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Originally published August 22, 2013 at 7:53 PM | Page modified August 23, 2013 at 8:38 PM

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Seahawks gear up for third exhibition game vs. Packers

Starters are expected to get extensive playing time on Friday. Plus, five Seattle players to watch against Green Bay

Seattle Times staff reporter

Players to watch

Seahawks players to watch in Friday’s game at Green Bay:

DT Tony McDaniel: Seattle signed the seven-year vet in the offseason hoping he could step right in at the three-technique tackle spot after the loss of Alan Branch. McDaniel has been limited by a groin injury throughout camp but is expected to get the start against Green Bay.

CB Walter Thurmond: Thurmond remains tucked in a battle for the nickelback spot with veteran Antoine Winfield, who remains listed as the starter there. Winfield suffered a minor knee injury this week in practice.

WR Stephen Williams: He’s had three big catches in the first two games and four overall, and appears headed for a spot on the 53-man roster. Another solid outing in a hostile setting could sew that up.

OL Alvin Bailey and Michael Bowie: The trade of John Moffitt this week showed the confidence the Seahawks have in the two rookie linemen, who can each play guard and tackle. But as with all the younger, unproven players, playing well again against a good team on the road would further help their case for making the team.

DE Benson Mayowa: The rookie free agent from Idaho, who has been maybe the biggest surprise of camp, got a start last week, and with Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin questionable to play, he might get another one, and another good chance to show what he can do.

Bob Condotta

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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Lately, Pete Carroll’s “Win Forever’’ mantra has also come to mean “Win Even When It Doesn’t Technically Matter.”

The Seahawks have won seven straight exhibition games dating to 2011 heading into a contest here at 5 p.m. Friday against the Green Bay Packers.

Carroll seemed surprised when informed of that streak Thursday, and noted that like every team, the Seahawks do little specific preparing for exhibition games. “We don’t gameplan but 10 plays a day (this week),” he said.

What matters more, he said, is the approach and manner in which the team plays.

“I don’t think you should ever play anything and just kind of show up,” he said.

And if there is a game that tends to matter just a little more in the exhibition season, it is the third one.

Seattle played the starters for two series in the first game against San Diego, and then for essentially the entire first half last week against Denver. The starters figure to get even more action against the Packers in the game that most resembles a dress rehearsal for the regular season (starters will mostly be rested for the final tuneup next week against the Raiders).

That Friday’s game also figures to be played in a rather raucous setting akin to the regular season (which was not the case in the rather sleepy environs at San Diego) also makes it a key test for a Seattle team that was just 3-5 on the road (and 1-1 in the playoffs) last season.

“This is a really cool match for us to go on the road to make it an atmosphere much like going on the road the rest of the season,” Carroll said. “We need all that.”

Still, there will also be some specific objectives for the Seahawks.

Offensively, Seattle’s starting lineup became pretty well set this week when the team traded John Moffitt to Denver, making J.R. Sweezy the acknowledged starter at right guard.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell this week, however, said he’d like to see the Seahawks do a little better on third downs — Seattle was 4 for 12 against Denver and 2-5 in the first half (Seattle was also 0-1 on fourth downs in the first half).

“Our overall execution was better (than against San Diego),” Bevell said. “But we’ve got to do it again (against the Packers).”

Seattle’s offense, however, will again be a little short-handed as the Seahawks will be without starting receiver Sidney Rice and tight end Zach Miller. Each returned to practice this week after being limited previously with knee and foot injuries, respectively. But Carroll said the team won’t rush them into exhibition games, instead preferring them to sit out to get ready for the regular-season opener Sept. 8 at Carolina. Fullback Michael Robinson, who has been sick all week, also will miss the game.

That will again open up opportunities for some of the younger skill players such as receiver Stephen Williams (who leads the team in receiving with four catches for 128 yards) and tight ends Luke Willson and Sean McGrath. Rookie running backs Christine Michael (who returned to practice this week after missing the Denver game with back spasms) and Spencer Ware also could again get significant carries, and with Robinson out, Derrick Coleman may see more time.

Defensively, the Seahawks will continue to try to find some answers at the three-technique tackle position, which continues to be hit with injuries.

Rookie Jesse Williams won’t play after sitting out all week with knee issues. Also out is rookie Jordan Hill, who had impressed in the first two games but suffered a strained biceps in practice on Tuesday. Carroll said Hill won’t play against the Packers but said a report that he is out 3-6 weeks is “not accurate.”

With the two youngsters out, Tony McDaniel will get the start. McDaniel, who played the last four seasons with Miami, was signed as a free agent in the offseason but has missed the first two games with a groin injury.

Seahawks coaches had said this week it was imperative that they begin being able to see what they have in McDaniel, who is in his eighth season overall.

“This is a good opportunity for Tony,’’ Carroll said. “He’s going to start this game and show us what he can do. … We’re counting on him doing some good things.’’

Carroll said the status of defensive end Cliff Avril and end/linebacker Bruce Irvin also remained up in the air, which means newly-acquired O’Brien Schofield is again likely to start and that rookie Benson Mayowa could also again see significant time early.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com

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