It looks like C.J. Prosise will get his first career start at tailback for the Seahawks Sunday at New England with Christine Michael nursing a sore hamstring.
Rookie C.J. Prosise appears in line for his first career start at tailback for the Seattle Seahawks Sunday at New England with Christine Michael having been a surprise addition to the injury report on Friday, listed as questionable with a hamstring ailment.
The injury report came out after coach Pete Carroll spoke to the media so there were no additional details available on the nature or severity of Michael’s injury. Michael was on the field during the first 30 minutes of practice, the only period open to the media.
Michael had not been on the injury report at any other time during the week and Carroll said on Wednesday that Michael was not injured in Monday’s game against Buffalo.
Prosise played the fourth quarter in that game as Michael did not see action after the mid-way point of the third quarter, having rushed for just one yard on five carries to that point.
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Prosise, a third-round pick from Notre Dame, has seen increasing action the last two weeks after sitting out four games with a broken bone in his wrist. He has 30 yards on nine carries for the season, with 32 on seven in the last two games. He also has 116 yards on eight receptions, having been drafted with the thought that he would initially fill the team’s third-down back role. But at least for Sunday, it appears Prosise is in line for a much larger role in the offense.
Carroll had hinted at some changes to the team’s running game when he said in answer to a question about improving Seattle’s recent struggles running that “we have a plan to do that and I’m hoping that we’ll balance things out really well this weekend.” The Seahawks are 30th in the NFL in rushing this week at 75.4 per game and had just 33 on 12 attempts against the Bills.
Michael has started all but one game this season, with Thomas Rawls getting the nod in the second week at Los Angeles, and leads the Seahawks with 447 yards on 112 carries.
However, Michael’s production has decreased of late and he has just 93 yards on 31 carries in the last three games as Seattle has struggled to mount much of a rushing attack. Offensive line coach Tom Cable noted on Wednesday that only one of Michael’s five runs in that game were targeted and read correctly by Michael and/or blockers.
While Rawls had what Carroll called “a really good week’’ in practice as he continues his road to recovery from a hairline fracture in his fibula suffered against the Rams, Carroll said he would not play against the Patriots and the Seahawks ruled him as out.
If Michael can’t go, then the Seahawks would be left with Prosise and fellow rookie Alex Collins as tailbacks against the Patriots. However, training camp sensation Troymaine Pope was re-signed to the practice squad last week and depending on the team’s depth needs could also be added to the roster at some point (that move would have to be made by Saturday for Pope to play Sunday).
Seattle this week also brought back George Farmer to the practice squad. While listed as a receiver, the Seahawks also used Farmer as a tailback during training camp, specifically used as a third-down back.
Carroll said after Friday’s practice to expect a larger role for Prosise this week without mentioning the injury to Michael.
“We just continue to work with him and see how we can fit him in and make him a factor for us,’’ Carroll said. “Just as we had hoped for in the drafting process that he could be versatile and do these things he looks the part, so we are really excited about that and just hope he can contribute in a bigger way as we move on through the schedule here.’’
Rawls returned to practice this week and Carroll said he “looked really fast and confident making his breaks ad moves’’ and that it was “a really good week’’ for him.
But Carroll said he will not play against the Patriots and said the team will need to see how he responds in practice next week before declaring him able to go on Nov. 20 against the Eagles.
“We’ll just go to next week and see what happens,’’ Carroll said. “He has to respond and see how he does and all of that. But he looked really good. You couldn’t see that there was anything holding him back at this point. But his confidence has got to be there and his conditioning looked great, so I think we really have a chance. There’s a chance.’’
Rawls was one of just two players declared out, the other being defensive end Michael Bennett, who had arthroscopic knee surgery last week. Everybody else on the 53-man roster could see action with only four players listed as questionable — Michael LT Bradley Sowell (knee), TE Luke Willson (knee) and CB DeAndre Elliott (hamstring).
Among those not even listed on the injury report and set to play is safety Kam Chancellor, who will make his return after missing the last four games with a groin injury.
Carroll said Chancellor “looked great’’ and should resume his regular role with the defense.
Carroll would not say if Sowell will return to the starting left tackle spot. Rookie George Fant has started the past two weeks.
Willson has not played since suffering a knee sprain against Atlanta Oct. 16, after which he had arthroscopic surgery. Said Carroll: “He did really well. He made it through the practice every day this week and finished well today. He’s in position to play this weekend.”
Also doing well in practice this week was defensive end Cassius Marsh, who had a sore ankle coming out of the Buffalo game and was did not practice on Wednesday. Said Carroll: “He was fine. He practiced both days and he looked great.”
Also fine is tight end Jimmy Graham, who was given some rest in practices earlier this week.
“We just took care of him,’’ Carroll said. “It was a short week. He’s ready to go.”
Carroll also said Bennett’s recovery is going well.
“Mike is already on the equipment, running on the treadmill and doing some stuff already,” Carroll said. “He’s off to a great start in his rehab, so everybody sounds really positive about that. It’s another week of work, just find out how fast he’s coming back. He’s doing really well.”