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Originally published Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Notebook | Arizona holds four-game lead atop NFC West, Seattle's usual spot

The Seattle Seahawks are 2-7 and haven't spent a single day atop the division they've won each of the past four seasons, and Arizona will come to Seattle on Sunday holding a four-game lead with seven games left to play.

Seattle Times staff reporter

RENTON — The Seahawks haven't really found a new perspective in the NFC West this season so much as they've fallen to it.

They're 2-7 and haven't spent a single day atop the division they've won each of the past four seasons, and Arizona will come to Seattle on Sunday holding a four-game lead with seven games left to play.

"We've always put a little extra emphasis on our division," coach Mike Holmgren said. "And now the fact that we're running uphill, it was talked about and it'll be talked about all week."

Seattle had at least a share of first place in the division for the final 15 weeks last season. In fact, over the previous four seasons, the Seahawks spent only six weeks somewhere other than the top floor of the division standings.

That accomplishment does come with the caveat that this is the NFC West we're talking about. No team in the division other than Seattle finished with a winning record in any of the past four seasons, and the four teams are a combined 6-18 against teams outside the division this season.

It wasn't the best division. Heck, it wasn't even a mediocre division, but it was the Seahawks' division, and they presided over it for the previous four seasons.

Seattle led the division for all but two weeks in 2004, trailing St. Louis by half a game in Weeks 6 and 7, and held at least a share of the division lead the rest of the time. The Seahawks were at least tied atop the division for all but the first week in 2005 after they lost the season-opener at Jacksonville.

The Seahawks started 3-1 in 2006 going into their bye. They trailed the Rams by percentage points after St. Louis won in Week 5, improving to 4-1. The only week Seattle was not in first place last year was after the Seahawks lost in Arizona, fell to 1-1, and trailed the 49ers by a game.

That makes what has happened this season more jarring because Seattle started 0-2 and has been at least one game out of the division lead ever since, and now they play the team that sits in the position the Seahawks had become so accustomed to: first place.

Just don't try selling the Seahawks on a spoiler's role.

"It's still a little early for that," Holmgren said. "I'm not going to talk that way yet. It's still a little early."

A four-game deficit is prohibitive, but not impossible. At least not yet since Seattle has two games left against Arizona, putting even more importance on Sunday's game if the Seahawks are going to work their way back toward the top of the division they've won for four seasons and counting.

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Colbert out, Taylor expected in

Wide receiver Keary Colbert dropped two passes for the Seahawks in Sunday's game at Miami.

On Tuesday, Seattle dropped Colbert, waiving the receiver who signed with the Broncos for a $2.4 million signing bonus in March, was traded to Seattle for a conditional draft pick in Seattle and was released after catching seven passes in the past seven games.

It was the balls he didn't catch that stuck out. Colbert got his hands on a pass in the end zone in Philadelphia, but couldn't hold on as a defender batted it away. He dropped two passes in Miami, including one on third-and-12 in the second half.

Second-year wide receiver Courtney Taylor is expected to take Colbert's place on the 53-man roster. Taylor caught five passes for 50 yards in the three games he played this season.

Taylor began the season as the starting flanker, but was moved to the bench after two games and later released and signed to the practice squad. Holmgren said Monday it was possible the team would take a look at one of its younger receivers on the active roster this week.

"We have those young kids [so] we have to see," Holmgren said.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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