Monday Night Football: Bettors Don't Like Packers Chances in Seattle
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Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck haven't played together in almost two months. The Seattle Seahawks might have to wait a bit longer as the NFC West leaders play the struggling Green Bay Packers on Monday night.
Alexander and Hasselbeck have been sidelined with injuries for much of the season. Alexander - who returned last Sunday - suffered a broken foot which had sidelined him for seven weeks,
while Hasselbeck has missed the last three starts for Seattle (6-4) because of a sprained knee.
Hasselbeck tested the knee Monday in drills and ran the first-team offense efficiently Wednesday, but Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren refused to name Hasselback the starter for this game.
``Hasselbeck worked pretty well this morning. I think there's a good chance he'll play,'' Holmgren said. ``We're going to put him through the tests. ... I've got to see him move and get out of trouble, run around a little bit.''
Hasselbeck and Alexander haven't played together since Sept. 24, when the team was 3-0.
Holmgren also expressed doubt about center Robbie Tobeck, right tackle Sean Locklear, tackle Rocky Bernard and receiver Bobby Engram. Tobeck was expected to be back after missing last week with the flu, but he developed a hip injury in practice.
Engram, who led the team in receptions last year, has been sidelined for six games this season due to a thyroid condition. The Seahawks thought he would be able to return, but Holmgren said doctors are still trying to get Engram's heart rate and other ``measurables'' back to normal.
``It's a little bit of a Catch-22,'' Holmgren said. ``It's my understanding, after talking to the doctors, he needs the medication to get his numbers in line.''
Locklear (ankle sprain) and Bernard (foot) are considered game-time decisions.
Alexander's return last Sunday provided little help in a 20-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The running back had just 37 yards on 17 carries, and admitted he was feeling tentative making cuts and reading blocks.
``It took me the (entire) first half to feel I could make all the cuts,'' Alexander said. ``For me personally, this is very positive. My foot did great.''
His hesitancy was the least of Seattle's problems against the 49ers. Seneca Wallace, Hasselbeck's backup, threw three interceptions - two of which led to 10 San Francisco points - while the defense gave up a season-high 262 rushing yards and 416 overall.
After the game, Holmgren lit into the players for underestimating San Francisco, although he said he regretted the tirade by Monday.
``I don't like doing that, I really don't,'' Holmgren said. ``And I said some things I wasn't too proud of. In essence, I said (Monday), 'I'm not going to do that again with you guys.'''
The players, however, couldn't find fault in Holmgren's criticisms.
``We played horribly. We deserved it,'' defensive end Grant Wistrom said. ``I was a surprised when he came to apologize to us, to be honest. He didn't say anything that was out of line or that wasn't warranted.''
The loss left Seattle atop the NFC West by one game over San Francisco, but Holmgren believes that getting key players back healthy should give them an edge in the coming weeks.
``It makes everybody's life easier,'' said Holmgren, who coached the Packers from 1992-98 and led them to two Super Bowls, winning one. ``It doesn't guarantee you of anything, but it certainly is the team you expect to put on the field for the most part.''
First-year Packers coach Mike McCarthy understands the frustration of mounting injuries. Green Bay (4-6) is struggling to regroup after a 35-0 loss last Sunday to New England which cost the Packers several key players.
With running back Ahman Green and starting guard Mark Tauscher already battling nagging injuries, the Packers also suffered injuries to linebacker Nick Barnett (broken hand), cornerback Charles Woodson (shoulder) and linebacker Ben Taylor (hamstring).
But the biggest injury was suffered by quarterback Brett Favre, who hurt his elbow and was unable to regain strength in his arm during the game. Backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his foot in relief of Favre and will miss the rest of the season.
Recently signed Todd Bauman, who spent the last three seasons in New Orleans, will be Favre's backup.
``I can't control injuries and as far as when you talk about them, I feel bad for the individual,'' McCarthy said. ``As far as the football team, that's part of our season. Everyone has them. Everyone experiences it.''
Favre's injury puts his streak of 251 consecutive starts in jeopardy. He was injured in the first half after getting sacked by Tedy Bruschi. Favre finished 5-of-15 for 73 yards in a dismal game as the Packers totaled just five first downs and 120 yards.
``I'm still kind of shocked by what happened today,'' defensive end Aaron Kampman said. ``I thought we were going to win.''
The Packers won last year's meeting against Seattle, 23-17. Favre was 21-of-37 for 259 yards and a touchdown, while Alexander had 73 yards and a score on 20 carries.
By: David Michaels - theSpread.com - Email Us
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