By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
RENTON — Sean Locklear was back in a familiar spot on Monday, and chances are he will stay there for as long as he stays healthy.
The Seattle Seahawks’ starting right tackle was working with the No. 1 offense during a short Monday practice that came on the heels of the weekend bye. Coach Mike Holmgren said Locklear will regain his starting job despite solid performances from his backup in the first three games.
“Ray Willis did a great job at right tackle,” Holmgren said, “but I would suspect Sean’s going to start.”
Locklear missed the first two games because of a knee injury he suffered in the preseason. He returned to the field for the Sept. 21 game against St. Louis, but only in limited action as a backup.
As of Monday, Locklear was back in his usual role.
“I thought I’d be back there last week,” Locklear said. “But they made the decision to ease me back in. I kind of figured I’d be back this week.”
The Seahawks were so impressed with Willis’ start that they stuck with him an extra week. They also figured that the bye week would give Locklear more time to heal.
“I was ready last week,” Locklear said. “But (the bye) gave more time, for them and for me.”
Welcome back: The Seahawks returned to practice Monday after taking most of the previous week off.
The team had a bye on Sunday, so the coaches gave the players a break.
The players held informal practices three days last week, then took the weekend off.
“Player-only practices are great,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said before adding with a laugh: “Coaches just get in the way, usually.”
The time away gave several injured players the chance to heal up and be ready to return to the field.
It also gave the healthy players a weekend of rest.
“We love the bye week,” Hasselbeck said. “We should have more bye weeks. They are a lot of fun.”
Morris sits: On a day that saw several Seahawks return to practice, running back Maurice Morris was not among them.
Morris sprained his knee in the Sept. 7 opener and has sat out the past two games. The team was targeting this Sunday’s game for Morris’ return, but Holmgren sounded as if that is not set in stone.
“(Team trainers) tell me he’s got a shot at it,” Holmgren said. “But of all the guys, he’s probably a little bit behind. But he’s got a chance to play.”
Morris started the opener but was going to be part of a rotating-starter system. Julius Jones has started the past two games, going over 100 yards in each of them.
No East Coast bias: Holmgren said that the team will keep its usual routine for this weekend’s road trip, despite his team’s struggles on the East Coast.
Seattle lost 34-10 at Buffalo in the season opener.
“Time (change) had nothing to do with the Buffalo game,” Holmgren said. “We played lousy in that game, and time didn’t have anything to do with it.”
Ouch: Seahawks receiver Deion Branch is taking a unique approach to getting ready for his first game action of the 2008 season.
Branch, who had knee surgery in February, said he plans to enlist teammates to tackle him between practices this week.
“I know it sounds crazy,” he said, “but I’m going to have the guys do it. I want to go through that phase because I know we don’t tackle that much with me.”
Branch added that he will work with assistant strength coach Darren Krein today on some exercises that include impact.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to sustain that and be OK,” Branch said.
Familiar leg: From the Facts That Only a Diehard Fan Would Care to Know comes this tidbit.
When the Seahawks face the Giants and punter Jeff Feagles this Sunday, it will mark the fifth former Seattle kicker or punter they’ve seen this season.
Buffalo and St. Louis both have punters and kickers that spent time with the Seahawks — the Bills’ Rian Lindell and Brian Moorman, and the Rams’ Josh Brown and Donnie Jones.
Quick slants: The Seahawks signed running back Matt Lawrence to their practice squad. Lawrence replaces Yvenson Bernard, who was released. … The Seahawks gave defensive tackle Craig Terrill the day off to rest a sore knee. … Cornerback Marcus Trufant is still wearing a protective cast on his left hand, but the new one is far less cumbersome than the club-like cast he sported in the St. Louis game.