Seahawks QB Wallace ready to start against Bucs

RENTON, Wash. -- Seneca Wallace isn't going to let a sore calf keep him from trying to rescue the Seahawks' sinking season.

After leading the first-team offense for most of Thursday's practice, the quarterback said he's ready to start Sunday night when Seattle (1-4) plays at Tampa Bay (4-2).

A day earlier, the backup split time with third-stringer Charlie Frye.

"I feel better. I feel better every day," Wallace said of his strained calf, which he re-injured during a morning walkthrough on Oct. 8.

When asked if he felt he could play Sunday, Wallace was confident: "Yeah, I always feel I can play," he said. "I'll just keep working and see what happens.

"The players have confidence in me."

Coach Mike Holmgren has said he wants to wait to see how Wallace comes out of an entire week of practice before determining if he will start against the rugged Buccaneers.

Wallace first injured the calf running a pass route during warmups before a loss to San Francisco on Sept. 14. He was set to see time at wide receiver because Seattle had six men hurt at the position. He is still getting daily treatment for the injury.

Wallace getting the start is likely the Seahawks' best chance to keep Holmgren from the second 1-5 start in his 17 seasons as a head coach.

Matt Hasselbeck, the three-time Pro Bowl passer, is out indefinitely. A bulging disk in his back is irritating a nerve that runs down to his right knee. He is doing core strengthening exercises each day for his back and knee. Hasselbeck won't return until his knee, hyperextended in a loss two weeks ago at the New York Giants, passes strength tests.

What's it like trying to call plays without your franchise quarterback for the last seven seasons?

"It's tough," offensive coordinator Gil Haskell said. "Because he manages the game so well, vs. blitzes, vs. the different looks we see. And, knock on wood, he doesn't throw many interceptions. He's one of the best quarterbacks in the National Football League."

Frye is not. Pressed into playing last week after not taking snaps with the offense since the preseason, he completed just 12 of 23 passes for 83 yards -- Seattle's lowest passing total since 2001 -- with two touchdowns, two interceptions and three sacks. Green Bay overwhelmed him in Seattle's 27-17 loss, Frye's first start since the 2007 opener when he was with Cleveland. Two days after that, the Browns traded him to Seattle for a sixth-round pick.

Unlike Frye, Wallace knows every aspect of Holmgren's offense. He's been in it since 2003 and went 2-2 as a starter in '06 while Hasselbeck was out with a sprained knee.

Wallace was originally recruited out of high school by Oregon State as a defensive back. After landing at Iowa State, he became a game-breaking threat by running as much or more than throwing. His dynamic runs past stunned defenders while with the Cyclones are still YouTube favorites.

Seattle chose him in the fourth found in '03 because Holmgren liked his passing. Since then, Wallace has proven to be even better at throwing than the quarterback guru thought.

Wallace may have to rely on that to play Sunday. With the calf injury, running may not be his most prudent choice.

But Wallace says he won't restrict himself from taking off.

"When it's Sunday, and you are out there making plays, you can't worry about those things," he said.

That leaves Holmgren the cautious one.

"That's a part of his game that he will do naturally. He'll just react, and run," Holmgren said. "And as a result, you could irritate an existing injury, perhaps. ... That's the puzzle a little bit this week."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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