Seahawks Notebook | Stevens takes lumps
Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens was called names by two Oakland Raiders after Monday's game at Qwest Field. On Tuesday, Raiders coach...
Seattle Times staff reporters
KIRKLAND — Seahawks tight end Jerramy Stevens was called names by two Oakland Raiders after Monday's game at Qwest Field.
On Tuesday, Raiders coach Art Shell said Stevens was the instigator in the exchange that ended with defensive end Tyler Brayton kneeing Stevens in the groin and being ejected.
"Tyler was reacting to someone trying to kick him in the groin area," Shell said, according to The Associated Press.
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren disagreed.
"If you look at the film, I think it's pretty clear that's not what happened," Holmgren said.
Holmgren said Stevens' leg flared out while he was engaged in the block on Brayton, but it was not an attempt to strike Brayton and was a result of two players struggling for leverage.
"It was kind of a normal thing that happened," Holmgren said of Stevens' actions. "It wasn't anything close to resembling what actually occurred afterwards."
Brayton kept a hold of Stevens' pads after the play and kneed Stevens in the groin, though Stevens said Brayton missed his intended target. Replays showed Stevens smiling after Brayton struck him. Stevens said after the game he had not said anything to initiate a confrontation.
"He was getting upset," Stevens said. "We were running the ball right at him every play and he couldn't make the play."
After the game, Brayton — who went to Pasco High School and is the grandson of Bobo Brayton, the longtime Washington State baseball coach — said he regretted his actions.
Several Raiders took exception to Stevens on Monday. Defensive tackle Warren Sapp told a television camera Stevens was a "sissy, no more, no less." Safety Stuart Schweigert was even more blunt.
"He's a dirty, dirty player," Schweigert said.
Shell said he hoped Brayton would be fined, not suspended, and that Stevens should receive the same punishment. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the AP the league was looking into the play and could have a decision on further punishment as soon as today.
Stevens was penalized 15 yards for taunting Schweigert in the first half. Holmgren said the amount of conversation on the field would be a subject he addresses with the players today when preparations for Sunday's game against St. Louis begin.
"I'm going to address the team about it," Holmgren said. "Not specifically Jerramy, I mean the whole team because I don't like it and I get to say."
There was a time that Holmgren would have really let loose if his punter shanked a kick out of bounds like Ryan Plackemeier did on his first kick Monday night.
"When I was younger I would have kind of exploded on that one," Holmgren said. "But I was very good. I put my arm around him and whispered some things in his ear. And then he shanked the next one."
Call it part of the learning curve for Seattle's rookie punter, whose college career at Wake Forest didn't prepare him for the conditions he faced Monday.
"I've never really played in that sideways kind of wind, rain, a little bit cold," he said. "It kind of caught me off guard a little."
Plackemeier rallied after the early struggles as three of his final four punts in the game landed inside the Oakland 20.
Holmgren stopped short of saying the Seahawks' offensive line had a good game Monday.
"They battled," he said. "The problems there were Tommy [Ashworth] jumping offside, and then Chop [left guard Floyd Womack] wore down just a little bit."
Womack was trying to defend Sapp. Ashworth, making his second start at right tackle in as many weeks, was whistled for three false-start penalties.
"He played a pretty good football game, but you can't, and he knows it, you can't jump off movement like that," Holmgren said. "Particularly in your own place when you know the cadence. ... He's real honest about it. He's hard on himself."
• The best way to get the ball in WR Nate Burleson's hands, if the Seahawks don't throw to him, is to use him at punt returner. That's apparently the thinking, as Holmgren will do that for the foreseeable future.
Burleson replaced Jimmy Williams and had four returns Monday for 39 yards, including a 17-yard effort. Burleson averages 9.2 yards per return; Williams 7.3.