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AP Story: Packers Drop Preseason Opener To Seattle, 21-3


Tim Couch still has a lot to learn about the West Coast offense.

Fourth-string quarterback Seneca Wallace led Seattle on two touchdown drives and the Seahawks took advantage of Couch's dismal debut for Green Bay in a 21-3 exhibition victory over the Packers.

Couch, expected to be an upgrade over veteran Doug Pederson as Brett Favre's primary backup, finished 2-of-11 for 18 yards, a 1.6-yard average, and was sacked twice.

"He didn't play very well, that's obvious," Packers coach Mike Sherman said. "Part of it is he didn't practice a whole lot this week. He said his arm felt well enough to go, so I put him in there. I question whether that was the right decision. It wasn't a good day for him or for us."

Couch, a former No. 1 draft pick who served as Cleveland's starter most of the last five years, wasn't released by the Browns in time to get a jump-start on Green Bay's intricate offense in the June minicamp.

He sat out much of last week after overuse the first week led to soreness in his throwing arm.

"You've got to realize it's a brand new offense. I've only been in this offense a couple of weeks now," Couch said.

Favre completed 5 of 7 passes for 43 yards in two series, the first of which ended on Ryan Longwell 's 47-yard field goal, and Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck completed 5 of 9 passes for 56 yards for Seattle before giving way to Wallace, who was 14-of-26 for 135 yards and a score.

Couch looked nothing like those three.

He repeatedly overthrew or underthrew his receivers, was indecisive in the pocket and unable to shake a troublesome hitch in his delivery. His day came to a finish on a series in which he held the ball too long and was sacked, then threw right into the swatting hands of defensive end Omar Nazel as he backpedaled from the pressure near his own goal line.

By then, the fans were letting him have it. Couch, who tearfully criticized fans for booing him in Cleveland two years ago, said it didn't bother him and he couldn't blame them.

"No, I'm pretty used to that, playing in Cleveland," he said. "We weren't playing well and they should have (booed). We weren't moving the football."

The loudest cheer from the crowd of 69,718 came when Pederson replaced Couch in the third quarter.

The good thing about all of Couch's troubles was that it gave third-round draft pick B.J. Sander plenty of chances to atone for his 27.3-yard average in the Packers' intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 7.

Sander didn't distinguish himself, however, averaging an ordinary 36.5 yards on 10 punts.

"We certainly gave him some opportunities, there is no question about that. More than I would have cared to," Sherman said.

With Seattle's No. 2 and 3 quarterbacks, Trent Dilfer and Brock Huard, out with back spasms, Wallace played most of the game. His 2-yard touchdown toss to Jerheme Urban made it 14-3 just before halftime and his 19-yard completion to Chris Davis set up Kerry Carter 's 1-yard TD plunge with 3:44 left in the game.

The Packers may not admit it, but it was evident they miss Mike McKenzie, their recalcitrant cornerback who has skipped all offseason workouts in search of a trade.

"There is no update," said Sherman, who has vowed to quit talking about McKenzie until there is.

McKenzie's replacement in the starting lineup, Michael Hawthorne, surrendered two first downs on third-and-long on Seattle's first touchdown drive, and first-round draft pick Ahmad Carroll was whistled for pass interference, negating Mark Roman's second-quarter interception.

After Hawthorne allowed third-down completions of 12 and 16 yards, fullback Mack Strong capped a 14-play, 68-yard drive when he bullied in from 2 yards out.

"The 16-play drive (counting two penalties on defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt) is a good thing to have in the preseason," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "We caught lots of passes and ran a little bit, so we put some things together offensively."

And defensively, as Couch can certainly attest.

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