Mike Holmgren expects Matt Hasselbeck to start Sunday
The Seahawks plan on having quarterback Matt Hasselbeck return this week for practice, with the idea that he will start Sunday's home game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON — The Seahawks plan on having quarterback Matt Hasselbeck return this week for practice, with the idea that he will start Sunday's home game against the Arizona Cardinals.
"I probably should see how he practices, but I'm assuming, I don't think there will be any change in that," coach Mike Holmgren said Monday. "He threw the ball around a little bit last Friday, and if he does that and can do those things and he moves fine, then, yeah, he'll probably start."
Not exactly an ironclad deal, but Hasselbeck, who has been out for the past five games with complications from a bulging back disk, is expected to practice Wednesday. If he is deemed not ready to play at the end of this week, there's a chance the Seahawks will go with No. 3 quarterback Charlie Frye as the starter because Seneca Wallace suffered a groin injury in the first quarter of Seattle's loss at Miami two days ago and was sore Monday.
"Those are difficult injuries for a quarterback, and by playing the whole game on it, it's probably a little more sore than it would have been," Holmgren said. "We'll know a lot more by Wednesday."
The team should also know whether it will have wide receiver Deion Branch for just the second game this season. Branch, too, is expected to practice Wednesday and will start if his bruised heel feels comfortable enough after a week of workouts.
Branch took a few snaps in practice at the end of last week, as did Hasselbeck briefly with the scout team.
The impending return of Branch — plus a further review of several dropped passes at Miami — could bring about a change at wide receiver.
If Branch starts as expected, he will be the flanker and Koren Robinson will start opposite Branch at split end. Bobby Engram, who has been starting for Branch, will move back inside as the slot receiver, which makes Keary Colbert the fourth receiver at best. Colbert, however, could get supplanted by Jordan Kent or someone off the practice squad because he has struggled to catch the ball in games and had one glaring dropped pass Sunday.
To be fair, Colbert wasn't the only one with a case of the dropsies. Robinson failed to bring in a sure touchdown and tight end John Carlson couldn't hold on to a fourth-down pass that sealed the Seahawks' fate, one of his two bobbles.
"I think we're going to look at the whole thing again," Holmgren said. "We've been doing it almost on a weekly basis this year. And we'll do it again."
Colbert, who was acquired in a September trade for a 2009 draft pick, has played in seven games with three starts and has six catches. He said his focus will be to concentrate more and try to forget his mistakes and move on.
"It's not a secret that we left some plays out there as a team," Colbert said. "We can't really dwell on it now that it's over.
"A lot of us are our own worst critics and when we don't make the plays that we want to make, we get disappointed."
T.J. Duckett is the forgotten man in the Seahawks' running game, it would appear. After a 79-yard game in Week 3 against St. Louis in which he scored two touchdowns, Duckett has 26 yards on 18 carries since. He had one carry at Miami and lost one yard.
Duckett was playing a lot more earlier in the season because Maurice Morris was injured, but is hardly on the field at all in recent weeks. Now fullback Leonard Weaver is injured and could miss the Arizona game, but that might not increase Duckett's playing time.
"Duckett is a big, strong guy but he's not a fullback," Holmgren said. "He absolutely will factor into any sort of plan we come up with if Weaver can't play, but exactly what that is, I couldn't tell you right now."
Rookie Owen Schmitt will start if Weaver is unavailable.
• Weaver suffered bruised ribs and is questionable for this week, Holmgren said.
• DE Patrick Kerney, who is coming off minor shoulder surgery, is doubtful to play Sunday.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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