|Hackett's return could bring changes among Seahawks receivers|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 18 October 2007 12:04|
Now, his pending return could be causing a shift in the Seattle Seahawks' receiving corps.
``You feel kind of like that guy that just doesn't get picked up at a pickup game or something,'' said Hackett, who has been out with a high-ankle sprain suffered in the opener against Tampa Bay. ``I just keep waiting for that next game.''
That next game could be Sunday when the struggling Seahawks (3-3) host winless St. Louis. And his return has opened some competition with Seattle's receivers.
Coach Mike Holmgren on Wednesday indicated Hackett, Nate Burleson and rookie Courtney Taylor all will get looks in practice this week at the split end position. Bobby Engram is entrenched as the flanker for now, starting in place of Deion Branch, who is out with a sprained foot. Second-year receiver Ben Obomanu is backing up Engram.
Whoever is active on Sunday will likely see playing team in the Seahawks' mulitple-receiver formations.
``I want to get Hackett back into games, and I want to give Courtney Taylor a chance,'' Holmgren said. ``I think when he has been in there, when he has been in there, he's shown, in practice certainly, he's shown good explosion, good speed.''
That doesn't mean Taylor will be seeing significant time or even be active against the Rams. But wanting to see more of the rookie is another challenge for Burleson.
Burleson had six catches for 63 yards and a touchdown in last Sunday's loss to New Orleans, but broke off a route late in the fourth quarter that led to an interception. In his previous two games, Burleson was almost absent, with a combined three catches for 17 yards.
``He's a talented man, I'll stick with that. He has a lot of talent,'' Holmgren said of Burleson. ``Now he's got to discipline himself to do it kind of the way we want it done all of the time. Be a little more consistent that way.''
Hackett beat out Burleson during the preseason for the starting nod, only to see that opportunity dissipate in the first quarter of the opener. After catching his first pass of the season, Hackett's foot was caught in the turf while trying to pivot as he was hit.
It's been a frustrating and disappointing month for Hackett, who last year wasn't active for two games early in the season, before coming on to catch 45 passes in the regular season, good for third on the team.
How much, or if Hackett will play Sunday remains to be determined. Offensive coordinator Gil Haskell wasn't expecting Hackett back until after Seattle's bye next week.
``I don't know if they necessarily need me, but you always feel like you can contribute something that everybody else can't,'' Hackett said. ``Everybody is an individual, they have certain characteristics and things that they're better at.''
The unknown in how this shakes out is Taylor, who was a sixth-round pick out of Auburn and only in recent weeks is getting fully healthy after a knee injury in training camp.
Taylor could be a steal. He left Auburn as the school's all-time leader in receptions and one of only four Tigers to gain more than 2,000 yards receiving. At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, he also brings size.
``This is what I've been waiting for my whole life, to get opportunities,'' Taylor said. ``Just being with a great group of receivers like the group I'm with now, there's no drop-off anywhere. I just wait on my opportunities.''
Haskell isn't too worried who catches the ball, just as long as Matt Hasselbeck is the one throwing it.
``You know, people worry about this and that. But we've got a hell of a quarterback,'' Haskell said. ``Think about all those teams that don't have quarterbacks. You can't invent a guy to throw the ball. We can throw it. ... Now, it's a matter of those young kids making the plays down the field.''