Wallace will start in place of injured Hasselbeck; Branch still questionable
The Seahawks' starting quarterback will not play Sunday when Seattle travels to San Francisco. Hasselbeck still has not reached the required benchmarks as part of his recovery from a bulging disk in his back causing weakening in his right knee.
Backup Seneca Wallace will get his second consecutive start for the Seahawks (1-5), ending the slim hopes coach Mike Holmgren had of getting Hasselbeck back for this week.
"There is a series of things, exercises, that he has to go through every week and they are measurables, and if he doesn't meet certain criteria then they're just not going to clear him," Holmgren said of Hasselbeck after Friday's practice. "And it has to do with the strength, and his ability to do certain things and maintain and play a game."
Hasselbeck hyperextended his knee early in Seattle's 44-6 loss to the New York Giants on Oct. 5 and played most of the game, but hasn't seen the practice or playing field since. Last Sunday against Tampa Bay, Wallace became Seattle's third starting quarterback in as many weeks in the Seahawks' 20-10 loss, their third consecutive setback. Again the Seahawks' passing game faltered as Wallace hit on only 12 of 23 passes for 73 yards and compiled a passer rating of 55.2.
Hasselbeck went through a series of tests on Wednesday in Seattle's indoor practice facility. Holmgren thought his quarterback looked OK, but doctors would not clear Hasselbeck to begin practicing this week.
Holmgren said to his knowledge Hasselbeck hasn't endured any setbacks in his rehab, and still remains "pretty confident" the veteran quarterback will return this season.
"But right now for anybody it's a little bit of guesswork," Holmgren said. "They're doing all the right stuff, he's doing all the right stuff. The leg has to respond and the strength has to respond."
Branch missed the previous two games with a bruised heel after getting hurt against the Giants in his first game back from major reconstructive knee surgery in the offseason. The swelling and bruising in Branch's heal have gone down, but the foot is still sore.
Despite not practicing all week, Branch was listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
"I talked to [Hasselbeck and Branch] both yesterday. They both want to play and we'll get them out there as soon as we can," Holmgren said.
Holmgren was unhappy with Wallace's performance last week, on Monday saying that Charlie Frye might start against the 49ers. Holmgren settled on Wallace after the two met earlier in the week.
Wallace split snaps last week in practice, not wanting to push a strained calf that has hampered him this season. Wallace took all the snaps with the No. 1 offense this week.
"I feel a little better because you get another week under your belt. It was a little difficult last week, but now you get another week to get your rhythm down with all the guys," Wallace said. "It's a little better."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press