There's not much to report at the moment beyond a few quick bits of news, so here you go:
J.R. Sweezy will be starting at right guard against the Cardinals. John Moffitt could still reclaim his job at some point this season, but for now it appears to be Sweezy's to lose. And before we start nailing Moffitt to the wall for being a third-round bust, it's entirely possible that he lost the competition not because he did something wrong, but because Sweezy's just that good. Had Moffitt not missed most of the preseason after having his elbow scoped, he might have been able to hold off the seventh-round rookie, but for now he'll be watching games from the sidelines.
Marshawn Lynch returned to practice today. His participation was limited, but having him practice at all is a good sign that his back spasms are subsiding. As someone who deals with a similar problem, let me just say that chronic spasms can be kept under control, but they will kick your ass if you try to push through them instead of resting. Lynch's non-participation in recent weeks is a concern, but it's exactly the right way to treat his problem -- if he plays on Sunday, it'll be because the Seahawks held him out of those practices.
Golden Tate, on the other hand, still has yet to practice this week while he recovers from the sprained knee he suffered in the fourth preseason game. If he can't play on Sunday, Braylon Edwards will start in his place. If he does, Tate may never get his starting job back, at least not this season. Tate's already only hanging on to it by his fingernails, and Edwards is a superior talent with the career stat lines to match.
Also sitting out this week are DE Greg Scruggs and Byron Maxwell. Scruggs hasn't practiced at all this week while he rests a sore hamstring, while Maxwell participated yesterday but showed up on the injury report today with a shoulder problem of some sort. Both players may be backups, but they're being counted on to contribute this season -- Maxwell is an important part of the special teams unit, while Scruggs is one of several players the Seahawks brought in to improve their pass rush.
James Carpenter and Matt Flynn have both been limited in practice. It's a wonder that Carpenter is even practicing at all, so his limited participation is understandable, but Flynn's elbow problem appears to have flared up enough to limit him in practice today. I haven't heard anything substantial yet regarding the severity or cause of the inflammation he's been experiencing, but it's something to keep an eye on.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals will be starting John Skelton and protecting him with their third and fourth-best offensive tackles. Sunday afternoon can't get here fast enough.
Hey Mathew: Good write up. If the Hawks beat the Cards in AZ, then I wouldn't be surprised to see them go 10 - 6 this season. If they loose in AZ, then 8-8, maybe 9-7 would be more realistic. I would look for a cautious Russell Wilson, multiple turnovers for the defense, and a kick-ass running game.
Even a cautious Russell Wilson may be better than many of the QB's starting this week.
@LouisLouis That sounds about right to me. Arizona should make for a good baseline for the season. Their offense is wonky, but they still have Fitzgerald and Skelton has surprised more than a few teams with his ability to close. The Cardinals' strength is still their defense, which should give us a good read on whether Wilson can translate his preseason success to the regular season. On special teams, well, let's just hope they don't kick it to Peterson or use Winston Guy as a blocker.
And yes, I would start my dog over some of the QBs sitting on top of the depth charts around the league. Compared to what the Jets and the Vikings have to choose from (Sanchez & Tebow? Ponder & Webb?), Wilson & Flynn are practically Waterfield & Van Brocklin. (To be fair, I kind of like Webb, but that doesn't make his stat line any prettier.)
@Matthew Heuett One other point about the game tomorrow. If the Hawks really take it to the Cards and dominate them, we could be looking at even more wins for the season. I could see them winning 11 games and threatening the 49ers for the division title. That would largely depend upon how effective the offense becomes as the season progresses.
@LouisLouis The odds of Seattle taking the division crown are even better when you consider that the 49ers' starting quarterback is still Alex Smith. Yes, he had his best season ever last year and he did make some legitimately great plays, but he was also running an offense that was pretty much designed to limit his prodigious gift for losing games singlehandedly.
Sometimes QBs are just late bloomers, but Smith's 2011 campaign felt less like the beginning of a strong finish to his career (see Gannon, Rich) and more like a consolation one-off (see Maddox, Tommy).