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Originally published Sunday, December 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Seahawks' linemen playing now for jobs in '09

Seahawks players want to send coach Mike Holmgren out with a win and a victory lap around the stadium in his final game at Qwest Field today...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Seahawks players want to send coach Mike Holmgren out with a win and a victory lap around the stadium in his final game at Qwest Field today against the New York Jets. But it's also important to show that they deserve a place on the team next season under Jim Mora.

That's what the final two few games have come down to after a 3-11 start.

"I said the other day I'm not going to be making that decision, it's someone else's call," Holmgren said a couple of weeks ago. "But I think in talking with the players, I think it's important that they understand that this, in many cases, people that make those decisions will remember these four games, these last four games, and so if you want to help yourself for the future, do the best you can."

Will there be snow or high winds or both? Will that impact the play on the field? That's something the players can't control today. But they can control what they do on the field, and one area of observation is the offensive line.

It figures to look like this — Kyle Williams at left tackle, Floyd Womack at left guard, Steve Vallos at center, Mansfield Wrotto at right guard and Ray Willis at right tackle. None of the five were expected to be starters, or even see much playing time, when the season began.

Williams was on the practice squad last month. Womack is versatile but has been in the league for eight seasons. Willis is a four-year veteran who has never played this much in previous three seasons combined. Wrotto is still developing, as is Vallos, who was a tackle in college and didn't start playing center until he was drafted by Seattle in the seventh round last year.

"I just try to get better every week," Vallos said, "going against good guys, Rocky [Bernard] and [Brandon] Mebane. Trying to block Lofa [Tatupu] isn't an easy task."

The line players can point to going up against the Seahawks' No. 1 defense in practice as being helpful in their development, but this year they've received game experience, too.

"I think the last couple of ballgames, guys are working really hard," Holmgren said. "Our offensive line, all those young guys in there getting a chance to play. I didn't want it to go that way, but here it is, and so they're playing. Absolutely, this film is going to be looked at and see how they figure into next year's plans."

More positions and players are being scrutinized for the future. Has wide receiver Koren Robinson played well enough to be brought back, or is his injury history — which forces him out of at least one practice a week — too much of a liability? Will a defense that vastly underperformed this season be gutted of several players? Is the backfield too crowded for young Justin Forsett, used this season on kickoff return and coverage teams, to be in the team's plans? He'll most likely have at least a training camp to show he belongs.

"I want to play running back, but any way they want to use me, I'm happy. I just want to be productive at it," Forsett said.

"This is a great opportunity for everybody," Vallos said. "No one really expects much out of us. It's our chance to show what we can do."

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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