|Seahawks, Bucs headed in different directions|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 16 October 2008 14:18|
The first-place Tampa Bay Buccaneers make it sound simple, while the last-place Seattle Seahawks are proof it's not that easy.
``Someone's gone down, someone's stepped up,'' Bucs coach Jon Gruden said, reflecting on a 4-2 start that has his team atop the NFC South despite injuries that have that tested the club's depth.
``That goes at quarterback, that goes at linebacker, that goes across the board on our football team. That's one of the reasons why we're still hanging around.''
Seattle (1-4) has not been as fortunate.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is out indefinitely with a back ailment and the Seahawks have lost six receivers to injury, leaving coach Mike Holmgren with a sputtering offense unable to relieve pressure on an overworked defense.
The Seahawks are off to their worst start since 2002, the last time they finished with a losing record.
injuries an excuse, but this is an unusual situation at wide receiver that we've dealt with,'' Holmgren said. ``We not only lost our starters and our backups. We also lost the guys we signed who worked at the Chevron station, you know?''
At least he hasn't lost his sense of humor.
The Seahawks will try to get on track Sunday night against the Buccaneers, who have thrived despite changing quarterbacks twice and playing much of the season without injured receiver Joey Galloway.
Linebacker Derrick Brooks has battled a sore hamstring, injuries on the offensive line have pressed rookie Jeremy Zuttah into duty at right and left guard, and receivers Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton have asserted themselves in Galloway's absence.
``It's a deep, talented young team and everybody's pulling for each other, helping each other out,'' running back Warrick Dunn said.
``It's not one guy who wants to get all the attention. I think everybody just works well together. We're like a bunch of brothers just going out there and playing football. When one guy goes down other guys try to step up and take the pressure off the other guys.''
The Seahawks have been less successful coping with adversity.
12-of-23 for 83 yards.
Meanwhile, Jeff Garcia is running Tampa Bay's offense again after being benched following the season opener. He played well enough against Carolina to regain the starting job from Brian Griese, who sat out because of a sore throwing elbow and shoulder.
``It's a credit to our players and our assistant coaches. We've been through this before. We lost a lot of players last year and were able to overcome it,'' Gruden said.
``I think our guys have been trained that way. When someone goes down, you're here to play better than the guy you're replacing. If you don't, we're going to have to find somebody that will.''
Gruden is equally excited about the unselfish nature of the team, citing as a prime example tailback Earnest Graham's willingness to accept a different role against the Panthers after fullback Byron Storer suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Graham, Tampa Bay's leading rusher, wound up carrying the ball five times for a season-low 11 yards. But he still influenced the outcome by blocking for Dunn, who ran for 115 yards on 22 carries.
``This is a team that cares about the team. They're a group of guys that want to win, first and foremost. They'll put their egos at the door. Whatever they feel is going to help us win, they're all for that,'' Gruden said.
bsence. We've moved those guys around. We've had some guys inactive. I'm sure there's been some disappointment, but the guys have really hung together.''
The Seahawks are confident they will be fine, too.
Despite its problems, Seattle is fifth in the league in rushing, averaging 137.2 yards per game.
Holmgren thinks the defense will play better, if the Seahawks can ever get the passing attack in sync.
Wallace hopes to return at quarterback this week. If he's unable to play, Frye will go.
``It's definitely not the start that we wanted, but it is what it is,'' running back Julius Jones said. ``We have a decision to make, which direction we are going to go. We can go either way down or make the best of what the situation is, continue to get better and strive to try to do something toward the end of the season. That is what we are going to do.''