Nowak to start in return home to Green Bay
A native of De Pere, Wisconsin, Nowak lived less than 15 minutes from the hallowed home of the Packers. His grandfather purchased stock in the franchise for his family to own and have the ownership certificates framed in the family's basement.
Nowak admitted to having butterflies prior to his first start last week against the St. Louis Rams. Nowak expects a similar experience this week playing in the stadium he attended games at as a kid.
''It's going to unimaginable, honestly,'' Nowak said. ''It's kind of a dream come true. I knew this game was on the schedule since it came out this year, and it was a goal for me to be in this opportunity to be a starter for this game. I have lots of family there. It will be a great time.''
Nowak, a defensive lineman in college, rose up the Seahawks' depth chart to grab the starting job during training camp. His debut last week had its ups and down. The Rams sacked quarterback Russell Wilson six times and Seattle lost 34-31 in overtime.
But after a shaky start, head coach Pete Carroll believes Nowak and the reworked offensive line improved steadily.
''He improved during the game. A little shaky early with cadence and stuff like that. It's just hard when things were moving fast, but we saw steady improvement throughout the game, which was really encouraging,'' Carroll said.
''It's kind of like I think this season is going to go for the young guys up front, they're going to have to struggle through some stuff and hopefully survive, and then get through and give us a chance to win games and all that. As they play they'll do that.''
Nowak attributes some of the early errors to communication issues up front. Offensive line coach Tom Cable said they were targeting the wrong players to block at times and weren't able to get into a rhythm. Nowak believes it's his responsibility to get the communication working.
''I needed to do a better job of talking to the guys and making sure we were all on the same page,'' Nowak said. ''There was a couple times we weren't on the same page. As the game went on, I feel like we began to jell a bit together, and I know that I'm going to do a better job this week and it's going to show on the field.''
Nowak will have friends and family in attendance Sunday night, many of whom are still big fans of the Packers.
As much as Nowak is looking forward to the experience of playing back home, he knows he's wearing the uniform of the other team. He has a job to do to help the Seahawks avoid an 0-2 start.
''We're going there to win. That's what it's all about,'' Nowak said. ''I can't let that stuff bother me or get in my head about the aura of Lambeau Field. I've just got to go out there and do my job.''
NOTES: LB Bruce Irvin and T Garry Gilliam are listed as questionable due to rib injuries. Carroll said Gilliam will play and was optimistic about Irvin's status. ''We think he's going to be fine,'' Carroll said. ... CB Tharold Simon (toe) is also questionable and will be a game-time decision. ... LB Mike Morgan will not play due to a hamstring injury.
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