RENTON - Deception and double-talk ruled the day as the Seattle Seahawks inched closer to Saturday's NFC wild card game against defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans.
For a second straight day, Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst split reps with the first unit during Wednesday’s practice.
And for a second straight week, coach Pete Carroll refused to say who his starting quarterback will be.
“At this point there’s no reason to say anything more about it from my perspective,” Carroll said. “You may think so. But we’re going to keep going, and I’m pleased we’re in the position we’re in there.”
The charade continued after practice. Initially, the Seahawks planned to make both quarterbacks available but then chose to deny access to both because no decision on the starter had been made.
Carroll’s indecision also affected New Orleans-area reporters, who were expecting to talk to Hasselbeck on conference call but got Mike Williams instead.
That decision led to Seattle-area reporters getting receiver Lance Moore on conference call instead of quarterback Drew Brees.
So with three days left until the teams play, there’s already some gamesmanship from both sides.
Seahawks tight end John Carlson said he’s not concerned with who starts Sunday.
“Honestly, I haven’t been thinking about it one bit,” he said. “I have my hands full with what I’m asked to do and what my job is. I can’t worry about who the quarterback is and what he’s doing.
“We have confidence in both those guys. We know they can both lead us to a victory. So whoever the coaches think is going to give us the best chance to win is going to be in there.”
Asked if Hasselbeck is fully recovered from a hip injury he suffered in the first quarter against Tampa Bay two weeks ago, Carroll had this to say:
“I don’t know that yet. He’s fully healthy in terms of what the demands of practice have presented for him. He looked great yesterday. We’re not going to hit him in practice, (so) we’re not going to know (if he’s fully healthy). He is running around and moving, and so he was able to everything we asked him to do yesterday.”
So does Hasselbeck start if he’s healthy?
“We’ll find out,” he said. Carroll also said he doesn’t know if he’ll wait until game time to make a decision, like he did last week.
So do you know who’s going to start and you’re just not telling us, Carroll was asked?
“You’ll never know,” Carroll said with a wry smile.
RYAN PLAYER OF WEEK
Seahawks punter Jon Ryan earned the NFC special teams player of the week for his effort against St. Louis on Sunday. Ryan placed four of his seven punts at or inside the 10-yard line against the Rams, helping Seattle win the field-position battle. This is Seattle’s third special-teams player of the week award this season. Leon Washington got one in Week 3 after returning two kickoffs for touchdowns in a win over San Diego. And kicker Olindo Mare was honored in Week 7 with five field goals at Arizona.
Wide receiver Mike Williams’ contract numbers are out. According to the NFL Players Association website, Williams will earn base salaries of $1.75 million in 2011, $3 million in 2012 and $3.4 million in 2013 for a total of $8.15 million for the three-year deal. With incentives and bonuses, Williams could earn up to $11.2 million. ... Wide receiver Brandon Stokley, who missed last week’s game with a head injury, has been cleared to practice and fully participated Wednesday. It looks like he’ll be ready to go Saturday. ... Stacy Andrews is back in the fold, working with the first unit at right tackle while Sean Locklear attends to a family issue for the next few days. With Chester Pitts on season-ending injured reserve, Carroll does not have a lot of options right now. So Tyler Polumbus will stay at left guard, and Chris White will serve as the backup for all three interior-line positions. “We anticipate Sean will be back and everything will be fine,” Carroll said. “We’re a little bit stuck with how we’re doing it right now because we don’t have much flexibility.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks
HERO OR ZERO?
A look at a player who can influence Saturday’s playoff game between the Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints:
OFFENSE: Mike Williams
He just signed a three-year, $11.2 million contract extension with the Seahawks following a breakout season, where he caught 65 passes for 751 yards and two touchdowns. But Williams has been quiet in the Seahawks’ last two games. Against the Rams, he had just three catches for 16 yards, but one was a touchdown. The Seahawks aren’t a team blessed with a bunch of playmakers, but Williams has that ability. His size (6-foot-5) and strength make him a threat over the middle and in the red zone. In the earlier game this season, Williams torched New Orleans for six catches for 108 yards. The Seahawks will need similar production to upset the Saints on Saturday.
Ryan Divish, staff writer