By SCOTT M. JOHNSON
KIRKLAND – A team desperately in need of good news finally got some Monday when the Seattle Seahawks found out that an MRI on quarterback Brock Huard’s right knee came up negative.
As has been the case for most of the season, there also was some bad news.
Although his knee is passable, Huard pulled a groin muscle on the same play near the end of Sunday’s 37-24 loss to Indianapolis.
So now the Seahawks are back where they started the day, wondering whether Huard will be able to make his third consecutive start this week.
“We’ll have to see how it goes,” Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. “I want him to practice. If he can’t, Jon (Kitna) will take the snaps. Then we’ll decide at the end of the week.”
Injury would be the only way the Seahawks could go back to Kitna at this point. Huard showed in Sunday’s loss that he is ready to be an NFL starter, even if he’s only 24 years old. He looked poised in the pocket, seemed to make all the right reads, and had a zip on his passes never seen on Kitna’s.
It was such an impressive performance that some outsiders were wondering out loud whether Huard had already proven that he is the team’s quarterback of the future.
Holmgren was as impressed as anyone, but isn’t ready to compare him to past protegees like Steve Young, Brett Favre and Mark Brunell.
“It’s a little too early to say anything, quite frankly,” Holmgren said. “He had a good game. It’s one game. You have to put a few of them together before we can determine anything. But it’s a good start.”
Through two-and-a-half games – he played in the second half of a 23-0 loss to Miami in Week 1 – Huard now has a quarterback rating of 87.1. He hasn’t thrown enough passes to qualify for the AFC leaders, but only five starters have a better rating.
Huard stopped short of saying that he played a good game Sunday, but it was an improvement over the previous week. In a 26-3 loss to Carolina, Huard made his first start and never led the offense into the end zone.
In Sunday’s loss, he threw for three touchdowns and gave the Seattle offense a spark. Still, he saw the glass as half empty because of a second consecutive loss.
“There were some things to definitely take from it,” Huard said. “(But) I could have gotten rid of the ball a couple times, avoided a sack or two. I had a chance to make a real big play, avoid a sack and hit Sean (Dawkins) down the field if I could make one guy miss.”
Whether Huard can build on his performance this week is still to be determined. Even if the groin isn’t healthy enough to let him practice, Holmgren said Huard would still have the opportunity to start. At this point, he’s listed as questionable, which means there is a 50-50 chance Huard will play against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
After injuring the knee on a hit by Indianapolis linebacker Cornelius Bennett, Huard’s immediate future looked rough. Bennett (240 pounds) came down awkwardly on Huard’s knee and appeared to have caused some damage – even though Huard played one more series before being replaced by Kitna.
“I’m thankful and fortunate, by what it looked like on film, that it wasn’t more,” Huard said.
The knee is bruised, but the groin muscle is the focus now.
“One thing you understand at this level is that there are a lot of guys in that locker room that are hurt, and come Sunday, they’re going to have to play hurt,” Huard said. “If I can move at all, I know that I don’t throw with my legs. I throw with my arm.
“I’ve got to be able to move and get myself out of trouble when I have to, but my arm is how I make plays and help the football team win. I fully expect to go on Sunday.”
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