Wistrom says he’s ready

  • By Scott M. Johnson / Herald Writer
  • Monday, November 15, 2004 9:00pm
  • Sports

KIRKLAND – In the hours preceding Sunday’s game at St. Louis, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Grant Wistrom tried to prove his knee worthy of him playing for the first time in nearly a month.

The knee didn’t respond, and Wistrom was unable to suit up, but he’s pretty certain the same won’t happen this Sunday.

“I’m playing this week,” Wistrom said Monday of Seattle’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

Based on recent results, the Seahawks could sure use him.

Seattle’s pass rush has been almost non-existent recently, with just four sacks in the past three games.

Wistrom, who watched Sunday’s game with his family from former teammate Kyle Turley’s suite, believes that the struggling pass rush is a product of how teams have attacked Seattle. Carolina and St. Louis used maximum protection schemes that often used seven or eight blockers to keep defensive linemen from getting to the quarterback.

“If I was a coach, I’d max protect all the time,” Wistrom said. “I’d run two-receiver routes and give the quarterback as much time as possible. It’s a pretty good idea, a good concept, and I don’t know why more guys don’t do it. It’s tough to beat.”

When offenses are keeping more guys in, it’s usually up to the linebackers and defensive backs to cover the two or three receivers in pass patterns. That wasn’t the case Sunday, when Rams receivers helped quarterback Marc Bulger throw for 262 yards.

“I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do regardless,” cornerback Marcus Trufant said. “Regardless of if they max protect or we’re blitzing or not, I’ve still got to cover my side of the field; I still have to get it done.”

While one man won’t be enough to cure all of Seattle’s defensive woes, coach Mike Holmgren believes the addition of Wistrom could help.

“Losing Grant, you lose a lot of juice coming from the outside,” Holmgren said. “You have a guy that can apply pressure and get them thinking about him a little bit. That makes the other guys better too.”

Dolphins make changes: The Seahawks’ Sunday opponent will have a different look, led by the promotion of defensive coordinator Jim Bates to interim head coach.

Bates, who is making his debut as a head coach, made his first lineup change Monday. He announced that A.J. Feeley would replace Jay Fiedler as the starting quarterback this week.

“It’s time for A.J. to get an opportunity and see what he can do,” Bates said in a Monday press conference with South Florida media. “He’s ready to play for us, and ready to play well.”

Feeley will be making his third start of the season, and Bates expects him to start the remainder of the Dolphins’ games.

No passing grade: Just when it looked as if the Seahawks’ offense had turned a corner, the passing game took another wrong detour Sunday.

While playing on a wounded knee, Hasselbeck had a rough outing in the Seahawks’ 23-12 loss to St. Louis. Hasselbeck registered an abysmal 45.1 quarterback rating just three weeks after posting a career-worst 18.9 in a loss to Arizona. He said the knee was not a big factor in his play.

Hasselbeck now ranks 14th of 15 NFC quarterbacks in quarterback rating (73.9) after going to his first Pro Bowl last season.

“We didn’t pass the ball well enough,” Holmgren said.

White out, Simmons hurting: The Seahawks’ special teams took another hit when linebacker Tracy White pulled a hamstring Sunday.

White’s injury could keep him out for around four weeks. Seattle already lost punter Tom Rouen and Pro Bowl special teamer Alex Bannister this season.

Also hobbled is starting outside linebacker Anthony Simmons, who hurt his wrist in Sunday’s loss. His status for the Miami game is unknown.

Running back Shaun Alexander has turf burn on his right forearm, but it’s not expected to hamper him this week.

Quick slants: About 1,000 tickets remain for Sunday’s game against Miami. … After giving up 462 yards of total offense to the Rams on Sunday, Seattle’s defense dropped from eight to 15th in the NFL in yards allowed per game. The Seahawks have given up an average of 329.7, which is still 39.2 yards less than Seattle’s seventh-ranked offense has averaged. … With four games of at least 150 rushing yards this season, Alexander has eclipsed the franchise’s record. He now has six in his career, better than Chris Warren’s former season record of four.

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