KIRKLAND — The Seahawks could be very shorthanded at wide receiver on Sunday.
Darrell Jackson and D.J. Hackett didn't practice Friday nor all week and will be game-time decisions, coach Mike Holmgren said. Holmgren had hoped to get Jackson in for one practice this week, but that didn't happen.
"They are going to have to show me on Sunday that they can do something," Holmgren said. "It's kind of the way it's gone. I'm hopeful to have one or both of them on Sunday."
Jackson has a sore toe and Hackett a sprained ankle. If neither can play, Deion Branch and Nate Burleson are the expected starters and rookie receiver Ben Obomanu could see his first game action.
Devin Hester, one of the Bears' second-round draft picks last spring, is yet another playmaker the Seahawks will have to account for on Sunday. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie thanks to an NFL-record six return touchdowns this season, three on punt returns and two on kickoff returns.
The Seahawks, however, were one of a few teams to keep Hester in check during the regular season. Hester returned five punts for a total of 45 yards in the Bears' 37-6 win, and muffed three returns though he never lost a fumble.
The Seahawks studied Hester on film this week. The job of stopping him will fall on kicker Josh Brown and punter Ryan Plackemeier first, then the coverage units for Seattle.
"Absolutely, everyone has to know where he is," Holmgren said. "He's a tremendous player, a phenomenal rookie player. They score points on special teams more than anybody in football. So it's a tremendous challenge for us."
The coverage team's strategy, it would appear, is to keep doing what it normally does, even though it gave up a 93-yard kickoff return last week.
"You can't play scared against someone like that," the Seahawks' Joe Tafoya said. "You just execute your game plan and hope everyone is in their lanes. We haven't really seen too many guys like that around, besides [Kansas City's] Dante Hall and Desmond Howard."
Tafoya is one of only a handful of special-teams players who have been on the return and coverage teams for most of the season. The Seahawks have gone with several new players to fill roles on those teams when core special-teams players had to become contributors on offense and defense.
"We have guys that want to do it,' Holmgren said. "We just can't give up the big play on special teams."
Sunday's game will be a showcase for four of the NFL's top linebackers — Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher of the Bears and Lofa Tatupu and Julian Peterson of the Seahawks. All four are going to the Pro Bowl.
The Bears have Urlacher down for 185 total tackles (solo and assists) and Briggs with 176 in the regular season. They were far and away the top two tacklers for Chicago. Tatupu led the Seahawks with 123 total tackles, by Seattle's count, and Peterson had 89.
Peterson and Tatupu combined for 11-˝ sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Briggs and Urlacher had only one sack between them but five interceptions, five forced fumbles and two recoveries.
"We think we're the best. They'd probably say the same thing. They should say that," Urlacher said.
"We feel like we're one of the better linebacker corps in the league," Peterson said. He also sees similarities between the four.
"Lance, he and Urlacher make a lot of big plays," Peterson added. "With us, we might be a little more athletic than them. But their scheme is very good. [It] allows the linebackers to make a lot of plays. So it's going to be fun out there to see which ones make more plays."
A friendly wager
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire is betting smoked salmon and apples the Seahawks will beat the Bears on Sunday. If the Seahawks win, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will be sending Gregoire barbeque and hot dogs.
• The Seahawks signed CB Gerard Ross to the 53-man active roster on Friday, filling the void left by the release of S John Howell earlier in the week. Ross, a rookie from Florida State, had been on the practice squad for most of the season. He could see time on defense and special teams.
• LB Marquis Cooper is probable with a head laceration.
• Game balls from last week's win went to TE Jerramy Stevens (offense), CB Jordan Babineaux (special teams) and DE Bryce Fisher (defense).
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com