Article: Hawks mix and match; Injuries to DBs prove problematic

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  1. WoodysGirl

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    Injuries to DBs prove problematic

    Scott M. Johnson
    Everett Herald
    January 3, 2007

    KIRKLAND, Wash. – The lockers on either side of those belonging to Jordan Babineaux and Kelly Jennings were empty on Tuesday afternoon. For a few minutes, it was as if the duo was standing on an island with no one else around.

    The image served as an appropriate metaphor for this Saturday's game against the Dallas Cowboys.

    Babineaux and Jennings are the Seattle Seahawks' starting cornerbacks, due in large part to a rash of injuries that have knocked out three players in two weeks.


    Kelly Herndon and Jimmy Williams got placed on injured reserve Tuesday, meaning Babineaux and Jennings are not only neighborless, but also starters.

    "It's unfortunate the way things happened for us the last two weeks, with our cornerback situation," Babineaux said, including Marcus Trufant's ankle in a Week 16 loss to San Diego. "But I think the coaches will do a good job of mixing in different calls to throw their offense off-balance a little bit, and the rest of it will be up to us to make plays on the ball."

    The latest injuries happened in Sunday's regular-season finale, when Herndon suffered a broken ankle and Williams injured his knee.

    That leaves the Seahawks with a secondary that includes Jennings (a rookie), Babineaux (who refers to himself as "an emergency cornerback") and a pair of veterans who haven't even suited up for a game as Seahawks players. Rich Gardner was signed last week after Trufant sprained his ankle, and now the team has signed Pete Hunter to add further depth.

    "When you see switches like that going on, you know something bad is happening; it's not a good sign," starting safety Michael Boulware said. "But it will make you work a lot harder. It's definitely different."

    While Gardner and Hunter battle for the No. 3 job that could bring extended playing time, the starting positions are likely to go to Jennings and Babineaux. Trufant is unlikely to be available for Saturday's game, and he might not be able to play at all in the postseason (by not putting him on IR, the Seahawks are holding out hope that he can play if the team makes a deep run in the playoffs).

    Jennings was tested often in each of the past two games, and he generally fared well. He did give up a few passes to Tampa Bay's Joey Galloway last week, but the rookie settled down after halftime.

    Babineaux has also had plenty of playing time, but most of it has come at safety. He played that position at Southern Arkansas University, but was converted to cornerback last season. When backup safety Mike Green went down with a season-ending injury during the 2006 preseason, Babineaux was moved back to safety in what was supposed to be a permanent switch.

    Now, thanks to serious injuries to three other cornerbacks, Babineaux is back to playing cornerback.

    "He's a good, physical player," defensive coordinator John Marshall said. "He's smart. He's going to be a fine safety. But we're very happy he can handle the corner position too."


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