Looks as if the Seahawks will have nearly a full complement of divas and supernumeraries for the 2012 NFL opera's final dress rehearsal Thursday night against Oakland in the Clink.
Quarterback Matt Flynn's sore elbow has healed enough to allow him to back up rookie Russell Wilson, and two others penciled in as starters, G John Moffitt and WR Doug Baldwin, will see their first action of the preseason.
"Matt will get a lot more time because of the time he missed in game three," head coach Pete Carroll said after practice Wednesday. "We’re going to play him a bit more.”
Baldwin, the team's leading receiver last year with 51 catches, will join re-join Sidney Rice and Golden Tate as the top three receivers at the Seahawks' most unsettled position. Tate, a three-year veteran, came in as a question mark, but judging by Carroll's remarks, seems to have provided answers.
"The emergence of Golden is probably one of the best things that's happened," he said. "We are really going with him, and we really believe in him. He’s a starter for us and he shows us all the time why. He just needed the grooming time."
Moffitt, who started as a rookie but had minor elbow surgery during camp, will play, but he'll have to beat out the biggest surprise in camp -- rookie seventh-round pick J.R. Sweezy, who has converted to offense after a career as a defensive lineman at North Carolina State, where he was a teammate of Wilson's.
"I couldn't be more pleased with J.R.," Carroll said. "He is so far ahead of expectations that we can't even describe it at this point. He's started a couple of games and played really well. He’s surprised the heck out of us. If he continues this way, there's a chance he'll be starting. Maybe.
"John is going to play. He’s had a good week and he’s made it through it. I think that it’s a great turnaround for us."
Carroll also addressed what seems to be the biggest disappointment of the preseason, the failure of No. 1 draft pick Bruce Irvin to have much of an impact in the pass rush.
“Well, he’s frustrated with how hard it is to get sacks," he said. "But these last two days in particular, he’s just looked terrific in practice. What we’re trying to do is make sure we give him plenty of opportunity to take advantage of his speed. He was thinking a lot and trying to put things together and it wasn’t as natural as he would become.
"I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he had some real quality rushes. In the game last week, he really was close enough to have four sacks in the game. That’s a major step from the first couple of games. Bruce was the most productive guy in practice throughout the camp. We keep score of that stuff and he was the highest-ranked guy as far as activity and productivity."
Carroll also said running back Marshawn Lynch, hampered by back spasms, is better. But his backup, rookie Robert Turbin, continues to impress.
"The biggest issue will always be pass protection and he had a great week last week in pass protection against the Chiefs and he’s been solid throughout," he said. "That was just his best test so far. I’m not sure if you guys noticed, but he was on fire this week. He feels comfortable, he knows what he is supposed to do."
Carroll said tackle James Carpenter, who played only nine games and underwent season-ending knee surgery, is rehabbing well and "definitely is going to play this year. He's not that far away from looking like he can practice and play.”