Randle’s backups know they have huge shoes to fill

  • Scott M. Johnson / Herald Writer
  • Friday, November 9, 2001 9:00pm
  • Sports

By Scott M. Johnson

Herald Writer

KIRKLAND – Antonio Cochran and Cedric Woodard haven’t gone so far as to study their opponents’ bios this week. But that would be appropriate, considering that they might have to replace John Randle as the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive tackle.

Randle has not practiced this week because of soreness in his left knee, and although it still seems a remote possibility that his 183-game playing streak will end, there is a chance Cochran and Woodard might have to fill in.

Woodard said he’ll try to replace Randle as best he can, but he won’t attempt to fill the veteran’s shoes in terms of trash talking.

“That ain’t me,” Woodard said. “He’s always talking. I guess that’s how he psyches himself up. People have different ways of getting themselves ready for a game. Whatever he does, it’s working for him.”

Coach Mike Holmgren said Friday that he still does not know whether Randle will play, although he did say that the 33-year-old’s condition is improving. Randle is still listed as questionable, meaning there is a 50-50 chance he will be on the field for Sunday’s game against the Raiders.

“I want him to play badly,” Holmgren said, “but I don’t know.”

In the event that Randle does not play, Cochran would probably start alongside Chad Eaton. But Woodard, a second-year player from the University of Texas, would also see the most extensive playing time of his short NFL career.

As far as the trash-talking goes, Eaton said: “I’ve got to make up for two now.”

ESPN game blacked out: The Seahawks-Raiders game will be televised nationally this week.

Everywhere but Seattle, that is.

The team came about 2,500 tickets short of a sellout, meaning the ESPN coverage will be blacked out locally.

Although the Seahawks have generally had trouble selling out games during the Holmgren era, they have typically had good crowds for Raiders games.

Running woes: Since running back Shaun Alexander was inserted into the starting lineup five weeks ago, the Seahawks’ running game has gone from dynamite to average to non-existent.

Alexander’s first start of the season, an Oct. 7 win over Jacksonville, saw the Seahawks run for a season-high 185 yards. The following week, Seattle had 161 yards on the ground. The past two games have seen the rushing total go from 96 to 60.

Last week’s game was misleading, as an early deficit forced the Seahawks to throw 30 passes while running the ball just 14 times.

“Right now, that’s a hard way for us to go,” Holmgren said of the unbalanced offense. “We’re better off if we can hand the ball to Shaun a number of times and let him go.”

Alexander had his worst game as the Seahawks’ feature back last week. He scored on a 41-yard touchdown, but gained just 19 yards on his other 12 carries.

“You win some, you lose some,” Alexander said, “but eventually one’s going to break.”

Right tackle shuffle?: Holmgren said he still has not decided whether Chris McIntosh or Todd Weiner will start at right tackle this week, and he added that there is a chance he will rotate both players in Sunday’s game.

“I think it’s important for Chris McIntosh to get strong again and to get back in there,” Holmgren said. “Todd’s doing a fine job, but I want to get Chris back in there.”

Quick slants: Free safety Marcus Robertson (hamstring) did not practice Friday, and it doesn’t appear that he will play Sunday. … The Raiders could be without cornerback Charles Woodson (toe), linebacker Will Thomas (hamstring), fullback Jon Ritchie (groin) and guards Mo Collins (leg) and Steve Wisniewski (ankle). All five starters are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

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