By Scott M. Johnson
KIRKLAND – Matt Hasselbeck’s introduction to the Seattle Seahawks’ offense isn’t getting any easier, especially considering his lack of targets.
The latest casualty was wide receiver Darrell Jackson, who sat out Thursday’s practice to rest a sore knee. Both projected starters – Jackson and Koren Robinson – are out with injuries, while starting tight end Christian Fauria is recovering from offseason ankle surgery.
“The guys I really need to be on the same page with, they’re not out here right now,” Hasselbeck said. “So I have to focus on other things and improve on other areas of the game.”
Second-year player James Williams is also resting an injury after cracking a bone in his foot at a minicamp last month. The only healthy wideouts remaining are Karsten Bailey, Fabien Bownes, Kerwin Cook, Jerry Dorsey, Corey Nelson, Alex Bannister and Todd Floyd. Of that group, Floyd made the biggest impact Thursday, even though it was only his second day with the team.
If there is a silver lining in the hobbled receiving corps, it’s that Bailey and Bownes are getting extended action. Both players were with the Seahawks last season, but rarely saw the ball. Because Seattle has such a young unit this year, both players hope to see more playing time with the offense.
Bownes, Bailey and Bannister – with a combined total of 10 NFL receptions – lined up with the first team offense during 11-on-11 drills Thursday.
Bownes has just four receptions in two years with the Seahawks, the most memorable being a game-winning catch during a win over Chicago in 1999.
“I’ve been trying to (catch a pass) since I caught that touchdown against the Bears,” said Bownes, who has caught only one ball since the Sept. 19, 1999, victory. “It’s my goal to be a receiver first, but I never count special teams out. I would like to get some more playing time with the offense, and that’s been a main focus of mine coming into this year.”
Jackson is expected to return to the practice field before the current minicamp ends. Williams, Robinson and Fauria won’t be at full strength until training camp opens at the end of July.
“It’s going to be important that everyone’s healthy when we come into training camp,” Hasselbeck said. “There are a lot of guys who haven’t been out there. It’s going to be really important that guys don’t get injured between now and training camp, and that guys don’t get injured at training camp.”
Scary moment: Near the end of Thursday’s practice, cornerback Shawn Springs was injured in a special teams drill after colliding with a teammate. Springs lay on his back for several minutes while an assistant trainer tended to him, but he eventually walked off the field on his own power.
The injury was not believed to be serious, although Springs’ status for the remainder of the current minicamp has yet to be determined.
Quick slants: Running back Shaun Alexander made two long runs on pass receptions over the middle during Thursday’s practice. The second-year player has shown improved hands recently. “Unless you catch everything 100 percent of the time, then you never feel totally comfortable,” Alexander said. “But I’m pretty good (catching the ball) out of the backfield.” … The Seahawks have a practice scheduled for today, then will take the weekend off before resuming Monday through Wednesday of next week. The current minicamp is the Seahawks’ final one before training camp.