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Rookie Tackles Take On CenturyLink

Posted Dec 7, 2012

Notebook: Seahawks' Wilson makes great strides since Cards last saw him

Rookie left tackle Nate Potter prepares for a play last weekend in New York.

It hasn’t been “False Start Field” for the Cardinals.

The din of CenturyLink Field in Seattle has caused problems for many teams and the Cardinals aren’t unaware, especially taking a pair of rookie tackles up there for the first time Sunday. Then again, Bobby Massie and Nate Potter just need to maintain what the Cards have done the past two seasons, when they have not been called for a single false start.

“It’s hard to prepare for it,” Potter said. “It’s its own beast. We just do the best we can to simulate it in practice.

“(The silent count) gets easier the more you practice it, but it is still a challenge. You still would like no noise, at home, but that’s not realistic.”

In the nine games the Cardinals have played there since the stadium opened in 2002, they have been flagged for 18 total false starts. The Seahawks themselves had three in last year’s game in Seattle, even as the Cards had none.

The Cardinals will have an experienced quarterback in John Skelton, although he has yet to play a down in Seattle in his career. The center remains Rich Ohrnberger, who doesn’t have the Seattle experience that the injured Lyle Sendlein did.

Massie, the right tackle, and Potter, on the left, have been improving. Massie, who started against the Seahawks in the season opener in Arizona, is a much different player than the Seahawks saw the first time.

“I feel like my game has picked up a lot,” Massie said. “(That first game) I was thrown into the fire. Now I’ve settled in. I’ve played better, straight up.”

Potter said he isn’t happy with how he has played since he is always looking for improvement, but coach Ken Whisenhunt praised him and Potter has performed better than D’Anthony Batiste did at the position.

The Seahawks are playing well defensively, however, and know the inexperience the Cards have on the edged.

“When you get new offensive linemen, especially young guys, the leveling might not be right,” Seahawks defensive end Jason Jones said. “They may be more susceptible to D-line games that we might throw at them. So we definitely have to take advantage of their youth.”

A DIFFERENT RUSSELL WILSON

When the Cardinals saw rookie quarterback Russell Wilson the first time this season, it was Wilson’s first NFL game, and he played like it. He completed just 18 of 34 passes, his passer rating was a mere 62.5 and he couldn’t get the Seahawks into the end zone in the final crucial seconds to allow the Cards a dramatic victory.

That was a long time ago. Wilson, a third-round pick, has been a revelation for Seattle, proving – at this point – to be a probable long-term solution at the position when he was lightly regarded going into last April’s draft. Wilson’s passing rating in the 11 games since is 99.1 and the Seahawks have won seven of 11.

“For me, I have 12 times the experience,” Wilson said, comparing himself now to the Cardinals’ game 12 games ago. “I think that game helped me win (other) games at the end.”

Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton not only complimented Wilson’s play but noted last year the Seahawks didn’t go far with a mobile, athletic quarterback in Tarvaris Jackson.

“I put all of (Seattle’s improvement) on him,” Horton said. “I know it’s not just him, but the quarterback position is so important, he gets the lion’s share of it.”

Wilson has been “tremendous,” Horton added. “Doesn’t mean we’re not coming after him, but he’s been tremendous.”

CAMPBELL, ROBERTS QUESTIONABLE

Horton said he expects defensive end Calais Campbell to play this weekend, but Campbell's calf injury will continue to keep Campbell listed as questionable for Sunday's game. Also questionable are wide receiver Andre Roberts, who was upgraded to limited Friday in his first practice since hurting his ankle against the Rams two weeks ago, and running back Beanie Wells, who is nursing a sore knee. Quarterback Kevin Kolb (ribs) is also officially listed as questionable. Defensive end Ronald Talley (ankle) is doubtful to play.

For the Seahawks, who were already losing starting cornerback Brandon Browner to suspension, reserve cornerback Marcus Trufant is out with a bad hamstring. Linebacker Leroy Hill is questionable with an ankle injury.

LOSING THE KICKOFF

Sparked by a suggestion from Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, there has been talk about the possibility of taking kickoffs completely out of the game and replace it with a fourth-and-15 play that would require a punt or going for a first down.

The idea is to cut down on plays that are more likely to injure players. Whisenhunt, a member of the league’s competition committee, said he was sure the kickoff will continue to be a topic in upcoming offseason meetings.

“That was something talked about at points last year, not just with the competition committee but by everybody,” Whisenhunt said. “I understand the (Schiano) proposal, but there are some other things we talked about that I look forward to talking about more in-depth.”

 

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