefly, but you are the only one. "The league is not going to listen to it, the owners certainly aren't and it's the NFL Network. We did have conversations with people on the competition committee."

How did those conversations go?

"This is going to be tough on players, now," Holmgren said.
"Oh, yeah, thank you," the league replied, as Holmgren put it.

"They play Thanksgiving Day games, so there was a precedent already," Holmgren said. "And really, you know what drives the car."

--The Seahawks did not sack Cardinals QB Matt Leinart, the first time in 19 games that Arizona did not allow a sack. "We went out there and made him look like the second coming of Joe Montana," Fisher said. "He dropped back, threw the ball where he wanted to and we didn't knock him down."

Leinart threw a 56-yard TD pass on the first play of the game. Seattle did not hit him once. "You play a young quarterback and it's very simple," Fisher said. "If you knock him down, he'll find a way to lose. If you don't knock him down, he'll look like he's on his way to the Pro Bowl."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES


--WR Darrell Jackson will miss the Thursday night game against the 49ers with a turftoe injury. This injury could linger and affect his productivity the rest of the season.

--WR Bobby Engram will try to play Thursday night barring a setback in practice this week.

--WR Nate Burleson becomes a starter this week because Darrell Jackson is out with a turf toe injury. Burleson's workload will increase quite a bit. He previously was playing in the one-back, three-wide offense. Burleson is also the kick and punt returner.

--DT Craig Terrill is out for the season with a knee injury. The team is placing him on injured reserve.

--DE Joe Tafoya could miss the game Thursday night. He missed training camp with a knee injury and he was banged up against the Cardinals on Sunday night.

REPORT CARD VS. BRONCOS

PASSING OFFENSE: B --
Matt Hasselbeck was outstanding despite inconsistent pass protection. He completed 20 of 28 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns. WR D.J. Hackett continued to emerge as a potential starting-caliber talent at the position. An eight-yard sack on the final drive proved costly, however.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C --
RB Shaun Alexander had a hard time building momentum because Seattle lost three fumbles, including one of his own doing. FB Mack Strong gutted it out on a bad ankle, but he was not particularly effective. And when the team needed a third-and-1 conversion in the second half, a missed assignment let the Cardinals stop Alexander for no gain.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- Allowing a 56-yard TD pass is no way to start a game, but that's what the Seahawks did. CB Marcus Trufant slipped on the play. Worse for Seattle, the defense did not record single sack or even a quarterback hit. This was the first time in 19 games that an Arizona opponent did not register a sack.

RUSH DEFENSE: C --
Seattle could not stop Cardinals RB Edgerrin James from steadily working his way up to a 115-yard performance. James never broke a long run, but he was consistently effective. MLB Lofa Tatupu finished with only four tackles. The defensive line was banged up and it showed.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A --
Nate Burleson had three more long kickoff returns, including a 50-yarder. He was less effective returning punts. Seattle's Josh Brown didn't get a chance to continue his clutch kicking because Seattle trailed by more than three points late in the game.

COACHING: B --
The team was ready to play. The offensive staff made effective adjustments during the first half when the Cardinals took away their checkdowns. The result: a two-play TD drive featuring passes of 47 and 23 yards to Hackett. The defensive staff brought more blitzes this time, a good idea. But they were not effective.


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