Hasselbeck looks good, Branch not so well as Seahawks leave for Cleveland Print
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Friday, 02 November 2007 15:50
NFL Headline News

 KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -Matt Hasselbeck and his achy side looked far better, leaving the Seahawks' quarterback ready to start Sunday's game at Cleveland.
He may not have his leading receiver ready with him. Again.
Deion Branch was supposed to have returned by now from the sprained foot that has caused him to miss Seattle's last two games. But in the short practice Friday before the Seahawks (4-3) left to play the Browns (4-3), Branch remained only partly involved in the offense.
``We'll make that call on Sunday, but he's going to go on the trip and he's really close and he's getting better,'' coach Mike Holmgren said. ``If he were to play he'd have a limited number of snaps ... specific plays.''
There are no limitations on Hasselbeck, who strained his right oblique muscle while getting hit during Seattle's previous game Oct. 21 against St. Louis. He looked far more fluid while turning and throwing Friday that he did when he first tested the injury Wednesday.
``I didn't have any (muscles there) before, so it's hasn't been a problem,'' Hasselbeck deadpanned about his torso.
Holmgren held Hasselbeck back from throwing on-the-run, rollout passes in practices this week, but said he will not hesitate to call such plays Sunday.
``He looked good. ... I don't notice any difference really,'' Holmgren said, comparing Hasselbeck now to before Rams pass rusher Claude Wroten drilled his helmet and shoulder pad into the quarterback's side.
What could be a factor in the decision on Branch's availability is the field at Cleveland Browns Stadium. It is known around the league as being particularly soft, a condition that could aggravate Branch's foot pain.
Brian Russell has been spreading the word to his new teammates. Seattle's starting safety played the past two seasons for the Browns. This week, he has been wearing longer, detachable spikes that grip grass more easily than the rubber, molded cleats players usually wear.
``They have longer grass that gets torn up real fast. It's right on Lake Erie, so if there is moisture the field gets torn to shreds,'' Russell said. ``You end up wearing these long spikes that I'm wearing here. In fact, that's why I'm breaking them in.
``Little things like that might help, might help our kickers and stuff. You don't want to fall down against (Browns receivers) Braylon Edwards or Kellen Winslow. That's an easy touchdown for them.''
Hasselbeck said he also plans to wear longer, detachable spikes.
``It's usually the fast guys who won't wear a molded, detach. They will wear a molded cleat,'' Hasselbeck said. ``And I can guarantee you they will be the ones who fall down all day.''
Holmgren said wide receiver D.J. Hackett, who has missed six consecutive games since sustaining a high ankle sprain in the opening win over Tampa Bay, is ready to play but may not start Sunday. The coach hasn't decided if Nate Burleson will remain the starter, though Holmgren said both he and Hackett will play a lot.
A threatened change to the offensive line apparently will not happen. Holmgren inserted oft-injured, veteran backup Floyd Womack at left guard for Rob Sims and at right guard for Chris Gray on the first-team line in practices Wednesday and Thursday. But Friday, Holmgren indicated Sims, an Ohio native whose father played for the Browns, and Gray are likely to start as usual.
That's good news for the 400 family members that Sims has coming to the game.
``I don't think we're going to make any changes that way,'' said Holmgren, who is searching for fixes in a flawed running game. ``Now, they all could play. 'Chop' (Womack) could play in there some. I thought our whole offensive line had a good week of practice.''
 

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