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Seahawks / NFL

Saturday, August 26, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Hawk Notes: Same position, different challenges

Seattle Times staff reporters

CHENEY — They share both a first name and a position, but Kelly Herndon and Kelly Jennings have different challenges in the eyes of coach Mike Holmgren.

"One is very inexperienced," Holmgren said, "and one has to be a little more consistent."

The inexperienced one is Jennings, a rookie from Miami drafted by Seattle in the first round. The one seeking consistency is Herndon, whom Holmgren cited as one of the most improved players at training camp.

They are competing to start at left cornerback, and Herndon remains the one working with the first-unit defense at that position. When Jennings has come onto the field as the nickel back, he goes to the left side and Herndon takes the receiver in the slot, something he excels at because of his physical, scrappy style of play.

Left cornerback is one of the only starting positions that hasn't been set on defense, but that doesn't mean Holmgren feels uncertainty about it.

"Our cornerback situation isn't bad at all," Holmgren said.

Talk is tough

Defensive end Kemp Rasmussen's most recent NFL game was as a Carolina Panther at Qwest Field for last season's NFC Championship Game. Then he signed with the Seahawks during free agency in the offseason.

He was back at Qwest for the Seahawks' first exhibition game on Aug. 12.

"To go out there ... and play in the same stadium again, but on the other sideline, it was kind of weird," Rasmussen said. "Sometimes in the games I get worked up and say things that I probably shouldn't say to the other team, and I probably said some things I shouldn't have said to guys on this team. But they all realize it's cool. It's just part of the game, and none of it's personal."

Rasmussen got some pressure on Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, but by that time the game was well in hand for the Seahawks.

"There's not much you can say then," Rasmussen said.

"Most of mine [talking] was earlier in the game when it was still close and playing special teams."

The Seahawks have likely moved on from whatever it is Rasmussen might have said, but one player, defensive end Joe Tafoya, still needles Rasmussen about last season.

"He's always like, 'Hey, Kemp, did I ever tell you I played in a Super Bowl last year?' Stuff like that," Rasmussen said.

Hurray for C.J.

C.J. Jones has been all over the world playing football, from Cleveland with the Browns to Berlin with NFL Europe to Montreal in the Canadian Football League.

Now he's fighting for a roster spot on a team loaded with talented receivers. But Jones has more than held his own, making a number of tough catches and displaying a burst of speed after catches.

Fans who watched the training-camp practices in Cheney might not know who No. 16 is, but they still ooh and aah when any receiver makes a nice play. And they have often cheered for Jones.

"I'm trying not to leave any plays on the field. I'm just trying to catch everything and just go from there," Jones said. "The coaches tell me I'm doing good, and every time they say that I just strive to work harder because I have to work harder than the next guy to make this team."

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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