|Seahawks starters sit out scrimmage|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 02 August 2008 15:40|
``This was a little different scrimmage than we've had in the past,'' Holmgren said Saturday, after his 10th and final training camp scrimmage as Seahawks coach.
It's already been a little different kind of summer for Seattle.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was in for three plays Saturday and then watched the only full-scale scrimmage before preseason games begin Friday at Minnesota.
That's fine with him. At this event last year, Hasselbeck wondered when and if he'd be allowed at all to play at in the preseason because he was coming off surgery to his non-throwing shoulder following the 2006 season.
Now, Hasselbeck seems to be one of the few fully healthy Seahawks ready for the opener in five weeks.
Fellow Pro Bowl stars Walter Jones and Patrick Kerney sat out the scrimmage. So did starting center Chris Spencer. All had shoulder operations in the offseason.
Pro Bowl linebacker Lofa Tatupu mainly took part in position drills only Saturday because he's already banged up. Wide receiver Deion Branch was also on the sidelines as a spectator. The former Super Bowl MVP is coming off reconstructive knee surgery and may not be back for the opener Sept. 7 at Buffalo.
Starting defensive tackle Marcus Tubbs is still out following major knee surgery, though he may be back on the practice field next week. Defensive line neighbor Rocky Bernard is coming off surgery for a double hernia and watched most of Saturday's drills. Veteran defensive tackle Larry Tripplett, signed for depth, was out with a leg injury. Rookie fourth-round pick Red Bryant, expected to back up Bernard, had knee surgery Friday and confirmed he will miss a month.
Even punter Ryan Plackemeier, remained out with a torn pectoral muscle he injured lifting weights. After Reggie Hodges, formerly the St. Louis Rams' punter, looked good on Saturday, Holmgren said Plackemeier has a position battle waiting for his return in a couple of weeks.
``We kept a lot of guys out in the scrimmage because we really wanted to look at some people that were competing for maybe not starting positions, but certainly the depth of making the football team,'' Holmgren said. ``So in fairness to those young guys, we set it up a certain way.''
T.J. Duckett used to sit out with fellow stars at scrimmages like this when he was the lead runner in Atlanta a few years ago. But there was the seventh-year veteran, tying rookie seventh-round draft choice Justin Forsett for most carries on Saturday with nine. Duckett, signed from Detroit as a free agent last winter, gained 25 yards on those runs and caught two passes. The undersized but determined Forsett gained 51 - including 33 on a cutback run across the entire field.
When asked if he felt weird to be on the field among so many rookies and undrafted free agents, Duckett smiled and said, ``I feel like every time you step on the field you have something to prove.''
So does Charlie Frye. The fourth-year veteran was in Cleveland 11 months ago, then became the first starting quarterback to be traded immediately after Week 1 since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Saturday, Frye took advantage of the most chances he's had as Seattle's third-string passer to complete 11 of 18 throws for 143 yards and three touchdowns.
Holmgren is using the preseason to determine if he can trust Frye enough to free No. 2 quarterback Seneca Wallace to play receiver and return kicks without fear of losing him to injury.
After Frye's day Saturday, Holmgren said: ``I want to know him better.''
One of Frye's touchdown passes was to Duckett on a 7-yard swing pass. Duckett juked one reserve defender then bulled through another at the goal line.
Holmgren is still trying to figure out how he wants to use the tank-like Duckett in Seattle's completely remodeled running game. The coach has already declared that Julius Jones and Maurice Morris will be co-starters.
``I'm the biggest back we've got. Hopefully, I bring some power,'' said the 254-pound Duckett.
But he often runs more like a halfback - shifting and to the outside. Saturday, he was stopped twice for no gain inside on short-yardage downs, though Holmgren cautioned not to read much into that because the plays and personnel will change when the games count.
``You kind of get the feeling that Duckett's going to be a load,'' Holmgren said.