Mora says Hassel beck, Jones are out against Colts
RENTON: When Jim Mora climbed Mount Rainier this summer as though it were a neighborhood knoll, he stood on the rugged peak looking to scale even more mountain.
He's got one now. His Seahawks are on a two-game losing streak and in danger of falling three games out of the NFC West lead just four weeks into the season. Seattle plans to be without quarterback Matt Hassel beck and key blocker Walter Jones again on Sunday when they play Peyton Manning and the undefeated Colts in Indianapolis.
And, oh yeah, Seattle has lost 10 of its last 12 road games.
It's the kind of challenge mountaineering legend Ed Viesturs said Mora was looking for back in July, when they stood atop 14,411-foot Rainier with the rest of a tired group and, according to Viesturs, Mora "wanted to do more!"
"We've got a big, big task this week. ... What do we do? We go play our tails off," Mora said, knowing this isn't the ideal situation to jump-start his debut season as Seattle's coach. "It's a formidable challenge, but we'll be ready for it. We'll absolutely be ready for it."
Mora does not expect Hasselbeck, his three-time Pro Bowl passer, or Jones, his nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle, to play. Hasselbeck missed last week's loss to Chicago with a broken rib.
"The holdup quite simply with Matt is that he can't run yet (and) when he takes deep breaths there is pain," Mora said.
Jones has yet to play since August, when he had his second knee surgery in nine months. Mora said he doesn't know for sure if the 35-year-old anchor to Seattle's offensive line for the last decade will play at all this season.
"I can't tell you that the thought (he won't) doesn't cross your mind," Mora said. "We have to give him some time. I think he's earned that."
Seattle (1-2) does expect to have linebacker Lofa Tatupu back from a hamstring injury and cornerback Josh Wilson is making a quick recovery from what the team termed a high ankle sprain. Wilson was back practicing Wednesday, a week after he was wearing a walking boot and using crutches.
Wilson had been starting for Marcus Trufant, who is out until at least Nov. 1 with a bad back. Wilson's injury forced reserve Travis Fisher to play last weekend, before the Bears exposed Fisher on Jay Cutler's game-winning touchdown pass to Devin Hester.
Think the incomparable Manning who is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes with three 300-yard performances, seven touchdowns and two interceptions through three games won't notice Wilson's back from a bad ankle? Or that Fisher may be playing again? Or any other holes in a defense run by a rookie coordinator?
"I don't think Peyton Manning really cares about that," Wilson said. "Peyton Manning's going to throw the ball where he wants to throw the ball."
That's exactly what worries the rookie defensive coordinator.
"His decision-making, he's uncanny," said Gus Bradley, who as a Tampa Bay assistant in 2007 lost to Manning and the Colts 33-14. "It's like you might get him once, but he'll get you nine times then. He's the best."
Bradley is also worried about how Manning varies the pace at which he runs the Colts' no-huddle offense snapping with 20 seconds on the play clock on one play, and maybe at 3 on the next. It keeps defenses from being able to substitute into preferred packages. Bradley said a long pass thrown incomplete might be his only chance to substitute on a Seahawks unit that usually rotates as many as seven linemen to keep them fresh, or often inserts extra defensive backs on second downs.
Someone asked Bradley if he's having nightmares this week of No. 18 in blue.
Bradley laughed and said, that's assuming he's sleeping.
Through it all, Mora remains optimistic his team can make a return to the playoffs after a one-year absence once it gets fully healthy again.
"I absolutely believe that when we're at full strength, we're a very, very good football team," Mora said. "There's a light at the end of the tunnel. There really is. There really is. A bright light."