By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
RENTON — Marcus Trufant took off in a near sprint, one shoe on and the other in hand, as he headed out of the Seattle Seahawks’ locker room and followed his teammates to a Tuesday afternoon meeting.
The Seahawks’ 27-year-old cornerback looked like a college kid who was late for class — and that’s probably what it felt like.
During a week like none other this season, the Seahawks have only one full day of preparation before Thursday’s game at Dallas. Monday was a players’ day off, and much of today will be spent traveling to Texas, so Tuesday was the only time the players had to squeeze in a week’s worth of practice and meetings.
“We pretty much did the stuff we usually do in three days,” defensive tackle Rocky Bernard said, “we did it in one day.”
Only about 30 minutes separated the end of Tuesday’s afternoon practice from another meeting, so Trufant and his teammates had to take a quick shower, answer a few reporters’ questions and scramble to the day’s next event.
“It’s a short week, and you’ve just got to do it,” cornerback Kelly Jennings said. “Even though you feel like you’re cramming, you’ve got to get it done.”
The Cowboys (7-4) plan to practice three days this week because they don’t have to travel. Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said that Dallas has an obvious advantage during a short week of recovery.
“I think the home team, in both Detroit and Dallas, has an advantage because they don’t travel,” Holmgren said, referring to annual holiday games that are hosted by the Lions and Cowboys. “That’s one thing. They’re at home, that’s another thing.”
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo said that the annual holiday game at Texas Stadium doesn’t always feel like an advantage.
“I know we’ve gotten our butt kicked on Thanksgiving,” he said, “and I know we’ve won some big games too. Each year’s different.”
For the Seahawks (2-9), this week is a lot different than normal.
“There’s no rest,” Jennings said. “Everything’s happening fast, and you just have to adjust.”
Another Seahawk hurting: Center Chris Spencer could be added to the long list of Seahawks who have missed a game this season.
Spencer sat out Tuesday’s practice with an ailing back, and Holmgren said there is a chance he won’t be able to play Thursday.
Steve Vallos, who started three preseason games while Spencer sat out with a bad back, is preparing for what might be the first regular-season start of his career.
“It’s been awhile,” he said. “It’s the real deal now.”
Vallos found out Tuesday morning that he would run practice with the No. 1 offense. He’ll find out Thursday whether he gets the start.
“There’s not really time to get nervous,” he said, “because we’ve got two days to prepare.”
Spencer could conceivably start Thursday. If he doesn’t, he would become the 16th Seahawks starter to miss a game this season.
Said Holmgren: “I’ve got confidence in Steve.”
Hasselbeck eager to atone: The last two times quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has played a game, it has ended on a bad note. Hasselbeck threw interceptions on each of his final passes in back-to-back losses to Arizona and Washington.
“It’s no secret the last two games didn’t end well because of game-ending interceptions,” he said Tuesday. “Hopefully, I can get in that situation again and do a better job.”
He has taken the blame for the interception in Sunday’s 20-17 loss, while the Cardinals game had extenuating circumstances.
Both Hasselbeck and Holmgren have indicated that the quarterback could have played the second half of that game with a concussion.
“He’s lucky he went out there and got the snap, really,” Holmgren said of the final offensive play of that Arizona game.
Hasselbeck said that he remembered the entire game but that he wasn’t feeling like himself afterward.
Big problems: The Cowboys feature a pair of massive receivers, which means the Seattle cornerbacks will have their hands full.
Dallas star Terrell Owens is listed at 6-foot-3, 218 pounds, while fellow starter Roy Williams is 6-3, 212. Seattle’s top three cornerbacks all check in below 6-feet and under 200 pounds.
Cornerbacks Jennings (5-11, 180) and Josh Wilson (5-9, 192) got picked on by Arizona’s big duo of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin two weeks ago.
“Everybody’s doubting us, saying we can’t because we’re smaller and shorter,” Jennings said. “But that doesn’t always mean anything. It’s about the heart that you take into the game.”
Quick slants: Spencer was one of five Seahawks to sit out Tuesday’s practice. Holmgren said that left guard Mike Wahle (shoulder) will likely miss a second consecutive game but be back for the New England game 10 days later. Defensive tackle Red Bryant (ankle) and safety C.J. Wallace (hamstring) might play Thursday. Wide receiver Koren Robinson (knee) took a routine day off but should play against Dallas. … The Cowboys’ injury report indicated that running back Felix Jones (toe), cornerback Mike Jenkins (hamstring) and guard Kyle Kosier (foot) did not practice Tuesday.