Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, here on the sidelines against the Denver Broncos in the second half against Denver on Saturday, is expected to see extensive playing time tonight in Green Bay.
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. today 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.