Seahawks' Seneca Wallace could start vs. Tampa Bay
After a good practice in which he ran the No. 1 offense, Seneca Wallace is poised to start at quarterback for the injured Matt Hasselbeck this week. Wallace has experience, but he must be able to run well on his bum calf.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — The facts are these: Matt Hasselbeck isn't going to play Sunday and it's uncertain when he'll return from a back problem. So the Seahawks will have to go with a backup quarterback Sunday at Tampa Bay.
The question is, which one? Seneca Wallace or Charlie Frye?
After Thursday's practice, Wallace appeared the most likely candidate. He ran the first-team offense and moved well in his effort to recover from a sore calf that he aggravated last week in practice.
Wallace needs his legs to be pain free in order to play his game, which is making things happen on the run. He's known for his athleticism, an element that he possesses more than either Hasselbeck or Frye.
"Getting better every day," Wallace said.
The No. 3 quarterback is Frye, who is healthy and took first-team snaps in practice this week but who struggled to move the team when he started in last week's 27-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Frye finished 12 of 23 for just 83 yards and was picked off twice, though he also threw two touchdown passes.
Wallace will be the guy if he is cleared to play. Frye, who played the most among all the quarterbacks during the exhibition season, can only do what he is asked to do and prepare like the starter.
"Right now, we don't have time to teach. It's time to go out and play," Frye said. "It seems like the weeks go faster and faster as the season goes on. I'm just trying to catch up and move forward."
Wallace would be the third quarterback to start a game for the Seahawks in the past three games. But he wouldn't be going in lacking experience. Wallace, a Seahawk since 2003, has appeared in 24 games, and he started four games in 2006 when Hasselbeck was out with a knee injury. The Seahawks won two of those games.
"When he had the opportunity to play in games when Matt was hurt before, with less experience than he has now, I thought he played quite well," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "He made some mistakes, but he had some very good games, too. I think you saw glimpses of how he could be and how he prepared when the team was his for a week.
"I really like him a lot. He's proven to me that he can play, and play well."
Wallace was the Seahawks' No. 3 quarterback his first two seasons after being drafted in the fifth round in 2003. He moved to No. 2 in 2005.
Wallace learned from his 2006 experience.
"Just learning how to prepare the week going into the game that you're going to start," Wallace said. "That's the biggest thing, and knowing what you have to do to win a ballgame."
But quarterback wasn't all Wallace played. The Seahawks have used him at wide receiver and even considered him at punt returner. When injuries hit the Seahawks receivers earlier this season, Wallace was moved to that spot for the opener at Buffalo. He was slated to be used there again in Week 2 against San Francisco, but suffered his calf injury in pregame warmups while running a route and missed that game.
As the Seahawks added to the receiver position, Wallace went back to quarterback full time. He got into the New York game in the late going, but the following week reinjured the calf and was available for limited duty only against Green Bay.
Earlier this season, Wallace blamed the calf injury on the different strain on the legs that playing wide receiver creates.
"The more you push it, you might have a situation pop up where you might hurt it," he said.
Teammates expressed confidence in both Wallace and Frye.
"We're all professionals. We've got confidence in all of our guys," wide receiver Bobby Engram said. "We just need to rally around them and just make plays."
Wallace is optimistic he'll play Sunday, but Holmgren was cautious earlier this week. Wallace gives the Seahawks more options on offense because of his scrambling ability, but the risk is aggravating the injury while doing that.
"It's another day," Wallace said. "I come out here and work, see how I feel and see what happens."
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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