Seattle's backfield could have a little different look at times on Sunday against the 49ers.
The front line of Seattle’s offensive backfield – Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis — will look the same for Sunday’s game against the 49ers.
But the rest of it will have a little different feel.
J.D. McKissic will be back after missing the first 11 games after breaking his foot in a practice during training camp, while fullback Tre Madden is listed as doubtful with a chest injury and backup tailback C.J. Prosise is out with an abdomen injury.
Madden has played 59 snaps in 11 games this season but had one of the biggest plays of last week’s win at Carolina, a 28-yard reception that set up Seattle’s first touchdown, a drive that got the offense jump-started in an eventual 30-27 win.
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Coach Pete Carroll said Madden — who did not practice this week – got hurt on that play.
Madden is also one of Seattle’s core special-teams players, with 197 snaps, third most on the team.
McKissic could help fill some of Madden’s special-teams snaps.
Madden is also the only listed fullback on Seattle’s roster. But asked if it’s a challenge to replace his snaps there, Carroll said “the challenge has been met. I would put it that way. The challenge has been met.’’
Carroll didn’t specify how. But Seattle could fill the handful of fullback snaps Madden gets each week in a few different ways, including maybe using some two-tailback sets or using tight ends in those roles.
Prosise has played only 30 snaps all season and was inactive each of the past two weeks, and his injury may be more intriguing in terms of the roster ramifications down the road than its impact on Sunday’s game.
Carroll said Prosise has “an abdomen, groin, hip flexor thing going on’’ that he said Prosise has battled “for some time and been working through it and it’s gone beyond that.’’
McKissic’s return means Seattle has the depth it needs at tailback to absorb the loss of Prosise (both were college receivers and can fill the two-minute/third-down back role, if needed).
But if Prosise is out for an extended period he could be headed to injured reserve, which would help open up a roster spot that Seattle will need next week to bring back linebacker Mychal Kendricks once his eight-game suspension ends.
Prosise, a third-round pick in 2016 out of Notre Dame, has played in just 16 of a possible 44 regular-season games, mostly due to injuries.
That has helped fuel speculation about his future with the Seahawks. But if he’s hurt the team’s only real option would be an IR stint.
Carroll, asked about Prosise’s future Friday, said only “we just go one week at a time and this week, right now, he’s going to miss and we’ll see what happens.’’
The 2019 season will be the last for Prosise on his four-year rookie contract, when he will make $745,000. The Seahawks could save $745,000 against the cap if he is released.
But given the potential Prosise has flashed at times and given the team’s needs and desire for tailback depth with its renewed commitment to the running game, the money involved wouldn’t seem to be a big factor in any decision on Prosise.
Davis is also on a one-year contract, so the Seahawks may need some bodies to fill out the tailback spot heading into next year, anyway.
As for McKissic, Carroll said to expect him to get thrown into action Sunday (and with Madden likely to be inactive, it won’t skew the numbers to have four tailbacks active).
“He did a marvelous job getting ready to come back and he looked terrific,’’ Carroll said, adding he also looked good in practice last week. “We just kind of wanted to make sure we took enough time to assure that he could respond from a week’s work, and he did that and we are anxious to see him running the football.’’
K.J. WRIGHT DUE TO RETURN FRIDAY BUT ETA TO RETURN TO FIELD UNCLEAR
Along with Prosise, the only other player ruled out for Sunday is weakside linebacker K.J. Wright, who was out of Seattle getting treatment on his knee this week. He has played in just three games this season.
Carroll said early reports on Wright’s treatment were positive but said the team will need to get him back in Seattle before reassessing his future availability.
“Got to wait and see where he is by Wednesday or Thursday next week,’’ Carroll said.
Wright’s absence means Austin Calitro could again get the start at WLB against the 49ers.
But Seattle will have more options next week when Kendricks can return from suspension.
Kendricks took part in practice again this week and Carroll said he “is ready to go.’’ Kendricks was signed after the first game of the season and immediately thrown into action, playing in three games before being suspended.
Carroll said the two weeks of practice for Kendricks were valuable for him in further learning the team’s defense.
“The coaches were pointed at really coaching him up hard this week,’’ Carroll said. “He got an extra focus this week in preparation for next week and physically he is ready go to. He will be a real nice addition.’’
A ‘CHANCE’ SHAMAR STEPHEN PLAYS
Defensive tackle Shamar Stephen, who has rather quietly been a key contributor this season starting 10 of 11 games while playing 387 snaps — the most of any defensive lineman other than Jarran Reed and Frank Clark — is listed as questionable with a foot injury.
Stephen has dealt with a foot issue all season and had a treatment out of the area a few weeks ago to try to further heal it. But the foot continues to bother him and he sat out practice Wednesday and Thursday.
Stephen, though, was a full participant Friday and Carroll said he has “a chance’’ to play against the 49ers.
That Stephen has fought through the injury to play every game this season and practiced Friday, though, may mean there’s better than a chance he suits up.
LUANI DOUBTUL WITH QUAD INJURY
Safety Shalom Luani, who has been a regular of late on special teams with 117 snaps overall, is listed as doubtful with a quad injury that Carroll said Luani suffered in a walk-through Wednesday.
Carroll called the injury “a hip flexor’’ and said “how that happened (in a walk-through) I don’t know. He just took a bad step somewhere in there and it just flared up on him and it’s legitimately there. It’s not a serious, serious one, but it’s enough to keep him really doubtful this weekend.’’
EVERYONE ELSE GOOD TO GO
Wright, Prosise, Madden, Luani and Stephen were the only players listed on the injury report with everyone else apparently ready to play.
That includes receiver Doug Baldwin and safety Bradley McDougald, who each were limited or out earlier in the week but full participants in practice on Friday.