Seahawks Come Limping In

The Seattle Seahawks have been running the first two weeks of training camp on a skeleton crew as injuries have further limited their roster. That could leave some of their starters getting more action than they want in tonight's preseason opener.

The Seattle Seahawks have been besieged by injuries in what is coach Mike Holmgren's last training camp, limiting for the time being the amount of work they can get done in preparation for the regular-season opener.

Already hamstrung by the 80-man roster, the Seahawks have been further handicapped by injuries to several starters, including defensive end Patrick Kerney (calf), second in the NFL in sacks last year, as well as center Chris Spencer (back), wide receiver Courtney Taylor (hamstring) and punter Ryan Plackemeier (pectoral). Backup tight end Jeb Putzier is out, as is defensive tackle Larry Tripplett.

The Seahawks also lost rookie defensive tackle Red Bryant for the preseason when he tore some cartilage in his left knee that will sideline him for four to five weeks. Wide receiver Logan Payne, fighting for one of the top four spots, cracked a rib in Saturday's scrimmage, and nickel back Jordan Babineaux suffered a knee injury, the extent of which is not yet known.

Backup center Chris Gray injured his back the second day of camp and has since retired, meaning the Seahawks have been forced to use guards Steve Vallos and Mansfield Wrotto as their emergency centers.

It has been an issue because there have been a number of fumbled snaps and miscues between the center and quarterback, including Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace being tripped in the backfield on several occasions.

"It is big," offensive coordinator Gil Haskell said. "What hurts is in the preseason game in the third quarter and I am calling the plays, and all of a sudden you don't have your full complement of guys."

Haskell said there is not the silver lining of players learning other positions they may not have had the opportunity to learn. He said John Robinson taught him that a player needs to learn every aspect of their own position before moving on to another position so as to avoid confusion.

The Seahawks held a scrimmage last Saturday and suffered even more injuries, with cornerback DeMichael Dizer having his season ended with a torn ACL; backup tackle Floyd Womack injuring a knee, meaning that veteran tackle Walter Jones can't rest as much as the team would like; backup tackle Kyle Williams suffering a knee injury that may keep him out for a week; and longshots Nu'u Tafisi, Eric Wicks and Matt Castelo being sidelined for three or four days with various injuries.

The residual effect is that Holmgren must now figure out how to play Friday night's preseason opener against Minnesota with a reduced roster, balancing how long his starters will play against so many players already being banged up.

"It always is (dictated by injuries and the number of guys on the roster)," Holmgren said. "Not so much the lower number of guys on the roster, but we have had a formula over the years and if I can stick with the formula, I will. The only reason I wouldn't do that is if we got a little thin at a certain position. Otherwise we'll stick with what we do."


  • Second-year wide receiver Jordan Kent, who ran track at Oregon, said he is not wistful about the Olympics, which begin Friday, the same day as Seattle's first preseason game. He said he is concentrating on his new career and has no time to reflect on what-ifs. Plus, he said, while he ran against some of the athletes competing in the Olympics, he never really threatened to beat them. "One or two seconds can separate an Olympic athlete and the rest of the world," Kent said. "There is not really a middle class in track."

  • Backup center Chris Gray, who wrenched his back on the second day of training camp, flew home to Alabama to see his family and recover.

  • Middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu does not want to wear the speaker in the helmet that defensive players are permitted to have this season. Same goes for safety Brian Russell, a former Viking. Which means that safety Deon Grant is the most likely candidate. "I don't know if it will be an advantage or a disadvantage," Grant said. "We haven't even talked about it yet, to be honest. I don't think I am going to be able to hear anything anyway with all the noise at Qwest Field. But if they pumped music into that thing, the other team might be in trouble."

  • The littlest man on the field made some of the biggest plays in Saturday's scrimmage. Justin Forsett, who is listed as 5-8, 194 pounds but is closer to 5-5 and 175 pounds, broke off a 33-yard run on a draw play and led the team with 51 yards on nine carries, plus added two receptions. "He's a great little guy, a tough guy, and I'm pulling for him," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "We'll see how it goes."

  • CB DeMichael Dizer was placed on injured reserve after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Dizer was not likely to make the 53-man roster.

  • C Ben Claxton was signed to a contract because the Seahawks' first two centers, Chris Spencer and Chris Gray, are injured and two guards have been used as emergency backups. Gray has since retired.

    QUOTABLE: "We were traveling one time, I get all the way to my hotel room. I find I have a 10-pound weight in my book bag. I thought my book bag was kind of heavy. And I was like, ‘What is this weight doing in here?' They made me carry it all the way back to the weight room. I was going to get fined if I didn't bring it back." Second-year cornerback Josh Wilson, recalling what it was like to get hazed as a rookie.

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