Washington Redskins take on the look of Seahawks
Whether on purpose or just coincidentally, Washington, D. C., is Seahawks East. For starters, Washington's head coach is Jim Zorn, a member...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Whether on purpose or just coincidentally, Washington, D.C., is Seahawks East.
For starters, Washington's head coach is Jim Zorn, a member of the Seahawks' Ring of Honor who for the previous seven seasons was Seattle's quarterbacks coach.
Then there's offensive coordinator Sherman Smith, a teammate of Zorn's in Seattle from 1976 to 1982, and assistant head coach and running backs coach Stump Mitchell, who was Seattle's running-backs coach for 10 seasons until this year.
There are five former Seahawks players now with Washington — running back Shaun Alexander, safety Mike Green, offensive guard Pete Kendall, punter Ryan Plackemeier and cornerback Shawn Springs.
Zorn has enjoyed having Mitchell with him.
"He does a great job for me, knows me, knows what our system is, that makes things very comfortable," Zorn said of Mitchell. "When I'm not in any of the meetings and he's there, he understands kind of what we've done together and what we've done in Seattle, and it makes those meetings run smooth without me."
Zorn admitted that he really wanted Smith for his staff when he was putting it together after being hired. Smith had previously spent 13 seasons as the Tennessee Titans' running-backs coach.
"I just felt like he was ready to be a coordinator and lead and be up in front of our team," Zorn said. "And he wasn't necessarily ready to call plays in the passing game, but he's a very strong run-oriented coach. It couldn't be better on that choice."
Washington's rushing offense is fifth at 139.4 yards per game.
Alexander has been with the team for four games. Kendall has started all 10 at left guard. Springs started three games at left cornerback earlier in the season but has missed the past four with injury. Green, Alexander and Plackemeier were all signed on Oct. 14, and Green has played in three games. Plackemeier, a former Seahawks seventh-round draft pick, replaced punter Durant Brooks after the Seahawks released him after the regular-season opener.
"I'm excited, but I don't think that I have to perform or prove anything to anyone," Plackemeier said about returning to Seattle. "They [Seahawks] made their decision, the Redskins made their decision, and I'm just excited to play."
Apple Cup crazy
There are three Seahawks with vested interest in today's Apple Cup — former Cougars Marcus Trufant and Michael Bumpus and former Husky C.J. Wallace.
Bumpus, a rookie wide receiver on Seattle's practice squad, was bold in his prediction.
"Cougars will be victorious. The Cup will stay in Pullman, 28-20," he said. "Brandon Gibson will have 90 yards and two TDs."
Trufant wasn't as forthright, but said even after six NFL seasons, he still feels very connected to his WSU roots and tries to follow the team. He wouldn't give a final score.
"I'm always riding with the Cougs," Trufant said.
Wallace, a safety, was a Husky until two years ago.
"I think it's going to be kind of close," Wallace said. "They've got to win. What better to way to get a win than the Apple Cup? U-Dub, 23-20."
Even coach Mike Holmgren is taking an interest in the game. His son-in-law, Matt Peterson, works for the UW athletic department.
"This year both schools are struggling a little bit, but I don't think it takes anything away from that game," Holmgren said. "I'll watch it a little bit and root for those kids. Both of those schools are proud schools and good schools, and they'll be back."
• DT Red Bryant will get his sprained ankle tested Sunday. He's out for the Washington game after being very limited in practice all week.
• Wallace (hamstring) and LG Mike Wahle (shoulder) did not practice Friday and aren't expected to play Sunday.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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