RENTON — As the Seahawks open the regular season Sunday in Atlanta, they know they have one of the NFL’s best 1-2 receiving duos in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
But the rest of the receiving corps remains a mystery.
The Seahawks signed Phillip Dorsett II in March with the hope he’d take over the third-receiver role, thinking the speed that made him a first-round draft pick of the Colts in 2015 would allow him to thrive in Seattle’s offense.
But Dorsett is the only injury question mark for the Seahawks as they open the season, listed as questionable because of a sore foot that has nagged him for most of training camp (the Seahawks also listed backup offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi out with a pec injury but everyone else is good to go).
Dorsett did not practice Friday, with coach Pete Carroll saying the Seahawks hope the rest will allow him to play Sunday.
“We’ll see what happens,” Carroll said.
If Dorsett can’t play, the Seahawks likely would go with David Moore as the third receiver, with Carroll saying rookie Freddie Swain, a sixth-round pick out of Florida, would play.
“David’s been on it (in camp),” Carroll said. “It’s the best David’s been. And you’ll see, we’ll play a lot of guys. Freddie Swain has done a nice job. We’re anxious to see Freddie, and you’ll see what happens at game time as far as what else is going on.”
Carroll’s allusion to something else going on could be a reference to Penny Hart, who was activated off the practice squad this week (the game will be something of a homecoming for Hart, who grew up in Roswell, Georgia, and attended Georgia State in Atlanta).
Seattle also has four other receivers on its practice squad — Aaron Fuller, John Ursua, Lance Lenoir and Cody Thompson — and could call up one for the game.
For Moore, the game could mean a big opportunity for him to again secure a significant role in the offense, something he’s been on the verge of doing the past two years without grabbing hold of it.
He suffered a shoulder injury in camp last year that resulted in him missing the first two games of the year. He finished with 17 receptions for 301 yards after catching 26 for 445 in 2018.
In fact, Moore’s future with the team seemed uncertain entering camp because he had a $2.13 million non-guaranteed salary after being tendered as an unrestricted free agent. That would have made him the second-highest-paid receiver on the team after Lockett, an amount the team seemed unlikely to pay unless Moore was going to have a prominent role.
But last weekend the team redid Moore’s deal, with Moore getting $900,000 for the season including a $75,000 bonus, according to OvertheCap.com, which assured him a spot on the 53-man roster.
At some point this season, the Seahawks may also have the services of Josh Gordon, who signed last week but remains indefinitely suspended by the NFL. Carroll said again Friday he cannot comment on Gordon’s situation and when he might be available.
As for Dorsett, the excitement Carroll elicited when he said early in camp that Dorsett is the fastest player the Seahawks have had in his tenure has tempered greatly as he has continued to miss time.
Carroll said he doesn’t know if the foot injury is one that will have to be monitored all season, adding, “We’ll just take it one day at a time.”
Carroll, though, said when he spoke to reporters via Zoom on Friday that the team did not know of Dorsett’s foot issue when he signed in March to a one-year deal worth up to $1.04 million.
“We had not known about this being a situation for him,” Carroll said. “We found out during camp.”
” … Phillip has had a good camp for us,” Carroll said. “We really like him in there. So we’ll see if we can get him back for this ballgame or not.”
Brown, Dissly ready to go
As noted, Ogbuehi is the only player declared out, and Dorsett the only other player on the status report.
Left tackle Duane Brown was not on the status report after being limited or out on Wednesday and Thursday. But as had been expected, those days were simply part of the team’s plan to limit Brown’s practice work this season as he navigates his 13th NFL season at age 35.
“He’s been around a long time,” Carroll said. “We want to make sure and take care of him. It’s a long year and all that, and we don’t want to go until he feels something. So it’ll be very much the same for a while.”
Also with no injury designation is tight end Will Dissly, listed as limited Thursday because of an Achilles tendon, an injury that ended his season last year in October. Dissly also was just being limited as a maintenance plan.
“He’s fine,” Carroll said. “We’re just making sure that he’s ready to go for his first game and we can play him as we want to.”
That Ogbuehi is out leaves Seattle with eight available offensive linemen on the 53-man roster. But if Seattle wants to add a ninth for depth, it has two on the practice squad it can call up Saturday — tackles Chad Wheeler and Tommy Champion.
New rules this year allow for teams to activate two players off the practice squad each Sunday to create a 55-man game-day roster and then be returned to the practice squad on Monday without going through waivers (though that can happen only twice with each player before they would have to go through the usual process of being promoted to the 53-man roster).
Of those two Wheeler would be more likely, as he has 19 NFL starts and was activated for the playoff game against Green Bay last season. Champion is an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State.
Brian Schneider takes leave of absence
Carroll announced Friday that special-teams coordinator Brian Schneider has left the team indefinitely for personal reasons. He will be replaced by assistant special-teams coach Larry Izzo.
Schneider has been Seattle’s special-teams coordinator since 2010 having come with Carroll from USC.
Izzo, who played in the NFL for 14 seasons, has been a coach in the league since 2011 and was Houston’s special-teams coordinator in 2016 and 2017 before coming to Seattle as assistant special-teams coach in 2018.